In honor of Father’s Day, here is a tribute to ’80s sitcom Fathers. These are listed in no particular order:
Howard Cunninghan – Happy Days
“Mr. C” had a lot to deal with. Not only did own a hardware store (Cunningham Hardware), but he had to deal with his bickering kids (Richie and Joanie), and his sometimes spacey wife, Marion. He also had to put up with Richie’s goofy friends, Potsie and Ralph Mouth, and he was also a father figure to Fonzie. Then later on, he had to deal with Fonzie’s nephew, Chachi, chasing after his daughter.
At least he got to let off steam at the Leopard Lodge or bowling for a team called the Ten Pins.
Edward Stratton III – Silver Spoons
Sure Edward Stratton may have been a bit of a man-child. But who would complain about a dad that has a train that runs through the house. And at the time, how many of us were jealous that Ricky had a full size arcade game in the house?!
Jason Seaver – Growing Pains
Dr. Jason Seaver was a psychiatrist who also taught lessons to his own kids. And how cool was he to score Springsteen tickets for his son, Mike?! Too bad Jason embarrased him on th on-street TV interview after the concert. Well, nobody’s perfect.
Steven Keaton – Family Ties
Steven was a public TV manager, and a proud former hippie, who raised four children – one of whom was a conservative free marketeer. The soft-spoken father was able to guide his family through som “very special episodes” and came through with flying colors.
Al Bundy – Married With Children
Al Bundy was the heart and soul of the Bundy family. He was cursed selling women’s shoes, and came home to a family that constantly mocked him. But he still enjoyed the simple things in life, such as sitting in front of the TV, and sticking his hand in his pants.
So who are some of your favorite sitcom dads? Mr. Drummond? The dads from My Two Dads? Tony from Who’s the Boss?
Give a shout out to your favorite dads, and Happy Father’s Day!
Sadly, and unfortunately not so surprisingly, Whitney Houston passed away today. We have lost one of the greatest and most beautiful voices of all time. She was 48. According to The Associated Press, Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton hotel.
This happens on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. Her death will probably cast a dark shadow over the event tomorrow. Her longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner today, and a representative of the show said it would proceed. Houston was supposed to appear at the gala, and Davis had told The Associated Press that she would perhaps perform: “It’s her favorite night of the year … (so) who knows by the end of the evening,” he said.
Whitney was part of music royalty. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin. She burst on to the scene in 1985 with her debut self-titled album. Her lead single, “You Give Good Love” peaked at #3 on the Billboard chart, and #1 on the Hot R&B chart. Not a bad start. Then her follow-up single, “Saving All My Love” would be her first #1 single in both the U.S. and U.K. It would be the first of many #1 hits. The final single, “Greatest Love of All,” became Houston’s biggest hit at the time after peaking No. 1 and remaining there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, which made her debut the first album by a female artist to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the No. 1 album of the year on 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction.
She did not slow down. Her follow-up album, Whitney, continued her record run. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional,” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees.
She hit another high point in 1991 when she gave one of the greatest performances of the Star Spangled Banner before Super Bowl XXV, while America was in the midst of Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Whitney then became involved with acting as she starred in 1992’s The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner. The movie was a huge hit, grossing more than $121 million in the U.S. and $410 million worldwide. Houston executive produced and contributed six songs for the movie’s soundtrack. One of the songs became her signature song – “I Will Always Love You”.
Just before the movie was released, fatefully, she married New Edition bad-boy Bobby Brown. She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, “My Love Is Your Love,” in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”
But in the meantime, Whitney’s life was starting to spiral out of control. She and Bobby Brown were into drugs pretty heavily, and had a rocky relationship.
She was constantly having meltdowns, and she was looking scary thin. Her decline continued and became more apparent on the relaity show, “Being Bobby Brown.” And she did not make herself look good on the infamous Diane Sawyer “Crack is Wack” interview.
Whitney and Bobby finally divorced in 2007. After that everybody was anxiously awaiting a huge Whitney Houston comeback. We almost had one with the 2009 album “I Look To You.” The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum. However, when she was performing to promote the album, her voice was not even close to her formaer greatness. She sounded ragged and off-key.
Sadly, we will never see Whitney recover.
Here is my earliest memory of Whitney Houston – Her acting debut on Silver Spoons in 1985:
Here we are, face to face
A couple of Silver Spoons.
