The 1980s was one of the greatest times for movies, and boy, was TV awesome! This was the year we were introduced to "Roseanne," a show many say is one of the greatest of all time. We also got "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Facts of Life" and "Knight Rider."
The television of that decade was so good that some say that is when the Golden Age of Television really started. There was lots of drama, laughs and all-around entertainment. TV was now seen as having great potential to make lots of money and budgets were expanded, whereas they were almost nonexistent before. We began to see fancier cars, bigger houses and better quality programming to boot.
What also happened in the '80s was that political leaders were now familiar enough with TV to want to use it for their benefit. Family shows re-emerged, even unconventional ones like "The Golden Girls." Dramas continued to soar with the likes of "Miami Vice," "MacGyver" and, of course, "The A-Team." Actors like Olivia Brown and Michael Talbot had it good. The average actor back then made $487 a week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a salary that could sustain people almost 30 years later.
If this history lesson was not complete news to you, then take our test and check your '80s TV show knowledge!
In order to make the bar scenes in "Cheers" more believable, Ted Danson completed two weeks of bartending school in order to nail his role as Sam. The creators of the show would also frequent bars in Los Angeles to observe "real bar conversations" that they would then incorporate into the script.
The oldest child in the Cosby Show, Sondra, was not written into the original cast. Bill Cosby decided to add in Sondra's character to portray successful parenting as she was away at college. The role of Sondra was played by Sabrina Le Beauf.
Paul Fusco was the voice of the puppet ALF. He also operated the puppet most of the time from underneath the sound stage built on a 4-foot-high platform. When Fusco wasn't controlling the character, the 2'9" actor Mihaly Meszaros stepped up for the role.
After only six episodes, "The Wonder Years" received its first Emmy in 1988 for "Outstanding Comedy Series." The next year, Fred Savage became the youngest actor to be nominated for the "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series" Emmy category. He was only 13!
"Miami Vice" did great things for Miami's economy. In 1984 when the show premiered, there was a huge influx of tourists in Miami, which bettered the city's infrastructure. Many improvements of visitor attractions — including hotels and restaurants — were made. People referred to this as the "Vice Effect."
"M*A*S*H" was originally a novel written under the pen name Richard Hooker, which was then used as the premise for a movie. Two years later, it was turned into an 11-season television series, culminating in the most watched series finale of all television shows to date.
The famous kitchen where much of the action takes place in "The Golden Girls" was actually a hand-me-down set from the show "It Takes Two." This set is missing one thing, however: a fourth kitchen chair. There were four women living in the house and this discrepancy has been recognized by observant viewers. This was simply due to the limitations of filming so no one would have their back to the camera.
Only 26 of the 98 episodes of "The A-Team" were run in Germany due to the excessive violence. German broadcasters made the decision not to air all 98 episodes because many were simply too violent and controversial.
Angela and Tony were originally supposed to get married at the end of "Who's the Boss?" but ABC executives, along with star Tony Danza, were against this proposed ending, so they ended up breaking up instead.
The iconic theme song to "Hill Street Blues" was written by Mike Post in two hours. The composer also wrote theme songs for "The Greatest American Hero," "Magnum, P.I.," "The A-Team," "NYPD Blue" and "Law & Order."
Despite the exterior of the Tanner house on a famous San Francisco street, "Full House" was actually filmed in Los Angeles. Only one episode, "Comet's Excellent Adventure," was taped in San Francisco. All the exterior and scenery shots of San Francisco were shot in a single day.
"Magnum, P.I." was based in Oahu, Hawaii. In the eight years the show aired on CBS, there were 50 special guest stars. Throughout the eight years the show spanned, there were only two crossovers with other CBS crime dramas.
"Married with Children" was a prime-time sitcom that debuted on Sunday, April 5, 1987 on Fox. There were 259 episodes, the final one airing in 1997.
Four to nine cars were typically ruined each season due to the extreme stunts performed in "Knight Rider." Most of the cars required custom parts in order to be lightweight and powerful enough for the stunts.
Marc Price, who played the Keatons' lovably annoying neighbor Irwin “Skippy” Handelman in "Family Ties," has kept his comedic tendencies going since the show ended. Price tours the country with his stand-up routines.
MacGyver lived in a Vancouver boatyard on a unique floating home. His floating home ended up on Craigslist in 2014 when Paramount was done using it. It sold for $40,000 (far below the original $200,000 it was priced at in 2012).
The catchphrase "ooooooo-kay" was always fit somewhere in each episode. Ratings lagged in the first couple of seasons of the show, then it became a top 10 show on NBC.
The Conners' home on "Roseanne" actually exists! The house was built in 1925 and has four bedrooms. Although the show was filmed on a studio lot, the exterior is shot in a real neighborhood.
The infamous fridge episode of "Punky Brewster" was thought up by Jeremy Reams, a kid who submitted a contest-winning premise that involved Punky having to perform CPR on her friend who had gotten trapped inside an abandoned refrigerator.
The theme song of "Charles in Charge," which talks about a new boy in the neighborhood, was composed by David Kurtz, Michael Jacobs and Al Burton. The song was performed by Shandi Sinnamon.
