Paging Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno and Bill Cosby. The revival of PBS’s "Electric Company" needs and wants you.
The new version of the wildly popular children’s show is set to start in January. But so far the three big stars of the original program — which ran from 1971 to 1977 — haven’t shown much interest in returning.
Of course, Freeman and Cosby were still to have their biggest successes starting in the 1980s. Moreno, who’d already won many awards and was well known for West Side Story, was well established.
But now Freeman has indicated to the show’s producers, I am told, that he doesn’t really have fond memories of New York from that era.
"It was a dark time in his life apparently," says a source. Freeman was a journeyman actor in those days. He finally hit his stride in the early 80s on NBC’s soap "Another World," and then found fame with "Driving Miss Daisy."
He flirted with Quinn Harding, played by Petronia Paley -- later Vivian Grant on Guiding Light -- and ended up marrying Henrietta, played by Michelle Shay.
Also on the show at this time was Reggie Rock Bythewood as Henrietta's son RJ, Joe Morton as Dr. Abel Marsh and his twin brother, rocker Leo Mars (see photo), and Howard E. Rollins Jr. as Quinn's brother, Ed.
Rollins had just come off a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as Coalhouse Walker in Ragtime in 1982. In 1983, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy. He is pictured above as the lead in A Soldier's Story.
Morton was nominated for a Tony Award in 1974 -- the same time as he was making his daytime drama debut on Search for Tomorrow. He had roles in Terminator 2, Ali, Speed, and the title role in The Brother From Another Planet (below). He is currently co-starring in The Sci-Fi Channel series, Eureka.
Bythewood became a writer for A Different World, New York Undercover, and the feature film Biker Boyz, which he also directed.
In 1983, Jackee Harry joined the cast as the aunt of Quinn's adopted daughter.
Pretty impressive group, wouldn't you say?