TV US TV

Eight Is Enough (ABC 1977-1981, Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland)

Eight Is Enough

Comedy drama series Eight Is Enough focuses on Tom and Joan Bradford and their eight kids who range in ages from the oldest David (23) to the youngest Nicholas (8). The family lived at 1436 Oak Street in Sacremento, California where Tom works for a newspaper (The Register). Even before the series could get under way properly it was hit by dramas with the shock death of Diana Hyland who played Joan. Only four episodes had been filmed at this stage and the production team made the decision to carry on with the series.

It was said at the time that Joan had just gone away for a while, later at the start of season two it was revealed that Joan had died a few months ago although it wasn’t too long before Tom found love again in the shape of schoolteacher Abby and the pair were married in a two hour second season double episode. As the show progressed some of the older kids moved out and made lives of their own, David and Susan had a double wedding with David marrying attorney Janet and Susan tying the know with baseball player Merle “The Pearl” Stockwell (the couple later moved to New York when Merle was signed by the Mets), Susan also made Tom a grandfather with the birth of her daughter Sandra Sue.

Eight Is Enough

Mark Hamill in the pilot.

Eight is Enough, despite the tragic early death of Diana Hyland, was a good, warm hearted show. Mark Hamill starred in the pilot as eldest son David but a certain movie by the name of Star Wars meant he never followed through on the series. Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio also appeared later towards the end of the shows run.

The series gained such a following that in the late eighties two TV Movies aired catching up with the Bradford clan, first was A Family Reunion (broadcast 18 October 1987) which saw only Nicholas still living at home and Tom about to turn fifty, the main plot though concerns Tom’s efforts to buy the newspaper he works for when he discovers that a tabloid specialist wants to take it over. Two years later on 15 October 1989 there was An Eight Is Enough Wedding which sees divorced David contemplating marriage for the second time. All of the major cast members returned for these two movies. Also on March 1, 2010 the cast (minus Adam Rich and Susan Richardson who declined to take part) reunited as part of an NBC Today show special.

production details
USA / ABC / 112×45 minute episodes / Broadcast March 15, 1977 – August 29, 1981

Creator: William Blinn / Producer: Hal Sitowitz / Book: Thomas W. Braden / Music: Fred Werner, Earle Hagen / Theme sung by Grant Goodeve / Executive Producers: Lee Rich, Philip Capice, Lee Mendelson

cast
DICK VAN PATTEN as Tom Bradford
DIANA HYLAND as Joan Bradford (early part of season one only)
BETTY BUCKLEY as Sandra Sue Abbott “Abby” Bradford
ADAM RICH as Nicholas Bradford
WILLIE AAMES as Tommy Bradford
DIANNE KAY as Nancy Bradford
CONNIE NEEDHAM (LATER NEWTON) as Elizabeth Bradford
SUSAN RICHARDSON as Susan Bradford (later Stockwell)
LAURIE WALTERS as Joannie Bradford
LANI O’GRADY as Mary Bradford
GRANT GOODEVE as David
MICHAEL THOMA as Dr Greg Maxwell (1977-79)
VIRGINIA VINCENT as Daisy Maxwell (1977-79)
JENNIFER DARLING as Donna (1978-81)
BRIAN PATRICK CLARKE as Merle “The Pearl” Stockwell (1979-81)
JOAN PRATHER as Janet Bradford (1979-81)
MICHAEL GOODROW as Ernie Fields (1979-81)
RALPH MACCHIO as Jeremy Andretti (1980-81)

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE (15 March – 10 August 1977)
1. NEVER TRY EATING NECTARINES SINCE JUICE MAY DISPENCE (Also serves as pilot episode)
2. SCHUSSBOOMER
3. PIECES OF EIGHT
4. WOMEN, DUCKS AND THE DOMINO THEORY
5. TURNABOUT
6. QUARANTINE
7. V IS FOR VIVIAN
8. HIT AND RUN
9. THE GIPPER CAPER

