1 9 6 7 – 1 9 6 8 (USA)
26 x 30 minute episodes
A sophisticated and breezy white-collar sitcom that followed the exploits of real-life husband and wife Dick Benjamin and Paula Prentiss as cartoonist Dick Hollister and his wacky wife (weren’t they all wacky in the 1960s?), Paula.
Paula was a scatterbrained social worker (for the Manhattan Tourist Aid Society) who was often bringing home foreigners to keep them from being deported.
The couple lived in an apartment at 365 East 84th Street in Manhattan which came with the requisite wacky neighbour – Kenneth Mars as Harry the Greek fireman who visited the Hollisters by walking over a plank stretched between the firehouse (station number 26) and the Hollisters’ window – and wacky and inept janitor, Andrew Hummel (Hamilton Camp).
The Hollisters were comfortably off rather than rich, despite the fact that Dick’s super-hero comic strip, Jetman, had been made into a TV series starring an egocentric actor, Oscar North, who was prone to dropping in on the Hollisters in full Jetman costume to argue a point of interpretation.
Jack Cassidy played the supremely egotistical star, and while the offbeat scripts were already funny, Cassidy provided the icing to an already luscious cake.
Harold Gould appeared occasionally as Dick’s boss Norman Nugent. Alan Oppenheimer had a recurring role as Dick’s overly frugal accountant Murray Mouse (who had a wife named Minnie).
The CBS series was obviously based on the blueprint of The Dick Van Dyke Show– cheekily, one episode about a painting was entitled ‘Dick’s Van Dyke’ – but it failed to duplicate that series’ remarkable success.
All the same, He & She had a slick, effortless professionalism about it which lifted it above the mainstream. Indeed, some of its creative staff went on to work on a series with similar attributes that enjoyed much greater success, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Andrew Hummel (Janitor)