Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman, Tim Reid. WKRP may not have taken their Cincinnati radio fans by storm-but that didn't keep WKRP from becoming a TV sitcom smash with absolutely unforgettable characters like DJs Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, news man Les Nessman and the stunning Jennifer Marlowe. Includes 22 episodes on 3 DVDs. 1978-79/color/approx. 9 hrs., 30 min/NR/fullscreen.
One of DVD's most requested titles, WKRP in Cincinnati
is a blast from the past and an absolutely golden oldie. But this first-season set is bound to cause static with fans who have eagerly anticipated its release. Because of pesky music rights, the songs don't remain the same. "Hot Blooded" is not playing when mild-mannered newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) puts on a toupee in anticipation of an awards-dinner date with bombshell station receptionist Jennifer (Loni Anderson). It's "Beautiful Dreamer" and not "Fly Me to the Moon" that chimes when Jennifer's doorbell is sounded. Any number of generic songs have replaced the contemporary and classic rock so vital to WKRP
, which is, after all, set at a radio station, albeit one that is best known for its farm reports. Enter Andy Travis (Gary Sandy), the new program director charged with turning the station around, beginning with changing the format to rock & roll. Andy, the series anchor, is something of the head guard at a nut farm. In seasons to come, he will wonder if he is one of the nuts, which include: "Big Man," Mr. Carlson (Gordon Jump), who is easily flustered, especially by his formidable mother, the station owner; polyester-clad sales director, Herb Tarleck (Frank Bonner), hopelessly old school and on the make for "Jenni-poo"; and morning DJ, Johnny Caravella (Howard Hesseman), a former "boss jock" now reduced to playing "You're Having My Baby" by the Hallelujah Tabernacle Choir. Also on staff is Bailey (Jan Smithers), Mary-Ann to Jennifer's Ginger, and who lacks the confidence to assert herself at the station; and Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid), whom Andy hires to be the nighttime DJ. It's a seamless ensemble of likable characters on par with The Mary Tyler Moore Show
's WJM news team. WKRP
is one of those rare series that hit its irresistible groove from the get-go. Hesseman sounds all the right notes as Johnny, reborn as Dr. Johnny Fever (ranked no. 73 on the Bravo "100 Greatest TV Characters" chart).
As the season unfolds, the hits just keep on comin', including the classic "Turkeys Away," about a Thanksgiving stunt that goes hilariously awry ("As God is my witness," Mr. Carlson insists, "I thought turkeys could fly"), the "Goodbye Johnny" two-parter in which the (briefly) departed Johnny's replacement is involved in payola (resulting in Mr. Carlson mistaking cocaine for foot powder), and "Never Leave Me, Lucille," in which Jennifer desperately tries to reunite Herb with his wife. Purists may balk at the replaced songs, but the sharp writing and performances provide WKRP's real music. --Donald Liebenson