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Webster





 

 

 

Webster (TV series)

Format: Sitcom

Starring: Emmanuel Lewis, Alex Karras, Susan Clark, Henry Polic II

Country of origin: United States

No. of seasons: 6 No. of episodes: 150 Production

Running time: 30 minutes (per episode)

Broadcast

Original channel: ABC

Original run: September 16, 1983 March 24, 1989

Webster is an American sitcom series that premiered on ABC on September 16, 1983, and ran on that network until September 11, 1987, but continued in first-run syndication until 1989.

 

 



Click here to see a great Webster video clip

Synopsis

The show, set in Chicago, revolved around Webster Long, a seven-year-old African-American orphan (Emmanuel Lewis) whose biological parents were recently killed in a car accident. He is then taken in by retired football star George Papadopolis (Alex Karras), with whom his late father played professional football in the 1970s, and his wife Katherine (Susan Clark), a blue-blooded socialite with no housekeeping skills whatsoever.

Webster also had an uncle, played by Ben Vereen, who had issues with Webster living with a white couple and sought to adopt him and take him to live in Chicago's South Side.

Shortly into the second season, Webster accidentally burned down the family's apartment with a science kit and the family moved to a large Victorian house in the suburbs. To some, the move from the city was the point where the show "jumped the shark".

However, the show continued despite some of the plots. Many of Webster's friends and classmates passed through, including Rob (Chad Allen). Bill and Cassie Parker (Eugene Roche & Cathryn Damon) leased the Victorian house to the Papadopolises during the show's second and third seasons, until George and Katherine bought it outright (this was Ms. Damon's last TV series role, as she died from cancer a year after leaving the show). Over the course of the fourth season, ratings dropped sharply. The show, which had been a Nielsen top 10 series, now ranked 50th. ABC chose not to renew Webster.

The series' popularity and interest among younger viewers prompted the show to continue in first-run syndication starting in fall of 1987. At this time, the Papadopolis household gained a new member in George's nephew Nicky (Corin Nemec), who moved in when his parents went off to work in Nigeria (on assignment for the UN). Nicky provided Webster with a sort of "brother figure", and the two got along famously. However, Nicky was gone from the show at the start of season six (Nemec would later reach greater fame as the star of Fox's Parker Lewis Can't Lose). While plots continued to mature somewhat with Webster's onset of pre-teendom, the same "cutesy factor" remained, thanks in part to Lewis' timing and portrayal. However, this was something Lewis was slowly getting tired of, despite the fact that he had more creative control over Webster at this point (with Emmanuel Lewis Entertainment Enterprises co-producing with Karras and Clark's Georgian Bay Ltd.) By early 1989, with Lewis clearly outgrowing the title role, Karras and Clark also decided that the time was right to move on. The last episode was taped in March 1989 (but aired later that spring), which did not signify an end of any sort, but was played out as a high event - the cast went on a space adventure with guest star Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf, from Star Trek: The Next Generation (in the ep. titled "Webtrek").

 

 

 

Cast

Emmanuel Lewis as Webster Long

Alex Karras as George Papadapolis

Susan Clark as Katherine Calder-Young Papadapolis

Henry Polic II as Jerry Silver

Heather O'Rourke as Melanie (1983)

Eugene Roche as Bill Parker (19841986)

Cathryn Damon as Cassie Parker (19841986)

Ben Vereen as Uncle Phillip Long (19841985)

Jack Kruschen as "Papa" Papadapolis (19851987)

Chad Allen as Rob Whitaker/Joiner (19851986)

Carl Steven as Roger (19861987)

Danny McMurphy as Timmy (19861987)

Gabe Witcher as Tommy (1987)

Nick DeMauro as Benny (1987)

Corin Nemec as Nicky Papadopolis (19871988) (credited as Corin "Corky" Nemec)

 

 

 

 

Series Development and Changes

Alex Karras and Susan Clark were married to each other in real life, as well as on the show. After starting their own production company, Georgian Bay Ltd., ABC approached the couple about a sitcom development deal, which resulted in the proposed series titled Another Ballgame. In this, Karras was the ex-NFL player who quickly found true love on a cruise with socialite Katherine (Clark), and the premise was a raucous romantic comedy. ABC picked it up for the fall 1983 schedule, but major changes would occur before the premiere.

