Diff'rent Strokes

NBC (ended 1986)



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Show Summary

Diff'rent Strokes took place in New York City 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.


    Gary Coleman (1968-2010)

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  • Todd Bridges

    Todd Bridges

    Willis Jackson

    Charlotte Rae

    Charlotte Rae

    Mrs. Edna Garrett (1978-1979)

    Gary Coleman

    Gary Coleman

    Arnold Jackson

    Dixie Carter

    Dixie Carter

    Margaret "Maggie" McKinney Drummond (1984-1985)

    Mary Ann Mobley

    Mary Ann Mobley

    Margaret "Maggie" McKinney Drummond (1985-1986)

    Mary Jo Catlett

    Mary Jo Catlett

    Pearl Gallagher (1982-1986)

    • Epic.

      One of the best series of "80" years.
    • What else is there to say? Gary Coleman made this show what it was...

      The family friendly series made a star out of Gary Coleman, forever immortalised as the loveable scamp with the chubby cheeks, Arnold Jackson and his catchphrase "What u Talkin' About?" made television history. Yet despite it's cosy sitcom settings Diff'rent Strokes was not afraid to address sensitive issues and during it's long run expertly dealt with the likes of racial prejudice, child molestation and bullying.

      Conrad Bain a distinguished actor played tycoon Phillip Drummond the kindly widower who adopted the Jackson kids from Harlem, Arnold and Willis ( Todd Bridges ) after their death of their mother Lucy who had served as his housekeeper. The kids had to adjust to living in a swank Park Avenue penthouse with a new housekeeper and a teenage sister ( Dana Plato ).

      Bain, Coleman, Bridges and Plato were a formidable team and you cannot help but warm to their likeable characters. Once Diff'rent Strokes ended the young cast were unable to escape the pressures of fame and their various scrapes with the law somewhat tarnished the show's image.

      It still lives today in the minds of 30 somethings who grew up in there teens with the Drummonds and Jacksons.moreless
    • You may remember it fondly, but it's actually awful.

      I was recently YouTube-surfing and I came across a few old episodes of this series. "Aw," I thought, "A blast from my Gen X past!" I watched "Diff'rent Strokes" religiously as a kid, and I thought it'd be fun to see how it held up.

      Good God, people, this was some bad TV.

      Not sure what else to add. It's really just flabbergasting how bad it is. Every joke is hackneyed, every second is predictable. It's not offensive or anything, but it's just so... not... funny. The writers must've spent their days intentionally trying *not* to amuse themselves or anyone.

      That said, there *was* a reason Gary Coleman was a star -- despite the painful dialogue, he had real personality, and alone among the actors, seemed to actually be having fun.moreless
    • Diff'rent Strokes is the 1980's!!!

      The Show Diff'rent Strokes ran from 1978 to 1986. This show is the epitome of 1980's culture. I fell in love with this show from its humble beginnings and right up to the end. NBC ran this show for 7 seasons then ABC took over for its final season in 1985-6. I loved all the characters including Arnold Jackson and his older brother Willis Jackson. Phillip Drummond as the father of the two adopted sons and Kimberly Drummond his biological daughter. There were some notable changes in this show. 1. Three housekeepers were used throughout this show. Mrs. Garrett was the original then Adelaide Brubaker and finally Pearl Gallagher. 2. Mr. Drummond gets married to Maggie McKinney. She has a biological son named Sam McKinney. 3. Kimberly Drummond leaves for Paris, France and shows up in the later seasons of Diff'rent Strokes.

      I hope that Sony releases the rest of this wonderful sitcom in the near future. I have the first 2 seasons on DVD so hopefully more will come along soon.moreless
    • Great, But Too Much Drama

      This show is a good one I have liked for like 3 years now. But, it has far too many serious episodes. I mean, of course, there isn't anything wrong with it, it leads to interesting plots. I think they have a good deal of humor, and it does what current sitcoms today don't do: has a serious topic, such as kidnapping, hitchhiking, or something similar, and it handles it in a serious way. Even though it is a comedy, when it has issues like this, it forgets about the comedy and sticks to emotion and drama, something I commend it for.moreless

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    Family Comedies, Sitcoms