A Long Lost Sit Com About Jazz Age Chicago

Today being the birthday of the late Dean Jones (1931-2015) I thought it only fitting to talk about a sit-com he starred in that I learned about only yesterday, which happened to be Marvin Kaplan’s birthday!

The Chicago Teddy Bears ran a single season on CBS in 1971. Set in the Roaring Twenties, it borrowed heavily from movies like Some Like it Hot (1959), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), and Pocketful of Miracles (1961). It featured Jones, best known for his string of Disney movies, as a guy who runs a speakeasy with his Uncle Latzi (John Banner, the guy who played Sgt. Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes). Kaplan played his bookkeeper and M*A*S*H‘s Jamie Farr, a cowardly body guard. Art Metrano was a rival gangster. Also in the cast was Huntz Hall from the Bowery Boys. Ann Sothern was in the pilot as a street vendor, who seems very much based on Apple Annie from Pocketful of Miracles, but she was dropped from the regular series, which only ran 13 episodes in any case. It was co-produced by Dean Jones Productions.