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Real People

By Stewart

In my opinion, "Real People" was probably the greatest reality program in the history of television. It definitely was one of my favorite shows, for reasons which will be discussed below, and it is sad to see how little remembered it is today.

"Real People" had quite a bit going on for a television show. It had a large amount of comedy, though most of the late Skip Stephenson's jokes were far older than George Burns as were most of the physical comedy bits. But, they were still watchable and all the cast members did well with the comedy.

One thing that set "Real People" apart from the highly degenerated reality programs that came later was that the show was not afraid to tackle serious issues. In fact, a segment on the Adam Walsh case gave John Walsh (now host of "America's Most Wanted") his first national television exposure. Other serious topics the show dealt with were people with disabilities, the long-delayed recognition of the Navajo contribution to World War II, MIAs in Vietnam, etc. That aspect of reality TV seems to have been forgotten today.

But, my favorite aspect of the show was the cast - actually one cast member in particular. Considered by many to be *the* star of the show, Sarah Purcell was a very unique individual who far outshone her castmates. In addition her great beauty, Sarah had enormous range in terms of the material she did on the program. She could do the most serious of segments and also do slapstick comedy with great skill. Then, there was her greatest claim to fame - the stunts. During the time "Real People" was on the air, Sarah did many risky and dangerous things in segments for the show, stunts like walking on the girderwork of a 30-story building, sitting on one of the eagles of the Chrysler building (over 900 feet above the ground), driving a race car, playing roller derby, working in a refueling plane, rafting in the Grand Canyon, and many more. Sarah possessed a very rare combination of beauty, personality, brains, and spirit - a combination that has never since been duplicated.We've not had time to write about this TV show yet. If you were a fan, we'd love to have you help us out by writing a synopsis or review!


Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Real People 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 Real People viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

There was an episode with a grizzled old character knowm as "the Mayor". When asked a question he'd say, "Don't worry bout it". We all thought it was sooooo funny--we still use that expression---in our best gruff voice.


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



Aired: 1979-1984

Cast: Sarah Purcell, Byron Allen, John Barbour, John Barbour, Skip Stevenson, Fred Willard

Network: NBC


Theme song

Image courtesy of NBC

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