Eight Is Enough

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Eight Is Enough
Eight is Enough.png
GenreComedy-drama
Created byLee Rich
Philip Capice
Lee Mendelson
Directed byIrving J. Moore
StarringDick Van Patten
Diana Hyland
Betty Buckley
Grant Goodeve
Lani O'Grady
Laurie Walters
Susan Richardson
Dianne Kay
Connie Newton
Willie Aames
Adam Rich
Theme music composerSong: from Season 3 onwards – "Eight Is Enough" Music by Lee Holdridge
Lyrics by Molly-Ann Leikin
Fred Werner (Season 1 & 2 opening theme)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes112
Production
Executive producer(s)Philip Capice
Lee Rich
Producer(s)Gary Adelson
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Lorimar Productions
DistributorWarner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Audio formatMonaural
Original runMarch 15, 1977 (1977-03-15) – August 29, 1981 (1981-08-29)
Chronology
Followed byEight Is Enough: A Family Reunion (1987) and Eight Is Enough: A Wedding (1989)
 
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Eight Is Enough
Eight is Enough.png
GenreComedy-drama
Created byLee Rich
Philip Capice
Lee Mendelson
Directed byIrving J. Moore
StarringDick Van Patten
Diana Hyland
Betty Buckley
Grant Goodeve
Lani O'Grady
Laurie Walters
Susan Richardson
Dianne Kay
Connie Newton
Willie Aames
Adam Rich
Theme music composerSong: from Season 3 onwards – "Eight Is Enough" Music by Lee Holdridge
Lyrics by Molly-Ann Leikin
Fred Werner (Season 1 & 2 opening theme)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes112
Production
Executive producer(s)Philip Capice
Lee Rich
Producer(s)Gary Adelson
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Lorimar Productions
DistributorWarner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Audio formatMonaural
Original runMarch 15, 1977 (1977-03-15) – August 29, 1981 (1981-08-29)
Chronology
Followed byEight Is Enough: A Family Reunion (1987) and Eight Is Enough: A Wedding (1989)

Eight Is Enough is an American television comedy-drama series that ran on ABC from March 15, 1977, until August 29, 1981. The show was modeled after syndicated newspaper columnist Thomas Braden, a real-life parent with eight children, who wrote a book with the same name.

Synopsis[edit]

The show centers on a Sacramento, California, family with eight children (from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas). The father, Tom Bradford, was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan took care of the children. Hyland was only in four episodes before falling ill; she was written out for the remainder of the first season and died 12 days after the first episode aired.

The second season began in the fall of 1977 with the revelation that Tom had become a widower. Tom fell in love with Sandra Sue “Abby” Abbott, a schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor Tommy who had broken his leg in a football game. They were married in one of the series’ TV movie broadcasts on November 9, 1977. The role went to Buckley after being approved by network chief Brandon Tartikoff, who felt the character of the sympathetic teacher she had played in the 1976 film Carrie would also be great for the series.[1] In another TV movie event in September 1979, David and Susan were both married in a double wedding. As the series progressed, Abby got her Ph.D. in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school, oldest sister Mary became a doctor, while second-youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock-and-roll band.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

The actors ages varied greatly from their characters. Hyland was 41 when the show began, Buckley was 29, Goodeve was 24, O'Grady was 22, Walters was older than Buckley at 30, Richardson was 25, Kay was 22, Needham was 17, Aames was 16, and Rich actually was 8.

In the pilot, the role of David was played by Mark Hamill, Nancy was played by Kimberly Beck, and Tommy played by Chris English.

The cast of Eight Is Enough

Top row (left to right):
Kay, Van Patten, Goodeve, and Walters.
Middle row: Richardson, Newton, and Buckley.
Bottom row: Rich, O'Grady, and Aames

The names of the eight kids each represent the first letter in all eight words of the title of the pilot episode, from youngest to oldest: Never (Nicholas) Try (Tommy) Eating (Elizabeth) Nectarines (Nancy) Since (Susan) Juice (Joanie) May (Mary) Dispense (David).

Recurring[edit]

Production[edit]

The show was developed by writer William Blinn and was a Lorimar Production. It was originally distributed by Worldvision Enterprises. For the first two years the show filmed interior scenes at The Burbank Studios now known as the Warner Bros. Ranch. From the third season the show filmed interiors at MGM Studios across town in Culver City. The show's team of producers included Robert L. Jacks, Gary Adelson, Greg Strangis, and Phil Fehrle. Executive producers were Lee Rich and Philip Capice.

