Monday, August 12, 2013

What Might've Been: Sugar Time (1977)

James Komack had two big hits on the air as 1977 began. Chico & The Man on NBC, and Welcome Back, Kotter on ABC. However, no matter how hard Komack tried, he couldn't add another series that stuck.

In 1976, he'd acquired a license to adapt Archie for television, but all that resulted was a 1 hour pilot that was burned off in the summer, and is not available on YouTube. In the spring of 1977, Komack sold a fresh series to ABC, hoping it might catch on. Unfortunately, his luck was continuing to run out.

Sugar Time was designed as a vehicle for former Playboy pinup-turned-actress-turned-singer Barbi Benton, not much more. It was about an aspiring girl group trying to get established. They weren't going to remind anyone of Josie & The Pussycats by any stretch, for example, but they did predate the revival of all-girl groups by a few years.

After the series ended, Benton went on to Nashville to try her hand as a country singer and joined the cast of Hee Haw. Darleen "Didi" Carr would make a few guest appearances here and there over the next several years, but I don't think she landed another series gig of any successful length. Some of you might be surprised to learn she has a sister who was also very successful around the same time, but mostly in cartoons. Said sister being Shannon Farnon, the voice of Wonder Woman on Super Friends from 1973-84.

To try to help the show, Komack recruited Charles Fleischer (Carvelli from Kotter) to play a recurring character, but only got 3 episodes out of Fleischer before the curtain dropped on Sugar Time.

Gilmore Box uploaded the open:

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

Never saw the show...

Isn't that Mel Brooks singing the theme song???

Shows like this today tend to get cast with teen girls and turn up on cable channels. Girl rock groups are more common now than in '77 but maybe if they'd been a punk group they might have had a longer run ;o)

hobbyfan said...

Nope, it's not Mel Brooks. If it was, he'd have been producing this show, not Komack. Someone on YouTube postulated that it was a Jim Thurman, who did some voice work on Sesame Street back in the day.

You're right about this kind of sitcom being done with teen girls if they wanted to come back to this concept, and likely land on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon.