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(January 24, 1975 – April 25, 1975
Premise and run ...
The show took place in the fictional Hotel Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, and drew its title from the cheap establishment's neon marquee which had a burned-out letter "e". The half-hour series premiered January 24, 1975, and was produced by Norman Lear for ABC. It was the first Lear property to air on ABC.
The series had several controversial elements, including two primary characters who were prostitutes, one of whom was an illegal immigrant, and one of the first gay couples to be depicted on an American television series. Because of the subject matter, the show was the first ABC network show to have a warning at its opening, cautioning viewers about mature themes. (All in the Family, also produced by Lear, ran a similar disclaimer when it debuted in 1971 on CBS, but ceased doing so with its second telecast.) The network supported the show and gave it a full publicity campaign, but it failed to win an audience and was canceled after 13 episodes. Its last telecast was June 6, 1975.
WJZ-TV, then ABC's Baltimore affiliate, never carried the show, but instead, carried alternative programming, leaving Baltimore viewers to have to watch the show on WMAL (now WJLA), ABC's Washington, D.C. affiliate.
This series is notable as the first failure for Lear after a streak of mega-hit TV series, beginning with All in the Family (1971) and continuing with Sanford and Son (1972), Maude (1972), Good Times (1974), and The Jeffersons (1975), the last of which premiered six days before this show. It finished the season in 69th place out of 84 shows with an average 14.7 rating.
=James Cromwell as Bill Lewis, the hotel's desk clerk
=Richard Masur as Clifford Ainsley, the hotel's young manager
=Conchata Ferrell as April Green, a prostitute
=Jeannie Linero as Suzy Marta Rocket, a prostitute
=Al Freeman, Jr. as Charles Bingham, a wise black man
=Gloria LeRoy as Millie
=Robin Wilson as Jackie, a young tomboy
=Stan Gottlieb as Mr. Morse, a grouchy old man
=Lee Bergere as George, a middle-aged man
=Henry Calvert as Gordon, George's middle-aged boyfriend
=Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Bellotti, an eccentric woman with a never-seen psychotic son
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