Kliph Nesteroff, one of the many sages at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog, has unearthed from the dusty YouTube archives a February 5, 1969 episode of The Good Guys, a CBS-TV sitcom which had a short-run from 1968-70. The series focused on the misadventures of Bert Gramus (Herb Edelman) and Rufus Butterworth (Bob Denver); a pair of childhood pals who had gone into business for themselves (Bert owned a diner, Rufus drove a cab) but were always out for opportunities to grab the brass ring of big success. Bert was married to Claudia (Joyce Van Patten), who frequently helped her hubby in the diner…Rufus, on the other hand, was a bachelor.
This outing guest stars Denver’s former Gilligan’s Island compadre Alan Hale, Jr. as “Big” Tom Reardon, a truck driver who frequented Bert’s Place, as he tries to work up the courage to marry his girlfriend Gertie Zybisco (Toni Gilman). (You’ll also recognize a very pre-Alice Vic [billed as Victor] Tayback as her brother, scraggly beard and all.) Big Tom could almost be called a semi-regular since he appeared in two other Guys episodes, as did another Gilligan alumnus, Jim Backus, who showed up on three occasions as Claudia’s father.
When Guys returned for a second season in the fall of 1969, Rufus had jettisoned his taxi business and became Bert’s partner but even in this first season episode he’s already helping out at the diner (his cab activities clearly didn’t keep him too busy, I gather). Generally, I don’t like to judge TV shows on the basis of having seen only one episode but in watching this one it would appear that Guys was a fairly amiable endeavor if not particularly groundbreaking, comedy-wise. (If you’re not satisfied sampling just one episode, this gentleman at ioffer.com has a set of five episodes for sale.)
Anyway, I figured I’d direct a little attention to this rarity (especially to Sam Johnson, who remembers the show a little more clearly than I do) and also be a commercial for Kliph’s site, Classic Television Showbiz, which is choc-a-bloc with vintage TV content. Kliph, despite his dislike for the comedically sublime I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster (which doesn’t make him a bad person…only horribly, horribly wrong), comments over here at TDOY every now and then and I just felt that a shout-out was necessary. (Do you suppose I should tell him that Dickens/Fenster creator Leonard Stern and writer Mel Tolkin also had a hand in The Good Guys? Nah, I’m sure he’ll figure that out eventually…)