121 Classic (and Not-So-Classic) TV Sitcoms from the 1970s
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While the 1970s admittedly didn’t represent the kind of changes that the ’60s had, it nonetheless had a heck of a lot going on in it. Politically, it gave us Watergate (thanks for nuthin’, guys!) while in terms of fads we had disco, pet rocks, and CB radios. On the big screen, we met Rocky Balboa and Star Wars for the first time, and on the small, there was a sea change in terms of television sitcoms.
It’s the latter that we’re focused on here and in a sense CBS had a lot to do with it. In an attempt to appeal to younger consumers in more urban environments, they engaged in the so-called rural purge that got rid of “hayseed comedies” like The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres —all three of which were still doing well in the ratings — and ushered in a new era of maturity with shows like All in the Family (and most of its spinoffs), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Sanford and Son, Barney Miller, The Bob Newhart Show, The Odd Couple and M*A*S*H.
Don’t get us wrong, there were still lots of dopey comedies as well (Ted Bessell’s Me and the Chimp and the sitcom/variety hybrid The Brady Bunch Hour come to mind). As the headline says, there were a lot of classic comedies and not-so-classic shows, and what follows is our guide to the vast majority of the comedic series aired between 1970 and 1979.
1. ‘Headmaster’ (1970 to 1971)
Andy Griffith gives series television a try for the first time since leaving The Andy Griffith Show, playing Andy Thompson, headmaster of a California private school. The show follows his interactions with students, faculty, and his family at home.
2. ‘Make Room for Granddaddy’ (1970 to 1971)
Another return with Make Room for Daddy star Danny Thomas reprising his role of entertainer Danny Williams, joined by the original members of his onscreen family along with some new ones, including his grandson. Pictured, Danny Thomas, Rosey Grier, Danny Thomas, Marjorie Lord, Michael Hughes.
3. ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ (1970 to 1977)
The first of many classic comedies that the 1970s gave us. Mary, who we last saw as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, is back as Mary Richards, associate producer at WJM News. Besides representing the next step forward in women’s roles on television, Mary led one of the great ensembles of all time. Lou Grant may hate it, but we’ll say it anyway: she’s got spunk and we love it. Pictured top from left: Ted Knight, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner; bottom: Betty White, Georgia Engel, Mary Tyler Moore.
4. ‘Nanny and the Professor’ (1970 to 1971)
Consider this one Bewitched-lite in that there is definitely the suggestion of something magical about Juliet Mill’s Phoebe Figalilly (who prefers to be called “Nanny”), as she reveals to Professor Harold Everett (Richard Long) and his three kids, whom she’s agreed to help take care of. Mix a bit of Samantha Stephens with Mary Poppins and you’ve got Nanny. Above: Kim Richards (who went on to become A Real Housewife), Trent Lehman, Juliet Mills, David Doremus, Richard Long.
5. ‘The Odd Couple’ (1970 to 1975)
The most enduring creation of playwright Neil Simon focusing on mix-matched roommates Oscar Madison and Felix Unger and the battle between the slob and the neatnik. The 1965 play starred Walter Matthau and Art Carney as Oscar and Felix with Jack Lemmon replacing Carney in the 1968 film. But it’s Jack Klugman and Tony Randall in this series — currently celebrating its 50th anniversary — that remains the greatest combination of them all. Some of the finest work by series creators Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson. Above: Jack Klugman, Marsha Mason, Neil Simon, Tony Randall, Garry Marshall, circa 1974.
6. ‘The Partridge Family’ (1970 to 1974)
People may forget how popular this show about a family of musicians really was and how this so-called “prefab” band scored on the charts in the same way The Monkees had a few years earlier. The show also turned David Cassidy into a teen heartthrob. From top right: Dave Madden; middle: David Cassidy, Shirley Jones, Susan Dey; bottom: Brian Forster, Suzanne Crough, Danny Bonaduce.
7. ‘Pat Paulsen’s Half a Comedy Hour’ (1970)
Paul Paulsen had caught people’s attention as a part of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and by facetiously running for president in 1968. Apparently, the audience wanted him in smaller doses as his own show only lasted 13 episodes.
8. ‘The Tim Conway Show’ / ‘The Tim Conway Comedy Hour’ (1970)
In 1970, Tim Conway had two opportunities to lead his own show. The first was a half-hour sitcom reuniting him with his McHale’s Navy co-star Joe Flynn as a pair of guys running a single plane charter airline. The second was a more traditional sketch comedy show.
9. ‘All in the Family’ (1971 to 1979)
Groundbreaking and revolutionary, this series created by Norman Lear broke pretty much every taboo television had avoided since its inception (even something as seemingly innocuous as featuring the sound of a flushing toilet). It absolutely raised the bar of what the medium could be — and inspired no less than six spinoffs.
10. ‘Getting Together’ (1971 to 1972)
Singer Bobby Sherman is melodist/singer Bobby Conway and Wes Stern is lyricist Lionel Poindexter, and together they try to make a living in Los Angeles.
