View Full Version : A Few Just the Ten of Us Articles From St. Petersburg Times


Skywalker
02-18-2008, 11:56 PM
From lonely comic spotlight to a crowded sitcom stage (Aug 22, 1988)


UNIVERSAL CITY - Bill Kirchenbauer, ABC series star and former St. Petersburg resident, is trying to comment during the Just the Ten of Us press conference.

But he's outdone by the giggle factor. You see, Kirchenbauer (pronounced Kir-ken-bower) is in this sappy sitcom about a high school coach who has five daughters and two sons, and one on the way.

His character, Coach Lubbock, loses his job and is forced to uproot his brood and take a new position at an all-boys prep school in a small town out West. His TV wife is played by actress Deborah Harmon (Used Cars), who looks way too young to be the mother of almost eight.

Kirchenbauer's teen-age TV daughters are in tow for the press conference, and the four of them are so silly that Kirchenbauer barely gets in a one-liner (he jokes that he's the father of seven and a pillow).

But then he is competing with actresses Brooke Theiss, model and spokesperson for the Hasbro Maxie doll, Heather Langenkamp, who played the Nancy Thompson heroine role in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, Jo Ann Willette, who's done a number of teen movies, including Welcome to 18, and Jamie Luner, a senior at Beverly Hills High.

Getting upstaged by kids is new to Kirchenbauer, who in real life has been married for only a year and has no children. Plus, he's been playing the adults-only comedy club circuit for the past 10 years. He's also made a number of guest appearances on various TV series, had regular stints on The Tonight Show and bit parts in a few movies (Night Patrol, Stooge Mania, They Call Me Bruce and Airplane).

Kirchenbauer is perhaps best remembered by television audiences for his Tony Roletti character, the egotistical singer with the bad toupee. He did Roletti on the syndicated America 2-Night and on its predecessor Fernwood 2-Night, both produced in the 1970s by Alan Thicke, who is now, of course, the star of Growing Pains.

Kirchenbauer says he's quite happy with the financial stability that being a regular on a network series brings. The thing he likes most, though, about Just the Ten of Us is that he doesn't have to be on the road.

Kirchenbauer, 35, had enough travel even before his comedy days. His dad (his parents Alfred and Hester reside in St. Petersburg) is retired Army, a sergeant-major. Kirchenbauer attended 13 schools in 12 years. His family settled in St. Petersburg in 1969 and Kirchenbauer graduated from Dixie Hollins High School in 1971.

Just the Ten of Us, a spin-off of Growing Pains (Kirchenbauer was Mike Seaver's teacher), premiered on ABC on April 26 and will return to the network beginning Friday, Oct. 28, from 9:30 to 10 p.m. The teens steal the show in Just the Ten of Us, just as they did at the press conference. That's too bad because Kirchenbauer is a pretty funny guy.

At the press conference, he's dressed in an awful yellow-and-green striped shirt and blue baseball cap with the Warner Brothers emblem. He says he was always the class clown in school because that broke the ice of always being the new kid.

Kirchenbauer began his comedy career (he moved to L.A. in 1974) doing impressions. ``But doing impressions is limited, so I switched to doing impressions of things, like garbage trucks, typewriters, roller deodorant,`` he says.

His mother confirms for me later, in a telephone chat, that ``Billy`` always ``enjoyed center stage.`` She says she gets very nervous when watching him on television and almost can't go to his stand-up performances because she's so anxious about whether the audience will like him.

``I'm also his worst critic,`` she says. ``He says, though, `Mom, I know you're being honest.' ``

And what's her honest opinion of Billy's humor? ``He's far-out,`` she says, laughing.

Kirchenbauer says he'd like to do his comedy routine sometime in the Tampa Bay area, but he doesn't know when he'll find the time. His parents plan to visit him and his wife Lynn at Thanksgiving at their home in North Hollywood.



http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/51359862.html?dids=51359862:51359862&FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Aug+22%2C+1988&author=JANIS+D.+FROELICH&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&edition=&startpage=2.D&desc=From+lonely+comic+spotlight+to+a+crowded+sitcom+stage+Series%3A+On+Television

Skywalker
02-18-2008, 11:59 PM
How does a 38-year-old actress with no children adjust to playing the mother of eight loud, rambunctious youngsters on ABC's Just the Ten of Us?

