Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Unknown Aug 31, 1976 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
23 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Alice Hyatt and her son Tommy have settled in to their new home in Phoenix and Alice has been working at a grubby little cafe called Mel's Diner for a little over five weeks. Working at the diner with fellow waitresses, Flo and Vera and her grumpy boss, Mel, Alice has already met her share of characters. However, the latest character visiting the diner claims to be a Hollywood agent, giving Alice hopes of making it big and leaving Phoenix once and for all.moreless

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  • The opening credits & scenes of this pilot episode are completely different than those in the regular series. Even though the movie location of Mel's Diner was Tucson, Arizona, the diner's location wasn't revealed at all in this pilot episode.moreless

    From the way Alice talked in the pilot, it sounded like the diner's setting might have been in a small town in Anywhere, USA. This, based on the conversation between Alice and Flo about Alice trying to make it as a professional singer. Flo told Alice that she could perform in some of the places near the diner. Alice said, "Oh sure - like the laundromat and the bakery!"

    It wasn't revealed until the following episode that the location of the series is in Phoenix. However, Mel's Diner was likely somewhere in the outskirts of town, based on the fact that in a later episode, Flo said the diner is "on the highway out of town". Also, the diner seemed to be a pit stop for weary truckers. Later in the series, an address was given for Mel's as being on the Bush Highway - likely a ficticious location.moreless
Linda Lavin

Linda Lavin

Alice Hyatt

Polly Holliday

Polly Holliday

Florence Jean "Flo" Castleberry (1976-1980)

Vic Tayback

Vic Tayback

Mel Sharples

Beth Howland

Beth Howland

Vera Louise Gorman

Alfred Lutter III

Alfred Lutter III

Tommy Hyatt (Pilot Only)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Mel: What are you doing back there?
      Flo: Giving Virgil Jenkins a thrill. Everytime I lean over to check the sugar bowl, I get a fifty cent tip.
      Mel: Give me a thrill. Pick up your orders.
      Flo: Oh, kiss my grits.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The scene where Vera opens a pack of straws and proceeds to eject them all over was repeated in the opening credits of every succeeding episode and hence can be seen in every episode of the series.

    • The opening sequence of the series shows a car being driven down the road, this is from the actual movie the series was based on.

    • In this episode, it is said that Mel is a widower and his wife's name was Ruby, hence the name "Mel & Ruby's Diner". This idea was dropped after the pilot episode and in this first episode Mel's Diner looks entirely different from the proceeding shows.

    • Tommy is played by Afred Lutter, the same boy that played him in the 1975 hit movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, the basis of this show.