Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, ... See full summary »

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1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 12 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Nellie Ruth 'Nell' Harper (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
...
 Samantha 'Sam' Kanisky / ... (119 episodes, 1981-1987)
...
 Julie Kanisky / ... (114 episodes, 1981-1986)
Kari Michaelsen ...
 Katie Kanisky (111 episodes, 1981-1986)
Dolph Sweet ...
 Chief Carl Kanisky / ... (88 episodes, 1981-1985)
...
 Grandpa Stanley Kanisky / ... (82 episodes, 1982-1987)
...
 Joey Donovan (77 episodes, 1983-1987)
...
 Addy Wilson (68 episodes, 1983-1987)
Howard Morton ...
 Officer Ralph Simpson (49 episodes, 1981-1986)
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Storyline

Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend, Nell Harper, to come in to keep house and take care of his children, Katie, Julie, and Samantha, in short, be like a mother to them. Later, Carl's father, Stanley, moves in. Around the same time, Nell takes in young Joey Donovan as her foster son. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

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Details

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Release Date:

29 October 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Allo Nelly Bobo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(137 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Cosby Show, with it's affluent black family, redefining the African American sitcom and how blacks were perceived on TV, and becoming a national phenomenon, helped bring an end to Gimme A Break. After the Cosby show premiered and became a big hit, NBC executives were no longer satisfied with the Nell Carter sitcom about a sassy black maid in a white family. It seemed old hat, and vaguely stereotypical now. NBC warned Gimme A Break it needed to make drastic changes in the fifth season or they would cancel it. This is when the girls (Samantha, Julie and Katie) were fired, the location was changed to upscale Manhattan, and Nell became an assistant at a publishing house; a more acceptable, yuppy position for a black character in the post-Cosby world. This is also when the show jumped the shark. The original chemistry Nell had with the girls and the Chief was gone, the charm of the original house in Fresno was gone, the charm of the original family which had drawn viewers in was gone. The show quality continued to deteriorate at this point and the show was canceled in 1987. See more »

Goofs

In Season 1 Nell's mother's name is Emma Harper in later seasons her mother's name is Maybelle Harper. See more »

Quotes

Samantha: What's a cliché?
Nell: [serving breakfast] A black woman serving pancakes to a white kid.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mama's Family: Mama's Boyfriend (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Gimme a Break
Music by Jay Graydon
Lyrics by Richard Page
Performed by Nell Carter
(Second theme song)
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User Reviews

 
Gimme A Stroke! Only Kidding! This show made Nell famous!
21 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nell Carter will always be known as Nell from Gimme a Break than her Broadway background which included singing and dancing. Sadly, she died in her fifties. She plays a beloved housekeeper in a Caucasian American home led by the wonderful Dolph Sweet who passed away during the show's run. The cast also included three teenage daughters. The show had an extended family of regular cast members like Telma Hopkins who played Nell's best friend. Sweet's character was a police chief of Glenlawn, California. Over the years during it's run, Nell welcomed Joey and Matthew Laurence and other cast members. The show dealt with sensitive topics like depression, suicide, teenage angst, death, loss, racism, etc., without being preachy or dumb. It was never a critical favorite but you felt at home with Nell and the gang.


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