That's My Mama

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That's My Mama
Created byDan T. Bradley
Allan L. Rice (developed by Stanley Ralph Ross)
StarringClifton Davis
Theresa Merritt
Ed Bernard
Jester Hairston (Season 1)
DeForest Covan (Season 1)
Lynne Moody (Season 1)
Ted Lange
Teddy Wilson
Lisle Wilson (Season 2)
Joan Pringle (Season 2)
Helen Martin (Season 2)
Theme music composerAllan Blye
Chris Bearde
Gene Farmer (1974-1975)
Lamont Dozier (1975)
Composer(s)Jack Eskew (1974-1975)
Lamont Dozier (1975)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes39
Production
Executive producer(s)Allan Blye (1974-1975)
Chris Bearde (1974-1975)
David Pollock (1975)
Elias Davis (1975)
Producer(s)Walter N. Bien
Gene Farmer
Running time25 minutes
(per episode)
Production company(s)Blye-Beard Productions
(1974-1975)
(season 1)
Pollock/Davis, Inc.
(1975)
(season 2)
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorColumbia Pictures Television
(1974-1995)
Columbia TriStar Television (1995-2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002-present)
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 4, 1974 –
December 24, 1975

That's My Mama is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on the ABC network from September 4, 1974 until December 24, 1975. There are 39 episodes of this series. That's My Mama was never a ratings success. It was not one of the top 30 most-watched U.S. programs in the Nielsen ratings for either the 1974–1975 or 1975–1976 television seasons. As a result, the series ended on Christmas Eve of 1975. It was the first series to be produced by Columbia Pictures Television.

Synopsis[edit]

Set in a middle-class African American neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the program revolved around the character Clifton Curtis (played by Clifton Davis), a man in his mid-20s who worked as a barber at Oscar's Barber Shop, the family barber shop he had inherited from his late father. While Clifton enjoyed being a bachelor, his loving, but tart-tongued and opinionated mother Eloise "Mama" Curtis, played by Theresa Merritt, wanted him to settle down and find a nice wife. Additional characters – such as Clifton's two best friends—Earl, played by Teddy Wilson, an easy-going mailman and Junior, played by Ted Lange, a suave and good-humored ladies' man—came and went over the course of a typical day at Oscar's Barber Shop. Other characters included Tracy, Clifton's little sister, played by Lynne Moody and later by Joan Pringle and her husband, Leonard, played by Lisle Wilson, as well as local seniors Josh and Wildcat, played by DeForest Covan and Jester Hairston. Clifton Davis and Hairston would work together again years later in the hit sitcom, Amen.

The original name for That's My Mama was The Furst Family of Washington. One year before the series debuted, ABC aired the pilot episode of this version, starring Merritt opposite Godfrey Cambridge as her son Oscar, as a one-off special.[1]

That's My Mama Now![edit]

In 1986, inspired by the success of What's Happening Now!!, Columbia Pictures Television produced a pilot for a sequel series called That's My Mama Now! with Ted Lange as the star. It lacked enough stations signing up to ensure revival.[2]

Cast[edit]

Ernestine Wade originally portrayed the role of Laura in two episodes: "Clifton's Sugar Mama" (season 1, episode 5) and "The Birthday Party" (season 2, episode 1). Ed Bernard originated the role of Earl Chambers in the first two episodes of season 1: "Whose Child Is This?" and "Honesty Day". Teddy Wilson took over the role in episode 3 of season 1, and was added to the main cast. In addition, Wilson appeared as a different character in the pilot episode while Bernard portrayed the role of Earl in that episode.

