The Good Life Script Material

Read excerpts from two scripts for short-lived NBC sitcom The Good Life as well as an early document exploring potential storylines for the show.

The Good Life was a half-hour NBC sitcom that ran for 15 episodes during the 1971-1972. It starred Larry Hagman and Donna Mills as Albert and Jane Miller, who decided the best way to “the good life” was employment as servants for a wealthy family, Albert as butler/chauffeur and Jane as cook/maid. Rounding out the cast were David Wayne as millionaire Charles Dutton, Hermione Baddeley as his sister Grace and Danny Goldman as his son Nick. The series was produced by Screen Gems. You can read more about The Good Life here.

This exhibit presents a variety of script material relating to The Good Life: an undated, three-page document exploring the concept behind the series; excerpts from “Dutton’s Retirement” (production #3506, broadcast November 6th, 1971) written by Bernie Kahn; and excerpts from “The Burglar Alarm” (production #3516, broadcast October 30th, 1971) written by Ron Friedman.

The Good Life Script Material © 1971 Screen Gems Productions

Published July 16th, 2009
Last updated May 8th, 2018

3 Replies to “The Good Life Script Material”

  1. Larry Hagman wanted to do “THE GOOD LIFE” after five years of being Barbara Eden’s co-star on “I DREAM OF JEANNIE” (he was so intent on trying to make the series “better”- even after directing three episodes during 1967- he literally suffered a nervous breakdown during the third season, and would not talk about the series for years after it ended). He disdained it so much in its later seasons, he answered a question posed by someone during a Screen Gems publicity tour at “EXPO 67”- “Aren’t you Larry Hagman of…?”- responding, “Yeah, I’m the guy with the broad in the bottle.”

    “THE GOOD LIFE” was HIS chance to be in the spotlight, and Hagman wanted to make the show work. That’s why he got Claudio Guzman, the producer and key director of “JEANNIE”, to do the same for him; Guzman was one of the few people on “JEANNIE” who could handle Larry when he was “difficult” [and he could be, quite often], and they were on the same wavelength creatively (as well as good friends)- he’d let Larry experiment with ideas that weren’t in the script, and encouraged his ability to create slapstick sequences. If “THE GOOD LIFE” had been a success, there wouldn’t be a ‘DALLAS” or “J.R. Ewing” as we know it today.

  2. I don’t remember if I ever saw “Dutton’s Retirement” [11/6/71], but I understand the revision on “page 28”- obviously, there had to be some kind of “tension” in the Chinese restaurant on Charles’ Dutton’s first (and obviously LAST) night of running the place, so let’s have his sister Grace {and her “snooty” society friends, Adelaide & Lydia} show up to try to “drum up support” for the joint, adding more pressure on Charles to make good. The line about preferring French cuisine- frog’s legs and snails- to what “horrors” the Chinese restaurant might serving {especially if someone like, say, Ruth McDevitt is speaking them} is funny.

  3. It’s true that there was such a fall off after Jeannie that Hagman was having problems. Still, The Good Life wasn’t an abomination, it just wasn’t a runaway hit.

    The price of perfectionism I suppose


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