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|Index||11 reviews in total|
For four years this show was on the air, and in that time, it went from a
promising comedy into a tragic situation that sought to simply fulfil its
bargain and quietly leave the air. Now, it is an interesting study of how
things so good can go so bad so quickly.
Veteran actor Jack Albertson was riding high on his success in 'Subject was
Roses', 'Posiedon Adventure' and 'Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'.
Freddie Prinze was making it in stand-up, like Sienfeld and Carrey have
done. Put the two together and after 'Sanford and Son' and a hit was born.
We watched the shows and laughed, relating more to Prinze than the geriatric
Albertson. Guest-stars galore were everywhere from Cesar Romero to Shelley
Then Prinze shot himself and my young mind could not comprehend what that
meant. Oddly enough, of his few appearances on programs, someone did joke
with him on another show about if anything happened to him, the show would
be called "--- and the man". I couldn't grasp the meaning of the words:
Albertson, Della Reese and Scatman Crothers carried on with the show and a
replacement latino was brought in, Gabriel Melgar. Eventually Reese
departed and a young lady named Monica HIll joined the cast. The show had
taken a truly bizarre turn. All it was missing by then was occasional
musical numbers. Apparently Albertson was just completing any commitment
made to the show and then he would not return either.
There was an episode where they attempted to address the other Chico with Albertson and young Melgar. Melgar asked what happened to the other Chico, Albertson hesitates to say, but I thought the assumption was he had died. I believed they had even said this much at least. That this conversation is taking place in a church is truly thought-provoking. When Albertson would die a few years later, I thought that was it. Chico and the man were gone now, both of them. Who knows where Prinze could have gone. I have never heard Albertson speak about what happened or if there were any telltale signs that were missed. Della Reese later would have Redd Foxx die in her arms on 'The Royal Family'. It will always be a poignant memory to this child's hood and I will always enjoy the song, sung by Jose Feliciano, who did appear in an episode and sing it.
"Chico and the Man" broke major ground in two areas: it created a
series with an ethnic lead and made an overnight star out of Freddie
the "Chico" of the title.
Every week, Chico would take strides in making the garage he worked and lived in more successful and bringing his boss, "The Man" (Albertson) out from the walls he had built up against the rest of humanity.
There were plenty of laughs every episode; I mean, with a cast like this, how could you miss? Not only were Prinze and Albertson on hand, but so were Scatman Crothers ("Put out your can, here comes the GARBAGE MAN!"), Della Reese, Ronny Graham, and even Isaac Ruiz as Chico's buddy Mando - all making big with laughs, both ethnic and otherwise.
But this was a show that appealed to every demographic; Back in the mid-'70s, you couldn't avoid a teen magazine that didn't have Prinze's face plastered all over it, and there were constant reminders of the show's success on talk shows, specials and variety shows that the stars would appear on.
It was a sad day when Prinze took his life; it left a great void in entertainment as well as the lives of those he left behind. But at least with this series, we can all see the genius of Prinze and witness the effect he's had in the comedy world since.
Ten stars for "Chico and the Man", a classic in every sense of the word.
This show was well on its way to becoming one of the all time classics when the tragic death of Freddie Prinze occurred. You had the two classic themes in the show. One was the theme of age versus youth and the other was the clash of cultures between Chico and Ed. This latter them is reminiscent of the show which aired on the same night and network as this one, "Sanford and Son". You could pretty much see Ed in the Fred Sanford role and Chico in the Lamont role and it basically was the same, the older father figure constantly clashing with his young charge over how to run the business. It was these qualities that helped make this show the semi-classic that it was. Also, the supporting cast of Scatman Crothers as Louie, Della Reese as Della and Ronny Graham as Reverend Bemis really made it a fun show. Unfortunately, when the tragedy happened and they brought in Gabriel Melgar to play Raul (a.k.a. the new "Chico") that's when the show went downhill. They should have canceled the show at that point and spared us the pain of watching it decline. If that had happened it probably would still be remembered as a good sitcom.
