Frank's Place

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Frank's Place
GenreComedy drama
Created byHugh Wilson
Written byRichard Dubin
David Chambers
Samm-Art Williams
Hugh Wilson
Directed byNeema Barnette
Richard Dubin
Stan Lathan
Max Tash
Hugh Wilson
StarringTim Reid
Daphne Maxwell Reid
Tony Burton
Virginia Capers
Robert Harper
Theme music composerLouis Alter
Eddie DeLange
Opening theme"Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" performed by Louis Armstrong
ComposerRichard Kosinski
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Production
Executive producersTim Reid
Hugh Wilson
ProducersMax Tash
David Chambers
Richard Dubin
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companyViacom Productions
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Release
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 14, 1987 (1987-09-14) –
March 22, 1988 (1988-03-22)

Frank's Place is an American comedy-drama series that aired on CBS for 22 episodes during the 1987-1988 television season. The series was created by Hugh Wilson and executive produced by Wilson and series star and fellow WKRP in Cincinnati alumnus Tim Reid.

TV Guide ranked it No. 3 on its 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".[1] Rolling Stone ranked it No. 99 on its list of the best sitcoms of the television era.[2]

Plot[edit]

Set in New Orleans, Frank's Place chronicles the life of Frank Parrish (Tim Reid), a well-to-do African-American professor at Brown University, an Ivy League university in Providence, Rhode Island, who inherits a restaurant, Chez Louisiane. In the premiere, Frank travels to New Orleans intending to sell the restaurant. However, waitress Emerita (she waits only on customers with twenty years or more of patronage) of Chez Louisiane—Miss Marie (Frances E. Williams) has a voodoo spin (curse) put on Frank ensuring that he will come back to carry on his family's business. Consequently, when Frank returns to New England, the life he's known there suddenly goes inexplicably haywire. Feeling he has no choice, Frank returns to New Orleans and makes many discoveries about black culture in New Orleans, the differences between northern and southern lifestyles, and himself.

On its surface, Frank's Place was a fish-out-of-water story, like The Beverly Hillbillies or Green Acres. However, the series' story lines featured weightier topics such as race and class issues.

Cast and characters[edit]

Production[edit]

The idea for the series came from CBS vice president, Gregg Maday. As a young man, Maday frequented a restaurant in Buffalo, New York named Dan Montgomery's. Maday also wanted a series based in New Orleans due to the mid-1980s interest in Cajun cuisine and zydeco. The two ideas were combined. Wilson and Reid spent time in New Orleans for research. They found a restaurant named Chez Helene, and many of the things they encountered there were included in the series. Big Arthur was based on Chez Helene's owner, Austin Leslie. The series focused more on Creole cuisine and Creole culture rather than Cajun.[3]

Don Yesso was a real-life New Orleans native whom Wilson met on a flight to the city. Yesso was not an actor, but Wilson cast him because of his genuine Yat dialect.[3]

Unlike most sitcom productions of the era, Frank's Place was filmed with a single camera and used no laugh track.

Theme song[edit]

The series theme song was Louis Armstrong's classic "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?".

Episodes[edit]

