Debuting in 1975, “One Day at a Time” was the story of a divorced mom, Ann Romano, or as Schneider, the building’s handyman would call her, M-S Romano (played by Bonnie Franklin). She had custody of her two daughters—the troublesome Julie (Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of John Phillips from the group The Mamas and Papas) and Barbara (played by the future Mrs. Eddie Van Halen, Valerie Bertinelli).
The series also started out with Richard Masur, who played Ann’s lawyer and love interest, David Kane. When Masur left the show, Mary Louise Wilson came aboard as cocktail waitress Ginny Wroblicki, one of my favorite characters on the show (perhaps it was the cocktail dress …)
And then there was Dwayne Schnieder, played by Pat Harrington, who would burst into Ann Romano’s apartment totally unannounced with his pass key. And he almost always wore a dungaree vest over a white T-shirt. And there was always a pack of cigarettes rolled up under one of the T-shirt sleeves.
One of my favorite moments from the show was Phillips and Bertinelli doing an impression of Elton John and Kiki Dee performing, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
And regular watchers of the show surely can’t forget when Julie ran away with her boyfriend, Chuck. That was at least a three-parter show. (Don’t you hate those?)
I’ll touch more on this show’s later seasons in a future blog entry, so stay tuned!