This was THE very first show I ever watched. I didn't watch any television before I turned two. But in 1984, at the age of two, I had my first glimpse at television, and it was in the forms of John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers (I watched the syndicated shows), Norman Fell, Audra Lindley, and Richard Kline. I was fascinated with "Jack Tripper" and the Ropers.
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Name: John Ritter Character: Jack Tripper
Born: September 17, 1948 in Burbank, CA
John Ritter played the clumsy, but lovable Jack Tripper. He was found sleeping in Janet and Chrissy's bathtub the day after a going-away party for the girls' ex-roommate, Elanor. Janet and Chrissy learn that Jack is studying to be a gourmet chef, which is a great thing, since neither of them can cook. To convince landlord Stanley Roper that Jack will not take advantage of the girls, Janet tells him that Jack is gay. Fact of the matter is that Jack is a womanizer, as is his best friend, Larry Dallas, who lives in the same building. (Both men have a different girlfriend in every episode.) Their favorite hangout is at the local pub, "The Regal Beagle"
Name: Joyce DeWitt Character: Janet Wood
Born: April 23, 1949 in Wheeling, WV
Whenever Jack, Chrissy, or anyone else seems to be caught in a jam, Janet tries her best to help out. Her plans haven't always worked (she almost split the Ropers up on several occasions), but she does what she thinks is right. Though Janet is the smart and reliable one, she doesn't like to be thought of that way. To prove that there is a wild side to her, she and Mrs. Roper go to protest on a nude beach. She tends to get very angry when others don't take her seriously, which she says is her Italian side showing. (Her father is Italian.)
Chrissy is the stereotypical dumb blonde. She works as a secretary (she types 95 words a minute). She is very well known for her strange sayings. She says that she makes sense, but people are too dumb to understand her. Whenever she doesn't understand a situation, either Janet, Jack, or both are there to explain it to her. Both care a great deal about Chrissy. *In one episode, she hit her head on the bathtub, and Jack and Janet were heartbroken, because they thought she was going to die *(My favorite w/Furley~TKS). Her final episode aired on April 2, 1981.
*Worth noting: While she was playing "Chrissy," John Ritter later said, "Chrissy was like Curly Howard of the Three Stooges."* (That also turned out to be one of John's last interviews.)
Name: Jenilee Harrison Character: Cindy Snow
Born: June 12, 1959 in Northridge, CA
After Chrissy could no longer pay the rent, Jack and Janet had to find someone else to help pay. In comes Chrissy's cousin, Cindy. She is a much a ditz as Chrissy, but she is also incredibly clumzy. Jack has been hit in the face several times by Cindy's inability to open doors slowly. She was only a roommate for a few episodes, then she played a regular on the show for the rest of 1981 when Terri Alden came to be the third and final blonde roommate.
Name: Priscilla Barnes Character: Terri Alden
Born: December 7, 1955 in Fort Dix, NJ
Terri Alden is the blonde nurse who became the last "third" roommate in 1981. Before becoming a roommate to Jack and Janet, she meets Jack in the hospital. He is there for a tetantus shot, and Jack happens to be terrified of needles. Terri soon learns that there are two people in an apartment looking for another roommate. When Jack finds out that Terri wants to move in, he is less than thrilled about it. He and Larry devise a plan to try to make Terri change her mind. Unfortunately, Jack ends up unintentionally ruining Terri's dress. He feels awful about the whole thing, and tells Terri that he would love it if she would be his and Janet's new roommate.
Names: Norman Fell and Audra Lindley See this page for more info
Characters: Stanley and Helen Roper on both of them
Landlord and landlady Stanley and Helen Roper were a strange match. It's some wonder how the two of them fell in love. As Jack puts it, the Roper's theme song should be Strangers in the Night. The two of them always seem to be on different wavelenghts. Helen wants Stanley to be more romantic, but he's not interested. The way he puts it to Jack is that if it were up to Helen, he'd be "putting a shelf up everynight." Though he rarely shows romantic interest towards her, he loves her very much. Stanley gets jealous if he thinks another man wants Helen. He says he doesn't want to be happy, he just wants to be with her.
As far as his duties as landlord go, he doesn't seem to know much more than collecting the rent money. He's alright as a plumber, but he can barely fix his own sink, let alone his tenants' sinks. He's fairly sure that Jack is gay, at least most of the time. Whenever he gets suspicious, Jack flirts with him.
Helen knows that Jack is straight, but she promises not to tell Stanley. Janet tells her, "There's nothing going on in our apartment." Helen responds, "There's nothing going on in our apartment either."
Name: Don Knotts Character: Ralph Furley
Born: July 21, 1924 in Morgantown, WV.