Chico and the man was the essence of my TV watching childhood. The mid 1970s were my developmental years, and I like to think that this timeless sitcom was and is a sentimental and forever memorable fixture in my growing years and even now. In the mid seventies, Friday night was a line up for my 'obsessions'. Sitcoms and police shows and the cast on 'Chico and the man' I felt to be an extension of my family. The comedy was quick and strong and the duo of Albertson & Prinze was a special chemistry, so unbelievable and loving, I feel a bond like that one might never be accomplished again. All of these comical plots always centered around some sort of life lesson always 'giftwrapped' in friendship and caring. Freddy & Jack & the others, looking down on myself and all of the 'Chico' lovers, can only nod in absolute agreement(like that little mounted dog, on his back dash, with the spring form neck and head that would bob up & down.
I grew to love 'Chico and the Man' when they were first showing a
marathon of it's episodes on TV Land. I found it to be intriguing, funny,
enticing, and intellegent! The show was about the trials and trubulations
of an old, embittered, and cynical old man who was an owner of a car garage
in Southern California named Ed Brown. And he gets help from his co-workers
Chico and Louie. In every episode, Chico always tries to find ways to help
Ed Brown break down the walls he built around himself.
Jack Albertson had a lot of talent and charisma for this sit-com and so did co-star Freddie Prinze. And the catchphrase, "Lookin' Good" became a popular one. And after Freddie Prinze committed suicide, it was said in the show that Chico moved on and now owned his own garage and Ed Brown adopted an orphan boy named Raul who became his new 'Chico'. The characters in this show are were all funny in their own way, especially Louie the garbage man!
Chico and the Man is an awesome sit-com and maybe one of the best ones from the seventies. Try to catch it on TV Land if you can! Take my word for it, it's that good! Call your boss! Call your teachers and principal! Call your co-workers! Call your friends! Inform your family! Watch Chico and the Man! I give this show 5 stars! Oh, and whatever happened to Gabriel Melgar?
Finally, the show is on DVD. So far, just a one disc set, but it
contains six great episodes, including the pilot and important episodes
that really focus on the relationship between Chico and Ed Brown, and
the personalities of both men to help explain how two such different
people could care so much for each other. This was a terrific show and
had Freddie not died, it could have run for a decade, if Freddie wasn't
a movie star by then. Let's hope we can see more episodes released in
the future. This was a show that Chicanos could be proud of and that
still entertained everyone else.
And yes, the "Cousin Pepe" episode is in there!
This is one of the only shows that you will literally laugh out loud
watching. I began watching it a while ago when I was on vacation and
there was a station devoted to old television shows. Though a lot of
them don't hold up, this is most definitely does! The pairing of these
two talented actors is incredible, it makes the show such a joy to
watch. I only wish that it could have been on television longer and
that Prinze was still with us today making us laugh and blessing us
with his talent. It is very sad to know the tragic end of Prinze's life
after watching the show because he really was a unique and wonderful
talent and it is clear that he would have gone on to do much bigger
things with his career.
This show needs to be put back on pronto!
I began to watch "chico and the man" on TV Land. I fell in love with this show. Freddy Prinze had to glow to him and it was beautiful. Watching the episodes of "chico and the man" after Prinze's death is haunting. You sit there watching and thinking who the hell are all these other people? Like everyone else I wished it had a different ending.
At age 6,the night this show debuted,my brothers & I had the TV that
night. The parents were out and we basically watched whatever. My
oldest brother,age 10,made the choice of this show. It sounded like it
would be "cool". Of course it was.
I liked Jose Feliciano's opening song and didn't get a lot of the humor but I did understand that Ed Brown (Albertson) was not a nice man. Freddie Prinze was (aside from actors on Sesame Street & Electric Company)the first Latino I had seen on TV,or anywhere for that matter.
I somehow recognized some of his actions as funny because I did laugh at his antics of trying to get Ed to take him on at the garage. Especially funny to find him bathing in a large oil drum in the men's room. We watched this show for about 2 to 3 years,constantly repeating the phrase "looking good" all the time and driving our folks nuts with it.
