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Parker Lewis Can't Lose Parker Lewis Can't Lose

TV

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (Fox 1990-1993, Corin Nemec, Billy Jayne)

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When John Hughes began cranking out literate, witty teen comedies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, the entertainment industry realized there was a market for teen entertainment that could be funny and intelligent all at once. This trend soon filtered down to television, inspiring a modern classic with the early Fox network program Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. This nifty, teen-oriented sitcom captured the style and magic of hip films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and made it work in a television format. The result was a hit that tickled the brain and the funny bone all at once.

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose took place at scenic Santo Domingo High School and focused on the exploits of its title character, a clever teen who used his devious smarts and his connections to tweak the system at every opportunity. His mantra was “not a problem,” and he never met a situation he couldn’t handle. Parker’s partners in crime included his best friend, the super-cool Mikey Randall, and Jerry Steiner, a nerdy but good-hearted kid who idolized our hero.

Parker’s arch-nemesis in his quest to bend the rules was Principal Grace Musso, a cold-hearted authority figure who wanted nothing more than to make an example of him. Assisting Musso in this quest was Frank Lemmer, a student who acted as her “special obedience officer.” Frank also had a not-so-secret crush on his benefactor, which led to plenty of cringe-inducing flirtation. Another obstacle was provided by Parker’s younger sister Shelly, who took sadistic delight in trying to trip Parker up. Other characters included Martin Lewis, Parker’s video store-owning dad, and Nick, a slick counterman at the Atlas Diner who could be relied upon to dispense level-headed advice during a crisis.

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose debuted the same season that NBC introduced its small-screen sitcom version of Ferris Bueller. As a result, some critics dismissed the Fox sitcom as a Bueller clone, but Parker Lewis quickly transcended this label with its exuberant mixture of style of energy. The show wowed viewers with its dazzling look, which combined slick computerized opticals with complex, cinematic camerawork. The humor was also quite sophisticated, often incorporating parodies of films like Casablanca and The Godfather. The bundle of charm was sealed by the snappy performances of its cast, all of whom had the sharp comic timing to keep the jokes rolling at a fast clip.

The end result of all this stylistic innovation was a show that became a hit for the young Fox network. It surprised television pundits everywhere by outlasting Ferris Bueller to enjoy a run of nearly three seasons. By the time the ride ended in August of 1993, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose had won a cult following that continues to this day. The show periodically pops up in reruns and continues to win new fans, outliving its early status as a so-called clone to become one of the more memorable sitcoms of early 90’s vintage.

production details
USA / Fox – Clyde Phillips Productions / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 2 September 1990 – 22 August 1993

cast
Corin Nemec as Parker Lloyd Lewis
Billy Jayne as Mikey Randall
Troy W. Slaten as Jerry Steiner
Melanie Chartoff as Principal Grace Musso
Maia Brewton as Shelly Lewis
Abraham Benrubi as Francis Lawrence “Larry” Kubiac
Taj Johnson as Frank Lemmer (1990-92)
Timothy Stack as Mr. Martin Lewis
Anne Bloom as Mrs. Lewis (1990-91)
Mary Ellen Trainor as Mrs. Lewis (1991-93)
Gerrit Graham as Dr. Norman Pankow
Jennifer Guthrie as Annie Sloan (1992-93)
Paul Johansson as Nick Comstock (1991-93)
John Pinette as Coach Hank Kohler (1992-93)
Harold Pruett as Brad Penny (1992-93)

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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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