Category Archives: Growing Pains

Happy Father’s Day! ’80s Sitcom Fathers

In honor of Father’s Day, here is a tribute to ’80s sitcom Fathers. These are listed in no particular order:

Howard Cunninghan – Happy Days

“Mr. C” had a lot to deal with. Not only did own a hardware store (Cunningham Hardware), but he had to deal with his bickering kids (Richie and Joanie), and his sometimes spacey wife, Marion. He also had to put up with Richie’s goofy friends, Potsie and Ralph Mouth, and he was also a father figure to Fonzie. Then later on, he had to deal with Fonzie’s nephew, Chachi, chasing after his daughter.
At least he got to let off steam at the Leopard Lodge or bowling for a team called the Ten Pins.

Edward Stratton III – Silver Spoons

Sure Edward Stratton may have been a bit of a man-child. But who would complain about a dad that has a train that runs through the house. And at the time, how many of us were jealous that Ricky had a full size arcade game in the house?!

Jason Seaver – Growing Pains

Dr. Jason Seaver was a psychiatrist who also taught lessons to his own kids. And how cool was he to score Springsteen tickets for his son, Mike?! Too bad Jason embarrased him on th on-street TV interview after the concert. Well, nobody’s perfect.

Steven Keaton – Family Ties


Steven was a public TV manager, and a proud former hippie, who raised four children – one of whom was a conservative free marketeer. The soft-spoken father was able to guide his family through som “very special episodes” and came through with flying colors.

Al Bundy – Married With Children

albundy2Al Bundy was the heart and soul of the Bundy family. He was cursed selling women’s shoes, and came home to a family that constantly mocked him. But he still enjoyed the simple things in life, such as sitting in front of the TV, and sticking his hand in his pants.

So who are some of your favorite sitcom dads? Mr. Drummond? The dads from My Two Dads? Tony from Who’s the Boss?

Give a shout out to your favorite dads, and Happy Father’s Day!

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R.I.P. Alan Thicke (March 1, 1947 – December 13, 2016)

2016 has been absolutely brutal! I know that every year major celebrities, we grew up with, die. But, it seems like there have been an excessive amount of huge names that we lost this year. Alan Thicke is now the latest. Sadly, he passed away yesterday. What makes this even worse is that he suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19 year old son Carter, and died at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. He was 69.

Obviously, we all know Alan Thicke from his role as Jason Seaver in the awesome family sitcom, Growing Pains. He was an awesome dad. He was funny and cool, but could still be strict. He was a great role model, and Alan Thicke really made this character shine. My earliest memory of him was in the second episode of the series when he went to a Bruce Springsteen concert with his son Mike (Kirk Cameron). Coming out of the concert, they were stopped by a television reporter who asked if they were father and son, and Jason embarrassed Mike by giving him a noogie on live TV.

Starring in Growing Pains was not his only television credit at the time. The multi-talented Thicke was also a TV theme song composer, along with his then-wife Gloria Loring. The songs he composed were iconic. He composed the themes for Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life.

He also composed game show theme songs, such as The Wizard of Odds (on which he also sang) The Joker’s Wild, the original theme to Wheel of Fortune, and several others.

He also wrote the song and appeared in the television show, Animal Crack-Ups from 1987-1989.

Thicke co-hosted the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade (now the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade) with Joan Lunden from 1983 to 1990, when he was succeeded by Regis Philbin.

Over the years he has guested on several shows. Most recently, he had a guest spot on the new smash hit show, This Is Us.

Alan Thicke seemed like a class act, and all-around good guy.He will be sorely missed.

Growing Pains – Introduction and Theme Song

Show me that smile again. (Show me that smile)
Don’t waste another minute on your cryin’.
We’re nowhere near the end (nowhere near)
The best is ready to begin.
Oooohhh. As long as we got each other
We got the world spinnin’ right in our hands.
Baby you and me, we gotta be
The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreamin’.
As long as we keep on givin’
we can take anything that comes our way
Baby, rain or shine, all the time
We got each other Sharin’ the laughter and love

The ’80s was a great time for family sitcoms. We had Diff’rent Strokes, Happy Days, The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss, and Family Ties, just to name a few. Growing Pains was always one of my favorites.

Growing Pains ran on ABC from September 1985 to April 1992. When the show started, it was about a family of five, the Seavers, who lived on Long Island, New York. Jason Seaver was the father, a psychiatrist, who had his practice at home.

