The Good Life (1971 TV series)

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The Good Life
Genre Sitcom
Created by Lawrence J. Cohen
Fred Freeman
Directed by Claudio Guzmán
Starring Larry Hagman
Donna Mills
David Wayne
Hermione Baddeley
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 15
Executive producer(s) Lee Rich
Producer(s) Claudio Guzmán
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Humble Productions
Lorimar Productions
Screen Gems
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original network NBC
Original release September 18, 1971 (1971-09-18) – January 8, 1972 (1972-01-08)

The Good Life is an American situation comedy which was aired on NBC as part of its 1971-72 lineup. The series stars Larry Hagman and Donna Mills, and was produced by Lorimar, in association with Screen Gems.


The Good Life is the story of a middle class American couple, the Millers (Hagman and Mills), who had tired of their mundane existence. However, instead of following the time-honored premise of "hitting the road" to seek adventure or engaging in a stereotypical period activity such as joining a communal farm, they decided to seek new employment as the live-in butler and cook of millionaire industrialist, Charles Dutton. He noticed that they were not particularly talented at their jobs but found them to be agreeable enough. Their limited skills most definitely were not enough for his stuffy sister Grace, however, and she constantly worked to get them fired. Dutton's teenaged son Nick was the only one aware of what the Millers were doing in their new roles but found great fun in their situation and he began helping them to become accustomed to the social etiquette of high society and the wealthy in an effort to improve their skills in their roles.

The theme song was the 1962 pop song The Good Life, written by Sacha Distel & Jack Reardon, and sung under the titles by Tony Orlando.

This program did not garner much of an audience and it was cancelled at midseason. It was replaced by the action drama, Emergency!.

A decade later, Hagman and Mills were reunited onscreen when he guest starred on Knots Landing, on which Mills had become a series regular in 1980. Being a spin-off from Dallas, Knots Landing featured Hagman in the role of J. R. Ewing, who was often in cahoots with Mills' character Abby Cunningham. Both series were also Lorimar productions. David Wayne would also reunite with Hagman on Dallas where he originated role of Willard "Digger" Barnes.

The British television series released as Good Neighbors in American syndication was originally titled The Good Life in the United Kingdom, but changed its name for American audiences to avoid confusion with this earlier series.


Episode list[edit]

Episode Title Original Airdate Episode Summary
1 "One of Our Rolls is Missing" September 18, 1971 Albert attempts to sell the Duttons' Rolls-Royce but ends up having it stolen.
2 "Jane's Double Life" September 25, 1971 Albert talks Jane into going to a charity ball with his employer's son.
3 "The Chess Game" October 2, 1971 Posing as the owner of the Dutton's estate, Albert is challenged to a chess match by a former friend from school.
4 "The Wrecked Butler" October 9, 1971 After Albert breaks his leg, he discovers that his efficient substitute is endangering his chances keeping his job.
5 "The Vacation" October 16, 1971 Albert attempts to convince the Duttons to take Jane and him along to the French Riviera in order to avoid spending time with his mother-in-law.
6 "The Commodore Cometh" October 23, 1971 Mr. Dutton's uncle arrives and reveals his plan to dismiss his nephew as head of Dutton Industries and replace him with Albert.
7 "The Burglar Alarm" October 30, 1971 Albert attempts to outsmart a master burglar who has been ransacking mansions and beating up servants.
8 "Dutton's Retirement" November 6, 1971 After Albert convinces Dutton to retire in order to take it easy, but he soon discovers that he's only created more problems.
9 "The Speedometer Strain" November 13, 1971 If Albert is able to teach Grace Dutton how to drive, he and Jane will be rewarded with a trip to Hawaii.
10 "Mansion for Sale" November 27, 1971 After Dick leaves home in order to seek his independence, the Dutton mansion goes up for sale.
11 "A Tremendous Sense of Loyalty" December 4, 1971 J. Carleton Wedemeyer (Bob Cummings), whose name Albert used as a reference to obtain his job, arrives.
12 "Butterfield Ate" December 11, 1971 While babysitting a friend's pet lion, Albert attempts to keep the news a secret from the Duttons.
13 "Albert Gets Rich" December 18, 1971 Albert wins $250,000 and decides to immediately quit his job and retire.
14 "The Gardeners" December 25, 1971 Attempting to cut back on household expenses, Albert runs into trouble with the estate's gardeners.
15 "Dial 'M' for Merger" January 8, 1972 A spoiled right-year-old threatens to ruin things for Albert and Jane.


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