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Have Faith aired from April until July 1989 on ABC.

A short-lived clerical comedy about 4 offbeat priests in St. Catharine's, an inner-city Chicago Church. Most of the action took place in the cozy, wood-paneled rectory. Mac ( Joel Higgins) was the slightly irreverent, nontraditional leader; Father Tuttle( Frank Hamilton), the older and very reverent traditionalist; Father Paglia ( Ron Carey), the cherubic, penny-pinching parish accountant; and Gabe ( Stephen Furst), the uncertain new priest, a former football player. Sally ( Francesca P. Roberts)was their sardonic, non-Catholic secretary. Stories revolved around nutty parishioners, alarming confessions, nervous Gabe's first big sermon and the like.

Actor John Ritter was the Executive Producer of this series.

An Article from UPI

'Have Faith' needs prayer -- or scripts;NEWLN:Television
By JOAN HANAUER, UPI Feature Writer | April 17, 1989

NEW YORK -- ABC has a shuttle service running in and out of the half-hour following 'Roseanne' -- it's the perfect spot to showcase new comedies.

'Roseanne' promises all the newcomers a nice fat audience the first time out -- and after that the network can start assessing viewer reaction. 'Coach' previewed in that spot, then switched to another night and promptly sank.

Anything But Love' has faired better, but now has ended its limited, six-week run.

The latest show to follow 'Roseanne' is 'Have Faith,' to premiere Tuesday, April 18, 9:30-10 p.m. EDT.

This show could be subtitled 'fathers know best' -- itis the story of four Roman Catholic priests who live in a rectory adjoining a Chicago church.

The priests are an appealing group. Joel Higgins plays Monsignor 'Mac' MacKenzie, a good-looking, breezy, modern but caring man -- the kind a girl might sigh over and say, 'Pity!'

The conflict in the show comes between Mac and the Father Edgar Tuttle, an old-fashioned priest who resents his monsignor's new ways.

To keep the comedy coming, there are Ron Carey (little Levitt from 'Barney Miller'), a priest who worries about the Bingo receipts and cake sale profits, and Stephen Furst (Axelrod of 'St. Elsewhere'), well-meaning but ineffective.

In the opening episode, Mac looks for a secretary and finds Sally Coleman ('Frank's Place'), an unskilled and non-Catholic single mother with an unusual job attitude -- she files the boss's baseball cards under 'crap.'

Along comes Peggy Pope as Miss Lund, a dumpy middle-aged spinster who is convinced her nights are plagued by an incubus. She asks the priests if they know what it means to be tortured with passion and lust night after night, then looks at them doubtfully and wonders if she is talking to the appropriate people.

The trouble between Father Tuttle and his monsignor comes to a head when Tuttle, asked to fill in for an absent history teacher, loves his job but uses the kind of discipline he understands -- a rap on the knuckles with a ruler -- to tame a bratty sixth-grade girl.

'Have Faith' is the kind of show you have to take on faith. The premiere has some nice moments, but in general the comedy is thin and the final scene with the sixth grade monster is unreal in comic book proportions. But the cast is so good, you have to pray for improved scripts.

Crime has been front and center in actuality programs with such winners as 'Unsolved Mysteries' (NBC) and 'America's Most Wanted' (Fox).

CBS now has an entry and it's a natural -- 'Rescue: 911,' to air Tuesday, April 18, 8-9 p.m. Eastern time. The show will reappear on the CBS schedule on an occasional basis.

With the emergency phone number, you can cover robberies, fires, floords, stabbings and the tragic results of auto accidents, which is just what this show does.

The host and narrator is William Shatner, and the incidents are taped at the actual locations -- in most cases as they were photographed at the time and in others with the help of dramatic recreations.

The first program shows youngsters clinging to trees when a flood in rural Texas overturned their church bus. Some are rescued by helicopter; others die.

In Washington, D.C., a fire breaks out in the apartment house where a great grandmother is taking care of eight neighborhood children. She throws them out the window into the arms of neighbors who catch every one. Then she calls for help for herself, which fortunately arrives.

