1 9 8 3 – 1 9 8 9 (USA)
150 x 25 minute episodes
George Papadapolis (Alex Karras), a 41-year-old former pro football player turned sportscaster on WBJX-TV (Channel 6) met 37-year-old Katherine Calder-Young (Susan Clark, the real-life spouse of Alex Karras) – a fluttery socialite with a career as a consumer advocate – on a Greek cruise and impulsively got married.
Two weeks later George’s best friends, Travis and Gert Long, were tragically killed in a car crash. He had once promised that if anything ever happened to them, he would raise their son as his own.
So into the lives of newly-wed George and Katherine came Webster (Emmanuel Lewis), only seven-years-old and 40 inches tall.
There were problems. Katherine, for instance, was not only a new wife and new mother, but she was also a little weak in home economics.
Webster even managed to accidentally burn down the Papadapolis apartment while playing with his chemistry set. No matter – the family moved into a nifty Victorian house and Webster went unpunished.
Webster attended Clemens Elementary School, had a teddy bear he called Teddy and kept his “menstoes” (mementoes) in an old cigar box. He had two pet frogs (Fred and Peggy), a pet snake called Dr Plotsman and a homemade robot called Mr Spielberg.
Jerry (Henry Polic II) was Katherine’s sarcastic male secretary (who eventually opened his own health club), Cassie (Cathryn Damon) and Bill (Eugene Roche) owned the large Victorian house into which the Papadapolises moved and Phillip Long (Ben Vereen) was Webster’s uncle – who arrived planning to fight for custody of the little guy, much to everyone’s discomfort.
He later withdrew his petition when he realised that George and Katherine could provide a better life for Webster than he could and he moved to Hollywood to start a movie career.
A major change occurred in 1987 when George’s brother and sister-in-law decided to relocate to Nigeria to work on a UN agricultural project, and their 14-year-old son Nicky (Corin “Corky” Nemec) moved in with George and his family.
Nicky and Webster got along famously, and the older boy provided Webster with the ‘brother’ he had never had.
Emmanuel (‘Manny’) Lewis became a heavyweight on the Paramount lot, with a custom-designed office and dressing room, his own computer and teacher and a guard who chauffeured him around in a golf cart. He even made studio history by getting permission to bring his dog to work.
The adult Manny Lewis, though still small in stature, held black belts in both American karate and tae kwon do.
Katherine Calder-Young Papadapolis
Henry Polic II
Uncle Phillip Long
Corin “Corky” Nemec