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1974–75)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Whose Child is This?"Bob LaHendroLarry SiegelSeptember 4, 1974 (1974-09-04)
22"Honesty Day"Bob LaHendroTom Tenowich & Ed ScharlachSeptember 11, 1974 (1974-09-11)
33"Clifton's Dubious Romance"Bob LaHendroLarry SiegelSeptember 18, 1974 (1974-09-18)
44"Cousin Albert"Bob LaHendroHal Goldman & Al GordonSeptember 25, 1974 (1974-09-25)
55"Clifton's Sugar Mama"Bob LaHendroRon FriedmanOctober 2, 1974 (1974-10-02)
66"Clifton's Big Move"Bob LaHendroLarry SiegelOctober 9, 1974 (1974-10-09)
77"Mama Steps Out"Bob LaHendroLarry SiegelOctober 16, 1974 (1974-10-16)
88"The Loan"Bob LaHendroBob ShayneOctober 23, 1974 (1974-10-23)
99"Clifton's Con"Bob LaHendroThad Mumford & Dan WilcoxOctober 30, 1974 (1974-10-30)
1010"Clifton's Persuasion"Bob LaHendroLarry SiegelNovember 6, 1974 (1974-11-06)
1111"Oscar's Affair"Bob LaHendroTeleplay by: Jerry Ross & Larry Siegel
Story by: Jerry Ross
November 13, 1974 (1974-11-13)
1212"Tracy's Trouble"Bob LaHendroHal Goldman & Al GordonNovember 20, 1974 (1974-11-20)
1313"The Gun"Bob LaHendroJay Moriatry & Mike MilliganDecember 4, 1974 (1974-12-04)
1414"Song and Dance Man"Bob LaHendroRon FriedmanDecember 11, 1974 (1974-12-11)
1515"Mama Gets Fractured"Bob LaHendroLarry SiegelDecember 25, 1974 (1974-12-25)
1616"The Last Haircut"Bob LaHendroTeleplay by: Larry Siegel
Story by: David and Sally Evans
January 8, 1975 (1975-01-08)
1717"The Shakedown"Stan LathanRick MittlemanJanuary 15, 1975 (1975-01-15)
1818"The Ambulance Chaser"Stan LathanSimon MuntnerJanuary 22, 1975 (1975-01-22)
1919"Earl's Girl"Bob LaHendroJerry RossJanuary 29, 1975 (1975-01-29)
2020"The Witness"Bob LaHendroHal Goldman & Al GordonFebruary 5, 1975 (1975-02-05)
2121"Clifton and the Kid"Alan RafkinTeleplay by: Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan and Larry Siegel
Story by: Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan
February 12, 1975 (1975-02-12)
2222"The Hero"Norman AbbottEric TarloffFebruary 19, 1975 (1975-02-19)
2323"The Image Maker"Stan LathanRon FriedmanFebruary 26, 1975 (1975-02-26)
2424"Trial and Error"Norman AbbottRick MittlemanFebruary 5, 1975 (1975-02-05)
2525"Clifton and Politics"Bob LaHendroIlunga AdellMarch 12, 1975 (1975-03-12)
2626"Stephanie's Boyfriend"Bob LaHendroRon FriedmanMarch 26, 1975 (1975-03-26)

Season 2 (1975)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
271"The Birthday Party"Arnold MargolinLloyd GarverSeptember 10, 1975 (1975-09-10)
282"Business is Business"Noam PitlikWalter Bien & Gene FarmerSeptember 17, 1975 (1975-09-17)
293"Mama's Solution"Herbert KenwithCharlie HauckSeptember 24, 1975 (1975-09-24)
304"That's Earl, Brother"Arnold MargolinMilton R.F. BrownOctober 1, 1975 (1975-10-01)
315"A Date with Judy"Burt BrinckerhoffLarry SiegelOctober 8, 1975 (1975-10-08)
326"Earl's Dad and Mama's Glad"Arnold MargolinLloyd GarverOctober 15, 1975 (1975-10-15)
337"Weekend Daddy"Arnold MargolinBud WiserOctober 22, 1975 (1975-10-22)
348"Clifton and La Femme"Arnold MargolinDavid Pollock & Elias DavisOctober 29, 1975 (1975-10-29)
359"Mama's Big Move"Arnold MargolinBud WiserNovember 5, 1975 (1975-11-05)
3610"Queen of the Ribs"Mort LachmanJim ParkerNovember 12, 1975 (1975-11-12)
3711"A Man from the Past"Burt BrinckerhoffCharlie HauckNovember 19, 1975 (1975-11-19)
3812"Get Your Kicks on Routes 22 and 76"Mort LachmanWinston MossDecember 3, 1975 (1975-12-03)
3913"Clifton's Casual Fling"Jerry MarkusLloyd Garver & Winston Moss & Thad Mumford & David Pollock & Elias DavisDecember 17, 1975 (1975-12-17)

Catchphrases[edit]

  • "Wooooooo, WHEE!! I got it, I got it, and I got to report it!"—Junior's (Ted Lange) introduction whenever he had a bit of juicy gossip to tell Clifton and anybody else in the barbershop who happened to be listening.

DVD releases[edit]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released both Seasons on DVD in Region 1 on August 23, 2005. The majority of episodes are presented on both DVD releases in their edited-for-syndication form. Only a handful of episodes are presented in their original unedited form.

On June 13, 2017, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released That's My Mama- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[3]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 26 August 23, 2005
Season 2 13 August 23, 2005
Complete Series 39 June 13, 2017

Cultural reference[edit]

In the movie Coming to America, Eddie Murphy has a brief role as Randy Watson, who is explained by Arsenio Hall’s character, Reverend Brown, to have played “Joe the Policeman" in the (fictional) "What’s Going Down” episode of That's My Mama.

In the Family Guy episode "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington," Peter testifies before Congress. Trying to think of a snappy line with which to end his speech, he finally quips "Well, that's my mama!" (This was the tagline at the end of each That's My Mama episode's prologue.)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Television Obscurities".
  2. ^ "What's Happening!! : Classic TV". tvparty.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  3. ^ OooooWEE! I Got It! I Got It! And I GOT to Report It: 'The Complete Series'! Archived 2017-05-21 at the Wayback Machine