Can You Name These 1970s TV Families?

By: E-maginne Grant

"Sanford and Son" aired for six seasons on NBC. It starred the famous comedian Redd Foxx. The show was named after his legal surname, Sanford. The main character, Fred Sanford, was named after his brother, Fred, who died before the show aired.

"Julia" was a groundbreaking sitcom on NBC! The show later won the TV Land Groundbreaking Show Award in 2003. The show was notable for showing a single African American mother, which was a new TV topic in the '70s.

"Little House on the Prairie" was based on the "Little House" book series, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It ran for nine seasons and won four Emmy awards. The show is still in syndication today.

For 14 seasons, "Dallas" rocked primetime television. In fact, season 4, episode 4, "Who Done It," which aired on November 4, 1980, remains one of the highest rated primetime telecasts of all time.

Garry Marshall, the show's creator, initially wanted to name the show "COOL," in all caps. He changed his mind when test audiences thought the show "COOL" involved smoking. Thank you, 1970s test audience!

Although this show only lasted two seasons, with 39 episodes, it inspired writer Dan Bradley to try a sequel in 1986 called "That's My Mama Now." Unfortunately, it never quite took off.

"Good Times" produced a lot of stars. The pop legend Janet Jackson played Penny, the next door neighbor. John Amos, who played the father, went on to play Kunta Kinte in the epic miniseries "Roots."

"The Partridge Family" was considered a musical sitcom. They had several notable guests, including Richard Pryor, Dick Clark and Farrah Fawcett. Ronald Reagan's daughter, Maureen, appeared in season 4, episode 20.

The beginning of the opening theme song for Seth McFarland's TV show "Family Guy" mimics the opening of "All in the Family." This controversial yet hilarious sitcom aired for nine seasons.

Earl Hamner Jr., the creator of the show, wrote a movie in 1971 titled "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story," which featured the Walton family. One year later, "The Waltons" TV show was created.

"Angie" initially found success during its first season, but ratings dropped in the second season. The show was canceled after the second season. After marriage, title character Angie kept working in the coffee shop where she had met her future husband, but as the owner instead of an employee.

"The Jeffersons" was a successful spinoff of "All in the Family." George and Louise Jefferson appeared as the neighbors of the Bunkers on the show several times. The spinoff was such a success, it lasted for 11 seasons!

"Dukes of Hazzard" was created shortly after the film "Moonrunners" premiered in 1975. Both were created by Gy Waldron and have similar characters and plots. The show aired 146 episodes.

The creators of the show, Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, were a husband and wife writing duo. Blake had an early career as an actress in the '50s and '60s. Manings also wrote for "Good Times."

"The Ropers" is a spinoff of the famous TV show "Three's Company," in which Stanley Roper was a landlord. Sadly, "The Ropers" wasn't as successful as its inspiration and was canceled after two seasons.

The families on this TV show were fan favorites. In fact, TV Guide added both families on "Soap" to their list of "TV Top Families." The other popular TV family is revealed elsewhere in this quiz.

"Eight is Enough" is based on a book of the same name, written by Thomas Braden in 1975. Braden, an ex CIA agent and journalist, wrote the book about his own life raising eight children with his wife Joan.

The woman who may or may not have been Columbo's wife had a short-lived show with four different titles, including "Mrs. Columbo." Husband and wife detective duos have been a fascination for a long time. In fact, several popular book series have been written about sleuthing spouses, with "The Thin Man" being the most notable.

"Maude" was a spinoff of "All in the Family." The character Maude Findlay made several appearances on the show as Edith's cousin. Bea Arthur played Maude so well that she landed her own show!

The city that the show "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" was staged in, Fernwood, Ohio, was named after the street behind the filming studio in Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, there is a real Fernwood in Ohio, but it is not connected to the show.

In 1977 the TV show "Soap" brought on a lot of controversy, with protests from several religious organizations. This was the result of an article published in Newsweek by Harry Waters, calling the show "saturated with sex."

This interracial TV couple caused controversy, even in the '70s. The network tried to edit out their first onscreen kiss, and they often received hate mail. Nevertheless, the show prevailed through 11 seasons.

The writer of the show, Sidney Sheldon, was born in 1917. At the age of 10 he sold his first poem for $10, which equals about $140 today. He also served in World World II as an Army Air Corps pilot.

