Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mr. Belvedere

Here's an '80s sitcom that you don't hear about too much anymore: Mr. Belvedere, a very '80s sitcom which ran from 1985 to 1990. The show featured a British butler employed and living with an American family. As associated with the '80s as this show is, it may surprise people to find out that its origins dated back a few decades. According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia:

The character of Lynn Belvedere was originally created by 
Gwen Davenport in her 1947 novel, Belvedere. The following year, the 
title character was portrayed by Clifton Webb in the film Sitting Pretty. 
Webb's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for 
Best Actor. Sitting Pretty told the story of an arrogant genius who 
answers an employment ad for a baby sitter for three bratty kids. He 
accepts such employment because he is secretly writing a novel 
about a community filled with gossips and busybodies. Webb reprised 
the role in two more movies, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) 
and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951).

As early as the 1950s, attempts were made to adapt the 
character to television, with three pilots made during the 1950s 
and 1960s, including a 1965 version starring Victor Buono in the 
title role. All efforts, however, were unsuccessful until 1985, when 
ABC was finally able to get the show up and running with British 
actor Christopher Hewett playing Lynn Belvedere.

The memorable theme song to Mr. Belvedere was sung by quirky ragtime musician Leon Redbone and was originally written for another sitcom that never got off the ground. It was written by Judy-Hart Angelino and Gary Portnoy. Portnoy was also responsible for writing such other classic '80s sitcom themes as Cheers ("Where Everybody Knows Your Name") and Punky Brewster.


  1. Mr. Belvedere was such a wonderful show, and now I'm rediscovering it on DVD. I remember watching it when I was little, but I love it even more now, especially Mr. Belvedere's relationship with lovable trouble-maker Wesley. This show reminds me very much of my own job as a nanny/house manager. It's pretty realistic!

  2. Shannon-- I have so many great memories of '80s sitcoms. I prefer the fun-loving, gentle humor of that era over the much more snarky humor which one often heard after the '80s. The '80s sitcoms were fun, and also "safe" for family watching. Of course some of them may have been less than realistic, but why does everything have to be starkly realistic and "edgy" anyway? Bring back this good comedy that brought a smile to your face, rather than a smirk.

  3. "Streaks on the china never mattered before. Who cared?"

  4. Joe-- You know, I really didn't know what those lyrics were until now. I actually thought he said something about a slow boat to China, or something like that!!! LOL Thank you for the real lyrics. :)

  5. My brother and I really enjoyed this show. He had such a crush on Tracy and also one on Tracey from Growing Pains. It was cool seeing this clip. I do remember hearing about the old films back then but never actually saw them.

  6. LaraAnn-- It was sitcoms like this that made '80s TV viewing so memorable. They were fun to watch, pleasant, and for the most part positive.