SEASON TWO (14 September 1977 – 17 May 1978)
1. IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?
2. TRIAL MARRIAGE
3. TRIANGLES
4. DOUBLE TROUBLE
5. MORTGAGE BURNIN’ BLUES
6. DARK HORSE
7. THE BARD AND THE BOD
8. CHILDREN OF THE GROOM PART ONE
9. CHILDREN OF THE GROOM PART TWO
10. I QUIT
11. ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR
12. THE RETURN OF AUNTIE V
13. YES NICHOLAS, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS PART ONE
14. YES NICHOLAS, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS PART TWO
15. A HAIR OF THE DOG
16. AUTHOR, AUTHOR
17. MUCH ADO ABOUT GARBAGE
18. DEAR MS. DINAH
19. HARD HATS AND HARD HEADS
20. SEVEN DAYS IN FEBRUARY
21. THE BOYFRIEND
22. GREAT EXPECTATIONS
23. LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
24. THE LOST WEEKEND
25. POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL
26. WHO’S ON FIRST?

SEASON THREE (6 September 1978 – 23 May 1979)
1. WHO’S CRAZY HERE?
2. NINE IS TOO MUCH
3. HERE WE GO AGAIN
4. CINDERELLA’S UNDERSTUDY
5. MILK AND SYMPATHY
6. THE FLUNKED AND THE FUNKED
7. COPS AND TODDLERS
8. THE HIPBONE’S CONNECTED TO THE THIGHBONE
9. FAST AND LOOSE
10. WAR BETWEEN THE BRADFORDS
11. ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
12. YOU WON’T HAVE TO KICK NICHOLAS AROUND ANYMORE PART 1
13. YOU WON’T HAVE TO KICK NICHOLAS AROUND ANYMORE PART 2
14. ALONE AT LAST
15. THE YEARNING POINT
16. MOVING OUT
17. MOTHER’S RULE
18. INLAWS AND OUTLAWS
19. HORROR STORY
20. JUST THE TEN OF US
21. BEST OF FRIENDS
22. THE KID WHO CAME TO DINNER
23. THE BETTER PART OF VALOR
24. DADS, DAUGHTERS, DIFFERENT DRUMMERS
25. THE FINAL DAYS
26. MARRIAGE AND OTHER FLIGHTS OF FANCY PART 1
27. MARRIAGE AND OTHER FLIGHTS OF FANCY PART 2
28. THE GRADUATES

SEASON FOUR (5 September 1979 – 30 April 1980)
1. MERLE THE PEARL
2. THE CUPID CRISIS
3. I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO
4. TEN SHIPS IN THE NIGHT
5. THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED BRADFORDS
6. THE DEVIL AND MR BRADFORD
7. BIG SHOES, LITTLE FEET
8. FATHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS PART ONE
9. FATHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS PART TWO
10. LETTER TO ONE BRADFORD
11. SEPARATE WAYS
12. ARRIVALS
13. BROTHERHOOD, SISTERHOOD
14. MARY, HE’S MARRIED
15. MY SON, THE PROM QUEEN
16. THE COURAGE TO BE
17. SEMI-CENTENNIAL BRADFORD
18. THE COMMITMENT
19. SEVEN MORE DAYS IN FEBRUARY
20. THE RETURN OF JOE SIMONS
21. BRADFORD VS BRADFORD
22. MEMORIES
23. OFFICIAL POSITIONS
24. A MATTER OF MENTORS
25. ROLL OVER BRADFORD
26. A LITTLE TRIANGLE
27. FINALLY GRAD NIGHT

SEASON FIVE (29 October 1980 – 16 May 1981)
1. AND BABY MAKES NINE PART 1
2. AND BABY MAKES NINE PART 2
3. JEREMY
4. WELCOME TO MEMORIAL DR BRADFORD
5. GENERATIONS
6. HOLLY
7. THE MALTESE AIRLINE BAG
8. STRIKE
9. BRADFORD GATE
10. THE DARLENE DILEMMA
11. SECOND THOUGHTS
12. DAVID’S RIB
13. VOWS
14. THE WAY WE WERE
15. IF THE GLASS SLIPPER FITS
16. THE BEST LITTLE TELETHON IN SACRAMENTO
17. YET ANOTHER SEVEN DAYS IN FEBRUARY
18. THE IDOLBREAKER PART 1
19. THE IDOLBREAKER PART 2
20. STARTING OVER
21. GOALS
22. FATHER KNOWS BEST?

TV MOVIE REVIVALS
1. A FAMILY REUNION (18 October 1987)
2. AN EIGHT IS ENOUGH WEDDING (15 October 1989)