"Tabitha" is a spinoff of "Bewitched," which featured the lovely nose twitching housewife, Samantha. Tabitha, the daughter of Samantha and Darrin Stephens, gets into all kinds of mishaps on her own show with her brother Adam.

In 1976 this TV show has hit the ground running and hasn't stopped since. The legendary Richard Dawson was the first host, followed by Ray Combs, Louis Anderson, John O'Hurley, Steve Harvey and more.

"The Brady Bunch" is a favorite in pop culture. It led to a number of spinoffs, films and sequels — one being the very famous "The Brady Bunch Movie." Can you say "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"?

Although it is an unusual family dynamic, "Fish" is a spinoff of a character on the "Barney Miller" TV show. Phil Fish was the senior detective in the New York City fictional precinct.

Even though this show only lasted two seasons, it highlighted the struggles of a married couple adjusting to a rags-to-riches situation. It was a unique perspective that perhaps comedy wasn't ready for. "Nuvo" is probably a pun, referring to "nouveau riche."

Some of Michael Jackson's real life pets were added to the show as extra characters, including his pet rats Ray and Charles and his pet snake Rosey. Despite the fame of the Jackson family, the show was canceled after two seasons.

The miniseries was based on Alex Haley's novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family." Alex Haley traced the story of his family's history, starting in Africa. The novel inspired the miniseries and sequels.

This sitcom was based on the film "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," which premiered in 1974. Both were created by Robert Getchell. The exterior Mel's Diner shots on the show were of an actual Mel's Diner in Phoenix.

"Diff'rent Strokes" produced many stars. Alan Thicke, Robin Thicke's father, wrote and performed the theme song for the show. The famous Mrs. Garrett got a spinoff show, "The Facts of Life." And last but not least, our beloved Gary Coleman starred.

The most memorable actor from this show is Rock Hudson. He is the classic movie star with a career spanning from 1948 to 1985. His last appearance was as the reoccurring character Daniel Reece on "Dynasty."

In 2000, a TV movie was produced, titled "Mary and Rhoda," and it featured the original Mary and Rhoda characters. It starred Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper and was a huge success, but it did not spark a reboot for the series.

Sonny and Cher first gained fame from their song "I Got You Babe." A few years later, "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" (later rebooted as "The Sonny and Cher Show") was born. Steve Martin was a writer on this show.

Several future stars made appearances on this TV show — Helen Hunt, Kim Darby and Charlotte Rae, just to name a few. Many "Facts of Life" characters also made appearances. You could say they were one big happy family.

The show was originally filmed in Arizona, due to Van Dyke's location, but moved to Hollywood after the second season. Despite the success of the show for three seasons, it ended because Van Dyke did not renew his contract.

People often assumed this show was a spinoff of "Diff'rent Strokes," since both shows were produced by the same company. In fact, they had no connection at all, besides airing back to back on primetime TV.

They once held the title of the youngest entertainers to host a variety show. Their show debuted in 1976. The duo still performs together today in Las Vegas, with their show at the Flamingo.

Kim Richards, the daughter on the show, is one of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." She started the show in 2010 and stayed for several seasons. She's also made appearances in movies and other TV shows.

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Image: NBC/ABC

About This Quiz

Were you a Marcia or a Jan? Maybe you were the Fonz or J.J. Evans. No matter who you identified with, we all love those famous TV families. If you're someone who still quotes phrases like "dyn-o-mite" and "Wha'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" this quiz is for you! 

Answer these questions to find out which 1970s TV shows were reboots or spinoffs of others. A lot of neighbors and families branched out and formed their own shows. For example, did you know "The Jeffersons" is a spinoff of "All in the Family"? "All in the Family" is still referenced in pop culture today, in TV shows like "Family Guy" and "South Park." 

Take this quiz to find out more interesting facts and take a trip down memory lane. After taking this quiz, you will want to scan your TV channel guide to catch these classic reruns. You'll be surprised to find out how many are still in syndication. Whether you're a "Brady Bunch" fan or a "Jeffersons" fan, there's something for everyone in this quiz! 

Get your reminiscing brain ready and grab a cold drink. Make it to the end of the quiz to find out whether or not you're a true 1970s TV aficionado!

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