As a production of the Lorimar stable, who were concurrently producing CBS’s The Waltons, writers were often contracted by the producers and were shared between both programs. (Waltons costar Will Geer also made an Eight is Enough guest appearance during season 2.) Regular writers included Peter Lefcourt, the writing teams of Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov, Rod Peterson and Claire Whittaker, Bill Nuss and Dusty Kay, Nick Thiel and David Braff, J. Miyoko Hensley and Steven Hensley, Bruce Shelly, Sandra Kay Siegel, Gil Grant, Karen I. Hall, and Hindi Brooks, who soon became the show’s long-time story editor. In-house directors included Philip Leacock, Harry Harris, and Irving J. Moore. As an in-joke, the character name of one of Nicholas Bradford’s best friends was Irving Julius Moore, a nod to the director of the same name whose middle name was in fact Joseph.

Music[edit]

Theme[edit]

For the show’s first two seasons, an upbeat instrumental piece written by Fred Werner was used as the show’s opening theme. Beginning with the show’s third season, this was replaced by a slowed-down vocal theme titled “Eight Is Enough,” which was sung by series co-star Grant Goodeve. The song had music and lyrics by Lee Holdridge and Molly-Ann Leikin, and was first heard in a longer arrangement on the last episode of the second season titled “Who's on First?”, which was also performed by Goodeve. From season three onward, an instrumental version of the song played over the show’s closing credits.

Score[edit]

Early episodes had instrumental music by Fred Werner and the prolific Alexander Courage, but the show's real musical stamp came from veteran composer Earle Hagen, who had a knack of composing memorable cues as he had previously been the in-house composer on The Andy Griffith Show. He composed a beautiful love theme for Tom and Abby, a theme that permeated the show in various incarnations throughout the remainder of the series. Some later episodes were scored by John Beal and Miles Goodman.

In 1980 there was a writer’s strike in Hollywood, and one of the off-shoots of this industry problem was making cost cutting measures in the music department on the show. Some of the later episodes were tracked with a combination of uncredited library music and with some original music by those of the aforementioned Messrs. Hagen, Beal, and Goodman.

Reception and cancellation[edit]

The series jump-started acting careers for several of its young stars. It cemented teen idol status for Grant Goodeve (David), Willie Aames (Tommy), and Ralph Macchio, who played Abby’s orphaned nephew Jeremy later in the show’s last season. Aames would go on to star with Scott Baio in Charles in Charge. Goodeve started a minor singing career, following his rendition of the show’s theme song (see “Theme music”) and initially hosted HGTV’s If Walls Could Talk. Macchio would gain the most fame in feature films such as The Karate Kid and its sequels, as well as My Cousin Vinny.

After the end of the show’s fifth season (112 hour episodes), production costs and declining ratings caused the show to be canceled, along with seven other shows that season. Variety’'s headline on the cancellation stated, “Eight Shows In, Eight Shows Out.”

The series had two reunion movies on NBC. In An Eight Is Enough Reunion on October 18, 1987, Mary Frann replaced Betty Buckley as Abby; Buckley had been filming Frantic during its production. This was followed by An Eight Is Enough Wedding on October 22, 1989, this time with Sandy Faison as Abby. By coincidence, both movies aired opposite game two of the World Series on ABC.

Episode list[edit]

All airdates have been compiled from TV listings in the Los Angeles Times. Unless otherwise specified, all episodes, including the pilot, were standard hour-long ones.

Season 1 (1977)[edit]

Pilot episode. After 15-year-old Elizabeth is arrested for the possession of narcotics, Tom and Joan Bradford are faced with the dual problems of raising money for her defense and trying to understand why 21-year-old David Bradford moved away from home after objecting to the way they handled the drug bust.
Tom and Joan are reluctant to let Susan go away for an unchaperoned ski weekend.
A football game becomes a blood and guts event.
Tom is forced to face a newspaper strike, a wife who wants a job, and a daughter who wants to become a model.
Tommy falls in love for the first time and learns life's most difficult lesson.
David's romance with an older woman becomes a topic for argument.
Note: Adrienne Barbeau guest stars.
When Mary's new boyfriend is hospitalized with an exotic illness, the Bradford family and a visitor are questioned by the health department.
Tom's swinging sister comes for a visit and the family is impressed.
Note: Janis Paige guest stars.
Season 1 finale. Tom finds that daughter Joanie has been blackmailed into asking for a retraction in his newspaper column after she crumples the fender on a classic sports car.
Notes: Peter Coffield and Molly Dodd guest star. This was held back by ABC until the show moved to Wednesday nights, after a 13-week-hiatus.