11. ‘The Good Life’ (1971 to 1972)
Between I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas, Larry Hagman starred with Donna Mills in this sitcom, playing a married couple who pose as servants for rich industrialist Charles Dutton (David Wayne). They’re not very good at their job but somehow manage to remain hired for the short duration of the series.
12. ‘The Jimmy Stewart Show’ (1971 to 1972)
The only weekly television series that Jame Stewart — who for the first time allowed himself to be referred to as “Jimmy” in the credits — ever starred in. He plays Professor James K. Howard, who works at a small-town college and the show looks at his chaotic life professionally and personally.
13. ‘The New Andy Griffith Show’ (1971)
With The Headmaster sent packing, Andy decided to try another series, this time as Andy Sawyer who takes over as mayor of his southern hometown, Greenwood. Pictured top from left: Marty McCall, Andy Griffith, Lee Meriwether, bottom from left: Lori Rutherford, Ann Morgan Guilbert.
14. ‘The New Dick Van Dyke Show’ (1971 to 1974)
In one way it’s kind of amusing that all of these guys who decided to leave hit series in the 1960s decided that they missed television and wanted to return. Not so funny is that none of them really made it, although this show did get three seasons. Dick plays Phoenix, Arizona talk show host Dick Preston. The series was created by The Dick Van Dyke Show‘s Carl Reiner. Pictured are Dick, Angela Powell, and Hope Lange.
15. ‘The Partners’ (1971 to 1972)
Would you believe that Get Smart star Don Adams returned to series television for this show, which saw him and Rupert Crosse as bumbling — would we expect anything else? — detectives.
16. ‘Funny Face’ / ‘The Sandy Duncan Show’ (1971 to 1972)
Two attempts to craft series around Sandy Duncan, whose career was rising at the time. In the first, she’s an innocent woman from a small Illinois town who attends the University of California and also works as a television commercial actress. In the retooled version, her character now works at an advertising agency, reporting to Bert Quinn, played by Tom Bosley — just a couple of years away from playing Howard Cunningham on the long-running Happy Days.
17. ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ (1972 to 1978)
The hallmark understated style of Bob Newhart is given a chance to shine as Bob plays psychiatrist Dr. Robert “Bob” Hartley, who surrounds himself with a variety of “eccentric” patients. Suzanne Pleshette is his wife, Emily. Just another brilliant show of the time!
18. ‘The Brian Keith Show’ (1972 to 1974)
The former Family Affair star is now a pediatrician working in Hawaii. A true highlight of the show — as was the case with his last series — was to watch his interactions with kids.
19. ‘Bridget Loves Bernie’ (1972 to 1973)
While this look at the mixed marriage of Catholic Bridget Fitzgerald and Jewish cab driver Bernie Steinberg was very popular with the audience, the subject matter was considered controversial. Hey, one nice thing that came out of it is that Meredith and David Birney married in 1974 and were together until 1989.
20. ‘The Don Rickles Show’ (1972)
Don Rickles is advertising executive Don Robinson, who feels pretty much put upon at work and at home. Louise Sorel played his wife, Barbara, while Erin Moran — soon to be Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days — was his daughter, Janie.
21. ‘Maude’ (1972 to 1978)
This spin-off from All in the Family sees Bea Arthur reprise the role of Maude Findley, the epitome of the Women’s Lib movement. As such it tackled a wide variety of subjects that had never been dealt with before. Also starring Bill Macy as her husband, Walter; and Adrienne Barbeau as daughter Carol Trayner. The character of Maude was a cousin of Jean Stapleton’s Edith Bunker.
22. ‘M*A*S*H*’ (1972 to 1983)
Like The Odd Couple, this was a TV series that surpassed the source material — the 1970 film of the same name that followed the doctors and nurses of a MASH medical unit during the Korean War. Members of the cast would rotate out, but each time the show would only get better as the horrors of war were presented with dark humor.
23. ‘Me and the Chimp’ (1972)
Ted Bessell, who had starred with Marlo Thomas on That Girl, was back, but she wasn’t. This time he plays dentist Mike Reynolds whose family life is turned upside down by Buttons, a chimpanzee who they discover was once part of the space program. Lasting only 13 episodes, it was created by Garry Marshall and Thomas L. Miller.
24. ‘The Paul Lynde Show’ (1972 to 1973)
Paul Lynde had been connecting with audiences so well through various guest spots — especially as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched — that ABC wanted to give him a show of his own. While the humor of this family sitcom actually still works today, at the time the audience didn’t go for it. Maybe they didn’t believe in Lynde as a family man or — as the more popular theory goes — he was much stronger in small doses than in a show from start to finish. All we know is that we were and remain fans!
25. ‘Sanford and Son’ (1972 to 1977)
Developed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, this show excelled in edgy racial humor, in many ways serving as a flipside to All in the Family. Fred and Lamont Sanford run a junkyard, but this show was anything but, landing in the Top 10 for five out of its six seasons. Above: Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson.
26. ‘The Super’ (1972)
Richard S. Castellano’s Joe Girelli finds himself raising his teenage son on his own and serving as the super of a New York apartment building.
