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Let me put down some interesting facts about this seldom seen series
from the early 1970's,which is in some terms "lost forever in the
vaults of classic TV shows",and here's why....................
The series "Nanny And The Professor" was a mid-season replacement that premiered on ABC-TV in January of 1970(15 episodes),and was picked up for the fall schedule in September of 1970 where it ran for one season during its complete run thru March of 1971(24 episodes),and was picked up again for its second season in September of 1971,where it ran until its final episode of the series in December of 1972(15 episodes). It is also to point out that the series finished itself off as an animated Saturday Morning Cartoon that ran from September of 1972 to January of 1973 on the same network,where the original cast members providing the voices. It was also made into an full-length animated TV-movie that premiered in 1972 during ABC's Super Saturday Morning Theatre.
It was during those two seasons(1970-1972),that the network ABC had another wholesome entry in the magic sitcom genre at(which included the shows "Bewitched",and "The Flying Nun"-were on the same network)were inspired by the hugely successful entourage of the classic 1964 Disney film "Mary Poppins" which starred Julie Andrews. Also to point out that "Nanny And The Professor" came out during the explosion of the bubblegum era of shows as well that were basically on the same network which included "The Brady Bunch",and also "The Partridge Family",and another magical sitcom as well,"The Ghost And Mrs. Muir".
The overall storyline of "Nanny And The Professor" is based on a widower father-figure(played by Richard Long of the TV series The Big Valley),who is raising three kids of his own,hires a English nanny with magical powers who comes over to help the widower raise his children. The English Nanny and The Professor per say,were established as basically employer/employee since they have virtually no character development whatsoever,especially not even a simple plot for romantic development between the characters nor a time for possible marriage,and this simply was not to be which the producers of the series should have left the door open on some kind of predictment here in which somewhere during the duration of this series where the father-figure would walked down the aisle of martial bliss(think of several episodes that had this:"My Three Sons"? "Eight Is Enough?" "The John Forsythe Show"?).
Charming as these characters were,it just didn't click within the series bounds which to a point they didn't grow into a very happy family,but still it was a charming little sitcom that didn't get to prosper,even though it ran for two seasons. Also to point out there was no sexual tension whatsoever within the characters since it was strictly taboo from network television in 1970. However,the producers along with the writers of this sitcom made sure that the character of Nanny uninterested in the Professor,but the show centered around her and his three young impressionable children,the young boys Hal and Butch and their little sister Prudence,since this was strictly an family oriented show. As for the characters Juliet Mills was lovely and charming as the English Nanny Phoebe Figalilly who brought a wonderful display of magic to the show,and Richard Long was just superb as the father-figure Professor Everett,and as for the children Kim Richards was just six-years old,is cute as a button and just as sweet as she can be as little Prudence Everett....And who can forget that great big shaggy dog they had?
After this series went off the air in 1972,it was never heard from again,until the Christian Broadcasting Network(CBN),begin showing these episodes back in the mid-1980's,and the last time they aired it was on TV Land's Showcase back around in the Spring of 2000. As it was back then.when shows like this got cancelled back in those days,that's where they went,since it was that way then and its that way now. Let's face shows like "That Girl","Julia","The Doris Day Show","Happy Days", "Welcome Back Kotter","Chico And The Man",to "Perfect Strangers",and
"Blossom",not to mention "Punky Brewster",and even our animated TV favorites like "Mister T","The Gary Coleman Show","Muhammad Ali",and "The Adventures Of The Brady Kids" went toward the ghostly graveyard of sitcoms and lost forever cartoons.
There is a note here to where Juliet Mills' character on the show had a sense of ESP,but she did and she even took it to the next level of her career,and it costs her dearly in one of the biggest mistakes of her career,the pathetic daytime soap-opera PASSIONS.
Kim Richards was a HUGE child actress during the 1970's and way into the early 1980's who was best known for several guest appearances on several TV shows and her theatrical features,namely her biggest flicks from Disney where she played a character with ESP in Disney's Escape To Witch Mountain(1975),and the sequel Return To Witch Mountain(1978),not to mention playing a tough biker chick with ESP too in Tuff Turf(1985),and again in her self-produced film Escape(1990).
Richard Long,after this series starred in another family-oriented sitcom and tragically passed away to heart failure in 1974 at the young age of 47.
