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Just Our Luck ran from September until December 1983 on ABC.

The genie-in-the-bottle story has seldom been done with as many twists as in this 1983 comedy. First of all, the genie-Shabu( T.K. Carter)-was a hip black man disgusted at having fallen into the hands of a wishy-washy young tv reporter. Shabu's previous assignments had been much more glamorous, serving the likes of Cleopatra, Napoleon, and King Arthur. His new master Keith ( Richard Gilliland), was not so keen on the arrangement, either, especially since the fun loving Shabu was given to practical jokes and throwing spells around at all the wrong times. Keith was more interested in trying to save his job at KPOX-TV where he had just been replaced as weatherman by Professor Bob ( Hamilton Camp). The officious program director Meagan Huxley ( Ellen Maxted), thought Keith lacked charisma ( " you just stick on the screen, like old gum"), so Shabu gave him enough for 10 people. When Keith needed to throw a party to impress the station manager , Mr. Marriott( Rod McCary), Shabu conjured up a night none of them would forget.

Others in the cast included Leonard Simon as Jim Dexter, the news anchor and Richard Schaal as Chuck, Who was Keith's neighbor.

There were lots of surprises on this show, including cameos by such people as Roy Orbison, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Wink Martindale( doing a burlesque quiz show in which he couldn't seem to give anything away).

Lawrence Gordon and Charles Gordon created the series, which was assailed by many civil rights organizations for its characterization of a black as thankful servant of a white. The NAACP announced in October that it had won some changes in the show's content, including the addition of Leonard Simon ( a black) to the cast, the assignment of some scripts to black writers, the deletion of the words " master" and " servent" from the dialogue and less " jive talk" from Shabu. Unfortunately, Shabu's magic didn't work against The A-Team, running opposite on NBC. Just his luck.

A Review From The New York Times


Published: September 20, 1983
Whimsy, of the sort once found in ''The Flying Nun'' or ''I Dream of Jeannie,'' is what is being marketed in ''Just Our Luck,'' the situation comedy beginning tonight on ABC- TV.

Keith (Richard Gilliland) is a white, earnest and somewhat dull television weatherman. Shabu (T. K. Carter) is a black, hip and determinedly lively genie. When cool Shabu pops out of a bottle in Keith's squarely modest living room, that is when the fun is supposed to begin. Unfortunately, ''Just Our Luck'' gets off to a start that is considerably less than magical.

Playing the impish spirit with a sassiness that Eddie Murphy might envy, Mr. Carter gets to pop in and out of numerous disguises and colorful costumes. His lines, however, tend to be unimaginatively leaden. Shabu is forced to mug a lot in order to get a laugh out of the soundtrack.

In fact, the best bits of dialogue are monopolized by a character named Meagan (Ellen Maxted), the station's program director, who, in addition to having an affair with the station manager (Rod McCary), offers a wicked parody of a television executive traipsing through the industry's latest cliches. After impatiently listening to Keith define an isobar for his viewers, she explains, ''We broadcast in color, you're in black and white.''

When Shabu finally gets Keith to ''rock and roll'' with his weather report, a process that involves hopping on the news desk and winking knowingly at the anchor, Meagan is ecstatic. ''This is what TV is all about,'' she shouts,''People enjoy cute, they love funny, but they remember weird.'' She then falls passionately in love with Keith, a development that doesn't overwhelm the station manager. The plotlines, obviously, are determined to stay thin.

Before the first half hour is over, ''Just Our Luck'' manages to feature Tab Hunter, the film star, in a cameo role complete with the 1950's recording of ''Young Love,'' plus a telephone call from Keith's father in Minnesota (''So how are things down at the dairy?''). Meagan keeps assuring Keith that ''a week ago you were just an obscure weatherman with an image problem, but now . . .'' I'm still not so sure.

Also this evening, CBS-TV is showing a pilot that did not make the fall schedule as a weekly series. ''Full House'' is based on the movie ''Author! Author!'' It starred Al Pacino as a playwright struggling to raise, by himself, five children produced from two marriages. The part demands a light touch, something for which Mr. Pacino is not especially noted. Dennis Dugan takes the role in this television adapatation, and is far more successful. Fans of ''Hill Street Blues'' will remember Mr. Dugan's remarkably appealing performance as Captain America.

Full house has Ivan the playwright desperately trying to persuade a Broadway producer that his latest work is not depressing - that, in fact, it is a comedy. But the producer, who has seen Ivan's previous efforts, won't even read the play. Meanwhile, with five precocious kids at home, Ivan needs money for the food and rent, not to mention clothes and schools. Using a pseudonym, he agrees to write some advertising copy for a nervous account executive who arranges secret meetings at out- of-the-way locations in the middle of the night.

Mr. Dugan is charming. The youngsters are engaging. And some of the theater and advertising routines are hilarious. ''Full House'' is a genuinely nice show, not overwhelming, but pleasantly winning. It would seem to have more potential than, say, ''Just Our Luck'' for developing into a series of some consequence.

To read some more articles about Just Our Luck go to and and and and and and

To watch clips from Just Our Luck go to

For more on Just Our Luck go to
Date: Fri August 4, 2006 Filesize: 15.4kb Dimensions: 315 x 240
Keywords: Just Our Luck: Richard Gilliland T.K. Carter



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