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.