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    My Three Sons

    My Three Sons

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    ABC (ended 1972)
    "MY THREE SONS" is the story of a Mid-West Aeronautical Engineer who watches his family grow up. This seemingly innocuous and simple, but effective sitcom, was a huge hit and a cornerstone of television's 'family programming' era in the 1960s. Second next to "The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet" as television's longest running family sitcom, "My Three Sons" was created by former "Leave It To Beaver" alumnus George Tibbles (1913-87). Executive Producer Don Fedderson (1913-94) campaigned the series as a probable vehicle for movie veteran Fred MacMurray (1908-91), who was reluctant to star in it at all. He spoke to Robert Young, of "Father Knows Best" fame and his suspicions were confirmed. He'd be working seven days a week and would barely see his real life family. Finally he gave in after the Producers guaranteed that they could have enough scripts available ahead of time to warrant filming the show within a set sixty five day period. He agreed to this, and so for example, all the scenes set in the kitchen of many different episodes were all shot together in one day, all out of sequence, which were then later edited into each episode in order. Co-star William Frawley (1887-1966), used to years of filming "I Love Lucy" in sequence before a captive studio audience and performed like a play, never got used to this schizophrenic method of filming. And thus this technique was dubbed 'The MacMurray Method' and was also used by Brian Keith on the "Family Affair" series, coincidentally also a Don Fedderson Production. Of course, the "MacMurray Method" isn't particularly novel in its creation (it is, after all, how most feature films are shot, and a method probably most comfortable and familiar to the film actor MacMurray), but its introduction to TV production methods was certainly innovative at the time.

    HISTORICAL OVERVIEW: When the series began in 1960, the boys were aged 18 (Mike), 14 (Robbie) and 8 (Chip). They were played by Tim Considine, Don Grady and Stanley Livingston, respectively. At the beginning of the series, storylines centred on the family's adventures in suburbia, and was perhaps the hybrid of what was to become the era of the Dom-Com (Domestic Sitcom). Steve Douglas also spent a good deal of time fending off attractive women who wanted to marry him and take over that loveable ready made family. The 'woman' in their lives was Bub O'Casey, Steve's maternal father in law, who did all the cooking, cleaning and chores. Other regulars in the early years were Peter Brooks as Robbie's best friend Hank Ferguson, and Ricky Allen as Sudsy Pfeiffer, Chip's best friend. The first of the show's format changes began at the start of the 1963-64 season. Meredith MacRae (1944-2000) was introduced as Sally Morrison, the girlfriend to eldest son Mike. They would become engaged and eventually marry. Meanwhile, Chip's new pal Ernie Thompson (co-star Stanley Livingston's real-life brother, Barry) was introduced and he would ultimately become a permanent part of the Douglas household. During the 1964-65 season, Frawley left the show for health reasons and Bub was written out of the show and replaced with his cantankerous younger brother Charley, a retired sailor played by William Demarest (1892-1983), whose crusty disposition masked a soft heart. At the start of the 1965-66 season, when the show moved from ABC to CBS, Mike and Sally got married in the very first Color episode, and moved back East so that Mike could accept a job teaching psychology on the college level. (Actor Tim Considine had at 24, outgrown the role and wanted out of the series to pursue a Directing career, which ultimately never eventuated). To re-establish the 'three sons', Steve subsequently adopted orphan child Ernie, who was not permitted to accompany his foster parents in their move to the orient. Things went along much the same for the next two seasons, although now the sons were Robbie, Chip and Ernie. Mike would never be referred to again after a few episodes.
    In a dramatic production move, the series, which for the first seven seasons was filmed mainly on Stage 11 at Desilu Studios in Hollywood, had to up anchor and begin filming at the former Republic Studios site, now rechristened the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California. This necessitated moves behind and in front of the cameras. Lucille Ball, who by 1962 had bought out her ex-husband Desi Arnaz to take total control of Desilu, was, in February, 1967 talked into a deal by chief executive Charles Bludhorn of the giant Gulf and Western conglomerate, into selling Desilu. As G&W now owned Paramount Studios, Desilu was absorbed into this operation. To facilitate the placement of schedules for various TV series that lensed their shows at Desilu, all were forced to find other burgeoning accommodations. "My Three Sons" complimented the move to the CBS Studio Center (the Columbia Broadcasting System now owning the show) by introducing a new storyline at the start of the 1967-68 season, where Steve Douglas transfers to California, and the family moves to North Hollywood. (Thus, a new house, and new studio facilities). Although the adjustment was not too pleasant many of the Douglas's new acquaintances were not too friendly at first, there were good sides to the move. Robbie fell in love with college student Kathleen Miller (Tina Cole), and their romance blossomed into marriage. At the beginning of the following season 1968-69, the newly weds discovered that Katie was pregnant, and during the season she gave birth to triplets; three sons of course. Season 1969-70 brought new love to father Steve Douglas in the form of Barbara Harper (Beverly Garland), Ernie's English teacher. They were eventually married and Barbara's five year old daughter Dodie (Dawn Lyn), whom Steve subsequently adopted, also joined the family.

    Even original youngest son Chip (who was by now 18) got into the act, eloping with fellow college student Pauline ('Polly') Williams (Ronne Troup) in the 1970-71 season. Adopted brother Ernie was the only one of the sons not to get married on the show. As if the sprawling family had not gotten big enough already, the start of the final season (1971-72) saw a four part related episode that was sort of a continuation of a storyline that began in the 1963-64 season. Steve's Scottish nobleman cousin Fergus McBain Douglas (enacted by Fred MacMurray; voiced by Alan Caillou) came to the United States in search of a wife to take back to Scotland. In its later years, as the of the Douglas family grew on "My Three Sons" and separated into individual households, episodes could very rarely include the entire group. More and more often, they dealt with the specific problems of a large cast of regulars, with different members taking the spotlight from episode to episode. These multi-story elements were the brainchild of the show's creator and head writer for its twelve seasons, George Tibbles, who penned a massive 95 scripts of the series during this period. 16 of these were as a co-writer, in addition to him overseeing the work of the contributing staff writers during his tenure as Story Editor/Supervisor.

    "My Three Sons" never changed much in only in structure, its format changes having been discussed with the writing staff which increased the show's longevity with natural progressions for each character. For its time and of its type, the show was extremely well written and the writing of the series doesn't get enough credit to this day. As the series only filmed several months out of the year, the same Director was usually employed, which gave the show the behind the scenes continuity it probably needed. When the show was finally cancelled it had been running for twelve years and in reruns has run many, many more. By today's standards it appears wholesome, tame and perhaps slightly dated, but it's a slice of life that all of us can appreciate and learn from. One thing is certain. For all of its detractors, the series remains a favourite all over the world. The show's huge catalogue of 380 half hour episodes is a lasting legacy for Fred MacMurray and his TV family that will never be forgotten. While never a top ten hit during its original run, thanks to syndication the show remains extremely popular and continues to win new fans, young and old for its effective way of depicting an all-male family that did all-male things, even in its simplicity and its naiveté. The original Black and White episodes, considered by most fans as the show's best, were held back from syndication until the 1980s and enjoyed a new lease of life on Cable Television until the late 90s. The Color episodes are in constant syndication and are the only ones being distributed across the U.S. as of this writing (Jan. 2002). As long as TV stations are in need of quality programming the series will hopefully be played regularly to a whole new generation of audience.

    WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Fred MacMurray (b. August 30, 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois) died on November 5, 1991 aged 83, of pneumonia as a result of contracting chronic lymphocytic leukemia. MacMurray's off-screen role in the series was purely financial. A deal with Executive Producer Don Fedderson named MacMurray a silent partner, in effect giving him a 50% ownership stake in the series. In his 70s after he had all but retired from the business as one of Hollywood's wealthiest citizens, thanks to shrewd property investment deals among other business ventures, Fred suffered for a while with throat cancer. Sadly missed by all of us. The plaque in his mausoleum crypt at Holy Cross cemetery in Culver City, California says "Forever in the hearts of your family" (indeed!) which was arranged by his second wife, actress June Haver, to whom he was married for 37 years until his death. (June passed away aged 79 in 2005 and is now interred with him). He is survived by four children; two were adopted during his first marriage to the late actress Lillian LaMont, (Robert and Susan), and then in 1956 he and June adopted twin baby girls Katie and Laurie. Known as a devoted husband and father, no one ever talks of Fred as ever being a great actor, but when you think of it he never really gave a bad performance, and for the sheer number of movies and television shows he made, that's a pretty good epitaph for anybody in show business.