27. ‘Temperature’s Rising’ (1972 to 1974)
When this hospital sitcom failed in the ratings, the decision was made to add Paul Lynde to the mix and rebrand the show from Temperature’s Rising to The New Temperature’s Rising. Despite co-stars like Cleavon Little (who would star in 1973’s Blazing Saddles), the efforts didn’t work.
28. ‘Wait Till Your Father Gets Home’ (1972 to 1974)
Tom Bosley voices Harry Boyle, a conservative who goes up against the rest of his family over the issues society was dealing with in the early 1970s. One of his kids was voiced by Willie Aames, who would go on to Eight is Enough and Charles in Charge.
29. ‘Adam’s Rib’ (1973)
Ken Howard is assistant DA Adam Bonner, while his wife, Amanda (Blythe Danner) is a junior partner at a law firm. Needless to say, they end up in conflict with each other in court and back at home.
30. ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice’ (1973)
This was a watered-down version of the R-rated 1969 film of the same name which fully embraced the sexual revolution. Being this was an American TV show in 1973, it didn’t stand a chance. The cast did include Robert Urich and Anne Archer.
31. ‘Calucci’s Department’ (1973)
James Coco is Joe Calucci, a good guy working as a supervisor in the New York State Unemployment Department, and the show chronicles his interaction with coworkers and the public. Pictured, top from left: Jose Perez, Bill Lazarus, Bernard Wexler, Jack Fletcher, Peggy Pope, bottom from left: Candice Azzara, James Coco.
32. ‘Diana’ (1973)
The late Diana Rigg — best known for playing Emma Peel in The Avengers TV show, James Bond’s short-lived wife in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, of course, on Game of Thrones — starred on this American sitcom as Diana Smythe, a woman who, following a divorce, decides to move from London to New York to work as a fashion coordinator at a Fifth Avenue department store.
33. ‘The Girl with Something Extra’ (1973 to 1974)
Newlyweds Sally and John Burton (Sally Field and John Davidson) are beginning their lives together when Sally develops ESP and suddenly finds herself able to read minds, Wackiness ensues. We know Sally hated starring in The Flying Nun, though we’re not sure what her feeling was about this one.
34. ‘Lotsa Luck’ (1973 to 1974)
Dom Deluise is a bachelor Stanley Belmont, who struggles with the fact that he’s living with his mother, sister, and his unemployed brother-in-law. The show was co-created by Carl Reiner.
35. ‘Needles and Pins’ (1973)
He ain’t Mr. Roper in this one, but Norman Fell certainly looks like him, doesn’t he? Same ‘tude. Needles and Pins is set in the fashion district of New York City, with Norman playing clothing manufacturer Nathan Davidson.
36. ‘Chico and the Man’ (1974 to 1978)
The perfect pairing with Sanford and Son back in the 1970s. Freddie Prinze is Chico Rodriguez, who seeks out a job with cantankerous garage shop owner Jack Albertson (just a couple of years since playing that mooch Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). Sadly, Freddie would commit suicide in the middle of the show’s run. They tried to carry on without him, but it didn’t work.
37. ‘Good Times’ (1974 to 1979)
A spinoff from Maude focused on Esther Rolle’s Florida Evans (she worked as Maude’s maid) and her family in the Chicago housing projects. Also starring Ralph Carter, Bernadette Stanis, Ja’net DuBois, John Amos and Jimmie Walker, whose catchphrase “Dyn-o-mite!” entered the popular vernacular for a time.
38. ‘Happy Days’ (1974 to 1984)
It’s Richie, the Fonz, Potsie, Ralph, and, of course, the Cunningham family. Pictured above, clockwise from the top left, are Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, and Erin Moran. The Fonz became a true phenomenon in this light-hearted show about life in the 1950s.
39. ‘Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers’ (1974 to 1975)
Paul Sand is Boston symphony violinist Robert Dreyfuss, who falls in love all the time without much success and decides that he’d be better off hanging out with his brother and sister-in-law (Michael Pataki and Penny Marshall, who was this close to Laverne & Shirley).
40. ‘Rhoda’ (1974 to 1978)
Valerie Harper’s Rhoda Morgenstern is spun off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and is brilliant in her own right. Just so long as Rhoda doesn’t marry her boyfriend, Joe … Wait, she does? Bye, Rhoda. Pictured: Harold Gould, Nancy Walker, Julie Kavner, Valerie and David Groh.
41. ‘That’s My Mama’ (1974 to 1975)
Describes IMDB: “Clifton likes being a barber in Washington, D.C., where he works in the business started by his father. He also enjoys being single, but his widowed mama Eloise has other ideas and wants him settled like his sister Tracy and her conservative husband Leonard. Pictured above, from left, are Clifton Davis, Theresa Merritt, and a pre-Love Boat Ted Lange, whose character was a mailman. He liked to enter the scene saying, “I got it …. I got it … and I gotta report it!”