At Houston's Ben Taub Trauma Center, there are two cases. One is a man with a butcher knife in his chest. The knife acts as a cork, and actually throbs with the beating of his heart. He recovers.

The second patient is a 20-month old boy injured in an auto accident. He was not in a car seat. He suffers a neck injury that will leave him permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

There also is a segment about a case that some viewers may recall because it has aired before -- a little girl in Arlington, Texas, who calls 911 when an intruder enters her home.

Since the call was taped, it can be played back verbatim, with the real 911 operator on hand and the events in the home recreated dramatically.

It is harrowing as the operator struggles to get a coherent story from the terrified child whose father is stabbed struggling with his assailant. The intruder eventually is shot by the girl's teenage brother.

Actuality is a genre that doesn't appeal to everyone -- news junkies look down on it as synthetic, but if you enjoy the format, 'Rescue: 911' is for you.

A Review From The New York Times

Review/Television; A New Extended Family Calls a Rectory Home

Published: April 18, 1989
LEAD: Television's extended families know no boundaries, reaching from the newsroom gang on ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show'' to the barroom regulars on ''Cheers.'' Now Nat Mauldin, once a staff writer for ''Barney Miller'' and its close-knit brood of New York detectives, has developed with Jerome Lew and Alicia Ulrich a series called ''Have Faith.

The family in this instance consists of four Roman Catholic priests living in a Chicago rectory. They are being given a trial run on ABC beginning tonight at 9:30, right after ''Roseanne.''

You may remember a 1940's movie titled ''Going My Way.'' Bing Crosby played the young priest whose determination to make more meaningful contacts with the community ran into the hostility of the crusty old-fashioned pastor, wrapped in a sly Irish brogue by Barry Fitzgerald. Some of the details may have changed, but the basic scenario lingers in ''Have Faith.''

Now it's the new pastor, Msgr. Joseph MacKenzie (Joel Higgins), who is pushing for stronger ties with the community. Mac, as he likes to be called, is partial to jeans and sneakers. He wastes no time in telling the elderly and fussy Father Tuttle (Frank Hamilton) that his ideas and manner are archaic, that he has to get involved with the people he serves.

Completing Mac's staff are Father Paglia (Ron Carey), the grumbling accountant, and Father Podmaninski (Stephen Furst), just recently a tackle for Notre Dame. Add a new, sassy and agnostic housekeeper named Sally Coleman (Francesca P. Roberts), and the basic situation is in place.

This evening's laughs are generated primarily by a parishioner who insists she is possessed by the devil. ''He puts his arms around me,'' she says, ''and takes me.'' ''Where?'' asks the earnestly innocent Father Podmaninski. Then Father Tuttle raps a misbehaving grammar-school student on the knuckles, and her parents threaten a lawsuit. ''This is not 1958,'' warns the monsignor. ''We don't punish children like that anymore.''

Presumably, ''Have Faith'' intends to sprinkle a few sensitive issues over its fairly predictable wisecracks.

A Review from the Desert News


By Joseph Walker, Television Editor
Published: April 18, 1989 12:00 am

OK, go ahead. Name one TV series about ministers that has been successful.

"Going My Way"? Even with a blessing like Gene Kelly in the Bing Crosby role, it barely lasted a season back in the early 1960s."Sarge"? George Kennedy was no miracle worker, either.

"In the Beginning"? Come on - do you really think McLean Stevenson could pull it off when Kelly and Kennedy couldn't?

"Hell Town"? Get real.

The fact is, many TV priests have been called, but few have been chosen - at least, not be prime time audiences. That's why it's kind of surprising to see two prime time newcomers this season built around men who wear clerical collars. Given the current trends of network television, the last thing you'd expect to see is the revitalization of a genre that focuses on people who have taken vows of chastity.

And yet that's exactly what we've seen this year. Tom Bosley has helped turn "Father Dowling Mysteries" into a respectable-if-not-spectacular ratings performer for NBC. And now ABC is introducing Have Faith (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4), a sitcom set in a Chicago rectory, with stars Joel Higgins ("Silver Spoons"), Ron Carey ("Barney Miller"), Stephen Furst ("St. Elsewhere"), Frank Hamilton and Francesca P. Roberts ("Frank's Place").

