227 (TV series)
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Opening title sequence for 227
|Created by||C.J. Banks
|Developed by||Jack Elinson|
Alaina Reed Hall
Toukie A. Smith
|Theme music composer||Ray Colcord|
|Opening theme||"There's No Place Like Home" performed by Marla Gibbs|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||116 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Marla Gibbs (1985–1986)
Ronald Rubin (1987–1988)
Bill Boulware (1987–1988)
Bob Myer (1985–1986)
Bob Young (1985–1986)
Richard Gurman (1985–1987)
George Burditt (1987–1988)
Ron Bloomberg (1985–1988)
Jack Elinson (1985-1987)
Roy Campanella, Jr. (1985–1986)
Irma Kalish (1988-1990)
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Embassy Television (1985–1986)
Embassy Communications (1986–1988)
ELP Communications (1988-1990)
Columbia Pictures Television (1988–1990)
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
|Original run||September 14, 1985– May 6, 1990|
227 is an American situation comedy that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, until May 6, 1990. The series stars Marla Gibbs as a sharp-tongued, inner-city resident gossip and housewife, Mary Jenkins. It was produced by Embassy Television from 1985 to 1986 and by Embassy Communications from 1986 until 1988; then ELP Communications through Columbia Pictures Television produced the series in its final two seasons (1988–1990).
The series was adapted from a play written in 1978 by Christine Houston about the lives of women in a predominantly black apartment building in 1950s Chicago. The setting of the series, however, was changed to present-day Washington, D.C. The show was created as a starring vehicle for Marla Gibbs, who had become famous as Florence Johnston, the sassy maid on The Jeffersons, and had starred in Houston's play in Los Angeles. This role was similar in nature to that of tart-tongued Florence; Gibbs' character, housewife Mary Jenkins, loved a good gossip and often spoke what she thought, with sometimes not-so-favorable results.
According to Gibbs, 227 was originally offered to ABC, but sold to NBC. The show was targeted to begin in 1986 since The Jeffersons was still on the air on CBS. However, when The Jeffersons was abruptly and unexpectedly canceled in 1985, Gibbs was free to begin, and 227 went into production a year earlier than had been previously planned.
227 followed the lives of people in a middle-class apartment building in Washington, D.C. The show was centered around Mary Jenkins, a nosy, tart-tongued housewife. Her husband, Lester (Hal Williams), had his own construction company, and their 14-year-old daughter, Brenda (Regina King), was boy-crazy yet smart and studious. It was King's first significant acting role.
Also cast in 227 was Sandra Clark (Jackée Harry), Mary's young, sexy building vamp who constantly bickered back and forth with her about their respective views on life. Although their relationship was antagonistic at first, Mary and Sandra became good friends as time went on. Also living in the building was Pearl Shay (Helen Martin), a crotchety-but-kind busybody neighbor who was known for snooping. Pearl had a grandson named Calvin Dobbs (Curtis Baldwin), whom Brenda had a crush on and would finally date later in the series' run.
Rose Lee Holloway (Alaina Reed Hall) was the kindhearted best friend to all. She had a daughter named Tiffany (Kia Goodwin), who disappeared after the second season. In the premiere episode, Rose became the unexpected landlord of the building after the building's stingy slumlord Mr. Calloway (who was constantly mentioned but never seen onscreen) died out of the blue. Rose stayed on as landlady until the fourth season.
In the first season, both Helen Martin and Curtis Baldwin, who had only been recurring stars, appeared in nearly every episode. In the second season's opening credits, Martin and Baldwin shared a title card, thus making them official full-time cast members. Martin had her own title for the third and fifth seasons, while Regina King and Baldwin shared a title card together in those years.
By the time taping started on the third season in 1987, Jackée Harry, who had just won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress changed her stage name to simply Jackée, which she used until 1994. In the fourth season, an 11-year-old child prodigy named Alexandria DeWitt (Countess Vaughn) became the Jenkins' houseguest. Vaughn received her role after she appeared on Star Search and declared to host Ed McMahon that her favorite program was 227. However, Alexandria left during Calvin's graduation episode near the end of season four to reunite with her father in London who had completed his archaeological dig in the Amazon and was now cataloging his items in London.