Hopin’ to find, we’re two of a kind
Making a go, making it grow.
Together, we’re going to find our way.
Together, taking the time each day.
To learn all about those things you just can’t buy.
Two Silver spoons together.
You and I together (We’re going to find our way)
You and I together (We’re going to find our way)
You and I together.
Silver Spoons aired on NBC from September 25, 1982 to May 11, 1986 and in first-run syndication from September 15, 1986 to March 4, 1987.
In the first episode, Ricky Stratton (Ricky Schroder) arrived at the mansion of the father he has never met to introduce himself, move in and get to know him better. Edward Stratton III (played by Joel Higgins) was an “overgrown child,” that never took responsibility for anything, including his toy business named Eddie Toys. Edward thinks that his son is too uptight and needs to get out and have fun while he’s still young.
They live in an awesome mansion that has arcade games and a train that ran throughout the house. While Edward was childish and playful, his gorgeous personal assistant, Kate Summers (played by Erin Gray), was often the voice of reason. And she kind of gave him incentive to act a little more mature. Edward and Kate had a will-they-or-won’t-they relationship which led to the two dating and later becoming married in the third season.
And like, Diff’rent Strokes, and other family sitcoms of the ’80s, Silver Spoons had it’s share of “Very Special” Episodes:
* In the Season 1 episode “Mr. T and Me”, the issue of school bullies was touched upon when Ricky is being picked on by a bully and Edward decides to hire a bodyguard for Ricky (played by Mr. T).
* In the Season 1 episode “The Best Christmas Ever”, homelessness was addressed when Ricky discovered a family living in a cave on his father’s estate, featuring future Gimme A Break and Blossom star Joey Lawrence.
* In the Season 2 episode “Spare the Rod,” Ricky discovers that his friend Toby (Meeno Peluce of Voyagers!) is being beaten by his father. The end of the episode reveals that the father is also a child abuse victim.
* In the Season 3 episode “The Babysitters”, Ricky suspects that a girl he’s babysitting was kidnapped by her father. Many missing children cases have involved children being kidnapped by one of their parents or relatives.
* In the two-part Season 4 episode “One for the Road”, Ricky attends a party and is pressured into drinking by his friend. He later finds out that his friend has a drinking problem and tries to get him help.
* In the Season 4 episode “Daddy Rick”, the subject of teen pregnancy is addressed when Ricky is paired with a girl in a mock marriage project at school and finds out his partner is pregnant, both in the mock marriage project and in real life.
Overall, this was a very good show. And who didn’t want to live in that mansion?!?
So, where have all the stars of the show been?
Ricky Stratton – Ricky Schroder
Ricky Schroder came into prominence when he won a Golden Globe for Best New Male Star of 1979 when he starred in The Champ with Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway.
Schroder then starred in Silver Spoons. After his run on that show, he decided to go for more mature roles. In 1988, he starred in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries, Lonesome Dove, based on Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. He also appeared in the sequel,Return to Lonesome Dove. And then most of us were surprised when he starred in the television show NYPD Blue, replacing Jimmy Smits. He played Danny Sorenson for 2 1/2 years, and did an outstanding job. He left after the 2000-2001 season citing a need to spend more time with his family and time-management issues. In 2003, he returned to comedy, playing Nurse Paul Flowers in Scrubs. In 2004, Schroder directed and starred in the great Brad Paisley video, “Whiskey Lullaby”. In 2007, Schroder went back to action/drama, playing Mike Doyle on 24 for 1 season. Schroder is set to guest-star in an upcoming January episode of ABC’s No Ordinary Family.
Schroder married Andrea Bernard on September 26, 1992. Together, they have four children: sons Holden (born 1992) and Luke (born 1993) and daughters Cambrie (born 1997) and Faith Anne (born 2001). Andrea Bernard-Schroder is an interior designer and was a contestant on Season Two of Top Design on Bravo.
For the latest news and updates on Rick Schroder, you can visit his Official Site.
Edward Stratton III – Joel Higgins
Before Silver Spoons, Joel Higgins played Bruce Carson in the CBS soap opera Search For Tomorrow from 1975-1978. In 1979, Higgins starred in the short-lived television series Salvage 1 with Andy Griffith. Then in 1981, he starred as U.S. Marshal Sam Best in the show Best of the West.
