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Diff'rent Strokes (TV Series 1978–1986) Poster

(1978–1986)

Trivia

Alan Thicke, who played the father on Growing Pains (1985), sings the theme song.
Dana Plato was written out of the series when she became pregnant in 1984, and it was agreed that it would be out of character for the same to happen to Kimberly Drummond. However, she was allowed to return for guest appearances after the birth of her son.
Conrad Bain was the only cast member to appear in every episode.
The original concept for the show was different from what would come on the air. It would have been on ABC and set in an upscale Long Island town, not in Manhattan. There was no older brother, originally, and the housekeeper would have been younger and sexier. The production company balked at the changes the network suggested, and ABC lost interest.
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Arnold Jackson's question "Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" was ranked #17 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 20 Top Catchphrases" (21-27 August 2005 issue). It was never intended as a catch phrase; the writers simply made it so after the positive reaction to Coleman's delivery in the premiere. Towards the end of the show's run, Coleman had become so tired of it that he demanded it be retired; he has not uttered it publicly since his 1999 cameo as himself on The Simpsons (1989).
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Dixie Carter was said to frequently clash with Gary Coleman on the set, and largely found her experience doing the show to be unpleasant. After leaving the show, Carter refused to talk about it while being interviewed.
Charlotte Rae was promised a smooth return back onto this series if her spin-off, The Facts of Life (1979), had failed. But it was renewed, so she was replaced.
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In addition to the spin-off series The Facts of Life (1979), characters from this show also made crossovers onto Hello, Larry (1979) and Silver Spoons (1982), thereby implying that all four shows exist in the same universe.
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When Conrad Bain signed on to do Maude (1972), the production company promised him his own show when that one ended. By then, 'Gary Coleman' was also signed to the company. When the planned updating of The Little Rascals (1955), which Coleman would have been in, was aborted, they paired them and decided to come up with a suitable premise.
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Arnold Jackson's friends Dudley Johnson and Robbie Jayson are named after two of the show's writers.
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The show's original title during it's development was "45 Minutes From Harlem".
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While Mr. Drummond's deceased wife/Kimberly's mother was mentioned at times, her name was never revealed.
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Mr. Drummond paid $3,500 a month for his Park Avenue apartment.
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The addition of Maggie Drummond and (in particular) Sam McKinley is generally seen as the show's "Jump the Shark" moment by fans of the series.
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With Mary Ann Mobley's death on December 9, 2014, Todd Bridges, Charlotte Rae, Mary Jo Catlett and Danny Cooksey are the last surviving cast members of the series.
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Gary Coleman wanted the show to end in 1985, when it moved to ABC, but was persuaded into signing on for another year, after which it was canceled.
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When ABC picked up the show, the producers contacted Dixie Carter to return to play Maggie Drummond, but she was unavailable because shortly after NBC canceled, she had landed her role on Designing Women (1986), so Maggie was recast with Mary Ann Mobley.
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Mary Ann Mobley played Conrad Bain's love interest twice: first she played Arnold's teacher Ms. Osbourne, who dates Mr. Drummond in the second season; then she replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie Drummond towards the end of the series.
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Janet Jackson was in the early stages of her music career when playing the recurring role of Willis Jackson's girlfriend Charlene Duprey. Jackson did sing in one episode, and found it awkward to perform as such while filming the episode. Charlene was gradually phased out of the series as Jackson began to devote more time to furthering her musical career.
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A number of changes were made for the final season. The change of networks necessitated the overhauling of existing sets, and construction of newer ones, as well as a revamping of the theme song. In addition, Arnold Jackson was established as a more mature high school student. The move was pushed by Gary Coleman who wanted the character to be closer to his own age, and be involved with more substantive and relatable plotlines.
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Although it had an adjoining bathroom with Arnold and Willis Jackson's room, Kimberly Drummond's bedroom was never seen on the show. Mr. Drummond's bedroom was only very rarely seen.
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Staff writer Fred Rubin composed a funky instrumental piece he offered as the theme song, but by the time he offered it, the more famous theme heard today had already been chosen.
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To help promote the series before its debut, Gary Coleman made appearances on The Tonight Show. NBC used clips of Coleman from those appearances as promotional spots announcing the coming of the series. The network primarily aired them during their coverage of the 1978 World Series.
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Mary Ann Mobley, who replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie Drummond during the final season, had earlier been a runner up for the role during the initial casting of the character.
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Arnold Jackson's schoolyard bully Stewart the Gooch was frequently referenced to and spoken of, but was never actually seen in any episodes. In a least one episode however, The Gooch's voice was heard over the telephone.
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Willis Jackson's favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys. Arnold Jackson referred to them as the cowgirls.
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Mr. Drummond inherited $1.8 million in a trust fund from his father.
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The penthouse was on the 30th floor.
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Mrs. Garrett was named after Lila Garrett, fellow sitcom writer and friend of story consultant Ben Starr.
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This was NBC's replacement to the "Waverly Wonders" starring "Joe Namath".
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Mentioned in the lyrics of the song "TV Party" by Black Flag.
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Gary Coleman's parents actually took all of his money that he made from this show. By the time he sued his parents, they had no money left. Coleman ended up working as a security guard for the final years of his life.
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The show's title derives from the popular expression "Different strokes for different folks."
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The name of Arnold Jackson's pet goldfish was Abraham.
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Sadly, two cast members Gary Coleman and Dixie Carter died the same year 2010 one month apart. (Dixie Carter: April 10,2010 and Gary Coleman: May 28,2010)
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The building that was filmed in the 1st season opening credits is called Park 900 Condominiums , and located at the corner of Park Ave. and 79th St. in Manhattan. The reason it was only featured during the first season was because they never got permission from the building, let alone pay them. And there are no penthouses in the building, as it says on the show. Also in the show, they say that they live on the 30th floor, but the building actually has 28 floors.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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