Buy The Facts of Life on DVD
|The First Season (1979)
The Second Season (1980)
The ThirdSeason (1981)
The Fourth Season (1982)
|The Fifth Season (1983)
The Sixth Season (1984)
The Seventh Season (1985)
The Complete Series
The Facts of Life
August 24, 1979 – May 7, 1988
209 one-half hour episodes (9 seasons) in color on NBC
Created by: Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon
Developed by: Howard Leeds, Ben Starr and Jerry Mayer
Opening theme – “The Facts of Life”
Composed By: Al Burton, Gloria Loring and Alan Thicke
You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.
There’s a time you got to go and show
You’re growin’ now you know about
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.
When the world never seems
to be livin up to your dreams
And suddenly you’re finding out
the Facts of Life are all about you, you.
It takes a lot to get ’em right
When you’re learning the Facts of Life
Learning the Facts of Life
Learning the Facts of Life.
The Facts of Life was a spin-off series from Diff’rent Strokes featuring Charlotte Rae as Edna Garrett who was previously the Drummond’s housekeeper. In the pilot episode Kimberly Drummond (Dana Plato) was attending Eastland School, an all girls private school in New York. Edna Garrett was asked to help out with a play the girls were doing because the students former house mother had quit. Of course she winds up staying on at the school but also keeps close ties to the Drummond’s (after the pilot Kimberly Drummond mysteriously no longer attends Eastland School.).
The plot revolves around 7 young women (in the first season, only 4 in remaining seasons) whose day to day problems become teachable moments as they find moral and proper solutions. After the first season, the producers decided to drop four characters from the main cast, Molly Parker (Molly Ringwald), Cindy Webster (Julie Anne Haddock), Sue Ann Weaver (Julie Piekarski) and Nancy Olson (Felice Schachter). Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon) was added to the group with Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn), Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel) and Dorothy ‘Tootie’ Ramsey (Kim Fields) rounding out the four who would remain for the rest of the series.
Although presented as a comedy the series managed to deal with many pertinent problems facing young women of that age including drug use, sex, eating disorders, parental relationships, and peer pressure. In the final season one of the plots was to have Blair (Lisa Whelchel) get pregnant but the actress was so against sending what she considered to be a very non Christian message to young women that she refused to do it. The producers rewrote the episode having Natalie (Mindy Cohn) getting pregnant instead. Lisa Whelchel did not appear in that episode.
The Facts of Life was still a highly rated show by the end of the ninth season and was due for an enthusiastic renewal. Several of the actresses decided however that the show had run it’s course and that it was time for them to move on. Without the support of these cast members the show was canceled.
Julie Piekarski, Lisa Whelchel and Molly Ringwald were all alumni of The New Mickey Mouse Club (1977). It was no accident that they all wound up in the program. NBC Chief Fred Silverman wanted some fresh new faces and thought that “a couple of those Musketeers kids” would lend a wholesome appeal to the new series.
The role of Tootie was not specifically written for a black actress. Kim Fields was simply the only African-American to audition. On the downside she was only nine years old when she got the role and Tootie, her character, was supposed to be twelve. In an effort to make her appear taller (and older) her character was always seen in roller skates during the entire first season.