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Mr. Belvedere is an Americanmarker sitcom based on the Lynn Aloysius Belvedere character created by Gwen Davenport for her 1947 novel Belvedere, which was later adapted into the 1948 film Sitting Pretty. The sitcom starred Christopher Hewett in the title role, who takes a job with an American family headed by George Owens, played by Bob Uecker.

The show was originally broadcast on the ABC network from March 15, 1985 until July 8, 1990.


The character of Lynn Belvedere was originally created by Gwen Davenport in her 1947 novel, Belvedere. The following year, the title character was portrayed by Clifton Webb in the film Sitting Pretty. Webb's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Sitting Pretty told the story of an arrogant genius who answers an employment ad for a baby sitter for three bratty kids. He accepts such employment because he is secretly writing a novel about a community filled with gossips and busybodies. Clifton Webb reprised his role as Mr. Belvedere in two more movies, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951).

As early as the 1950s, attempts were made to adapt the character to television, with three pilots made during the '50s and '60s, including a 1965 version starring Victor Buono in the title role. All efforts, however, were unsuccessful until 1985, when ABC was finally able to get the show up and running with British actor Christopher Hewett playing Lynn Belvedere.


A middle-class family in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvaniamarker, a suburb of Pittsburghmarker, takes in an Englishmarker butler after he emigrates to the United Statesmarker.

The posh butler, Lynn Belvedere, struggles to adapt to the Owens household. The breadwinner, George (Bob Uecker), is a sportswriter. His wife Marsha (Ilene Graff) is attending law school. At the show's start, oldest son Kevin (Rob Stone) is a senior in high school, daughter Heather (Tracy Wells) is a freshman, and Wesley (Brice Beckham) is in elementary school. Over the course of the series, George becomes a sportscaster, Marsha graduates from law school and starts a career as a lawyer, Kevin leaves for college and gets his own apartment, and Heather moves up in high school.

Several episodes dealt with Belvedere and Wesley, with whom he shares a close, if often adversarial, relationship. In one of many very special episodes, one of Wesley's classmates contracts HIV via Factor VIII, like Ryan White. When all of Wesley's classmates shun him for still associating with his friend (due to believing the stereotypes of AIDS being mainly associated with drug addicts and gay men), Belvedere is there for him and the child, and he helps the other students befriend the boy. In another episode, Wesley confronts a scout leader who had touched him inappropriately. Mr. Belvedere serves as a mentor of sorts to Wesley any time he has trouble, and also helps the other children when needed.

Each episode ended with Mr. Belvedere writing in his journal about the day with the Owens family.

A frequent gag on the show involved Heather's best friend Angela Shostakovich (Michele Matheson), often mispronouncing Mr. Belvedere's name (with such variations as "Mr. Bumpersticker" and "Mr. Bellpepper"). Another frequent gag involved Mr. Belvedere making fun of Wesley's best friend Miles Knobnoster (Casey Ellison), because of his orthodontic headgear. Yet another recurring gag featured George always trying to be initiated into the Happy Guys of Pittsburgh, a local men's club. Wesley's highly acrimonious relationship with the never-seen next door neighbors, the Hufnagels, was another recurring plot element. Apparently, they meant to make all sorts of trouble between them and the Owenses, but usually, the Owenses won.

In the two-part series finale, Mr. Belvedere marries and moves to Africa. In 1997, years after the show's end, Hewett guest-starred as himself in an episode of the FOX sitcom Ned & Stacey.

Main characters

Recurring characters

  • Miles Knobnoster, Wesley's best friend, who is always being made fun of because of his orthodontic headgear. Played by Casey Ellison
  • Angela Shostakovich, Heather's best friend, who is always mispronouncing Mr. Belvedere's name. Played by Michele Matheson
  • Burt Hammond, bombastic and overly talkative chief spokesman and membership director for the Happy Guys of Pittsburgh, a local men's club; he is always trying to initiate George as a member. Played by Raleigh Bond
  • Carl Butlam, Mr. Hammond's obsequious assistant. Played by Jack Dodson.
  • Skip Hollings, George's co-anchor at the TV station. Played by Norman Bartold.


