IMDb > "Gimme a Break!" (1981)
"Gimme a Break!"
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"Gimme a Break!" (1981) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1981-1987

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Overview

User Rating:
6.3/10   1,171 votes »
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Seasons:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Release Date:
29 October 1981 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Carl Kanisky is chief of police in Glenlawn, California. After the death of his wife, Margaret, he asks her friend... See more »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 12 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
User Reviews:
Holds up surprisingly well 30+ years later See more (11 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 9 of 101)

Nell Carter ... Nellie Ruth 'Nell' Harper (137 episodes, 1981-1987)

Lara Jill Miller ... Samantha 'Sam' Kanisky / ... (119 episodes, 1981-1987)

Lauri Hendler ... Julie Kanisky / ... (114 episodes, 1981-1986)
Kari Michaelsen ... Katie Kanisky (111 episodes, 1981-1986)
Dolph Sweet ... Chief Carl Kanisky / ... (88 episodes, 1981-1985)

John Hoyt ... Grandpa Stanley Kanisky / ... (82 episodes, 1982-1987)

Joseph Lawrence ... Joey Donovan (77 episodes, 1983-1987)

Telma Hopkins ... Addy Wilson (68 episodes, 1983-1987)
Howard Morton ... Officer Ralph Simpson / ... (49 episodes, 1981-1986)
(more)

Series Directed by
Hal Cooper (81 episodes, 1983-1987)
Jim Drake (14 episodes, 1982-1983)
Linda Day (10 episodes, 1981-1987)
Will Mackenzie (7 episodes, 1981-1982)
Tony Singletary (5 episodes, 1982-1987)
Patrick Maloney (4 episodes, 1986-1987)
Phil Ramuno (3 episodes, 1986-1987)
Dick Harwood (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Howard Storm (2 episodes, 1981)
John Bowab (2 episodes, 1983-1984)
Oz Scott (2 episodes, 1983)
Jules Lichtman (2 episodes, 1986-1987)
 
Series Writing credits
Mort Lachman (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
Sy Rosen (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
Arthur Julian (28 episodes, 1983-1987)
Mady Julian (20 episodes, 1984-1987)
Ted Bergmann (13 episodes, 1981-1983)
Terry Hart (13 episodes, 1985-1987)
Chip Keyes (8 episodes, 1981-1982)
Doug Keyes (8 episodes, 1981-1982)
Rod Parker (8 episodes, 1983-1987)
Tom Biener (8 episodes, 1983-1985)
Ron Landry (8 episodes, 1983-1985)
Gary H. Miller (7 episodes, 1983-1985)
Pam Veasey (6 episodes, 1986-1987)
Ron Bloomberg (5 episodes, 1984-1985)
J. Stanford Parker (4 episodes, 1981-1983)
Chet Dowling (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Sandy Krinski (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Joan Brooker (4 episodes, 1985-1987)
Nancy Eddo (4 episodes, 1985-1987)
Booker Bradshaw (3 episodes, 1981-1983)
Coleman Mitchell (3 episodes, 1981-1983)
Geoffrey Neigher (3 episodes, 1981-1983)
Hal Cooper (3 episodes, 1983-1985)
Ed Jurist (3 episodes, 1983)
Larry Rhine (3 episodes, 1983)
Erik Tarloff (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Gina Goldman (2 episodes, 1983-1984)
Rob Kaplan (2 episodes, 1983-1984)
Pamela Norris (2 episodes, 1985-1986)

Series Produced by
Mort Lachman .... executive producer (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
Hal Cooper .... executive producer (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Arthur Julian .... producer (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Rod Parker .... executive producer (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Coleman Mitchell .... producer (41 episodes, 1981-1983)
Geoffrey Neigher .... producer (41 episodes, 1981-1983)
Marica Govons .... associate producer (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Terri Guarnieri .... associate producer / coordinating producer (10 episodes, 1983-1986)
Jan Siegelman .... associate producer (3 episodes, 1982-1983)
Michael Mount .... associate producer (2 episodes, 1981)
Brigit Jensen .... associate producer (2 episodes, 1982)
 