I liked this show as a variation of the popular "magic" sitcoms. Nanny
performed outlandish or obvious feats of prestidigitation, but it was
obvious that paranormal things happened around her. The most common was
Nanny saying "I'll get it," BEFORE the telephone or doorbell rang. In
it was never completely clear to the family that she had any powers, a la
Gladys Kravitz on "Bewitched," for lack of a better comparison. As the
song goes "Since the day that Nanny came to stay with us, fantastic things
have been happening. Is there really magic in the things she does, or is
love the only magic thing that Nanny brings?"
Once it was hinted that although she appeared to be a young woman (20s to 30s) she may have been hundreds of years old. However, this as most things about her background, were never resolved. This was a clear ripoff from the first season of Bewitched. The show had a cute simple animated opening and memorable theme song, as was de rigeur for the decade's magic sitcoms, and of course the 1990s unrelated Fran Drescher vehicle "The Nanny."
I also loved the family's big shaggy dog. I haven't seen this since the reruns in the late 1970s, except for the premiere which was shown once on TV Land around 2000, so I won't comment on the overall writing and production quality. I just remember enjoying it as a kid, and was upset that it was only rerun for a short time.
This show was a mid-season replacement in January of 1970 (15 episodes),
picked up in the fall of 1970 for a complete run thru March 1971 (24
episodes) and picked up again in the fall of 1971 where it ran until
December (15 episodes).
During those three seasons ABC had another wholesome entry in the magic sitcom genre (that already included Bewitched and The Flying Nun) this time inspired by the success of Mary Poppins whereas we find a magical nanny (think ESP to the max power) who comes to help a widower raise his children. Whereas shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie frequently played on the romantic relationship or sexual tension between the two leads (there was even some sexual tension between The Flying Nun's novice nun Sister Bertrille and playboy Carlos Ramirez!), Nanny and the Professor had virtually no character development and the plots began to repeat themselves. Wheras Mary Poppins had a mother in the household the TV show wisely dealt with a father only. While this left the door open for romantic involvement and possible marriage (think Eight Is Enough), this simply was not to be.
Charming as the characters were, they just didn't grow as a family. Bewitched kept interest over the years first by watching the newlywed couple cope with their differences, having their first child, and eventually raising two children.. I Dream of Jeannie moved from sexual tension to engagement to marriage. The big dilemma that was built into Nanny was that the show had two young attractive adults living together under the same roof with young impressionable children. Any sign of sexual tension would have been taboo in 1970 (Jeannie at least lived in a bottle) so they kept the character of Phoebe "Nanny" Figalilly uninterested in Professor Harold Everett and kept a goofy look on the Professor as he got ready with dates uninvolved with the show or his character.
The show eventually played to its only audience that could care less in the social aspects of the plot, young children, when it finished off it's run as a Saturday morning TV cartoon in 1972 (original cast members providing the voices). When shows got canceled in those days that's where they went, funny as it may seem now. From Gilligan's Island to Welcome Back Kotter from Happy Days to Punky Brewster and even TV favorites Mr. T and Gary Coleman animation was the ghostly graveyard of sitcoms.
ESP Note: Juliet Mills wasn't the only actress from this show to play a role where the character has ESP. Six-year-old Kim Richards who played the young Prudence Everett had a long run in television as a child actress but is best known as Tia, the girl with ESP, in Disney's Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and Return to Witch Mountain (1978). She also played a young woman with ESP in her self-produced film Escape (1990).
In the background of this show is a romance that can never take place.
adults have no choice but to stick to their assigned roles. This show
advantage of the popularity of "Mary Poppins". The "nanny" seems to have
certain powers over those of the mere mortal. Always subtle, never
her 'powers' aid in her care of the widowed professor's children.
A nice little show, especially for the younger set. I, on the other hand, have always admired Juliet Mills. She is wonderful in the part and has charmed me completely in whatever she does.
Although it has been years since I laid eyes on this show, I remember it fondly as being a whimsically charming diversion. As the fey Phoebe Figalilly, Juliet Mills was lovely and charming in her playing of the magical nanny who brings love into the motherless home of three children and their Professor father played by the always amiable Richard Long. Prudence, Hal and Butch made for an endearing trio of kids, and there were some amusing guest stars such as Elsa Lanchester as Nanny's eccentric Aunt Henrietta. Innocently wholesome entertainment from a bygone era, this little show - which ran just two seasons - contained many heart-warming episodes such as the restoration of an old defunct but ornate water fountain in the city park. Once cleaned-up, restored & in working order, Prudence remarks that the face of the lady figurine now had a smile on it, whereas she used to frown! Richard Long, who played Professor Everett, was a very likeable actor who also played Jarrod Barkley in THE BIG VALLEY. Long tragically succumbed to a heart ailment and died at the relatively young age of 47 in 1974.
