Two of my favorite books growing up were Cheaper By the Dozen, by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, and Who Gets the Drumstick?, by Helen North Beardsley. (I liked stories about big families. :-)) Both of these books are about actual families who lived in the 1910s and 1960s, respectively. Cheaper by the Dozen is about the Gilbreth family, with 12 children, and it is a humorous account of their growing up years (incidentally, Belles on Their Toes is the sequel, telling the stories of the adolescant Gilbreth children). Who Gets the Drumstick? is about the Beardsley family: a widower with 10 children and a widow with 8 children marry and together have two more children.
Many of you may recognize these stories as current movies. Cheaper By the Dozen came out a few years ago, starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. When I first heard that it came out, I was very excited because it’s such a great book. However, after watching the movie, I was majorly disappointed. The movie bascially ripped the title from the book and the only similarity was that it was a family with 12 kids. I know many people enjoyed the movie in itself (I did not; I thought the kids were bratty and disrespectful towards their parents), but what made me angry was them ripping off the title. It’s referred to as a “remake” of the original movie, which completely untrue.
Paul told me today that there is a movie about the Beardsley family coming this Thanksgiving, called Yours, Mine, and Ours. This is a remake of the original movie, starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Again, when I saw this, I was very disappointed. While they didn’t keep the same title, they portrayed it as a true story yet strayed far from the actual story. Not as far as Cheaper By the Dozen – the characters are the same, but the movie is about how the children hate each other and the fights that broke out after they all moved under one roof. In actuality, the children were very excited about the marriage and they got along very well with their new siblings and loved their new parent.
I know Hollywood really doesn’t care about whether they are following the true story or not. I probably shouldn’t let this bother me so much, but I guess I feel a need to educate everyone on the truth. If you enjoy reading about the joys and complications that come with a large family, you should definitely check out these two books. I highly recommend them. I also recommend a third book about the same subject called The Family Nobody Wanted, by Helen Doss, about a couple who adopt 12 multi-racial children.