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Chico And The Man aired from Seeptember 1974 until July 1978 on NBC.

For more on Chico And The Man go to Chico And The Man Online right here at Sitcoms Online.

An Article From Time Magazine

The Prinze of Prime Time
Monday, Sep. 30, 1974 Article

My parents met on the subway picking each other's pockets.

My mother's always talking about the wedding. "You shoulda been there," she says. She doesn 't remember. I was there, and so were my two brothers.

To survive in the ghetto, you gotta look tough. The best way to look tough is to have a broken arm.

Bill Cosby? Dick Gregory? Or maybe Richard Pryor in one of his less savage moments? Wrong, wrong, wrong. It is ghetto humor all right, but it comes from a different part of town,the streets of the Latino section of Manhattan's Upper West Side, where a fat kid named Freddie Prinze lived for most of his 20 short years. Nowadays Freddie works another barrio. As the wisecracking Chicano hustler in the decrepit East Los Angeles garage in NBC's smash new series Chico and the Man, Prinze is the hottest new property on prime-time TV.

Though the new season has only just begun, Chico is already up there at the top of the Nielsen ratings with CBS's Rhoda, whose star, Mary Tyler Moore's old sidekick Valerie Harper, has a following of her own, and Archie Bunker's crew in All in the Family. That is not bad company for a lad who is barely out of his teens, and got his first professional job little more than a year ago as a stand-up comic playing to an off-season crowd in a Puerto Rican resort hotel. Actually, Freddie Prinze is the sort of kinetic, compulsive comic who is and always has been on whether the locale is a Burbank TV studio or the darkened stoops of Manhattan's West 157th Street, where he was born.

Sit Freddie down for a serious conversation and he coasts along, heavy-lidded eyes at half mast, his parabolic mustache drooping below his mouth. But put him in front of an audience and he comes alive: his lids shoot up like window blinds letting the sun in, and his mustache dances expressively around his face. He cannot even stay quiet during breaks in the taping of his show. During a production delay, Freddie entertained the audience, with a burst of pent-up one-liners. "This is a minority show," he announced. "The next minority to get its own show will probably be the Eskimos, Let's Make a Seal." Then he laid into the Chinese: "I'm really afraid of them. Take this Kung Fu, for example. They say that Bruce Lee died of an overdose of marijuana. What really happened was he smoked a great joint, got a great high and beat himself up." The difference between whites and blacks? "If you go up to a Midwest WASP and ask the time, he'll look at his watch and say 'Quarter of four.' You go in the ghetto and ask a black guy and he'll say, 'Do I look like Big Ben to you, turkey?' "

As Chico, Prinze gets to try out his wisecracks on the crusty old bigot (Jack Albertson) who owns the garage he works in. Chico's humor, like Freddie's, is mordant but never really malicious. Says Prinze: "Chico's made something of a life that could have left him very bitter. He could have been anything from a pusher to a pocketbook snatcher."

Royal Lord. The same goes for Freddie. The only child of a Hungarian-born tool-and-die worker and a Puerto Rican mother, Freddie grew up a wary outsider,a "Hungarican," as he puts it in one of Manhattan's Hispanic ghettos. But young Freddie had some advantages, among them an early command of English, which gave him an access to the world outside that other kids lacked. But he also had some liabilities, notably his 6-ft. 2-in. height, which made him both recognizably alien and a natural target. He joined a series of street gangs for self-preservation, winding up at 16 wearing the colors of the Royal Lords. Characteristically, Freddie jokes about those violent days. There was a rival gang member, he insists, who used to bring along his Doberman pinscher. "He would set the dog on you and sit back," Freddie recalls. "In the end, the dog got used to the fights and got itself a switchblade."

Back then, Freddie literally lived by his wit: he learned that he could often head off the fights he so feared by disarming his foes with laughter. Freddie's mother urged him to take his street-born talent to the stage. As a student at New York's High School of Performing Arts, he was so eager that he even began working out routines in the bathroom; they proved so popular that other students would ask "What time's Freddie going to be in the John today?" The school refused to graduate him last year because he cut too many classes: he was forever oversleeping after a 3 a.m. gig he had landed in a midtown cabaret.

No matter. By that time he had been spotted by a TV talent scout. The result was the first of several spots on Johnny Carson's Tonight show. The funny Hungarican's name was just beginning to get around last spring when Producer James Komack was looking for someone to play Chico on TV. Komack was sold on Prinze: "He's the best comic to come along in 20 years."

He is, in any case, the first Puerto Rican comedian to command a nationwide audience. When he was working as a stand-up comic, Prinze found that 80% of his fans were black. "They went through the crap first," he says, "so that when they hear a Puerto Rican talking about it, it's like nostalgia."

