Friday, May 29, 2009

Hank (TV)

Executive Producer
William T. Orr
Starring Dick Kallman, Linda Foster, Howard St. John, Lloyd Corrigan, Katie Sweet.

With a new show of this name set to premiere in the fall, it's time to remember the original, a funny and short-lived comedy starring the talented Dick Kallman.

Hank and a prop from Dobie GillisThe basic setup was far from ordinary.  Hank Dearborn (Kallman) was a young man with a dream to attend college.  But after the death of his parents, he could not afford it.  In the days where student loans were not the norm, he hit upon a plan:  he would "attend" the classes without enrolling and go through college that way.* 

Hank's attempts to get a free degree did not go unnoticed by the registrar, Dr. Lewis Royal (Howard St. John), who knew someone was attending classes without paying, but never could catch or even find him (Hank impersonated legitimate students who were out of class when roll calls were required).

Which was lucky for Hank, since his girlfriend Doris Royal (Linda Foster) was the registrar's daughter. So Hank had to juggle his job, his classes, his love life, and the care of his younger sister Doris (Katie Sweet).

The show was a genial comedy that saw Hank trying to avoid the snags that would take all his plans down.  Hank would often get into trouble by showing his athletic prowess, causing coach Ossie Weiss (Dabs Greer) to want to put him on the team.

It was all held together by the talent of Kallman, who had worked on Broadway and even recorded an album or two.

Unfortunately, it did poorly in the ratings and was canceled after one season.  Kallman never got a major role afterwards (his biggest TV role was as one of Catwoman's henchmen on Batman), and eventually left acting in 1975 to sell antiques. Sadly, he was murdered in 1980 during a robbery.

The show was certainly not a comedy classic, but it was a better than average show from the time with an appealing cast.


*Don't point out the flaws.  I work at a college and know he couldn't get an actual degree this way.  But go with it.


Loren said...

Though only 13 at the time Hank first aired, I remember enjoying it very much. Strangely, everyone that I have asked about it doesn't remember it. I thought maybe I had imagined the entire show until I Googled it.

Anonymous said...

I was 11 when Hank was on the air.
I also seem to be the only one that remembers the show.
If I remember correctly Friday night was the greatest - we watched Hank and The Man from Uncle.

george sager said...

I was about 9 years old and saw every episode...the finale is vividly etched in my mind.

It made me appreciate a college education (I paid for my education myself...and I thought of hank).

Anyone complaining about student loans should shut up and think about ""HANK".

I wish it was available on DVD or youtube.

Robert Whitaker Sirignano said...

I recall this, watched it and thought it would have been a good idea for a movie, not a series.

Anonymous said...

It's coming out on dvd soon from Warner Archive.��