Comic prodigy Emmanuel Lewis, who had just gained instant fame on a series of Burger King commercials, was also sought after by ABC for a series. The trouble was, the network needed to cast Lewis in a project quickly, before he grew another inch (Ironically, like Gary Coleman, Lewis would end up as a dwarf at 4'3".), and what they had in mind was their own version of NBC's Diff'rent Strokes; the only similarity being that both shows had young black boys as leads who were very small for their age being raised by white people, and who would retain a certain amount of cuteness even as their portrayers got older. Also, with the number of comedy pilots greenlighted for that fall's schedule, it was likely that Lewis would not be able to get his own series and timeslot, unless he was worked into already existing comedy projects. So, among others, co-producers on Another Ballgame were approached about working Lewis into the show. Stars Karras and Clark liked the idea of the sudden marriage and instant adoption of a young black boy, and the Webster character was created from there.

The premise of Webster's parents' death, and his adoption into the Papadopolis household, originated with the second phase of the pilot, which had the show's title changed to Then Came You. The only other modifications to happen from here was the network's decision to have the show's major focus to be on the Webster character, instead of it being a split romantic/family comedy; and to phase out cast member Art LaFleur, who, once getting to air, only appeared in the pilot. Amazingly Karras and Clark still agreed to the changes, as creative control was still in their hands with their production company. However, Clark originally forbade their co-producers and ABC from changing the title to Webster, as she wanted to maintain the ensemble aspect of the series. While early promotions for the sitcom carried the title Then Came You, the brass ultimately settled on Webster just before its September premiere. (It is safe to assume that the show theme song, "Then Came You", originated during the second phase of the pilot.)

Even though the show was an instant hit, the result of the final product was not what Alex and Susan foresaw as their ideal starring vehicle. The first season was fraught with tension, not only between Karras and Clark but with them and Paramount. After the initial episodes that set up the show's premise (George & Katherine's wedding, Webster's arrival and the resulting adjustments), most of the plots became exclusively Webster-driven, even though it was the writer's intention to get Alex and Susan's character's own storylines in as much as possible. The couple battled all season with the brass over production, which, fortunately, never delayed taping, but caused bad vibes for everyone present, especially Lewis. It was reported that Lewis was often whisked away off the set whenever Karras and Clark argued and demanded rewrites, and it became so severe that Lewis blamed the trouble not only on his title character, but on himself. After the end of season one, things started to cool down, as the network stopped pushing hard for "all Webster, all the time", and Paramount eventually came to an agreement with Alex and Susan that they would continue to get prominent storylines for their characters - as long as Emmanuel Lewis, who ABC saw as a money maker above all else, would get production credit alongside Karras and Clark. This is what launched "Emmanuel Lewis Entertainment Enterprises, Inc."

Finally, by season three at the latest, the stormy relations of the first season disappeared on set. The main cast bonded well from then until the end, with Karras becoming a surrogate father figure to Lewis. As famed TV director Joel Zwick remarked, "as far as TV sitcom families go, it took them longer than most to acclimate to each other."

 

 

 

 

 

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Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one.

 

 

Chinese Food

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese Restaurant www.kimkim.ca

 

Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at

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If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order.

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one.

 

Real Estate Services

 

The best real estate agents in Toronto are the Wright Sisters. They

are the right choice whether you're buying or selling property.

 

Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives

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Office: (416) 699-9292 Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

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Car Repair 

For the best car repair service 
go to Don's Auto Clinic at 

1950 Ellesmere Rd #21 
Scarborough ON, M1H 2V8 

Phone: 416-438-9575 

Make an appointment 
and don't worry about                     what kind of service
you'll get because it's the best.
I've been going there for at least 5 years.
(Zane Ladhani---ownerof Zane's Comedy Warehouse
www.zanes-comedy-warehouse.com) 

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 
 
Chinese Food 

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese

 Restaurant www.kimkim.ca 


Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants
but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food
restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at 

Kim Kim Hakka Chinese Restaurant 1188 Kennedy Road
Scarborough, ON M1P 2L1 416-757-8300
(Near Kennedy and Lawrence) 

I ususally have the Curry Chicken on Rice
but you'll be happy with whatever you order. 

If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order. 

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 

  Real Estate Services 


One of Toronto's Best Real Estate teams is
the Wright Sisters.

They are the right choice 
whether you're buying or selling property. 


Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives 

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., 
Brokerage 2237 Queen Street East Toronto ON M4E 1G2 

Office: (416) 699-9292 
Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

Tell them Zane sent you.