On This Day: ‘Newhart’ with Bob Newhart Premieres in 1982

by Joe Rutland

Bob Newhart returned to CBS’s primetime lineup as a Vermont innkeeper in the sitcom “Newhart,” which premiered today in 1982.

Now Newhart had one of the network’s most popular shows in “The Bob Newhart Show” in the 1970s. He played psychiatrist Dr. Bob Hartley opposite Suzanne Pleshette, who played his wife Emily.

This show, though, had a bit of a different vibe to it. There were trademark moments for Bob Newhart to provide his own comedic rhythm among the diverse cast members.

Twitter account RetroNewsNow sent this out to its followers on Monday.

OK, Outsiders, let’s take a look at this cast for “Newhart,” which also aired on CBS.

Newhart played author-turned-Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon. Actress Mary Frann played his wife Joanna, and comedy legend Tom Poston played George Utley.

Bob Newhart Sitcom Gave Julia Duffy, Peter Scolari Roles As Stephanie, Michael

According to the show’s IMDb listing, Julia Duffy joined “Newhart” in 1983 as Stephanie Vanderkellen. The late Peter Scolari, who recently died after a lengthy cancer battle, played Michael Harris starting in 1984 through the sitcom’s final season.

Recently, Bob Newhart opened up about the loss of Scolari, his longtime friend.

“I knew that Peter was sick, but his death still comes as a great shock,” Newhart told Variety in reaction to the news.

“We were friends and colleagues for over 40 years,” Newhart said in a statement. “Julia [Duffy] and Peter, as a vacuous couple (Michael and Stephanie), were an essential part of the success of ‘Newhart.’'”

Comedian Harkened Back To Earlier CBS Sitcom In Dream Sequence With Pleshette

Outsiders, Bob Newhart gave three actors quite a break on his sitcom. William Sanderson, Tony Papenfuss, and John Voldstad played the unique trio of Larry, Darryl, and Darryl. To call them eccentric would be a fair assessment.

“Newhart” was successful on CBS, running from 1982 until 1990. As we mentioned earlier, Bob Newhart had his earlier sitcom. So, this later series had a dream sequence at the end of its final episode.

The camera shows a darkened bedroom and Newhart is apparently having a bad dream. So, a voice from the other side of the bed goes, “Bob”? It was Pleshette, reprising her role of Emily Hartley, and that scene received quite the applause from the studio audience.

Bob Newhart recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. In truly one of show business’s most interesting friendships, he had a decades-long friend in comedian Don Rickles. Both of them and their wives were best of friends for years. There’s also a distinct difference in the two men’s comedic styles. Rickles was a putdown machine, while Newhard did stand-up with a kind of monologue form.