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Encyclopedia > Chico and the Man
Chico and the Man

Scatman Crothers, Freddie Prinze, and Jack Albertson
Format Sitcom
Run time 30 Minutes
Creator(s) James Komack
Starring Jack Albertson
Freddie Prinze
Scatman Crothers
Bonnie Boland
Isaac Ruiz
Ronny Graham
Della Reese
Country USA
Network NBC
Original run September 13, 1974July 21, 1978
No. of episodes 88


Chico and the Man was an American sitcom which ran on NBC from September 13, 1974 to July 21, 1978, starring Jack Albertson as Ed Brown (The Man), the cantankerous owner of a run down garage in an East Los Angeles barrio, and introducing Freddie Prinze as Chico Rodriguez, an upbeat, optimistic Chicano street kid who comes in looking for a job. It was the first series set in a Mexican-American neighborhood. This is a thumbnail picture digitally captured off air from the TV show, Chico and the Man. ... A sitcom or situation comedy is a genre of comedy performance originally devised for radio but today typically found on television. ... Jack Albertson (June 16, 1907 - November 25, 1981) was considered a complete entertainer from the old school. ... Freddie Prinze Freddie Prinze (June 22, 1954–January 29, 1977) was a American stand-up comedian and actor of Jewish and Puerto Rican descent. ... Scatman Crothers, original name: Benjamin Sherman Crothers (born May 23, 1910; died November 22, 1986) He was an actor, singer, dancer, and musician. ... Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan), is a famous African American actress and singer. ... The National Broadcasting Company or NBC is an American television broadcasting company based in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years). ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) is a common year starting on Tuesday (click on link for calendar). ... July 21 is the 202nd day (203rd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 163 days remaining. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... The examples and perspective in this article do not represent a worldwide view. ... The National Broadcasting Company or NBC is an American television broadcasting company based in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years). ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) is a common year starting on Tuesday (click on link for calendar). ... July 21 is the 202nd day (203rd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 163 days remaining. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... Jack Albertson (June 16, 1907 - November 25, 1981) was considered a complete entertainer from the old school. ... Welcome sign on Atlantic Boulevard East Los Angeles (often shortened to East L.A.) is an unincorporated area located in Los Angeles County, California, United States that is bounded by the city of Los Angeles to the west and north, the cities of Montebello and Monterey Park to the east... Barrio is a Spanish word meaning district. ... Freddie Prinze Freddie Prinze (June 22, 1954–January 29, 1977) was a American stand-up comedian and actor of Jewish and Puerto Rican descent. ... Chicano teenager in El Pasos second ward. ...


Ed doesn't want Chico's help; in fact, he distrusts all Chicanos. A hard-drinking widower, he refuses to fit in with the changing neighborhood and has alienated most of the people who live around him. Ed uses ethnic slurs and berates Chico in an effort to get him to leave. But Chico sees potential in the old man and sneaks back in at night to clean up the garage and move into an old van that Ed has parked inside. When Ed sees all the effort Chico has put in, he slowly warms up to Chico and thus starts the relationship. Ed grows to see Chico as a son, although he will deny this fact on many occasions. The chemistry between Jack Albertson's "Ed" and Freddie Prinze's "Chico" was one of the leading factors in making the show a hit in its first two seasons. It started in the top ten and never left there over those seasons. Stereotypes are considered to be a group concept, held by one social group about another. ... An interpersonal relationship is some relationship or connection between two people. ... Here are some words or phrases from the Spanish that are sometimes used in English slang, but have not entered the standard lexicon. ... The term hit can refer to any of the following: in marketing, a success involving (sudden) popularity of and demand for a particular item, such as a song that reaches the hit parade in archery and in target shooting, striking the exact desired spot, commonly the center of a target... A season is one of the major divisions of the year, generally based on yearly periodic changes in weather. ...


