The Facts of Life: Show information


The Facts of Life cast

First Telecast: August 24, 1979
Last Telecast: September 10, 1988
Total number of episodes:  209

Broadcast History:                     

Month/Year
Network
Day/Time
Aug 1979-Sep 1979
NBC
Fri 8:30-9:00PM
Mar 1980-May 1980
NBC
Fri 8:30-9:00PM
Jun 1980-Jul 1980
NBC
Wed 9:30-10:00PM
Aug 1980-Oct 1980
NBC
Fri 8:30-9:00PM
Nov 1980-Oct 1981
NBC
Wed 9:30-10:00PM
Oct 1981-Aug 1985
NBC
Wed 9:00-9:30PM
Sep 1985-Jun 1986
NBC
Sat 8:30-9:00PM
Jun 1986-May 1987
NBC
Sat 8:00-8:30PM
Jun 1987-Jul 1987
NBC
Wed 9:00-9:30PM
Jul 1987-Sep 1988
NBC
NBC Sat 8:00-8:30PM

Show Summary:

This spin-off from the popular NBC comedy Diff'rent Strokes originally focused on Mrs. Garrett, who had been the Drummonds' housekeeper prior to taking a job as a housemother at the prestigious Eastland school for young women. Mrs. Garrett was kind and understanding, serving as both confidante and surrogate parent to the girls in her charge, who at the start of the series ranged in age from 11 to 15. Blair, 15, was wealthy, attractive, and spoiled; Nancy, 14, was well-rounded; Sue Ann, 14, was cute and boy-crazy; Tootie, 11, was the resident gossip; and Natalie, the other principal student, was plump and impressionable. The headmaster at Eastland was Mr. Bradley, and Miss Mahoney was a teacher seen only during the tryout run of The Facts of Life in the summer of 1979.

As the seasons passed, the series evolved. By 1980 Mrs Garrett had taken on the additional responsiblites of dietician at Eastland, and there were two new cast members: Jo, a 16-year-old street kid from the Bronx who maintained a tough exterior to hide her insecurities; and Howard, the cook at Eastland. Mr. Bradley was succeeded as headmaster by seldom-seen Mr. Harris (Kenneth Mars), and then by Mr. Parker. It was Parker's callousness toward Mrs. Garrett that led to a major change in 1983. Frustrated at having been underpaid and taken for granted for so long, Edna vented her frustration to her beloved son Raymond, an accountant who stunned her by offering to buy a run-down store in the nearby town of Peekskill, New York, and letting her reopen it as a gourmet food shop. Thus was born Edna's Edibles. Blair and Jo (who were now attending nearby Langley College) and Tootie and Natalie (still at Eastland) moved in, and their good times continued.

In 1985 a fire destroyed the store and Mrs. Garrett and the girls rebuilt it into a completely new business--an updated version of a 1950s malt shop, selling everything from ice cream to records and T-shirts, and called "Over Our Heads." It was the perfect hangout for students at Langley, and the girls were all partners. Young Andy was the errand boy, and George the good-looking young carpenter who helped with the rebuilding. The following year Mrs. Garrett remarried and tearfully moved away; she was replaced by her chatterbox sister, Beverly Ann, who became the new "housemother" and stepmother to Andy.

By 1987-1988 the "girls" had become young women. It was announced that this would be The Facts of Life's last season, and each of the regulars was seen embarking on adult life, each in her own way. Natalie, the aspiring author, got her first taste of a writer's life in New York City, and was also the first to lose her virginity when she spent the night with her boyfriend Snake. Shortly thereafter Jo, who was headed for a business career, was married to freewheeling musician Rick. Tootie, who was engaged to Jeff, planned to become an actress, and enrolled at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. But the most surprising was wealthy Blair, by now enrolled at Langley Law School. Watching in despair as her alma mater Eastland went steadily downhill, she decided to do something about it. Putting all her assets on the line, she bought the school and assumed the position of headmistress, planning major changes--including a coed student body--to put Eastland back on the map.

The stories on The Facts of Life were funny, but also often touching. The girls faced problems with their parents, including lack of communication, divorce, and death; they also experienced growing pains in a realistic way (it seemed as if teenager Tootie's braces would never come off). Blair's 23-year-old cousin Geri, who was determined to become a comedienne despite the handicap of cerebral palsy, was occasionally seen (played by Geri Jewell, a real-life CP victim). Also seen infrequently were Blair's divorced parents, David and Monica Warner (played by Nicolas Coster and Marj Dusay), and Jo's folks Charlie and Rose Polniaczek (Alex Rocco, Claire Malis).

NBC aired reruns of The Facts of Life on weekdays from December 1982 until June 1985.


More facts about the show and cast members can be found in the Did you know? section.


Series summary from The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present

The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present

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