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Davis Rules launched on ABC in January 1991, jumped to CBS a year later and was gone completely seven months after that.
The sitcom starred Randy Quaid as Dwight Ulysses Davis – the principal at Pomahac Elementary School in the town of Pomahac (an island across from Seattle) who had a heck of a time with kids – both on the job and at home.
Dwight was a penny-pinching, coupon-snipping widower who lived at 631 Evergreen with his children, Robbie (Trevor Bullock), Charlie (Luke Edwards) and Ben (Nathan West), his wacky father, William (‘Gunny’) Davis (Jonathan Winters), and his effervescent sister, Gwen Davis (Bonnie Hunt).
Before teaching maths, science and history, Dwight had been a minor league baseball pitcher in Lodi, California. His career had ended when he fell in the dugout and injured himself.
Dwight loved golf but played only three times a year. He hung out at a store called Par for the Course (where he was called a “browse-aholic”).
Dwight’s girlfriend Erika (Kelly Rutherford) was a cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks baseball team.
William received the nickname ‘Gunny’ during his time in the Marines during World War II. He calls the USMC “Uncle Sam’s Miserable Children” and is fascinated by women – especially the unseen Miss Kelly, their apparently gorgeous next-door neighbour.
Gunny worked for Falcon Aerospace and could make “great stew out of road kill”.
Gwen Davis first lived in Florida (ABC episodes) and appeared twice. She became a regular on CBS (no reason was given why she left Florida) and first worked as a business manager, then selling commercial time for radio station KPLG.
When they were kids, Dwight would leave Gwen at the bowling alley counter as a deposit for his shoes.
Robbie, Dwight’s oldest son, was the equipment manager of the school’s baseball team, the Panthers. When the series returned on CBS, Robbie was dropped (no reason was given why Dwight now had only two sons). He was replaced by Vonni Ribisi as 16-year-old Skinner Buckley, a teenager Dwight cared for while his parents were in South America to study primitive tribes.
Skinner was a fan of blues music and frequented Nick’s Blues Club.
Charlie, a gourmet cook at ten years of age, and Ben, the youngest child, attended Pomahac Elementary School. Charlie was a member of the school band.
Cosmo Louis Yeargen (Patricia Clarkson) was first introduced as Robbie’s tutor (she charged $15 an hour) and later became a teacher at the school but was dropped when the series switched to CBS.
Elaine Yamagami (Tamayo Otsuki) was the assistant principal. She had a daughter named Nikki (Kristi Murakami).
Margaret ‘Meg’ Davis (Audrey Meadows) was Gunny’s ex-wife.
Dwight Ulysses Davis
William ‘Gunny’ Davis
Cosmo Louis Yeargen
Margaret ‘Meg’ Davis