Series No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Pilot"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonSeptember 14, 1987 (1987-09-14)
Brown University professor Frank Parrish inherits his estranged father's New Orleans restaurant, Chez Louisiane.
2"Frank Returns"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonSeptember 21, 1987 (1987-09-21)
A voodoo "spin" compels Frank to return to New Orleans and run the Chez.
3"Frank Takes Charge"Stan LathanDavid ChambersSeptember 28, 1987 (1987-09-28)
Frank tries to get the hang of running a restaurant.
4"The Bridge"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonOctober 5, 1987 (1987-10-05)
A man drives his truck off a bridge and dies after drinking at the Chez. A high-powered lawyer (Conchata Ferrell) with connections to the dead man's wife (Beah Richards) announces her intention to sue Frank for everything he's got.
5"Frank Joins the Club"Neema BarnetteSamm-Art WilliamsOctober 12, 1987 (1987-10-12)
Frank is recruited to be the token dark-skinned member of a club for light-skinned black people.
6"Eligible Bachelor"Stan LathanPamela DouglasOctober 19, 1987 (1987-10-19)
Frank finds himself newly popular with women.
7"Disengaged"Max TashDavid ChambersOctober 26, 1987 (1987-10-26)
Hanna breaks off her engagement.
8"Cool and the Gang: Part 1"Hugh WilsonRichard DubinNovember 9, 1987 (1987-11-09)
Cool Charles is offered a part-time job by a 16-year-old boss.
9"Cool and the Gang: Part 2"Hugh WilsonRichard DubinNovember 16, 1987 (1987-11-16)
Cool Charles's friends get concerned about his involvement with gang life.
10"The Reverend Gets a Flock"Neema BarnetteDavid ChambersNovember 23, 1987 (1987-11-23)
The Reverend Deal gets a new job opportunity of his own.
11"I.O.U."Roy Campanella IISamm-Art WilliamsNovember 30, 1987 (1987-11-30)
Frank is told that he's going to have to pay off his father's old gambling debts – or else.
12"Food Fight"Hugh WilsonRichard DubinDecember 7, 1987 (1987-12-07)
A dispute over recipes is settled by a boxing match between the chefs of the Chez and a rival restaurant.
13"Season's Greetings"Helaine HeadHugh Wilson (teleplay)
Don Yesso (story)
December 14, 1987 (1987-12-14)
Frank goes to Bubba's family's place for a Hanukkah party, where Bubba pretends that he and Frank are lovers.
14"The Bum Out Front"Frank BonnerHugh WilsonJanuary 4, 1988 (1988-01-04)
Frank develops an unusual relationship with a vagrant who lives outside the Chez and refuses to leave.
15"Dueling Voodoo"Richard DubinDavid ChambersJanuary 11, 1988 (1988-01-11)
To get rid of a tenant who appears to have voodoo powers, Frank enlists the help of the voodoo expert who cursed him.
16"Where's Ed?"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonJanuary 18, 1988 (1988-01-18)
Tiger's buddies steal the corpse of an old friend and bring it to the Chez, and the body winds up in the restaurant's freezer just as the health inspector is visiting.
17"Night Business"Max TashHugh WilsonFebruary 3, 1988 (1988-02-03)
Frank hires a consultant to help the Chez improve its business and get a broader range of customers.
18"Shorty's Belle"Max TashCraig NelsonFebruary 15, 1988 (1988-02-15)
Shorty tries to help a Southern damsel in distress.
19"Frank's Place – The Movie"Hugh WilsonHugh Wilson (teleplay)
Hugh Wilson & Tim Reid (story)
February 22, 1988 (1988-02-22)
A film director (Daniel Davis) uses the Chez as a set for a movie, and Frank has a shot with the movie's leading lady (Pam Grier).
20"Cultural Exchange"Kevin Rodney SullivanSamm-Art WilliamsMarch 7, 1988 (1988-03-07)
A group of African musicians visits New Orleans, and one of them is so impressed by Dizzy Gillespie that he wants to stay in America and play jazz.
21"The Recruiting Game"Richard DubinDavid ChambersMarch 15, 1988 (1988-03-15)
Frank helps a high school basketball star field offers from various colleges.
22"The King of Wall Street"Asaad KeladaSamm-Art WilliamsMarch 22, 1988 (1988-03-22)
While eating dinner at the Chez, a Wall Street tycoon learns that he's been the victim of a hostile takeover.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Artios Awards Best Comedy Episodic Casting Deborah Barylski Nominated [4]
Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated [5]
Humanitas Prize 30 Minute Network or Syndicated Television Hugh Wilson (for "The Bridge") Won [6]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Tim Reid Won
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Daphne Maxwell Reid Nominated
Frances E. Williams Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series David Chambers, Richard Dubin, Tim Reid, Max Tash, Samm-Art Williams and Hugh Wilson Nominated [7]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Tim Reid (for "The Bridge") Nominated
Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series Beah Richards (for "The Bridge") Won
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Hugh Wilson (for "The Bridge") Won
Outstanding Art Direction for a Series Jacqueline Webber and Daniel Loren May (for "Cool and the Gang: Part 2") Nominated
Outstanding Editing for a Series (Single Camera Production) Marsh Hendry and Robert Souders (for "Food Fight") Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costuming for a Series Pat Welch (for "Frank Returns") Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series Ora Green (for "Dueling Voodoo") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special Michael Ballin, Martin P. Church, Lenora Peterson and M. Curtis Price (for "Food Fight") Won
Television Critics Association Awards Program of the Year Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Won[a]
Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Tim Reid Won

Cancellation[edit]

Frank's Place was cancelled after one season. Despite its strong beginning, ratings for Frank's Place declined. Viewers were reportedly puzzled by the show's changing timeslot and by how the show's style eschewed the traditional sitcom format. The show's large ensemble and film-style techniques made production costly.[8] Wilson remarked that: "We just didn’t please the Nielsen monster."[9]

Tim Reid was later told by CBS board member Walter Cronkite that the show was cancelled because Laurence Tisch, the network's CEO at the time, was upset by the episode "The King of Wall Street." Tisch, who bought CBS via junk bonds, viewed the episode as an insult since it depicted a Wall Street tycoon condemning junk bonds. As a result, Tisch demanded that the show be cancelled despite the objections of Cronkite and other board members.[10]

Syndication[edit]

Reruns aired on BET in 1990.[11]

Home media[edit]

In October 2008, CNN.com reported that because of music clearance issues, a DVD release would be unlikely.[12] However, on November 11, 2008, TVShowsOnDVD.com reported that plans are underway for an eventual DVD release, although Tim Reid has said that, due to the prohibitive costs of the music rights, a new musical score will be recorded that will "recreate the mood of the music." He adds, "it has to be the mood of the show or I'd rather not do it."[13] No date has been yet given for a release.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tied with The Wonder Years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Cancelled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
  2. ^ Best TV Sitcoms of All Time By Alan Sepinwall, Maria Fontoura, David Fear and Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, retrieved May 6, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Walker, Dave (2002-10-20). "Frankly unforgettable - It lasted just one season. But even now, 15 years after its premiere, the gloriously New Orleans-centric series 'Frank's Place' holds a special place in television history". NOLA.com. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  4. ^ "1988 Artios Awards". www.castingsociety.com. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  5. ^ "Frank's Place – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  6. ^ "Past Winners & Nominees". Humanitas Prize. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  7. ^ "Frank's Place". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "Frank's Place". Television Academy Interviews. 2017-10-22. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  9. ^ Weinstein, Steve (1988-10-05). "CBS Puts 'Frank's Place' Out of Business". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-11-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Rapoport, Ron; Dressen, Tom; Reid, Tim (2009). Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226709024.pages 243-245
  11. ^ Dawson, Greg (1990-01-25). "'Frank's Place' Back". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  12. ^ CNN.Com "The Marquee Blog, October 3, 2008
  13. ^ Frank's Place - The Short Lived Sitcom Starring Tim Reid Could Come to DVD...But with Music Changes, tvshowsondvd.com November 11, 2008

External links[edit]