1 9 7 4 – 1 9 7 5 (USA)
9 x 30 minute episodes
“I spent my whole life avoidin’ work,” said Zack Wheeler. “Don’t underestimate the power of laziness.” Words to live by. And Zack did, much to the disgust of his immensely independent children.
The kindest things his kids had to say about him was that he was “a worthless no-good bum”.
Zack (veteran character actor Jack Elam) abandoned his kids after their mother died, then came back home to Lamont, Texas – after an eight-month drinking binge – to sponge off them.
Still, as he said, “Lord knows I love you kids more’n anything in the world – even a stiff drink,” and deep down they thought he was pretty terrific too.
The four Wheeler kids were ten-year-old T.J. (Tony Becker); 12-year-old Boo, the only girl and a real tomboy (Karen Oberdiear); 16-year-old Doob (Mark Hamill pre-Star Wars); and the eldest, 24-year-old Truckie played by Gary Busey.
The ABC series debuted on Friday 13 September 1974, and after an initial ill-fated four-week run, the show went on a rather lengthy hiatus in October 1974, returning in June 1975 as a summer replacement to burn off the five remaining unaired episodes.
The theme tune, Illegal Smile, was composed and sung by John Prine.
Wailin’ Wheeler Is Dead | The X-Rated Movie | The Accident | The Twister | The Bookmobile | The Music Box | The Call | The Rebel