Then on January 23rd,1977 we headed out west to California and kind of forgot about it somehow. The night after we arrived,Saturday,January 29th,Prinze took his life. I never saw any of the shows with the replacement actors but I did see the TV movie,"Freddie Prinze : Can You Hear The Laughter" over a year or so later and that's how I found out he was gone.
For well over 15 years,I heard nothing about the show,never saw any reruns on TV either. It became a fuzzy memory by the time I was grown up. Then 1999,I saw the pilot show in Spanish on Telemundo and couldn't believe I was actually seeing it! It was almost surreal.
Fast forward to the present day and on the internet's In2TV,I once again saw the debut show,sporadically with the annoying stop & start of "loading". I couldn't "save" it though.
Then 9/13/2008 , I made an unplanned stop at a local 99 Cent store and there on their shelves were dozens of DVD's featuring 6 episodes (pilot included)of "Chico and The Man"! (All DVDs have the same 6 by the way).
I couldn't believe this legitimate WB release,with subtitles included was only $1 + tax! I took it home and watched with my oldest brother who was visiting me. After we watched I checked my copy of "TV Guide Guide To TV" and discovered that I had bought this set on the 34th Anniversary date,Sept. 13th,2008!
One of Prinze's last newly aired show from 1977,"Ed Talks To God",is featured on the DVD. In it,Ed wants no one to throw him a birthday party and Chico gets very mad at him for Ed not wanting his friends to show how much they care about him.
Another included an appearance by Jose Felicinao who sings both "Light My Fire" (briefly) and the show's theme song as well. Feliciano shows he can be almost as funny as the others,as a Latino superstar cousin of Chico who hits on Chico's girl.
In summing up the series overall,I know the show is great,no question. It's sad that Prinze took his life and that NBC didn't have the decency to just let go of the show. "Sanford and Son" and "Chico and The Man" are the two sitcoms people associate with that network in the early 70s,mainly because they had no other "real" successes until "Diff'rent Strokes" & "Facts Of Life" came along after.
Good shows,but they pale in comparison to what this series tried to accomplish. Even sadder,it would be over a quarter century until another Latino had a truly successful series,that being "The George Lopez Show". Between those two is 1982's unsuccessful "Aka Pablo" starring comedian Paul Rodriguez. It aired on ABC for only a few short weeks.
I wont lower my rating of 10 stars because of that final season,ill advised as it was,but will for the memory of Freddie & Jack and even Scatman Crothers give it top mark. In my view the series is a classic,even though it should have at least run until 1980 or early 1981.
Thanks to all who made "Chico and The Man" a reality. (END)
In 1974, NBC capitalized on the success of its Friday night sitcom
Sanford and Son with the debut of Chico and the Man. Veteran actor Jack
Albertson portrayed Ed Brown, the grouchy garage owner who drank
heavily and constantly insulted people. Then along came Chico, played
by then newcomer Freddie Prinze and he came in to try to turn around
The Man's failing business and move into a van in the parking lot.
The show became a huge success due to the chemistry between Albertson and Prinze and featured a classic exchange that went like this:
Chico: I want my day in the sun. Ed: Then go to the beach.
Unfortunately, Prinze couldn't handle his new found fame and at 22, he shot himself. I felt the show should have ended right there because the rising star was a definitive key to the show's success. Instead, producer James Komack and NBC let the show continue and replaced Prinze with you Gabriel Melgar as Raul. He wasn't as good as Prinze but the show survived on the shoulder of Albertson and the supporting cast, including Scatman Crothers as Louis the Garbage man. His memorable line was "I'm the man who empties your can!" There was also Della Reese as Ed's landlady.
I remember episodes with guest stars such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Jose Feliciano, who wrote and sang the show's theme song.
I really enjoyed Chico and the Man. It was a very funny show but it took a sudden shark jump after Prinze took his life.
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