1 9 7 5 – 1 9 8 4 (USA)
205 x 30 minute episodes
This CBS comedy revolved around the efforts of working mum Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) to raise her teenage daughters – headstrong and rebellious Julie (Mackenzie Phillips), and well-behaved and popular Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) – after a not very amicable divorce.
A mid-season replacement, One Day At A Time was a big hit right from the start, earning itself a #12 spot in the Nielsen ratings in its first season, and staying in or around the top 10 for the rest of its run.
The show addressed the many problems of single-parent families including mum’s foray into the dating world and the sibling rivalry of her two daughters.
Ann and the girls lived at Apartment 402, 1344 Hartford Drive, Indianapolis. Always around to help and provide a laugh for the family was their enormously conceited but lovable building superintendent, Schneider (Pat Harrington Jnr), who lived in Apartment 1 (in the basement).
Richard Masur played Ann’s lawyer neighbour (and first season boyfriend) David Kane.
The series gained some notoriety because of its frank treatment of sexuality, although when Valerie Bertinelli’s Barbara was faced with her first chance at having sex, the show’s producers polled students at three US college campuses and, based on their responses, decided to have her say no.
While people in mid-America had enjoyed watching Barbara grow up to be a sweet, well-behaved young woman, Bertinelli began to develop an avid male following as she grew up – Even spending one entire episode in the bathtub!
Barbara attended Jefferson High School and worked as a cook at Quickie Burger, as a sales clerk at Olympia Sporting Goods (owned by Erickson Enterprises) and as a travel agent at the Gonagin Travel Agency.
Julie, Ann’s oldest and more troublesome daughter, also attended Jefferson High School. She was a receptionist for a veterinarian at the Curran Animal Center, a freelance fashion designer and a counsellor at the Free Clinic. In 1979 she married Max Horvath (Michael Lembeck), a flight attendant for PMA Airlines.
Julie later attended the Berkum Management Institute in Ohio for training as the manager of a doughnut shop. She and Max became the parents of a daughter they name Annie.
Mackenzie Phillips (daughter of John Phillips from 60s group The Mamas and The Papas) was fired from the show in 1980 because of her cocaine habit.
In 1981, she was invited back to the show but she resumed using cocaine in 1982 and collapsed on the set. When she refused to take a drug test, she was fired again and her character was written out of the series.
Despite unsuccessful attempts at rehab, she was virtually blacklisted as an actress and spent nine years touring with a reconstituted Mamas and the Papas.
When the show began, Ann was working for the Connors and Davenport Advertising Agency, then later founded the Romano and Handris Ad Agency with Nick Handris (Ron Rifkin). When the business folded, Ann and her former co-worker (and rival) at Connors and Davenport, Francine Webster (Shelley Fabares), pooled their resources and opened the Romano and Webster Ad Agency.
One season she became engaged, only to have her fiancé killed by a drunk driver. Then, for a time following his death, she became legal guardian to his teenage son.
Ann’s mother, Katherine (played by veteran actor Nanette Fabray) eventually became a series regular, appearing in almost every episode.
Finally, daughter Barbara married dentist Mark Royer (Boyd Gaines) – having remained a virgin until her wedding night. Barabara always dreamed of raising a family but learned after her marriage that a medical condition prevented her from having children.
Ann eventually married Barbara’s father-in-law, architect Sam Royer (Howard Hessman), and moved to Apartment 422, 322 Bedford Street. The series ended with Ann and her new husband moving to London to take an exciting new job.
Julie Cooper Horvath
Barbara Cooper Royer
Dwayne F Schneider
Pat Harrington Jnr
Mr Jerry Davenport
Mary Louise Wilson