Do you remember these 6 obscure sitcoms from 1976?
For every hit like 'Laverne & Shirley,' there is a show like 'Popi.' Did you watch shows like 'Ball Four'?
The Bicentennial brought more than patriotism to America. The year 1976 also saw the debut of some classic television series. Laverne & Shirley first hit the airwaves in January. Alice and The Family Feud kicked off.
Yet for every Muppet Show there was a Holmes & Yoyo. Every new year and new TV season delivers winners and losers in the ratings. That's just the nature of the business. Some of the following sitcoms that aired in 1976 featured fantastic actors and were produced by legendary creators like Norman Lear. Perhaps some of them deserved a better shot, or a better slot.
Do you remember these fleeting series from the mid-'70s?
Top image: The Nancy Walker Show
1. Ball Four
Wednesdays at 8:30PM, CBS
Pitcher Jim Bouton pulled back the curtain on America's pastime with his professional baseball memoir Ball Four. The bestselling book exposed the rowdy life of (some) MLB players. The autobiography from the Big League Chew bubblegum co-creator was such a smash that it spawned a comedy. Bouton himself starred and wrote for the show, which followed the fictional team the Washington Americans. To capture the blue language of ballplayers, the show dreamt up with curse words like "bullpimp" and "horse-crock." It lasted five episodes.
2. The Cop & The Kid
Thursdays at 8:30PM, NBC
A bachelor beat cop, played by Charles Durning, catches a boy shoplifting and is forced to adopt the kid. The age gap and culture gap were mined for most of the jokes in the 13 episodes. During would later appear on shows such as Evening Shade and Rescue Me. Young Tierre Turner grew up to become a successful Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator.
3. The Dumplings
Wednesdays at 9:30PM, NBC
Think of a mix of Mike & Molly and Alice. This half-hour focused on a happily married plus-size couple who ran a deli / diner in Manhattan. Angela Dumpling would be the final role for screen vet Geraldine Brooks, who can be seen on many series like Have Gun - Will Travel, Bonanza, Gunsmoke and more. Brooks died the following year. James Coco co-starred as loving husband Joe Dumpling. Ten of eleven episodes aired.
4. Ivan the Terrible
Saturdays at 8:30PM, CBS
This Cold War comedy was set in Moscow and followed a hotel waiter supporting his family and a Cuban exchange student. The Russian yuks, not to mention a feral dog named Rasputin, were not enough to get past five episodes.
5. The Nancy Walker Show
Thursdays at 9:30PM, ABC
Nancy Walker seemed like a sure bet in 1976. The veteran of McMillan & Wife and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, best known as Rhoda's mother, led this comedy about marriage and the management of a talent agency. The Norman Lear production, like most of his brilliant work, pushed boundaries. Despite its pedigree, it could not beat The Tony Randall Show and Hawaii Five-O.
Tuesdays at 8:30PM, CBS
Héctor Elizondo starred in this TV adaptation of a popular 1969 film of the same name — which starred Alan Arkin in the lead role. A single Puerto Rican father raises two kids in Spanish Harlem. It was in a tough time slot, opposite the wildly popular Laverne & Shirley and managed to just break double digits in episodes.