Season 2 (1977–78)[edit]

Season 2 premiere. Tom and the temporary single Doctor Maxwell try their luck as middle-aged swinging singles.
Tom disapproves when his oldest daughter moves in with her new boyfriend. Enter a teacher named Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott (Betty Buckley's first appearance), who is needed to sort all this out, and is also Tommy's tutor who wants to teach Tom a thing or two.
David's roommate dates both Joanie and Susan.
Problems develop when Tom and Abby break-up and he begins dating Ellen Manning, a divorcee.
A party at the Bradfords' spirals out of control.
Tom and Abby decide to get married after having put aside their own problems to help Mary run for the board of education.
Joanie is all excited about winning the lead in a Shakesperean production, but Tom is not.
Tom and Abby decide to marry despite complications caused by his children.
Note: Special 2-hour episode.
Note: Syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
Tom Bradford "resigns" as father when the kids accuse him of being a dictator.
Tom's liberal attitudes are put to the test when he surprises a romance between Mary and the black son of his old Navy friend.
Turmoil strikes the Bradford household when Tom's flamboyant sister gives the newlyweds the down payment of a new mansion.
Note: Janis Paige guests.
A present hidden by Joan before her death restores the Bradford's spirit after a Christmas burglar (dressed up as Santa Claus) steals their gifts.
Notes: Special 2-hour episode. Will Geer and Judy Strangis guest star.
Note: Syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
Tom dolls out sage advice in the hometown newspaper's advice o the lovetorn column, but loses his cool when Elizabeth asks if she should take "The Pill".
Tommy Bradford and his father Tom have a man-to-man talk on his father's birthday.
Tom Bradford decides to write a novel and receives unexpected resistance from his family.
Tom has been suspended from his job without pay after accusing the city officials and garbage company of corruption and refusing to reveal his sources to a grand jury.
Nancy decides to convert to Judaism when she falls in love with a man she thinks is Jewish.
Encouraged by his friend's success, David trades in his hard hat for a newsman's notepad.
Abby and Susan's boyfriend are suspected of having an affair when they work together on a project.
Tommy cheats in school in order to meet his father's expectations.
Members of the Bradford family are forced to take shifts to keep Abby awake for 24 hours after she falls and suffers a concussion.
The self-assured daughter of a prominent contractor showers David Bradford with expensive gifts in an attempt to buy his affections.
The Bradford children quickly transform an idyllic holiday away from parents.
Season 2 finale. The Bradfords stage a show to support a local orphanage.
Note: The first appearance of the season three theme song.

Season 3 (1978–79)[edit]

Season 3 premiere. When Abby manages Nicholas' Little League team, Tom provides unwanted coaching from the bleachers, and America's favorite past-time becomes the Bradoford's biggest headache.
All the Bradfords wonder if there is going to be a new Bradford.
Note: This episode is also known as "Oh No--Not Again!".
Abby is convinced Tom is having an affair with another woman.
Joanne's debut as an actress becomes a conflict of interests for Tom, torn between his role of proud parent, and his unexpected role as theater critic.
Nicholas falls head-over-heels in puppy love with his fourth grade teacher.
Nancy drops out of school to get a job and finds that excitement and wealth are not part of the life of an unskilled worker.
Nancy brings home a group of toddlers, and Susan goes into basic training as a police cadet.
Mary is banished from the Bradford household after making her father angry.
David struggles to cope with the loss of a close friend, and ends up being arrested for bar-room brawling.
Abby's schoolboard speech on modern women in society creates a Bradford battle of the sexes.
Thanksgiving for the Bradford clan arrives in a storm of red tape when the nation's Vice-President accepts an invitation from Nicholas to visit their home for the holiday.
When Nicholas accidentally starts a fire that destroys the celebration of Tom and Abby's first anniversary, the unhappy youngster leaves home in search of a new family.
Notes: Special 2-hour episode. Jack Elam guest stars.
Note: Syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
After bundling their broad off to the mountains for a camping trip, Tom and Abby soon find their romantic weekend alone disturbed by too much peace and quiet.
Elizabeth's dream of going to a posh Eastern school conflicts with the Bradford household budget.
When Tom gets upset about Susan's boyfriend taking a shower in the upstairs bedroom, Joannie coming in after curfew, and Nancy sunbathing topless in the backyard, the girls move out of the house into their own apartment.
Note: Part 1 of 2 of a special 2-parter called "Mutiny on the Bradfords".
Note: Part 2 of 2 of a special 2-parter called "Mutiny on the Bradfords".
The mutiny by Susan, Joannie, and Nancy continues, and Abby's parents announce their marital estrangement.
When a thunderstorm causes power failure, the Bradford children use their vivid imaginations to transform the old homestead into a hysterical Haunted House.
When David and his girlfriend decide to live together, their decision threatens Tom's chance to win the "Father of the Year" award, along with an all-expense-paid-trip to Hawaii for the entire Bradford family.
Tommy rocks the Bradford family foundation with the shocking news of his impending marriage and fatherhood.
When Nicholas Bradford discovers that his new playmate has no parents, the youngest Bradford tries to turn friendship into brotherhood.
Abby finds her relationship with Tommy threatened when she returns to teaching and flunks a failed basketball star, causing Tommy peer-group problems.
When Tom forbids Joannie to see her new boyfriend, she runs away from home to be with the handsome young writer she loves.
Tom's editorial, on "Passing the torch to a younger generation, ignites a Grey Power demonstration by Sacramento's indignant senior citizens.
David, despite the family's concern and his father's objections, teams up with an outspoken female in a cross-country quest for new beginnings.
Notes: Special 2-hour episode. This episode is also known as "The Two of Us".
Note: Syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
Season 3 finale. Graduation is hardly what the Bradfords expected -- with Joanne upset over her future and Elizabeth suspended from her commencement exercises where her father is to be the guest speaker.