42. ‘Barney Miller’ (1975 to 1982)
A great ensemble of actors brings the cops of New York’s 12th Precinct to life. Pictured are, standing from left, Ron Glass, Jack Soo, Gregory Sierra; sitting from left: Max Gail, Hal Linden, and Abe Vigoda.
43. ‘The Bob Crane Show’ (1975)
Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane is former insurance salesman Bob Wilcox who has decided to attend medical school and needs the support of his family with the curriculum (not to mention complications coming from the fact he’s one of the older students there).
44. ‘Doc’ (1975)
In a nutshell, there’s plenty of gentle humor coming from Barnard Hughes as an old-fashioned family doctor named Joe Bogart.
45. ‘Fay’ (1975 to 1976)
After 25 years of marriage, Lee Grant’s Fay Stewart begins navigating a new job and dating again in her 40s. Created by Susan Harris, who would go on to create Loves Me, Loves Me Not; Soap, Benson, I’m a Big Girl Now, It Takes Two, Hail to the Chief, The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Good & Evil, Nurses, The Golden Palace and The Secret Lives of Men. That’s some track record.
46. ‘Hot l Baltimore’ (1975)
Created by playwright Lanford Wilson, for its time it was considered pretty racy as it followed the carrying on of guests in the old hotel, whose “E” burned out but was never replaced. n the image above, men from left: Lee Bergere, Al Freeman Jr., Henry Calvert, Stan Gottlieb, Richard Masur, James Cromwell, women from left: Robin Wilson, Gloria LeRoy, Conchata Ferrell, Jeannie Linero.
47. ‘The Jeffersons’ (1975 to 1985)
Another spinoff from All in the Family, with the Bunkers’ next-door neighbors George and Louise Jefferson movin’ on up (to the Eastside). Pictured above from left: Franklin Cover, Roxie Roker, Paul Benedict, Isabel Sanford (front), Sherman Hemsley, Marla Gibbs, Mike Evans (front), Ned Wertimer, and Berlinda Tolbert.
48. ‘Joe and Sons’ (1975 to 1976)
Working-class widower Joe Vitale (Richard S. Castellano) is raising his teenage boys Mark (Barry Miller) and Nick (Jimmy Baio) in Hoboken, New Jersey with help from his aunt Florence. Proudly Italian-American, he hangs out with pal Gus (Jerry Stiller) and neighbor waitress Estelle (Bobbi Jordan).
49. ‘Karen’ (1975)
Fresh off her Emmy-winning performance on Room 222, Karen Valentine stars in this sitcom as Karen Angelo, who lives in the nation’s capital and works for Open America, an advocate group for the average citizen.
50. ‘One Day at a Time’ (1975 to 1984)
Norman Lear’s winning streak continues in this comedy about single mother Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) and her teenage daughters Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) and Julie (Mackenzie Phillps) Cooper. Also providing hijinks was building super Dwayne F. Schneider (Pat Harrington).
51. ‘On the Rocks’
Alamesa minimum-security prison has four inmates in a friendly rivalry with their guards and warden. Above, standing from left: Leonard Stone, Hal Williams, Rick Hurst, Jay Gerber, Bobby Sandler. Seated: Jose Perez.
52. ‘Phyllis’ (1975 to 1977)
A second spinoff from The Mary Tyler Moore, this one starring Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom, Mary’s landlady and friend who has moved back to her hometown of San Francisco.
53. ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ (1975 to 1979)
Gabe Kotter returns to his high school to teach the unruly students known as The Sweathogs. Pictured from left: Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Robert Hegyes, Ron Palillo, John Travolta (yup, this one pretty much gave him to the world), and Gabe Kaplan.
54. ‘We’ll Get By’ (1975)
George Platt (Paul Sorvino) is a lawyer who lives with his family in a middle-class neighborhood in a New Jersey suburb. The Platt’s, George and Liz (Mitzi Hoag), have three teenagers, Muff (Jerry Houser), Kenny (Willie Aames), and Andrea (Devon Scott). That’s your set up.
55. ‘When Things Were Rotten’ (1975)
Coming off of the one-two punch of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks decided to spoof the Robin Hood legend. Pictured above from left: Dick Van Patten, Bernie Kopell, Richard Dimitri, (front), Dick Gautier, Misty Rowe, and David Sabin.
56. ‘Alice’ (1976 to 1985)
The feature film Alice’s Restaurant spawned this sitcom starring the above: Beth Howland, Linda Lavin (in the title role), Vic Tayback, Polly “Kiss My Grits” Holliday.
57. ‘Ball Four’ (1976)
From IMDB: “In the first episode pitcher Jim Bouton informed his teammates and coaches that he was going to write a series of articles on baseball life ‘off the field.’ Manager Capogrosso and most of the others were not very keen on the idea. Ball Four was based on a book of the same title by former major league pitcher Jim Bouton.”
58. ‘The Brady Bunch Hour’ (1976 to 1977)
The concept of this one is so bizarre. Most of the original cast of The Brady Bunch are back hosting a variety, show, but they’re doing so in character. For instance, Mike Brady has sold his architectural company so he can run the variety show. Episodes can be found on YouTube and are worth checking out for the trippiness factor alone. Above, from left: Mike Lookinland, Christopher Knight, Barry Williams, Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Ann B. Davis, Maureen McCormick, Geri Reischl (aka “Fake Jan”) and Susan Olsen.
