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Unusual Facts and Trivia About Some Classic Sitcoms

By Edited Mar 4, 2016 0 0

The Andy Griffith Show actually started out as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show.

There were a total of 240 episodes in the series' run (1960-1968).

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was a spinoff of Andy Griffith.

Griffith was already a popular stand-up comedian when the show's pilot episode was done, but he became a household name when this aired.

In the pilot, Danny's arrested in Mayberry by Andy Taylor, who's not only the sheriff, but the justice of the peace, newspaper editor, and the mayor (in the pilot). 'Andy Taylor" was such a hit, that an entire series was built around him.

When Don Knotts saw the pilot, he thought that Andy should have a deputy and called to make the suggestion…TV history was made!

The pilot episode's town drunk was Hill Hoople, played by Frank Cady, who rose to greater fame as storekeeper Sam Drucker, featured on both Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. Once the series went underway, the town drunk was of course, Otis Campbell, played by Hal Smith.

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Golden Girls was the 11th TV series for Betty White.

Ted Danson enrolled in (graduated from) bartender's school for his role as Sam Malone in Cheers. And he actually finished second (!) in his class at the AmericanBartendingSchool.

The show's creators didn't think Danson looked very athletic, so his character became an ex-baseball player; Sam Malone was originally supposed to be an ex-football player.

Cheers had a total of 275 episodes (1982-1993).

Keenen Ivory Wayans had a bit part in episode 2!

After the fifth season, Shelley Long left the series.

The original pilot for All In The Family was under the title Those Were The Days. Another working title was Justice For All (The series was based on a British sitcom).

The Bunkers were originally known as the Justice family.

The series total of episodes was 204 (1971-1979).

The success of episode no. 44, "The Bunkers and the Swingers", was partially responsible for the creation of Three's Company.

The creator of that show were the writers of this episode: Don Nicoll, Michael Ross and Bernie West.

It was Jackie Gleason himself who came up with The Honeymooners title and concept. Several rejected titles from his writers were The Couple Next Door, The Beast and The Lovers.

Ralph Kramden, Gleason's character was originally a cop, but Gleason changed him to a bus driver-he felt they get more upset.

The series ran from 1955-1956 (39 episodes in the original syndication package).

Jeffersons star Isabel Sanford, who played Sherman Hemsley's wife (Louise or 'Weezie") was actually 21 years older than he was! When the series premiered in January 1975 (to 1985, for a total of 253 episodes), she was 57 and Hemsley was 36.

Series regular Roxie Roker was the mother of rock star Lenny Kravitz.

Matthew Broderick was first choice for the role of Alex P. Keaton on :Family Ties. Broderick turned down the TV role, because his father, actor James Broderick (Family TV series, among other things) was gravely ill in New York City. His son didn't want to leave him.

The Clampett mansion on The Beverly Hillbillies had 32 rooms and 14 bathrooms!

How did Mr. Ed talk? The actual technique remains a secret to this day!

Clint Eastwood (then known for the TV western series Rawhide) was one of the few actors to work with both Mr. Ed (as a guest star) and Francis the Talking Mule (Francis In the Navy, 1955).

In the 1950s, the sponsor's commercials were not only done by the actors, but the plugs were actually worked into the story lines of the show.

Paul Henning, a writer for The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950-1958, series total of 239 episodes, 130 shown in syndication) went on to create The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction (his daughter, Linda Kaye Henning, was a series regular as Betty Jo) and Green Acres.

Jeff Conaway, who played aspiring actor Bobby Wheeler on Taxi, played Danny Zuko in the Broadway musical Grease for eight years (3,388 performances). He was aced out of the movie role by John Travolta (Conaway played the role of Kenickie in the film).

Richard Pryor and Lou Gossett were in episode no. 18 of The Partridge Family!

Pryor also wrote several Sanford and Son episodes!

Get Smart was created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry.

For a while, the working title of The Dick Van Dyke Show was The Full House. A version of the show was made with creator Carl Reiner taking the lead role. That pilot was called Head of the Family.

Michael Nesmith of The Monkees (TV show and group) was independently wealthy before, because his mother invented the once-popular office supply product Liquid Paper.

Bea Benadaret not only played Cousin Pearl Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies and Aunt Kate on Petticoat Junction, but was also the voice of Betty Rubble on The Flintstones.

The creator of Leave It to Beaver also created The Munsters!

Conan O' Brian was a former Simpsons staff writer who left the show to take over the late-night slot on NBC vacated by David Letterman.

Beatrice Arthur had never done regular TV work before the Maude series (she was basically a stage actress).

Richard Dreyfuss was a frequent guest star on many sixties TV shows.

My Little Margie star Gale Storm's real name is Josephine Owaissa Cottle. She was 31 years old when she began playing the 21-year-old Margie.

Bob Newhart's real first name is George!

The Simpsons began life as a series of animated shorts that appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show.

Art Carney (The Honeymooners) made his debut in show business doing an impression of FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt).

As a young man, Carney was an aspiring major league baseball player.

Suzanne Pleshette was originally considered for the role of Catwoman (on TV's Batman).

Buddy Hackett was in the original cast of The Phil Silvers Show, but he left to do a Broadway show.

Neil Simon was a staff writer on the series.

For its first year on the air, The Phil Silvers Show was known as You'll Never Get Rich. Later, in syndication, it became Sergeant Bilko.

Sharon Tate appeared in numerous episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as the bank secretary. And she was also the very first Billie Jo on Petticoat Junction in the unaired series pilot. Her part was re-cast after the producers learned that she had posed nude for Playboy.

Jack Klugman and Tony Randall had both acted in stage versions of The Odd Couple before they made the TV series. And both men had ownership of a portion of the production!

Fred Gwynne (Car 54, Where Are You? and The Munsters) was a Harvard graduate. He was also a talented guitarist and cartoonist.

Dick Van Dyke left his starring role in Broadway's Bye Bye Birdie to start his classic TV series (Gene Rayburn took over Van Dyke's Broadway role).

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