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This series took place in an apartment building, numbered 227. The cast would frequently be found sitting outside on a large set of stone stairs, in some discussion that would unfold into the weekly plot line.
A greasy-spoon diner in Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for this long-running series. The title character, Alice Hyatt, is an aspiring singer who arrives in Phoenix with her teenaged son, Tommy, after the death of her truck-driver husband. Alice is hired at a diner owned by Mel Sharples, a gravel-voiced, male-chauvinist fry cook. She works at Mel's Diner as a waitress while awaiting her big break at fame. Alice's fellow waitresses are the raucous, red-headed Flo and the naive, temperamental, less attractive Vera. Flo is later replaced by Belle, a Southern blonde, who is herself soon replaced by the spunky, curly-haired Jolene. Alice and her friends experience several interesting years together at Mel's Diner, which is frequented by quirky truck drivers, repairmen, and other blue collar types and by several Hollywood celebrities, who appear as themselves. Written by
Kevin McCorry <email@example.com>
Theme song: "There's A New Girl In Town"-lyrics and music by David Shire with Marilyn and Alan Bergman. Theme sung by Linda Lavin.
Based on the Oscar winning 1974 film directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Ellen Burstyn and Dianne Ladd under the title,"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore",this was to become the front point of the television series "Alice",which was basically done under the same title,but with a different cast and different setting. For the astounding nine and half years that it ran on CBS from the premiere episode on August 31,1976 to the final episode of the series on July 2,1985 after producing 212 episodes,"Alice" was one of the shows that was part of the network's powerhouse lineup of shows during the decade of the 1970's,which included "One Day At A Time","All In The Family", "The Jeffersons","Kojak",and the medical drama "Trapper John,MD".
"Alice",was basically the forefront of the selection of "Good Blue Collar Comedy Shows"that emerged during that decade. This was a show that got to see the goings on behind and in front of a working establishment(a family diner)with the situations that occurred between each of the characters. It may have been a trashy sitcom to some of its critics,but for one it didn't rely on politics nor for that manner a lot of slapstick neither. But it was the focus of everyday people and everyday situations that kept the show in top of the Nielsens for the nine years that it ran on the air. Not to mention audiences also got the chance to hear Broadway sensation Linda Lavin singing abilities to boot as well as her acting chops. Also during its run,"Alice" garnered 16 nominations including several Golden Globe wins for Linda Lavin,Polly Holliday and not to mention here Vic Tayback. Not bad for a show that was CBS' top rated sitcom during the mid-1970's and well into the mid-1980's when the show was at the peak of perfection.
Here you had a host of characters that were sensational to watch as Alice Hyatt(Linda Lavin)puts up with Mel Sharples(Vic Tayback)and his male chauvinistic ways of thinking better than any woman on television. In other words Mel may have the upper hand,but in each sly and repulsive remarks he gives her,Alice gets him right back! Also,there were others that worked at the diner as well...you have dingy,innocent simpleton,naive and strangely weird(but cute)Vera Gorman(Beth Howland),then you have the Texas firecracker and the true definition of Southern country and Southern pride Florence "Flo" Jean-Castleberry(Polly Holliday)who was dynamite at getting back at Mel's views of thinking and the ONLY one that Mel couldn't keep her mouth shut,since she always had an opinion of what was on her mind at any time and would relate to the others about it. In other words,she was an high-octane nymphomaniac and the perfect foil for the street-tough New Jersey-bred Alice Hyatt. In other perspectives,Flo was an even better foil for Mel,and never hestitates to retort him with some valuable advice.....The phrase,"Kiss My Grits"!,became an national outcry when it was mentioned. However,the show did have a split personality until 1980,when Polly Holliday left the series,and went into her own spin-off of "Alice" titled "Flo",which lasted one season,and after that fiasco,Holliday was never heard from again. It was Polly Holliday who kept the show in the top of the ratings for the first five seasons of the show(1976-1980)and then the unthinkable happen.
After Holliday left the series in 1980,the show started to declined in the ratings and likely so. During the 1980-1981 season,Dianne Ladd(who was in the original 1974 film)appeared as Belle which was basically okay,but the show slipped even into a abyss during the last four seasons of the show. During the 1981-1982 season,a new waitress named Jolene was just as dumb as they come(Celia Weston)who remained on the show until the final episode of the series in 1985. Only actors Linda Lavin,Vic Tayback,Beth Howland,and Phillip McKeon(who played Alice's son Tommy)remained on the show for the remainder of its run. Cameo players such as Andy(Pat Crenshaw),Travis(Tom Mahoney),and Henry (Marvin Kaplan)were valuable assets which went great with the guest celebrities that were on the show too like George Burns,Martha Raye, Telly Savalas,Art Carney,and Ruth Buzzi. The final episode of the series came after a nine and-a-half years on the air on July 2,1985 where they had a montage of some of the best episodes and also all of the celebrity appearances. It also showed Mel leaving his diner after years in the business and selling it to someone else. At the end,Alice buys the diner and restores the business after Mel calls it quits. It is crying shame that the series is never on the air,but it needs to be since it was the best of the best.
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