Free-form Latin. Oddly enough, it is unclear whether Freddie's TV act will be equally appealing to Spanish Americans. He is forever making fun of Puerto Ricans like Mr. Rivera, the apartment-building superintendent who responds to every crisis by shrugging, "Eeets not mai job." On the other hand, within hours of Chico's debut three weeks ago, Chicano community leaders objected to a Puerto Rican being cast as a kid from the L. A. barrio. They cited dialect and accent differences, a distinction that baffles Freddie ("I play Chico as a free-form Latin"), and put NBC on the defensive. The network shelved four shows that had already been taped and asked Freddie to modify his exaggerated Spanish accent. NBC flacks then announced that Chico was "raised in New York" presumably under Puerto Rican influences before he came to L.A.

His Chicano critics aside, Freddie finds fan mail mounting at his Hollywood apartment and even at the West 157th Street apartment where his parents still live. When he does get time off from a crowded schedule of rehearsals and taping nowadays, he puts on what he calls his crazy Rican outfit ,a spangled shirt and silver-studded pants and prowls his new neighborhood, where "even the junkies have sun tans."

Freddie tried drugs for a while, but now he gets his kicks from Marx Brothers movies, Kung Fu acrobatics and girls. His current bird is Kitty Bruce, the late Lennie's 18-year-old daughter. A night person, Prinze is still a perilously late sleeper, but Komack has found a solution. He calls Freddie's apartment every morning, and refuses to hang up until he hears those one-liners begin sputtering over the line.

Here's another article from Time Magazine right after Freddie Prinze's death.

Freddie Prinze: Too Much, Too Soon
Monday, Feb. 07, 1977 Article

He seemed to have everything going for him. Playing a wisecracking Chicano hustler in an East Los Angeles garage, he starred in NBC's three-year-old hit series Chico and the Man. He had just signed a multiyear $1 million contract with Las Vegas' Caesars Palace. He was negotiating film deals with Warner's and Universal. He had filled in for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show; more such appearances were in the works. And at the age of 22, he attained one of the highest status roles in show business when he performed for the incoming President at last month's Inaugural gala in Washington.

Yet something was terribly wrong in the life of Comedian Freddie Prinze. After a few games of backgammon at his TV producer's home late last week, he returned to his $695-a-month apartment in the plush Beverly Comstock Hotel. Depressed, he called his parents and his psychiatrist. He told them he was going to kill himself. His secretary and his business manager, Marvin Snyder, had come over to cheer him up. Then, with Snyder still present, Prinze hung up the phone after talking with his estranged wife Katherine, reached down into the sofa's cushions, pulled out a small automatic pistol, placed it to his temple and fired. The bullet passed straight through his head. Police found a note that said he could not go on any longer. After a day in the hospital, he succumbed.

It was such a quick end to such a quick career. The son of a Puerto Rican mother and a Hungarian father, Prinze had used his wit to survive among the teen-age toughs in the Latino section of Manhattan's Upper West Side. Disarming his foes with switchblade-sharp one-liners, he avoided the fighting he hated. At the High School for Performing Arts, Prinze's ability to twit his own background,the comedic formula he never abandoned ,earned him star status in the boys' room, where he would try out his routines. His ethnic-based act worked on New York's club circuit too, which led to his first national appearance on the Jack Paar show. Then, in December 1973, his stand-up routine on the Tonight Show thrust him into the big leagues: he had caught the eye of James Komack, who was casting his generation-and ethnic-gap sitcom. With Chico a winner, Prinze had reached the top.

But the fast trip left the sensitive Prinze off balance. A close friend, Comedian David Brenner, explains: "There was no transition in Freddie's life. It was an explosion. It's tough to walk off a subway at age 19 and then step out of a Rolls-Royce the next day. He was in a life-style that's very unusual for a 22-year-old." Producer Komack, 20 years his elder, became a close confidant. Says he: "Freddie saw nothing around that would satisfy him. He would ask me, 'Is this what it is? Is this what it's all about?' He'd say, 'I can't go out now, I can't walk around.' " The hokiness of Hollywood fame got to him too. He would say, 'Even my friendships are related to ratings.' "

Some friends suggest that the breakup of his marriage in December was the source of his last bout of despondency. Though he did surfer over the divorce and worried about his ten-month-old son, those closest to Prinze minimize the domestic problem. Indeed, Prinze had been threatening suicide for more than a year. His morbid bent had led him often to watch a copy he had of the Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination. Noted Prinze's TV costar, Jack Albertson: "A combination of things had him down. On the set he would sometimes retreat into himself. But he would recover. He would joke, have fun, kibitz around. Then the next day he would be depressed again." Says Komack: "His real despondency, whether he could articulate it or not, concerned the questions: 'Where do I fit in? Where is my happiness?' I would tell him, 'God, Freddie, your happiness is right here. You're a star.' He'd say, 'No, that's not happiness for me any more.' "

Prinze liked to tell interviewers that the Chico character "is very close to me. He comes out an optimist, very ambitious and hardworking. He's made something of a life that could have made him bitter." But for one of the most singular escape stories in ghetto history, escape was not enough.

