Eight Is Enough (ABC 1977-1981, Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland)
Comedy drama series Eight Is Enough focuses on Tom and Joan Bradford and their eight kids who range in ages from the oldest David (23) to the youngest Nicholas (8). The family lived at 1436 Oak Street in Sacremento, California where Tom works for a newspaper (The Register). Even before the series could get under way properly it was hit by dramas with the shock death of Diana Hyland who played Joan. Only four episodes had been filmed at this stage and the production team made the decision to carry on with the series.
It was said at the time that Joan had just gone away for a while, later at the start of season two it was revealed that Joan had died a few months ago although it wasn’t too long before Tom found love again in the shape of schoolteacher Abby and the pair were married in a two hour second season double episode. As the show progressed some of the older kids moved out and made lives of their own, David and Susan had a double wedding with David marrying attorney Janet and Susan tying the know with baseball player Merle “The Pearl” Stockwell (the couple later moved to New York when Merle was signed by the Mets), Susan also made Tom a grandfather with the birth of her daughter Sandra Sue.
Eight is Enough, despite the tragic early death of Diana Hyland, was a good, warm hearted show. Mark Hamill starred in the pilot as eldest son David but a certain movie by the name of Star Wars meant he never followed through on the series. Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio also appeared later towards the end of the shows run.
The series gained such a following that in the late eighties two TV Movies aired catching up with the Bradford clan, first was A Family Reunion (broadcast 18 October 1987) which saw only Nicholas still living at home and Tom about to turn fifty, the main plot though concerns Tom’s efforts to buy the newspaper he works for when he discovers that a tabloid specialist wants to take it over. Two years later on 15 October 1989 there was An Eight Is Enough Wedding which sees divorced David contemplating marriage for the second time. All of the major cast members returned for these two movies. Also on March 1, 2010 the cast (minus Adam Rich and Susan Richardson who declined to take part) reunited as part of an NBC Today show special.
Broadcast March 15, 1977 – August 29, 1981
- Lee Mendelson
- Creator: William Blinn
Producer: Hal Sitowitz
Book: Thomas W. Braden
Music: Fred Werner, Earle Hagen
Theme sung by Grant Goodeve
Executive Producers: Lee Rich, Philip Capice, Lee Mendelson
- Year of Release: 1977-1981
- Country: USA | ABC
- Language: English
- Runtime: 112×45 minute