What do we do, Baby…without THE KEATONS

On September 22, 1982 one america’s favorite families was born. Thanks to the mind of Gary David Goldberg The Keaton’s showed us how a former hippie couple dealt with the new “money generation” of the 1980’s. With their son Alex P. Keaton leading the charge into capitolism and their dim-witted but down-to-earth daughter Mallory Steven and Elise Keaton had their hands full.
It was absolutely one of my all time favorite shows. I did a little digging to find out some interesting trivia about the show. Did you know that the series was originally set in Cleveland but after a few seasons they were magically located in Columbus, OH with no explanation given.
And what would have happened if the producers had gone with their first choice for Alex Keaton, Matthew Broderick. Producer Gary David Goldberg thought Michael J. Fox’s audition was horrible. He thought Fox came across too smart alleck but casting director Judith Wiener begged him to see Fox a second time and this time he took a different approach and won him over.
By the way, the P in Alex’s name was an ad-lib by Michael J. Fox and the producers loved it and decided to keep it.
IMDB did a great job in looking up obscure trivia (which of course I live for) and here’s some of what they had.
· Stars Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter share the same birthday: 21 June 1947. Gross was born in Chicago and Baxter was born in L.A.
· The producers originally wanted Matthew Broderick to play Alex P. Keaton, but the actor had to decline the role when his father became terminally ill.
· Alex’s hero is Richard Nixon. Skippy (the perpetual Alex wanna-be) admired ‘Gerald Ford’.
· Ed O’Neill was considered for the role of Steven Keaton.
· The black Labrador that appeared after the closing credits with the voice over ‘Sit Ubu, sit’ was producer Gary David Goldberg‘s dog, Ubu.
· The show was modeled after producer Gary David Goldberg and wife Diane’s real-life experiences as former ‘hippies’ transforming into suburban family life
· According to Michael J. Fox‘s last “Spin City” (1996) episode, Alex P. Keaton became a Junior Congressman from Ohio.
· One year before playing Michael J. Fox‘s father in Back to the Future (1985), Crispin Glover played Alex P. Keaton’s friend in the episode Birthday Boy.
· When Meredith Baxter became pregnant during the hiatus between the second and third seasons, her pregnancy was written into the show. However, she still was written out of several episodes after giving birth to twins in real life.
· Elyse’s maiden name was Donelly.
· Tom Hanks played Elise Keaton’s brother Ned.
· Alex was born in Africa when Elyse and Steven were serving in the Peace Corps.
· Skippy was adopted as a baby by his parents.
· Jennifer was born on Election Day 1972.
· The name of the public television station that Stephen Worked for was WKS.
· Alex attended Leland University.
· Alex, Mallory and Skippy attended Harding High School, Jennifer went to Rudolph elementary school.
· The character ‘Steven Keaton’ was ranked #12 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” (20 June 2004 issue).
· Throughout the series’ run, exterior establishment shots of the Keaton home were never used in any of the episodes, which is very unusual for a family sitcom. The vast majority of all scenes were played out in the kitchen.
· US President Ronald Reagan declared “Family Ties” (1982) his favorite TV show during the 1980s.
· In March 2008, creator Gary David Goldberg wrote an essay for The New York Times speculating about what Alex Keaton’s political beliefs would be now. Goldberg said that Keaton, as a “true Conservative Republican,” would probably no longer feel comfortable in the Republican Party of the late 2000s, “a party whose legacy will include Terri Schiavo and Hurricane Katrina, [and]…waging war against science.” Goldberg said that Keaton would have supported McCain in 2000 but no obvious candidate in the 2008 race. He also said that he and Michael J. Fox have different ideas about Keaton’s current career; Goldberg thinks Keaton is a pro bono lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund, while Fox believes Keaton is finishing a prison sentence.
And finally one piece of trivia that shocked me. The cast wanted to end the show with the entire family being killed in a plane crash because they didn’t want to EVER do a reunion show…thank goodness it didnt end that way. I would’ve been crushed. Anyway here’s a great You Tube video of the last show. It still brings tears to my eyes.

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