What's Happening!!

ABC (ended 1979)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 3 : Ep 22

    The Benefit Show

    Aired 4/28/79

  • S 3 : Ep 21

    Dwayne's Debate

    Aired 4/21/79

  • S 3 : Ep 20

    First Class Coach

    Aired 4/7/79

  • S 3 : Ep 19

    The Last Page

    Aired 3/31/79

  • S 3 : Ep 18

    The Thomas Treasure

    Aired 3/16/79

  • Cast & Crew
  • Mabel King

    Mrs. Mabel "Mama" Thomas (1976-1978)

  • Shirley Hemphill

    Shirley Wilson (1977-1979)

  • Ernest Thomas

    Roger "Raj" Thomas

  • Fred Berry

    Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs

  • Haywood Nelson

    Dwayne Nelson

  • Photos (5)
  • show Description
  • What's Happening!! was first seen in August of 1976 and was yet another urban situation comedy that came out in the 1970's and joined the ranks of Chico and the Man and Good Times. The series was loosely based on the 1975 movie Cooley High. The series centered around three black teens, Roger "Raj" Thomas, Dwayne Clemens, and Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs. Rerun had gotten his nickname because he kept on having to repeat high school courses that he had flunked. Also, by the end of the first season, Dwayne's last name had been changed to Nelson. The stories revolved around them struggling to grow up in a lower-middle class neighborhood. Others in the cast include, Raj's divorced mother, Mabel "Mama" Thomas who had her hands full with working full time and handling Raj and his bratty little sister Dee Thomas. Shirley Wilson was the sassy waitress who worked at the local hangout, Rob's Place. Raj and Dee's dad, Bill Thomas, was seen occasionally during the first two seasons. In the third and final season, Raj and Rerun had graduated high school and they moved in together and shared an apartment. By that time, the character of Mama had been dropped and Shirley was now living in the Thomas household. In 1985, the series returned in syndication under a new name, What's Happening Now!!. The revamped series had almost all the original stars returning to their roles and ran until 1988. First Telecast: August 5, 1976 Last Telecast: April 28, 1979 Episodes: 65 Color Episodes Theme Song: "What's Happening!!" Written by: Henry Mancini Performed by: Henry Mancini (Instrumental) Spin-offs: What's Happening Now!! ABC Broadcast History August 1976----Thursdays----8:30 p.m. November 1976-December 1976----Saturdays----8:30 p.m. December 1976-January 1978----Thursdays----8:30 p.m. January 1978-April 1978----Saturdays----8:00 p.m. April 1978-January 1979----Thursdays----8:30 p.m. February-March 1979----Fridays----8:30 p.m. March-April 1979----Saturdays----8:00 p.m. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better) #25 in the 1976-1977 Season #29 in the 1978-1979 Seasonmoreless

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  • SrRui

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (76)

    • Raj: You had Shirley walk you home? Dwayne: You know nobody's going to mug Shirley.

    • Raj: Dwayne, you check the outside. Dwayne: Dee wouldn't go out there after dark. Raj: Why not? Dwayne: She'd be too scared to go out there alone. Raj: No she wouldn't. Dwayne: I am.

    • Dwayne: Shirley can you do something about this soda? It's not sweet enough. (Shirley takes several drinks of the soda) Shirley: No, it's fine.

    • Dee: I'm going to run away, and momma will come home and find me gone and get hysterical and she'll call the police and they'll put you in jail for life or longer!

    • (after Rerun hands Mama his belt to whip Raj) Mama: Good Lord Rerun, I want to whip him, not hang him!

    • Millie: How did he get a name like Rerun? Dwayne: Because in the summer he has to repeat in school what he did all winter.

    • Dwayne: Wow, $175, if I had $175 do you know what I'd get? Rerun: Mugged...by me.

    • Dee: (on the phone) Oh yeah? Well your momma! (hangs up) Mabel: Who were you talking to? Dee: I think one of Raj's fresh friends. I answered and said "hello" real nice, "hello". Mabel: I was standing right here, I heard how you said it. Dee: So I answered real nice "hello", "hello". Mabel: Never mind that, what did they say? Dee: They said 'who is this?' And I said 'Dee, who is this?' He said 'your papa', so I said 'oh yeah? Well your mama!'

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    Notes (41)

    • This is the movie that spawned the series. There are major changes between the movie and the series. Preacher is now Raj with only one sister and mother. Although both wanted to be writers.

