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Family (1976-1980)

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I liked Elayne Heilveil as Nancy too. I think Brianne Leary from Chips looked like her and would have been a good recast. 

 

Briane Leary                                                                                    Elayne Heilveil

 

image.jpeg                      image.jpeg

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I found this page with several season 3 episodes of Family uploaded from the Decades channel. The quality is good. One episode features Dinah Manoff as a crazy friend of Kristy MicNichol. 10 years later they would be playing sisters on Empty Nest. Another episode features Linda Lavin (who also did a film with Kristy around this time in 1978 called Like Mom, Like Me). Linda plays a client in this episode who tried to seduce Doug Lawrence. 

 

 

 

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Oh thanks!  It drives me crazy that we never got anymore of it on DVD.

On 10/31/2017 at 8:41 PM, SoapDope said:

This show is pretty much getting lost with time. Most people under 35 probably have never even heard of it. I couldn't tell you the last time the series was seen in reruns. The 80's probably. 

 

If a network would take a chance and run it, it may develop a new audience. 

I don't think it gets the credit it deserves--a lot of great writers came from it (Herskovitz and Zwick I believe met on it--nearly a decade before creating thirtysomething).I'll often see youtube and blog posts about groundbreaking "gay" themed episodes from the 1970s that mention stuff lie the gay bar on Taxi but completely ignore Family's Rites of Friendship episode from its first full season which is shockingly progressive in its take on homosexuality for the time (nevermind that Willie's "best friend" is never mentioned again lol)--or I believe there was a season 3 episode with Buddy having a crush on a lesbian teacher.

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1 hour ago, EricMontreal22 said:

Oh thanks!  It drives me crazy that we never got anymore of it on DVD.

I don't think it gets the credit it deserves--a lot of great writers came from it (Herskovitz and Zwick I believe met on it--nearly a decade before creating thirtysomething).I'll often see youtube and blog posts about groundbreaking "gay" themed episodes from the 1970s that mention stuff lie the gay bar on Taxi but completely ignore Family's Rites of Friendship episode from its first full season which is shockingly progressive in its take on homosexuality for the time (nevermind that Willie's "best friend" is never mentioned again lol)--or I believe there was a season 3 episode with Buddy having a crush on a lesbian teacher.

 

I just happened to run across those. I wish they would release the entire series on DVD. Another writer on Family was David Jacobs who created Dallas in 1978 and Knots Landing in 1979. 

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Right--I saw that going through this thread.  Wasn't there just a lawsuit settled to do about the writing credits for Family??  Maybe something to do with credited creator Jay Presson Allen?  (Who has had some slight infamy with writing credits--the film screenplay of Cabaret is credited to her, however, most sources now acknowledge that playwright Hugh Wheeler did the final script).  

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4 hours ago, EricMontreal22 said:

Right--I saw that going through this thread.  Wasn't there just a lawsuit settled to do about the writing credits for Family??  Maybe something to do with credited creator Jay Presson Allen?  (Who has had some slight infamy with writing credits--the film screenplay of Cabaret is credited to her, however, most sources now acknowledge that playwright Hugh Wheeler did the final script).  

It seems like I recall reading that. Aaron Spelling has said he and Leonard Goldberg came up with the idea in his kitchen. I think there was also a lawsuit brought by Robert Wagner who said he and his then wife Natalie Wood were the ones who pitched the idea for Charlie's Angels. 

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5 hours ago, vetsoapfan said:

Damn, these videos are blocked due to "copyright restrictions" for me. :(

Odd--where are you located?  They work for me here in Canadaland...

 

7 hours ago, SoapDope said:

It seems like I recall reading that. Aaron Spelling has said he and Leonard Goldberg came up with the idea in his kitchen. I think there was also a lawsuit brought by Robert Wagner who said he and his then wife Natalie Wood were the ones who pitched the idea for Charlie's Angels. 

Ah, this is what Wiki says:

"

Family became the subject of a 24-year legal dispute[2] due to a lawsuit filed by writer Jeri Emmet in 1977. The claim was against Spelling Television and alleged that Spelling had stolen the idea for the show from a script that Emmet had submitted, entitled "The Best Years." Spelling responded to the lawsuit with a statement explaining that he had conceived the idea in his kitchen with Leonard Goldberg, his professional partner at the time. Next they pitched the idea to scriptwriter Jay Presson Allen to create the pilot. She had just completed writing the screenplay for the film Funny Lady, starring Barbra Streisand and directed by Herbert Ross.