    William Frawley (b. February 26, 1887 in Burlington, Iowa) died on March 3, 1966 a week after his 79th Birthday from a massive coronary, while strolling down Hollywood Boulevard after seeing a movie. His constant companion, a male nurse, carried him into the nearby Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Hollywood Receiving Hospital. His funeral was held at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Los Angeles and he is buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California. Tracing his show business roots back to vaudeville, he was also a prolific character actor who appeared in more than 150 feature films from as early as 1916 and usually but not always was featured in comedic roles. Bill is best remembered for his long running role on "I Love Lucy" (1951-57) as the irascible Fred Mertz. Perhaps appropriately, his last performance was a cameo on an episode of "The Lucy Show" which aired in late 1965.

    William Demarest (b. February 27, 1892 in St. Paul, Minnesota) died on December 27, 1983 aged 91, from a heart attack, after a long battle with prostate cancer. One of the true stalwarts of the entertainment industry, he is one of the few performers who can lay claim to being there from the very beginning; he appeared uncredited alongside Al Jolson in Warner Bros. first ever talking motion picture, "The Jazz Singer" in 1927. He was a welcome face in many vintage movies where he usually played in support of the leads, and was instantly recognizable to audiences even if people didn't know his name. His career started when he was a headliner in vaudeville in the days before World War I and his last appearance was in a 1978 telemovie which capped off a remarkable 73-year career in show business. He was retired and living in Palm Springs, California at the time of his death, and he is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

    Meredith MacRae (b. May 30, 1944 in Houston, Texas) died on July 14, 2000 aged 56, of complications from surgery for brain cancer. The daughter of the late actor Gordon MacRae, Meredith had her own talk show in the 1980s called "Mid-Morning L.A." and she won an Emmy for her work on the show in 1986. Married three times, her only child Allison was born in 1975 during her second marriage (1969-87) to actor Greg Mullavey. She became a successful producer and garnered many awards during her long career. She did a series of acclaimed lectures to major companies and organizations, taught a in film and TV production at Chapman University, and recorded over a dozen best-selling books on tape. Former L.A. mayor Tom Bradley called her one of that city's most outstanding businesswomen. As per her wishes and because her hobbies had included water skiing and scuba diving she was cremated and her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
    Beverly Garland
    (b. October 17, 1926 in Santa Cruz, California) died on December 5, 2008 aged 82 after a short illness. Beverly was the widow of land developer Fillmore Crank to whom she was married for 39 years until his death in 1999. She ran with the help of three of four of her grown children, the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, located in North Hollywood which is a few blocks from Universal Studios. Until her death she was still occasionally active in show business, and was bestowed the honor of of being inducted into the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and celebrated the beginning of her "second" fifty years in show business in 2001. In recent years she had a recurring role on the series "Seventh Heaven". Garland's hotel is also the Los Angeles site of the famed annual celebrity autograph & collector's conventions.

    Don Grady
    (b. June 8, 1944 in San Diego, California) died on June 27, 2012 aged 68 after a long battle with cancer. Don began his career in show business and started where so many others have, at Disney. Don was one of the original Mousketeers, before landing his long-running role on "My Three Sons". During the series he was able to parlay his interest in music into a second career and left the show to become a reputable composer of film and television, although it took him almost ten years to finally make a living from it. His most recent credits include music for theme park attractions at Universal Studios as well as productions on the Lifetime and Discovery Channels. Married for the second time to Ginny, he is the father of two children, Joey and Tessa. Born Don Agrati, he is the son of a former talent agent and was the older brother of the late actress Lani O'Grady (1954-2001) who played Mary Bradford on the TV series "Eight Is Enough" (1977-81). In a recent TV Guide interview, Don said he still got mail from people who remembered the show and are thankful for its family values. He also said he grew extremely proud of the show over the years. Be sure to stop by www.dongrady.com - now his tribute site, to check out all about Don's musical career. 2008 also marked Don's 50th Anniversary in show business!

    Tim Considine (b. December 31, 1940 in Los Angeles, California): Tim, is now a well known sports photographer and writer involved in auto racing, which takes him all over the country. His most recent book, "American Grand Prix Racing: A Century of Drivers & Cars" - is an award winning definitive account of U.S. drivers in Grand Prix events, and was published in 1997. Divorced from actress Charlotte Stewart, he is now re-married to Willett Hunt and has a 29 year old son named Chris. Now basically retired from acting, Tim isn't afraid to go back to his roots however; he appeared in the reunion movie "The New Adventures Of Spin and Marty" in 2000 reprising the role of the original Spin Evans, the character he portrayed on the old Walt Disney series of shorts from 1955-58, which began as "The Adventures of Spin and Marty", a segment of "The Mickey Mouse Club". Recently as 2003 Tim also appeared as a supporting actor in the family TV movie, "The Monster Makers".

    Stanley Livingston (b. November 24, 1950 in Los Angeles, California): Stan is now the founder and Chief Executive Officer of "Kids In Show Biz, Inc". He has written feature films and directed commercials. Through his production company Premier Entertainment Group, he produced a feature film called "Checkers" in 2000 and the following year directed all 20 Episodes of a new children's TV Series for PBS. He was married to a dancer named Sandra at age 18 and the union which lasted six years, produced a daughter named Samantha, born in 1970. In recent years he has created stained glass artwork for celebrity clients including Tom Hanks and Lorenzo Lamas. He often sold his items through e-bay, but these days is all about showing actors and parents of actors the pitfalls of the industry and what to do to combat that. Check out his informative website at www.theactorsjourney.com

    Barry Livingston (b. December 17, 1953 in Los Angeles, California): Barry has had the most active post-series career. Married to Karen, with two children named Hailey and Spencer, Barry continued acting with roles in a host of made for TV movies of the week. This was followed by summer acting workshops and off-Broadway productions in New York. In the 90s, had a semi-recurring role on "Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman". Like his older brother Stanley, Barry has dabbled in directing and writing, but he's mainly a character actor. His most recent credits include guest star appearances on the popular television shows "Ally McBeal", "The West Wing", "Will and Grace", "Boston Public" and "Roswell". In 2011, he released his autobiography, aptly titled 'The Importance of Being Ernie'.
    Tina Cole
    (b. August 4, 1943 in Hollywood, California): Tina, the daughter of Yvonne King and the late Buddy Cole (of "The King Family" singers fame) is divorced from her second husband, Fillmore Crank Jr., stepson of her "My Three Sons" co-star Beverly Garland. In the last decade, she has worked with a "looping group" doing voice-over work for national television series and movies. With a teenaged son and a six month old baby boy (from her first marriage to producer Volney Howard III) Tina moved to Sacramento in 1982, and she has been the resident director of the Junior League of that city's Children's Theater for some years. By 1985 two daughters completed her family. Although divorced in 1995, her life still centers around her four children. Now remarried, a mom and a mother-in-law, apart from a recent local morning television talk show in 1999, her latest theatrical credits include the musical "I Do, I Do" and a starring role in the play "Six Women with Brain Death" in 2001. Tina also taught acting at a prominent local drama school for a few years but is now retired. Still stunningly beautiful, it's hard to believe that Tina is now in her late 60s!

    Dawn Lyn (b. January 11, 1963 in Hollywood, California): Dawn found it difficult to make the transition from child star to young adult. While she managed to appear in a few guest star roles during her teens like "Barnaby Jones", "The Streets of San Francisco" and "Wonder Woman", in effect, her career was stymied by her small stature and youthful appearance. The younger sister of former pop idol Leif Garrett, Dawn left the entertainment industry to pursue other interests. She married an architect named Michael Whitby in 1990, but it ended in divorce after nine years. Today, Dawn is happy and living her life out of the spotlight. She has a great time being involved with the local community theater and civic/volunteer activities, is still in contact with her co-stars and loves them like family. Dawn remarried in 2006 to John Reese, and as a result of her husband's career, she relocated in September 2007 to Germany to be with him. They lived there for nearly five years and have now returned to California as of late 2012. Like her co-stars, she was deeply saddened to hear that her TV mother Beverly Garland (with whom she had always kept in touch) passed away at the end of 2008. Ronne Troup (b. June 10, 1945): Ronne, who is now in her late 60s has kept a low profile with guest appearances but still occasionally acts and does commercials. The daughter of the late Bobby Troup and stepdaughter of the late Julie London, she had a recurring role on the night-time soap "Knots Landing" in the 80s and has appeared recently on programs like "The Practice", "E.R." and "The West Wing". Ronne is the younger sister of Cynnie, who was a script editor on their father's series "Emergency" in the early 70s. She has been maried twice and has been very happy in her own life, and is blessed to have two daughters, Bridget and Jamie Lawrence, and a wonderful husband, Bob Bayles. In spite of a career in acting, she has always enjoyed writing, since her days at UCLA when she imagined being a writer. I believe that in recent years, apart from the odd guest appearance on shows like "Coldcase" she has been teaching elementary school in the Los Angeles area.