The show was created by James Komack who produced other shows like The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Freddie Prinze was discovered by Komack after he appeared on The Tonight Show in December 1973. Komack thought he would be perfect for the part of Chico Rodriguez. This caused a stir in the Mexican-American community, who thought the part should have been played by a Chicano (Prinze was half Puerto Rican). Therefore, as the show progressed, Chico's background was altered to being Mexican on his father's side and Puerto Rican on his mother's side (with a nod to Freddie's Hungarian ancestry in the same line which stated these facts, as Chico remarks in his Hispanic accent, "...and my grandmother speaks a little Hungarian!"). The Mexican-American community also complained that the show used too many ethnic slurs, but this was the age of Norman Lear and All in the Family. Fans of the show saw the ethnic jabs as a part of the endearing, if acerbic, relationship between "Chico" and "the Man". As Chico once fondly put it, Ed was a minority himself, the barrio's "token white man". A Show is a Television program. ... The Courtship of Eddies Father is a 1963 comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli. ... The Tonight Show is NBCs long-running late-night talk and variety show, currently hosted by Jay Leno in Burbank, CA (near Los Angeles). ... Accents mark speakers as a member of a group by their pronunciation of the standard language. ... Norman Lear Norman Lear (born July 27, 1922) is an American television writer and producer who produced such popular 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son and Maude. ... All in the Family is a popular and acclaimed American situation comedy that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971 until April 8, 1979, when the final original episode aired. ... Barrio is a Spanish word meaning district. ...


The "Hungarian side of the family" was also mentioned in a tear-jerking episode during the first season, in which Chico plans to leave Ed. Keeping his half of a childhood bargain, Chico's cousin Carlos has invited him to come be the head mechanic in his used-car agency in New York. In another reference to Freddie's background, Chico had spent part of his childhood there following the death of his mother, being raised by his Aunt Connie (a character who appeared in two other memorable episodes). Chico attempts to explain his situation to Ed by portraying it as the dilemma of his distant cousin in Hungary, torn between the farmer for whom he now works and whom he has grown to love, and another farmer who has offered him a better job. It is in this scene, and throughout the rest of this episode, that the real love between these disparate characters is made manifest for the first time, a fact on which Carlos remarks when he releases Chico from his promise. This love remained, along with the superb comedic timing of its stars, among the driving forces in the show's popularity. State nickname: The Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York City Governor George Pataki (R) Senators Charles Schumer (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) Official languages None (English is de facto) Area 141,205 km² or 54,556 square miles (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water... Popularity is the quality of being well-liked or common. ...


Another of Chico and the Man's formulae for success was the casting of its supporting characters. Characters like Scatman Crothers as Louie Wilson, Ed's friend and garbage man; Bonnie Boland as Mabel, the mail lady; Isaac Ruiz as Mando, Chico's friend; Ronny Graham as Rev. Bemis; and Della Reese as Della Rogers, Ed's neighbor and landlady, added to the flavor of the ethnicity of the neighborhood and the garage. By the second season, Ed begins to see that he is a part of a bigger world (though he continues to complain about it), even acquiring a girlfriend (Flora, played by Carole Cook) who nearly gets him to the altar. Scatman Crothers, original name: Benjamin Sherman Crothers (born May 23, 1910; died November 22, 1986) He was an actor, singer, dancer, and musician. ... Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan), is a famous African American actress and singer. ...


At the start of the third season, however, the reality of Freddie Prinze's drug use began to intrude upon the comedic fantasy of ethnic harmony. From the moment he comes on stage several minutes into the first episode (in which Chico moves out of the garage into a roach-infested apartment), he looks haggard and much older than his 22 years--a fact that the writers explained by having Ed complaining before Freddie's entrance that Chico has been staying out too late at night. In the two-part episode that followed -- which introduced landlady Della Rogers -- his weight loss became quite evident, and it has been rumored that Della Reese's presence was an attempt to take some of the focus off of Freddie. Later in the season, an episode in which Chico became a professional boxer seemed to take a different approach -- Freddie was often shown shirtless, muscles rippling as he punched a heavy bag. In a tragic twist, this was the episode that producers chose to run on the night of January 28, 1977, as Freddie lay dying from a self-inflicted gunshot. They were concerned that the episode originally scheduled for that night -- in which Cesar Romero portrayed Chico's long-lost father -- would be too hard for fans to take under the circumstances. It has been suggested that Hard and soft drugs be merged into this article or section. ... Cesar Romero, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1934 Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. ... Fans of Janet Jackson, at Music Music The word fan refers to someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking of a person, group of persons, work of art, idea, or trend. ...


