Today marks the 25th anniversary of Morton & Hayes, an unusual and short-lived sitcom that ran on CBS for six episodes during the summer of 1991. Rob Reiner and Phil Mishkin created the series. Kevin Pollack and Bob Amaral starred as Chick Morton and Eddie Hayes. Morton and Hayes were slapstick comedians whose “forgotten” films from the 1930s and 1940s were rediscovered, restored, and presented for the enjoyment of TV viewers.
Morton & Hayes premiered on Wednesday, July 24th, 1991. Each episode opened and closed with segments featuring Reiner. He provided history about the fictional films and the equally fictional actors who appeared in them. Reiner’s segments were in color but the films themselves aired in black-and-white.
Plots were simple. For example, in “Daffy Dicks,” Morton and Hayes are private detectives hired by a wealthy woman who believes her husband is cheating on her. In “The Bride of Mummula,” the two travel to Bavaria and face off against the monstrous Mummula. In “Oafs Overboard,” they wind up on an island ruled by a beautiful princess who wants to sacrifice them to the giant Ooloo.
Guest stars included Michael McKean, Courtney Cox, Catherine O’Hara, Christopher Guest, Allison Janney, and Penelope Ann Miller. McKean and Guest were also involved behind the camera; Guest directed five of the six episodes and co-wrote two while McKean directed one and co-wrote another.
As I explain my article about Morton & Hayes, the series received mix reviews from critics. It was universally dismissed by viewers, however, drawing very low ratings throughout its brief run. Maybe it was because of the concept. Maybe because nobody wanted to watch black-and-white TV.
Do you remember watching Morton & Hayes back in 1991? If so, did you enjoy it? Hit the comments with your memories of the series.