Three's Company is an American sitcom created by Don Nicholl, Michael Ross and Bernie West which revolved around two women and a man sharing an apartment together. It is a remake of the British sitcom Man About the House.
The show aired in the USA on ABC from 1977-1984. There are 182 episodes in eight seasons.
Three's Company aired in South Africa on SABC2, on Tuesdays at 18h00.
Jack Tripper moved into the apartment that Chrissy Snow and Janet Wood were sharing after they found him sleeping in their shower after a party.
To be allowed to stay in the apartment, Jack let the landlord, Stanley Roper (and subsequently, Ralph Furley), believe he was gay. Stanley's wife Helen knew that Jack was not gay from the second episode on, but didn't mind.
Stanley never found out, frequently calling Jack "one of the girls." Ralph, who tried on several occasions to persuade Jack to convert to heterosexuality, didn't find out Jack wasn't gay until the last episode, when he took credit for curing him.
The show was set minutes from the beach in Santa Monica, California, and usually focused on three sets: the trio's apartment, the landlord's apartment and the neighbourhood pub/restaurant called The Regal Beagle.
In later seasons, The Beagle was seen less frequently, as Jack's Bistro became the setting for many scenes.
The series revolved around sexual double entendres, misunderstandings and clumsiness. This use of "comedy of errors" attracted many fans, including Lucille Ball, who was such a huge fan of the show that she hosted a retrospective during the series' run.
Suzanne Somers became a popular star through her role as dumb blonde Chrissy Snow in the series. She eventually caused friction on the set in 1980 when, after demands for a heavily increased salary ($100,000 a week) were not met, she went on strike and was absent for several taping days.
Eventually, co-stars Joyce DeWitt and John Ritter refused to work with her because of this, but, unwilling to fire the actor for fears her absence would cause ratings to decline, the producers of the series retained Somers, who was still under contract, to appear in just the one-minute tag scene of select episodes.
According to scripts, she had returned to her hometown of Fresno to care for her sick mother, and in the tag scene she would be seen on the telephone talking to one of the roommates (usually Janet) who would recount that episode's adventures to her.
In the story, Chrissy's place in the apartment was taken by her cousin, Cindy (Jenilee Harrison). Somers' scenes were taped on separate days from the show's regular taping; she did not appear on set with any of the show's other actors.
This arrangement continued for one season, but after her contract expired, it was not renewed and she disappeared from the series.
As Cindy, Jenilee Harrison was unable to fill the shoes of the original roommate on the series. The producers' solution was another replacement, Terri Alden (played by Priscilla Barnes), a clever, sometimes sassy nurse who was introduced in the sixth season. She was the last of the series' three blondes.
Unlike Somers, Barnes was considered a cooperative professional who remained close friends with many members of the cast and crew long after the series ended.
Towards the end of the series, promos were released hinting that Jack and Janet would be married. However, in the last episode, Janet married another man, Phillip Dawson; Terri moved to Hawaii for a job; and Jack moved out to live with his new girlfriend, Vicky Bradford.
Recurring Cast Members
Paul Ainsley as Jim (1977-1981), a bartender at The Regal Beagle.
Brad Blaisdell as Mike (1981-1984), a bartender at The Regal Beagle.
William Pierson as Dean Travers (1977-1981), the dean of Jack's cooking school.
Peter Mark Richman as Rev. Luther Snow (1978-1979), Chrissy's minister father.
Anne Schedeen as Linda (1978-1979), Jack's girlfriend.
Emmaline Henry as J.C. Braddock (1978-1979), Chrissy's boss.
Jordan Charney as Frank Angelino (1981-1983), Jack's short-tempered boss.
Gino Conforti as Felipé Gomez (1981-1982), Jack's jealous co-worker at "Angelino's."
Sheila Rogers as Marge Andrews (1981-1984), a desk nurse at Terri's place of work, Wilshire Memorial Hospital.
David Ruprecht as Phillip Dawson (1984), Janet's art dealer boyfriend/fiancé.
Mary Cadorette as Vicky Bradford (1984), Jack's stewardess girlfriend/soon-to-be roommate.
Robert Mandan as James Bradford (1984), Vicky's unapproving father.
Three pilot episodes were shot for Three's Company, a rarity for American television. The show was recast several times at the instruction of ABC's Fred Silverman.
The first pilot featured Ritter as David, Valerie Curtin as Jenny, and Suzanne Zenor as Samantha; this pilot looked more like the first episode of the actual show. The second pilot featured Ritter and DeWitt as Jack and Janet, but Susan Lanier played Chrissy and this pliot looked more like the second episode of the actual show.
Three's Company spawned two short-lived spinoffs: The Ropers, revolving around Jack, Janet, and Chrissy's former landlords; and Three's a Crowd, the further adventures of Jack as he settles down.
These too were based on the Man About the House spin-offs George and Mildred and Robin's Nest, which unlike their U.S. counterparts, were very successful.
Notable & Rare Episodes
In 1983, TV's Greg Brady (Barry Williams), won a small part on the series, returning from absence to the Paramount lot. With a script calling for an elaborate new set, Williams appeared as Janet's date while an "intoxicated" Ritter performs at his zaniest. Coupled with the new final-season writers, the episode stands out from the entire Three's Company catalogue.
Lana Clarkson made a rare appearance as a girlfriend for Jack Tripper.
Though syndicated, the first and last season episodes are quite rare in scheduling terms and are the ones most casual watchers still have not seen.
The first season is noted for containing a smarter, more intelligent Chrissy Snow. Suzanne Somers can be seen transforming from a "dumb blonde" in the debut season to a "dumber blonde" character in all subsequent seasons; a trait the network capitalized on, and ultimately Somers became famous for.
Fifteen years later, after being notified by a questionably astute viewer, American Nickelodeon network quickly edited an episode where John Ritter's scrotum skin made a never-caught, rare appearance slipping through a pair of boxer shorts.
A coloured yarn and stick creation known as a "God's Eye" hangs on the left living room wall. The popular 70's art-craft remained affixed to the apartment wall until the final episode in 1984.
A picture of a large yellow butterfly with "Life" boldly printed on top, hangs on a wall, above a painted wicker chest, facing the door. The picture is the cover from LIFE magazine from February 2, 1922 called "The Flapper" by Frank X. Leyendecker.
The couch was finally changed in an episode where Furley replaces the worn out, out-of-date icon, with a second-hand, modern one.
The occasionally used round dining room table is tucked away to the right of the living room set, in the form of a fold-away table.
In the 201 apartment, TV and record players only make brief appearances throughout the life of the show, then are seemingly stored away near the fourth wall when not called for in the script.
1984 - Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, John Ritter
1984 - Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical, John Ritter
1979 - Golden Globe Award for Best TV Actor in a Supporting Role, Norman Fell