ABC (ended 1986)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 7 : Ep 22

    And the Winner is . . .

    Aired 4/19/86

  • S 7 : Ep 21

    Friends and Enemies

    Aired 4/12/86

  • S 7 : Ep 20

    Three on a Mismatch

    Aired 3/29/86

  • S 7 : Ep 19

    Hi, Society

    Aired 3/22/86

  • S 7 : Ep 18

    Pardon Me

    Aired 3/8/86

  • Cast & Crew
  • Rene Auberjonois

    Clayton Runnymede Endicott III (Seasons 2-7)

  • Robert Guillaume

    Benson DuBois

  • Billie Bird

    Rose Cassidy (Seasons 6-7)

  • Ethan Phillips

    Peter John Downey (Seasons 2-6)

  • Inga Swenson

    Gretchen Wilomena Kraus

  • Photos (9)
  • show Description
  • Benson, a spin-off of the controversial series, Soap, first aired in September of 1979 on ABC and would run for seven years, outlasting it's parent series. Created by Susan Harris, who would later create The Golden Girls and Empty Nest, Benson centered on Benson DuBois. In Soap, Benson was the butler for the Tate household. Jessica Tate sent Benson to help her widowed cousin, Governor James Gatling. Benson in essence soon began running the household of the Gatling mansion. Other constant characters included, Katie Gatling, the governor's daughter and Gretchen Kraus, the German housekeeper. Marcy Hill was the governor's secretary who was later married. John Taylor was the political aide who was later replaced by Clayton Endicott III. Pete Downey was the press assistant. Later, Benson was appointed state budget director and gained a secretary of his own, Denise who would later marry Pete. In 1986, ABC cancelled the series leaving the series ending on a cliffhanger, who won the election for governor, Benson or Gov Gatling?moreless

  • Top Contributor
  • gwactuary

    User Score: 2009


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (46)

    • (The Governor meets Benson for the first time.) Governor Gatling: I can recognize the Rev. Jesse Jackson anywhere! (shakes Benson's hand) Marcy: Sir, this is Benson. Governor Gatling: Oh, the Rev. Benson Jackson!

    • Taylor: In case anybody is interested, I'm dying. Benson: Fine. Then I'll only set four places for dinner.

    • Katie: On their way out to dinner, Marcy introduced me to Eddie. I think he's a fox. Kraus: He's a what? Katie: That means he's cute. Kraus: Ah. And what do you call boys your own age who are cute? Katie: There aren't any.

    • Benson: Yeah, well, Eddie and I went through a lot together. Governor Gatling: Korea? Benson: (rubbing his head) A bottle of saki.

    • Marcy (singing): Oh, I'm as corny as Kansas in August. High as a flag on the Fourth of July. If you'll excuse an expression I use, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love. I'm in love with-- Kraus (offstage): Knock off that racket! Marcy: Benson, guess who called. Benson: Rodgers and Hammerstein?

    • Kraus: Someone go and shut the window. Taylor: Benson, shut the window. Benson: Taylor, shut your face.

    • Taylor: You have a lot of nerve, Benson. Impersonating a governor is a crime in this state. Benson: I know, but he's gotten away with it so far.

    • Larry: I saw [Kraus] lots of times but I never really noticed her before. You know, she's not half bad. Benson: What half you lookin' at?

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    Notes (38)

    • Some releases of this episode go by the title "Changes."

    • Missy Gold is the younger sister of Growing Pains star, Tracy Gold.

    • As the thought of this series is being brought out, Benson still makes appearances on Soap just in case this series never takes off.

    • This episode was similar to the classic episode of "Perfect Strangers" where Larry, Balki, Jennifer, and Mary Anne were trapped in a snow-cabin.

    • This episode reunited Katherine Helmond and Robert Guillaume; they had starred together on Soap. Her character Jessica Tate was established here as the cousin of Governor Gene Gatling, for whom Benson now worked.

    • This episode to me is very similar to the "Soap" moment where Jessica is dying and Benson visits her. It is a very tender moment and very special.

    • Missy Gold's Katie Gatling character is tested with some heavy dialogue. Later, her lines were severely limited.

    • At the same time as being funny, we see Benson climbing into his white butler coat that he wore in "Soap." Watching this episode may bring back some memories.

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    Trivia (16)

    • For the first time, viewers get to hear Benson refer to Jessica by her first name instead of "Mrs. Tate."

    • Goof: It doesn't make sense that Jessica (or Benson in the Pilot, for that matter) doesn't at least mention the resemblance between Gretchen Kraus and Ingrid Swenson, the natural mother of her adopted daughter Corrinne (the two characters were, of course, played by the same actress).

    • Rene Auberjonois and Ethan Phillips both went on to play a part in a Star Trek series. Rene Auberjonois played Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Ethan Phillips played Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager. Neither of them played a human.


    • The name of Whitley's company in this episode is Trans Allied. That is the same name of the company that Phillip Drummond owns on the TV show "Different Strokes".

    • When Gretchen receives a letter from Germany with details about her late aunt's estate, she hands it to Benson to read. Unless he knows German fluently, he wouldn't be able to read the letter.

    • It is revealed in this episode that Benson served in the Korean Conflict.

    • Missy Gold is left-handed.

    • When Benson confronts the policemen conducting the raid and pretends to be a police captain, he refers to himself as "Captain Williams." Robert Guillaume's name at birth was Robert Williams. (Guillaume is the French translation of William.)

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    Allusions (22)

    • The episode title comes from the Doobie Brothers' album and single of the same name.

    • The episode title alludes to the classic 1941 movie, Citizen Kane.

    • Marcy's mother refers to Jesse Jackson or "even Reggie Jackson" as people who would be prominent enough to walk her daughter down the aisle. At the time this episode aired, both were highly prominent figures. Jesse Jackson was a leader in the civil rights movement and would run for president in the 1984 and 1988 democratic primaries. Reggie Jackson was then an all-star major league baseball player who had a Hall-of-Fame career playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A's, New York Yankees and California Angels.

    • Benson: (on the phone calling a cab for Kraus) Operator, give me the number for the Sunshine Cab Company. (pause) What do you mean they're out of business? This is in reference to the tv show Taxi, home of the Sunshine Cab Company, which was cancelled in 1982. This episode first aired in January 1982 and both shows were on the ABC network.

    • Kraus asks Benson how to spell "relief." This line is a play on the old Rolaids commercial line: "How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S."

    • Benson sarcastically tells Clayton, "Thank you Marlin Perkins." Marlin Perkins was the host of "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" which ran from 1963-1985.

    • When Benson says, "...Maybe I had a few of their favorite things," he alludes to the song "My Favorite Things" from the movie The Sound of Music.

    • The episode title is a pun of the 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (7)
  • The human brain context of series and time magazine and tvguide and industry --

    By asrekdal, Jun 14, 2014

  • What can I say?

    By floberdobdob, Aug 11, 2005

  • Two words to describe this show''Shear Brilliance''

    By xnon1, Jun 05, 2006

  • A funny show during the Reagan years.

    By beachcitykid, Jun 04, 2006

  • This show is classic (79-)80's television with the sunny and sagacious Robert Guillaume at the helm. The entertainment and intellectual stimulation is yummy and a real treat for all. For example I'm 17-yrs.old!

    By SourGoddess89, Jun 03, 2006

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