And - surprise! - both shows have at least a prayer of a chance of becoming the first TV show about a minister to be reborn for a second season.

"Have Faith" has a lot going for it, most notably a strong cast and creative team (it is produced by Nat Mauldin, Robert M. Myman and John Ritter - yes, that John Ritter) and a sort of an ecclesiastical "Barney Miller" feel to it. At the heart of the show is the conflict between the modern Monsignor Joseph "Mac" MacKenzie (Higgins) and traditionalist Father Edgar Tuttle (Hamilton). ("You challenged my methods," says Father Edgar at one point in the pilot. "You called me a fuddy-duddy." "I meant it in a Biblical sense," Mac replies.)

Furst plays Father Gabriel "Gabe" Podmaninski, an insecure new priest and a former tackle for Notre Dame, while Carey is Father Vincent Paglia, the parish accountant. Roberts, meanwhile, is the new rectory secretary, Sally Coleman, an agnostic who claims she answered the job advertisement because she liked the idea of a working environment with "a lot of single guys around."

There are a few good moments in the pilot - of course, they tend to be moments when "Have Faith" looks like an ecumenical "Night Court" or "Barney Miller" with a cassock. What it lacks at this point is an individual identity - something that marks it as a unique and worthwhile show on its own.

Maybe the fact that the show's producers are promising that "we're not going to have any sexual tension on this show - that wouldn't be true to these characters" will be sufficient to make it stand alone among prime time comedies. Or maybe it will receive its identity from the producers' decision to avoid making fun of church teachings and practices and to focus on the personalities of its characters.

Or maybe "Have Faith" will make its mark by smoothing over the rough edges and becoming the first TV series about ministers to become a ratings hit. Certainly the potential is there, since the show will follow megahit "Roseanne" on the network's blockbuster Tuesday night schedule.

But is America ready to make that leap - from "Roseanne" to religion?

Heaven knows.

-ALSO ON TV TONIGHT: CBS gets into the reality-based groove with Rescue: 911 (7 p.m., Ch. 5), an hourlong series hosted by William Shatner that takes you out with real emergency workers on real emergencies. And if we're really lucky, maybe we'll see real people in real pain, with real blood all over the place. Really. (Do you ever get the feeling that "reality-based" programming is sort of a contemporary version of the lions and the Christians?)

On the other hand, PBS's Frontline (8 p.m., Ch. 7) documentary series could also be considered "reality-based," I suppose. But few would confuse "Frontline's" view of reality (which is aimed at the exposition of truth) with commercial television's view (which is aimed at ratings). Tonight, for example, "Frontline" looks into "The Shakespeare Mystery," examining both sides of the scholarly controversy surrounding the true authorship of the plays attributed to the Bard of Avon. Let's see a network reality show try to tackle that.

Elsewhere, Around the World in 80 Days (8 p.m., Ch. 2) concludes; the Giants meet the Padres in Major League Baseball (8:30 p.m., Ch. 30); James Farentino follows up his role in "One Police Plaza" with The Red Spider (8 p.m., Ch. 5); and Susan Anton stars as an Olympic Goldengirl (8 p.m., Ch. 14). Remember, "Just Say No."

Looking Toward Wednesday: This is America, Charlie Brown (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5) concludes with a look at "The Smithsonian and the Presidency"; American Playhouse (8 p.m., Ch. 7) presents "A Great Wall"; CBS presents the fourth edition of People Magazine on TV (9 p.m., Ch. 5), with stories about Patrick Swayze, Robin Givens, Carly Simon and Eddie Rabbitt; and Timeline (7:30 p.m., Ch. 7) returns with a report on the bubonic plague that devastated Europe in the 1400s.

