Miss Collins' Trivia
Settle down class! Hush, Frederick! Today we will be learning some interesting facts on the shows. Get your pencils and notebooks out and let's get ready to take some notes. Don't worry Frederick, you can't fail this--this is not a 'surprise' test.
Fred Berry had his middle name legally changed to "Rerun."
In the initial draft, the role that became the character "Rerun" was going to be a skinny white kid.
The Thomas' house is actually the recycled Sanford and Son set minus the junk.
According to screenwriter Eric Monte, ABC originally planned to do a TV version of his 1975 film Cooley High. After a poorly received pilot, ABC retooled it completely and What's Happening!! was born.
Dah-dah, da-da-da, DAH! The theme song, originally titled “Barnett” but later changed to “Barrett,” was written by Henry Mancini, legendary composer of the Peter Gunn theme.
When the half‑hour comedy series "What's Happening!!" began its domestic syndicated run in 1980, it proved to be even more successful than its original airing on network television from 1976-79.
On how What's Happening Now!! was born: Ernest Thomas, who played the character Raj in the series finally decided to do something productive with all this audience loyalty. "I wrote a treatment," says Thomas, "and I took it to Columbia's Herman Rush, unannounced, no appointment." Since Rush, President of Columbia Pictures Television Division Group, was in another meeting at the time, Thomas sat down and wrote a two page letter about his idea of bringing back the show. "He already knew about the show's rerun success, but I also told him about the response we were getting everywhere we would go - Disneyland, you name it, we would get mobbed and people like Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise would stop me and say 'we love that show, all you guys are great, you make us laugh.' And I said my gosh we owe it to the public and ourselves to do this show. "Plus," Thomas adds with a self deprecating grin, "I was down to my last million."
Rush and Columbia were also enthusiastic about the idea of bringing back the popular black series. Since they found positive response from the local markets, Columbia decided on the innovative plan of resuming production in first‑run syndication and WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW!!! was born.
What's Happening Now!!: Burt Reynolds is a big fan, so is Dom DeLuise and so is Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali came to the first show, "he and all his children are fans, " says Ernest Thomas. When he heard about the taping of the new show, he came down with his family. It was ecstasy."
more coming soon...
Take a look at three outside shots from What's Happening's third season. One of Raj's college and the other two of Raj and Rerun's apartment from the outside:
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