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Lewis & Clark aired from October 1981 until July 1982 on NBC.

Stu Lewis ( Gabe Kaplan) had a dream. Even though he was a city kid, he was fed up with the hustle and bustle of New York, so he packed up his wife Alicia ( Ilene Graff) and their 2 children Kelly and Keith ( Amy Linker, David Hollander), and moved to sleepy Luckenback, in the Texas panhandle. The wife and kids hated the idea, but no matter, Stu could at last realize his dream: owning a country-and-western club. He named it The Nassau County Cafe, after his former home in the New York suburbs. The place had been through so many owners that it sported a sign reading Always Under New Management, and the big night of the week was when they had armadillo races. That was just fine with Stu, who had finally found a place where even his weak one-liners could draw a laugh.

Adjusting to the slower pace and the wide-open spaces took some doing for the Lewises, but they did grow to appreciate the place. Along with the cafe came a manager, Roscoe Clark ( Guich Koock), a hick with a dopey grin on his face who was really a mite smarter than he looked. Then there was John ( Michael McManus), the bartender; Wendy ( Wendy Holcombe), the goofy waitress; Silas Jones ( Clifton James), the local beer distributor; and Lester ( Aaron Fletcher), the town drunk. They all went out of their way to make the transplanted Easterners feel at home, whatever they thought of those jokes.

A Review From The New York Times ( Includes Review for GAB)

A Review From The New York Times


Published: October 29, 1981
TWO new situation comedies are making their debuts on NBC-TV tonight: ''Lewis & Clark'' at 8:30 and ''Gimme a Break'' at 9:30. Gabe Kaplan has had a measure of sitcom success in ''Welcome Back, Kotter,'' playing the high-school teacher overshadowed each week by a group of students that included John Travolta. Now he has ''created'' a series about a Long Island man who buys a saloon in Luckenbach, Tex. Stewart Lewis, played by Mr. Kaplan, discovers that he has to cope with, among other things, a folksy manager named Roscoe Clark, played by an actor named Guich Koock. Thus are titles like ''Lewis & Clark'' concocted.

As usual, most of the premiere episode is devoted to introducing the characters. Mr. Kaplan periodically talks directly to the camera, confiding bits of background information to the audience. The gimmick seems entirely unnecessary. The rest of the Lewis family is not terribly happy about leaving New York. The wife, Alicia (Ilene Graff), and the children, Kelly and Keith (Amy Linker and David Hollander), are chock full of complaints. There are no bagels in Luckenbach. It's too quiet for sleeping. There are rattlesnakes.

But Stewart is determined, insisting that they will find water they can drink and not chew, birds that can sing and not cough. Moseying down to his Nassau County Cafe, he mingles with the regulars: John the homespun bartender (Mike McManus), Wendy the down-home waitress (Wendy Holcomb), and Lester the old guy who tells tall tales (Aaron Fletcher), a character borrowed almost whole from William Saroyan's ''The Time of Your Life.''

Will Stewart persuade his family to stay? Will he keep Roscoe on as manager even if he can't quite figure out what it is the manager is supposed to do? The answers are as obvious as much of the humor. The initial script, written by Mr. Kaplan and Marc Sheffler, is heavily laden with exaggeraged cornpone. Mr. Kaplan gives every indication, for some unfathomable reason, of being warmly amused with himself and the show.

In ''Gimme a Break,'' a police chief is trying to rear three daughters after the recent death of their mother. His housekeeper, keeping a promise to the dead woman, has taken over as surrogate mother and formidable authority figure. The twist here is that Chief Karl Kanisky, played by Dolph Sweet, is white. Housekeeper Nell, played by Nell Carter, is black. Curiously enough, the program is immediately preceded, at 9 o'clock, by ''Diff'rent Strokes,'' another NBC excursion into a racially mixed household.

This is clearly meant to be a showcase for Miss Carter, a performer whose talents and physical girth are little short of massive. She won a Tony Award for her performance in the musical ''Ain't Misbehavin'.'' Miss Carter establishes a stage presence without even trying. But she also has a wonderfully ingratiating personality and impeccable comic timing. If need be, she'll do a wiggling and jiggling routine to rival that of any of Charlie's Angels and then announce triumphantly, ''Honey, I am a woman!''

Miss Carter has a strong partner in Mr. Sweet, whose grouchy bear of a policeman is perfectly on target. Coming home, he grumbles earnestly about his job problems, one of which involves a homosexual cop who wants to come out of the closet. Catching one of his daughters smooching with a boyfriend, he explodes. ''You're too short for deep emotions,'' he tells the determined Lothario.

''Gimme a Break,'' written by Mort Lachman and Sy Rosen, is crammed with wisecracks but it also takes time out for bits of serious business. When his oldest daughter is brought home after being picked up for shoplifting, the father suddenly finds himself in a situation that threatens to disrupt everything around him. The abrupt changes in tone are handled adroitly. Given some supportive scripts, Miss Carter and Mr. Sweet could insure a good run for this series.

To Read an Article about Lewis & Clark go to

For more on Lewis & Clark go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For a Website dedicated to Ilene Graff go to

To watch the Opening credits of Lewis & Clark go to
Date: Fri May 11, 2007 � Filesize: 17.3kb � Dimensions: 237 x 350 �
Keywords: Lewis & Clark: Cast Photo


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