The Best of Times (TV pilot)
|The Best of Times|
|Directed by||Bill Bixby|
|Music by||Craig Safan|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Cinematography||Richard C. Glouner|
|Editor(s)||Daniel Todd Cahn|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Thunder Road Productions|
|Original release||August 29, 1983|
The Best of Times is a one-shot television pilot that aired as a "CBS Special Presentation" on August 29, 1983. It was originally going to be a replacement series for Square Pegs, but dismal ratings for the pilot episode caused the network to not go further. The pilot was written by Bob Comfort and Rick Kellard and directed by Bill Bixby.
Set in suburban Indiana, the show centers around three friends – smooth Pete Falcone (Robert Romanus), nerdy Neil Hefernan (Leif Green) and aspiring musician Dewey "The Phantom" Hooper (Chris Nash) – starting their freshman year at Ulysses S. Grant High School. Pete has made an agreement with his caring, but strict father Gene (Alex Rocco) that he will stay out of trouble this year, since Gene promised Pete he could have his own car, as Neil is the only one currently with a driver's license. On the way to school, they pick up two girls, brash Robin DuPree (Krista Errickson) and goody-goody Patti Eubanks (Hallie Todd), who takes a liking to Pete immediately. Patti enlists Robin's help to woo Pete at the upcoming freshman dance, as long as Patti pays her money. Dewey also has his hands full when the sadistic, hard-nosed vice principal Franklin T. Otto (William G. Schilling) reminds him that he will keep a close eye on Dewey for the entire semester as he is known for pranks and cutting classes.
A subplot consists of hulking resident bully Garth Stimlovich (Tony Longo) returning to town to settle a score with Pete when he ratted him out in a school incident, causing him to get expelled and placed in military school. He also knows Pete has been taunting his younger brother and his friend. One night, as Gene is fixing the kitchen sink, he mistakenly receives a threatening phone call from Garth, complete with racial slurs, saying a fight is going to happen. Knowing Pete is a part of this, Gene firmly tells him that even though he does not condone fighting of any kind, and that they have a deal going on, Pete has his permission to teach Garth a lesson, even if the fight might get Pete suspended from school. He also tells Pete that he will not tell his mother about it, either.
The night of the dance, the three hatch up a plan to get even with Garth's brother and his crony. Neil stands guard outside in the parking lot while Pete and Dewey act casual in the gymnasium. The two bullies corner Neil and he attempts to spray them with a hose, but it runs out of water. Pete and Dewey come to his rescue and push both bullies into a car trunk and lock it, but Garth shows up, in military attire, and gives Pete a black eye, but Patti, hiding on the flatbed of a pickup truck, knocks Garth out cold with a trash can lid. To pay her back, Patti tells Pete to look her up in the phone book.
- Robert Romanus as Pete Falcone, a student
- Krista Errickson as Robin DuPree, a student
- Hallie Todd as Patti Eubanks, a student
- Chris Nash as Dewey Hooper, a student
- Leif Green as Neil Hefernan, a student
- Alex Rocco as Gene Falcone, Pete's father
- Arlene Golonka as Peggy Falcone, Pete's mother
- Rosanna Locke as Theresa Falcone, Pete's sister
The pilot was filmed in April 1983. The show's original working title was Changing Times. Robert Romanus and Hallie Todd also appeared together in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, though they did not share any scenes together.