``Actually, I enjoy it I guess because they're not my own and I know they're going home with someone else,`` says Deborah Harmon, who plays Elizabeth Lubbock on the hit series. (ABC is returning the series to its Friday-night time slot, after a brief summer run on Wednesdays.) ``Also, I come from Second City (the Chicago-based improvisational group), so I'm used to working in a group.``

It hasn't been quite such smooth sailing, however, for Bill Kirchenbauer, who plays her husband.

``He is such a doll, but he's an only child,`` laughs Harmon. ``And then he's a standup comic. He's a loner; that's what he is. And to be thrust with nine other people in a cast well, it was just too funny. But he's acclimated himself beautifully, I think.``

Harmon first came to the attention of the producers of Just the Ten of Us when she auditioned for the role of Maggie Seaver on Growing Pains.

``It was between me and Joanna Kerns,`` she recalls. ``Joanna and I have been up for the same things for years.``

Still, Elizabeth seems a long way from Maggie. ``Like night and day,`` says Harmon. ``But I'm an actress. I'm sure Joanna could play Elizabeth, too. We've always had a very mutual admiration society.``

Harmon recently married investment adviser Bill Blackwell in a ceremony attended by the cast of Just the Ten of Us.

``My husband and I wrote our own ceremony,`` Harmon recalls. ``There were some nice passages, and it was touching. But it just needed some oomph.

``I went to one of the producers, David Kendall (of Growing Pains), and I said, `David, I have a really big favor to ask you. Bill and I wrote our own ceremony ...' He looked at me and said, `You want me to punch it up?' I said, `Yeah, I think it needs a few jokes.``'

Jokes she asked for, jokes she got. Among other things, Blackwell had to promise to ``really, really, really look before screaming, `Honey, I can't find it.``'

What's next? ``I personally am planning on getting pregnant this year,`` says Harmon. But she isn't thinking of a family on the order of Elizabeth Lubbock's. ``I'm 38 years old,`` she says, ``so one could be tops.``



http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/50525541.html?dids=50525541:50525541&FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Aug+6%2C+1989&author=LYNN+HOOGENBOOM&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&edition=&startpage=14&desc=Actress+is+right+at+home+in+%60Just+the+Ten+of+Us%27

Mr. Television
02-19-2008, 12:10 AM
It's hard to believe that Just the Ten of Us premiered 20 years ago. :eek:

Skywalker
02-19-2008, 12:47 AM
It's hard to believe that Just the Ten of Us premiered 20 years ago. :eek:

I was only 8 years old when that show premiered. :eek:

Unfortunately, I hardly ever watched it during it's original run but I did see it on USA more than 10 years ago. :lol: I thought it was a pretty good show. It should have had a longer run.

Mr. Television
02-19-2008, 01:04 AM
I was only 8 years old when that show premiered. :eek:

Unfortunately, I hardly ever watched it during it's original run but I did see it on USA more than 10 years ago. :lol: I thought it was a pretty good show. It should have had a longer run.
I was 22. :eek:

ABC made a mistake when they canceled it. They replaced it with the God awful flop Going Places. :lol: Yea after they canceled it I watched it on USA too. Some network needs to bring it back.

Skywalker
02-19-2008, 01:17 AM
I was 22. :eek:

ABC made a mistake when they canceled it. They replaced it with the God awful flop Going Places. :lol: Yea after they canceled it I watched it on USA too. Some network needs to bring it back.

I heard ABC canceled it not because of low ratings, but because it didn't fit in with the other shows on the TGIF lineup. :rolleyes: I remember Going Places. The only thing I liked about that show was the theme song. :lol:

Lastdaysofrain
03-04-2008, 12:22 PM
I believe they canceled it and replaced it with a lineup that was all produced by the same production company.

Lastdaysofrain
03-04-2008, 12:22 PM
I believe they canceled it and replaced it with a lineup that was all produced by the same production company.