    The Todd Triplets (Joseph, Michael & Daniel) (b. August 5, 1967): After being contacted by the boys' mother Lynn and their stepfather David, I can let you know (at the time of this writing) that Joe, his wife and two kids are living in Colorado Springs. Joe has now retired from active service. He was an 'E7' in the medical unit. Mike is also in the army, and is based in Washington. He too is an 'E7' and will retire in two years. He is now divorced and has two daughters in Hawaii where he spent four years on active duty before going to Washington. Danny is married and lives in Houston. He spent five years in the Army and settled in Houston where he is the owner of a company that installs yard water and lighting systems. The boys have spent many years overseas and all speak several languages. According to their Mom, they are happy and haven't done any TV work since they were 16 years old.

    First Telecast: September 29, 1960 on ABC. Last Telecast: August 24, 1972 on CBS. Number of Episodes: 380 (x half-hours). (184 Black and White, 196 Color). A Don Fedderson Production, Distributed Worldwide by CBS Television Distribution International Ltd. Original Broadcast History: ABC Sept. 1960-Sept.1963 Thurs. 9:00-9:30pm Sept. 1963-Sept.1965 Thurs. 8:30-9:00pm CBS Sept. 1965-Aug. 1967 Thurs. 8:30-9:00pm Sept. 1967-Sept.1971 Sat. 8:30-9:00pm Sept. 1971-Dec. 1971 Mon. 10:00-10:30pm Jan. 1972-Aug. 1972 Thurs. 8:30-9:00pmmoreless
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    Taxi

    Taxi

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    ABC (ended 1983)
    Taxi's television history is filled with contradictions. Produced by some of television comedy's most well-regarded talent, the show was canceled by two different networks. Despite winning fourteen Emmy Awards in only five seasons, the program's ratings were rock-bottom for its final seasons. Although it thrives in syndication and is still well-loved by many viewers, Taxi will be best remembered as the ancestral bridge between two of the most successful sit-coms of all time: The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cheers. In the mid-1970s, MTM Productions had achieved huge success with both popularity and critical appraisal. So it was an unexpected move when four of the company's finest writers and producers, James L. Brooks, Stan Daniels, David Davis, and Ed. Weinberger, jumped off the stable ship of MTM in 1978 to form their own production company, John Charles Walters Company. To launch their new venture, they looked back to an idea that Brooks and Davis had previously considered with MTM: the daily life of a New York City taxi company. From MTM head Grant Tinker they purchased the rights to the newspaper article that had initiated the concept and began producing this new show at Paramount for ABC. They brought a few other MTM veterans along for the ride, including director James Burrows and writer/producers Glen and Les Charles. Although Taxi certainly bore many of the trademark signs of "quality television" as exemplified by MTM, other changes in style and focus distinguished this from an MTM product. After working on the middle-class female-centered worlds of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and Phyllis for years, the group at John Charles Walters wanted to create a program focusing on blue-collar male experience. MTM programs all had clearly defined settings, but Taxi's creators wanted a show that was firmly rooted in a city's identity--Taxi's situations and mood were distinctly New York. Despite MTM Productions innovations in creating ensemble character comedy, there was always one central star around which the ensemble revolved. In Taxi Judd Hirsch's Alex Reiger was a main character, but his importance seemed secondary to the centrality of the ensemble and the Sunshine Cab Company itself. While The Mary Tyler Moore Show proudly proclaimed that "you're going to make it on your own," the destitute drivers of Taxi were doomed to perpetual failure; the closest any of them came to happiness was Reiger's content acceptance of his lot in life--to be a cabby. Taxi debuted on 12 September 1978, amidst a strong ABC Tuesday night line-up. It followed Three's Company, a wildly-successful example of the type of show MTM "quality" sit-coms reacted against. Taxi used this strong position to end the season ninth in the ratings and garner its first of three straight Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series. The show's success was due to its excellent writing, Burrows's award-winning directing using his innovative four-camera technique, and its largely unknown but talented cast. Danny DeVito's Louie DePalma soon became one of the most despised men on television--possibly the most unredeemable and worthless louse of a character ever to reside on the small screen. Andy Kaufman's foreign mechanic Latka Gravas provided over-the-top comedy within an ensemble emphasizing subtle character humor. But Kaufman sometimes also brought a demonic edge to the character, an echo of his infamous appearances on Saturday Night Live as a macho wrestler of women and Mighty Mouse lip-syncher. In the second season Christopher Lloyd's Reverend Jim Ignatowski was added to the group as television's first drugged-out '60s burn-out character. But Lloyd's Emmy-winning performance created in Jim more than just a storehouse of fried brain cells; he established a deep, complex humanity that moved far beyond mere caricature. The program launched successful movie careers for DeVito and Lloyd, as well as the fairly-notable television careers of Tony Danza and Marilu Henner; Kaufman's controversial career would certainly have continued had he not died of cancer in 1984. In its third season ABC moved Taxi from beneath Three's Company's protective wing to a more competitive Wednesday night slot; the ratings plummeted and Taxi finished the next two years in 53rd place. ABC canceled the show in early 1982 as part of a larger network push away from "quality" and toward the Aaron Spelling-produced popular fare of Dynasty and The Love Boat. HBO bid for the show, looking for it to become the first ongoing sitcom for the pay channel, but lost out to NBC, which scheduled the series for the 1982-83 season. Ironically, this reunited the show's executive producers with their former boss Tinker, who had taken over NBC. Tinker's reign at NBC was focused, not surprisingly, on "quality" programming which he hoped would attract viewers to the perennially last-place network. Taxi was partnered with a very compatible show on Thursday night--Cheers, created by Taxi veterans Charles, Burrows, and Charles. Although this line-up featured some of the great programs in television history--the comedies were sandwiched by dramas Fame and Hill St. Blues--the ratings were dreadful and Taxi finished the season in 73rd place. NBC was willing to stick by Cheers for another chance, but felt Taxi had run its course and canceled it at the end of the season. Had Taxi been given another year or two, it would have been part of one of the most successful nights on television, featuring The Cosby Show (co-created by Taxi creator Weinberger), Family Ties, Hill St. Blues, L.A. Law, and eventual powerhouse Cheers. Taxi lives on in syndication, but its most significant place in television history is as the middle generation between The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cheers. It served as a transition between the star-driven middle-class character comedy of MTM programs and the location-centered ensemble comedy inhabited by the losers of Cheers and Taxi. Considered one of the great sit-coms of its era, Taxi stands as a prime example of the constant tension in television programming between standards of "quality" and reliance on high ratings to determine success. --Jason Mittel The Museum of Broadcast Communicationsmoreless
  • 23
    Good Times

    Good Times

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    CBS (ended 1979)
    Good Times first aired in February 1974 as a mid-season replacement and went on for six years. This spinoff of the TV series, Maude, centered on the Evans family. In Maude Esther Rolle had portrayed Florida Evans, the black housekeeper, but in Good Times Florida and her family were struggling to survive in a South Side ghetto in Chicago. Florida was married to James Evans (in Maude his name was Henry) and they had three children, J.J., Thelma and Michael. The Evans family also had a next door neighbor, Willona Woods who was also a main character. At the beginning of 1976-1977 season, John Amos, who portrayed James, left the series. The writers decided to kill him off in a car accident, leaving Florida to run the household by herself. But then a year later, Esther Rolle decided to leave. She was not happy with the direction of the series. Especially the direction the character, J.J. had taken. In the 1977-1978 season, with both John Amos and Esther Rolle gone, stories centered around Willona and J.J. In this season, Willona adopted an abused girl, Penny Gordon. Also, the character of Nathan Bookman became a more prominent member of the cast. Bookman was the building superintendent. In the final season, Esther Rolle returned to the role of Florida. Also that season, Thelma married Keith Anderson and where expecting a child by the final episode. Spinoff of: Maude NOTE: Good Times debuted on February 8, 1974. Some resources mistakenly list it as having debuted on February 1, 1974. CBS seemed to leave 3 episode unaired. CBS Broadcast History February-September 1974----Fridays----8:30 p.m. September 1974-March 1976----Tuesdays----8:00 p.m. March-August 1976----Tuesdays----8:30 p.m. September 1976-January 1978----Wednesdays----8:00 p.m. January-May 1978----Mondays----8:00 p.m. June-September 1978----Mondays----8:30 p.m. September-December 1978----Saturdays----8:30 p.m. December 1978-January 1979----Wednesdays----8:30 p.m. May-August 1979----Wednesdays----8:30 p.m. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better) #17 in the 1973-1974 Season #7 in the 1974-1975 Season #24 in the 1975-1976 Season #26 in the 1976-1977 Season First Telecast: February 8, 1974 Last Telecast: August 1, 1979 Episodes: 133 Color Episodes Theme Song: "Good Times" Written by: Alan and Marilyn Bergman and David Grusin Sung by: Jim Gilstrap and Blinky Williams Theme Song: "Good Times" Written by: Alan and Marilyn Bergman and David Grusin Sung by: Jim Gilstrap and Blinky Williams Good Times. Any time you meet a payment. Good Times. Any time you need a friend. Good Times. Any time you're out from under. Not getting hassled, not getting hustled. Keepin' your head above water, making a wave when you can. Temporary lay offs. Good Times. Easy credit rip offs. Good Times. Scratchin' and surviving. Good Times. Hangin in a chow line. Good Times. Ain't we lucky we got 'em. Good Times.moreless
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    The Mary Tyler Moore Show

