With the death of Conrad Bain, the Curse of Diff’rent Strokes can at last rest. Well done, grim spirit. Well done.
Originally posted on Promethean Times:
Diff’rent Strokes proved an instant hit with TV audiences in September of 1978. The Norman Lear sitcom about Harlem orphans falling into the lap of luxury was anchored by veteran stage actor Conrad Bain, and featured promising child stars Todd Bridges and Dana Plato. But the breakout star of the fledgling show was an adorably precocious chubby-cheeked Gary Coleman, whose shameless mugging and hilarious catchphrase, Whatchootalkinbout, blurred the line between funny and precious.
For a time, Diff’rent Strokes was a cultural phenomenon. There were spinoffs both successful and unsuccessful–The Facts of Life and Hello Larry, respectively. A variety of high-profile guest stars appeared on the set, including Knight Rider and KITT, Mr. T and an only slightly punchy Muhammad Ali. Nancy Reagan even made an appearance in an very-special 1983 episode, where she made famous the line, Just Say No, which would…
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