1 9 7 6 (USA)
9 x 30 minute episodes
Pat Morita (Arnold from Happy Days) starred in his own short-lived series as widowed Taro Takahashi (aka “Mr T”), a Japanese inventor who moves his family from Tokyo to Chicago.
He hires bubbly, klutzy, well-meaning Nebraska-gal Tina Kelly (Susan Blanchard) as the live-in governess for his children, Sachi (June Angela) and Aki (Gene Profanato).
Other characters included his sarcastic sister-in-law Michi (Pat Suzuki), his very set-in-his-ways Uncle Matsu (“Jerry” Hatsuo Fujikawa), scatterbrained landlady Miss Llewellyn (Miriam Byrd-Nethery), and hipster Harvard the Handyman (Ted Lange).
Plots for the few shows produced focused on Mr T’s inventions and the unintentional Americanisation of the Takahashi children at the hands of Tina, who taught them words and phrases such as “cool,” “the pits,” and “neato,” much to Mr T’s chagrin.
The Japanese-American community complained about the racial stereotyping in the show and the ratings flagged quickly.
Despite a clever cross-over with the Sweathogs from Welcome Back Kotter, only five of the nine filmed episodes aired before ABC pulled the plug on 30 October 1976.
Morita rebounded well in the 1984 film The Karate Kid, as Mr Miyagi.
“Jerry” Hatsuo Fujikawa