Mama’s Family, the delightfully offbeat comedy whose successful run spanned from January 22, 1983 to March 12, 1990, originally began as a skit on the legendary Carol Burnett Show. Entitled The Family, the sketch was roughly based on Carol Burnett’s childhood and was such a hit that it generated its own spin-off series which premiered on NBC.
Mama’s Family mined humor from a squabbling family in the Midwestern blue collar suburb of Raytown. The noisy clan was headed by Thelma Harper “Mama” (Vicki Lawrence, The Carol Burnett Show, The Vicky Lawrence Show) a buxom, gray-haired widow with sharp opinions and a sharper tongue who shared her small house with her high-strung sister Fran (Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls), a journalist for a local paper. Mama’s lazy, dimwitted son, Vint (Ken Berry, F-Troop) a locksmith by trade, moved in at the start of the series with his troublesome teenage children, Buzz (Eric Brown) and Sonja (Karin Argoud), after his wife runs off to become a Las Vegas show girl. Much to Mama’s disgust, Vint soon took up with the flirtatious neighbor Naomi (Dorothy Lyman, All My Children), who works as a checker at the local grocery store, Food Circus.
Mama’s Family also starred Betty White (Golden Girls) as Ellen Jackson, Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show) as Ed Higgins/Carl Harper/Alistair Quince and Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett Show, Carol & Company) as Eunice Higgins.