Saturday, May 15, 2010

R.I.P, Allan Manings

Veteran television comedy writer-producer Allan Manings died Wednesday as a result of cardiac arrest which occurred at his Beverly Hills oncologist’s office—according to his stepdaughter, actress Meredith Baxter. He was 86.

Manings' writing career began in the 1950s, and by the 60s he was contributing scripts to hit sitcoms such as Leave It to Beaver, Petticoat Junction, McHale’s Navy, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and The Mothers-in-Law. As one of the writers on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, he received an Emmy in 1968 for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Music or Variety.

He later went to work for producer Norman Lear, becoming the script supervisor and later executive producer on the television hit Good Times. His lasting contribution to the situation comedy, however, came in 1975 when he and his wife Whitney Blake (who passed away in 2002)—an actress best known for her role on the 1960s sitcom Hazel—created One Day at a Time, a series about a divorcee (Bonnie Franklin) raising her two teenage daughters (Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli) in Indiana. The CBS show was a phenomenal hit, lasting nine seasons on the network before being cancelled in 1984.

As a youngster who vegetated in front of a TV set watching both Good Times and One Day at a Time religiously, I am truly grateful for Manings’ contributions to television comedy. R.I.P, Allan…you will be missed.

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