By the time production on the fourth season commenced in 1988, tension between stars Gibbs and Jackée were mounting due to the show's increasing focus on the Sandra character. To keep the stars happy, Jackée was given the chance to spin off the Sandra character into her own show. Jackée's television pilot, entitled Jackée, found Sandra moving to New York City and finding work at a spa. NBC aired the episode in primetime on May 11, 1989. The pilot was rejected, and Jackée left the show; however, she was a guest star in eight of the final season's episodes.
The show's final season saw Toukie Smith, Barry Sobel, Stoney Jackson, Kevin Peter Hall and Paul Winfield join the cast in an effort to rejuvenate the show's sagging ratings. In the end, the cast additions proved fruitless, and 227 ended its run in the spring of 1990.
- Marla Gibbs as Mary Jenkins
- Hal Williams as Lester Jenkins
- Regina King as Brenda Jenkins
- Alaina Reed Hall as Rose Lee Holloway
- Kia Goodwin as Tiffany Holloway (Season 1)
- Jackée Harry as Sandra Clark (Season 1–4, recurring in Season 5)
- Helen Martin as Pearl Shay
- Curtis Baldwin as Calvin Dobbs
- Reynaldo Rey as Ray the Mailman (Seasons 2–5)
- Countess Vaughn as Alexandria DeWitt (Season 4)
- Kevin Peter Hall as Warren Merriwether (Season 5)
- Stoney Jackson as Travis Filmore (Season 5)
- Toukie A. Smith as Eva Rawley (Season 5)
- Barry Sobel as Dylan McMillan (Seasons 4-5)
- Paul Winfield as Julian C. Barlow (Season 5)
Notable guest stars
- Lou Albano
- James L. Avery
- Vanessa Bell Calloway
- Bobby Brown
- Nell Carter
- Joe Louis Clark
- Gary Coleman
- Franklin Cover
- Fran Drescher
- Kim Fields
- Florence Griffith-Joyner
- Marvelous Marvin Hagler
- Dennis Haysbert
- Lynn Hamilton
- Sherman Hemsley
- Pee-Wee Herman
- John Houseman
- Nia Long
- Whitman Mayo
- Richard Moll
- Leslie Nielsen
- LaWanda Page
- Bert Parks
- Charlotte Rae
- Della Reese
- Roxie Roker
- Ted Ross
- Run DMC
- Pat Sajak
- The Temptations
- Luther Vandross
- Reginald VelJohnson
- Vanna White
- Billy Dee Williams
- Mary Wilson
- Rita Wilson
With the exception of The Cosby Show, 227 achieved higher ratings than other sitcoms airing at the time with a predominantly African American cast during the first two seasons of its original run on NBC (1985–1990).
- 1985–1986: #20 (18.80 rating)
- 1986–1987: #14 (18.90 rating)
- 1987–1988: #28 (16.44 rating)
- 1988-1989: #35 (14.47 rating)
- 1989-1990: #60 (11.53 rating)
Awards and nominations
|1987||BMI Film & TV Awards||Won||BMI TV Music Award||Ray Colcord|
|1987||Emmy Awards||Won||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Jackée Harry|
|1988||Nominated||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Jackée Harry|
|1989||Golden Globe Award||Nominated||Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV||Jackée Harry|
|1986||Young Artist Awards||Nominated||Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series||Regina King|
|1987||Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long Running Series Comedy or Drama||Regina King|
|Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series||Curtis Baldwin|
|1989||Best Young Actress Featured, Co-starring, Supporting, Recurring Role in a Comedy or Drama Series or Special||Countess Vaughn|
The show went into syndication in the fall of 1990. It has previously aired on cable's BET, TV One and TV Land. The show is currently distributed by Sony Pictures Television and airs on GMC TV and Centric. Selected Minisodes from the first season are available to view for free on Crackle. The show is currently airing weeknights at 11:00 EST with back to back episodes on GMC (Gospel Music Channel).
On September 28, 2004, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete first season of 227 on DVD in Region 1.
- "Top Rated Programs – 1985–1990". chez.com. Retrieved March 1, 2010.