Chico And The Man (1974-1979)

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Chico and the Man Seasons 1 and 2

Chico and the Man episodes on demand

Let’s go back to 1974 where Chico and the Man started.

Growing up in the ’70s, this show had it all, the grumpy old man from generations gone by, an energetic kid who just wants to be part of something and all the stereotypes of the day thrown in for good measure.

Like many of the ’70’s TV shows, the theme song was a massive pop hit performed by Jose’ Feliciano.

Jack Albertson’s character (Ed Brown) was always grumpy. Unhappy with the death of his wife, his world and along came Chico. Played by Freddie Prinze, Chico was always bubbly, always optimistic and loved everyone while radiating love to those who came into the shop.

The show was a massive hit for NBC for the first two seasons. After struggling with depression and drug use, Freddie Prinze shot himself on January 28, 1977. He was taken off life support and died the following day at the age of 22. He was a bright star who had a huge future but couldn’t beat his demons. Watching the show, you would’ve never known they existed.

The last episode to star Prinze, “Ed Talks to God”, was taped several hours before Prinze’s death. That season would continue “Chico-less.”

In the opening episode of the fourth season, a replacement for Chico was introduced. Instead of an adult, the producers brought in 12-year-old Raul, played by Gabriel Melgar.

The producers considered canceling the show but, like Two And A Half Men, they pushed on for a few more seasons until 1979.

The show had a massive lineup of guest-stars through the seasons including Charo who became a regular. Check out some of them below:

Cesar Romero as Chico’s absentee father
Tony Orlando as Chico’s look-alike, the ex-fiance of a hostile woman he wants to date
José Feliciano, as Chico’s womanizing famous-singer cousin Pepe Fernando
Sammy Davis Jr. as himself
Herbie Faye appeared as Bernie in the 1975 episode “Louie’s Retirement”.
Shelley Winters as the owner of the local bakery, Shirley Schrift (her real name)
Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., three guest-starring roles, including Hector Ramirez in “The Third Letter” (1977)
Jim Backus as Ed’s friend who uses him as a beard, pretending to be playing cards with him when cheating on his wife (Audra Lindley)
George Takei as Ed’s supposed long-lost son from his time in Japan during World War II
Comedian Joey Bishop as an inept robber
Bernie Kopell as a plastic surgeon
Rose Marie as a CB radio enthusiast with whom a lonely Ed connects on New Year’s Eve
Penny Marshall, as a waitress

Click here for more on this TV show

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