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Benson (TV Series 1979–1986) Poster

(1979–1986)

Trivia

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The sixth season episode "Scenario" (original airdate 22 February 1985) was the first network drama episode to demonstrate the use of the internet. The computer network they were accessing was the ARPANET which was an internet prototype used by the US military and government.
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The show marked the acting debut of a then-unknown young comedian, Jerry Seinfeld.
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Jerry Seinfeld arrived at work one morning and found that there was no script waiting for him. He asked why and was told that he had been fired. No one had bothered to tell him.
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The exterior shot used for the governor's mansion was a private mansion in Pasadena, California. It is the Bundy House, located at 1365 South Oakland in Pasadena. It was designed by T. Beverley Keim in 1913. The original interior of the house is entirely intact, including a fabulous domed art glass window overlooking the grand entrance.
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Robert Guillaume's Emmy win as Best Actor in a Comedy Series made him the first black performer to win in this category.
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The Governor's Daughter Katie was modeled after then First Daughter Amy Carter.
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Robert Guillaume played the same character on both "Soap" and "Benson". Inga Swenson and Caroline McWilliams appeared on both shows as well, however they did play a different characters on each show.
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For a comedy, the show had a strange fascination with death. Several story lines involved minor or unseen characters dying and leaving the main cast somehow in a bind. Many of these deaths were unusual and were often used for comic effect such as that of the Governor's wife who was said to have been killed by horses. She was not trampled, but eaten while wearing a costume made largely of sugar. In one instance, Benson himself dies and meets with his dead mother who tells him he has a choice to either return to the living or proceed to heaven. He only decides to return to the living when he sees how bad life would be for his friends after his death. Finally, late in the series, death itself shows up in the form of G. Reaper, a mysterious man seeking refuge from a storm. Benson then has to defeat him in a game of death themed trivial pursuit to save a bus full of children also threatened by the storm.
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Two of the regular actors later went on to become regulars in two different Star Trek series. Rene Auberjonois played Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Ethan Phillips played Neelix in Star Trek: Voyager.
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Missy Gold's sister Tracey Gold co-starred on Growing Pains, a sitcom which also aired on ABC concurrently with Benson. Tracey had also auditioned for the role of Katie, and would make a guest appearance on Benson as a cousin of Katie's.
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The series was on the air seven years, longer than the show from which it was spun-off, Soap (1977), which lasted four years.
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Inga Swenson who played the German Miss Kraus was an American of Scandanavian heritage.
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Throughout the series, references are made to Benson having served with the Army in Korea, and Governor Gatling having served with the Navy. In real life Robert Guillame did serve with the US Army prior to going into acting, and James Noble served with the US Navy during World War II.
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Some have said the series concept helped some people gradually get used to the concept of african-american Politicians, and ultimately as a President of the USA. Obviously, many other countries already had had "Black" politicians in various levels of Government. Its entirely plausible that if the series was later continued/re-booted in the 2010s-2020s onwards, to its logical conclusion, its totally plausible that the show would then be following President Benson Dubois. Akin to the similar story character evolution as politician Jim Hacker in the BBC comedy series "Yes, Minister"/"Yes, Prime Minister".
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Benson had no last name when he was on Soap; his name was just Benson. The Dubois was added on when he spun-off into his own sitcom.
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As of December 8, 2019 after the death of René Auberjonois, Ethan Philips is the last surviving regular male cast member of the show.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The series ended with a cliffhanger that was never resolved. In the series, Benson worked for the governor of an unnamed southern state and in the final episode, Benson ran against his boss for the job and the show ended before the election results were announced. Supposedly three different endings were shot involving either a Gatling win, a win by Benson, or a surprise win by a wildcard candidate in which the two men are seen fishing together following the inauguration. None of these endings proved satisfactory to anyone involved, so the decision was made to keep the show's ending unresolved.
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