Bring Diff'rent Strokes Home!

(Hover over the link)

 Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season

 Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season


Show Type: Sitcom

First Telecast: November 3, 1978

Last Telecast: August 30, 1986

Broadcast History:

November 1978 - October 1979, Friday 8:00-8:30 on NBC

October 1979 - October 1981, Wednesday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

October 1981 - August 1982, Thursday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

August 1982 - August 1985, Saturday 8:00-8:30 on NBC

September 1985 - March 1986, Friday 9:00-9:30 on ABC

June 1986 - August 1986, Saturday 8:00-8:30 on ABC


Philip Drummond..... Conrad Bain

Arnold Jackson..... Gary Coleman

Willis Jackson..... Todd Bridges

Kimberly Drummond (1978-1984)..... Dana Plato

Mrs. Edna Garrett (1978-1979)..... Charlotte Rae

Adelaide Brubaker (1980-1982)..... Nedra Volz

Pearl Gallagher (1982-1986)..... Mary Jo Catlett

Aunt Sophia (1981-1986)..... Dody Goodman

Dudley Ramsey (1981-1986)..... Shavar Ross

Mr. Ted Ramsey (1981-1985)..... Le Tari

Miss Chung (1982-1983)..... Rosalind Chao

Charlene DuPrey (1981-1982)..... Janet Jackson

Robbie Jason (1982-1983)..... Steven Mond

Lisa Hayes (1982-1986)..... Nikki Swasey

Sam McKinney (1984-1986)..... Danny Cooksey

Maggie McKinney (1984-1985)..... Dixie Carter

Maggie McKinney (1985-1986)..... Mary Ann Mobley

Charlie (1985-1986)..... Jason Hervey


Pint-sized Gary Coleman was one of the comedy discoveries of the 1970's. Pudgy cheeks, twinkling eyes, and flawless timing made him see like an old pro packed into the body of a small child - and he helped make this improbable comedy into one of the hits of the 1978-1979 season.

Eight-year-old Arnold and his 12-year-old brother Willis were two black kids from Harlem who found themselves quite suddenly in the lap of luxury. Their dying mother, a housekeeper for wealthy Philip Drummond, had extracted from her employer the promise that he would look after her boys. Unlike some of TV's other accidental parents, like Family Affair, Drummond didn't mind at all, and welcomed the two into his Park Avenue apartment as his own. No matter that there were endless double takes when the rich, white Drummond, president of the huge conglomerate Trans Allied, Inc. (though he never seemed to work much), introduced the two spunky black kids as his "sons." They didn't care. There was always plenty of love around - though Willis seemed a little bit reserved - and everybody learned little lessons in Living Right in each episode. The were also episodes on such serious subjects as child abuse and the dangers of hitch-hiking. First Lady Nancy Reagan appeared in a 1983 episode dealing with drug abuse. Rounding out the household was widower Drummond's 13-year-old daughter, Kimberly, and the new housekeeper, the scatterbrained Mrs. Garrett.

As years passed, new characters were introduced. Mrs. Garrett left to become a housemother at the prestigious Eastland School for Girls, which Kimberly was attending, in a spin-off series called The Facts of Life. She was replaced by as housekeeper first by the somewhat grumpy Adelaide, and then by cheerful Pearl. Dudley arrived on the scene in 1981 as Arnold's best buddy, while Charlene was Willis's girlfriend for a time. Perhaps the most notable addition to all their lives came in 1984. After years of fruitless matchmaking by his sister Sophia and by the kids, Drummond finally fell in love - with a feisty TV-exercise-show hostess named Maggie. They were married in February 1984, adding her young son Sam to the Drummond household. In the fall of 1984, Kimberly graduated high school and went away to study in Paris.

When Diff'rent Strokes premiered, NBC had few comedies on its schedule, and it used its new hit to help out some of the others. First Facts of Life began with a crossover episode. Then Drummond just happened to buy the Portland, Oregon radio station where Larry Adler (principal character on Hello, Larry) was a talk-show host, leading to some visits there; Larry and Philip, it seemed, were old army buddies.

Coleman was 10 when this series began. He was born with a congenital kidney problem and received a kidney transplant at the age of five, which resulted in his being smaller than normal for his age (a condition that would continue throughout his life). An uncommonly bright and articulate youngster, he seemed quite happy to be alive, and became a frequent and popular guest on talk shows and other series.

NBC aired reruns of Diff'rent Strokes on weekdays from April 1982 to December 1983 and from July to September 1984.