San Bernardino Sun, Volume 110, Number 355, 21 December 1983
The choice for viewing tonight is ‘Hobson’s Choice’
By BILL HAYDEN Gannett News Service
Back around 1620, an English livery stable owner named Thomas Hobson had very definite ideas about renting out his horses. Customers either took the horse he picked out or got no steed at all.
From this grew the slang phrase “Hobson’s choice,” meaning taking what’s offered or nothing at all.
Another Hobson doesn’t even offer that choice at least to his daughters. As far as tradesman Henry Horatio Hobson is concerned, the three girls are getting nothing from him. This particular situation is the basis for a light but appealing comic television movie, “Hobson’s Choice,” CBS, tonight at 9.
As portrayed by Jack Warden, Henry Hobson is an irascible, pompous, self – important but lovable penny pincher more interested in totally dominating his household and impressing his drinking cronies in New Orleans of 1914 than in running the shoemaking shop that provides the pennies to be pinched. The Hobson household consists of three unmarried daughters. The women are single because he refuses to provide them with the dowries needed to marry. After all, if he put up the money, he would lose eldest daughter Sharon Gless, who runs the shop while he spends his time at the local bar. And when Gless wants to marry one of his employees shy, illiterate Richard Thomas Warden steadfastly refuses to bless the match.
Now, not only is Gless as headstrong and proud as her father, a free-thinker and a competent businesswoman, but she’s getting a little desperate. She’s 30 considered over the hill during that period and verging on spinsterdom. Gless rebels against this flamboyant autocrat, hatching a scheme that involves Thomas and Lillian Gish as one of the shop’s most satisfied customers. Thomas happens to be the best shoemaker not just in Warden’s employ, but in all of New Orleans. Gish happens to be both sympathetic to Gless’ plight and quite rich. With Gish’s underwriting and Thomas’ skills, Gless opens up a business of her own in direct competition with Warden. What ensues is a delightfully magnificent father – daughter squabble that has subtlely commented on social conventions and perceptions of the times by the time the dust settles.
Gannett News Service – Bill Hayden 1983