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Webster (ABC 1983-1987, Emmanuel Lewis, Alex Karras)

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What’s lovable, funny, and small enough to fit in a dumbwaiter? Webster had the adorable answer. Though Webster Long stood at a mere 3 feet 4 inches, what he lacked in size, he made up for in personality and mischievous antics.

Set in Chicago in the early eighties, the story of Webster began when George Papadopolis and his wife Katherine Calder-Young (played by Alex Karras and Susan Clark, who were also married off-screen) returned from a cruise to find the adorable Webster orphaned and waiting on their doorstep. Years prior, George had promised a former pro football teammate that he would care for the man’s son in the event of a tragedy. When Webster’s parents were killed in a car crash, childless George and Katherine opened their home to the pint-sized seven-year-old child played by Emmanuel Lewis (who was actually twelve years old).

Bed-wettings, unnatural attachments to teddy bears and “facts of life” talks were not exactly Katherine’s cup of tea (her cup of tea was actually journalism). Once they took Webster under their wings, Katherine, whom Webster referred to as “Ma’am” (“cause it kinda sounds like ‘mom’”), and George were forced to make some serious lifestyle adjustments. George shed his gruff exterior to reveal a soft spot for Webster, and Katherine continually attempted to assume a mother’s role.

Webster

Sweeter than syrup and gooier than molasses, most of the episodes played up the kind of “cute kid” antics that were making Diff’rent Strokes such a success over on NBC. An ABC programming chief had spotted Lewis in a Burger King commercial, and seeing that the kid had that Gary Coleman vibe, a show was built around the miniature actor. Though most story lines were simple, occasional episodes were devoted to serious issues such as physically handicapped children and death.

In the fall of 1984, the Papadapolises moved out of their apartment into a Victorian house, and new cast members joined them. Bill and Cassie Parker owned and renovated the house, while Webster’s uncle Phillip Long stirred things up when he tried to obtain custody of Webster. Surprisingly, Webster actually out-cuted Diff’rent Strokes in its first seasons, shooting into the Top-25. But as the “adorable youngster” prime time craze died down in the mid-80’s (sorry, Punky Brewster), Webster’s ratings began to slide. After four years on ABC, Webster moved into syndication for two more seasons. After the changeover, Webster got a young playmate and brother figure in the house when George’s fourteen-year-old nephew Nicky moved in with them while his parents were overseas.

Six seasons were all the little guy could muster, but while he lasted, Webster warmed the hearts of Ma’am, George and everybody at home with his winning smile, his dumbwaiter-riding antics, and his sunny outlook on life.

production details
USA / ABC – Paramount Television / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 September 1983 – 11 September 1987

cast
Emmanuel Lewis as Webster Long
Alex Karras as George Papadapolis
Susan Clark as Katherine Calder-Young Papadapolis
Henry Polic II as Jerry Silver
Eugene Roche as Bill Parker (1984-86)
Cathryn Damon as Cassie Parker (1984-86)
Ben Vereen as Uncle Phillip Long (1984-85)
Jack Kruschen as ‘Papa’ Papadapolis (1985-87)
Chad Allen as Rob Whitaker/Joiner (1985-86)
Gabe Witcher as Tommy (1987)
Carl Steven as Roger (1986-87)
Danny McMurphy as Andy (1986-87)
Nick DeMauro as Benny (1987)
Corin Nemec as Nicky Papadapolis (1987-89)

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

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BBC 2 Logo

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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