Good Times was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1970s, and more than 40-years later, the cast of the show is still feeling nostalgic as they talk about the good times they had on the set of Norman Lear’s classic CBS comedy.
Good Times cast members Ralph Carter (Michael Evans), Bern Nadette Stanis (Thelma Evans), Jimmie Walker (J.J. Evans), Johnny Brown (Nathan Bookman), and Ja’net DuBois (Willona Woods) reunited in Chicago for a taping of Steve Harvey’s talk show, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Good Times reunion was part of Harvey’s “Where Are They Now” week and Harvey’s studio was even turned into a replica of the Evans family’s living room.
Bern Nadette Stanis, who played Thelma on Good Times, said she didn’t have any idea that she was considered a sex symbol when she was on the show. Stanis told Harvey she was just excited to be cast as the first black female teenager on a successful TV series.
Of the significance of the groundbreaking sitcom about a low-income family, Jimmie Walker said the black community’s response to Good Times reminded him of their reaction to The Ed Sullivan Show.
“It reminded me of the old Ed Sullivan. When there was black people on Ed Sullivan, black people went, ‘We gotta get home. There’s gonna be black people on TV,'” Walker said.
Good Times aired on CBS from 1974-79 and featured the work of two up-and-coming young writers named Jay Leno and David Letterman, as well as a recurring role played by a young Janet Jackson.While the classic show has seen a resurgence of sorts—the ABC sitcom Black-ish just ended its second season with a Good Times themed dream sequence— the Good Times cast was unable to drum up enough support to fund an original reunion movie.
According to Deadline, earlier this year, the Good Times castmates launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an original movie about the Good Times characters. Five original cast members from the Norman Lear show – Jimmy Walker, John Amos, Ja’Net DuBois, Bern Nadette Stanis, and Ralph Carter – joined together for the fundraiser, but it fell short—by a lot. While the original goal was $1 million, the campaign only netted about $8,000.
While the possibility of Good Times movie didn’t trigger a successful crowdfunding campaign, there’s still hope that the reunion could happen another way given the success of Netflix reboots like Fuller House, or the Disney Channel spinoff Girl Meets World.
Even if Good Times does get resurrected, a few of the original players have passed away. Esther Rolle, who played beloved matriarch, Florida Evans, died in 1998. And John Amos, who played her TV husband, is still alive, but his character, James Evans, was killed off in Season 3 when Good Times producers didn’t renew his contract.
When pitching the Good Times fundraiser, the five cast members revealed that over the past four decades, they have seen many scripts about the fate of the Evans family, but that they made a collective decision on where each character would be now.
“During these forty years as a cast we have been given a numerous amount of scripts that were written about what happened to the Evans family,” the Good Times cast wrote. “The ideas are countless, but as a group we have made a decision on where each character should go and what this long-awaited script should be about. We are bursting at the seams to bring this exciting movie to you. All that we can tell you at this point is that it will be exactly what you expect from us and more.”
The Steve Harvey Good Times reunion could trigger new interest in the show, so stay tuned.
Take a look at the video below for more on the Good Times reunion on Steve Harvey’s show.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]