59. ‘C.P.O. Sharkey’ (1976 to 1978)
Comic exploits of an acid-tongued chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, played by the acid-tongued comedian Don Rickles.
60. ‘The Dumplings’ (1976)
Norman Lear co-created this sitcom starring James Coco and Geraldine Brooks as heavy-set couple Joe and Angela Dumpling, who runs a deli. There’s not a lot more to it than that.
61. ‘Holmes & Yo-Yo’ (1976)
Richard B. Shull is Detective Alexander Holmes who has been partnered with the first robot police officer, John Schuck’s Gregory “Yoyo” Voyonovich.
62. ‘Laverne and Shirley’ (1976 to 1983)
The classic spinoff from Happy Days featuring Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, who work their job at the brewery and live life in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Above, behind and next to Penny and Cindy, are, from left: Phil Foster, Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Eddie Mekka, and Betty Garrett.
63. ‘The McLean Stevenson Show’ (1976 to 1977)
McLean Stevenson left MASH for what he thought would be greater opportunities. Did he achieve that goal? You be the judge, but there are three samples in the 1970s. In this one, Mac and Peggy Ferguson face the opposite of an empty nest when their two grown children plus two grandchildren move in.
64. ‘Mr. T and Tina’ (1976)
Taro (Pat Morita, coming off of playing Arnold on Happy Days), a single father, relocates because of business from Japan to Chicago. Conservative Taro wants a traditional nanny for his children Aki (Gene Profanato) and Sachi (June Angela). But he gets Nebraska born Tina Susan Blanchard), who challenges his orthodox ways.
65. ‘The Nancy Walker Show’ (1976)
Nancy runs her own talent agency, which kept her busy while husband Ken (William Daniels) was on Naval duty. Since his retirement, things have changed — not as easy to run things when your husband is around all the time. Nearby is daughter Lorraine (Beverly Archer) and husband Glen (James Cromwell), plus gay housemate Terry (Terry Folson). It all sounds complicated.
66. ‘The Practice’ (1976 to 1977)
An old-school physician (Danny Thomas) and his doctor son (David Spielberg) have different approaches to the practice of medicine. They do, however, welcome cool guest stars, like Lucille Ball, above.
67. ‘Sirota’s Court’ (1976 to 1977)
Night shift Judge Matthew Sirota (Michael Constantine) tries to keep his urban courtroom running with a combination of humor and a dose of common sense. There’s also a casual romance with his clerk, Maureen (Cynthia Harris), plus he is constantly coming between battles of the idealistic defender Gail Goodman (Kathleen Miller) and zealous prosecutor Bud Nugent (Fred Willard).
68. ‘Tabitha’ (1976 to 1978)
A spinoff from classic TV witch-com Bewitched, with Lisa Hartman as a grown-up Tabitha Stephens. Also starring Robert Urich, Mel Stewart, and David Ankrum.
69. ‘The Tony Randall Show’ (1976 to 1978)
A year after The Odd Couple finished its run, Tony Randall found himself playing fastidious Philadelphia Judge Walter Franklin, who has a housekeeper who’s glum a sloppy court clerk (guess Jack Klugman was tied up on Quincy, M.D.), an icy secretary, and an obnoxiously ingratiating Assistant District Attorney. A much funnier show than it was given credit for at the time.
70. ‘What’s Happening’ (1976 to 1979)
A trio of youths — played by Ernest Thomas, Heyworld Nelson, and Fred Berry — learn about life, love, friendship, credit cards, gambling, and a variety of other things while growing up in an inner-city.
71. ‘The Betty White Show’ (1977 to 1978)
This one was not a spinoff from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, even though both Betty and Georgia Engel were both recurring characters on it. The show focuses on the exploits of hack TV actress Joyce Whitman (Betty), star of the fictitious Undercover Woman series. John Hillerman also stars.
72. ‘Busting Loose’ (1977)
Offers IMDB, “Following his graduation from engineering school, 24-year-old slacker Lenny Markowitz (Adam Arkin) moves into his own rundown apartment (his first time away from home), and next door to a gorgeous older redhead (Melody, played by Barbara Rhoades). Ignoring his engineering background, he goes to work at a shoe store owned by Cabell (Paul B. Price) and staffed by jive-talking Raymond (Ralph Wilcox). He also finds time to play poker and get into trouble with his childhood pals.”
73. ‘Carter Country’ (1977 to 1979)
Culturally different police officers overcome their differences for the common good. Pictured above: Harvey Vernon, Guich Koock, Victor French, Richard Paul, Barbara Cason, Vernee Watson-Johnson, and Kene Holliday.
74. ‘Fish’ (1977 to 1978)
An unexpected spinoff from Barney Miller with Abe Vigoda as Detective Phil Fish and Florence Stanley reprising her role as his wife, Bernice. The two of them take in five foster kids, which is funny from the start when you think about Fish’s personality. Him and five kids? We thinks not!
