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Soul Man aired from April 1997 until September 1998 on ABC.



A gentile comedy about the homelife and churchlife of a widowed Episcopla minister raising four kids in Detroit. Reverend Mike ( Dan Aykroyd) had been something of a "wild child " in his younger days, motorcycle-riding, leather-jacketed, hanging out with the wrong crowd. Now he had to try to be a role model to his rambunctious brood: Kenny ( Kevin Sheridan), the selfish teen, who thought church was dumb;Andy ( Brendon Ryan Barrett), the angelic little devil who was always trying weird experiments; and Meredith ( Courtney Chase), the 8-year-old who lived to torture Fred ( played by Spencer Breslin and later by Michael Finiguerra ), the youngest. His supervisor was straighlaced Bishop Jerome ( Dakin Matthews), who didn't aprove of Mike's earthy sermons and little jokes, such as the devil hand puppet or taking phone calls while in the pulpit. Melinda ( Bridgette Collins), a snooping reporter who seemed to want to make Mike look bad in the local paper, was an inexplicable romantic interest.



When Soul Man returned in the fall there was renewed focus on Mike and Kenny's dating activities , and two new cast members-Father Todd ( Anthony Clark), an inept neophyte assistant minister, and Nancy ( Helen Cates), a worldly divorcee who was the parash's new secretary and Mike's new potential love interest.





Theme Song Lyrics



Soul Man words & music by David Porter & Isaac Hayes



As performed by the BLUES BROTHERS on the album Briefcase Full Of Blues





Comin' to ya on a dusty road. Good lovin' I got a truck load.
And when you get it you got something so don't worry cause I'm coming.



I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.
I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.



Got what I got the hard way and I'll make it better each and every day
So honey don't you fret 'cause you ain't seen nothing yet.



I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man. (Play it Steve!)
I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.



Listen. I was brought up on a side street. I learned how to love before I could eat.
I was educated from good stock. When I start lovin' I just can't stop.



I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.
I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.



Well grab the rope and I'll pull you in give you hope and be your only boyfriend
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah



I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.
You're a soul man. I'm a soul man.
I'm a soul man. I'm a soul man.








A Review from Variety



Soul Man
By RAY RICHMOND



Powered By Soul Man (Tuesday (15, 22), 8:30-9 p.m., ABC) Taped at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank by Wind Dancer Production Group in association with Touchstone Television. Executive producers, Matt Williams, David McFadzean, Carmen Finestra , Eliot Shoenman, Dan Aykroyd; supervising producer, Marley Sims; producers, Gayle S. Maffeo, Lisa Albert; co-producer, Caterina Nelli; associate producer, Kim Tushinsky; premiere writers, Finestra, McFadzean, Williams; premiere director, Andrew Tsao; director of photography, Donald A Morgan; production designer, David Sackeroff; editor, Marco Zappia; sound, Klaus Landsberg, Gary Long. Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Bridgette Collins, Dakin Matthews, Kevin Sheridan, Brendon Ryan Barrett, Courtney Chase, Spencer Breslin.



New comedy starring Dan Aykroyd already looks like a hit given first-week ratings that actually built on its lead-in (a "Home Improvement" original) and garnered a 24 share. Yet while it does manage to pin its focus on a priest who lusts after something besides altar boys, "Soul Man" plays its premise with a distinct lack of soul.Safe and indistinct, the "sincom" uses stereotypes and stock characters to mine its undersized laugh quotient. The whole enterprise carries an air of improbability, beginning with the use of Aykroyd as a (gulp) man of the cloth. Aykroyd appears to be portraying a "Saturday Night Live" parody rather than a real human as Rev. Mike Weber, a single father father (that's no misprint) and a widower with a purportedly checkered past living in Detroit. In bumpers, we see him riding a motorcycle and flashing a leather jacket. The revving reverend. Since the death of his wife three years before, Rev. Mike has been forced to care for four kids on his own, and somehow does it without any nanny or housekeeping help. God evidently does child care these days. There is 14-year-old Kenny (Kevin Sheridan), a teen so rebellious he steals communion wine (wooooo!); 11-year-old Andy (Brendon Ryan Barrett), a smart-mouth who breaks his dad's prized possessions; 8-year-old Meredith (Courtney Chase), the token daughter; and the age-undetermined Fred (Spencer Breslin), whose primary contribution to the family seems to be making odd guttural noises and faking injury. He's cute. Like a recurring lesion. In last week's premiere (written by exec producers Carmen Finestra, David McFadzean and Matt Williams), we met Bridgette Collins (Melinda McGraw), a comely reporter for whom Rev. Mike has some decidedly un-theological urges. She takes advantage of him during an interview and publishes a piece detailing just what a horn dog the guy is. He reacts by ultimately liking her even more. Tonight's somewhat funnier episode forges a little Wind Dancer Prods. synergy in a stunt appearance by Tim Allen (in his Tim Taylor mode) as a guy hired to rewire the rectory---with predictably disastrous results. Rev. Mike: "I think we need more power." Tim: "Oh-ho-ho! I think I'm your man." We also see Rev. Mike's marriage-counseling style, which includes handcuffing the husband to the door to keep him from leaving. And the reporter makes an encore visit to tease the reverend and dig up a bit more dirt ("You were a gang member!"). Dakin Matthews also appears from time to time as a fellow priest who adds the occasional wisecrack, but he looks bored. He's not the only one. It's hard to fathom just why the vastly talented Aykroyd would agree to center such a trite, mundane show, and one given only a three-episode guarantee. Oh, and speaking of hedging one's bets, potential love interest Collins is consistently billed here as a "guest star" despite the fact she appears in all three episodes. By that measure, Aykroyd is a guest star, too. He should be so lucky. Working with kids appears not to be Aykroyd's strong suit. Tech credits are all fine. And given the early numbers, "Soul Man" would seem to have a bright, if not necessarily very amusing, future.





