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Old 03-13-2017, 02:02 AM   #1
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Crazy GAB should get an award for the greatest number of recasts in a single sitcom!

Tracey Gold was originally cast as Samantha Kanisky but they fired her apparently because she couldn't play a tomboy and Lara Jill Miller, who already played a boy in a late 1970s tour of Oliver! could. Tracey ended up on Goodnight Beantown before replacing Elizabeth Ward when Growing Pains went to series. Kari Michaelsen was the only one of the Kanisky kids originally cast who made it from pilot to series.

The youngest child was originally a redheaded boy named Matthew (long before Matthew Donovan showed up in Season 6) played by an actor I have been unable to identify; even TV Guide mentioned Matthew and not Julie in its fall preview issue, but failed to mention any actors besides Nell Carter and Dolph Sweet. Lauri Hendler had already done a show with Telma Hopkins and Rob Lowe called A New Kind of Family that quickly collapsed up against 60 Minutes and Disney's Wonderful World, and she'd also guest starred on Three's Company and Magnum, P.I. The link below is all that has publicly surfaced of the original pilot (except for some 1981 NBC fall preview clips long since removed).

Even when the producers made whatever changes NBC wanted and the show finally aired—the network pushed its premiere back to October and its episode count cut to 19 because of the Writer's Guild Strike—they kept recasting supporting roles. Elvia Allman and Elizabeth Kerr played Grandma Kanisky before they settled on Jane Dulo. Rosetta LeNoire wasn't the first actress to play Nell's mother; Hilda Haynes was in a single Season 1 episode where Nell's father died, and her sister there was a childlike woman named Marie, who still watched Sesame Street at 28, instead of Lynne Thigpen as Loretta later on. And Bonnie Urseth played three different characters in Season 1 and 2, one of which was a replacement for Helen Hunt's role as a single mother (Paul Regina was the baby's father); she was unavailable because she'd been cast in It Takes Two with Patty Duke living in what would later be The Golden Girls' kitchen.

Season 3 saw the biggest changes yet. When NBC cancelled Love, Sidney, some of the producers from that show, including Hal Cooper and Rod Parker who took over as executive producers while the old ones, Coleman "Chick" Mitchell and Geoffrey Neigher, ended up on We Got it Made on which Bonnie Urseth was a supporting cast member. When that show was cancelled after a year, they ended up working for Mort Lachman and Alan Lansburg again for Spencer, aka Under One Roof. Uncle Ed (Pete Schrum) was written out after his wedding to an ex-hooker (Arlene Golonka), Grandma died some time during the summer (though Jane Dulo would outlive John Hoyt by three years, ironically), and Joey Lawrence and Telma Hopkins took their places. That's when the theme song changed from "I sure deserve it" to "now I know what it takes."
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:05 PM   #2
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I just finished watching the video. Very interesting indeed!
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:59 PM   #3
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The set was also different. This was not the pilot we saw. I wonder if they had to film something to show the network and they bought it and then wanted the changes made Usually March is the time the pilots film then in July/August episodes 2,3,4...usually they go in order nowadays Back then they didn't. They taped out of order

GAB also used the same GUEST STARS who played minor characters as different minor characters....They also brought in that actor who played Hamilton Storm and then after season 2, recast him as Dennis, a neighbor of Addy's.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:46 AM   #4
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I want see the intro to the lost unaired pilot
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link. There's more inside info there than there is on the GAB E! True Hollywood Story, which was a disappointment.
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