Dec. 9, 1928-June 23,2015

Dec. 9, 1928-June 23,2015

Any time I start to question why I still work on this site I learn something I only would have learned about doing research for this site. For example, in memory of Dick Van Patten’s passing I wanted to show the first episode of the show that made him a household name, the comedy/drama Eight Is Enough, about a family with eight kids (later beaten in spades by reality TV with even more kids). When I went to track down the pilot I found there were a few changes to the cast between pilot and series…like the eldest son being played by Mark Hamill!

The show was based on the same titled book, based on the family of Thomas Brayden (the family was called the Bradfords and Tom was Van Patten’s character’s name). The series lasted for five seasons, from 1977 – 1981. I was never really drawn into the series but it was quite prominent during my childhood as the reruns were all over syndication. Let’s watch the first episode to learn why you should “Never Try Eating Nectarines Since Juice May Dispense” (the episode’s title, and it will make sense early on).

They’re missing the theme song, which wouldn’t be introduced until season 3:

Mark Hamill, who played eldest son David, was replaced in the series by Grant Goodeve (who sang the theme song above and had a minor singing career) so he could become Luke Skywalker in Star Wars while Van Patten would later play Rowland, king of planet Druidia in Mel Brooks’ Star Wars (and other sci-fi) parody Spaceballs. Kimberly Beck was replaced as Nancy by Dianne Kay and Willie Aames (probably better known to younger readers as Charles’ wacky friend Buddy Lembeck from Charles In Charge or as the original Bibleman in the Batman ’66 style Christian kids show Bibleman) took over as Tom Jr. Diana Hyland left after the fourth episode due to illness and later passed away. Instead of replacing the actress, her character, Tom’s wife Joan, had also passed away by the second season, with a love interest for Tom with a tutor, Abby (a nickname), played by Betty Buckley (except in two reunion movies thanks to scheduling), and the two characters wed in a TV movie. Future Karate Kid Ralph Macchio also had a recurring role in the final season as Abby’s nephew.

The series is currently available through Amazon (via Warner Archive’s Manufacture On Demand service with the first season online through Amazon Prime) or ITunes (also season 1), but I get a stipend if you go through the Amazon link. Either way, if you like wholesome family drama that isn’t afraid to discuss real issues seriously (despite also being a comedy), it may be something to check out.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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