In the last episode to star Prinze, which was filmed just hours before he shot himself -- ironically titled "Ed Talks to God"-- there are many scenes in which Prinze appears to be "out of it," although it has also been said that he was always sober while on the job. In particular, when Ed's old army buddy is pretending to be God, speaking over a PA system in an effort to convince Ed to attend his own birthday party, Freddie sits beside the other actor on the couch, seeming not to be paying attention to what is going on around him. In the final scene, when Ed reveals that he knew all along that his buddy and Chico were in on the "God" ruse together, Freddie picks up the knife beside the birthday cake and holds it to his own throat, inviting Ed to use it in revenge. To his legion of fans, the airing of this episode months after Prinze's death was more disturbing than the tear-jerking reunion with Chico's father could ever have been when they still had hope that Freddie might survive. God is the Supreme Being believed to exist in monotheistic religions as the creator of the Universe. ... Revenge or vengeance consists of retaliation against a person or group in response to perceived wrongdoing. ...


A void was left with the death of Prinze. The producers toyed with the idea of cancelling the show, but opted for trying to replace the charismatic young comic. So as to write Chico out of the script, they had the other characters make comments about the fact that he had gone to visit his father in Mexico. Fans knew the truth, of course, and many were disappointed with this "cover-up" of the facts. An effort was made to find a new Chico, but the season finished out with episodes based on the other characters in the show. Early in the fourth season, a new "Chico" was introduced. Instead of an adult, the producers brought in 12-year-old Raul, played by Gabriel Melgar. His first appearance came when Ed and Louie go on a fishing trip to Tijuana and find the Mexican orphan hiding out in their trunk on their return. At the end of this episode, Ed is putting Raul to bed and accidentally calls him Chico. Raul corrects him and Ed remarks that, "You're all Chicos to me." Ed finally adopts Raul, only to have Raul's overprotective aunt--played by the singer Charo--come from Spain and try to become a part of the "family" as well. Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California and the seat of the municipality of the same name. ... María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza Rasten (born January 15, 1941; claimed birth year 1951), better known by the Latin American and Hollywood show business as Charo, is a singer, dancer, comedian, actress and classical guitar player who was born in Murcia, Spain. ...


The most poignant note in the otherwise dismal last season was a two-part episode in which Raul discovers his predecessor's belongings in the old van. Ed catches Raul playing Chico's guitar and smashes it on the van in anger. Raul decides Ed doesn't love him anymore and runs away to Mexico. Ed goes after him and finally explains to Raul that Chico died, but really doesn't say how. For the fans of the show, this seemed to put closure to the fate of Prinze's character. Even so, Chico and the Man was never able to pull in its accustomed share of the audience in its final season. Many critics attributed this to the now-missing chemistry between Albertson and Prinze; others felt it was because the show's unique premise of hard-won ethnic and generational equality and admiration had been compromised by the use of a child actor who lacked Prinze's strong personality. Perhaps it was mainly because James Komack had envisioned Chico through the lens of Freddie's stand-up comedy style. Whatever the reason, the most loyal fans seemed to abandon the show after his death, and the producers finally pulled the plug at the end of the fourth season when the ratings fell to their lowest levels. In inter-personal relationships closure is the perception of a conclusion to an interpersonal interaction. ... Equality is a social state of affairs in which certain different people have the same status in a certain respect. ... Rating is a means of classifying things in different categories. ...


