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:
6.2/10   1,109 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:
Don't Gimme A Break Until After Season 2 See more (10 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 9 of 92)

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 (78 episodes, 1982-1987)

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

Telma Hopkins ... Addy Wilson (68 episodes, 1983-1987)
Howard Morton ... Officer Ralph Simpson / ... (50 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:
A running gag throughout the series involved the Kaniskys' goldfish, Gertrude. The fish died in the first episode only to keep coming back in subsequent episodes.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:
Sing A SongSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Don't Gimme A Break Until After Season 2, 29 August 2013
Author: Camelot_2000 from Canada

Nell Carter as an overweight housekeeper, a devout guardian to 3 teenage white girls and a force not to be reckoned with whenever she dealt with the Chief of Police - Carl Kanisky, pretty well sums up what this 1980s sitcom is about.

I found the show hilarious when I was a kid and faithfully tuned in during the first 2 seasons. Nell Carter was unmatched for laughs - I'd always be belly rolling on the floor in laughter, especially the episode where she stays at her friend Angie's and was enraged over Angie's lovable and talking teddy 'Mr. Bear'.

Nell was good friends with Carl's wife and before Mrs. Kanisky died of cancer and went floating up to the Sitcom Heavens above, made Nell promise to look after the family after her ultimate demise. Nell kept that promise, always going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the Chief and the girls 'behaved themselves'.

It was no easy task. Grandpa Kanisky was a major treat in upsetting the household with his senile wit and slapstick comedy of errors - the moment when he spilled Nell's partially completed jigsaw puzzle off the table was priceless! There was also the moment when Carl said he wanted to have a father and son 'talk', but grandpa said, "You already have 3 children, Carl. There's nothing left for me to tell you."

That was the Gimme A Break! I loved, but it all changed after season 3 and I quit tuning in after that. The theme song I loved was replaced with another tune, Joey Lawrence (and later his brother) was thrown in as the new cute kid and "Nell Harper" wasn't the same anymore.

She was no longer the self conscious, overweight and frumpy housekeeper I adored, but turned into a sassy, well dressed and (by the help of new writers) a totally different woman.

Things got worse later on when the Chief died, the girls went their separate ways and new characters like 'Addy' came into the picture. The setting was EVEN moved from GlenLawn, California to New York City! The show had the most changes I've ever noticed in a sitcom!

To say Nell Carter had an attitude during the show's run makes perfect sense, considering the show's format underwent major changes by Season 3 and became a 'shadow of it's former self'. Allegations from Rosie O'Donnell about Nell's bad behavior during the final seasons adds to the demise of what it once was.

My recommendation: check out Gimme A Break!, but only the first 2 seasons. It all goes downhill from there by the 3rd.

Was the above review useful to you?
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With the Chief or without the Chief...? jarrodmcdonald-1
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Gimme a Break Comes To TV-One mikelutton35
The last season ctfan79
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