Season 4 (1979–80)[edit]

Season 4 premiere. Nicholas' plan to impress his little girlfriend backfires when star pitcher Merle ignores him at the ballpark.
Tom Bradford makes a hasty exit from a movie theater with little Nicholas in tow after he discovers too late that the movie – "Snow White..." – is X-rated.
Special 2-hour episode.
Note: Syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
Susan and Merle reach an impasse regarding their careers when he wants to fly to Puerto Rico to play winter baseball and she wants to finish her last semester of college at home.
When Tommy gets embroiled in a battle of the sexes - he runs for the title of Prom Queen at high school – he gets some unexpected help from the female population at the school.

Season 5 (1980–81)[edit]

Season 5 premiere. Final season. A very pregnant Susan is in an automobile accident; Elizabeth movies in with her boyfriend and Merle pitches for the New York Mets.
Note: Special 1-hour and a half episode.
Note: Syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
Abby's nephew stays with the Bradfords.
Tommy falls for a girl who's a lyricist. The garage is transformed into a small nursery for Susan & her baby.
Joanie organizes a telethon for Cannel 8. Jeremy tries to be Tommy's manager.
The episode features performances by Willie Aames, Connie Needham, Betty Buckley, Grant Goodeve, Dianne Kay & Adam Rich.
This time, the boys get weird dates.

Post-series movies[edit]

Syndication[edit]

Reruns of all 112 episodes of Eight is Enough have been Syndicated, since the shows' Syndication debut in September 1982.[2] The show also aired on FX when the network began in 1994, but hasn’t been on cable since (except for a 50th Anniversary Warner Bros. marathon on TV Land in 2005), and on PAX when that network began in 1998. It currently runs on WMEU-CA a low-power in Chicago, which also airs on WCIU-TV subchannel 26.3.

During its network run, the show was distributed by Worldvision Enterprises (also internationally in rebroadcasts), and later by Lorimar Telepictures. All syndication rights are now held by Warner Bros. Television.

International[edit]

In Italy, RAI public networks aired the first season of Eight Is Enough under the title Otto Bastano in 1978,[3] the literal Italian translation of the original title. The remaining seasons were aired in the 1980s on Retequattro, a commercial network from Fininvest (now Mediaset), under the title La Famiglia Bradford. The Italian version excludes the laugh track.

The French version, Huit, ça suffit! was a big success in the 1980s both in France and Quebec, Canada, and among all Francophone (French-speaking) Canadians.

In Spain, Eight Is Enough was aired also in the 1980s. RTVE (public network) aired all the seasons under the title Con Ocho Basta (the Spanish translation) in Friday’s evening time.

In the Philippines, Eight Is Enough aired on GMA 7 from 1978-1981.

DVD releases[edit]

On April 17, 2012, Warner Home Video released the complete first season of Eight Is Enough on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[4] The release includes the pilot episode (featuring Mark Hamill in the role of eldest son David) and a cast reunion special. Several of the episodes have the wrong end credits, and the Lorimar Productions logo has also been edited out of the end credits.

On November 13, 2012, Warner Bros. released Season 2, Parts one and two on DVD-R via their Warner Archive Collection.[5] These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases and are available through Warner's online store and Amazon.com. Season 3, Parts One and Two were released on April 30, 2013.[6] Season 4, Parts one and two were released on August 13, 2013.[7] The fifth and final season was released on March 11, 2014.[8]

DVD nameEp #Release date
The Complete First Season9April 17, 2012
The Complete Second Season, Part 114November 13, 2012
The Complete Second Season, Part 212November 13, 2012
The Complete Third Season, Part 114April 30, 2013
The Complete Third Season, Part 214April 30, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season, Part 114August 13, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season, Part 213August 13, 2013
The Complete Fifth Season22March 11, 2014

References[edit]

External links[edit]