Friday, September 18, 2015

The Debut of WKRP!

On September 18, 1978 the situation comedy WKRP in Cincinnati made its debut on CBS-TV. The show was centered around the least-listened to AM radio station in Southern Ohio. It featured Gary Sandy and Gordon Jump, two non "leading men" type character actors, as Andy Travis, the new program director, and Arthur Carlson, the owner and general manager of the station.

Almost immediately, however, the ensemble cast was given equal time with the two leads with story-lines and character bits, so by the end of the series you cannot recall the leads without also thinking of the five other co-stars. After the second year, all of them were given credits in the opening theme: Richard Sanders as newsman Les Nesman, Frank Bonner as sales manager Herb Tarlek, Jan Smithers as program assistant Bailey Quarters, Tim Reid as DJ Venus Fly Trap, Loni Anderson as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe, and Howard Hesseman as DJ Dr. Johnny Fever.

I remember the show was not all that interesting to me when it first appeared. I think I thought it was a take-off on the movie FM starring Martin Mull, who I despised. But I guess it was broadcasted on Monday nights right after MASH, so I kept the station on and eventually watched it, then growing to love it. It was produced by MTM Productions (Mary Tyler Moore's studio) and was created and executive produced by Hugh Wilson.

Happy Birthday, WKRP in Cincinnati! 

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