Sugar Time aired from August 1977 until May 1978 on ABC.
Popular singer/composer Paul Williams, wrote original songs and was musical supervisor for this comedy series about three beautiful young girls who were aspiring rock singers. The talented trio called themselves Sugar, and shared an apartment in California where they were attempting to launch their act, without pay, at Al Marks' Tryout Room. Maxx ( Barbi Benton), beautiful and naive, worked as a hat-check girl; Diane ( Didi Carr), a wisecracking native of the Bronx, was a dental hygienist; and Maggie ( Marianne Black), the practical one, taught dancing to children. Also featured were Wynn Irwin as Al Marks, Mark Winkworth as Paul Landson and Charles Fleischer as Lightnin' Jack Rappaport. A constant threat to the group was Diane's indecision over whether she should marry her favorite dentist. Created by James Komack and developed by Hank Bradford, the series had a four week run in the summer of 1977 and was seen irregularly thereafter. Komack was the executive producer; Bradford and Martin Cohen were the producers.
What Might've Been: Sugar Time (1977)
James Komack had two big hits on the air as 1977 began. Chico & The Man on NBC, and Welcome Back, Kotter on ABC. However, no matter how hard Komack tried, he couldn't add another series that stuck.
In 1976, he'd acquired a license to adapt Archie for television, but all that resulted was a 1 hour pilot that was burned off in the summer, and is not available on YouTube. In the spring of 1977, Komack sold a fresh series to ABC, hoping it might catch on. Unfortunately, his luck was continuing to run out.
Sugar Time was designed as a vehicle for former Playboy pinup-turned-actress-turned-singer Barbi Benton, not much more. It was about an aspiring girl group trying to get established. They weren't going to remind anyone of Josie & The Pussycats by any stretch, for example, but they did predate the revival of all-girl groups by a few years.
After the series ended, Benton went on to Nashville to try her hand as a country singer and joined the cast of Hee Haw. Darleen "Didi" Carr would make a few guest appearances here and there over the next several years, but I don't think she landed another series gig of any successful length. Some of you might be surprised to learn she has a sister who was also very successful around the same time, but mostly in cartoons. Said sister being Shannon Farnon, the voice of Wonder Woman on Super Friends from 1973-84.
To try to help the show, Komack recruited Charles Fleischer (Carvelli from Kotter) to play a recurring character, but only got 3 episodes out of Fleischer before the curtain dropped on Sugar Time.
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