Single Season Sitcoms of the 1980s

A Complete Guide

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About the Book

As the cable TV industry exploded in the 1980s, offering viewers dozens of channels, an unprecedented number of series were produced. For every successful sitcom—The Golden Girls, Family Ties, Newhart—there were flops such as Take Five with George Segal, Annie McGuire with Mary Tyler Moore, One Big Family with Danny Thomas and Life with Lucy starring Lucille Ball, proving that a big name does not a hit show make. Other short-lived series were springboards for future stars, like Day by Day (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), The Duck Factory (Jim Carrey), Raising Miranda (Bryan Cranston) and Square Pegs (Sarah Jessica Parker). This book unearths many single-season sitcoms of the ’80s, providing behind-the-scenes stories from cast members, guest stars, writers, producers and directors.

About the Author(s)

Bob Leszczak has spent the last four decades as an on-air radio personality. A frequent TV and film extra, he is the former writer/producer of a weekly five-hour syndicated music trivia program called “Solid Gold Scrapbook.” He lives in Manchester, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Bob Leszczak
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 45 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9958-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2384-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  xi
Preface  1
Single Season Sitcoms of the 1980s  3
Ace Crawford, Private Eye 3
a.k.a. Pablo 4
All Is Forgiven 5
Aloha Paradise 7
Amanda’s 9
Ann Jillian 10
Annie McGuire 11
At Ease 11
Baby Boom 12
Baby Makes Five 13
Baker’s Dozen 14
Best of the West 14
Better Days 15
Beverly Hills Buntz 16
Blue Skies 17
The Boys 18
Boys Will Be Boys 18
The Brady Brides 18
Brand New Life 19
Breaking Away 20
Bustin’ Loose 20
The California Raisin Show (animated) 22
Charlie and Company 22
Checking In 24
Chicken Soup 24
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley (partially animated) 25
Condo 26
Dads 26
Dirty Dancing 27
The Dom DeLuise Show 28
Domestic Life 28
Down and Out in Beverly Hills 29
The Drak Pack (animated) 30
Dreams 31
The Duck Factory 31
The Dukes (animated) 33
Easy Street 33
Eisenhower and Lutz 35
The Ellen Burstyn Show 36
Empire 37
Enos 38
E/R 38
Everything’s Relative 40
Family Man 41
The Famous Teddy Z 41
Fast Times 42
Fathers and Sons 44
A Fine Romance 44
First Impressions 45
Fitz and Bones 45
Foley Square 46
Foot in the Door 47
Foul Play 49
The Four Seasons 49
Frank’s Place 50
Free Spirit 51
Freebie and the Bean 51
Galaxy High (animated) 52
The Gary Coleman Show (animated) 52
George Burns Comedy Week 53
Gillligan’s Planet (animated) 54
Gloria 55
Good Time Harry 56
Goodtime Girls 56
Gun Shy 58
Gung Ho 58
Hail to the Chief 60
Half Nelson 61
Hard Knocks 61
Harry 62
Have Faith 63
Heartland 65
Herbie the Love Bug 65
He’s the Mayor 66
Homeroom 67
I Had Three Wives 68
I Married Dora 68
I’m a Big Girl Now 70
Isabel Sanford’s Honeymoon Hotel 71
It Takes Two 72
It’s Not Easy 73
It’s Your Move 73
Jack and Mike 75
Jennifer Slept Here 75
Joe Bash 76
Just in Time 76
Just Our Luck 77
Karen’s Song 78
Knight and Daye 78
Ladies’ Man 79
The Last Precinct 81
Learning the Ropes 82
Legmen 83
Leo and Liz in Beverly Hills 84
Lewis and Clark 84
Life and Times of Eddie Roberts (L. A. T. E. R.) 86
Life with Lucy 87
Live-In 88
Living Dolls 89
Lobo 91
The Lucie Arnaz Show 91
Madame’s Place 92
Maggie 93
Making the Grade 94
Mama Malone 95
Mama’s Boy 95
Marblehead Manor 96
Mary 97
Me and Maxx 98
Me and Mom 98
Meatballs and Spaghetti (animated) 99
Melba 99
Misfits of Science 100
Mr. Merlin 101
Mr. Smith 102
Mr. Sunshine 102
Mork and Mindy (animated) 104
Nearly Departed 104
The New Adventures of Beans Baxter 106
The New Love American Style 109
The New Monkees 110
The New Odd Couple 111
Nick and Hillary 113
No Soap Radio 113
Nobody’s Perfect 114
Nothing in Common 114
Nothing Is Easy 115
The Nutt House 115
Off the Rack 117
Oh, Madeline 118
Once a Hero 119
One Big Family 119
One in a Million 120
One of the Boys (1982) 121
One of the Boys (1989) 122
Open All Night 123
Open House 124
Park Place 125
Partners in Crime 126
The People Next Door 126
Phyl and Mikhy 127
Police Squad 129
The Popcorn Kid 130
Probe 131
Pursuit of Happiness 132
Raising Miranda 134
The Redd Foxx Show 135
Reggie 137
Report to Murphy 137
The Robert Guillaume Show 138
Roomies 139
The Rousters 140
Roxie 140
Sanchez of Bel Air 142
Sara 143
Second Chance 144
Semi-Tough 145
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 145
Shadow Chasers 146
Shaping Up 147
Shell Game 147
Shirley 148
Sister Kate 149
Six ­O’Clock Follies 150
The Slap Maxwell Story 151
Small and Frye 152
Snoops 153
Spencer 154
Square Pegs 156
Star of the Family 158
Starting from Scratch 159
Steambath 160
Stir Crazy 160
The Stockard Channing Show 161
Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs 163
Sweet Surrender 164
Take Five 164
Tanner ’88 165
Tattingers 166
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe 167
The Thorns 168
Three’s a Crowd 169
Together We Stand 170
The Tortellis 171
Tough Cookies 172
Trial and Error 173
Tucker’s Witch 175
Under One Roof 176
United States 176
The Van Dyke Show 176
Washingtoon 177
What a Country 177
When the Whistle Blows 178
Women in Prison 180
You Can’t Take It with You 181
Zorro and Son 182
Appendix A: Shows Invited Back for a Truncated or Vastly Different Second Season  183
Aftermash 183
Angie 184
The Bad News Bears 185
The Baxters 188
Buffalo Bill 188
The Cavanaughs 190
Charles in Charge 192
The Charmings 193
Coming of Age 195
Day by Day 196
Double Trouble 197
Filthy Rich 198
Flo 199
FM 201
Good Morning, Miss Bliss 202
Goodnight, Beantown 203
Harper Valley 205
Harper Valley P.T.A. 205
Hello, Larry 206
Joanie Loves Chachi 209
Laverne and Shirley (animated) 211
Me and Mrs. C. 211
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo 212
Mr. President 214
My Sister Sam 215
The New Leave It to Beaver 217
Rags to Riches 217
The Ropers 218
Sanford 219
Sledge Hammer 220
Still the Beaver 221
Teachers Only 223
13 East 225
Trying Times 227
The Two of Us 228
We Got It Made 228
You Again? 230
Appendix B: The Sitcom Topical Index  232
Index  235

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The author actually dives in and gives us fascinating information on these shows…this book is endlessly fascinating and informative, written by one of the foremost TV historians of our time”—Examiner.com
  • “I had a blast perusing page after page of [this book]”—Flick Attack.
  • “I love this book even more than the first one (Single Season Sitcoms, 1948–1979)”—Lee Goldberg, author and producer