The initial pilot for THREE'S COMPANY was shot early in 1976, with Larry Gelbart (MASH) attempting to adapt the British sitcom MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE into an American friendly format that was closely copied for the actual debut episode. The biggest difference between the two is of course the cast, though John Ritter is already present, not as Jack Tripper but as David Bell, aspiring filmmaker with cooking just a sideline. Also on hand are Norman Fell and Audra Lindley as the Ropers, though his first name is George, same as the British version. Instead of Joyce De Witt as florist Janet Wood we have the delightful Valerie Curtin as Jenny, who works for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the first blonde roommate Susanne Zenor as Samantha, aspiring actress and model. The gags are naughtier than in the final version, and a second pilot replaced Valerie Curtin with Joyce, while Susan Lanier became the first Chrissie, this one filmed in January 1977. There are many changes in dialogue but the basic setup remained unchanged, two roommates discovering a man sleeping in the bathtub, whose culinary skills and easy going disposition encourage the girls to ask him to move in. Most of the business between the Ropers wasn't changed at all, but the barbs sting just a bit more in this first pilot.
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