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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    CBS (ended 1977)
    The Mary Tyler Moore Show first aired in September of 1970 and was a breakthrough of sorts with women's liberation. The Mary Tyler Moore ran for seven years on CBS and was one of the most popular and acclaimed sitcoms of the seventies.
    The show centered around Mary Richards, who moved to Minneapolis after a breakup with her fiancee and got a job as associate producer at a TV station, WJM-TV.
    Production Company: MTM Productions, Inc. (Copyright currently held by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation)
    Spinoffs: Rhoda Phyllis Lou Grant
    CBS Broadcast History September 1970-December 1971 – Saturday 9:30 December 1971-September 1972 – Saturday 8:30 September 1972-November 1976 – Saturday 9:00 November 1976-September 1977 – Saturday 8:00 Nielsen Ratings #22 in the 1970-1971 Season #10 in the 1971-1972 Season #7 in the 1972-1973 Season #9 in the 1973-1974 Season #11 in the 1974-1975 Season #19 in the 1975-1976 Season #39 in the 1976-1977 Seasonmoreless
  • 25
    The Carol Burnett Show

    The Carol Burnett Show

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    CBS (ended 1978)
    The Carol Burnett Show is one of Televisions greatest show's in history. Lasting 11 successful years starting in 1967 and ending in 1978 not without winning 25 Emmy Awards, 8 Golden Globe Awards and 3 People's Choice Awards. CBS Broadcast History
    September 1967-May 1971......Monday 10:00-11:00
    September 1971-November 1972......Wednesday 8:00-9:00
    December 1972-December 1977......Saturday 10:00-11:00
    December 1977-March 1978......Sunday 10:00-11:00
    Nielsen Ratings: (Top 25 or better) #24 in the 1968-1969 Season
    #13 in the 1969-1970 Season
    #25 in the 1970-1971 Season
    #23 in the 1971-1972 Season
    #22 in the 1972-1973 Season
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  • 26
    Welcome Back, Kotter

    Welcome Back, Kotter

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    ABC (ended 1979)
    Gabe Kotter, formerly a Sweathog, returns to James Buchanan High as a teacher and is assigned the remedial class to which he once belonged. Mr. Kotter is an involved and caring teacher, which one would have to be in dealing with a certain four students in his class, who end up in trouble on a regular basis -- lady's man Vinnie Barbarino, the always cool Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington, the tough Juan (Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos) Epstein, and the sheepish Arnold Dingfelder Horshack. Welcome Back, Kotter was based on Gabe Kaplan's own high school experiences with redmedial education and a teacher who cared dearly for her students. Changes on the show. Gabe Kaplan left the series in the third season. He hadn't expected the show to run as long as it had. Kotter was made Vice-Principal, and thus was seen considerably less. John Travolta, of course, found his own place as a celebrity, leaving the show around the same time Gabe Kaplan did (returning every so often as a "special guest star"). The replacement for Barbarino was Beau, who didn't help things much. By now the show had essentially lost its two biggest stars. Theme song. "Welcome Back" by John Sebastian: opening credits Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out. Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about. Well, the names have all changed since you hung around. But those dreams have remained and they've turned around. Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (who'd have thought they'd lead ya) Back here where we need ya (back here where we need ya)? Yeah, we tease him a lot 'cause we've got him on the spot, welcome back. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. end credits The second verse of the full song plays partially over the end credits. It goes as thus: Welcome back, we always could spot a friend. Welcome back, and I smile when I think how you must have been. And I know what a scene you were learnin' in. Was there something that made you come back again? And what could ever lead ya (what could ever lead ya) Back here where we need ya (back here where we need ya)? Yeah, we tease him a lot 'cause we've got him on the spot, welcome back. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. Catchphrases. Welcome Back, Kotter was a breeding ground for memorable catch phrases. If you have one that's been overlooked, feel free to contact the editor. Gabe Kotter: "Hey, Julie, wanna hear a joke?" (or similar dialogue) Vinnie Barbarino: "What? Where?" "I'm so confused!" "Ooookay, fine." "I said a ba-ba-ba-ba-Barbarino..." Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington: "Hi there." "I don't happen to have it...handy." Juan Epstein: "Signed, Epstein's mother." Arnold Horshack: "Ooh! Ooh, ooh!" "Hello. How are ya? I'm Arnold Horshack." "Very impressive, Mr. Kotter!" "Be brave, little soldier." (or "buckaroo") ...and a very distinctive laugh. DVD? Welcome Back, Kotter has yet to be released properly on either video or dvd. Be sure to visit TVShowsonDVD to vote for Welcome Back, Kotter on dvd (you will have to register for free in order to vote).moreless
  • 27
    Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

    Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

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    PBS (ended 2001)
    "In a little toy neighborhood, a tiny trolley rolls past a house at the end of a street. Welcome toMister Rogers' Neighborhood." In the annals of children's TV, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ranks among the longest-lasting and beloved shows. Upon its conclusion, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was the longest-running series in PBS history (a record eclipsed by Sesame Street in 2003). Host Fred Rogers (known to millions as simply "Mister Rogers") used his gentle charm and mannerisms to communicate with his audience of children. Topics centered on nearly every inconceivable matter of concern to children, ranging from everyday fears related to going to sleep, getting immunizations and disappointment about not getting one's way to losing a loved one to death and physical handicaps. Rogers used simple songs and, on nearly every show, segments from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe (NOM) to make his point. A scale-model trolley was often (but not always) used to segue into the Make-Believe segments, said neighborhood being inhabited by puppet characters including King Friday XIII, Lady Elaine Fairchild and Daniel Striped Tiger. Many shows also featured visits from cast members – most often Mr. McFeely (tagline: "Speedy Delivery"), Robert Trow, Joe Negri and Chef Brockett (the local baker). Many times, Rogers also visited the neighborhood shops of both the regulars and guests. Each show began and ended with a camera panning over a scale neighborhood (said to represent the town where Rogers lived). Production History While today's longer-running PBS Kids shows reinvent themselves every five years, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood achieved, throughout its 31 seasons, that rarest of elements: consistency. It is a legacy that can all be traced through every aspect of Fred Rogers' television career. Some of the characters in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, both real and imagined, had appeared in two of Fred Rogers' earlier programs, The Children's Corner for Pittsburgh's WQED in 1954 and the CBC's Misterogers in 1963. It was for Misterogers that Fred first appeared on-camera. Rogers returned to WQED in Pittsburgh to begin writing and hosting Mister Rogers' Neighborhood May 22, 1967. Several other public television stations from Chicago to Boston carried the show on a trial basis that year. Beginning February 19, 1968, the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood program that we know today, began airing nationwide on National Educational Television (NET), the predecessor to PBS. This was also the year David Newell, returned from Europe, began work for Rogers. He was in charge of the production as well as the neighborhood's Speedy Delivery service. (AN ASIDE: Rogers wanted to call the delivery man Mr. McCurdy after the man at the Sears-Roebuck Foundation, whose support launched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. But the people at Sears-Roebuck called Rogers and said "Mr. McCurdy" was too self-serving. Thus Rogers went to his roots to rename Newell's deliveryman. "McFeely" was Rogers' middle name and the last name of his maternal grandfather.) Shows were produced as a daily strip from 1968 to 1976, at which time production was suspended. Counting black-and-white episodes, 590 shows were produced in that span. Production resumed at the beginning of the remote video age in 1979. Rogers went on location more, supervising videos of how people make things (a precursor to the TVO series Here's How!). Other characters would be introduced in the subsequent two decades. In all, 305 new programs were taped from 1979 through 2001. Of that volume, the most notable shows came in 1991, with Rogers focusing on calming children's fears during the first U.S. war with Iraq. PBS gradually narrowed the window for the 460 "pre-79" episodes with each new season from 1980 onward. When the number of "post-75" episodes was enough to cover entire years, the classic shows were retired, last airing on PBS in the summer of 1995. Despite the production stoppage and the subsequent passing of Fred Rogers on February 27, 2003, PBS continues to repeat Mister Roger's Neighborhood in all its original glory–an accomplishment unique among all PBS Kids shows.moreless
  • 28
    The Benny Hill Show

    The Benny Hill Show

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    ITV (ended 1989)
    This guide strives to be as complete a resource as possible for the third TV series to bear Benny Hill's name in the title, which ran on Thames Television (ITV) from 1969-1989, and has appeared around the world in countless formats and re-edits ever since.

