Griffith with guest star Butch Patrick in the pilot episode "May I Turn On?"
|Created by||Aaron Ruben|
Jerry Van Dyke
|Theme music composer||Patrick Williams|
|Opening theme||"Only A Man", sung by Linda Ronstadt|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Executive||Richard O. Linke|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||September 18, 1970 -|
January 1, 1971
Headmaster marked the return to series television of Griffith, whose previous eponymous show had been one of CBS's major hits of the 1960s prior to his voluntary departure and a program which was still in production (as Mayberry R.F.D.), when Headmaster was launched. Griffith had just signed a three-picture deal with Universal Pictures but was so disappointed with the first film in the contract, the rural comedy Angel in My Pocket, that the two parties never made the other two films and he quickly returned to television.
With Headmaster, Griffith fulfilled his desire to be cast in a television series as something other than a rural bumpkin dispensing folksy wisdom; here his character, Andy Thompson, was the headmaster of a prestigious Californian private school, the Concord School. His wife, Margaret (Claudette Nevins), was an English teacher. Two other cast members from Angel in My Pocket joined Griffith on Headmaster: Parker Fennelly essentially reprised his role as a caretaker, here named Mr. Purdy, and Jerry Van Dyke played the role of athletic coach Jerry Brownell, Thompson's best friend. The show's theme song was performed by Linda Ronstadt.
Headmaster was given a favorable time slot, Friday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, which had most recently been occupied by the hit sitcom Hogan's Heroes. The new program proved to be, by Griffith's own admission, "a very bad show" and was routinely beaten in the Nielsen ratings by both The Partridge Family on ABC and The Name of the Game on NBC. When this pattern became apparent, production of Headmaster was terminated, with the last first-run episode being broadcast January 1, 1971, and the program replaced by a new situation comedy starring Griffith, The New Andy Griffith Show. This replacement program met with little more success than Headmaster, and was last broadcast on May 21, 1971. In June 1971, Headmaster returned to the time slot in reruns, with the last repeat episode being aired on September 10, 1971.
Viewing this series now is a rarity, despite the big name lead. It is not on YouTube, has had no DVD release, did not show up in syndication, and seldom is available with private collectors. One episode, "One for the Gipper," is archived in the collection at the Paley Center for Media.
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1-1||"May I Turn On?" (pilot)||September 18, 1970|
|1-2||"The Battle of the Mini"||September 25, 1970|
|1-3||"Valerie Has An Emotional Gestalt For the Teacher"||October 2, 1970|
|1-4||"Bridge That Gap"||October 9, 1970|
|1-5||"One For the Gipper"||October 16, 1970|
|1-6||"Will the Real Mother Of Tony Landis..."||October 23, 1970|
|1-7||"The Experiment"||October 30, 1970|
|1-8||"Nobody's Perfect"||November 6, 1970|
|1-9||"Bach Rock"||November 13, 1970|
|1-10||"Let's Try It Mr. Hiller's Way"||November 20, 1970|
|1-11||"Harvard Or Bust"||November 27, 1970|
|1-12||"Count the Ways I Love You"||December 4, 1970|
|1-13||"Romeo & Juliet & Gary & Hilary"||December 18, 1970|
|1-14||"Guess Who's Not Coming To Dinner"||January 1, 1971|
Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows
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