Series Original Music by
Bob Christianson (unknown episodes)
 
Series Film Editing by
Michael Weitzman (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Harold McKenzie (11 episodes, 1981-1986)
Larry Harris (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
 
Series Casting by
Randy Stone (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
 
Series Art Direction by
Chris Idoine (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Chuck Murawski (9 episodes, 1983-1986)
Don Roberts (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Peter Clemens (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
 
Series Costume Design by
Palmer Brown (118 episodes, 1982-1987)
Adella Farmar (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
 
Series Makeup Department
Maria Valdivia .... hair stylist (95 episodes, 1983-1987)
June Josef .... makeup artist (33 episodes, 1984-1987)
Jaren Millard .... makeup artist / hair stylist (32 episodes, 1984-1987)
Billie Jordan .... makeup artist (6 episodes, 1981-1983)
Mary Guerrero .... hair stylist (4 episodes, 1982-1984)
Lawrence Woodard .... hair stylist (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Linda Cowan .... makeup artist / makeup artist: Miss Carter (3 episodes, 1984-1985)
Pamela Huggins .... hair stylist: Nell Carter / hair stylist: Miss Carter (3 episodes, 1984-1985)
Sue Cary Mayer .... makeup artist (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
 
Series Production Management
Douglas Wellman .... unit manager (19 episodes, 1981-1982)
Howard Lipstone .... executive in charge of production (12 episodes, 1981-1985)
Patty Gary Cox .... unit manager (6 episodes, 1984-1986)
Jim Gaston .... unit manager (4 episodes, 1982-1984)
Kevin E. Fortson .... unit manager (2 episodes, 1986)

Debbie Elbin .... unit production manager: NY (unknown episodes)
 
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Patrick Maloney .... associate director (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Phil Ramuno .... associate director (5 episodes, 1981-1983)
 
Series Art Department
Scott Herbertson .... assistant art director (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Milt Sport .... key prop / key props (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Bill Wall .... property master (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Ed Beceril .... property master / properties (5 episodes, 1984-1985)
Larry Buck .... property master / properties (5 episodes, 1984-1985)
Robert Murdock .... property master (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
George Sayeg .... property master / property (3 episodes, 1985-1986)
Steven Bemiller .... property / property master (2 episodes, 1985)
 
Series Sound Department
Sam Mallaun .... audio (33 episodes, 1983-1987)
Ken Turner .... audio (5 episodes, 1981-1983)
 
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Roberts .... lighting director (137 episodes, 1981-1987)
Gary W. Scott .... lighting director (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
 
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Elizabeth Bass .... assistant costume designer (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Janice Gordon .... costume assistant: Miss Carter / costumes: Miss Carter (2 episodes, 1984)
James Hopkins .... costumes: Miss Carter (2 episodes, 1985-1986)
Shawna McGee .... costumes: Nell Carter (2 episodes, 1985)

Jefferson Beeker .... costumes: Miss Carter (unknown episodes, 1985-1986)
 
Series Music Department
Jay Graydon .... composer: theme music (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Bob Christianson .... composer: theme music (41 episodes, 1981-1983)
Bob Garrett .... lyricist: theme music (41 episodes, 1981-1983)
Marley Sims .... lyricist: theme music (41 episodes, 1981-1983)
 
