1st & Ten would set the stage for all the pay per view original series we have today on HBO, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax.

     1st & Ten was an American situation comedy that aired between December 1984 and January 1991 on the cable television network HBO. Featuring series regulars Delta Burke and veteran Reid Shelton, it was one of cable's first attempts to lure the lucrative sitcom audience away from the "Big Three", by taking advantage of their freedom to include occasional cursing and nudity.

     The series follows the on-and off-field antics of the fictional American football team, the California Bulls. The team changed owners throughout the series' history, with the premise that a woman is in charge.

During the first season Diane Barrow (Delta Burke) becomes the owner of her ex-husband's team as part of a divorce settlement, after he has an affair with the team's tight end. She quickly learns the ups and downs of pro football. In one episode, she is forced to coach the team herself after the head coach, Ernie Denardo, is placed in the hospital. She also has constant battles with her General Manager/husband's nephew, who has dealings with the local mob, and fights off advances made by her quarterback played by Geoffrey Scott.

The second season dealt with two themes: training camp and the playoffs. Barrow was dealing with her players taking recreational drugs during training camp. During this season, O. J. Simpson joined the cast as T.D. Parker, a veteran running back who is forced to make the transition from player to coach. Two real life football stars made cameo appearances. Marcus Allen portrayed a rookie who was taking over T.D.'s spot on the team. And Vince Ferragamo played "Mainstreet" Manneti, a veteran quarterback. Jason Beghe joined the cast to play Tom Yinessa, a walk-on quarterback who deals with his overnight celebrity.

Delta Burke left the show mid-way through the third season, after committing herself to CBS' Designing Women, which she had begun starring on in 1986, and which was renewed. Diane loses control of the Bulls to Teddy Schraeder, her former lover, who manipulates everyone to his own ends. His antics include having T.D. fire Ernie as coach, Yinessa practice without a contract, and ignoring the steroids that John Matuszak's character is using. Legal issues force him to leave the country and turn control over to his daughter, played by Leah Ayres.

Season 4 was briefly renamed 1st and Ten: The Bulls Mean Business. Shanna Reed joins the cast as the team's new female president, representing the new owners, the Dodds Corporation. Her attempts to innovate include bringing a female soccer player in to kick, and signing an Olympic sprinter as wide receiver. Joe Namath has a cameo appearance. Shannon Tweed would replace her in Season 5, and remain with the show to the end. The show was renamed 1st and Ten: Do it Again for the fifth season. The final season was 1st and Ten: In Your Face.

     Footage was used from USFL's Los Angeles Express. During simulated game shots, the Bulls football helmet has a decal of horns on the side. When the show uses actual game footage, you can clearly see the letters "L" and "A" on the helmets side, representing the L.A. Express. The Bulls quarterbacks wore #14 to match the actual game footage of L.A. Express real life quarterback Tom Ramsey. Many generic shots of USFL stadiums were used to depict where the Bulls were playing. As the series went on, aerial shots were used of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to represent the Bulls home stadium. Game footage from the USFL stopped mid-way through the third season, as scripted football plays were being used instead, and the USFL had ceased operations by that point.

    At one point, Denardo suggests trading for a running back. He mentions the Bulls from "that other league." He was talking about the Jacksonville Bulls from the United States Football League.

 

 I purchased the entire 80 episode boxed set from Walmart in their $5 bin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAST

Only Donald Gibb, Cliff Frazier, Prince Hughes, and Reid Shelton appeared in all six seasons. John Kassir and O. J. Simpson joined the cast the second season, and stayed till the show's end.

  • Ellen: Mariann Aalda

  • Frederick 'Miracle Miles' Coolidge: Keith Amos

  • Dr. Doc Phillips: Jim Antonio

  • Jill Schrader: Leah Ayres

  • Tom Yinessa: Jason Beghe

  • Johnny Valentine: Sam J. Jones ( Highwayman )

  • Diane Barrow: Delta Burke ( Designing Women )

  • Jethro Snell: Cliff Frazier

  • Leslie 'Dr. Death' Crunchner: Donald Gibb

  • Elvin Putts: Jeff Hochendoner

  • Buford "Bubba" Kincaid: Prince Hughes

  • Jamie Waldren: Jeff Kaake - ( Space Rangers )

  • Zagreb Shkenusky: John Kassir

  • Mac Daniels: Jay Kerr

  • Roger Barrow: Clayton Landey

  • Rona Gold: Ruta Lee

  • Otis: Tommy 'Tiny' Lister

  • Mad Dog Smears: Tony Longo

  • Deacon: John Benjamin Martin

  • John Manzak: John Matuszak - (Ice Pirates & Goonies-sloth )

  • Johnny Gunn: Christopher Meloni

  • Carl Witherspoon: Sam Scarber

  • Bob Dorsey: Geoffrey Scott

  • Coach Ernie Denardo: Reid Shelton

  • Police officer: Ron Shipp

  • T.D. Parker: O. J. Simpson ( Killer, robber, convict & NFL runningback )

  • Joe "Mainstreet" Manneti: Vince Ferragamo ( Ram's Quarterback )

  • 'Tombstone' Packer: Lawrence Taylor ( drug-addict )

  • Mace Petty: Marshall R. Teague

  • Rick Lambert: Marcus Allen ( screwed by Raiders Al Davis )

  • Billy Cooper: Michael Toland

  • Kristy Fulbright: Shannon Tweed ( B- movie queen, married to Gene Simmons )

  • Bull's lineman: Arthur Avant

  • Bull's wide receiver: A. J. DiSpirito

 

EPISODE GUIDE- 6 seasons, 80 episodes

:: 1st & TEN ::

 

 

 

 

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