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Trivia / Diff'rent Strokes

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  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Dana Plato was a trained figure skater, which the producers allowed her to demonstrate in "Family on Ice" (with Special Guest Dorothy Hamill).
    • Janet Jackson's singing was featured in the episode "The Music Man".
  • Channel Hop: To ABC for the final season.
  • The Danza: Joey Lawrence played Joey in the episode "Big Brother".
  • Dueling Shows: ABC's Webster [1983-89], starring Emmanuel Lewis as the Gary Coleman equivalent. It even had its own Channel Hop to syndication for its final two years.
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  • Edited for Syndication: The broadcast syndication versions of Diff'rent Strokes (which are also the versions seen on Antenna TV since 2013) feature fairly noticeable (and to some extent, poor) edits for time constraints: the most glaring are the season three episode "The Older Man", in which both a scene dissolve and a wipe take place at almost the same time while transitioning to a scene in which a 25-year-old man who is dating Kimberly ( due to her being mistaken for a 20-year-old, while dressed in makeup and costume for a school play) arrives at the penthouse to take Kimberly out on their date; the episode "The Athlete" from the same season, features a brief clip of a scene in which Willis teaches Kimberly a dance move, which then abruptly switches only two seconds later to the scene in which Willis gets his acceptance letter to Fillmore High ( as promised to him by that school's shady baseball coach, who uses his sister's address to get most of his recruits accepted into the school).
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  • Follow the Leader: Webster.
  • He Also Did: Norm Liebmann wrote or co-wrote two episodes. Liebmann is best known for co-developing The Munsters.
  • Hostility on the Set: Dixie Carter was said to frequently clash with Gary Coleman on the set, and largely found her experience doing the show to be unpleasant. After leaving the show, Carter refused to talk about it while being interviewed.
    • According to Todd Bridges' autobiography fame had gone to Coleman's head, and he used to order people around on the set and act in a very primadonna-ish, brattty way.
    • Conrad Bain was said to be horrified at how the young cast would treat crew and that fame may have gone to their heads. He stated in the E! True Story Diff'rent Strokes Story that he had to pull them aside and said "I've been around this industry for years, you don't see me ordering around the crew for food."
  • Life Imitates Art: In "Blue Collar Drummond", Mr. Drummond pretends to be an employee at his own company in order to listen to his employees' concerns and get ideas on how to make the company a better place. Over twenty years later, this became the premise for the reality show Undercover Boss.
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  • The Other Darrin: Mary Ann Mobley replaced Dixie Carter as Maggie McKinney, the woman who marries Mr. Drummond in the show's seventh season, when Carter left to play Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women. Similarly, in the two-part "Hooray For Hollywood," which has Arnold and Dudley sneak onto the Knight Rider set, KITT is voiced by someone who is not William Daniels. David Hasselhoff does appear, however.
  • Real-Life Relative: Betty Bridges (Todd Bridges' mother) played the voice of Arnold and Willis' mother on an audio tape in "Memories". She also played the mother of one of Willis' friends in "Willis' Birthday".
    • Conrad Bain's identical twin brother Bonar Bain played Philip's Dutch sister Anna Van Drummond in "The Van Drummonds".
  • Recycled Script: It's been pointed out that a number of episodes have the same premise as episodes of The Brady Bunch. Most notably the ones where Arnold pretends to be dying to meet Muhammad Ali (Bobby pretended to be dying to meet Joe Namath) and Kimberly's hair turns green (Greg's hair turned orange).
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Dana Plato was written out of the series when she became pregnant in 1984, and it was agreed that it would be out of character for the same to happen to Kimberly Drummond. However, she was allowed to return for guest appearances after the birth of her son.
  • Romance on the Set: Todd Bridges dated his onscreen girlfriend Janet Jackson while he costarred with her. He also admitted to having a couple flings with Dana Plato in his autobiography.
  • Star-Making Role: For Danny Cooksey as Sam McKinney (1984-1986), who had previously starred in an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard and Doris Day's Best Friends.
  • What Could Have Been: The original concept for the show was different from what would come on the air. The working title was 45 Minutes from Harlem. It would have been on ABC and set in a mansion in the upscale Westchester County town of Hastings on Hudson, not in a Manhattan penthouse. There was no older brother, originally, and the housekeeper would have been younger and sexier. The production company balked at the changes the network suggested, and ABC lost interest.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Rosalind Chao played Arnold's teacher Miss Chung, as well as the character Ming Li in the episode "Almost American".
    • Before playing Maggie Drummond in Season 8, Mary Ann Mobley played Arnold's teacher in "Teacher's Pet".
    • Jack Riley played four different characters on the show (three of them during the show's first season).

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