Series Other crew
Lorraine Sevre-Richmond .... production associate (96 episodes, 1983-1987)
Terry Hart .... creative consultant (49 episodes, 1985-1987)
Franco Bario .... production coordinator / production assistant (45 episodes, 1985-1987)
Rod Parker .... executive script supervisor / script supervisor / ... (35 episodes, 1983-1987)
Jeff Meyer .... stage manager (34 episodes, 1983-1987)
Arthur Julian .... executive script supervisor / executive story supervisor / ... (33 episodes, 1984-1987)
Michael Mount .... production executive / assistant to the executive producer (31 episodes, 1982-1983)
Robert A. Bowen .... technical director (29 episodes, 1984-1987)
Mady Julian .... story editor (29 episodes, 1985-1987)
Denise Fleissner Barta .... assistant to producers (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Jody Margolin Hahn .... assistant to producers / assistant to producer (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Sean Mulcahy .... stage manager (25 episodes, 1986-1987)
Tom Milo .... stage manager / assistant to producers (7 episodes, 1984-1986)
Tom Biener .... executive script consultant / executive story consultant (6 episodes, 1983-1985)
Ron Landry .... executive script consultant / executive story consultant (6 episodes, 1983-1985)
Gary H. Miller .... executive story editor / story editor (6 episodes, 1983-1985)
Yukiko Tokunaga .... stage manager (5 episodes, 1981-1983)
Gus Hornsby .... story editor (5 episodes, 1984-1985)
Ted Bergmann .... executive story consultant (4 episodes, 1981-1982)
Chip Keyes .... story editor (4 episodes, 1981-1982)
Doug Keyes .... story editor (4 episodes, 1981-1982)
Booker Bradshaw .... story editor (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Chet Dowling .... executive story editor / executive story consultant (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Sandy Krinski .... executive story editor / executive story consultant (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
J. Stanford Parker .... story editor (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Sy Rosen .... creative consultant (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Meredith Siler .... assistant to producers / production coordinator (4 episodes, 1985-1986)
Peggy Geary .... production associate (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Dick Woodka .... technical director (3 episodes, 1982-1985)
Vince Mack .... technical director (3 episodes, 1982-1984)
Ed Jurist .... executive script consultant (3 episodes, 1983)
Larry Rhine .... executive script consultant (3 episodes, 1983)
Gwen McCracken .... assistant to producers (3 episodes, 1984-1985)
John Sgueglia .... stage manager (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Peter Barth .... stage manager (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
Cindy Brisker .... production associate (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
Len Uslaner .... technical director (2 episodes, 1983-1984)
Elvin Ivory .... stage manager (2 episodes, 1984)
Franklin Jones .... assistant to producers (2 episodes, 1985)
Bill Koshoway .... assistant to producers (2 episodes, 1985)
Kate McCallum .... assistant to producers (2 episodes, 1985)
Wendy Murphey .... assistant to producers (2 episodes, 1985)
Adam Waynert .... assistant to producers (2 episodes, 1985)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
30 min (137 episodes)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In the third season, several changes were made including a new theme song, new producers and writers (only co-creator Mort Lachman was left of the original production staff), and drastic character changes: the death of Grandma Kanisky, the dropping of Uncle Ed from the cast (having been married in a season 2 episode, there was no mention of him or his wife again), and the additions of Addy Wilson, Nell's longtime friend, and Joey Donovan, an abandoned 7-year-old.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Gimme a BreakSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Holds up surprisingly well 30+ years later, 26 November 2014
Author: severe_td from Los Angeles

I was 9 years old in 1981 when this show debuted. Though I watched Gimme a Break from the start, it goes without saying that I lacked the maturity at that age to fully understand the adult humor and social issues being explored.

As Gimme a Break only enjoyed average ratings at the time, it was not a big candidate for syndication. As a result, it has been decades since I last saw the show.

I caught it again recently on YouTube, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was better than I remembered as a kid, perhaps because I could fully understand everything now. It's funny, charming, well-written, and even manages to tackle some serious issues. Most notably, it holds up surprisingly well today, which can't be said for many of the more popular sitcoms at the time.

The show was also fairly unusual in that its strongest episodes were in the first two years. Most successful shows take some time to find themselves, but Gimme a Break hit its stride early. Sadly, the show started to slip starting from season 3. Nell Harper's increased creative control was part of the problem. She was a very talented actress and singer, but not so much on the creative side. The series really took a nosedive in its final season when the girls left and the setting moved to New York.

Even so, this was a good show, and in fact deserved better ratings when it was on the air. Try watching it again, and I bet you'll enjoy it more the second time around.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (11 total) »

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