After the Ropers left the show in 1979, Ralph Furley became the new landlord. He doesn't own the building like Stanley did. Ralph's older brother Bart owns the building, and "R.F" (as he's known to Jack) gets no special treatment. His brother makes him miserable, and Mr. Furley doesn't hide the fact that he's afraid of Bart. He never stood up to him until Bart threatened to throw out his Jack, Janet and Chrissy. Ralph is even less skilled in the repairing area than Roper. Jack says that Furley makes Roper look like Thomas Edison. However, Ralph is much more friendly and sympathetic than Stanley. After Janet gets married, Jack tells Furley that he's going to be living with a woman, as more than friends. Instead of making Furley think he's been lied to all these years, Jack says that hanging around with Furley has taught him how to be macho. Ralph, who thinks of himself as the ideal ladies man, accepts Jack's explainationRead what others have said about Don 's passing on this page.
Name: Richard Kline Character: Larry Dallas
Born: April 29, 1951 in New York City, NY
Larry is Jack's best friend. Jack is actually Larry's only friend, but Larry has no problem getting a date. He doesn't believe in being honest with a woman. He thinks that someone who wakes up thirty minutes early every morning just to put on plastic nails and a face doesn't want the truth. He never tells women his true profession (a used car salesman). He's claimed to be everything from a doctor to a monk. He doesn't believe in telling a woman his real name either. Larry has claimed to be Paul Redford, Robert Newman, and even Jack Tripper! (Those first two names are not typos.)
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Click below to go to the official Suzanne Somers site.
What made this show so fascinating? After all, it was on for eight seasons. Well, I can't speak for everybody, but it was interesting to see how a single man could live with two single women in the same apartment. Watching their friendship bloom over the years was stunning. Jack Tripper was a man who loved to kid around, but he didn't tolerate anyone mistreating his two roommates. In a way, he was a little overprotective, and tended to treat the girls as children sometimes, but it was only because he cared so much for them. On more than one occasion, he has knocked out a creep for insulting one or both of his roommates.
The Ropers were a sideshow all to themselves. From Helen's sexual innuedos to Stanley's mugs to the camera, it was priceless comedy.
What you have here are two apartments where all the relationships are plutonic, as was mentioned in the first episode.
Jack..."It will be strictly plutonic." Stanley:"I don't care...what does that mean?" Helen: "Like you and me, Stanley."
Seeing Helen try time after time to get her hesitant husband into the bedroom, or at least show some signs of affection for her, it's easy to just come to the conclusion that Stanley is completely insensitive to her needs, and he never thinks about her. Stanley Roper is actually a very jealous man. As soon as he thinks another man wants to get involved with his wife, he goes crazy. Every now and then, Stanley surprises Helen by willingly going into the bedroom and letting her have her way with him. ("Please be gentle," he will ask his wife at these times.)
Looking at Stanley laugh to the camera, you can get the impression that he's enjoying this as much as we are. No one else in the show did the camera mug, which is just as well, or it might have ended up looking like a scene from a 1920s vaudevillian act. The mug was Norman's signature for his character, whom he brilliantly portrayed.
Top: John Ritter, Suzanne Somers, Joyce DeWitt Bottom: Audra Lindley, Norman Fell
Where did this all come from? Well, before there was Three's Company, there was a British show called Man About the House. Same premise, one guy and two girls all sharing the same apartment. The names were all different. This show lasted from 1973-1976. The pilot for Three's Company was filmed soon after. The show went through three different pilots while trying to find the perfect roommates for John Ritter's character, Jack Tripper. John was hired as Jack Tripper for the first pilot, and was instantly a hit with the producers. Joyce DeWitt was cast in the second pilot, and was perfect for the role of Janet Wood. It still took two more tries to find the best actress to play Chrissy Snow. Suzanne Somers was that perfect match.
Exactly why did Suzanne leave the show? She says she asked for a large raise,
and ABC wouldn't tolerate her, so they let her finish out her contract, then they
fired her. Others who were involved say that she broke her contract and continuously
missed production, so they had no other choice other than to fire her for the good of
the show. (Please note that I am not affiliated with ABC or Three's Company in any
way, nor do I know all the facts.) For some interesting reading related to this topic in Suzanne's own words, go to this page on her official site and click on After the Fall.
After Suzanne left the show in 1981, Jenilee Harrison stepped in to temporarily fill the role of roommate number three. She didn't work out as well, and, for the third time in a year, another actress had to be found to fill in the gap. Priscilla Barnes filled the role as nurse Terri Alden beautifully. Unlike the two previous blonde roommates, Terri was no klutz. Jack even started calling her the "reasonable one," like he had done with Janet in previous years. Priscilla played the role of Terri perfectly until the end of the series.