Juliet Mills had a early experience playing a supernatural character long before PASSIONS in this 1970-1971 TV series that also starred Big Valley's Richard Long. The show was well cast and the episodes were generally strong in a lighthearted way, a pleasant way to spend thirty minutes. If you are reading this review along with the others, I will dispense with the normal plot synopsis as the facts of this show are already clear to you. As with most shows that only lasted one or two seasons, this series has been seldom seen since it originally departed from the airwaves. I hope that TV Land or some of the other competing networks for this kind of show will decide to run this again in its entirety, as it is a good clean comedy worth viewing again, and should be a hoot to watch for a serious fan of PASSIONS just for a early glimpse of Juliet Mills!
I had almost forgotten about this show from my early teen years, until i downloaded the TV theme off the net... and I was transported back immediately. Another fine ABC show that I recall, from approx the same era, was called the Smith Family (NOT Family, with Kristy McNichol), starring Henry Fonda... Seems like ABC had a good run of luck with many good shows during that era.
I have enjoyed Nanny and the Professor since I was about eleven years old. It's a wonderful show with a touch of magic. Richard Long who played the professor was wonderful as the father of three children who tested the housekeepers before Nanny arrived. After Nanny came they loved her and she them. The show never grows old and I hope that someday that it will be issued out on DVD for a new generation to enjoy. Richard Long was known to many as the oldest son on The Big Valley, a western starring Barbara Stanwyck. He began his career as the young son of Claudette Colbert and Orson Wells in Tomorrow is Forever. I will enjoy the show as long as I can because in my mind it never ages. It is truly a classic.
Very charming and cute show, though it had definitely run its course by
the time it was canceled after 54 episodes. I think if it had
continued, it would have started to become stale. However, in spite of
its short run, I believe it was at least as good as other "magical"
shows like "Bewitched", and "I Dream of Jeannie". Better, really,
because Phoebe's powers were always downplayed, and there was no
annoying sub-plot involving sexual tension between her and "The
Professor". Strictly G-rated stuff, though not in a cloying or naive
I was born the year "Nanny" came out, so I can only remember watching it in syndication. I also remember having a crush on Juliet Mills! She is still a beautiful woman, in her mid-60's. So is her younger sister, Hayley.
Juliet was perfectly cast here, in the role of Phoebe, the quintessentially English nanny with a touch of magic. She was basically a down-to-Earth version of Mary Poppins. I also loved her giant pea coat and hat, which were incorporated into the animated opening sequence, a la "The Partridge Family" opening, which involved a partridge and eggs.
Richard Long, who played "The Professor", had previously played the character of "Nick" in 'Big Valley'. A few years after "Nanny" was canceled, he died of a heart attack, even though he was only in his 40's.
Kim Richards, such a cute kid, went on to co-star with Ike Eisenmann in the "Witch Mountain" movies, ironically, playing a child with psychic powers! She grew up to be a gorgeous woman, too.
It is unfortunate that Trent Lehman (Butch) hung himself at the age of 20, in 1982. He had run into some tough times, including having his apartment burglarized, and chose to deal with it by hanging himself from a fence at his old elementary school. A sad ending to a very brief life.
On a happier note, David Doremus went on to achieve some success later on with The Waltons, and I believe he has had a fairly active career ever since.
Great show, overall. They don't make 'em like this anymore!
Nanny Juliet Mills (with her magical ESP and London-town dark blue cape and hat) is such a lovely presence on the tube that it's rather a shame her TV series "Nanny and The Professor" doesn't utilize her personal magic more and give us less of Richard Long (sort of a Darrin Stephens to Mills' Samantha) and those squawking kids running up and down the stairs. The quaint laughs that come aren't enough to make the search for bootleg episodes worthwhile. It's blandly-nice, a featherweight diversion with its heart in the right place; yet it never found its audience on ABC prime-time, despite an initially plum spot between "The Brady Bunch" and "The Patridge Family". Even compared to those two squeaky-clean family shows, "Nanny" looks resolutely old-fashioned and square, but Mills is still very lovely.
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