1 9 7 9 (USA)
4 x 30 minute episodes
This show began as a vehicle for Beatrice Arthur who was to portray a congresswoman in Washington DC.
When she decided not to do it, the show morphed into Onward and Upward with pretty much the same scripts and the same supporting cast, except that now the main character was an African American former pro football player who became a congressman.
John Amos was offered the role but turned it down. Lou Gossett Jr was the next candidate for the role, as the title became Mr Dooley, but he also backed out.
Next in line was Cleavon Little as the title of the show now became Mr Dugan. This version made it on the air, but when black politicians got a sneak preview of the show, their extremely negative reaction action led to yet another change.
CBS pulled its promos for the show at the last minute, plugged in a special episode of Alice instead, and retooled the show again.
It was now to be called Hanging In and it starred former Maude co-star, Bill Macy, as Louis Harper, a former football star who enjoyed helping the poor and underprivileged through special community projects.
Lou was then offered the presidency at Braddock University but brought along his humanitarian ways, which promised to get him into political hot water with the university board, staff, and prominent fundraisers.
Others in the cast included Dean of Faculty Maggie Gallagher (Barbara Rhoades), Director of Admissions and Public Relations Sam Dickey (Dennis Burkley), Lou’s wise-cracking cracking and diminutive housekeeper Pinky Nolan (Nedra Volz) and Darian Mathias as Rita Zefferelli.
And for all the effort and retooling, the show lasted four weeks!
Louis “Lou” Harper