Maggie, his wife, was a journalist who worked for the Long Island newspaper in the first three seasons of the sitcom. She got a job as the news anchor for channel 19 news and worked there through the middle of the 5th season when she decided to stay at home. Jason moved his practice out of the house to an office. During the last seasons, she worked at home writing a consumer awareness column for the local newspaper.
Maggie and Jason raised four children:
The oldest was troublemaker/smartass, yet charming Mike. Mike played by Kirk Cameron. He helped the ratings for Growing Pains shoot sky high, and became a regular face on the cover of teen magazines.

The second oldest was Carol. She was basically the opposite of Mike – a straight “A” student who was socially awkard at school. She was played by Tracey Gold, who is sisters with Benson’s Missy Gold.

Next was Ben, played by Jeremy Miller. In the beginning of the show’s run, Ben was quite the con artist. As the show went on, he was more naive – but still a smartass like his older brother.

The youngest, Chrissy, wasn’t born until the 4th season and suddenly “grew up” from being a toddler to a five year old between the 5th and 6th seasons. The older Chrissy was played by Ashley Johnson.

And if “jumping the shark” wasn’t enough by adding Chrissy to the family, the show jumped over a pool of sharks in its final season by having the Seavers take in a homeless boy – Luke Brower. Well, if they were going to take the show down, they were going to try to do it in style. Luke was played by future movie superstar Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Theme Song

Before the 2000’s many television shows had great theme songs. Some theme songs were better than the shows themselves. The Growing Pains theme was always one of my favorites. The name of the song is “As Long as We’ve Got Each Other,” and was written by John Bettis and Steve Dorff. There were different versions of the song through the years.

For season 1, B.J. Thomas sang the theme solo. Most of the opening song featured various works of art (similar to the opening of Cheers), closing with a shot of the cast, which goes from black-and-white to color.

For season 2,3 and 5, Jennifer Warnes joined B.J. Thomas to make the song a duet. Season 4 featured Dusty Springfield instead of Warnes. Instead of artwork, scenes from some of the episodes were shown along with pictures of each cast member growing up:

Season 4:

For season 6, the song was sung a cappella by the group Rockapella (Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?). The photos of the cast members were still shown. But instead of show clips, a current photo of the cast member was shown.

And for the 7th (and final) season, it is no longer a cappella, and Leonardo DiCaprio is now in the credits.

Daily Trivia – 4/21/11

Question: In Coming to America, who played “Akeem’s” father?


Last Question: On Growing Pains, what was the name of the baby born into the “Seaver” clan?

Answer: Chrissy

Following in the steps of Cousin Oliver (The Brady Bunch), Sam (Diff’rent Strokes), Andrew (Family Ties), and Scrappy Doo (Scooby Doo), Growing Pains, Chrissy, joined the Seaver family on one of my favorite comedies of the ’80s, which set the show up to “jump the shark”. The show took it’s giant leap over the shark when Leonardo DiCaprio joined the cast as Luke, a homeless boy taken in by the Seavers.

Chrissy Seaver was born on the show in 1988. As an infant, she was played by twins Kristen and Kelsey Dohring (who alternated in the role). Beginning in the fall of 1990, Chrissy’s age was advanced to six years old. She was then played by Ashley Johnson. She played the role until the show was canceled in 1992.

She has done voice acting for many cartoons, including Disney’s Recess and recently she has been the voice of star character Gwen Tennyson on The Cartoon Network’s Ben 10: Alien Force.

Reference: vcstar.com

Daily Trivia – 4/14/11

Question: What R&B singer, born Kenneth Gordy, reached the Top 10 with his first single “Somebody’s Watching Me”?


 

Last Question: On Growing Pains, what was “Jason Seaver’s” profession?
 

Answer: Psychiatrist

Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) worked at home as a psychiatrist because his wife, Maggie, went back to work as a reporter.

Alan Thicke was married to Days of our Lives actress Gloria Loring, from 1970 to 1983. They had 2 sons together – Brennan and platinum album-selling musician Robin.
From 1992 to 1999, Thicke was married to Miss World 1990 pageant winner, Gina Tolleson. They had a son, Carter William. He has been married to Tanya Callau since 2005. Thicke is also the godfather of comedian Daniel Tosh, fromthe show Tosh 2.0.

Thicke also had a successful career as a TV theme song composer. He and Gloria Loring composed the themes from Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life.