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Mama's Family
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TV Series
    (January 22, 1983-March 20, 1990)
    Aired on NBC (1983-84) and in first-run syndication (1986-90)
    Vicki Lawrence as Thelma 'Mama' Harper
    Rue McClanahan as Fran Crowley (mama's sister; 1983-84)
    Ken Berry as Vinton Harper (mama's son)
    Dorothy Lyman as Naomi Oates Harper (Vint's wife)
    Eric Brown as Vinton 'Buzz' Harper, Jr. (Vint's son; 1983-84)
    Karin Argoud as Sonja Harper (Vint's daughter; 1983-84)
    Allan Kayser as Bubba Higgins (mama's grandson via daughter Eunice; 1986-90)
    Based on 'The Family' sketches from The Carol Burnett Show
    Premise: A squabbling family headed by an outspoken 65-year-old widow
    Since it was set in Raytown, almost every business had Ray in the name: St. Ray's Hospital, K-RAY tv station, McRay's fast food, etc.
    It was cancelled by NBC after getting slaughtered by Magnum P.I. in the ratings.
    When it came back in syndication, Buzz and Sonja disappeared without explanation. (Maybe they went to the same college as Chuck Cunningham of Happy Days.)
    In the last season, when Vint and Naomi were trying to have another kid, Vint says that if it's a boy, he'll name him Vinton, Jr., having apparently forgotten that Buzz's real name was Vinton, Jr.
    Since McClanahan had joined The Golden Girls by the time 'Mama's Family' was revived, her character was written out by having her choke to death on a toothpick.
    Carol Burnett (as mama's daughter Eunice), Harvey Korman (as Eunice's huband Ed) and Betty White (as mama's daughter Ellen) made recurring appearances during the series' NBC years.
    Korman also appeared at the beginning of episodes as 'Alistair Quince,' introducing the show in faux-'Masterpiece Theatre' style.
    It was the top-rated syndicated sitcom for four straight seasons (1986-90).
    Who knew you could squeeze six seasons of television out of a recurring five-minute sketch?

Credit: C. Fishel

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