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Blansky's Beauties
Blansky's Beauties title screen
"Blansky's Beauties" opening title screenshot.

Genre:

Sitcom

Directed by:

Garry Marshall & Jerry Paris

Starring:

Nancy Walker
Caren Kaye
Eddie Mekka
Scott Baio
Pat Morita
Blackjack

Network/Airdates:

ABC-TV, February 12 – June 27, 1977

Country/Language

United States / English

No. of seasons/episodes

1 season / 13 episodes (cancelled)

Executive producers:

Garry Marshall
Edward K. Milkis
Thomas L. Miller

Producer(s)

Nick Abdo
Bruce Johnson
Garry Marshall

Related shows:

Happy Days
Laverne & Shirley
Mork & Mindy

Blansky's Beauties was an American sitcom and a spinoff of Happy Days that aired on ABC-TV from February 12 to June 27, 1977. The main character of the series was introduced on an episode of Happy Days, then set in the 1950s, but the show is set in the present-day of 1977.[1]

SynopsisEdit

Nancy Walker played Howard Cunningham's visiting cousin, Nancy Blansky, from Las Vegas on the February 4, 1977, episode of Happy Days. Blansky's Beauties premiered the following week, on February 12, 1977.

Nancy Blansky (Walker) was a long-time Las Vegas showbiz vet (since the 1950s) and current den mother to a bevy of beautiful Las Vegas showgirls. In addition to keeping order in the chaotic apartment complex where they all lived, Nancy staged the girls' big numbers at the Oasis Hotel. Although the Happy Days episode on which Nancy first appeared took place in the early '60s, Blansky's Beauties itself was set in (then) present-day 1977.

Emilio (Johnny Desmond), the maître d', was Nancy's boyfriend. To help Nancy defray costs of her apartment, Ethel Akalino (known as Sunshine) (Lynda Goodfriend) and Bambi (Caren Kaye) shared it with her, along with her nephews Joey DeLuca (Eddie Mekka), a choreographer, and leering, 12-year-old ("going on 28"), Anthony DeLuca (Scott Baio). Anthony was forever trying to impress Bambi, who much to his chagrin treated him like a kid brother, as did almost all of Nancy's girls. Also sharing Nancy's apartment was a huge Great Dane named Blackjack who was shown in the opening credits playing blackjack.

Links to parent show and other spin-offsEdit

Template:Unreferenced section Eddie Mekka's character Joey DeLuca was a younger cousin to Carmine Ragusa, Mekka's 1950s-era character on Laverne & Shirley. During production of Blansky's Beauties, Mekka continued in his starring roles on both series, a rare occurrence of one actor assuming two regular scripted roles, in two different primetime series, at the same time. The series' star, Nancy Walker, had just finished several seasons of the same situation in which she had co-starred simultaneously in both McMillan & Wife and Rhoda, while also maintaining her ongoing role as diner waitress Rosie, the spokesman for Bounty paper towels, which she continued during Blansky's Beauties.

In episode 1 ("Blansky's Biking Beauty") Joey introduced Nancy Blansky to stunt motorcyclist Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) who was instantly hired for Nancy's stage show. Pinky wore the same outfit as in her Happy Days episodes, though her hair was now in a '70s style shag cut. She looked as though she had not aged in 20 years.

The show also implied a link to then-ongoing show Laverne & Shirley; in the episode "Nancy Remembers Laverne," Nancy recalls working with a clumsy girl named Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall's character on Laverne & Shirley) back around 1957. She discovered that, despite her clumsiness, Laverne was a great dancer and Nancy offered her a job on the spot, which Laverne declined.

Pat Morita, after the failure of his series Mr. T and Tina, was added to the cast as Arnold, the character he originated on Happy Days. As with Pinky Tuscadero, he seemed not to have aged in 20 years' time. Here he ran a coffee shop, whereas in Happy Days, he owned the diner. Morita would re-join the cast of Happy Days five years later, while his replacement on that series, Al Molinaro, would repeat Morita's career move at that time by joining another Happy Days spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi.

After the end of Blansky's Beauties, Lynda Goodfriend and Scott Baio would join the cast of Happy Days at the start of the 1977–78 season. Goodfriend and Baio, along with their Blansky's Beauties co-stars Caren Kaye, Shirley Kirkes and Elaine Bolton, would appear in a similarly-plotted pilot, Legs, for NBC in 1978, using different character names. This project would be revised further and appear on the network as Who's Watching the Kids? in the fall of that year, lasting half a season.

Garry Marshall, creator of Blansky's Beauties and the aforementioned Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Joanie Loves Chachi, et al., had a recurring role as Nancy's employer, the enigmatic Mr. Smith.

CastEdit

Template:Unreferenced section

Episode listEdit

Episode # Episode Title Original Airdate Episode Summary
1 "Blansky's Biking Beauty" February 12, 1977 Nancy needs to come up with a new show finale and hires Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) to jump her motorcycle over the showgirls.
2 "Blansky for the Defense" February 19, 1977 Nancy makes a valiant effort to create the semblance of a normal life when juvenile authorities come to investigate Anthony's living environment.
3 "Nancy's Cover-Up" February 26, 1977 Nancy threatens to quit when she's ordered to have the showgirls perform topless.
4 "Nancy's Magic Moment" March 12, 1977 When valuables disappear from the showgirls' room while they're on stage, Nancy turns detective to catch the thief.
5 "Nancy Goes Sheik" March 19, 1977 Nancy comes to the rescue when a much-married sheik zeroes in on Bambi as his next wife.
6 "Anthony Falls in Love" March 26, 1977 Anthony proposes marriage to Bambi after Nancy agrees that she should settle down with a strong man.
7 "Nancy Meets Francie" April 2, 1977 Nancy meets Sunshine's mother, Francie Akalino, who's seeking to take her daughter back to Wichita so that she can get married.
8 "Nancy Remembers Laverne" April 9, 1977 Nancy meets Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) while on a talent hunt in Milwaukee.
9 "Nancy Meets Pa Bates" April 16, 1977 Arkansas' father visits Las Vegas and quickly loses not only his money, but his daughter's as well.
10 "My Nephew's Debut" April 30, 1977 Nancy desperately searches for a way to hitch a ride back to Las Vegas for Joey's stage debut.
11 "Dear Nancy..." May 21, 1977 Bambi falls in love with a socially prominent lawyer and Nancy begins fearing the worst.
12 "To Nancy with Love" June 7, 1977 Nancy accepts an executive position at a plush hotel, but quickly gets bored and longs for the disorganization at the Oasis.
13 "Nancy Breaks a Leg" June 27, 1977 Nancy goes to the hospital after breaking her leg, but fails to get much rest and relaxation.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Note, however, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present doesn't include the series in its list of prime time spin-offs. Brooks, Tim (2007). pp. 1707–1709. Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4..

External linksEdit

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