The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.
1,649 ( 194)




8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »





Complete series cast summary:
Conrad Bain ...  Philip Drummond 181 episodes, 1978-1986
Gary Coleman ...  Arnold Jackson 181 episodes, 1978-1986
Todd Bridges ...  Willis Jackson 180 episodes, 1978-1986
Dana Plato ...  Kimberly Drummond / ... 144 episodes, 1978-1986
Mary Jo Catlett ...  Pearl Gallagher 82 episodes, 1982-1986


Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two African American orphans from Harlem, 8-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis. Drummond had made a promise to their dying mother, his housekeeper, that he would care for the boys after she passes away; their father had died years earlier. The boys, whom Drummond always introduced as his two sons, went from rags to riches literally overnight. At first, Willis was rather skeptical of their newfound wealth, but eventually, both he and Arnold felt right at home in their newfound surroundings. Also part of the family were Drummond's beautiful daughter, 13-year-old Kimberly; and his no-nonsense housekeeper, Edna Garrett. As the years passed, Mrs. Garrett left to become housemother at the Eastland School for Girls; she was replaced by the cantankerous Adelaide Brubaker and still later, charming Pearl Gallagher. Arnold's friends, Dudley and Robbie (and later, Charlie); Willis' ... Written by Brian Rathjen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can the funniest, most opinionated nine year old south of Harlem find happiness as the adopted son of a suave, lily-white Park Avenue millionaire? (season 1)


Comedy | Drama | Family


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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. See more »


Willis Jackson: [Mrs. Garrett catches the boys throwing punches] Uhhh, it's a new dance we're doing... It's called, ummm... The Punch Shuffle.
Edna Garrett: Now if Mr. Drummond catches you practicing fighting, you're gonna switch from the Punch Shuffle to the Bruised Bottom Blues!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two hour-long episodes on the first season DVD are presented in their edited, two-part syndicated versions. See more »


Featured in NBC 75th Anniversary Special (2002) See more »

User Reviews

Rest in Peace Mr. Bain
27 March 2013 | by MWNieseSee all my reviews

*******Seven Out Of Ten Stars*******

The true star of this show, Conrad Bain, died this past January in the year of 2013. In my humble opinion, Bain really held this show together through the years. He was the only cast member to appear in all 180 episodes. And Bain always offered what I thought were the best comedic one liners in the series; and clearly was the most polished actor of anyone that ever appeared on the show. Other highlights of the show included the seemingly unending supply of guest stars: Reggie Jackson, Dorothy Hamill, Nancy Regan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Captain Lou Albano, Muhammad Ali, Milton Berle, and of course, Mr. T. Pretty incredible stuff. Also worth mentioning, is much of the social commentary the writers often tried to weave into the scripts; it didn't always work, but when it was did, it was really touching. Some of the episodes dealt with some pretty adult serious issues: Robbery, sexual abuse, racism, sexism.... it was progressive writing for the time. "Different Strokes" has a special place in my mind and in my heart. So God rest Plato, Coleman, and Bain.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 38 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »


Release Date:

3 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

45 Minutes from Harlem See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (189 episodes)
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed