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Laverne and Shirley (ABC 1976-1983, Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams)

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Laverne & Shirley was no less than a sitcom phenomenon from the time of its first airing in January of 1976. It was a slapstick spin-off from “Happy Days,” where the characters Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney had made their debut as friends of Fonzie. Laverne & Shirley joined ABC’s line up following directly after “Happy Days” on Monday nights, and went straight to the top of the ratings. In its second and third full seasons, it even surpassed the popularity of “Happy Days,” resting comfortably in the number one spot for two full years.

Part of the popularity of the show is in its broad, physical comedy. It was simple and funny, but it was easy to care for the characters. It took place in the 1950s, and Laverne and Shirley were lifetime best friends who shared an apartment in Milwaukee. They also share the same job, working at the local brewery as bottle-cappers. The typical plots involved the traumas of being a single, working girl and the extent that Laverne and Shirley would go to get a date or simply improve their standard of living, whether that be by putting on a talent show or beating their high school rival, Rosie Greenbaum at bowling.

Other colorful characters were in the world of Laverne & Shirley. Their neighbors, Lenny and Squiggy, were a couple of greasers that also worked at Shotz Brewery. Shirley had a guy-pal whom she dated, but always kept at an arm’s length (as she was a good girl – and not a bimbo) named Carmine Ragusa. Laverne’s father, Frank, a loud-mouthed Italian, turned up frequently, as he owned the gang’s favorite hang-out, the Pizza Bowl. Rounding out the cast of regulars was Edna Babish, the girls’ landlord, who was always full of good advice, and later started dating Laverne’s pop.

Laverne and Shirley

Laverne & Shirley was wildly popular for its first few years. Even the shows theme song was a top-25 single in the Summer of 1976. In the 1980-81 season, to give the show some fresh plot ideas, the entire cast moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, where the girls attempted to break into show biz and took on many hilarious odd-jobs. Frank and Edna, now married, opened up a restaurant called Cowboy Bobs together where Laverne and Shirley occasionally worked. Once in L.A., we also met new neighbors Rhonda, an obnoxious, aspiring actress, and stuntman Sonny St. Jacques.

Laverne & Shirley remained in prime time until the end of the 1983 season. It was also seen as a Saturday morning cartoon from 1981-1983. In the show’s final year, Cindy Williams (who played Shirley) left the show after becoming pregnant, and Penny Marshall remained, as the show was renamed simply “Laverne.”

production details
USA / ABC / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 27 January 1976 – 10 May 1983

Theme: Making Our Dreams Come True by Cyndi Grecco

cast
Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio
Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney
Michael McKean as Lenny Kosnoski
David L. Lander as Andrew “Squiggy” Squigman
Eddie Mekka as Carmine Raguso
Phil Foster as Frank DeFazio
Betty Garrett as Edna Babish
Carol Ita White as Rosie Greenbaum
Frances Peach as Mary; Pizza Bowl waitress
Bo Kaprall as Norman Hughes
Helen Page Camp as Mrs. Havenhurst
Leslie Esterbrook as Rhonda Lee
Ed Marinaro as Sonny St. James
Norman Bartold as Harvey Hilderbrand
Susan Barnes as Miss Peters; Harvey’s secretary
Vicki Lawrence as Sgt. Alvinia P. Plout
Paul Sylvan as Sal Melina
Raleigh Bond as Bill Ajax
Robert Hogan as “G Bullets” Klein

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TV

Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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TV

Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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