    This is a guide to the original hour-long version.

    In America, the show was usually presented in a specially-edited half-hour format, which ran for a total of 111 editions (although Comedy Central did screen the hour-long format in the early-to-mid '90's, albeit with sections edited out, typically the musical guest or dance numbers). 30-minute repeats (not the same as were made for the American market) often aired in Britain when the show was "between seasons."

    Comedy Central aired the original hour-long format for Shows 32 - 58 (except for Show 40). Also, USA Network aired the shows in the original hour-long format in the late '80s/early '90s. At least Shows 54 - 58, possibly others, along with the independently-produced Benny Hill's World Tour: New York special (both channels had a few minutes cut for extra commercial time).

    In the U.S., the original hour-long shows have been issued on DVD (Region 1) under the umbrella title Benny Hill - Complete & Unadulterated. The first three sets were released with the subheading The Naughty Early Years, covering the years 1969-1971 (Shows 1-11, including three B&W episodes previously unseen in America), 1972-1974 (Shows 12-21) and 1975-1977 (Shows 22-31, plus his 1970 half-hour silent film Eddie in August). The final three sets bore the subheading The Hill's Angels Years, and covered the years 1978-1981 (Shows 32-41), 1982-1985 (Shows 42-50) and 1986-1989 (Shows 51-58). Also, the Golden Greats set that came out in 2001 (now out-of-print) included 6 episodes, Shows 46, 47, 50, 55, 56 and 58.

    In England, the original hour-long shows (complete with production slates and adcaps) have been released on DVD (Region 2) on a year-by-year basis, under the umbrella of The Benny Hill Annual, each set representing a different year. The 1970 set (Shows 3-6) contains the aforementioned Eddie in August, and the 1974 set (which only saw two new editions air, Shows 20 and 21) features his first two Thames specials from 1969. As of October 2006, the total releases go up to 1979 (Shows 34 and 35). The Benny Hill Annual sets from 1976 and 1977 onwards have adcaps but not VT slates.moreless
  • 29
    The Muppet Show

    The Muppet Show

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    (ended 1981)
    After the success of Sesame Street in 1969, Muppet creator Jim Henson wanted to have a chance at his own series. In 1974, Henson shot a Muppet special called The Muppets' Valentine Show, which would later become a precursor for The Muppet Show. The special starred famous muppet, Kermit the Frog, with a cast of new muppets including: George the Janitor, Droop the Anteater, Crazy Donald (later named Crazy Harry), Brewsters the oldtimer, Mildred the goose, and Rufus (later named Muppy). Many of these characters were used during the first season of The Muppet Show, and quickly faded away to background characters. The special featured actress Mia Farrow, who taught the muppets about love, and that everyone loves something. Afterwards in 1975, Henson shot the failed pilot for the Muppet Show: Sex and Violence. Amazingly, Kermit the Frog was not in the pilot at all! Instead, the host was wimpy, Nigel, who Jim Henson wrote out of the show soon afterwards. After about a year, the muppet team went to the United Kingdom and were given the green light for the Muppet Show. The show became one of the top syndicated comedies of all time! The show featured a new group of Muppet characters including: Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Scooter, Beauregard, Rowlf the Dog, and The Electric Mayhem. Each show featured a celebrity guest star, who were either personal friends of Henson, or his manager. The Muppet Show lasted for 5 years, and 120 episodes, two spin offs, and several movies. Theme Song: It's time to play the music It's time to light the lights It's time to meet the Muppets On the Muppet Show tonight It's time to put on makeup It's time to dress up right It's time to raise the curtain On the Muppet Show tonight Why do we always come here I guess we'll never know It's like a kind of torture To have to watch the show And now lets get things started Why don't you get things started It's time to get things started On the most sensational Inspirational Celebrational Muppetational This is what we call the Muppet Show! Characters Kermit the Frog Originally from "Sam & Friends" (1955), then later Sesame Street (1969), Kermit is the host of The Muppet Show. Miss Piggy Self-centered, yet very persuasive. Wants to marry Kermit. Fozzie Bear Furry, fuzzy, funny, fabulous, free-willing, fast, and frantic....he's Fozzie Bear. The Great Gonzo A "whatever". Scooter the Go-Fer Kermit's stage assistant. Rizzo the Rat Gonzo's sidekick. A rat with rat-itude. Rowlf the Dog Originally from The Jimmy Dean Show, Rowlf is a piano playing dog, and the first muppet to become a national star. Statler and Waldorf The two old-timers who sat in the balcony. Doctor Bunsen Honeydew The Muppet Show's scientist. Beeker Meep Meep Meep's meep. Beauregard: The Muppet Show's slow-witted janitor. Pops: Greeted the guests at the begining. The Swedish Chef Bork bork bork. The Eletric Mayhem The Muppet Show's band including: Dr. Teeth (lead vocalist and piano player), Sgt. Floyd Pepper (Bass, and Janice's boyfriend), Janice (guitarist, Floyd's girlfriend), Zoot (sax is his act), Lips (trumpet player), and Animal (HE WANT TO BAT DRUM!) First Telecast: September 27, 1976 Last Telecast: June 8, 1981 Episodes: 120 color episodes Spin-Offs: Muppet Babies and Muppets Tonight! Spin Offs: * Muppet Babies was Jim Henson's first animated series. The show featured familiar Muppet faces, only as babies. New characters included Nanny (the nanny of the nursery), and Skeeter (Scooter's twin sister). * Muppets Tonight! was basically a modern remake of The Muppet Show, featuring celebrity guest stars who at the peak of perfection at the time. New characters included: Pepe (the king prawn, okay?), Clifford (the cool hippie muppet)and Johnny Fiami and Sal Movies * The Muppet Movie (1979) * The Great Muppet Caper (1981) * The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) * The Muppet Christmas Carol (1993) * Muppet Treasure Island (1996) * Muppets From Space (1999) * Kermit's Swamp Years (2002) * It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) * The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz (2005)moreless
  • 30
    The Honeymooners

