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Diff'rent Strokes 

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.
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1,379 ( 355)

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8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Conrad Bain ...  Philip Drummond 181 episodes, 1978-1986
Gary Coleman ...  Arnold Jackson 179 episodes, 1978-1986
Todd Bridges ...  Willis Jackson 169 episodes, 1978-1986
Dana Plato ...  Kimberly Drummond / ... 140 episodes, 1978-1986
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Storyline

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 <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam's Father/Maggie's ex-husband Wes McKinney was a Country/Western Singer. Wes was seen twice on the show, and was played by Hoyt Axton, a popular Country/Western Artist and Performer in real life. See more »

Quotes

Philip Drummond: Why are you still in bed, Arnold?
Arnold Jackson: I'm studying.
Philip Drummond: Superman is studying?
Arnold Jackson: I'm too young for Wonderwoman.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in The Parkers: The Hold Up (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Diff'rent Strokes
(Theme Song)
Written by Alan Thicke, Al Burton and Gloria Loring
Performed by Alan Thicke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Gary Coleman made this show......when lasted eight seasons and 189 episodes
8 June 2000 | by raysondSee all my reviews

During my days as a kid,and partly through my high school years as well,this show was just that: The brainchild of Gary Coleman. Coleman made millions off this series,and when the show left the airwaves in 1986(and its repeats in syndication),it was totally discarded forever,never to be heard from again,despite of what the people may say about this show and the fate of its cast including Todd Bridges(who played brother Willis),and the sudden death of Dana Plato(who played big sister Kimberly),and also from Conrad Bain(who played the widower Mr. Drummond) who was a regular on TV's Maude before coming to this series.

If someone would come up to you on the street,they would asked "What you talking about?" in the form of that question.

Interesting point about this show: It started off as a show called "Milk" on the NBC network before it became a series. "Diff'rent Strokes" when it premiered on November 3,1978 became one of the network's biggest hits scoring in the top ten of the Nielsens during its astounding seven year run on the Peacock Network and made Gary Coleman a huge megastar. NBC canceled this series on May 4,1985 after 170 episodes.

Also Mr. Drummond would get married in the show too during the 1984-1985 season to Maggie McKinney(played by Dixie Carter before going on to "Designing Women",which was on a rival network),and also bringing in her son Danny as Arnold's other brother(played by Danny Cooksey-who would go on to star opposite Scwarzenegger in Terminator 2,and also do voice-overs for children's shows) Also,Janet Jackson would appear as Willis' girlfriend Charlene during the 1981-1983 season(which during this time Miss Jackson did have a hit album out along with this series at that time). Shavar Ross was Arnold's best friend Dudley. When the show was canceled by NBC on May 4,1985 there were several cast changes. Mary Ann Mobley replaced Dixie Carter on the show and also gone were Pearl(Mary Jo Catlett). On September 27,1985,the show moved to ABC-TV where 19 new episodes were produced before the network finally canceled it on March 7,1986 after 189 episodes.

This was a grand series that spawned two spin-offs,the short-lived situation comedy series "Hello,Larry",and another successful series "The Facts of Life",which would go on to become NBC's longest-running and successful series from 1979-1987.

If it comes back on the air,its worth seeing.


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