I happened to run across an episode of Charles in Charge the other day. It was, as it turns out, an important episode: The bridge between season one and season two, when there was a massive recasting and the Pembrokes were replaced with the Powells. The premise of the episode is that Charles came back from a two week trip and enters the house and everybody is different. It is the source of humor.
A couple of the Pembrokes are there, to provide just a bit of continuity I suppose. Charles is relieved to see them. The funny thing is that I guess they couldn’t get the actress who played Mrs. Pembroke in season one, so they hired a stand-in. Which is cool, but adds a bit of irony in an episode where laughs are had because Charles doesn’t recognize anybody but her.
Two other notable shows that did retools after the first season due to a network change are Saved By The Bell and Mama’s Family.
Fun fact: I was once a part of a live studio audience for Mama’s Family. We were vacationing in California and wanted to do that. We wanted to do Perfect Strangers, but there was an age limit on that. Not Mama’s Family, which is I guess both more family oriented and not as big a draw so that they could discriminate as easily. The episode I saw live was the one where Iola had a boyfriend who turned out to be a cad.
Anyway, back to Charles in Charge. That one is notable in that at least two of the kids from that show did go on to careers of sorts. Nicole Eggert had a stint on Baywatch. Josie Davis became a staple on Lifetime movies. Scott Baio, who was the star, didn’t do much afterwards. Willie Aames, who played Buddy Lembeck, went on to find Jesus and become the superhero Bibleman.
A couple other casting things. Sandra Kerns, who played Mrs Powell was often assumed to be related to Joanna Kerns, who played the mother on Growing Pains, but they are actually unrelated. Ellen Travolta, who played Charles’ aunt, actually is the sister of John Travolta.
I saw Charles in Charge almost entirely in reruns. It was a staple of WGN and TBS when there were only 30 or so cable channels. At the time, TBS ran 5 minutes late (instead of a show airing from 3:30 to 4, it would be 3:35 to 4:05). So I could watch the show in WGN but then get an instant replay of the last five minutes on TBS. It usually ran on both channels at the same time.
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