Home Television Comedy Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water

1 9 7 3 (USA)
9 x 30 minute episodes

In 1910 an enterprising young man named Jonas Paine established a business called ‘Paine’s Pure Pickles’. In 1911 he won the gold medal for his gherkins at the American Grain Exhibition.

He and his wife had two children: Nellie (Julie Harris), born in 1933, and Ernie (Richard Long), born in 1937. Jonas was widowed in 1955 and became chronically ill in 1963.

Ernie eventually left home (because he couldn’t stand the smell of pickles), leaving spinster Nellie to run the family pickle works and care for her father, “an old codger who just won’t kick the bucket.”

In 1973, at the age of 82, Jonas (Malcolm Atterbury) takes another turn for the worse and Ernie – now a penniless playboy who studiously avoids work and drinks too much – realises there is money at stake and rushes back home.

Nellie and Ernie despise each other but Jonas has made it a condition of his will that his grown-up children will each receive $75,000 in five years time, providing they both “operate the family pickle works and live together in the family residence”.

Reluctantly, Nellie and Ernie agree to Pop’s conditions and struggle to care for him and the pickle plant – and each other.

Lyle Woodstock (Jim Connell) is Jonas’s lawyer; Lily Paine (Jessica Myerson) is a cousin; Walter (Lou Fant) is Lily’s husband; Agnes (Dolores Albin) works in the pickle factory.

This ABC summer series was a US remake of the long-running British comedy series Nearest and Dearest (1968 – 1973) but was not successful and was cancelled.

Nellie Paine
Julie Harris
Ernie Paine
Richard Long
Jonas Paine
Malcolm Atterbury
Lou Fant
Jessica Myerson
Bert Taylor
Pat Cranshaw
Lyle Woodstock
Jim Connell
Agnes Dorsel
Dolores Albin