Saturday, July 15, 2017

What Might've Been: Calucci's Department (1973)

Yesterday, we talked about the workplace comedy, Many Happy Returns. My correspondents, Hal Horn at The Horn Section and TV trivia maven Mike Doran, noted that our next subject, Calucci's Department, while another workplace comedy, was actually set at a branch of the NY Department of Unemployment. I think now you know why this show lasted just 3 1/2 months. Being reminded that there are people out there not being able to earn a living can be depressing.

Of course, it didn't help that the competition consisted of Sanford & Son and The Brady Bunch. Enough said.

Calucci's Department came from Ed Sullivan's production company, with Robert Precht as executive producer. James Coco was cast in the title role as Joe Calucci, the supervisor for this particular branch office. Supporting players Rosetta LeNoire & Jose Perez might be better known for later work. Perez was part of an ensemble in the prison comedy, On The Rocks, just a couple of years later, and LeNoire scored her biggest career success as part of the ensemble of Family Matters. Coco, it turns out, was in line to have another go at fronting a sitcom, this one spun off from Who's The Boss?, but he passed away in 1987 before that could come to fruition.

In this clip, Calucci and his secretary (Candy Azzara) have an awkward discussion, as Calucci's having trouble expressing his feelings......

No rating. My folks were more into Sanford & Son.


Mike Doran said...

What I remember after all these years:
My Irish-Catholic family loved Calucci's Department.
And what we loved most was every couple of weeks, when Joe Calucci would go to confession.
Joe's priest was played by Phil Sterling (you'd know the face).
One week's visit started off something like this:

Joe: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
Father, it's Joe Calucci.
I've just started seeing a girl named Shirley Balukis.
She's a nice Lithuanian girl, with the face of an angel and the body of a floozie."

After forty-something years, I still remember this.
And what does that say about me?

hobbyfan said...

You've watched way more television than I.