|Index||3 reviews in total|
Often very funny show centered around Tony Randall's big city judge. This was another of the many "Bob Newhart-style" shows, which have a cast of funny/bizarre characters who circle around a sane, normal person (or two). In this case, these included the judge's plummy housekeeper (Rachel Roberts), his slob of a court clerk (Barney Martin), his icy secretary Miss Reubner (Allyn Ann McLerie), and the strangest (and funniest) of all, Mario Lanza (Zane Lasky). The judge himself was rather fastidious (duh-he is Tony Randall, after all), and the entire cast was excellent. The show only lasted 2 seasons, unfortunately; it wasn't really the kind of thing that's likely to draw a huge audience on its own (it would've made an excellent partner to fill out an hour, though).
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.
This series only ran for two seasons, but not because it wasn't funny.
It was perhaps one of the funniest series of the 70s -Certainly it
holds up better than 99% of its contemporaries. The show had good
ratings, but the network and the show's star found the creative team
difficult to work with, and so it wasn't renewed.
The show centered on Judge Walter Franklin (Tony Randall), his family and staff. The cast included seasoned stage performers like Allyn Ann McLerie, Barney Martin, and Rachel Roberts. The scripts were impressively well-written, eschewing topical humor and pop- culture references in favor of witty dialog and subtle digs:
(Walter is mooning over his daughter's picture -she has gone off to college) WALTER: I remember her first day of school. Went off carrying a little lunch pail with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on it. (singing) Happy trails, to you. Until we meet again... MISS REUBNER: You know they've stuffed Trigger? WALTER: Why do I try to talk sentiment and feeling to you? MISS REUBNER: Is this a riddle? WALTER: Happy trails, Miss Reubner. And when we meet again, may you have something in common with Trigger.
(An escaped convict has threatened revenge on Walter, and the insufferable Mario Lanza is sent to protect him.) MARIO: I'm on leave from the DA's office. Assignment: protect Judge Franklin. Even if it means throwing myself on your body to shield you from an assassin's bullet. Although frankly I hope it doesn't come to that. WALTER: That's where you and I differ, Mario.
The series was never released on video in any format, which is a crime.
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