I 40 Paradise
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I 40 Paradise was a 30 minute daily cable TV sitcom on the Nashville Network. Running from 1983 to about 1986, it made television history by becoming the first sitcom to produce an entire episode in a single day. Previous to this, it took an entire week to produce a 30 minute sitcom.
I 40 Paradise was set in a truckstop/restaurant/tavern on Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville in a small town, Crab Orchard, Tennessee. The main characters included "LuAnn Bledsoe", the owner of the Paradise, played by Barbara George; "Sonny Rollins", the goofy, "Goober" style mechanic, played by Bruce Carnahan; "Stogie" the bartender, played by John Ribble; "Georgia", the wannabe-country-music-singer-who-sang-off-key waitress, played by Trish Dougherty; "Buck", the house band leader and resident country music singer, played by Jack Crook; "Randy", Buck's kid brother, a multi-talented singer and musician, played by Lionel Cartwright; "Little Jake", the adorable 12-year-old boy-next-door, played by Jack Miller;"Melody Dawn Rainey", the girl singer, played by Kelli Warren. After the original pilot aired several regular characters were added. Calvin,played by Bruce Borin, a shoe salesman, and Velma played by Liz Borin, the local beautician and Calvin's girlfriend as well as a character named "Lathrop Wells" who ran the pool hall was also featured on the series played by Mike McElroy.
Country music stars would drop in on their way to Nashville and perform a couple of music numbers on each episode. Many Grand Ole Opry Stars performed on this show, including Reba McEntire, Little Jimmy Dickens, Porter Wagoner, Jerry Clower, and many others. Roy Rogers, star of film and television, also appeared in two episodes.
Some of the participants went on to greater fame. Writer J. R. Miller wrote 96 episodes of the 1/2 hour show, including the first. Miller later wrote for the famous comedy show, Hee-Haw. Lionel Cartwright went on to be a famous and successful country music star.