    The Honeymooners

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    CBS (ended 1978)
    328 Chauncey Street, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York is where the apartment residences of the Kramdens and the Nortons stand. These four people, fifteen years after the depression are still struggling to make ends meet. Ralph Kramden and Alice Gibson married following his acquiring employment as a bus driver with the Gotham Bus Company. Edward Lillywhite Norton, a sewer worker, and his wife, Thelma 'Trixie', live above the Kramdens. The stories depict the sincere attempts of two men attempting to better their lives, and the ensuing frustrations when their schemes to strike it rich inevitably backfire. Although "The Honeymooners" is one of the best remembered comedy highlights of TV's golden age, it was seen for most of its history as a segment within other programs. From 1951-1952, "The Honeymooners" was first seen as a sketch within DuMont's "Cavalcade of Stars", with Pert Kelton originating the role of Alice and with Art Carney's first appearance as a cop. (See season 1). Carney wouldn't appear as Ed Norton until 11/2/1951 along with Elaine Stritch portraying Trixie in her 1 & only appearance. Joyce Randolph would join the cast on 12/7/1951. On 3/30/1952, with Gleason and company departing to CBS in the fall, Gleason, Kelton, & Carney perform a 10 minute "Honeymooners" sketch on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" (Season 5, Episode 30) titled "The Ring Salesman". This sketch can be found on the "The Honeymooners Lost Episodes" DVD Box Set." On 5/4/1952 Gleason, Kelton, & Carney perform a 10 minute "Honeymooners" sketch on "Toast of the Town" (Season 5, Episode 35) titled "Alice And Ralph Get Dressed For A Date Last Night". This sketch can be found on rare "Best of Ed Sullivan" VHS's, it is not on the DVD box set. In the fall of 1952, Jackie moved his show to CBS and "The Jackie Gleason Show" was born. (See seasons 2, 3, & 4), Audrey Meadows assumes the role of Alice. In 1955 Gleason wanted a respite from the full-hour live weekly variety show. It was decided to film a full season of half-hour Honeymooners shows. All hail "The Classic 39" (see season 5). In 1956, after the less-than-anticipated response to the filmed "Honeymooners", Gleason returned to a regular variety format for 1 additional season (see season 6). In 1957 as part of the final season of "The Jackie Gleason Show", Jackie brought aboard Jerry Bresler & Lyn Duddy to create what is now known as the 1957 - Trip To Europe musical episodes. In 1960, Jackie Gleason brings back Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton in the "Jackie Gleason Special: The Big Sell." Not available on DVD. The Honeymooners sketch that is performed is a take on the classic 39 "Ralph Kramden, Inc." In 1962, after a 5 year hiatus from weekly Television, Jackie returned with "Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine" (see season 6). From 1962 to 1964 this show was from New York. Only 2 "Honeymooners" sketches were performed with Sue Ann Langdon taking on the role of Alice and Patricia Wilson as Trixie. In 1964 Jackie moved his "American Scene Magazine" from NY to Miami, retitled it "The Jackie Gleason Show." To move the entire crew and staff Jackie chartered a train of 14 cars for over 100 passengers and dubbed it "The Great Gleason Express". This would be where the remaining "Honeymooners" would be filmed, though still set in Bensonhurst. In 1966, Audrey Meadows returned for 1 special episode, "The Adoption", a classic Jerry Bresler & Lyn Duddy musical episode featuring Ralph & Alice's attempt to adopt a baby. This would be the last episode filmed in black & white and is a precursor to what is now known as the "Color Honeymooners" over the next 4 seasons. From 1966 to 1970, the majority of these episodes were Jerry Bresler & Lyn Duddy mini-musicals, now known as the "Color Honeymooners". Sheila MacRea would portray Alice and Jane Kean as Trixie. These episodes can be seen on the "American Life TV Network" with all 4 seasons on DVD. On 9/30/1968 Jackie appears uncredited as Ralph Kramden in one of the funniest episodes of "Here's Lucy" titled "Lucy Visits Jack Benny". Jack Benny appears as himself. Tis episode appears on "Here's Lucy" DVD Season 1. On 10/11/1973, Jackie Gleason brought "The Honeymooners" back in a 1 time special that aired on CBS titled "Women's Lib" (see season 12). On 5/22/1974, Jackie Gleason and Julie Andrews portray Ralph Kramden & Ed Norton on the special "Julie & Jackie: How Sweet It Is". This would mark the only time Jackie would portray Ralph alongside anyone else portraying Ed Norton. Jackie always said he could never do Ralph without any other guy other than Art Carney. From 1976 to 1978, the last 4 "Honeymooners" were filmed in Miami and Atlantic City (see season 12). These holiday themed specials that aired on ABC would see the return of Audrey Meadows as Alice and Jane Kean as Trixie. On February 6, 1985 Jackie Gleason holds a press conference at New York's "21 Club" with Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph by his side. It is here that Jackie announces that the "The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes" will make their television debut on Showtime in September 1985. On May 13, 1985 NBC airs "The Honeymooners Reunion" a new special showing numerous clips and scenes of upcoming "Lost Episodes". From May through August 1985 the "Museum of Broadcasting" presents "Discovery: Lost Episodes" airing 17 "Lost Episodes" ready for public viewing. On September 2, 1985 Showtime airs a 3 & 1/2 hour "Lost Episodes Marathon" airing 8 complete "Lost" classics. In September 1986 the "Lost Episodes" made their non-cable debut bumping the total # of "Honeymooners" episodes in syndication from 39 to 118. Thank you Jackie Gleason!! NOTE: This episode guide contains all episodes of "The Honeymooners" that were either sketches as seen on "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "American Scene Magazine" as well as the "Classic 39" and TV specials. All "Honeymooners" specials as well as specials that celebrated Jackie Gleason in which "Honeymooners" clips and sketches aired are in the "Specials" link. A new website maintained by the Gleason estate is now up & fully running at http://www.jackiegleason.com/moreless
  • 31
    The Facts of Life

    The Facts of Life

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    NBC (ended 1988)
    The Facts of Life began in August of 1979 and aired on NBC. It was a spin-off to the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes on which Charlotte Rae played Mrs. Garrett, housekeeper to Philip Drummond's household. In The Facts of Life, Mrs. Garrett has become headmistress to an exclusive girls school, Eastland. Although the series had a rocky start, including low ratings and a cast overhaul. The series went on to becomes one of the longest running sitcoms of the 80's. In the first season the stories revolved around Mrs. Garrett and her adjustment to her new job. The first season also introduced to us seven girls, Nancy, Blair, Sue Ann, Cindy, Molly, Natalie and Tootie. At the beginning of the second season, the cast was trimmed down to Mrs. Garrett and four primary girls, Blair, Tootie, Natalie and a new girl, Jo. These four girls would remain until the end of the series with Mrs. Garrett re-marrying and leaving in 1986 and Cloris Leachman coming in to play Mrs. Garrett's sister, Beverly Ann from 1986-1988. On November 18, 2001, ABC aired The Facts of Life Reunion, in which Mrs. Garrett, Natalie, Blair and Tootie reunite. First Telecast: August 24, 1979 Last Telecast: September 10, 1988 Episodes: 209 Color Episodes Theme Song: "The Facts of Life" Written by: Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton Sung by: Charlotte Rae (Season 1) and Gloria Loring (Seasons 2-9) Spin-off of : Diff'rent Strokes NBC Broadcast History August-September 1979----Fridays----8:30 p.m. March-May 1980----Fridays----8:30 p.m. June-July 1980----Wednesdays----9:30 p.m. August-October 1980----Fridays----8:30 p.m. November 1980-October 1981----Wednesdays----9:30 p.m. October 1981-August 1985----Wednesdays----9:00 p.m. September 1985-June 1986----Saturdays----8:30 p.m. June 1986-May 1987----Saturdays----8:00 p.m. June-July 1987----Wednesdays----9:00 p.m. July 1987-September 1988----Saturdays----8:00 p.m. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 35 or Better) #26 in the 1980-1981 Season #24 in the 1981-1982 Season #24 in the 1983-1984 Season #32 in the 1984-1985 Season #27 in the 1985-1986 Seasonmoreless
  • 32
    Bewitched (1972)

    Bewitched (1972)

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    ABC (ended 1972)
    Bewitched is a fantasy sitcom chronicling what happens when a witch and a mortal fall in love and get married in 1960s and '70s suburban America. At the very center of the show is Elizabeth Montgomery's portrayal of a good-hearted witch named Samantha. A strong, independent woman with the world at her finger tips (or at the twitch of her nose), she gives up her witchly life to do things the "mortal way". Her mortal husband Darrin Stephens (played by Dick York, and later Dick Sargent) is a talented advertising executive with McMann & Tate. He obsesses with leading a "normal life" where one works hard to earn a good living for one's family. He constantly struggles against disapproving witches and warlocks, like Samantha's powerful mother, Endora (played by Agnes Moorehead).
    Endora is determined to prove to Samantha that the mixed-marriage marriage is a tremendous mistake. Over the show's eight year run, Endora tries numerous spells, all creating humiliation and chaos in Darrin's mortal world. This often ends up affecting Darrin's money-obsessed boss and best friend, Larry Tate (played by David White). Larry's wife, Louise (played by Irene Vernon and Kasey Rogers), is Samantha's best friend, although she is unaware that Sam is a witch.
    In season two, life changes dramatically when Samantha and Darin give birth to daughter Tabitha Stephens (played by five babies that season and by twins Erin and Diane Murphy starting in season three). Many early Tabitha episodes revolve around whether she is a witch or mortal until the big reveal in season three. Later in season six, the Stephenses give birth to a boy, Adam. Although less airtime is spent on his character, eventually audiences find out that he too has powers.
    Recurring characters include Samantha's favorite aunt, Clara, who is a lovable, bumbling witch (played by Marion Lorne). Due to Aunt Clara's extended age, she is suffering the loss of her powers and inadvertently wreaks havoc at the Stephens home. Also often wreaking havoc are Samantha's practical joking Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde), her Shakespeare orating father, Maurice (Maurice Evans), a bad joke-telling witch doctor, Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox) and a shy witch-maid Esmeralda (Alice Ghostley). Elizabeth Montgomery also portrays Samantha's free-spirited, mischievous twin cousin, Serena.
    On the mortal receiving end of the seemingly hallucinogenic world of witches are neighbors Gladys and Abner Kravitz. Gladys, first portrayed by Alice Pearce and later by Sandra Gould, was immediately aware that the Stephens household was positively strange, and was certain that something "beyond this world" was at work across the street. Abner (George Tobias) never believes it. Darrin's mother, Phyllis Stephens (Mabel Albertson), fairs no better, as she is forever witnessing zany antics only to have her husband, Frank Stephens (Robert F. Simon and later Roy Roberts) not believe it.
    Bewitched earned nearly two dozen Emmy nominations during its run. Marion Lorne and Alice Pearce won well deserved awards, as did director and producer, William Asher (Elizabeth Montgomery's husband at the time). In 1970, Bewitched presented a Christmas episode regarding bigotry and racism, and received a special Emmy, the Governor's Award, for the landmark episode "Sisters at Heart". Beyond the theme of bigotry and "mixed-marriages", the series explored cultural issues of consumerism, materialism, human vanity, women's liberation, and mass hysteria. Season six of Bewitched brought about the biggest change to the series as Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent in the role of Darrin. This element of the show has become a cultural touchstone, with many viewers debating their favorite Darrin.
    First Telecast: September 17, 1964 Last Telecast: July 1, 1972 ABC Daytime: 1968 - 1973 ABC Saturday Morning: 1971 - 1973 Episodes: 254 Episodes (74 black and white, 180 color) Ratings Season 1: #2 Season 2: #7 Season 3: #8 Season 4: #11 Season 5: #12 Season 6: #25 Season 7: (above #25) Season 8: (above #25)moreless
  • 33
    Laverne & Shirley

    Laverne & Shirley

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    ABC (ended 1983)
    Laverne and Shirley debuted as a mid-season replacement in January of 1976 and was an instant hit ranking number three in the Nielsen ratings for the 1975-1976 season.