An Article from The New York Times



TELEVISION; Has Television Found Religion? Not Exactly


By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: November 30, 1997



CHURCH ATTENDANCE IS down, and people seem to be searching for religion anywhere but in the pews, yet Hollywood is experiencing a religious revival this fall with a total of four prime-time television shows about the clergy.



It is no coincidence that in its own hackneyed way, the television industry seems to be grasping for God. The success of last season's ''Touched by an Angel,'' now television's second-highest rated drama after ''E.R.,'' has set off a new crusade.



''Somebody smelled a hit and said, 'O.K., they're buying that this year, so let's just keep giving them more of this until they're sick of it,''' said Ed. Weinberger, the executive producer of ''Good News,'' a new UPN comedy set in a South-Central Los Angeles parish. ''I don't know whether they're smelling the millenium or smelling a buck. I just think it's television as usual.''



Besides ''Good News,'' starring David Ramsey as a nervous young black pastor trying to fill the shoes of the church's founding father, also new this season is ''Nothing Sacred,'' the controversial hourlong drama with Kevin Anderson as a hip Roman Catholic priest in an inner-city parish. And there are two returning shows, ''Seventh Heaven'' (WB), with Stephen Collins as a married minister with five children, and ''Soul Man'' (back on ABC after three episodes last season), with Dan Aykroyd as a motorcycling minister and widowed dad.



It would be tempting to say that with so many men of God in prime time, Hollywood has found religion. These shows quote the Bible, talk about love, show choirs singing and end with a moral.



Yet for the most part, there are few moments of real spirituality. Television has missed an opportunity to take audiences further than it has before into the realm of mysterious, transcendent religiosity. Only ''Nothing Sacred'' has moments of something sacred. Nevertheless the show has been the target of a boycott by a conservative Catholic watchdog group offended that the show has dared to reveal a contemporary priest grappling with real-life dilemmas, like what to tell a teen-ager who is considering an abortion. (Despite low ratings, ABC recently extended the life of the series and plans to move it to Saturday night.)



And while ''Nothing Sacred,'' integrates Catholicism into its plot and characterization, the other shows feature ministers of ambiguous denominations preaching a Gospel so vague that it still looks as if the television industry is seeking to avoid offense by finding the lowest common denominator.



In the comedy ''Soul Man,'' Mr. Aykroyd plays the Rev. Mike Weber as a sometimes sacrilegious minister who favors blues festival T-shirts and the Sunday school gospel according to Arnold Schwarzenegger: Jesus teaches ''I'll be baaaack!'' Yet Father Mike is not as unconventional as he sounds, and neither is the show, written by the creators of the hit comedy, ''Home Improvement.'' He is trying to raise his four childrn in a wholesome moral environment, for example. And when a troubled Air Force buddy of his breaks down and tells him he wants to pray but doesn't know how, Father Mike counsels him, ''It isn't so much the words you pray as what you feel inside your heart'' -- a line that could be uttered by anyone from a Southern Baptist to a Seventh Day Adventist to a Conservative Jew.



In fact, the show's writers say that in their minds Father Mike is an Episcopalian. ''We like the Episcopal church,'' said Carmen Finestra, an executive producer and the creator of ''Soul Man,'' ''because it gave us more flexibility with what we could do. He would be able to take a drink now and then. In that church there's such a wide range of accepted practices.''



Perhaps all these television clergymen are simply handy dramatic devices. Previous ones have included Merlin Olsen as ''Father Murphy'' (1981-84), Clifton Davis as a young reverend in ''Amen'' (1986-91) and Tom Bosley as Father Dowling (1989-91).



''We writers are always searching for characters who can readily get us into a series of stories where there is strong conflict,'' said the writer and producer John Furia Jr., who runs the division of writing of the School of Cinema-TV at the University of Southern California. ''And these shows find their conflict in emotional and ethical and moral dilemmas -- wonderful grist for drama and comedy. So I think it's a natural choice to look at clergy.''