After Silver Spoons, he appeared in 2 television movies: Laura Lansing Slept Here (1988) and Rich Men, Single Women (1990). He was also in the short-lived 1989 sitcom, Have Faith where he played the role of Monsignor Joseph “Mac” MacKenzie.
He has mainly been working in theater over the years.
Joel Higgins is married to a woman named Stacy, they’ve been together for over 20 years and have a son named Graham.
Kate Summers Stratton – Erin Gray
Before Silver Spoons, Erin Gray was known for her role as Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Then in 1982, she played the role of Lilah in the summer movie Six Pack as a love interest opposite Kenny Rogers.
In 1993, she had a featured role in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the ninth entry in the Friday the 13th series. In 2005, she appeared in the film, Siren. In 2010, she appeared in the web series Buck Rogers, playing the mother of Lucas ‘Buck’ Rogers. She is also active as a casting agent through her agency, Heroes for Hire, which specializes in booking sci-fi and fantasy stars for appearances.
Seales was mainly known for “stuffy” Dexter Stuffins, Edward’s attorney, and uncle to Ricky’s best friend Alfonso. After Silver Spoons, Seales had guest spots on the shows Wiseguy, Growing Pains, and Amen. Sadly, Seales died of complications from AIDS at his family’s home in New York City on May 14, 1990. He was 37.
Alfonso Spears – Alfonso Ribeiro
While Alfonso Ribeiro became well known from his role in Silver Spoons, he became an even bigger star as Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
He is currently hosting his first game show, GSN’s Catch-21, which premiered July 21, 2008 and directing Tyler Perry’s sitcom Meet the Browns.
Derek Taylor – Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman played one of Ricky’s friends, Derek Taylor from 1982-1984. Before Silver Spoons, Bateman played James Cooper Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. After Silver Spoons, Bateman starred in the show Valerie’s Family, which was then named The Hogan Family after Valerie Harper left the show. After that show ended, Bateman disappeared for almost a decade. Then he had a career resurgence when he starred in the show Arrested Devlopment as Michael Bluth. Bateman won several awards for his work on the series, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. He was also nominated in 2005 for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
This resurgence then brought him to movies. In 2004, Bateman appeared in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story as ESPN 8 (“The Ocho”) commentator Pepper Brooks, and in Starsky & Hutch as Kevin, Vince Vaughn’s business partner.
Bateman reunited with Vaughn in 2006’s The Break-Up. In 2007, he played former lawyer Rupert “Rip” Reed alongside Ben Affleck in Smokin’ Aces, and also starred in The Kingdom, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and Juno. In 2008, he co-starred with Will Smith and Charlize Theron in the superhero film Hancock.
Bateman’s 2009 films included Extract, written and directed by Mike Judge, and Couples Retreat, a comedy chronicling four couples who partake in therapy sessions at a tropical island resort (Kristen Bell played his wife).
Since 2001, Bateman has been married to actress Amanda Anka, daughter of singer and actor Paul Anka. Their first child, Francesca Nora Bateman, was born October 28, 2006.
Freddy Lippincottleman – Corky Pigeon
After Silver Spoons, Corky went on to plays drums and make countless records in various bands, tour with bands like MXPX and Reel Big Fish. Corky married his girlfriend of ten years, Bobbie Starr Pigeon aka Bobbie Starr. They live in The Valley in Los Angeles.
Grandfather Edward Stratton II – John Houseman (September 22, 1902 – October 31, 1988)
In addition for being known as Edward Stratton II, Houseman won a Golden Globe and Academy Award for his role as Professor Charles Kingsfield in the 1973 movie The Paper Chase. He reprised his role in the television series of the same name from 1978–1986, receiving two Golden Globe nominations for “Best Actor in a TV Series — Drama”. And of course, we fondly remember Houseman for his Smith Barney commercial, with the catchphrase: “They make money the old fashioned way…they EHRN (earn) it.”
Here is the commercial. The actual commercial starts 22 seconds into the video:
Houseman died of spinal cancer in 1988 at his home in Malibu, California at age 86. In 1988, he appeared in his last two roles—cameos in the movies The Naked Gun playing a hilarious driving instructor, and Scroogedplaying himself. Both films were released after his death.