Taxi: Louie, Latka And The Cast List Of TV's Best Sitcom 1979-81

By | November 11, 2020

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TAXI - "Latka's Cookies" which aired on February 05, 1981. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) DANNY DEVITO; ANDY KAUFMAN

Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Judd Hirsch, Andy Kaufman, Jeff Conaway and Marilu Henner -- was there ever a better cast for a sitcom than Taxi? Throw in Christopher Lloyd and Carol Kane, both of whom joined the show after it was underway, and you've got a group of comedy all-stars suited to the show's downtown-New York, anything-goes mayhem. The talent delivered results: During its five-year run, Taxi won 18 Emmys, including three for best comedy.

In 1978, after The Mary Tyler Moore Show finished its seven-season run, James L. Brooks set his sights on a new project. Inspired by an article in New York magazine, entitled “Night Shifting for the Hip Fleet,” he was inspired to create Taxi. The show focused on the everyday lives of New York City cab drivers and their dispatcher who work for the Sunshine Cab Company. Each of the drivers considered the job only temporary, working the night shift while chasing their dreams. In one episode, “The Road Not Taken,” the characters reminisce about the choices that led them to their jobs as cab drivers.

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The cast of Taxi. Source: (Pinterest)

Although the show was a comedy, it dealt with dramatic issues, including drug abuse, racism, sexual harassment, and grief. To create Taxi, the creators visited taxi companies in the early hours of the morning to study the drivers as they came off their shifts. They noted the aspirations that so many of the drivers had, and the notion of these lofty dreams became a driving force for the characters. However, as depressing as their lives can be, their camaraderie makes the reality of their individual situations bearable. That same camaraderie they had on the show followed them after filming, as they celebrated each Friday night after filming was complete.

ABC moved the show from its time slot following Three’s Company to make room for Too Close for Comfort. Eventually NBC made an offer for a full season, which allowed the show to reach the requisite 100 episodes to become syndicated. Unfortunately, the decline in ratings that began when ABC changed the time slot led to the end of the show.