The show's theme song was performed by ragtime singer Leon Redbone. It was written by Judy Hart-Angelo and Gary Portnoy, who had previously written the theme songs to Cheers and Punky Brewster. In 2007, a never-before-heard full-length version of the theme was released by Portnoy on his CD, Destiny. For syndicated reruns, a shorter 30 second version was recorded, in order to accompany the shorter opening for the syndicated airings. The original theme song was 55 seconds long. The 55 second version has been restored on Shout! Factory's DVD releases.

There were three different ending themes during the show's original run:
  1. An instrumental version of the theme song was used as the ending theme for Seasons 1 and 2.
  2. A Dixieland rendition of the ending theme was used in Season 3.
  3. A jazzier rendition of the ending theme was used in Seasons 4–6.

The song and clips from the opening were featured in the Family Guy episode Deep Throats, with the song sung by Stewie Griffin


  • 1986 Primetime Emmys
    • Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Series: George Spiro Dibie (director of photography): For episode "Stranger In The Night"
  • 1986 Young Artists Awards
    • Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series: Tracy Wells

  • 1986 Young Artists Awards
    • Best New Television Series - Comedy or Drama
    • Best Young Supporting Actor in a New Television Series: Brice Beckham
  • 1987 Young Artists Awards
    • Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor Starring in a Television Comedy or Drama Series: Brice Beckham
    • Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Starring in a Television Comedy or Drama Series: Tracy Wells
  • 1988 Young Artists Awards
    • Best Family Comedy Series
    • Best Young Female Superstar in Television: Tracy Wells
    • Best Young Male Superstar in Television: Brice Beckham
  • 1989 Young Artists Awards
    • Best Family Television Series
    • Best Young Actor - Starring in a Television Comedy Series: Brice Beckham
    • Best Young Actress - Starring in a Television Comedy Series: Tracy Wells
    • Best Young Actress Guest Starring in a Drama or Comedy Series: Laura Jacoby (for season 5 episode titled "Pigskin")
  • 2004 TV Land Awards


Mr. Belvedere had an average-sized ratings base, but it was never a phenomenally popular show; the show did not rate in the Top 30 shows in any of its six seasons. The show was quietly canceled in 1987, but was brought back due to higher-than-expected fan interest, and premiered its fourth season in October of that year.

In late 1989, in the middle of its sixth season, Mr. Belvedere was shelved and no episodes aired for the rest of the season. A move to Saturday night caused a steep ratings decline. Speculation emerged that the show had been abruptly canceled, so ABC aired the final two episodes (the two-parter series finale, in which Mr. Belvedere marries and moves to Africa) in the summer of 1990.

Broadcast history

Network history

  • March 15, 1985–April 26, 1985 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
  • August 16, 1985-March 6, 1987 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
  • May 1, 1987-September 4, 1987 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
  • October 30, 1987–January 1, 1988 (Friday nights; 9:00 P.M.)
  • January 8, 1988–February 19, 1988 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
  • March 18, 1988–July 1989 (Friday nights; 9:00 P.M.)
  • August 1989–September 1989 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
  • September 16, 1989–December 30, 1989 (Saturday nights; 8:00 P.M.)
  • July 1 and 8, 1990 (Sunday nights; 8:30 P.M.); the 2-part finale

Syndication history

The show was seen in syndication from September 7, 1987–January 15, 1988, in a daily daytime strip on ABC (replacing the short-lived game show Bargain Hunters). The episodes were from Seasons 1–3. In September 1989, and continuing in an on-again, off-again manner until the mid-1990s, it was seen on certain FOX stations. Along with the addition of episodes from Seasons 4–6, 10 previously unaired episodes, two from Season 5 and eight from Season 6, were also added to the syndication package. The series was also seen on the FOX satellite channel Foxnet in 1997.