75. ‘Loves Me, Loves Me Not’ (1977)
Recently having finished her time as part of The Partridge Family, Susan Dey is now teacher Jane Benson, who starts dating reporter Dick Phillips (Kip Gilman) with neither one sure how they feel about each other. Things start off somewhat chaotically, but they decide to keep giving it a try to see if anything develops.
76. ‘Quark’ (1977 to 1978)
Life on a space garbage collector with its captain (Richard Benjamin) and his crew. Bottom left: Tim Thomerson, center: Richard Benjamin, top right: Conrad Janis, Cyb/Patricia Barnstable (in gold lame), bottom right: Richard Kelton.
77. ‘On Our Own’ (1977)
Two secretaries (Bess Armstrong and Lynnie Greene) in a high-powered New York advertising agency are promoted and begin their new careers with enthusiasm — sometimes with too much enthusiasm.
78. ‘Operation Petticoat’ (1977)
Based on the 1959 film of the same name, there are hijinks on the high seas when a U.S. submarine has to take on a collection of female nurses. Their influence is profound, particularly noticeable when the sub is suddenly painted pink. Pictured above: Dorrie Thomson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Melinda Naud, Bond Gideon, Richard Gilliland, John Astin.
79. ‘Sanford Arms’ (1977)
Teddy Wilson plays widower Phil Wheeler, who buys the Sanford Arms rooming house in a spinoff to Sanford and Son that was pretty much a disaster.
80. ‘The San Pedro Beach Bums’ (1977)
Five friends since high school decide to share a houseboat in beautiful southern California. Pictured (top row, from left): Louise Hoven, Darryl McCullough, John Mark Robinson, Stuart Pankin, (middle): Christopher DeRose, Nancy Morgan, Susan Mullen, Lisa Reeves, (front): Christopher Murney and Kristoff.
81. ‘Soap’ (1977 to 1981)
From Google: “This classic comedy series is a satire on all the daytime soaps out there. The stories revolve around a rich family, the Tates, and a blue-collar family, the Campbells. With stories mostly centered around crazy characters and sex, the escapades are as soapy as you can get: divorce, homosexuality, adultery, kidnapping, organized crime, war flashbacks, custody battles, murder and amnesia.” Pictured above (back, l to r): Arthur Peterson, Jay Johnson, Bob Seagren, (3rd row): Sal Viscuso, Diana Canova, Robert Guillaume, Dinah Manoff, Ted Wass, (2nd row): Jimmy Baio, Robert Mandan, Richard Mulligan, Jennifer Salt, Katherine Helmond, Cathryn Damon, Billy Crystal.
82. ‘Three’s Company’ (1977 to 1984)
Hey, it’s the place where the kisses are hers and hers and his: Suzanne Somers, Joyce DeWitt, and John Ritter in the ’70s classic that has been credited along with Charlie’s Angels as ushering in the era of “jiggle TV.”
83. ‘We’ve Got Each Other’ (1977 to 1978)
Basically, it’s a role reversal with Judy Hibbard going out to work for photographer Damon Jerome, while her husband, Stuart, works at home and does the cleaning and cooking. Believe it or not, this was quite the shake-up at the time that few people were actually used to. Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Tom Poston, Joan Van Ark, Ren Woods, Oliver Clark, Beverly Archer.
84. ‘Another Day’ (1978)
The Gardners are struggling to be an ordinary traditional American family. Father Don wants to be able to support the entire family on his income, but just can’t quite seem to make ends meet, so his wife Ginny gets a job of her own. Above is a shot of Joan Hackett and David Groh, the latter last seen marrying and divorcing Valerie Harper’s Rhoda.
85. ‘Apple Pie’ (1978)
The show is set in Kansas City during the Depression, with Rue McClanahan as Ginger-Neil Hollyhock, who decides to end her loneliness by taking out a newspaper ad to recruit a new family for herself. Dabney Coleman and Jack Gilford are among those who decide to answer. The show was created by Norman Lear.
86. ‘Baby, I’m Back’ (1978)
Ray Ellis (Demond Wilson) returns to his wife after seven years of abandonment, only to find she is engaged to another man. Also starring Helen Martin, Denise Nicholas, Tony Holmes, and Kim Fields.
87. ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ (1978 to 1986)
The wealthy Philip Drummond (Conrad Bain) adopts the children of his late housekeeper (the kids played by Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges). Also featuring his daughter, Kimberly (Dana Plato) and, early on, housekeeper Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae).
88. ‘Free Country’ (1978)
The story of a Lithuanian couple (Judith Khan, Rob Reiner) who immigrated to New York City at the turn of the 20th century.
89. ‘Grandpa Goes to Washington’ (1978 to 1979)
With Chico and the Man behind him, Jack Albertson takes on the role of Senator Joe Kelley, a political professor who gets elected to the U.S. Senate — despite his lack of experience.
