American 1980s sitcom
, in which a sarcastic highbrow English butler
works as the housekeeper (cook, child-minder, problem-solver, advisor, confidant) for a lowbrow American family. The show ran for six seasons on ABC
, March 15, 1985 to July 8, 1990.
Christopher Hewett played Mr. Lynn Aloysius Belvedere; his primary comic antagonists were Brice Beckham as the Bart Simpson-esque youngest sibling Wesley, and Bob Uecker as the militantly uncultured sportscaster father, George Owens. Rounding out the cast were the mother Marsha (Ilene Graff), oldest sibling Kevin (Rob Stone -- not Marilyn Manson) and middle child Heather (Tracy Wells). The show was set in Beaver Falls, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Each episode ended with Mr. Belvedere writing a moral/epilogue to the day's events in his diary. The show did address some controversial issues, as when Wesley was molested by a camp counselor, or a boy in Wesley's grade school class was made an outcast because he had AIDS; mostly, though, it was business-as-usual sitcom fare.
According to the show, the rotund, mustachioed Mr. Belvedere had been employed by the British royal family, climbed Mt. Everest, ridden elephants in India during hunting safaris, assisted Winston Churchill in diplomatic matters, and won a medal in the Pillsbury bakeoff. In the final episode of the show, he got married and moved to Africa when his new bride (Louise Gilbert, played by Rosemary Forsyth) was asked to return to the University of Boutari to conduct a gorilla census.
Featured a theme song, "According to Our New Arrival", written by Judy Hart-Angelo and Gary Portnoy, and made unforgettable by the instantly identifiable voice of Leon Redbone:
Streaks on the china, never mattered before: who cares?
When you drop kicked your jacket, as you came through the door, no one glared.
But sometimes things get turned around, and no one’s spared.
All hands look out below, there’s a change in the status quo.
Gonna need all the help that we can get.
According to our new arrival, life is more than mere survival.
We just might live the good life yet.
The character Mr. Belvedere originated in Gwen Davenport's novel Belvedere, which was adapted as the basis for the 1948 film "Sitting Pretty". Clifton Webb played Mr. Belvedere, and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. (The plot of the original is different than the TV series -- in the movie, Mr. Belvedere took the job because he was a writer secretly doing research for his next project.) There were two more Mr. Belvedere films made starring Webb: "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College", 1949, and "Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell" ,1951. Interestingly, in the 1950s and 1960s, three unsuccessful TV pilots were made for a proposed Mr. Belvedere series -- in some alternate universe, Mr. Belvedere airs alongside The Honeymooners on nostalgia channels.
Sources: various; most helpful were IMDB and www.geocities.com/mrbeaverfalls.