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According to Gary David Goldberg in his memoir "Sit, Ubu, Sit", Creators Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses did not get along with Tony Randall, nor did they get along with each other, and also refused to take calls from ABC President Fred Silverman. Despite good ratings, Silverman cancelled the series, due to his unhappiness with their behavior. When the series was picked up by CBS for a second season, Randall returned under the condition that he would not have to work directly with Patchett and Tarses. See more »
This comedy concerned the courtroom and home life of a middle-aged Philadelphia judge. "The Tony Randall Show",was without a doubt very funny in its own way,since it did star Tony Randall(his second television series after his successful and Emmy winning five year-run as Felix Unger on the television series,"The Odd Couple" opposite Jack Klugman)and was created by the same producers who brought you "The Bob Newhart Show",and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"(under the company called MTM Productions). The series ran for two seasons on ABC-TV from its premiered episode on September 23,1976 until the final installment of the series on March 25,1978. Only 45 episodes were produced of this series,with great writing from Gary David Goldberg and Michael Zinberg and directed by some of the best in the business.
The story was basically on the same premise as "The Bob Newhart Show",but with some of the strangest and most ordinary looking people you'll ever come in contact with. It was like Bob Newhart's show,but this time around instead of a psychiatry desk its in a courtroom,and this time our lead character is a middle-aged widower with two kids and a housekeeper to boot. Court of Common Pleas Judge Walter Franklin (Tony Randall)was serious about his work,sometimes a bit stuffy,but kind at heart and always had a twinkle in his eye. After two years as a widower Walter was ready for a little romance,and his attempts to both keep his dignity and charm his dates provided much of the humor. Walter played the field,although Judge Eleanor Hooper(Diana Muldaur)was a recurring love interest.
Our characters included that slob of a court clerk,Jack Terwilliger (Barney Martin)who was Walter's longtime,ultra-accurate and no so bright court reporter;his icy secretary and sharp-tongued Miss Reubner (Allyn Ann McLerie)who was overbearing and motherly;the judge's plummy and about as nutty as a fruitcake housekeeper Mrs. McClellan(Rachel Roberts);and the strangest,weirdest,funniest person of them all---the obnoxiously ingratiating assistant to the assistant District Attorney Mario Lanza(Zane Lasky). Others included Walter's liberal-minded and conservative father Wyatt Franklin(Hans Conried) who considered his son to be something of a stuffed shirt with it came to important matters,and his other members of the family,which consisted of his 18-year old daughter "Bobby",aka Roberta Franklin(played by two actresses: Season One by Devon Scott,and Second Two by Penny Peyser)who was very much involved with current issues,and Walter's annoying,repulsive,and precocious 11-year old son Oliver(Brad Savage). Great show if Tony Randall could have gotten another sidekick to join him for this series. When production started on this series,they really wanted to team Randall and his co-star from his other series "The Odd Couple" Jack Klugman for this,but at the time Klugman was unavailable. Klugman went on to star in another series called "Quincy" for a rival network,leaving Tony Randall to carry on. And with this series,it could have lasted longer.
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