Home Television Comedy Who’s Watching the Kids?

Who’s Watching the Kids?

1 9 7 8 (USA)
11 x 30 minute episodes

Garry Marshall was enjoying a modest but successful winning streak in 1978. He was already the producer of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, two of the top-rated shows on TV at that time.

His output doubled in the 1978/1979 season as he added another entry for ABC (Mork & Mindy) and ventured into NBC comedy for the first time with Who’s Watching The Kids? which debuted on 22 September 1978.

Although it was the only one of those shows that wasn’t spun off Happy Days it still had ties, with two of the stars being regulars on the series.

Set in Las Vegas, the show (which morphed from a 1977 series called Blanksy’s Beauties) originally was to focus on two leggy showgirls. The format was watered down to deal with two orphaned kids who were raised by their showgirl sisters.

Trouble-prone Frankie Vitola, 16, (Scott Baio) and know-it-all Melissa Turner, 9, (Tammy Lauren) shared a crowded apartment with Melissa’s luscious older sister, Stacy, (Caren Kaye) and Frankie’s gorgeous older sister, Angie (Lynda Goodfriend, who had played Richie Cunningham’s girl, Lori Beth in Happy Days).

whoswatchingkids3

Stacy and Angie were showgirls at the seedy Club Sand Pile, where rotund Mitzi Logan (Marcia Lewis) was the emcee.

When they were at work, the girls needed someone to keep an eye on their overactive siblings, which is where straight-arrow Larry Parnell (Larry Breeding) came in.

Larry was a local newscaster who didn’t entirely approve of the flashy and fleshy gambling atmosphere of Vegas, but he wouldn’t mind trying his luck with Stacy. Nor was he averse to babysitting between newscasts, in exchange for some home cooking.

Additional support was provided by James Belushi and Lorie Mahaffey.

Although the show was locked into a family timeslot (Fridays at 8.30pm), it showed as much of the elder sisters’ endowments as permitted.

Larry Breeding was killed in a car accident on 28 September 1982 at the age of 36.

Angie Vitola
Lynda Goodfriend
Stacy Turner

Caren Kaye
Frankie ‘the Fox’ Vitola
Scott Baio
Melissa Turner
Tammy Lauren
Larry Parnell
Larry Breeding
Mitzi Logan
Marcia Lewis
Memphis O’Hara
Lorrie Mahaffey
Bert Gunkel
James Belushi