Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Might've Been: The Chicago Teddy Bears (1971)

Was America ready for a sitcom about gangsters? Apparently not, but CBS gave it a try in 1971.

Perhaps the real reason The Chicago Teddy Bears failed was where it was placed on the schedule. Fridays at 8, opposite the higher-rated Brady Bunch. Enough said. CBS dropped the show after 3 months.

Teddy Bears was built around a stable ensemble cast, headed up by Dean Jones, better known for his work in Disney movies such as "The Love Bug" and the original "Shaggy Dog". Jones' production company co-produced the series with WB, but this apparently was the only project he'd have on the air. The cast also included some familiar faces and voices, including Marvin Kaplan (ex-Top Cat, later of Alice), John Banner (fresh from Hogan's Heroes), ex-Bowery Boy Huntz Hall (primetime debut), and Jamie Farr (later of M*A*S*H & The Gong Show). Art Metrano, better known now for his comedy-magic act, was given second billing in his first primetime starring role.

Gilmorebox uploaded the open, which, sadly, is in black & white.

Admittedly, this was a welcome alternative to the Bradys, but not enough people thought that to be the case. Their loss. Rating: B.


magicdog said...

A sitcom about gangsters would have been tricky, seeing as how they're into such dishonest business! That's why dramas about them (like "The Godfather" films) seem to be a better fit.

Then again, a sitcom about a German POW camp managed to keep it funny so what do I know?

hobbyfan said...

Then again, Hogan's Heroes was actually classified, at least IMPO, as a comedy-adventure series.

I think it's just a case of being on the wrong night of the week.

David bone said...

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hobbyfan said...

David: Thanks very much, and welcome.