BLANSKY'S BEAUTIES (ABC 1977) RARE
Nancy Blansky (Nancy Walker) was a long-time Las Vegas showbiz vet (since the 1950s) and current den mother to a bevy of beautiful Las Vegas showgirls in this short-lived ABC comedy from producer Garry Marshall. In addition to keeping order in the chaotic apartment complex where they all lived, Nancy stages the girls' big numbers at the Oasis Hotel, where her boss--the second-in-command at the hotel-was Horace Wilmington (George Pentecost).
Emilio (Johnny Desmond), the maître d', was Nancy's boyfriend. To help Nancy defray costs of her apartment, Ethel "Sunshine" Akalino (Lynda Goodfriend) and Bambi (Caren Kaye) shared it with her, along with her nephews Joey DeLuca (Eddie Mekka), a choreographer, and leering, 12-year-old ("going on 28"), Anthony DeLuca (Scott Baio). Anthony was forever trying to impress Bambi, who much to his chagrin treated him like a kid brother, as did almost all of Nancy's girls. Also sharing Nancy's apartment was a huge Great Dane named Blackjack who was shown in the opening credits playing blackjack.
This series was a spin-off from the show Happy Days. Nancy was Howard Cunningham's (Tom Bosley) visiting cousin from Las Vegas on the February 4, 1977, episode “The Third Anniversary Show” of Happy Days. Blansky's Beauties premiered the following week, on February 12, 1977. Although the Happy Days episode on which Nancy first appeared took place in the early '60s, Blansky's Beauties itself was set in (then) present-day 1977.
Additional notes: Eddie Mekka's character Joey DeLuca was a younger cousin to Carmine Ragusa, Mekka's 1950s-era character on Laverne & Shirley. During production of Blansky's Beauties, Mekka continued in his starring roles on both series, a rare occurrence of one actor assuming two regular scripted roles, in two different primetime series, at the same time.
In episode 1 ("Blansky's Biking Beauty") Joey introduced Nancy Blansky to stunt motorcyclist Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) who was instantly hired for Nancy's stage show. Pinky wore the same outfit as in her Happy Days episodes, though her hair was now in a '70s style shag cut.
The show also implied a link to then-ongoing show Laverne & Shirley; in the episode "Nancy Remembers Laverne," Nancy recalls working with a clumsy girl named Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall's character on Laverne & Shirley) back around 1957. She discovered that, despite her clumsiness, Laverne was a great dancer and Nancy offered her a job on the spot, which Laverne declined.
Pat Morita, after the failure of his series Mr. T and Tina, was added to the cast as Arnold, the character he originated on Happy Days. Here he ran a coffee shop, whereas in Happy Days, he owned the diner. Morita would re-join the cast of Happy Days five years later, while his replacement on that series, Al Molinaro, would repeat Morita's career move at that time by joining another Happy Days spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi, starring Scott Baio.
This DVD set contains 8 of the 13 episodes from the series along with the Happy Days episode.
“Blansky’s Biking Beauty – 2/12/77 - Nancy needs to come up with a new show finale and hires Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) to jump her motorcycle over the showgirls. (Pinky was a character originally on Happy Days)
"Blansky for the Defense" – 2/19/77 - Nancy makes a valiant effort to create the semblance of a normal life when juvenile authorities come to investigate Anthony's living environment.
"Nancy's Cover-Up" – 2/26/77 - Nancy threatens to quit when she's ordered to have the showgirls perform topless.
"Nancy's Magic Moment" – 3/12/77 - When valuables disappear from the showgirls' room while they're on stage, Nancy turns detective to catch the thief.
"Nancy Goes Sheik" – 3/19/77 - Nancy comes to the rescue when a much-married sheik zeroes in on Bambi as his next wife.
"Nancy Remembers Laverne" – 4/9/77 - Nancy meets Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) while on a talent hunt in Milwaukee. Also guest stars Phil Foster as Frank DeFazio. (Both characters from Laverne & Shirley)
"Nancy Meets Pa Bates" – 4/16/77 - Arkansas' father visits Las Vegas and quickly loses not only his money, but his daughter's as well.
"To Nancy with Love" – 6/7/77 - Nancy accepts an executive position at a plush hotel, but quickly gets bored and longs for the disorganization at the Oasis.
If you like this Happy Days spin-off be sure to check out Joanie Loves Chachi also starring Scott Baio.
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