30 January 2013 | hfan77
A Hit Show Takes a Sudden Shark Jump
In 1974, NBC capitalized on the success of its Friday night sitcom Sanford and Son with the debut of Chico and the Man. Veteran actor Jack Albertson portrayed Ed Brown, the grouchy garage owner who drank heavily and constantly insulted people. Then along came Chico, played by then newcomer Freddie Prinze and he came in to try to turn around The Man's failing business and move into a van in the parking lot.
The show became a huge success due to the chemistry between Albertson and Prinze and featured a classic exchange that went like this:
Chico: I want my day in the sun. Ed: Then go to the beach.
Unfortunately, Prinze couldn't handle his new found fame and at 22, he shot himself. I felt the show should have ended right there because the rising star was a definitive key to the show's success. Instead, producer James Komack and NBC let the show continue and replaced Prinze with you Gabriel Melgar as Raul. He wasn't as good as Prinze but the show survived on the shoulder of Albertson and the supporting cast, including Scatman Crothers as Louis the Garbage man. His memorable line was "I'm the man who empties your can!" There was also Della Reese as Ed's landlady.
I remember episodes with guest stars such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Jose Feliciano, who wrote and sang the show's theme song.
I really enjoyed Chico and the Man. It was a very funny show but it took a sudden shark jump after Prinze took his life.