1 9 7 9 (USA)
4 x 25 minute episodes
Short-lived CBS sitcom about Ernie O’Rourke (James Belushi) and his younger brother Mike (Michael Keaton) who were ambitious but incredibly clumsy sanitation and maintenance engineers (janitors) attempting to work their way up in a Chicago office building owned by their rich uncle Harry (Michael Conrad).
The klutzy brothers also spent a lot of time in the Playland Cafe – which was situated beneath their small apartment – with the cafe owner Mitch Hannigan (Allan Arbus) and his pregnant waitress, Nikki Evashevsky (Lorna Patterson).
Their chief antagonist was the snobbish manager of the building, Al Steckler (Val Bisoglio), but the brothers struggled to hold down their job to make their Uncle Harry proud and to put food on their table (the only things in their refrigerator were candy and spoiled milk).
The slapstick-heavy show, filmed before a live audience at Paramount Studios Stage 19, debuted in ABC’s 1979-1980 season – in a lineup which also featured comedy heavyweights like Happy Days, Taxi, Mork and Mindy and Laverne and Shirley – but was cancelled after just four episodes had been aired although nine episodes were produced.
In the episode entitled ‘The Bank Robbery’, an up-and-coming Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) made a guest appearance as Heimlich, the Playland Cafe’s delivery boy.
Belushi and Keaton both went on to bigger and better things.