Discover more from Rerun Rewind
This Week in Sitcom History — April 16th-22nd
As the summer months approach, there are less significant sitcom-related happenings to report, so I’ll be posting once per week for a while.
1984: Kirk’s Last Episode of Newhart
The Newhart season two finale, “New Faces of 1951,” aired on April 16th, 1984. It was the last episode to feature Steven Kampmann as Kirk.
1990: Series Premier of Working Girl
The short-lived sitcom, Working Girl, premiered on April 16th, 1990. It was based on the 1988 film starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, and it starred future Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock as a secretary trying to succeed in the business world. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), it only lasted 12 episodes.
1956: Jean Hagen’s Exit from Make Room for Daddy Prompts a Name Change and the First Death of a Sitcom Character
The season three finale of Make Room for Daddy, “Danny’s Birthday,” aired on April 17th, 1956. It was the final episode to feature Jean Hagen as Danny’s (Danny Thomas) wife, Margaret. She left the show after season three wrapped. In season four, it was explained that Margaret had died suddenly. It was the first time ever that a character died on a sitcom. Apparently the show’s creators thought this would be less shocking than having Danny and Margaret get divorced. The name of the show was also changed to The Danny Thomas Show for the rest of its run.
1991: Newman’s First Episode of Seinfeld
The Seinfeld season two episode, “The Revenge,” aired on April 18th, 1991. It was the first episode to feature Newman as an off-screen voice performed by Larry David. Later, when Wayne Knight was cast to play Newman, Larry’s voice was overdubbed with Wayne’s for syndication.
1986: Benson Cliffhanger Series Finale
The very last episode of Benson, “And the Winner is…,” aired on April 19th, 1986. In the previous episode, Benson (Robert Guillaume) decided to run for governor against his boss, the incumbent. The show ended on a cliffhanger, as the election results had not been announced, so contrary to the episode title, viewers never found out who the winner was.
1982: WKRP in Cincinnati Series Finale
The series finale of WKRP in Cincinnati, “Up and Down the Dial,” aired on April 21st, 1982, but it wasn’t the last episode broadcast. The network held back two episodes from the final season, “To Err is Human” and “The Impossible Dream,” due to low ratings, but they decided to air these episodes in August and September respectively.
1998: Only Episode of Frasier Directed by Dan Butler
The Frasier episode, “Frasier Gotta Have It,” aired on April 21st, 1998. It was the only episode of the show directed by Dan Butler, who played the recurring character, Bulldog.