Sitcom Good Times was in fact a spin off (from Maude) of a spin off (which itself emerged from All in the Family). Esther Roles had been appearing in Maude as Maude’s maid, so popular was she that it was decided to give her her own series. The show focused on the family life of Florida Evans and her family, husband James and their three kids, J.J., Thelma and Michael. The family lived in a somewhat ghettoised part of Chicago’s South Side. The family didn’t have much money and James had a succession of jobs. The kids, especially J.J. (who had numerous get rich quick schemes) did their best to help. J.J.’s catchphrase was “Dy-Na-Mite”.
The biggest change in the series came during the 1976 season when Florida’s husband was killed off in a car accident. Later Florida began to date shop owner Carl Dixon and later married him.
Briefly during 1977 Esther left the show, along with her husband in the show. (she had become disenchanted with the shows portrayal of black life and Amos had been written out as a result of an interview with Ebony magazine in which he aired a number of grudges and grievances towards the show) leaving the kids on their own (albeit looked after by neighbour Willona Woods).
Esther soon returned to the show (minus her husband Carl) and the series carried on much as before even though the network had promised her some changes to the show. When ratings began to fall in late 1978 it was decided to cancel the show at the end of the following season which at least gave the writers chance to work out happy endings.
USA / CBS / x30 minute episodes / Broadcast Friday 1 February 1974 – Wednesday 1 August 1979
Producer: Norman Lear
ESTHER ROLES as Florida Evans
JOHN AMOS as James Evans (1974-76)
JIMMIE WALKER as James Evans Jr (J.J.)
JA’NET DUBOIS as Willona Woods
RALPH CARTER as Michael Evans
BERNADETTE STANIS as Thelma Evans Anderson
MOSES GUNN as Carl Dixon (1977)
JOHNNY BROWN as Nathan Bookman (1977-79)
JANET JACKSON as Penny Gordon Woods (1977-79)
BEN POWERS as Keith Anderson (1978-79)
THEODORE WILSON as Sweet Daddy (1978-79)