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TV Series
    (February 8, 1974-August 1, 1979)
    Originally aired on CBS
    Spin-off of 'Maude'
    Esther Rolle as Florida Evans (1974-1977; 1978-1979)
    John Amos as James Evans, Sr. (1974-76)
    Jimmie Walker as James 'J.J.' Evans, Jr.
    BernNadette Stanis as Thelma Evans-Anderson
    Ralph Carter as Michael Evans
    Ja'net DuBois as Willona Woods
    Premise: Poor African-American family survives hardship living in a Chicago housing project
    Poverty is funny?
    It was a spin-off of a spin-off.
    One word, three syllables; 'DY-NO-MITE!'
    Nosy neighbor Willona would always burst into the Evans' house, in the projects, without ever encountering a locked door.
    White people who visited the family were never mugged.
    John Amos was fired after two seasons for reporting in an interview the inner turmoil and friction on the set of the show (he was killed off in a car wreck).
    Esther Rolle quit after the third season because she felt the 'J.J.' character was a stereotypical buffoon and demeaning to African-Americans. However, this didn't stop her from coming back for the final season.
    After the third season, an overweight maintenance man character (played by Johnny Brown) was thrown in just so fat jokes could be inserted ad nauseam.
    It tackled some relevant social issues facing poor African-American families, such as chronic unemployment, racial discrimination, gangs, drugs, gun violence, teen pregnancy, etc.
    Janet Jackson got her show biz start on the show, playing child abuse victim Penny, later adopted by the Willona character.
    Two of the writers for the show were Jay Leno and David Letterman.
    The Michael Evans character was a smart and positive role model who aspired to become the U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
    It reached #7 in the Neilsen ratings during the 1974-75 season.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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