1 9 7 8 – 1 9 8 3 (USA)
114 x 30 minute episodes
Taxi debuted on 12 September 1978. In many ways, it was a series born with a silver spoon in its mouth, owning the most enviable time slot in the entire three-network schedule – sandwiched between Three’s Company and Starsky and Hutch in ABC’s mighty Tuesday night lineup.
Though it garnered many Emmy Awards and nominations, it was never a consistent ratings success and ended its run on NBC on 27 July 1983.
This was a comedy that was not afraid of exploring the seedy, unwashed underbelly of urban life.
The show focused on the lives of a small group of New York City cab drivers at the Sunshine Cab Company (situated on the corner of Hudson and Charles Streets in Greenwich Village) who were searching for a better way to make a living.
Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway) was the would-be actor, while Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner) was an attractive divorced mother of two who would rather have been in the art business full time. Tony Banta (Tony Danza) was a prizefighter without a fight.
The only driver who considered himself a career cabbie was Alex Rieger (Judd Hirsch), the most down-to-earth of the bunch and the one everybody turned to for wisdom and advice.
Mechanic Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman) provided many of the most comedic moments as the newly arrived emigrant mechanic.
All these characters were under the supervision of tyrannical dispatcher, Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito).
The show came armed with writers from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and some of the finest comedic actors on TV.
Unhappy with being part of a television sitcom, Andy Kaufman began to misbehave on the set but remained with the show until it ended its run in 1983. One year later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he died at the age of 35.
Louie De Palma
“Reverend Jim” Ignatowski