Taken together, this season's men of God are an earnest bunch struggling to walk their talk in a world of secular cynics, congregants in crisis, self-promoting bishops and sexy church secretaries who just can't resist men in clerical garb. And while they may grapple with temptation or search for the moral high ground, they are not the clesiastical hypocrites often portrayed in literature and popular culture. This is not ''The Scarlet Letter'' or even ''The Thorn Birds.''



''Seventh Heaven'' (produced by Aaron Spelling of ''Beverly Hills 90210'' fame) features a happily married minister with five adorable children. Every challenge is handily resolved with love and prayer. The show is not so much about a minister with a family as it is about a father who knows best -- and happens to be a minister.



In one episode, the Reverend Camden unjustly accuses his teen-age son of violating his family's trust by smoking marijuana. The boy leaves home and is vindicated only when his parents find him on his knees in church praying aloud so that they will overhear him. Camden realizes that by falsely accusing his son, he is the one who has has violated his son's trust.



If these shows are saying anything, the message seems to be that ''ministers are people, too.'' The characters are all do-gooders, but they must struggle to always do good. Asked how he abstains from sexual temptation, the very handsome and very single young Reverend Randolph (''Good News'') rolls his eyes heavenward and replies: ''Prayer. Lots of prayer.''



''There is an attempt here to show that religious people are really human,'' said the Rev. James P. Wind, president of the Alban Institute, in Bethesda, Md. which helps ministers and congregations cope with job burnout, conflicts, financing and strategic planning. ''The Aykroyd one is working on that. It tries to show vulnerability, juggling the demands of being a dad and being a pastor. Well, that's real.''



THOSE DEMANDS INCLUDE raising money, a plot line worn thin in all four series. On ''Nothing Sacred'' the parish staff is shown counting the collection plate and worrying about the broken boiler. In ''Good News,'' Pastor Randolph weighs whether to recommend an unsuitable couple as adoptive parents because they are major church donors. And in ''Soul Man,'' Bishop Jerome urges Father Mike to hurry over to the deathbed of an ornery beer heiress.



''Don't get me wrong,'' he tells Father Mike. ''I care about her soul too, but the youth center needs a new roof.''



''Good News,'' which manages to veer from high comedy to high concept, at least has the courage to take on issues actually facing the contemporary church. In one episode, Pastor Randolph objects when a doctor sends over a case of condoms to distribute in church. At a fund-raising dinner, however, one pack of condoms somehow winds up in a salad, and the pastor is forced to say an interminably long grace while his sidekick seeks the errant condom. As the episode closes, Pastor Randolph is shown preaching that the church ''must not hide'' from condoms, teen-age pregnancy and AIDS because ''these problems will not go away.''



While some of these shows seem to take their plot lines from the news, with episodes involving AIDS, drugs and arson at black churches, it is much harder to write a story that convincingly deals with the spiritual. ''Nothing Sacred'' manages to achieve that, precisely because it is so grounded in a specific faith -- Roman Catholicism -- and the tensions both pulling the church apart and drawing it together.



When an elderly parishioner much beloved by Father Ray dies in one episode, her husband refuses to come to the funeral Mass because Father Ray represents the post-Vatican II Catholic church; the husband longs for the Latin Mass and the religion he grew up with. When Father Ray despairs of reaching the man, he shares his frustration with an older priest.



''What's it all mean, the priesthood?'' asks Father Ray. ''It's just that these hands were touched by hands that were touched by hands that were touched by Jesus. Not much to go on.''



When the funeral starts without the husband, Father Ray nods to a soloist who begins to sing the haunting hymn ''Panis Angelicus'' -- the 19th-century version that is the husband's favorite. As if summoned by the song, the husband finally enters the sanctuary, slides into the pew and slowly he takes up the song. Then Father Ray steps forward and joins in and gradually the funeral-goers add their voices. The sound of a hymn in Latin, taken from a text by Thomas Aquinas, is allowed to play. And for a full two minutes and seven seconds, prime time television truly has religion.


To watch some clips of Soul Man go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=soul+man+tv+show+1997


For more on Soul Man go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_Man_(TV_series)



For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://timstelevisionshowcase.neocities.org/soulman.html


For more on Soul Man go to https://web.archive.org/web/20051125104720/http://www.visiontv.ca/Programs/Prog_Archives/SoulMan/soulmanseries.htm





For a look at a crossover between Home Improvement and Soul Man go to http://poobala.com/homeandsoul.html


For an interview with Dan Aykroyd go to https://web.archive.org/web/20060322093358/http://www.tvdads.com/tvdayk.shtml
Date: Mon April 3, 2017 Filesize: 57.8kb, 224.8kb Dimensions: 897 x 1152
Keywords: The Cast of Soul Man

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