in the barrio of East Los Angeles, Chico and the Man was the story
of two men from radically different cultural backgrounds who grew to respect each
other. Chico, the enterprising young Chicano, was determined to go into
partnership with cranky, sarcastic, cynical Ed Brown.
Ed operated a small, run-down garage and spent most of his time complaining
and alienating people. A lonely widower, he at first fought Chico's
determination efforts to help him make the business work, but underneath it all he was
both flattered and touched
to have someone show genuine interest in him. Chico cleaned the place up,
moved into a beat-up old truck in the garage, and brought in business. As often
as Ed complained about Chico, and as often as he mad token efforts to get rid of
him, he felt an attachment that he would never publicly admit.
Regularly seen were Louie the garbage man, Mabel the mailwoman,
and Chico's friend Mando. Della Rogers was added to the cast in the fall of 1976 as the civic-minded
owner of the diner across the street from Ed's Garage, who also happened
to be the new owner of the property on which the garage was located. She was
more than capable of dishing out as much as she took from Ed.
When Freddy Prinze took his own life
early in 1977, prior to the completion of the season's episodes, there was serious considerations given to the cancellation of the series. That
was not done, however, as a new "Chico" was added to the cast for the
was not an adult, though, or even someone whose name was really Chico. In
the opening episode of the 1977-1978 season, it was established that Chico
had left Ed's garage to go into business with his successful father, a
character introduced the previous year and played by Cesar Romero. Later, Ed and Louie returned from a fishing trip to Tijuana
to discover a 12-year-old stowaway in their car trunk. The boy, Raul,
ingratiated himself with Ed and became his personal resident alien. At the
end of the first episode, when the two of them were preparing to go to bed, Ed
inadvertently said "Good night, Chico" to his new friend and,
when corrected, simply said "You're all Chicos to me." Thus a new "Chico"
for the "Man." Ed eventually
adopted Raul and found himself contending with Raul's protective, and very
sexy, Aunt Charo, an entertainer who had recently arrived from Spain to
work in Los Angeles. She spent so much time at Ed's garage with her nephew that
she, too, became part of the family.
NBC aired reruns of Chico and
the Man from may to December 1977 in its weekday daytime lineup.