How much do you remember about Mama's Family?


By: Bambi Turner

4 Min Quiz

Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

"Mama's Family" was born out of comedy greatness -- originating on the iconic "Carol Burnett Show" and featuring some of the funniest stars of the '80s. Take our quiz to see how much you know about this classic sitcom!

What is Mama's name?

Vicki Lawrence stars as Mama -- real name Thelma Harper -- on "Mama's Family." Lawrence was in her 30s when the show premiered, so it took a lot of makeup and costuming for her to play Mama, who was in her 60s.


How many seasons did the show run?

"Mama's Family" followed that popular '80s trend of canceling shows, then rebooting them a few years later after a successful run in syndication. The show initially ran for just two seasons, from 1983 to 1984. It was so popular in syndication that producers brought it back for four more seasons, from 1986 to 1990, for a total of six seasons altogether.


How many children did Mama have on the show?

Mama was the proud parent of three children. Ellen was the oldest, and was played by Betty White. Eunice, the middle child, was played by Carol Burnett. Vinton, played by Ken Berry, was the youngest. Only Vinton was featured in all seasons of the series.


What did Vinton do for a living?

Vinton was a locksmith at Kwik Keys, while his wife Naomi was a supermarket checker at Food Circus.


What nickname did Vinton give Naomi?

After Vinton's first wife, Mitzi, left him and the kids behind to move to Las Vegas, he moved back home with Mama. He eventually fell for Naomi, who lived next door. The pair married, and he often referred to his new bride affectionately as Skeeter.


Who was Bubba's mother?

Bubba was Eunice's son with hubby Ed Higgins. After Bubba was released from a stint in juvenile hall, he was forbidden to leave the state. Eunice and Ed had moved to Florida, so Bubba was forced to live with his grandmother Mama.


How did Fran die?

Rue McClanahan played Thelma's sister, Fran. After season two, Fran was written off the show. Her character died while choking on a toothpick at a local restaurant, called the Bigger Jigger.


What was the name of Thelma's late husband?

Thelma's husband Carl was never seen on the show, except in flashback scenes. Viewers eventually learn that the late Carl Harper died on the toilet.


How many kids did Vinton have when the show premiered?

Vinton and his two kids, Buzz and Sonja, moved in with Mama in the first episode. After the show was revived for season three, Buzz and Sonja disappeared and were very rarely mentioned.


What was Mama's answer to the question, name something you wind up, when she appeared on "Family Feud"?

Mama and the family appeared on "Family Feud" during season one. When it was Mama's turn to give a crucial response, she decided that her reply to "something you wind up" is a letter -- which of course was not on the board, causing the family to lose the game.


What did Vinton pawn in the season one finale?

Vinton created a major rift in the family in the season one finale when he pawned Mama's silver to bail his friend Claude out of jail.


What stipulation for Mama did Fran include in her will?

When Fran died, she left behind an estate worth $35,000, which she divided up among her family members -- but there was a catch. If Mama wanted the money, she had to hold her temper for two weeks, or else the cash would go to a charity home for wayward girls.


What role was played by Beverly Archer?

Beverly Archer starred as the Harper's prissy neighbor, Iola, who lived with her controlling mother and frequently let herself into Mama's house with a friendly "Knock, knock!"


What did Iola accuse Bubba of stealing in season three?

Bubba had a history of bad behavior, so it was no surprise when Iola accused him of stealing her pearls to buy a drum set in season three. When Mama stood by her nephew, the friendship between Thelma and Iola was in big trouble -- until the pearls were found.


What classic novel kept Mama from graduating high school?

Back when Mama was in school, she couldn't get past the first page of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," which kept her from graduating. In the season four premiere, she decided to finally get that diploma, but was forced to finally work her way through the dreaded novel in order to graduate.


What addiction did Mama develop in season four?

Mama was hooked when she discovered home shopping TV shows. She ran her credit card bills too high and had to send everything back. The family kept her from buying anything new by smacking her with a newspaper -- the same way you might train a puppy.


What did rich Uncle Oscar leave Mama in his will?

In the episode "Mama Gets the Bird," Mama learned that Uncle Oscar left her his pet bird. After the bird flew away and the family disposed of the cage, they learned that the cage itself was made of solid gold, and was actually worth thousands.


What did Mama win when she appeared on "Jeopardy"?

When Mama lost on "Jeopardy," she assumed she would receive a silly consolation prize. Instead, she won a trip to Hawaii for the whole family.


Who suffered from an identity crisis after a bump on the head in season four?

Naomi got whacked in the head by a door in the season four episode, "Naomi's Identity Crisis," causing her to forget who she was. Mama quickly convinced her daughter-in-law that she was actually a cleaning whiz so that Naomi would take over the housework. A second bump on the head sent everything back to normal in the Harper household.


What did Mayor Tutwiller want to build on Thelma's street in season five?

Mayor Tutwiller thought Thelma's street was the perfect spot for Raytown's new dump. When Bubba learned that town founder James A. Ray was born on Mama's street, the Mayor had no choice but to abandon his plans and declare her home a historical site.


What was the main ingredient in Mama's miracle tonic?

Vinton and Naomi thought they could make a fortune selling Mama's miracle tonic in the season six premiere -- until they discovered that the concoction was pretty much straight-up alcohol.


What was Mama's nickname in junior high?

When Mama received her invitation to the 50th Gilmore Junior High reunion in season six, she refused to go. Her family later discovered that she didn't want to see the other students, who used to call her Hot Pants.


What did Mama slip on that leds her to sue the bank in season six?

After Mama slipped on a roll of pennies at the bank, she hooked up with a shady lawyer, who encouraged her to make her injuries look as bad as possible. Mama eventually got a cash settlement -- all of which went to the lawyer.


What did Vinton and Naomi name their baby in the series finale?

After Mama delivered Vinton and Naomi's daughter in the series finale, they chose the name Tiffany Thelma for their new bundle of joy.


What 1982 film served as the inspiration for "Mama's Family?"

"Mama's Family" started as a sketch called "The Family" on "The Carol Burnett Show," then continued as a 1982 film called "Eunice." The concept was so successful that Vicki Lawrence was finally given her own series.


Who played Naomi Harper on the show?

Producers picked soap star Dorothy Lyman to play Naomi, who was on her way to Arizona to manage a trailer park when she fell in love with Vinton and decided to stay in Raytown.


What was Mama hit in the head with in the season two episode, "Rashomama"?

"Rashomama" is a classic episode in which Mama gets hit in the head with a stew pot and ends up in the hospital, with Eunice, Naomi and Ellen all offering different versions of how Mama got injured.


What band did Bubba bring home in the season six episode, "Bubba's House Band"?

Bubba finally got the Bonecrushers to play Homecoming, but they had to stay in the Harper House when they came to town. The all-female metal band ended up fitting in just fine with the family, helping around the house and softening their image -- until it was time to hit the stage.


Which of these places did NOT employ Mama during the series?

Mama had plenty of jobs throughout the series -- from Mayor to travel agent to burger flipper -- but she never worked in a roller skating rink.


Who fell off the roof in the season three finale?

The ancient Aunt Effie was always getting into scrapes, including falling off the roof in the season three finale. While recuperating at Mama's house, she found the final piece to a massive jigsaw puzzle that had kept the family busy for days.


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