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The Baxters aired from September 1979 to September 1981 in first run syndication.

Surely one of the most unusual programs telecast nationally in the U.S., this comedy gave viewers the chance to do "instant analysis" of a program they'd just seen, and to do it on the air. The format consisted of an 11 minute vignette about the Baxters, a middle-class family living in a suburb of St. Louis, as they faced a controversial issue. In one episode they had to decide whether to commit Mother Baxter to a nursing home; in another, whether the fact that Jonah's teacher was a homosexual would harm their son; in another, Fred faced a delemma over whether to turn a small, money-losing apartment house he owned into condominiums, thus forcing out some of the tenants.

This short episode was played as a situation comedy, but it always ended with several options open. A studio audience assembled at the local station where the program was being carried, then discussed what they thought should be done. In some cities, viewers could call in and voice their reactions.

In the vignettes, Fred Baxter (Larry Keith) was an insurance salesman and Nancy ( Anita Gillette) a housewife. Naomi (Derin Altay), adopted, was their college-aged daughter, and Jonah and Rachel (Chris Peterson, Terri Lynn Wood) the youngsters. The discussion moderator in the second segment was of course, different in each city.

Despite its good intentions, The Baxters came across as rather heavy-handed, and never reached a very large audience. The program had begun as a local production at WCVB-TV, Boston, in early 1977, where it had been created by an ex-divinity student named Herbert Jessup as part of his Sunday morning public-affairs show. Jessup persuaded station management to try it in the early evening, and to everyone's surprise it attracted a loyal, if not large, cult following. Producer Norman Lear happened to find out about it, offered to produce the program in Hollywood, and put it into nationwide syndication for the 1979-1980 season-a move that because of Lear's many past hits, attracted wide attention. High costs and a generally disappointing reception caused Lear to withdraw after a year, and for the 1980-1981 season the program reverted to its Boston originators, who syndicated it themselves. The 1980-1981 episodes were produced in Toronto with an all-new cast, and even new first names for the Baxters. Jim Baxter ( Sean McCann) became a schoolteacher and his wife Susan Baxter (Terry Tweed) returned to work. Their kids were now Allison (Marianne McIssac), Greg ( Sammy Snyders) and Lucy ( Megan Follows). The format, however was essentially the same.

Here is Larry Keith's Obituary from the New York Times

Larry Keith, Television and Stage Actor, Dies at 79

Published: July 21, 2010

Larry Keith, a veteran television and stage actor who was in the original cast of the soap opera All My Children and who was also the first American to play Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady on Broadway, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 79 and a Manhattan resident.

The cause was cancer, his daughter, Lisa Korn, said.

Originally trained as a singer, Mr. Keith appeared in more than a half-dozen Broadway shows, including the musicals Caroline, or Change (2004) and Titanic (1997), in which he played the department store magnate Isidor Straus.

He was a founder, in 1992, of the Actors Company Theater, an Off Broadway repertory company that produces seldom-performed plays.

On television Mr. Keith was best known as the dapper restaurateur Nick Davis on All My Children, first broadcast on ABC in 1970. A regular cast member until 1978, he reprised the role in guest appearances long afterward.

His other television credits include guest spots on Law & Order and Damages.

Lawrence Jay Korn was born in Brooklyn on March 4, 1931. He changed his surname as a young actor. He earned a bachelor's in music from Brooklyn College and did graduate work at Indiana University before being drafted. In the Army, he performed in musical revues staged to entertain American troops in Korea.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Keith is survived by his wife, the former Mina Wagman; a brother, Alvin Korn; and a grandchild.

In 1961 Mr. Keith attracted notice for becoming the first American to portray Professor Higgins in the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady. As the understudy to the English actor Michael Allinson, one of several men who succeeded Rex Harrison in the role, Mr. Keith played Higgins more than 50 times.

Before his first appearance, The New York Herald Tribune asked him whether a Brooklynite could conjure Higgins's plummy British tones.

I doubt if I could get away with this in England, Mr. Keith replied pragmatically, but I think I can in New York.

For some articles on The Baxters go to and

For more on the Baxters go to

For a Page dedicated to The Baxters go to

To watch the opening credits for season 2 go to
Date: Fri April 9, 2010 � Filesize: 49.2kb � Dimensions: 435 x 336 �
Keywords: The Baxters Logo


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