"Airwolf" was not the first television series about a helicopter. The first was "The Whirlybirds," which featured Bell 47 helicopters. "Airwolf" took a more futuristic approach to the original idea.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, a natural brunette, had to dye his hair biweekly during filming of "Saved by the Bell" to keep up his character Zack Morris's blond locks. Kelly Kapowski must have liked blonds.
The theme song to “Three’s Company” was composed by Joe Raposo. Raposo also wrote the theme song for “Sesame Street” and “Electric Company”!
Jennifer Aniston appeared in an episode of "Quantum Leap" two years prior to the debut of "Friends." She played a volunteer at a hospital that helps Vietnam veterans.
If you look closely, you can see the actor playing the corpse clearly blink his eyes in the last episode of "Cagney & Lacey." Um ... awkward.
All of the characters on "The Simpsons" have just four fingers on each hand. The only exception is God, who has five. The long-running cartoon aired its first episode in 1989.
Gary Wayne Coleman, who played Arnold Jackson in "Diff'rent Strokes," was described in the 1980s as "one of television's most promising stars." In addition to acting, he was a voice artist and comedian.
When "Happy Days" creator Garry Marshall first developed the series, it was initially called "Cool." The original title did not go over very well when presented to focus groups, so he had to change the name.
Gum-chewing was not permitted on the set of "Mr. Belvedere" because star Christopher Hewett hated gum and declared this rule, which everyone followed.
"My Two Dads" tied for a People's Choice Award in 1988 with the show "A Different World."
If you remember the show "Bosom Buddies," you remember two things: Tom Hanks in a dress and the opening sequence set to Billy Joel’s “My Life.” The likability and popularity of Tom Hanks is likely what kept this show going for 37 total episodes.
"Doogie Howser, M.D." premiered in 1989, and in the 1991-1992 season it had higher ratings than "Seinfeld," which aired at the same time each week. This only lasted a brief period before "Seinfeld" exploded into one of TV's greatest successes.
During its four seasons on CBS, the time slot of "WKRP in Cincinnati" was changed 11 times. The show was canceled in June 1982 but reruns continued and it did very well in syndication.
"Moonlighting" was the most expensive series on prime-time television during its time. It is estimated at $1.6 million per installment.
"Small Wonder" was a syndicated hit two years before "Star Trek: The Next Generation" premiered. Children and seniors alike were very fond of the show for the four seasons it aired.
The episode “Murder Among Friends” was a parody of the popular sitcom "Friends." In this episode, Jessica Fletcher solved a murder on the set of a fictitious sitcom called "Buds." Fletcher felt she could experiment with premises like this since she knew the show was phasing out.
The breast cancer plot in the final season of "Murphy Brown" had a positive impact on viewers; it encouraged more women to get mammograms. In fact, stats showed that the number of American women who got mammograms increased by 30 percent after the show aired.
Adam Sandler and Chris Farley were both fired from "SNL." Perhaps this had to do with the low ratings the show had during the time they were on the cast.
Little Blake Colby, Jeff and Fallon's eldest son, suffers from meningitis in the first season of "Dynasty." He was later cured, which brought Jeff and Fallon back together again.
The classic symbol on the hero costume is either a needle or scissors. It also looks like the Chinese symbol which stands for "center," "middle," "in," "among" or "within." In Hong Kong, the show is called "Flying Red Center Hero."
Johnny Depp, the undeniably hot young star of "21 Jump Street," earned $45,000 per episode! He took the role thinking it would not last very long. Little did he know the show would click with audiences immediately.
The original concept for "Seinfeld" actually intended for a single 90-minute special titled "Stand Up" that was set to run for one night only on "Saturday Night Live." It wasn’t intended to be an ongoing series, but the writing was simply too good not to stick around.
"The Facts of Life" was a spinoff show for Mrs. Garrett from the hit TV show "Diff’rent Strokes." The show has been off the air for 25 years but remains a favorite for many '80s TV fans.
"The Jeffersons" reigns as the second longest-running American television series with a predominantly African-American cast. It first aired in 1975 and lasted 11 seasons.
Stephen Hawking is the only person in "Star Trek" history to play themselves.
"Growing Pains" was the first American sitcom to air in China. The show brought up questions surrounding intercultural parenting philosophies like how to discipline your children.
You can find the original series "Fraggle Rock" on DVD and streaming. A new cast of Doozers were introduced to the "Fraggle Rock" universe in the Hulu Kids series that launched in 2014.
In episode 22 of "Silver Spoons," in the scene between the three boys in Ricky's bedroom, you can see Rick Schroder mouthing the other actors' lines as they say them.
"Family Matters" was actually a spinoff of "Perfect Strangers." Jesse Frederick was responsible for the theme songs for both shows, as well as the themes from "Step by Step" and "Full House."
Both of the lead actors in "Perfect Strangers" attended Yale University. They never crossed paths during their studies, however. Bronson Pinchot originally studied painting and literature while Mark Linn-Baker was in Yale's Drama School.