A Review from the Orlando Sentinel

Judgment Night For 'Have Faith'
April 18, 1989|By Greg Dawson, Sentinel Television Critic

Tuesday's all-you-care-to-read buffet:

- There's not an original sin, or joke, in Have Faith, a comedy about a quartet of crazy clerics that makes its bow tonight at 9:30 on WFTV-Channel 9. ''I'm single,'' a female parishioner tells a priest. ''Me, too,'' he says. ''Ha-ha-ha!'' The show's idea of irreverence is for a young priest to ad-lib grace at breakfast: ''Rub-a-dub dub, thanks for the grub - yay, God!'' The funniest thing about Have Faith may be the casting. Joel Higgins (Ricky Schroeder's dad on Silver Spoons) plays the hip monsignor at a Chicago church. The most conspicuous item in his office is a basketball goal, which is a religious symbol only in the state of Indiana. The supporting priests are played by plump Stephen Furst, the St. Elsewhere grad who at least looks the part; Ron Carey, who still seems to be playing Officer Levitt on Barney Miller; and an older unknown, Frank Hamilton. There's also a wisecracking, non-Catholic secretary, who's part of the only good dialogue tonight. A priest is telling her about Satan. He: ''You know, the red suit, the horns?'' She: ''Doc Severinsen?'' And there's a funny sight gag at the end. But if it's cleric clowning you crave, check out Bless Me, Father, a British farce that airs Friday nights at 9 on WMFE-Channel 24.

FOR THE RECORD - ***************** CORRECTION PUBLISHED APRIL 19, 1989 ********************* - Because of a reporter's error, the phone number for a group trying to protect elephants from ivory hunters was incorrect in the Television column in Tuesday's Style section. The correct number is 1-800-344-TUSK.

- The 10th Annual Sports Emmys were handed out last week, and the results make you wonder if there should ever be an 11th. The Emmy for outstanding live sports special went to - are you sitting down? - NBC coverage of the Seoul Summer Olympics, chosen over (among others) ABC coverage of the Winter Olympics in Calgary. For the viewers, trying to follow NBC's coverage was like trying to read a Yugoslavian train schedule, and having Bryant Grumbel as train conductor only added to the irritation. The Emmy voters must have looked at the coverage in a vacuum, without Grumbel or the chaotic scheduling or the annoying commercial breaks. Two categories the Emmy voters did get right: Best commentator (John Madden) and best play-by-play man (Bob Costas).

- No More Mr. Nice Kitty. Faced with slumping ratings, the producers of Beauty and the Beast are turning their sonnet-spouting hero Vincent (Ron Perlman) away from Shakespeare and toward Stephen King. ''There will be more action and danger, both emotional and physical,'' says producer Ron Koslow. ''We'll see Vincent struggling more with his overpowering and uncontrollable bestial side.''

- So what is New York Mets slugger Darryl Strawberry's nickname? Sunday night, Buddy Pittman (WESH-Channel 2) called him ''Big D,'' but Greg Warmoth (WFTV-Channel 9) labeled him ''the straw man.''

- The newest public-service hotline spotted on late-night TV: (800) 334-TUSK, for a group trying to protect elephants from ivory hunters. The spot has graphic video of dead elephants.

- Two things have happened to Moonlighting since it moved to Sunday nights: (a) It's gotten better and (b) A lot of people have stopped watching. Apparently the audience at that hour (8 p.m.) is already wedded to Murder, She Wrote and Family Ties.

- Kudos to WFTV-Channel 9 for sending reporter Jim Smith to Alaska to cover Orlando volunteers who went to help clean up Exxon's mess. But it was kind of sickening to hear one of them alibi for Exxon just because the company helped bankroll a conservation group here.

- He's still a real nowhere man. A check with sources in Syracuse, N.Y., and Salt Lake City failed to turn up any evidence to corroborate rumors that missing Channel 9 news anchor Bud Hedinger, not seen on the air for two weeks, is headed for one of those cities.

To read some articles about have faith go to and

For more on Have Faith go to

For the Official Stephen Furst Website go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Thu April 26, 2007 � Filesize: 54.4kb, 98.2kbDimensions: 1000 x 792 �
Keywords: Have Faith: Cast Photo


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