    • Shirley Hemphill makes her first appearance in the recurring role of Shirley Wilson. She would join the cast at the beginning of the second season and would appear in the opening credits.

    • Rerun wears a blue beret in this episode, instead of the red beret he would wear for the rest of the series.

    • Syndication cuts the scene where Rerun steals the cake from Betty's house.

    • Raj is wearing glasses without glass in them. You will notice the missing glass when you see Raj at home with his family.

    • Product placement-Jiff Peanut Butter

    • Once again Raj's glasses do not have glass in them. In fact this remains a common trend for the first season.

    • The show was considered a summer series run for ABC which the show did very well in ratings and the network went ahead and ordered a full season which began in November.

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    Trivia (11)

    • In the scene at Rob's Place, where Shirley tastes Dwayne's drink (to see if it's sweet enough), it's an orange soda. Then after she dumps the glass of water on Rerun's head, Dwayne's drink magically switches to cola (and Raj's, which was cola, turns to red soda). After the scene where Dwayne is talking to the girl, the drinks switch back.

    • This series was based on the movie Cooley High with some changes.

    • When Mabel yells at Dee after he yells at her, you can see Roger laughing.

    • The soda shop is called Robert's Place in this episode. It's Rob's Place in all the rest of the episodes.

    • Rerun is actually seen without his beret at the beginning of the episode. Dee can be noticed laughing after delivering some of her lines.

    • This is the first time the audience finds out who "Rob" of Rob's Place really is. Also, we learn that Shirley is a high school dropout who supports her other siblings through her paycheck at Rob's. This episode is one of the few episodes where Shirley and Mrs. Thomas actually are seen together.

    • When Shirley answers the phone to take a water balloon order, the order comes from the Kappa Alpha fraternity and while she takes the other order, it comes from the Beta Sigma fraternity. Kappa Alpha symbolized Ernest Thomas' fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. It is safe to assume that Beta Sigma symbolized Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

    • This was the only two-part episode that was ever videotaped during the series' run. Mabel King does not appear in this episode.

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    Allusions (8)

    • Title pun: From here to eternity, the classic 1953 movie starring Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster.

    • Rerun makes a reference to Charlie's Angels. It aired on ABC as did What's Happening.

    • Rerun: Well, in the Steven's apartment, they have Columbo on. And the Foster's are watching Rich Man, Poor Man. And in the Simpson's Apartment, it's the Newlywed Game. Columbo was a TV detective series that has been aired during five different decades. At the time, the show ran on ABC from 1968-1978. Rich Man, Poor Man was a mini series that aired on ABC in 1976. The Newlywed Game was a game show that originally aired on CBS, starting in 1967.

    • April: I played a waitress once. It was last season on Kojak. I took Telly Savalas' order. Kojak was a famous cop show that ran on CBS from 1973 to 1978, starring Telly Savalas. Interesting note, as this show usually only referrences shows on ABC. It's unusual for them to reference a show on a rival network.

    • The Gong Show, Barney Miller, Laverne & Shirley, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Happy Days, Three's Company and Mork & Mindy were all shows that are referenced in this episode. They were all ABC shows that were currently running when this episode aired.

    • Rerun imitates Howard Cosell. Cosell was a sports broadcaster most known for boxing, The Olympics and Monday Night Football. He was on Monday Night Football from 1970 - 1983.

    • Little Earl does an impression of stand-up comedian, Steve Martin. Martin released an album titled Let's Get Small in 1977. Martin would soon quit the stand up gig, and focus on his acting career. Martin never returned to being a stand up comedian.

    • Shirley refers to Dee and Rog as the Donny and Marie of Watts. She is referring to Donny and Marie Osmond. They had a variety show from 1976 -1977.

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (10)
  • Hey Hey Hey This show went off the air when I was 1 1/2, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

    By kevinb4444, Apr 03, 2007

  • This show has to be one of my all time favorite telivision shows ever.

    By justinbh05, Jan 28, 2007

  • A show that had about as many laughs as gaffes, but remains notable for its place in TV comedy history.

    By winghop, Sep 07, 2006

  • "Hey, hey, What's happening?" This show was a really great portrayal of a group of really good friends, all with good hearts This is a great show show for anyone.

    By escalusfilm, Jul 01, 2006

  • It was crap back when originally aired and still is today

    By fluffybear, Apr 18, 2006

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