    On Happy Days, Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney were two girls who were love interests for Richie Cunningham and Fonzie. Their occasional appearances led to their own series which takes place in the same city as Happy Days: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the 1950s and 1960s.

    Laverne and Shirley are lower-society girls who share an apartment and work together at the Shotz Brewery as bottlecappers. Laverne and Shirley are very different people. Laverne is feisty, quick-tempered, and man-hungry while Shirley is more naive and trusting and quite inexperienced when it comes to romance.

    Others in the cast includ Laverne's gruff father, Frank De Fazio, who runs the Pizza Bowl where Laverne and Shirley work on occasion. Edna Babish is the girls' landlady who later marries Frank. Carmine "The Bag Ragu" Ragusa is a singer/dancer who has an on-again, off-again romance with Shirley. The other two main characters of the series are the male counterparts of Laverne and Shirley. Lenny Kosnowski and Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman live upstairs in the same apartment building as Laverne and Shirley and, also, work at the brewery. They constantly enter the girls' apartment with an annoying "hello."

    In 1980, the series changed scenery. The girls want something new so they decide to move to California. Lenny and Squiggy follow them along with Frank, Edna, and Carmine. The girls want to get into movies while Frank and Edna open a restaurant, Cowboy Bill's. New characters included stuntman and apartment building manager Sonny St. Jacques and neighbor and model Rhonda Lee.

    In 1982, Cindy Williams left the series with her character marrying Walter Meany, a military man who was assigned overseas.

    Main Title Theme Song "Making Our Dreams Come True" - written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox; performed by Cyndi Grecco

    ABC Broadcast History January 27, 1976 - July, 1979 ---- Tuesdays ---- 8:30 P.M. August, 1979 - December, 1979 ---- Thursdays ---- 8:00 P.M. December, 1979 - February, 1980 ---- Mondays ---- 8:00 P.M. February, 1980 - May, 1983 ---- Tuesdays ---- 8:30 P.M.

    Nielsen Ratings - Top 30 Season 1 (1975-1976) #3 (27.5) Season 2 (1976-1977) #2 (30.9) Season 3 (1977-1978) #1 (31.6) Season 4 (1978-1979) #1 (30.5) Season 5 (1979-1980) Not In Top 30 Season 6 (1980-1981) #20 (tie) (20.6) Season 7 (1981-1982) #20 (19.9) Season 8 (1982-1983) #25 (17.8)

    Emmy Awards Nominations Outstanding Costume Design for a Series 1979 - Alfred E. Lehman

    (source: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences)

    Golden Globe Awards Nominations Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy 1977 1978

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy 1978 - Cindy Williams 1978 - Penny Marshall 1979 - Penny Marshall 1980 - Penny Marshall

    First Telecast: January 27, 1976 Last Telecast: May 10, 1983 Episodes: 178 color episodes plus one reunion specialmoreless
  • 34
    Diff'rent Strokes

    Diff'rent Strokes

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    NBC (ended 1986)
    Diff'rent Strokes took place in New York and centered around the happenings in the Drummond household. Philip Drummond was a widower and had a daughter, Kimberly. He was also quite wealthy and lived in the penthouse of a luxurious apartment building. His wealth was due to the fact that he was the president of Trans Allied, Inc.

    However, the household was shaken up when Drummond's black housekeeper died and her deathbed wish was that he would take care of her two sons, Arnold and Willis Jackson. So, Drummond took both of them in and they became the sons Drummond never had.

    Others in the cast included Mrs. Garrett the new housekeeper who later left for her own series, The Facts of Life. She was replaced by Adelaide, who was seen occasionally and she was later replaced by Pearl. In the seventh season, Drummond wed an aerobics instructor, Maggie McKinney and she moved in with her son, Sam, from a previous marriage.

    First Telecast: November 3, 1978 Last Telecast: August 30, 1986

    Episodes: 189 Color Episodes

    Theme Song:

    "It Takes Diff'rent Strokes" Written by: Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton

    Sung by: Alan Thicke

    Spinoffs: Hello, Larry and The Facts of Life

    Episode descriptions: courtesy of Todd Fuller at Diff'rent Strokes Online.

    NBC Broadcast History

    November 1978-October 1979----Fridays----8:00 p.m. October 1979-October 1981----Wednesdays----9:00 p.m. October 1981-August 1982----Thursdays----9:00 p.m. August 1982-August 1985----Saturdays----8:00 p.m.

    ABC Broadcast History

    September 1985-March 1986----Fridays----9:00 p.m. June-August 1986----Saturdays----8:00 p.m.

    Theme Song: "It Takes Diff'rent Strokes" Written by: Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton Sung by: Alan Thicke

    Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some. A man is born, he's a man of means. Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.

    But they got, Diff'rent Strokes. It takes, Diff'rent Strokes. It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

    Everybody's got a special kind of story. Everybody finds a way to shine. It don't matter that you got, not alot, so what. They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine, and together we'll be fine....

    'cause it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world. Yes it does. It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.
    moreless
  • 35
    Green Acres

    Green Acres

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    CBS (ended 1971)
    Successful New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas gives up the rat race to fulfill his dream: living the life of the traditional American farmer. Fighting the move to rural life is his glamorous, boa-wearing, city-loving wife, Lisa. This quaint premise, however, doesn't begin to capture the screwball absurdity of Green Acres. After a few episodes that were somewhat rooted in reality, the series' true oddness started to bloom. The characters see the opening credits as they appear on screen (or on chicken eggs); they talk with baseball-playing pigs who become movie stars; fife music accompanies Oliver's patriotic speeches and is heard by everyone but him; a full-sized Eiffel tower is built on the Douglases' lawn. Hooterville is clearly operating in its own bizarre universe where Oliver is the only normal, reasonable person--and that's questionable at times. The tiny town revolves around Sam Drucker's General Store, where Sam acts as shopkeeper, postmaster, justice of the peace and publisher of the "Hooterville World Guardian". He's one of the more level-headed residents of the valley, but that's relative. The other locals are considerable more bizarre and are a constant frustration to Oliver. Hank Kimball, the county agricultural agent, is a prime example. His short-term memory is so poor he regularly forgets what he's talking about mid-sentence. Fellow farmer Fred Ziffel is an elderly overalls-wearing man who, with his wife Doris, treats their pig Arnold like an actual child. Arnold attends school, reads, writes, skates, and speaks several languages (though they all sound like oinking). Con man Eustace Haney, who sold Oliver his dump of a farm, is always trying to fleece someone out of their cash. Apparently possessing ESP, he shows up outside of Oliver's door with whatever he and Lisa have just been discussing. The Douglases' farmhand, Eb, lives in their barn and considers Oliver and Lisa to be his parents. Lisa, a stylish Hungarian woman who Oliver met during the war, is hardly cut out for domestic life. Wearing ostrich feathers and diamonds around the farm, she can only cook "hotscakes" (badly) and her mangling of the English language is impressive. Matt Groening once accurately described Green Acres as "Oliver Douglas in hell". All he wants to do is farm, but the constant interruptions from the loony locals, the endless double-talk, the ambitious pig all conspire to make it impossible. Oliver earns his reputation as a "hothead" as his face turns red and he bellows about the latest aggravation.
    Green Acres
    began when CBS handed Paul Henning, the very successful producer of The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junctionmoreless
  • 36
    Sanford and Son