90. ‘In the Beginning’ (1978)
A by-the-book priest, Father Daniel M. Cleary, has to deal with liberal nun Sister Agnes. This marked McLean Stevenson’s second attempt at series success post-MASH.
91. ‘Mork and Mindy’ (1978 to 1982)
Na-noo, na-noo! Another spinoff from Happy Days, this one highlighted the previously-unknown Robin Williams as alien Mork from Ork, who is taken in by Mindy McConnell (Pam Dawber). The jokes are flying faster than you can keep up with, which makes the show — especially the first couple of seasons — so much fun and brilliant comedy.
92. ‘Taxi’ (1978 to 1983)
Another wonderful ensemble series focusing on the employees of the Sunshine Cab Company. Above, standing from left: Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd, seated from left: Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza.
93. ‘The Ted Knight Show’ (1978)
This one lasted just six weeks. It’s about two guys (Ted Knight and Norman Burton) who decide to open a high-class escort service in New York City. Wait, what?
94. ‘The Waverly Wonders’ (1978)
Joe Namath is retired pro basketball player Joe Casey who’s now working as a history teacher and basketball coach at Wisconsin’s Waverly High School. The team … well, it’s not good. Above: Ben Piazza, Joshua Grenrock, Gwynne Gilford, Joe Namath, Tierre Turner, James Staley, Charles Bloom, Kim Lankford.
95. ‘Who’s Watching the Kids’ (1978)
Garry Marshall created this show about a pair of Las Vegas showgirls who are working and room together, and each has a younger sibling staying with them. Above: Lynda Goodfriend, Larry Breeding, Caren Kaye, (front l-r): Scott Baio, Tammy Lauren.
96. ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ (1978 to 1982)
Ensemble comedy focusing on the eccentric workers at the WKRP radio station. With this show, Loni Anderson really caught people’s attention. Pictured above back row, from left): Richard Sanders, Gordon Jump, Tim Reid, (middle): Frank Bonner, Gary Sandy, (front): Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman, Jan Smithers.
97. ‘A New Kind of Family’ (1979 to 1980)
Two single mothers rent the same house, sight unseen, from an unscrupulous real estate agent. With their money gone and no place else to go, they decide to move in together with their total of four children. Sounds like a weird hybrid of The Goodbye Girl and The Brady Bunch. Pictured (clockwise): Rob Lowe, Gwynne Gilford, Connie Ann Hearn, Lauri Hendler, David Hollander, Eileen Brennan.
98. ‘Angie’ (1979 to 1980)
Angie Falco (Donna Pescow, who had caught people’s attention in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever) is a middle-class Italian-American who marries the wealthy Brad Benson (Robert Hays, so close to Airplane), and she soon learns how to adjust to her new lifestyle by being thrown headfirst into it. Doris Roberts also stars as Angie’s mother.
99. ‘Archie Bunker’s Place’ (1979 to 1983)
A spinoff to All in the Family, with Archie Bunker co-running a bar while raising his nieces and somehow managing to be a decent human being. Guess he finally started taking his advice to Edith and dummied up. Above, standing l-r: Jason Wingreen, Martin Balsam, Danny Dayton, Bill Quinn, sitting l-r: Danielle Brisebois, Carroll O’Connor.
100. ‘The Associates’ (1979 to 1980)
Describes Wikipedia, “The show was the first bonafide starring vehicle for Martin Short and centered on a small group of young novice lawyers who worked at a Wall Street firm.” Above, Martin Short, Tim Thomerson, Joe Regalbuto, Shelley Smith, Alley Mills, Wilfred Hyde-White.
101. ‘The Bad News Bears’ (1979 to 1980)
Swimming pool cleaner Morris Buttermaker (Jack Warden), to avoid jail time, agrees to coach the Bears Little League baseball team. They’re called the Bad News Bears for a reason. Above, rear 2nd from left: J. Brennan Smith, 3rd from left: Rad Daly, Jack Warden, Tricia Cast, foreground 2nd from left: Meeno Peluce, 3rd from left: Corey Feldman, far right: Sparky Marcus.
102. ‘Benson’ (1979 to 1986)
This spinoff to Soap features Robert Guillaume as the title character, who goes from being Jessica Tate’s butler to climbing the ladder working for Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling (James Noble). Pictured above ((top row, from left): Caroline McWilliams, James Noble, Rene Auberjonois, (middle): Ethan Phillips, Inga Swenson, (front): Robert Guillaume, Missy Gold.
103. ‘Billy’ (1979)
Loosely based on the 1963 film Billy Liar, Steve Guttenberg is young Billy, a man with a wild imagination who can’t help telling some pretty wild stories which exasperate his father to no end.
104. ‘Brothers and Sisters’ (1979)
An attempt to cash in on the success of National Lampoon’s Animal House that simply didn’t work. Pictured above, standing l-r: Amy Johnston, Larry Anderson, sitting l-r: Jon Cutler, Chris Lemmon, Randy Brooks.
105. ‘Delta House’ (1979)
This one is spun off from Animal House and it doesn’t fare much better. Among those reprising their roles from the feature are, above, James Widdoes, Bruce McGill, John Vernon, and Stephen Furst.
