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The Tony Randall Show
Created byTom Patchett
Jay Tarses
Written byGary David Goldberg
Hugh Wilson
Ken Levine
David Isaacs
Patricia Jones
Tom Patchett
Donald Reiker
Jay Tarses
Michael Zinberg
Directed byTony Mordente
StarringTony Randall
Barney Martin
Rachel Roberts
Allyn Ann McLerie
Penny Peyser
Hans Conried
Devon Scott
Brad Savage
Diana Muldaur
ComposerPatrick Williams
Country of originUSA
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes44 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Tom Patchett
Jay Tarses
ProducersHugh Wilson
Gary David Goldberg
Michael Zinberg
Running time30 mins. (approx)
Production companyMTM Enterprises
Original networkABC (1976-1977)
CBS (1977-1978)
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 23, 1976 (1976-09-23) –
March 25, 1978 (1978-03-25)

The Tony Randall Show is an American sitcom television series that aired on ABC during its first season from September 23, 1976 to March 10, 1977 and on CBS for its second (and final) season from September 24, 1977 to March 25, 1978.


The series starred Tony Randall as Walter Franklin, a middle-aged widowed judge, and took place in Philadelphia. The show followed the reserved Franklin dealing with being a single parent, raising his teenage daughter, Roberta (Devon Scott) and preteen son, Oliver (Brad Savage). At times he also had to play surrogate parent to his daffy English housekeeper (Rachel Roberts), whose inedible cooking was a frequent source of humor. At work, Judge Franklin had to contend with his stuffy and acerbic secretary, Miss Janet Reubner (Allyn Ann McLerie), and his court reporter, Jack Terwilliger (Barney Martin), as well as presiding over court cases. Actor Zane Lasky played the recurring role of Mario Lanza, an annoying, nerdy, overbearing assistant who irritated Judge Franklin, but who kept getting rehired by Miss Reubner. Other recurring roles were played by Diana Muldaur, who appeared as Judge Franklin's love interest, Judge Eleanor Hooper; Michael Keaton, Annette O'Toole, and Michael Durrell. In the show's second season, Devon Scott was replaced by Penny Peyser, and Hans Conried joined the cast as Walter's irascible father.

The show was produced by MTM Enterprises and aired for one season on ABC. For its second season, the series moved to CBS where it aired for one more season before being canceled. Writer/producer Gary David Goldberg discusses behind-the-scenes stories in his autobiography, Sit, Ubu, Sit.


Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
122September 23, 1976 (1976-09-23)March 10, 1977 (1977-03-10)ABC
222September 24, 1977 (1977-09-24)March 25, 1978 (1978-03-25)CBS

