Tag Archives: Benson

Return to the ’80s Trivia – 4/21/22

rtt80s trivia

Question: On this day (April 21) in 1986, what did thirty million viewers watch, making it the “highest rated syndicated special” in history?

Last Question: What series, which ran from September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986, was a spin-off of Soap?

Answer: Benson

Great job Pauline (@Dopey62)!!!


Daily Trivia: 12/1/11

Question: How much money did Brewster need to spend in the movie, Brewster’s Millions?

Last Question: How many seasons did Benson air on ABC?

A. 5 seasons
B. 7 seasons
C. 8 seasons
D. 9 seasons

Answer: B. 7 seasons

Benson (played by Robert Guillaume, who celebrated his birthday yesterday) was the Tate’s wise-cracking butler on the television show, Soap. The scene stealer spun off his own show, Benson, which aired for 7 seasons (September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986).

Benson had been hired to be the head of household affairs for scatterbrained and widowed Governor Eugene Gatling (James Noble), and his daughter Katie (Missy Gold). The Governor was cousins with Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) and Mary Campbell (Cathryn Damon) from Soap.

Benson worked his way up the ladder during the series, going from head of household affairs, to state budget director, and eventually was elevated to the position of Lieutenant Governor.

During the final episodes of the series, Benson ran for Governor. Governor Gatling had thought that he was prohibited from running for re-election due to term limits. So Benson won the nomination of Gatling’s party. Then Governor Gatling found out that he could run again if he did so as an independent candidate. So, that is what he did – which pitted the two friends against each other.

Later it was revealed that he could run again if he did so as an independent candidate, which he decided to do. By this time, Benson had already won the nomination of Gatling’s party, setting the stage for the two to go head-to-head in the general election.

In the series finale, it was election night. The race was still too close to call. But Benson and Gatling made up with each other, and watched the election returns together on television. The series ended as the broadcaster began to announce that a winner in the close election. So we never found out who won the election.

Over the course of the show’s seven-year run it was nominated for a total of 17 Emmy’s. It won two, including Best Actor in a Comedy Series for Guillaume’s second-to-last season portraying the title character, marking the first, and to this day only time an African-American actor has won the award.

Daily Trivia – 9/13/11

Question: What morphing toy brand was Tonka’s answer to Transformers?

Last Question: Who swore off sitcoms after a short, unhappy stint as Frankie on Benson, until he got his own show nine years later?

Answer: Jerry Seinfeld

Before Seinfeld hit it big, he had a small recurring role on Benson as “Frankie”, a mail delivery boy who had comedy routines that no one wanted to hear. According to the New York Times, Seinfeld and the show’s producers clashed over the character’s direction, and he was fired after only four episodes.

But, not long after – in May 1981, Seinfeld appeared on The Tonight Show, and impressed Johnny Carson. The rest is history.

Here is a scene from Benson: