1 9 8 7 – 1 9 8 8 (USA)
21 x 60 minute episodes
Seeking a man to run Benjamin Harrison High School, an unruly inner-city institution in the Bronx, New York, the Board of Education assigns Joe Danzig (Ed Asner), a tough but dedicated teacher as its principal.
Stories relate Joe’s efforts to turn the school around and see that his students get an education.
The violent atmosphere of the school made audiences wince. The producers called it “a show of small victories”, and that’s the most the viewers got amid the muggings, vandalism and worse (Danzig was even shot in one episode).
Carol (Janet Carol) was Joe’s wife of 29 years who wished he would get out of such a dangerous assignment but understood his idealism.
She passed away shortly after giving birth to a late-in-life baby, leaving him with an additional burden.
Despite the problems, Principal Joe Danzig was determined to keep order and perhaps impart a little hope to the mostly poor and underprivileged students who (sometimes) attended Benjamin Harrison.
Jack Felspar (Nicholas Pryor) was the often insufferable but basically decent vice principal who had wanted Danzig’s job. Sara Newhouse (Kathryn Harrold), the beautiful upper-class English teacher, was dubious about her assignment to such a hellhole. Harry Burns the streetwise history teacher (David Wilson) helped and romanced her.
Other members of the teaching staff included free-spirited arts and drama teacher Mary Caitlin Callahan (Kathleen Beller); drop-out lawyer and neophyte maths teacher Littman (Jerry Levine); gym teacher and basketball coach Gus Butterfield (Mykelti Williamson); science teacher Victor Ginelli (Peter Hobbs); economics teacher Trudy Burgess (Mitzi Hoag); and Wilchinsky the janitor (Tracey Walter).
Regular students were Roberta (Tyra Ferrell), Donna (Annie Oringer), Wilma (Wendy Jane Cooke), Roz (Gail Boggs), Rodriquez (Tony Coletti) and Billy (Bradley Gregg).
Mary Caitlin Callahan
Wendy Jane Cooke