In October 1981, the suit was dismissed for lack for prosecution. Jeri Emmet filed an appeal the same month. Approximately a year later, she withdrew her appeal as part of a settlement with Spelling and Goldberg for $1,000. Emmet later filed a legal malpractice action against her own lawyers in which it was argued that she would have won her original lawsuit but for the malpractice. The case went to trial and a jury awarded her $1.7 million in damages. The verdict was then successfully appealed based on the resumption of the suit having occurred beyond a one-year limitation period allowed in the law. The trial result and the judgment were thrown out.[3]

Emmet sued Spelling a second time, in 1996, after Spelling published his memoirs. She claimed that Spelling had defamed her in his book, as she had not been credited with conceiving the original idea for Family. She lost on appeal in 2001, with the court saying she had not met the standard for showing damages due to the alleged defamation and that she had not explained how the defamation legally constituted a second theft of the same intellectual property. The litigation finally concluded with Allen retaining her "Created by" credit for the series

"

It's interesting that it does sound like it didn't really have a showrunner the way I'm used to in later dramas (even the Herskovitz/Ziwck shows that owe so much to this)--Allen is given creator credit and wrote the pilot but nothing else.  Goldberg/Mike Nicholls (!) and Aaron Spelling were, according to WIki as well, in charge of the show creatively.  It doesn't seem like it had a writer's room (did American primetime shows have it back then?) and they used many different writers.  Aside from David Jacobs, and Herskovitz and Zwick getting their start there so did Richard Kramer (who went on to do the first Tales of the City adaptation as well as being a writer on basically every later Herskovitz/Zwick show including writing the infamous "gay" episode of thirtysomething), and Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman who went on to create Sisters and the US (*cough* inferior ;) ) version of Queer as Folk.

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3 hours ago, EricMontreal22 said:

Odd--where are you located?  They work for me here in Canadaland...
 

 

REALLY?

 

That's weird.

 

For me, all of the eps from seasons 2, 3, and 4 are locked. I get a notice saying that Sony has blocked them in my area.

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3 hours ago, EricMontreal22 said:

Odd--where are you located?  They work for me here in Canadaland...

 

Ah, this is what Wiki says:

"

Family became the subject of a 24-year legal dispute[2] due to a lawsuit filed by writer Jeri Emmet in 1977. The claim was against Spelling Television and alleged that Spelling had stolen the idea for the show from a script that Emmet had submitted, entitled "The Best Years." Spelling responded to the lawsuit with a statement explaining that he had conceived the idea in his kitchen with Leonard Goldberg, his professional partner at the time. Next they pitched the idea to scriptwriter Jay Presson Allen to create the pilot. She had just completed writing the screenplay for the film Funny Lady, starring Barbra Streisand and directed by Herbert Ross.

In October 1981, the suit was dismissed for lack for prosecution. Jeri Emmet filed an appeal the same month. Approximately a year later, she withdrew her appeal as part of a settlement with Spelling and Goldberg for $1,000. Emmet later filed a legal malpractice action against her own lawyers in which it was argued that she would have won her original lawsuit but for the malpractice. The case went to trial and a jury awarded her $1.7 million in damages. The verdict was then successfully appealed based on the resumption of the suit having occurred beyond a one-year limitation period allowed in the law. The trial result and the judgment were thrown out.[3]

Emmet sued Spelling a second time, in 1996, after Spelling published his memoirs. She claimed that Spelling had defamed her in his book, as she had not been credited with conceiving the original idea for Family. She lost on appeal in 2001, with the court saying she had not met the standard for showing damages due to the alleged defamation and that she had not explained how the defamation legally constituted a second theft of the same intellectual property. The litigation finally concluded with Allen retaining her "Created by" credit for the series

"

It's interesting that it does sound like it didn't really have a showrunner the way I'm used to in later dramas (even the Herskovitz/Ziwck shows that owe so much to this)--Allen is given creator credit and wrote the pilot but nothing else.  Goldberg/Mike Nicholls (!) and Aaron Spelling were, according to WIki as well, in charge of the show creatively.  It doesn't seem like it had a writer's room (did American primetime shows have it back then?) and they used many different writers.  Aside from David Jacobs, and Herskovitz and Zwick getting their start there so did Richard Kramer (who went on to do the first Tales of the City adaptation as well as being a writer on basically every later Herskovitz/Zwick show including writing the infamous "gay" episode of thirtysomething), and Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman who went on to create Sisters and the US (*cough* inferior ;) ) version of Queer as Folk.

Thanks for finding that. It seems the show had random writers that submitted storylines and collected a paycheck. I read that Mike Nichols production company produced the series and was given onscreen credit, but he had no personal involvement in it. David Jacobs was considered the new hot shot writer because of Family and was courted to join Lorimar Productions where he submitted Dallas. Bill Blinn who had created Starsky and Hutch left Spelling/Goldberg productions for Lorimar too and directed Eight Is Enough. Writers for Eight also wrote scripts for The Waltons. I remember seeing an interview with Blinn and he said he never would have cast Dick Van Patten as the father, but Fred Silverman at ABC wanted him because he thought he was funny. The actor Blinn wanted for Tom Bradford was a stage actor and when he came to test, he was a mess on camera. Blinn also went on to say he felt bad years later after the kids turned out to be messes, especially Adam Rich who played little Nicholas and said he would never suggest a child be and actor.

 

Interestingly, when Jacobs wrote the script for Dallas in 1977, it was originally titled "The Linda Evans Project". In 1981 Spelling would rip off Dallas with Dynasty and cast Evans in the lead. 

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Someone on youtube has uploaded some later episodes of Family. Here is one from 1979. Brent Spiner (Data From Star Trek TNG) in an early role as the assistant to the swim coach.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:

This show was so good from beginning to end. I watched the weekend binge on Decades about a year ago and stayed glued to the set the entire time. We will never see the likes of it ever again.

I agree. A lot of episodes were written by David Jacobs (Dallas & Knots Landing). 

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