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Working Stiffs (CBS, 1979)

Before their
careers took off in the 1980s, Jim Belushi and
Michael Keaton had a short lived sitcom on CBS in 1979. The pair starred as brothers Ernie and Mike O’Rourke respectively, that worked as janitors in their uncle Harry’s office building. Each episode featured slapstick and physical comedy. The series produced nine episodes, but only four aired before the series was cancelled in late October 1979. A young Penny Marshall had directed the series pilot. Paul Reubens, also before he achieved fame in the 80s as PeeWee Herman, played Heimlich the delivery boy. With all that star power you have to wonder why the show failed. Working Stiffs was up against NBC’s CHiPs and ABC’s The Ropers.

After Belushi landed on Saturday Night Live beginning in 1983 and Keaton hit it big in the movies beginning with 1982’s Night Shift followed by 1983’s Mr. Mom. CBS released six episodes of Working Stiffs on home video. Once Working Stiffs was syndicated, all nine episodes were finally able to be viewed.