It also aired in Canada on CTS from 2002-2004. Certain episodes were not aired due to their perceived offensive nature.

AmericanLife Network announced that on Thursday, December 17, 2009, they will show two episodes of Mr. Belvedere, as part of their month-long block of Christmas-themed episodes from TV shows owned by 20th Century Fox Television ("Christmas Story" from season 4 and "A Happy Guy's Christmas" from season 6). This will be the first time in a little over a decade that the show has been seen in U.S. Syndication. [62576]



The show had five different openings during its original run. The theme song was the same in all versions.

1985 Pilot Opening
The opening credits on the pilot episode, "Stranger In The Night", during its original airing on ABC, were originally done in the same way as the first half of the closing credits from seasons 1 & 2 (a beige family portrait book on a black background). It also showed individual photos of the cast, as if they were taken one after the other from a photo album. Lastly, the title logo looked more simplistic compared to the one used in every subsequent version after this one. Although this version was never used in syndication, and instead, a short version of season 4 & 5's opening was used, it has been reinstated on Shout! Factory's Season 1 & 2 DVD release.

1985–1986 Opening (Seasons 1 and 2)
After the pilot episode, the opening credits on the next 28 episodes of seasons 1 & 2, now opened with an exterior shot of a British palace in the daytime, and then it would cut to Mr. Belvedere inside of it, and holding a tray with tea kettles. The opening then showed photos of Belvedere as the following different people, with the appropriate backdrop

1986-1987 Opening (Season 3)
This variation (and every variation after this one) now opened with an aerial shot of Belvedere at his desk writing in his personal journal, and cut to a picture of him on the front cover of the fictional magazine World Focus, once again holding a tray of tea kettles. Following that was a shot of Belvedere with Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt; a shot of him with Gandhi; a shot of him with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay; and a shot of him with Dick Clark. Following those came the usual shot of him on the street, holding up a Pittsburgh sign, only now, that particular shot was in black and white, and was a bit smaller in size than before. This variation also featured clips from various Season 2 episodes, and each other individual cast member was now introduced with two actual clips of them, followed by a stop-motion position of them on the couch. The opening then concluded with two different shots of the cast positioned on the couch, with new looks, then a clip of Belvedere turning the TV on with a remote control. This variation was never used in syndication, but has been reinstated on Shout! Factory's Season 3 DVD release.

1987-1989 Opening (Seasons 4 and 5)
Season 4 and 5 openings were not much different from the previous variation, except that this variation featured a new photo of Tracy Wells, with a different hairstyle, and a new position on the couch. The previous version showed photos of her, with short hair, with her hand resting on her chin. A short version of this opening was used throughout every season in syndication (except, of course, for the sixth), and even replaced the openings that were used in the first three seasons. It was also used on some primetime reruns.

1989-1990 Opening (Season 6)
Season 6 also was not much different from the previous variation, except that it featured a new photo of Brice Beckham positioned on the couch, and clips from various Season 5 episodes. A short version of this opening was used when the Season 6 episodes were shown in syndication (including the unaired ones), on the final ABC episodes, and some primetime reruns.

DVD releases

On March 17, 2009, Shout! Factory (Under license from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) released Seasons 1 and 2 of Mr. Belvedere on DVD in Region 1. Season 3 was released on September 8, 2009.

All episodes are presented in the way they originally aired on ABC, but without the commercial bumpers, which were also intact in syndication.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date Special Features
Seasons 1 & 2 29 March 17, 2009
  • New interviews with Bob Uecker, Ilene Graff, Rob Stone, and Brice Beckham
  • "The Guy who Plays Mr. Belvedere Fanclub" sketch from Saturday Night Live with Tom Hanks from 1992
Season 3 22 September 8, 2009
  • Six audio commentaries with Ilene Graff, Rob Stone, Tracey Wells and Brice Beckham

External links

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