this spin-off from Soap, Benson the butler
- the only sane member of the Tate household - was sent by Jessica Tate
to help her widowed cousin, Gov. James Gatling. Benson found himself
moved from one loony bin to another.
Gatling was a sweet, well-meaning man, but terribly naive; Katie,
his precocious daughter; Gretchen, the formidable German housekeeper, and
Marcy, his secretary (married in a February 1981 episode). Benson, though
only in charge of the Governor's household, kept order around
the executive mansion, did constant battle with Gretchen, helped raise
little Katie, and generally assisted the meek Governor in deciding what to do,
both politically and personally. Of less help to the chief executive were
his political aide Taylor (replaced by Clayton); bumbling press
assistant Pete, boy messenger Frankie.
1981, Benson was appointed state budget director, giving him added responsibilities
as well as his own secretary, Denise (who later married Pete). The promotion
came just in time for Benson to help the Governor in his campaign for a second
term, which fortunately for the series, he won, as an Independent - after his party dumped him. Benson's
former employer, Jessica Tate, showed up in ghostly form in 1983 to remind
him how far he had progressed. Benson's remarkable rise continued.
1984, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, and in 1986 - in the series' final
original episodes - he ran against his mentor Governor Gatling, for the
Governorship itself, with his new fiancée Diane serving as his campaign
manager. The bitter campaign strained the two men's friendship, but, in
the end they reconciled, reminisced, and settled in to watch the election
results together. In true TV cliff-hanger tradition, the outcome was not
revealed, so viewers never did find out who won. However one thing was clear -
Benson the insolent butler had come a long way.
reruns of Benson on weekday mornings from September 1983-June