Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Frank's Place"

Mark Mayerson asks in comments: I'd be curious if you have any thoughts on Hugh Wilson's next sitcom, Frank's Place, which starred Tim Reid. It only lasted a season, but I thought the show was one of the most interesting I'd ever seen in that the tone shifted radically every week. That may have been what prevented it from catching on, but I was fascinated to watch them constantly taking off in new directions.

Actually, I can't add much to Mark's thoughts on "Frank's Place"; it was a great show that was so unusual and sui generis that it couldn't fit in comfortably on a network schedule, and confused viewers and critics about whether it was supposed to be a comedy or a drama (the term "dramedy" was briefly used to describe this and other experimental one-camera half-hours of the time, like Jay Tarses's "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and "The Slap Maxwell Story"). In that sense, though certainly not in any similarity between the shows, it was the "Freaks and Geeks" of its time.

Several years ago the New Orleans Times-Picayune did a great in-depth article on "Frank's Place," how it came to be and how it came to be cancelled after only a season; fortunately that article is still on-line.

On a much sadder note, though, Austin Leslie, whose restaurant inspired the show, died last year not long after being evacuated from the city.

The DVD rights to "Frank's Place" are owned by Paramount, which has shown no sign of any interest in bringing the show out.


Mark Mayerson said...

Thanks for linking to that article, Jaime.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

See Jan Whitt, "Frank's Place: Coming Home to a Place We'd Never Been Before," _Journal of Popular Film & Television_, Summer 2005

Anonymous said...

I saw a handful of episodes of Frank's Place, it was very good indeed~~~mmtper

Anonymous said...

One of the best programs on TV at the time. It had a serious side and a humerous side, just like life. In particular, it was something special with a predominantly African American cast. I wish Paramount would rethink it's position. It's on of the few series I'd like to own

Anonymous said...

It was one of my all-time favorites: literate, sophisticated, original, excellently executed (especially production design & lighting); funny, worthwhile. I taped all but one episode, then lost the tape; wish Paramount would make it available.

Anonymous said...

I was a huge fan of the show. I found it to be one of the most innovative, well-written and most of all, it showed African-American people overall in a very positve manner, unlike some shows of that era through this day. I still sorely miss it.