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Larry Hagman and Donna Mills starred in this short-lived NBC sitcom, which ran for 15 episodes during the 1971-1972 season. The played a couple who are sick of the rat race and want to live the good life. So, they get jobs as live-in servants for a wealthy family and get to enjoy all the finer things. The only problem? They don’t know anything about being servants. David Wayne, Hermione Baddeley and Danny Goldman rounded out the cast.


Larry Hagman - Albert Miller
Donna Mills - Jane Miller
David Wayne - Charles Dutton
Hermione Baddeley - Grace Dutton
Danny Goldman - Nick Dutton

Show History:

In 1968, Douglass Wallop’s novel THE GOOD LIFE was published by Atheneum Books. It told the story of a tired, middle-class couple who decide to hire themselves out to a wealthy household as butler and maid in an attempt to find “the good life.” In a review for The New York Times, Martin Levin called the novel a “bubbling social comedy,” writing “the class struggle [...] produces a shower of sparks that lights up some very funny confrontations, all the funnier because there is more than a grain of truth at the heart of them”

it was adapted for the small screen as The Good Life, a half-hour sitcom. Created by Fred Freeman and Lawrence J. Cohen, with Lee Rich and Claudio Guzman serving as executive producer and producer, respectively, the series was a Lorimar/Humble production in association with Screen Gems.

NBC announced it would air The Good Life at 8:30-9PM time slot on Saturdays.

After officially announcing that The Good Life was part of its 1971-1972 schedule, NBC then took the unusual step of previewing the series by airing the pilot episode. Typically, the life cycle of a television series worked a little differently, with a network airing a pilot to gauge critical and audience reaction and then deciding whether to pick it up. With The Good Life, NBC did things out of order.

The network aired the pilot as part of a two-hour NBC World Premiere Movie called “Triple Play,” which aired from 9-11PM on Monday. Fittingly, “Triple Play” was hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The pilot to The Good Life was the the second of the three to be presented during the special.

The pilot introduces young married couple Albert and Jane Miller, played by Larry Hagman and Donna Mills. The two are sick of their middle-class life, the stress that goes along with maintaining it, and the problems of living in the city. They are convinced there has to be a better way to enjoy the finer things in life without having to work for them. Their plan? Find a rich family, get hired as a butler and maid, do a minimal amount of work, and share in the opulent lifestyle of their employers.

Despite being in no way qualified to be domestic servants, the Millers are soon hired by millionaire Charles Dutton, the somewhat eccentric head of Dutton Industries, who lives on a lavish estate with his sister Grace (played by Kate Reid) and son Nick. Although he recognizes they might not be top notch help, Charles likes the two. Grace does not and wants nothing more than to see them fired. As for Nick, he soon uncovers the truth but because he also likes the Millers, rather than turn them in to his father he keeps quiet and even offers to help maintain the charade. (When The Good Life was picked up to series, Hermione Baddeley replaced Kate Reid as Grace Dutton.)

For Albert and Jane Miller, working for the Duttons was exactly what they had hoped for. Charles provided them with a nice little cottage to live in, gave them free reign of his estate — pool, tennis court, etc — and allowed them the use of his fancy cars. It truly was the good life. Or it would have been if Albert wasn’t so incredibly inept.

Lyrics to The Good Life Song Lyrics
(song by Tony Orlando and Dawn)

Oh, the good life,
Full of fun seems to be the ideal.
Mm, the good life,
Let’s you hide all the sadness you feel.
Please remember, I still want you.
And in case you wonder why,
Well just wake up to the good life.
Oh, talkin’ ’bout the good life.
Just the good life,
For you and me.
(The good life).
For you and me.
(The good life).
For you and me.
Last Updated Feb. 12, 2014
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