Mar 13, 2013

Eight is Enough


Oh we spend our days like bright and shiny new dimes,
If we're ever puzzled by the changing times.
There's a plate of homemade wishes on the kitchen window sill,
And eight is enought to fill our lives with love.

If that's the sort of thing that appeals to you, you probably got all warm and gushy on Wednesday nights during the late 1970s watching Eight is Enough (1977-81).  If you wondered just how much of a day a dime could buy, or your gag reflex set in at the very thought of plates of homemade wishes on the window sill, you turned the channel to  Good Times, Busting Loose, The Jeffersons, or Real People.  

In case you never managed to sit through an episode, you should know that Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten) was a conservative newspaper columnist who liked to give anti-abortion speeches to captive audiences in elevators.  His tv wife died tragically during the first season, so he courted and married Abby (Betty Buckley). There were no gay characters -- though butch daughter Mary (Lani O'Grady) was certainly gay-coded, and some gay kids might have been interested in the three boys in his Walton-sized brood:

David (Grant Goodeve), a young adult employed in construction.  He achieved some teen idol fame, cutting a few records and enjoying guest shots on Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Northern Exposure.  He also played Steve Carrington's lover on Dynasty.  Today he is involved mostly in live theater.




Sorry for the bad reproduction, but this was the only swimsuit picture I could find.  Looks like the head is pasted on, but I think he's just being sullen.








Tommy (Willie Aames), a brooding, sullen bodybuilder-musician. He went on to fame in Paradise and Charles in Charge (with Scott Baio) before being beset-upon by financial and career problems.












Nicholas (Adam Rich), a smart-alecky preteen.  After Eight is Enough he had difficulties adjusting to the world outside show biz.  He has had arrests for drug possession, shoplifting, and breaking and entering.

By the way, Dick Van Patten belongs to a show biz dynasty, including siblings Joan and Tim, and children Vince, Jimmy, and Nels.