106. ‘Detective School’ (1979)
The lunatics are apparently running the asylum in this show about a group of people who work at a school that trains you to become a detective. Above, from left: Pat Proft, LaWanda Page, Jo Ann Harris, Taylor Negron, Randolph Mantooth.
107. ‘The Facts of Life’ (1979 to 1988)
Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae), from Diff’rent Strokes, takes charge at a girls boarding school, helping to guide the young ladies through life. Pictured (from left): Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn, Charlotte Rae, Kim Fields, Nancy McKeon.
108. ‘Flatbush’ (1979)
There may be a reason that you never heard of this one: it’s about the members of a Brooklyn gang who call themselves the Fungos. It stars Adrian Zmed (later of T.J. Hooker), Joseph Cali, Sandy Helberg, Randy Stumpf, and Vincent Bufano.
109. ‘Hello Larry’ (1979 to 1980)
Larry Alder is a 44-year-old divorcee in Portland, Oregon, raising his two teenage daughters and hosting a call-in psychology radio show. Yeah, it’s McLean Stevenson again.
110. ‘Hizzoner’ (1979)
Each episode would feature the lead character, Mayor Cooper (David Huddleston), break into song. Besides that, the show was about the mayor who is a widower who has a pair of grown children: a hippie and a civil rights attorney.
111. ‘House Calls’ (1979 to 1982)
The challenges of a romance between surgeon Charley Michaels (Wayne Rogers) and the hospital’s administrative assistant, Ann Anderson (Lynn Redgrave). Based on the film of the same name.
112. ‘The Last Resort’ (1979)
A group of college students begin working at a Catskills resort, their different personalities coming into conflict with each other. Walter Olkewicz and Robert Costanzo (both above) are among the stars.
113. ‘Makin’ It’ (1979)
You can always count on a hit film spawning a TV series designed to cash in on it, and that’s what this is: inspired by Saturday Night Fever, it focuses on a pair of Italian brothers (David Naughton and Greg Antonacci) who hit up the disco at night.
114. ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Hour’ (1979)
Basically a show within a show, with Mary playing variety show star Mary McKinnon, and the episodes following her challenges to get each episode mounted, and then bringing the audience into the episodes themselves. Didn’t work out too well for Mary, but the following year she would give an intense and stunning performance in Robert Redford’s Ordinary People.
115. ‘Out of the Blue’ (1979)
Jimmy Brogan is Random, an angel trying to earn his wings by reaching out and helping human beings. Dixie Carter (later of Designing Women) also starred.
116. ‘The Ropers’ (1979 to 1980)
A spinoff from Three’s Company starring Norman Fell and Audra Lindley as Jack, Chrissy, and Janet’s former landlords, the Ropers. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work and the duo couldn’t return to the original series due to the fact that Don Knotts had been hired as Ralph Furley.
117. ‘Stockard Channing in Just Friends’ (1979)
“After her marriage breaks up,” notes IMDB, “Susan Hughes (Stockard Channing) leaves Boston, Massachusetts for Los Angeles, California, where her matchmaking sister Victoria (Mimi Kennedy) lives. Susan gets a job at a spa run by the eccentric but fit, Milt D’Angelo (Lou Criscuolo), with Coral (Sydney Goldsmith), a fellow instructor. Her apartment comes with the obligatory wacky neighbor Leonard Scribner (Gerrit Graham).” The previous year, Stockard had come off of playing Rizzo in the movie version of Grease.
118. ‘Struck by Lightning’ (1979)
Ted Stein, a science teacher, inherits an old New England inn and discovers that he’s a descendent of Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Then he discovers that the inn’s caretaker, Frank, is actually the Frankenstein monster. Wackiness ensues from there. Jack Elam is Frank while Jeffrey Kramer — the deputy sheriff from the first two Jaws movies — is Stein.
119. ‘Turnabout’ (1979)
Thanks to a mysterious statue, the married Sam and Penny Alston (John Schuck and Sharon Gless) find that they’ve swapped personalities. Shades of Freaky Friday!
120. ‘Working Stiffs’ (1979)
In retrospect, and given the cast, it seems unbelievable that this show only lasted three episodes, but, you know, we ain’t lying. Janitor brothers Ernie O’Rourke (Jim Belushi) and Mike O’Rourke (Michael Keaton) are determined to work their way up in their uncle’s office building.
121. ‘Big John, Little John’ (Honorable Mention, 1976)
We can’t let the 1970s get away from us without mentioning this Saturday morning kid’s show that was produced by Lloyd J. Schwartz, son of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz. It stars Herb Edelman (later Dorothy’s ex-husband on The Golden Girls) and Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch and is about an adult who encounters the Fountain of Youth and finds himself becoming a younger version of himself and then back to his own age — at the most inopportune times, naturally.
And here endeth our guide to 1970s sitcoms. Hope you enjoyed the trip back through time.
The post 121 Classic (and Not-So-Classic) TV Sitcoms from the 1970s appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Ed Gross