Mama's Family


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

From Wikipedia:

Mama's Family is an American television sitcom that premiered on NBC on January 22, 1983. It was cancelled in May 1984, but NBC would continue to air reruns until September 1985. In September 1986, Mama's Family returned in first-run syndication, where it aired for an additional four seasons, ending on February 24, 1990. Mama's Family is a spin-off of a recurring series of comedy sketches called "The Family," which appeared on The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s.

The show, set in the small southern town of Raytown, revolved around a typical squabbling family, headed by Thelma Harper — a buxom, blue-haired, purse-lipped, 65-year-old widow, who is loudmouthed and outspoken. Living with Thelma originally was only her uptight spinster sister Fran (Rue McClanahan), a journalist for a local paper. Thelma's son, Vinton (whose wife, Mitzi, had left him to become a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas, Nevada) and his two children, Sonja and Buzz, moved in with her later.

During the first season, Vinton forged a relationship with the Harpers' flirtatious next-door neighbor Naomi Oates (whom Thelma had a distaste for), and soon married her. After selling her house and losing the money in a bad business deal, Naomi and Vint are forced to move into Thelma's basement, where they remain for most of the show's run. Also seen on a recurring basis were Thelma’s two daughters: the snobbish Ellen (Betty White) and the ornery Eunice (Carol Burnett). Harvey Korman, who directed many of the earlier episodes, made featured appearances as Eunice’s husband, Ed Higgins. During the eleventh and final season of The Carol Burnett Show (1977), the Ed Higgins character was written-out of "The Family" skits, having left Eunice. Korman also appeared at the beginning of each episode as the stuffed shirt Alistair Quince, who would soberly introduce the program in the style of Masterpiece Theatre. These monologues were cut out of the later syndicated reruns and the subsequent DVD release of the first season.

While not a huge ratings success, the first season garnered good enough ratings to be renewed for a second season. The first episode, "Vint and the Kids Move In," finished among the Top 30 programs, ranked at #28 for the week, garnering a commendable 18.6/28 rating/share. However, during the second season, the show dropped to 59th place in the yearly ratings due to being forced to compete with CBS's Top 10 hit Magnum, P.I.

Highlights
Vicki Lawrence on her character on Mama's Family, "Mama"
Tim Conway and Harvey Korman on Mama's Family
Ken Berry on being cast on Mama's Family
Ret Turner on winning an Emmy for costume design on Mama's Family
Dick Martin on directing Mama's Family
Who talked about this show

Ken Berry

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Ken Berry on being cast on Mama's Family
Ken Berry on the original premise of Mama's Family
Ken Berry on playing "Vinton Harper" on Mama's Family
Ken Berry on Mama's Family's evolution from a sketch on The Carol Burnett Show to a full-fledged series
Ken Berry on Mama's Family's network cancellation and rebirth in syndication
Ken Berry on Vicki Lawrence as "Mama" on Mama's Family
Ken Berry on Dorothy Lyman as "Naomi Harper" on Mama's Family
Ken Berry on the cancellation of the syndicated Mama's Family

Tim Conway

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Tim Conway and Harvey Korman on Mama's Family

Harvey Korman

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Tim Conway and Harvey Korman on Mama's Family

Vicki Lawrence

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Vicki Lawrence on her character on Mama's Family, "Mama"
Vicki Lawrence on the genesis of Mama's Family and the character of "Eunice," played by Carol Burnett - the "Family" sketches first premiered on The Carol Burnett Show and later resulted in the spin-off
Vicki Lawrence on the costumes and makeup as "Mama" on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show - the costumes were by Bob Mackie
Vicki Lawrence on how the writers of "The Family" sketches on The Carol Burnett Show (later to evolve into Mama's Family) did not want "Mama" to be a Southern character
Vicki Lawrence on how Mama's Family evolved from its genesis on The Carol Burnett Show in the "Family" sketches and the chemistry within the cast
Vicki Lawrence on how Mama's Family (and Eunice) spun off from The Carol Burnett Show
Vicki Lawrence on her input on Mama's Family and its cast: Ken Berry, Dorothy Lyman, Rue McClanahan, Betty White
Vicki Lawrence on Mama's Family getting cancelled
Vicki Lawrence on the timelessness of Mama's Family and the show's legacy

Bob Mackie

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Bob Mackie on getting credit for the original look for Mama's Family

Dick Martin

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Dick Martin on directing Mama's Family

Rue McClanahan

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Rue McClanahan on appearing as "Aunt Fran" on Mama's Family
Rue McClanahan on working with the cast of Mama's Family, including Vicki Lawrence, Ken Berry, and Betty White
Rue McClanahan on favorite episodes of Mama's Family

Carroll Pratt

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Carroll Pratt on providing a laugh track for The Carol Burnett Show, The Jeffersons, Mama's Family, and The Bob Newhart Show, and on not getting screen credit for his work

Yeardley Smith

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Yeardley Smith on appearing on episodes of Mama's Family

Ret Turner

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Ret Turner on winning an Emmy for costume design on Mama's Family
Ret Turner on doing costume design for Mama's Family
Ret Turner on costume design for Mama's Family

Ben Wolf

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Ben Wolf on shooting Mama's Family

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