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Fame (NBC-Syndicated 1982-1987, Debbie Allen, Gene Anthony Ray)

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Fame the television series was created to capitalize on the popularity of the movie of the same name. The show was not very different from the movie, still focusing on the lives of the students who attended the High School for Performing Arts in New York City. The kids there still dreamed about achieving fame in their respective fields of music, dance, and acting, planning to live forever and light up the skies with their names.

Several of the characters even made the transition to the small screen; Gene Anthony Ray reprised his role as the talented dancer Leroy, but the anger and illiteracy that had been so key to his role in the film had all but disappeared in this version. Lee Curreri was back as Bruno, the inventive keyboardist, and Albert Hague returned as his mentor, Mr. Shorofsky. Playing a large role in the show was Debbie Allen as dance teacher Lydia Grant, who had been in only two scenes in the film. Joining Leroy and Bruno (despite the fact that she and they had all graduated high school in the movie) was Doris Schwartz. In stark contrast to the shy, insecure waif depicted in the film, in TV’s Fame, Doris was as an abrasive, confident actress who occasionally worried about her extra weight.

Additional characters from the original movie written into the series included talented singer/dancer Coco Hernandez, aspiring musician Montgomery MacNeil, and Mr. Sherwood, the English teacher. Also featured were cellist Julie Miller, comedian Danny Amatullo, acting teacher David Reardon and Bruno’s cab driver dad, Angelo Matelli. Like the film, the TV show dealt with the unique pressures these incredibly talented teenagers faced while somehow managing to feature impressive production numbers. One or two of these numbers were featured in each episode, all of them choreographed by Allen, and the music was occasionally composed by Curreri.

Three Fame albums were released, including a live recording of “The Kids From Fame,” a staged show the actors performed in England, where the series was enormously popular. Despite the international success, Fame would not live forever on NBC. After a year on the air, the network handed the kids their dancing papers. But the reviews were so good that the show’s co-producers, MGM and United Artists, made a deal to syndicate the show, which brought in new characters and let go of older ones.

Kids From Fame

Joining the cast were vice-principal Quentin Murloch, hunky dancer Christopher Donlong and singer Holly Laird. The actors playing Bruno, Doris and Coco eventually departed the series, leaving room for newer characters like Cleo Hewitt, Jesse Velasquez, Nicole Chapman, Reggie Higgins, Kate Riley, Jillian Beckett, Miltie Horowitz, and Mr. Seeger, the new drama teacher. The two constants of the show were the world’s oldest teenagers, Danny Amatullo and Leroy Johnson, who made Beverly Hills 90210’s Brandon Walsh and Dylan McKay look like they were still in grammar school. The series lasted for four more years in syndication.

Janet Jackson, Nia Peeples and Fran Drescher were among those who got their start on the show before they became famous, and even Madonna auditioned unsuccessfully for a role on the series.

Fame lived yet again in 1998 as a new syndicated series, Fame L.A., which followed the lives of struggling artists and actors in Los Angeles. This time, the writing in the sky was nobody’s name, but rather, “Sorry, you’re cancelled.” But take heart, you plucky kids: thanks to syndicated reruns, you really can live forever.

production details
USA / NBC – MGM – Syndicated / x50m-e / Broadcast 7 January 1982 – 4 August 1983 on NBC and then 1983-1987 in first run syndication

Producers: William Blinn, Gerald I. Isenberg, Mel Swope, Stanley C. Rogow / Theme Music: Michael Gore, Dean Pitchford / Sung by Eric Gimpel

cast
Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant
Albert Hague as Mr. Benjamin Shorofsky
Carlo Imperato as Danny Amatullo
Ann Nelson as Mrs. Gertrude Berg
Gene Anthony Ray as Leroy Johnson
Lee Curreri as Bruno Martelli (1982-84)
Erica Gimpel as Coco Hernandez (1982-83)
Carol Mayo Jenkins as Elizabeth Sherwood (1982-86)
Valerie Landsburg as Doris Rene Schwartz (1982-85)
Cynthia Gibb as Holly Laird (1983-86)
Bill Hufsey as Christopher Donlon (1983-87)
Jesse Borrego as Jesse Valesquez (1984-87)
Janet Jackson as Cleo Hewitt (1984-85)
Nia Peeples as Nicole Chapman (1984-87)
Graham Jarvis as Mr. Bob Dyrenforth (1985-87)
Olivia Barash as Maxie (1986-87)
Michael Cerveris as Ian Ware (1986-87)
Carrie Hamilton as Reggie Higgins (1986-87)
Page Hannah as Kate Riley (1986)

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TV

Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)

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In Scifi drama Ape and Essence, based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, a group of New Zealand scientists conduct a survey on a Britain ravaged by atomic war 80 years previously.

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 29

cast
Alec McCowen as Alfred Poole
Robert Eddison as Arch Vicar
Derek Sydney as Chief
Jenny Lee as Flossie
Yvonne Antrobus as Young Girl
Sydney Bromley as Craigie
Martin Carroll as Director of Food
Hazel Douglas as Mies Hook
John Falconer as Patriarch
Petra Markham as Loola
Ken Parry as Science Praet
Amanda Reiss as Polly
Jonathan Scott as Int. Priest
Fiona Fraser as Part of Crowd
Ann Mitchell as Shaven-Head
Jacki Salt as Mulatto Girl
Carol Blake as Shaven-Head
Gordon Craig as Part of Crowd
Robert Cude as First Man

crew details
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966

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TV

Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)

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Plane Makers Patrick Wymark

Drama series The Plane Makers took us behind the scenes in the boardroom and shop floor of the Scott Furlong Aircraft Factory. After two seasons the lead character John Wilder took a place on the board of a merchant bank and the series was then renamed The Power Game.

cast
Patrick Wymark as John Wilder
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder (Seasons 1-2)
Ann Firbank as Pamela Wilder (Season 3)
Reginald Marsh as Arthur Sugden
Alan Dobie as David Corbett

crew details
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)

production details
Country: UK
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white

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TV

Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)

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Sitcom Running Wild was about the ups and downs of separated couple, Max and Babs, trying to get on with their lives. In season two Max wants to return to his wife but Babs is not so keen.

cast
Ray Brooks as Max Wild
Janet Key as Babs Wild
Sharon Duce as Wanda
Michelle Collins as Stephanie Wild
Peter Amory as Rob
Berwick Kaler as Tom Coleman (Season 1)
Brigit Forsyth as Jenny (Season 2)

crew details
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – London Weekend Television
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 6 March 1987 – 4 June 1989

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