Well, you can't have tenants in an apartment without a nosy landlord, can you? Whether it was Stanley Roper or Ralph Furley, the tenants in 201 always seemed to have the company of a landlord, whether they liked it or not. Here's some facts about the landlords:
-Norman Fell and Don Knotts were both born in 1924
-both were in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
-they were both in the Three's Company episode "Night of the Ropers"
-Furley knew all three blonde tenants, but Roper only knew Chrissy (although he met her cousin during his guest appearance in 1981)
-The Ropers had their own show after Three's Company, but it didn't last long
-the clothes for Mr. Furley belonged to Don Knotts in real life
-Stanley's favorite drink is cocoa and Ralph likes scotch, rootbeer, and a cherry---mixed together
-Both were right handed, but Stanley wore his watch on his right wrist (another watch-righty!) and Ralph wore his watch on his left wrist
-Ralph can cook better than Stanley since he lives alone. (Stanley can only make peanut butter sandwiches)
-Stanley and Ralph are both afraid of heights
-Stanley owned the building, but Ralph did not; his older brother Bart did
Chrissy's married boss keeps hitting on her, and Jack doesn't like this at all. Chrissy resists her boss, so he fires her. Chrissy gets her job back when his wife catches her husband with Chrissy in his office.
Left: The three original tenants who occupied room 201 (Circa 1978). Joyce (Janet) and John (Jack) were there for all eight seasons of the show. Suzanne (Chrissy) left the show in 1981. Right: Suzanne in either the late eighties or early nineties.
I took this picture of the beach at Santa Monica where the ending credits from the first three seasons were shot. That's the pier from the fourth and fifth season in the background. The sidewalk in front of the houses is the pathway that John Ritter drove his bike on in seasons one, two, and three.
The 1979-1980 cast of Three's Company. Far left: Don Knotts Top: Suazanne Somers Far Right: Ann Wedgeworth Very Bottom: John Ritter Middle Two: Richard Kline and Joyce DeWitt
For the 1979-1980 season, another cast member was added to the show. Her name: Ann Wedgeworth. She was born on January 21, 1935 in Abilene, TX. She played Lana Shields. She was introduced to the show by playing a woman looking for an escort. Larry was supposed to be the escort, but he had to take a last minute plane trip to San Francisco, so he asked Jack to fill in for him. Jack was hesitant at first, until Larry told him he could earn $100. Lana fell hard for Jack, and always tried to get his attention throughout her season on the show. She was very jealous of Janet and Chrissy, and she has caused both of them to fight before. Jack wasn't interested in her, but Mr. Furley adored her, though she couldn't stand him. Whereas the tenants all refered to him as 'Mr. Furley," Lana only refered to him as "Ralph," usually angrily, but she would act flirty if she wanted him to do something.
The amazingly talented Norman Fell
Move mouse above for captions, and watch Stanley wake up on the left.
In older news, I caught the ABC 50th Anniversary on May 19, 2003...
and I noticed a lot of shows that weren't played, as in scene-wise.
Can you believe that this show was among those not played?!
Learning of John's passing...
It was Friday, September 12, about 7:15am. My mother comes into my room and says, "I might as well tell you before you hear it on the radio...one of your favorite actors died last night." I thought for a moment, then asked, "Who?" She didn't answer right away.. Instead, she said, "Well, Johnny Cash died..." (Okay, I knew he had been sick) then she finally told me: "...and John Ritter died. It was very sudden. He wa filming his show and just collapsed. He went just like that. (I found out later that he was in pain.)
Learning of Don's passing...
Again, my mother was the one to tell me, but she wasn't as sympathetic as she had been for John...she looked straight at me on Sunday (Feb 26...2 days after it happened) and she said very casually, "You hear that Don Knotts died?" I said I hadn't, and proceeded to write up the memorial above and on my Final Farewells2 page. (I believe she was more sympathic to John because of the way he died and because he was so young; she thought Don had lived his life and I wouldn't be as surprised. (Wrong!)
Remembering those on the show who are no longer with us...some birthdays will never be the same again...(Roll the mouse over the pictures to show the dates, the first on the Ropers is Norman, second is Audra)
Let's Have Some Fun (DO NOT take this seriously!) Three's Company/Three Stooges/Nirvana:
-All had 2 memmbers that stayed throughout (in order)--Jack & Janet, Moe & Larry, Kurt & Krist
-Thereby, the 3rd member kept changing-
3sCo) Chrissie, Cindy, Priscilla
(Stooges)Curly, Shemp, Joe
(Nirvana) Let's just say that more than 2 drummers came before Dave G
(John) was a brilliant actor and he was brilliant at comedy and drama, but that he was a very generous actor, as well. I mean, so many performers will just work in one, where they have a set thing where -- what they are going to do and they know what they're going to do and it doesn't matter what you give them, they are going to do that thing. John would watch you. He would see something you were doing, he would react. He would laugh and he would take it to the next level. You know, he was a truly ensemble actor. He was brilliant.