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Eight is Enough

By Wikipedia

Eight is Enough was a television "dramedy" series which ran on ABC from March 15, 1977 until August 29, 1981. The show was rare in that it was one of few hour-long television series to use a laugh track.

It centered around a Sacramento, California family with eight children (from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas). The father, Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten) was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan (Diana Hyland) took care of the children. Hyland was only in four episodes before falling ill; she was written out for the remainder of the first season. During the spring, Hyland died, and the second season began in the fall of 1977 with the revelation that Tom had become a widower.

Tom fell in love with Sandra Sue Abbott (nicknamed "Abby," played by Betty Buckley), a schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor one of his children. They were married in one of Eight is Enough's special TV-movie broadcasts in November 1977. These two-hour television events usually occurred during sweeps periods, and routinely grabbed viewing figures as high as a 40 television share.

In another TV-movie event in September 1979, two of the children (David and Susan) were married off in a special double wedding extravaganza. As the show went on, Abby got her Ph.D. in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school.

After the end of the show's fifth season, production costs and declining ratings caused the show to be canceled, along with seven other shows that season (Eight is Enough seemed to grab the most headlines, as the press had a field day with ABC's choice to bring "eight shows in" and kick "eight shows out"). Reunion movies were broadcast in 1987 and 1989.

The series jumpstarted acting careers for a select few of the "eight," and cemented teen idol status for Grant Goodeve, who played David, and Willie Aames, who played Tommy. Aames would go on to star with Scott Baio in Charles in Charge. Goodeve started a minor singing career, due to his rendition of the theme "Eight is Enough to Fill Our Lives With Love."

For some of the other children, however, success did not come and a few ended up having personal heartache, whether it be trouble with the law (like Adam Rich, who played Nicholas) or suicide (Lani O'Grady, who played Mary).

The show was modeled after a real-life father with eight children, Thomas Braden, who wrote a book with the same name.

Eight is Enough was parodied on Family Guy, where it was implied that the show's title came from how many slaps Tom was allowed to give his daughter Nancy across the face. His other daughter Mary rushed into the room, exclaiming "Dad! Dad! Eight is enough!"

Cast list

The ages of the children are given alongside their character names; these are their ages in the first episode in 1977.

Core cast members

  • Dick Van Patten - Tom Bradford
  • Diana Hyland - Joan Bradford (first season only)
  • Betty Buckley - Sandra Sue Abbott Bradford ("Abby") (seasons two through five)
  • Grant Goodeve - David Bradford (23)
  • Lani O'Grady - Mary Bradford (21)
  • Laurie Walters - Joanie Bradford (20)
  • Susan Richardson - Susan Bradford Stockwell (19)
  • Dianne Kay - Nancy Bradford (18)
  • Connie Needham - Elizabeth Bradford (15)
  • Willie Aames - Tommy Bradford (14)
  • Adam Rich - Nicholas Bradford (8)

Recurring cast members

  • Brian Patrick Clarke - Merle "The Pearl" Stockwell (1979-1981)
  • Jennifer Darling - Donna (1978-1981)
  • Henderson Forsythe - Big Bud
  • Michael Goodrow - Ernie Fields (1979-1981)
  • James Karen - Eliot Randolph
  • Ralph Macchio - Jeremy Andretti (1980-1981)


Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Eight is Enough forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Eight is Enough viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

My Favorite episode of Eight Is Enough was "Jeremy" because Ralph Macchio was on it. The show came out in 1977 which made me only 1 year-old. When Ralph Macchio was on the movie "The Karate Kid", I fell in love with him. When I saw the T.V. show "Eight Is Enough" for the first time, I almost did not recognize him at first, but when I saw the episode "Jeremy Returns", I didn't know who he was at first but when my sister asked me who that guy was and I told her that I had no idea who that was, she told me, "That was Ralph Macchio when he was younger before he played Daniel LaRusso on the movie, "The Karate Kid". After I saw the episode, "Jeremy Returns" I kept on watching this show. On the episode "Jeremy Returns" I don't really remember much about the episode because I was only about 6 years-old at that time.


Note: This is just a random sample of the Eight is Enough messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!



Aired: March 15, 1977 - August 29, 1981

Cast: Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland, Betty Buckley, Willie Aames, Adam Rich, Dianne Kay

Network: ABC

Genre: Dramedy

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC

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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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