    Sanford and Son

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    NBC (ended 1977)
    Sanford and Son first aired in January of 1972 on NBC as a mid-season replacement. The series was the second series created by the All in the Family creator, Norman Lear and it was based on the British sitcom, Steptoe and Son. Sanford and Son was the first sitcom that Lear created that had a cast composed mostly of African Americans. Lear would follow it up in 1974 with Good Times and The Jeffersons in 1975. Sanford and Son was also the only Lear sitcom that didn't air on CBS. Sanford and Son starred stand-up comedian, Redd Foxx as 65-year old junk collector, Fred Sanford. Fred ran his junk collection business from his home located in Los Angeles. His home was run-down but it was comfortable enough for him and his son, Lamont, with whom he lived with and who was a partner in the business. Lamont was dissatisfied with the business and would threaten to leave but Fred would fake a heart attack and yell "I'm coming, Elizabeth." Elizabeth had been Fred's wife who had preceded him in death. Other members of the cast and recurring characters included, Aunt Esther Anderson, Elizabeth's "ugly" Bible-toting sister who was married to wino Woody Anderson. Donna Harris, was Fred's steady girlfriend who worked as a nurse. Grady Wilson, Melvin and Bubba Bexley were good friends of Fred's while Rollo Lawson, Ah Chew and Julio Fuentes were friends of Lamont's. Officer Smith "Smitty", Officer Hopkins "Hoppy" and Officer Swanhauser "Swanny" were police officers who were seen occasionally. At the end of the 3rd season and the beginning of the 4th season, nine episodes (production numbers 0320-0325 and 0401-0403) were filmed without Redd Foxx who underwent contract negotiations that led to a hiatus. It was explained that Fred was in St. Louis visiting family and Grady Wilson moved in temporarily to watch over Lamont. During the first couple of seasons of Sanford and Son, episodes of Steptoe and Son were re-done and are marked with a note in the episode guide. Spin-offs: Grady, The Sanford Arms and Sanford NBC Broadcast History January 1972-April 1976----Fridays----8:00 p.m. April-August 1976----Wednesdays----9:00 p.m. September 1976-September 1977----Fridays----8:00 p.m. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better) #6 in the 1971-1972 Season #2 in the 1972-1973 Season #3 in the 1973-1974 Season #2 in the 1974-1975 Season #7 in the 1975-1976 Season #27 in the 1976-1977 Season First Telecast: January 14, 1972 Last Telecast: September 2, 1977 Episodes: 136 Color Episodes Theme Song: "The Streetbeater" Written by: Quincy Jones Performed by: Quincy Jones (Instrumental)moreless
  • 37
    Petticoat Junction

    Petticoat Junction

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    CBS (ended 1970)
    Petticoat Junction centered around Kate Bradley, who ran the Shady Rest Hotel, located directly between the farming valley of Hooterville and its only slightly more "evolved" neighbor of Pixley. The only way to reach the place was by the Hooterville Cannonball, an old train which made regular stops along the way, though never adhered to a strict schedule so as to better assist those living along the rail line. Kate, an expert cook and ever hospitable, had three beautiful daughters, Billie Jo (the eldest, blonde and generally boy-crazy), Bobbie Jo (the brunette, astute and literate) and Betty Jo (the redheaded, a tomboy). Also living at the hotel was Uncle Joe Carson, a genial old gentleman who fancied himself the hotel's "General Manager", though when work was to be done, would find any way of getting out of it. In 1965, the series was changed to color and also marked the change to a different actress playing Billie Jo and Bobbie Jo. A year later, another actress took over the role of Billie Jo. Then in 1967, Bea Benaderet fell ill from cancer complications, and Kate Bradley was then seen only occasionally until her death in 1968. At that point, Uncle Joe took over running the Shady Rest (though still managed to get out of work) and June Lockhart was introduced as a lady doctor whose office was located right in the lobby. Other characters included Charlie & Floyd who were the engineer and conductor of the Cannonball. Steve was the former Air Force pilot turned crop duster who eventually won the heart of Betty Jo in 1967. They eventually wed and had a daughter, Kathy Jo. Sam Drucker ran the General Store in town. Homer Bedloe was the recurring "villain", who worked for the C&FW Railroad, and incessively attempted to shutdown the Cannonball. Petticoat Junction was one of a number of rural comedies to emerge in the 1960's. It came about due to Paul Henning's success with The Beverly Hillbillies. He was essentially given carte blanche with making a "sister" series for the show, not even needing to shoot a pilot. Paul intended to make the series a vehicle for Bea Benaderet, who had been playing the recurring role of Cousin Pearl on "Hillbillies". He also loosely based it upon his wife's youth living in a hotel in the midwest. First Telecast: September 24, 1963 Last Telecast: September 12, 1970 Episodes: 222 Episodes (74 B&W and 148 Color) Spinoff: Green Acres CBS Broadcast History September 1963-September 1964----Tuesdays----9:00 p.m. September 1964-August 1967----Tuesdays----9:30 p.m. September 1967-September 1970----Saturdays----9:30 p.m. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 25 or Better) #4 in the 1963-1964 Season #15 in the 1964-1965 Season #21 in the 1965-1966 Season #23 in the 1966-1967 Seasonmoreless
  • 38
    The Monkees

    The Monkees

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    NBC (ended 1968)
    The adventures of a musical quartet that goes from one outrageous circumstance to another that was inspired by The Beatles 1964 film “A Hard Day’s Night.” The enhanced descriptions contained within this guide are courtesy of trusted contributor Aaron Handy III (AH3RD) of the The Monkees Film & TV Vault. TRIVIA: The boys live at 1438 North Beachwood that later is stated as 1334 (their actual fan club address). The license plate number of their custom Pontiac GTO is PER 450. Broadcast History: NBC September 12, 1966-September 9, 1968 CBS Saturday Afternoon September 13, 1969-September 2, 1972 ABC Saturday Afternoon September 9, 1972-August 25, 1973 Original NBC Schedule: September 1966 -September 1968, NBC Monday 7:30-8:00 P.M. (Eastern) Original NBC A.C. Nielsen Ratings: SEASON RANK SHARE 1966-1967 N/A 31.4 1967-1968 N/A 27.2 Original Sponsors: The Kellogg Company Yardley Cosmetics of London Kool Aid Company (1969-72 CBS repeats only) Post Cereals (1969-72 CBS repeats only) Saturday Afternoon Schedules (Eastern) September 1969-September 1970, CBS Saturday Noon-12:30 P.M. September 1970-September 1971, CBS Saturday 12:30-1:00 P.M. September 1971-September 1972, CBS Saturday Noon-12:30 P.M. September 1972-August 1973, ABC Saturday 1:00-1:30 P.M. Exclusive Distributor (Syndication History): Columbia Pictures Television (1975-1985) Colex Enterprises (1985-1989) LBS Communications (1989-1996) Columbia TriStar Television Distribution (1996-Current) 58 Episodes in Color on Film Emmy Awards For The Monkees 1966-67 (presented June 4, 1967) Winner: The Monkees Outstanding Comedy Series Winner: James Frawley, "The Royal Flush" Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy 1967-68 (presented May 19, 1968) Nominated: James Frawley, "The Devil And Peter Tork" Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Theme Song: Here we come, Walking down the street. We get the funniest looks from, Everyone we meet. Hey, hey we're the Monkees, and people say we monkey around. But we're too busy singing, to put anybody down. We go wherever we want to, Do what we like to do. We don't have time to get restless, There's always something new. Hey, hey we're the Monkees, and people say we monkey around. But we're too busy singing, to put anybody down. We're just trying to be friendly, Come watch us sing and play. We're the young generation, And we got something to say. Hey, hey we're the Monkees, You never know where we'll be found. So you'd better get ready, We may be comin’ to your town. Hey, hey we're the Monkees, and people say we monkey around. But we're too busy singing, to put anybody down.
    First air date: September 12, 1966 Last air date: March 25, 1968 Original air time: Monday 7:30:00 pm (Eastern)moreless
  • 39
    Soap

    Soap

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    ABC (ended 1981)
    Soap is a tale about two sisters, Mary Campbell & Jessica Tate. While the Tates are a rich family, the Campbells are just another blue-collared family, but they go through amazing and crazy situations. This series will make you travel through a world of crazy and funny situation that happen all in the family.

    #13 in the 1977-1978 Season

    #19 in the 1978-1979 Season

    #25 in the 1979-1980 Season

    Not in Top 30 in the 1980-1981 Season

    From September 1977 to March 1978 it was aired on Tuesdays from 9:00 to 9:30pm

    From September 1978 to March 1980 it was aired on Thursdays from 9:00 to 9:30pm

    From October 1980 to January 1981 it was aired on Wednesdays from 9:00 to 9:30pm

    From March to April 1981 it was aired on Mondays from 10:30 to 11:00pmmoreless
  • 40
    Barney Miller

    Barney Miller

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    ABC (ended 1982)
    Captain Barney Miller and his officers fight crime in this humorous classic TV series. Captain Barney Miller is the consummate boss, earning the loyalty of the officers under him. The early shows featured scenes from Barney's home life, but it was soon put on the back burner to emphasize the characters with whom he interacted at the twelfth precinct. Detective Ron Harris would rather be an author, and even publishes a book about the precinct that isn't exactly flying off the shelves. Nick Yemana is a Japanese American cop from Omaha who is so low key he's almost napping. Wojciehowicz, or Wojo, is the innocent of the group who doesn't seem very bright but speaks for everyone with his simple statements of truth. Dietrich is the intellectual who could be doing anything for a living, but chooses to be a detective. Fish is the seen-it-all veteran who can't wait for retirement, even though that would mean more time with his wife, Bernice. All of them worked together to make one of the funniest sitcoms ever on the air.moreless
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