memories of the ’80s – Kate & Allie

Image result for kate & allie tv showIn the 1980s, a sitcom focused on the reality of the changing families came to the small screen with the series Kate & Allie.

Created by Sherry Coben, the TV series focused on two women who are recently divorced and decide to live together with their kids in a New York brownstone.

Kate, played by Susan Saint James, is a free-spirited and spontaneous, the opposite of her childhood friend Allie, played by Jane Curtain, who is more conservative and likes to plan.

Kate has a daughter Emma, while Allie has two kids, Chip and Jennie, all living together in one house.

Unlike many other series of the time, the women were shown to be independent and strong, trying to date in New York City and wise to the games many men play.

Kate works as a travel agent and constantly battles sexism in her work world, while Allie works at home, and worked on overcoming the stigma of being a housewife.

Originally commissioned as a mid-season replacement for CBS Television’s schedule in March 1984, the positive response to the six episodes confirmed a full season renewal.

Critics were supportive of the episodes and so were the Emmys, nominating Susan Saint James three times for her role, while awarding Jane Curtain twice with Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

During the sixth season, Allie got married and she and Kate were no longer living together but they now shared work duties in their catering company, but this resulted in many viewers and critics saying the show had jumped the shark, and was not renewed for a seventh season.

But in its heyday, Kate & Allie offered a modern view of women and the changing face of families in the 1980s.

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Eyes times three

In Houston, the eyes are a triple threat:

eye triangle

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memories of the ’70s – McMillan & Wife

Image result for mcmillan & wifeThe early 1970s brought a film star to television to be paired with a young actress to solve crimes in San Francisco in McMillan & Wife.

Part of the NBC Mystery Movie series, executive produced by Leonard B. Stern, the show was one of three that debuted in September 1971, including McCloud and Columbo.

Starring Rock Hudson as Police Commissioner Stuart McMillan and Susan Saint James as his wife Sally McMillan, the duo were often the ones to investigate crimes, thanks to his wife’s curiosity.

Hudson was well-known, having been a film star for the previous two decades while this was Saint James’ starring role after a successful run in the The Name of the Game tv series.

Appearing at various A list society soirees, the duo are often the first on the scene, whether it be a murder, burglary or another crime, and started the investigative problem.

John Schuck played Sergeant Charles Enright who would often be the right-hand man to the police commissioner, while the duo’s feisty and hard-drinking housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker, was often a sarcastic and smart commentator on their investigations and silent helper to Sally.

For five seasons, the successful NBC TV series continued, the chemistry between Hudson and Saint James keeping viewers happy with their constant banter and her instincts just as accurate as his in pursuing criminals.

In the last season, Saint James was no longer on the series after NBC failed to offer her a contract and the series ran for a year with Hudson and a different cast of secondary characters.

The series overall kept airing in re-runs throughout the next decade and has always been a favourite of the 1970s for its couple showing their investigative powers.

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H-town love

With love from H-town:

H love

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Colourful child

As seen in Houston – art by Nicky Davis:

child and deer

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memories of the ’80s – Spenser for Hire

Image result for spenser for hire tv seriesFrom Dan Tanna’s Las Vegas, Robert Urich continued his on-screen persona of a PI with the series Spenser for Hire in 1985.

Developed for Warner Bros Television by John Wilder with Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser novels, the television series was the tv version of the books.

Parker wrote over 40 book starring the private detective.

Urich’s Spenser (who had only one name), is revealed as a complex man: he served in the Korean War, was a boxer, has two sons, is very well-read especially in poetry, works out at a boxing gym, loves to cook and is inspired by Julia Child and drives a green 1966 Mustang.

Filmed on location in Boston, Spenser has a girlfriend, regularly gets in the way of the police (Lt. Quirk & Lt. Webster) and frequently is aided by Hawk, played by Avery Brooks, a street-wise enforcer who recognizes Spenser’s devotion to helping people.

Debuting in September 1985 on ABC TV, the series had a steady viewership, those who liked Urich and appreciated a PI whose challenge was usually wrapped up within the hour.

Over the next three seasons, side characters were added and changed and the show’s time slot kept changing, but the ratings were steady. But production costs of basing the series in Boston led ABC to cancel the series in 1988.

In 1993, the first of four made for television movies were completed based on the Spenser character, which also starred Urich, based on four Parker novels.





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The eyes have it

As seen in Houston Texas:

eyes open

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