Season 1 (1976–77)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Pilot"Jay SandrichTom Patchett & Jay TarsesSeptember 23, 1976 (1976-09-23)
Judge Walter O. Franklin prepares to go on his first date since the death of his wife.
22"Case: A Question of Qualifications"Jay SandrichTom Patchett & Jay TarsesSeptember 30, 1976 (1976-09-30)
Walter tries to hire a new law clerk, and the applicants include a beautiful woman (Brooke Adams), a strange young man named Mario Lanza (Zane Lasky), and Jack.
33"Case: His Honor vs. Her Honor"James BurrowsDavid LloydOctober 7, 1976 (1976-10-07)
Walter starts dating the attractive female judge Eleanor Hooper (Diana Muldaur).
44"Case: The Ego Affair"Alan MyersonTom Patchett & Jay TarsesOctober 14, 1976 (1976-10-14)
Walter gets a swelled head when he starts getting a lot of offers for speaking engagements.
55"Case: Franklin vs. Reubner & Reubner"Peter BonerzHugh WilsonOctober 21, 1976 (1976-10-21)
Miss Reubner thinks Walter might be romantically interested in her, and when he laughs at the idea, she quits.
66"Case: The Snow White Affair"Michael ZinbergLloyd GarverOctober 28, 1976 (1976-10-28)
Walter upholds a theatre's right to show a pornographic film, but exercises his authority as a father to stop Bobby from seeing it.
77"Case: Terwilliger vs. Himself"Harvey MedlinskyTom Patchett & Jay TarsesNovember 11, 1976 (1976-11-11)
When Jack's work deteriorates, Walter suspects he's having trouble at home.
88"Case: The DeNecki Debacle"Alan MyersonHugh WilsonNovember 18, 1976 (1976-11-18)
Walter must try a criminal case where the defense attorney, Mr. DeNecki (Stephen Elliott) uses every tactic in the book to stretch out the case.
99"Case: Mario Strikes Again"Harvey MedlinskyGary David GoldbergNovember 25, 1976 (1976-11-25)
Walter regrets hiring the perpetually annoying Mario Lanza as his assistant.
1010"Case: Franklin in Love"Harvey MedlinskyTom Patchett & Jay TarsesDecember 16, 1976 (1976-12-16)
Walter and Eleanor consider getting married.
1111"Case: O'Come All Ye Wastrels"James BurrowsSy RosenDecember 23, 1976 (1976-12-23)
Walter invites a thief (Dick Van Patten) to spend Christmas at his home.
1212"Case: Money vs. Stature"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonDecember 30, 1976 (1976-12-30)
Walter gets a lucrative offer to quit the bench and go back into private law practice.
1313"Case: The Hooper Affair"Michael ZinbergPatricia Jones & Donald ReikerJanuary 6, 1977 (1977-01-06)
Walter has to compete for Eleanor when her old boyfriend (Craig Stevens) comes to town.
1414"Case: Franklin vs. McClellan"James BurrowsKen Levine & David IsaacsJanuary 13, 1977 (1977-01-13)
Walter deals with another revolt by Mrs. McClellan
1515"Case: Whatever Happened to Mary Jane?"John C. ChulayTom Patchett & Jay TarsesJanuary 20, 1977 (1977-01-20)
Someone has to be the fall guy when a joint of marijuana is found in Walter's office.
1616"Case: McClellan vs. Immigration"Hugh WilsonDavid LloydJanuary 27, 1977 (1977-01-27)
Mrs. McClellan tries to find a husband to avoid being deported.
1717"Case: May vs. December"Harvey MedlinskyGary David GoldbergFebruary 3, 1977 (1977-02-03)
Walter finds himself attracted to a woman (Annette O'Toole) who's too young for him.
1818"Case: The Lawndale Report"Harvey MedlinskyGary David GoldbergFebruary 10, 1977 (1977-02-10)
Walter goes undercover to write a report on the prison system.
1919"Case: The Hero Syndrome"Hugh WilsonEarl PomerantzFebruary 17, 1977 (1977-02-17)
Oliver starts to admire a thuggish hockey player who appeared in Walter's courtroom.
2020"Case: Democracy vs. Tyranny"Tony MordenteGary David GoldbergFebruary 24, 1977 (1977-02-24)
Walter's kids and Mrs. McClellan accuse him of being a "tyrant" and stage a mock trial where he defends himself against the charges.
2121"Case: Facing Up vs. Hiding Behind the Drapes"James BurrowsEarl PomerantzMarch 3, 1977 (1977-03-03)
Walter's life is threatened by a man he sent to prison.
2222"Case: The People Speak"Michael ZinbergKen Levine & David IsaacsMarch 10, 1977 (1977-03-10)
Walter challenges a veteran incumbent in the election for Superior Court judge.