In addition to those already mentioned, notable guest stars throughout the run of the show included (in no particular order): Tony Orlando as Chico's look-alike, the ex-fiance of a hostile woman he wants to date; Jose Feliciano (who wrote and sang the theme song) as Chico's womanizing famous-singer cousin Pepe Fernando; Sammy Davis Jr. as himself; Shelley Winters (who had appeared with Jack Albertson in "The Poseidon Adventure") as the owner of the local bakery, Shirley Schrift (her real name); Jim Backus of "Gilligan's Island" as Ed's friend who uses him as a "beard"--pretending to be playing cards with him when cheating on his wife (who was played by Audra Lindley, later Mrs. Roper of "Three's Company" fame); silent-film actress Carmel Myers as a former star who has fallen on hard times, brings in her car for repairs, and stays in the garage while looking for work; George Takei (Mr. Sulu from "Star Trek") as Ed's supposed long-lost son from his time in Japan during WWII; Cesare Danova as Aunt Connie's Spanish aristocrat boyfriend, the Count de Catalan, in the second episode in which she appeared; comedian Joey Bishop as an inept robber; Bernie Kopell of "The Love Boat" as a plastic surgeon; Rose Marie, formerly of the "Dick Van Dyke Show", as a CB radio enthusiast with whom a lonely Ed connects on New Year's Eve (incidentally, this was the only holiday episode done during Freddie Prinze's lifetime, and he died only a few weeks after it aired); Penny Marshall, later of "Laverne and Shirley" and movie-directing fame, as a waitress; football star Rosey Grier as himself, Della's date for a charity benefit dance; and Larry Hovis of "Hogan's Heroes" as a customer in the second episode of the first season. Though little else was heard from her in later years, Jeannie Linero deserves mention for appearing in several episodes as one of Chico's more constant girlfriends, nurse Liz Garcia. (A sidenote: several of Chico's girlfriends were members of this profession. In the first episode of season three, one was played by Dee Dee Sescher, who later appeared on another of James Komack's big hits, "Welcome Back Kotter".) Tony Orlando (born April 4, 1944, New York) is an American singer, of Greek and Puerto Rican ancestry, best known for his time with the group Dawn in the early 1970s. ... A look-alike is a person who bears a close physical resemblance to a celebrity, politician or royalty. ... José Feliciano (born September 10, 1945 in Lares) is a Puerto Rican singer. ... Sammy Davis, Jr. ... Winters in Cry of the City (1948) Shelley Winters (born August 18, 1920) is an American actress. ... Jim Backus Jim Backus (February 25, 1913–July 3, 1989) was a radio, television and movie actor, and voice actor. ... Carmel Myers (April 4, 1899? - November 9, 1980) was an American actress who worked chiefly in silent movies. ... George Hosato Takei (born April 20, 1937 in Los Angeles, California) is a Japanese-American actor. ... Joey Bishop (born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb on February 3, 1918 in The Bronx, New York, USA) is a Jewish American actor. ... Bernie Kopell (born June 21, 1933) is a television actor who portrayed Conrad Siegfried in Get Smart, Jerry Bauman in That Girl, and Dr. Adam Bricker in The Love Boat. ... Rose Marie (born August 15, 1923) is an actress who had a career as a child star under the name Baby Rose Marie but is best known for her adult role as Sally Rogers in the The Dick Van Dyke Show. ... Penny Marshall (October 15, 1942) is an American actress, producer and director. ... Roosevelt Rosey Grier (born July 14, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Cuthbert, Georgia), is an American football player, actor, and Christian minister. ... Larry Hovis (February 20, 1936 - September 9, 2003) was an American actor best known for playing a prisoner of war on the television show Hogans Heroes. ...


Unlike many other shows of that era, Chico and the Man was only shown in syndication briefly in a few markets. TVLand resurrected it briefly in 2001. Occasional episodes continue to air on that cable channel. In the entertainment and news industries, syndication is a method of making content available to a range of outlets simultaneously. ... TV Land is an American cable television network which first started transmissions on April 29, 1996. ...


See also

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, Cheech and Chong, were a comedy duo who found a wide audience in the 1960s and 1970s for their stand-up routines, which were based upon the 1960s hippie, free love and (especially) drug culture movements. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Chico and the Man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1622 words)
Therefore, as the show progressed, Chico's background was altered to being Mexican on his father's side and Puerto Rican on his mother's side (with a nod to Freddie's Hungarian ancestry in the same line which stated these facts, as Chico remarks in his Hispanic accent, "...and my grandmother speaks a little Hungarian!").
Chico attempts to explain his situation to Ed by portraying it as the dilemma of his distant cousin in Hungary, torn between the farmer for whom he now works and whom he has grown to love, and another farmer who has offered him a better job.
In the final scene, when Ed reveals that he knew all along that his buddy and Chico were in on the "God" ruse together, Freddie picks up the knife beside the birthday cake and holds it to his own throat, inviting Ed to use it in revenge.
Chico's and the Man (705 words)
Chico's, which targets female baby boomers aged 35 to 55, will reach 385 stores by the end of this year and plans to open 70 to 75 stores annually until it reaches 650 stores nationwide.
Chico's research indicates that members of this demographic group, who have considerably less income than current Chico's customers, don't have the dollars for the clothes they desire.
Chico's has a lot of expertise in women's apparel and is very creative, and it runs very efficient stores.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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