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Working Stiffs

1 9 7 9 (USA)
4 x 25 minute episodes

Short-lived CBS sitcom about klutzy brothers Ernie (James Belushi) and Mike O’Rourke (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).

They 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 waitress Nikki Evashevsky (Lorna Patterson).

Their chief antagonist was the snobbish manager of the building, Al Steckler (Val Bisoglio).

The slapstick-heavy show debuted in ABC’s 1979-1980 season – in a lineup which also featured comedy heavyweights like Happy DaysTaxiMork 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.

Ernie O’Rourke
James Belushi
Mike O’Rourke
Michael Keaton
Al Steckler
Val Bisoglio
Mitch Hannigan
Allan Arbus
Nikki Evashevsky
Lorna Patterson
Frank Falzone
Phil Rubenstein
Paul Reubens
Ralph Evashevsky
Thomas Callaway
Uncle Harry
Michael Conrad