Season 2 (1977–78)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
231"Franklin vs. the Generation Gap"Harvey MedlinskyPatricia Jones & Donald ReikerSeptember 24, 1977 (1977-09-24)
Walter is shocked when Bobby announces she's going to live with her boyfriend Michael (Michael Burns).
Note Penny Peyser replaces Devon Scott as Bobby.
242"The Prodigal Father Returns"Harvey MedlinskyHugh WilsonOctober 1, 1977 (1977-10-01)
Walter's estranged father Wyatt (Hans Conried) visits his son for the first time in five years.
253"Walter Screws Up"Asaad KeladaSy RosenOctober 8, 1977 (1977-10-08)
Walter doubts his competence as a judge when he discovers that he convicted an innocent man.
264"Philadelphia Triangle"Tony MordenteGary David GoldbergOctober 15, 1977 (1977-10-15)
Mario mistakes Eleanor's kindness for love.
275"Love vs. Excitement"Michael ZinbergGary David GoldbergOctober 22, 1977 (1977-10-22)
Walter fears that Jack will become suicidal after he and his wife separate.
286"The Taking of Reubner 1-2-3"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonOctober 29, 1977 (1977-10-29)
An escaped convict (Cleavon Little) takes over Walter's chambers with a gun and holds Miss Reubner hostage.
297"Civil Disobedience"Harvey MedlinskyTom ChehakNovember 5, 1977 (1977-11-05)
Franklin is forced to rule against an environmental protester, and when Bobby leads a protest, he jails her for contempt of court.
308"Skin Game"Harvey MedlinskyEarl PomerantzNovember 12, 1977 (1977-11-12)
Walter doesn't know how to act around his new clerk, a militant young upper-class black man.
319"New Found Franklin"Asaad KeladaCarol GaryNovember 19, 1977 (1977-11-19)
When Eleanor thinks their relationship has become dull, Walter tries to make himself a more well-rounded person by joining clubs.
3210"Franklin vs. Casanova"Harvey MedlinskyKathy Donnell & Madeline Di MaggioNovember 26, 1977 (1977-11-26)
Walter must protect Miss Reubner from the advances of a notorious womanizer (Robert Alda).
3311"Bobby vs. Michael"Tony MordentePatricia Jones & Donald ReikerDecember 17, 1977 (1977-12-17)
Franklin reacts unexpectedly after Bobby announces she's tired of living with Michael.
3412"The Sylvia Needleman Experience"Harvey MedlinskyJay TarsesDecember 24, 1977 (1977-12-24)
A predatory real estate agent (Beverly Garland) tries to get Walter to sell his house.
3513"Kids' Rights"Tony MordenteBill DialJanuary 7, 1978 (1978-01-07)
Mario is hopelessly outmatched when he represents a young girl suing for the right to live with her stepmother.
3614"Bobby and Brian"Tony MordentePatricia Jones & Donald ReikerJanuary 14, 1978 (1978-01-14)
Bobby's new boyfriend (Brian Dennehy) is not only too old for her, but a known gangster.
3715"I Live to Dance"Tony MordenteHugh WilsonJanuary 21, 1978 (1978-01-21)
Jack and Miss Reubner enter a ballroom dancing competition.
3816"Twice is Not Enough"Asaad KeladaPatricia Jones & Donald ReikerJanuary 28, 1978 (1978-01-28)
Walter has to choose between Eleanor and Melissa.
3917"Dream Maker"Asaad KeladaMary-David Sheiner & Sheila Judis WeisbergFebruary 4, 1978 (1978-02-04)
Mrs. McClellan's nephew, a photographer, enthrals the Franklins with his tales of globe-trotting adventure.
4018"Eyes of the Law"John C. ChulayTom Patchett & Jay TarsesFebruary 11, 1978 (1978-02-11)
Walter begins teaching a night school law course, where the only promising student is a blind woman.
4119"Phantom of the Poconos"Ken LuberJoyce Armor & Judie NeerFebruary 18, 1978 (1978-02-18)
Walter inherits a mountain cabin that seems to be haunted.
4220"Adios, Mr. Chips"Michael ZinbergTom Patchett & Jay TarsesFebruary 25, 1978 (1978-02-25)
Walter is proud of his night school class's showing on a test, until it turns out they all cheated.
4321"The Way it Was"Asaad KeladaBlake HunterMarch 11, 1978 (1978-03-11)
Walter and his employees all have different memories of his first day as a judge.
4422"Wyatt Loves Bonnie"Harvey MedlinskyGary David GoldbergMarch 25, 1978 (1978-03-25)
Walter discovers that his father is in love with Mrs. McClellan.

Award nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1977 Golden Globes Nominated Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy Tony Randall