To Read Jack Albertson's Obituary go to

Here is Della Reese's Obituary from the Washington Post

Della Reese, star of long-running TV show ‘Touched by an Angel,’ dies at 86

by Staff Reports and News Services November 20, 2017

Della Reese, the actress and gospel-influenced hit-making chanteuse who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama "Touched by an Angel," died Nov. 19 at her home in the Los Angeles area. She was 86.

Ms. Reese's co-star on the series, Roma Downey, confirmed the death but did not provide further details. She was long beset by health problems, once collapsing during a taping of Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" after an aneurysm ruptured in her brain.

Before "Touched by an Angel" debuted in 1994, Ms. Reese had a long career headlining at major nightclubs, including the Copacabana in New York and the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood, and a string of major recording successes. In the mid-1950s and early 1960s, her versions of "In the Still of the Night," "Don't You Know" and "And That Reminds Me," sold millions of copies.

She also was a frequent late-night TV show guest and appeared on TV series including "Chico and the Man," "Charlie and Company" and "The Royal Family," in addition to occasional film roles in movies including "Harlem Nights" (1989) as a madam.

"Touched by an Angel" was a gamble for CBS from the start. The story of an apprentice angel (Downey) and her supervisor (Ms. Reese) being sent to Earth to solve people's problems appeared to have little chance in a TV world dominated by sitcoms and police dramas.

The first season brought mediocre ratings, but slowly the show's audience grew until it became one of television's highest rated dramas. It lasted until 2003.

Delloreese Patricia Early was born in Detroit on July 6, 1931. She took early to people-watching and to song, combining her childhood interests in precocious ways.

"I was a troubadour," she later told the Chicago Tribune, "and I'd sing whatever I saw, whatever I knew. 'Mr. Jones is a mean man, and he hits his wife and she cries.' Or 'Mrs. Brown was at the store, and she was buying pork chops, and she was kissing the butcher.' Finally my mother had to nail up the window."

She joined the junior gospel choir at the Olivet Baptist Church in Detroit and rapidly became the star soloist. Soon she was singing at other churches, at civic events and on the radio.

When Mahalia Jackson, known as The Queen of Gospel Music, came to Detroit, she needed a singer to replace a member of her troupe. She turned to Ms. Reese, who was only 13.

Jackson was so impressed by the teenager's voice that she enlisted her for a summer tour, and Ms. Reese went on to tour with her for five summers. She also briefly attended Wayne State University in Detroit before her mother's death in 1949 caused her to drop out to support her family.

"There was no slow transition from adolescence to adulthood for me," she once told the New York Sunday News. "When my mother died, I immediately became a woman. . . . I had to get out and start making my own way of life."

In addition to holding down menial jobs, Ms. Reese formed her own group, the Meditation Singers, but considered singing a hobby more than a steady or realistic career choice. But while singing in 1951 at a bowling alley-nightclub, she won a newspaper-sponsored singing contest that led to a week-long engagement (later extended) at an after-hours club.

A theatrical agent helped her land a job in New York singing for nine months with the Erskine Hawkins' jazz orchestra. In 1954, she signed her first recording contract, helping launch her appearances on TV variety shows and in movies such as "Let's Rock" (1958).

Ms. Reese had been ordained by the Chicago-based Universal Foundation for Better Living.

Her marriages to Vermont Taliaferro and Leroy Gray ended in divorce. A marriage to Duke Ellington's son Mercer Ellington, who served as her musical director, was annulled. In 1983, she wed concert producer Franklin Lett, with whom she had three children. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

"My mom scrubbed floors. My dad poured steel. I had no formal training, just a gift from God. I've been blessed," she told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2011.

To read some articles on Chico and The Man go to and and and and and and and and and and

To watch some clips from Chico and the Man go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For a Website dedicated to Chico and the Man go to

For an an article on a theory that Freddie was murdered go to

For some Chico and the Man-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

For a great review of Chico And The Man go to

To watch the opening and closing credits go to
Date: Sun March 12, 2017 � Filesize: 47.6kb, 205.0kbDimensions: 1089 x 1389 �
Keywords: Freddie Prinze & Jack Albertson (Links Updated 7/7/18)


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