Jennifer Slept Here

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Jennifer Slept Here
Jennifer Slept Here.jpg
Genre Fantasy sitcom
Written by Nick Arnold
Larry Balmagia
Tom Chehak
Bruce Ferber
Terry Hart
David Lerner
Rick Mittleman
Larry Rosen
Larry Spencer
Larry Tucker
Jurgen Wolff
Directed by John Bowab
Charles S. Dubin
Starring Ann Jillian
John P. Navin, Jr.
Georgia Engel
Brandon Maggart
Mya Stark
Glenn Scarpelli
Theme music composer Clint Holmes
Ann Jillian
Joey Murcia
Bill Payne
Opening theme "Jennifer Slept Here" performed by Joey Scarbury
Composer(s) Perry Botkin, Jr.
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Production
Executive producer(s) Larry Rosen
Larry Tucker
Producer(s) Douglas Arango
Phil Doran
Running time 24 min
Production company(s) Columbia Pictures Television
The Larry Larry Company
Distributor Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001)
Sony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 21, 1983 (1983-10-21) – September 5, 1984 (1984-09-05)
Title screen

Jennifer Slept Here is an American fantasy sitcom series that ran for one season on NBC from October 21, 1983 to September 5, 1984.

Overview[edit]

In the series, Ann Jillian plays Jennifer Farrell: a once-popular movie actress who made the unfortunate mistake of chasing an ice cream truck near her Los Angeles, California home. When the ice cream truck accidentally backed up, it ran her over, killing her. Years later, the Elliot family from New York City moved into Jennifer's home. Father George was a lawyer who had handled Jennifer's posthumous affairs, including the house. George's wife, Susan, was a concerned and understanding figure. Daughter Marilyn was a typical 8-year-old.

The driving story behind the series was that Jennifer haunted the Elliot house—ostensibly to mentor and befriend the family's teenage son, Joey, who was the only person to whom she made herself visible. Naturally, Joey had a hard time convincing his family and friends of Jennifer's ghostly existence. They not only refused to believe Joey's claim, but often concluded Joey needed psychiatric or other help. In one episode, they hired a phony exorcist (played by Zelda Rubinstein in a parody of her Poltergeist character Tangina Barrons) to rid the house of Jennifer's spirit by capturing it in a jar.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Although the show had mixed reviews and a tough Friday night timeslot (its competition was The Dukes of Hazzard on CBS and Webster on ABC), it attracted somewhat decent ratings. Repeats which were shown on Wednesday nights during the summer of 1984 often managed to make the Top 30, but that was not enough to guarantee a second season. Tom Ensign of The Toledo Blade, reviewing Jennifer Slept Here, stated that the show "isn't funny, it isn't witty and it doesn't stand the ghost of a chance".[1] Baird Searles dismissed the series as "a shameless re-echo of Topper".[2]

Production notes[edit]

The show was produced by Columbia Pictures Television. The series theme song was written by Joey Murcia, series star Ann Jillian, Bill Fayne, and was performed by recording artist Joey Scarbury. (Clint Holms sang demo)

Episodes[edit]

Title Original airdate Synopsis
1 "Pilot" October 21, 1983 With the Elliotts settling into her home, the recently deceased actress Jennifer Farrell appears to Joey for the first time, and later talks him out of a return trip to New York City to see a girl he had a crush on before relocating to California.
2 "Jennifer the Movie" October 28, 1983 A planned biopic on her life leaves Jennifer furious: A rival actress she despised when she was alive will play her, and a key scene (to be filmed at her home) is altered for tawdry effect.
3 "Not with My Date You Don't" November 4, 1983 A new girl stands in the way of Joey and Marc...and a pair of concert tickets that the girl actually wants.
4 "Boo" November 11, 1983 The ghost of Jennifer's mother (Debbie Reynolds) pays her daughter a visit but goes missing after the two have a falling out over the influence the mother had on her daughter's career; to help contact her in a seance, Jennifer agrees to assist Joey in impressing a pair of twin girls.
5 "Calendar Girl" November 18, 1983 Monty Hall has a cameo in an episode that finds Joey discovering a box of Jennifer's unclaimed items—which includes a nude photo she posed for early in her career; when George discovers it and plans to sell it off at an auction for her estate, Jennifer asks Joey to retrieve it.
6 "One of Our Jars Is Missing" November 25, 1983 After seeing their son "talking to a lamp", George and Susan hire a phony expert on poltergeists (played by Zelda Rubinstein, who played a similar role in the film Poltergeist) to rid the house of Jennifer... and to Joey's shock, it works! Now, Joey and Jennifer must convince her to restore Jennifer's power before a letter that Joey accidentally wrote is mailed off.
7 "Trading Faces" December 2, 1983 Jennifer discovers that she has the ability to enter other people's bodies, so she uses Susan's so she can rekindle a former mortal flame.
8 "Rebel with a Cause" December 16, 1983 With Jennifer's help, Joey is able to take care of a bully... and in the process acquire his entire lifestyle.
9 "Risky Weekend" April 14, 1984 With the rest of the family away, Joey keeps an eye on the house, but a sailboat moored in the backyard crashes into the dining room; to help pay for repairs, he agrees to let the repairman use the house for a bingo game... that is, until Joey and Jennifer discover that it's really a gambling operation.
10 "Do You Take This Ghost?" April 21, 1984 Jennifer's former playboy boyfriend, who is also a ghost, wants to revive the relationship they had when they were alive. Eve McVeagh made a guest appearance.
11 "Life with Grandfather" April 28, 1984 George's father pays a visit, but when he dies unexpectedly, the Elliotts finally have kind things to say about him that they never told him when he was alive.
12 "The Tutor Who Came to Dinner" May 5, 1984 When a new tutor appears to help Joey, Jennifer becomes jealous of her... and for good reason, as the tutor (played by Gail Edwards, Ann Jillian's castmate from It's A Living) is actually Jennifer's spiritual replacement.
13 "Take Jennifer, Please" May 12, 1984 Fed up with having his father not believing that he can see Jennifer, Joey must find a way to convince him otherwise, even if it means having Jennifer prove her presence before the entire family. So, Jennifer tells Joey that she'll help him if Joey can produce the real will she wrote, which is located in George's office safe (unbeknownst to George).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1984 Primetime Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Technical Direction/Camerawork/Video for a Series For episode "Life with Grandfather"
1984 Young Artist Awards Winner Best Young Actor in a New Television Series John P. Navin, Jr.
Nominated Best New Television Series
Nominated Best Young Actor in a New Television Series Glenn Scarpelli

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Two New Fantasy TV Shows Make Unimaginative Debuts". The Toledo Blade. November 4, 1983. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  2. ^ "Films", F&SF, March 1984, p. 76.

External links[edit]