Garry Marshall may not be a familiar name to every television viewer, but it’s highly likely that most viewers have seen one of his creations at least once. He had massive success in the late 70’s with many of the sitcoms he developed, including Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy. The short-lived Blansky’s Beauties was one of his lesser-known creations.
Nancy Walker, who most viewers remember as Rhoda Morgenstern’s mother, starred as Nancy Blansky, manager and mother hen to a group of showgirls. The troupe consisted of Sunshine, Bambi, Arkansas, Hillary, Lovely, Jackie, Bridget, Misty, Cochise and Sylvia. Joey DeLuca was Nancy’s nephew and the choreographer to the girls, and little brother Anthony was always trying to make time with the beauties, despite the fact that he was only 12.
Arnold ran the coffee shop at the Oasis, the casino where the girls performed, and Horace ‘Stubs’ Wilmington managed the place. The show had several casting connections to other Garry Marshall shows: Eddie Mekka (Joey) played Carmine on Laverne and Shirley, Scott Baio (Anthony) played Chachi on Happy Days, and Pat Morita played the identically-named Arnold on Happy Days (both characters were restaurateurs, as well!).
Walker starred in this show immediately after her previous vehicle, The Nancy Walker Show, was cancelled in December of 1976. Blansky’s Beauties was canceled in June of 1977, thus gave her the unusual distinction of two canceled shows within one season. Even more strange is the fact that same thing happened with her co-star Morita: he had starred in Mr. T and Tina, a sitcom that was cancelled in late 1976 after one month on the air. Apparently, beauty isn’t everything.
USA / ABC – Paramount – Garry Marshall / 13×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 February 1977 – 27 June 1977
Creators: Garry Marshall, Bob Bruner, Arthur Silver / Theme Vocal: I Want It All by Cyndi Grecco.
Nancy Walker as Nancy Blansky
Caren Kaye as Bambi Benton
Lynda Goodfriend as Ethel Akalino
Rhonda Bates as Arkansas Baits
Gerri Reddick as Jackie Outlaw
Antoinette Yuskis as Sylvia Silver
Taffee O’Connell as Hilary Prentiss
Elaine Bolton as Bridget Muldoon
Bond Gideon as Lovely Carson
Eddie Mekka as Joey DeLuca
Scott Baio as Anthony DeLuca
Pat Morita as Arnold Takahashi
George Pentecost as Stubs Wilmington
Johnny Desmond as Emilio; the hotel maitre d’