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Rags to Riches is an American musical comedy-drama that was broadcast on NBC for two seasons from 1987 to 1988. Set in the pre-British Invasion 1960s, the series tells the story of Nick Foley, a self-made millionaire who adopts six orphan girls. Each episode included musical scenes of hit songs from the era performed by the girls integrated into the plot (with the lyrics modified to provide commentary on the storyline).

Rags to Riches
Created byBernie Kukoff
StarringJoseph Bologna
Douglas Seale
Kimiko Gelman
Bridget Michele
Tisha Campbell
Blanca De Garr
Heidi Zeigler
Opening themeMark Mueller (lyrics)
Composer(s)J. Peter Robinson (1.1)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20
Executive producer(s)Bernie Kukoff
Leonard Hill
Andrew Schneider
CinematographyPaul Onorato
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time48 minutes
Production company(s)Leonard Hill Films
New World Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseMarch 9, 1987 (1987-03-09) –
January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15)


Nick Foley (Joseph Bologna), the millionaire owner of Foley's Frozen Foods, is a streetwise New Jersey-born businessman with a playboy lifestyle. In the TV movie pilot which launched the series, Foley attempts to develop a family man image by bringing a group of six orphaned girls, who were featured in a newspaper story, saying that they refused to be separated from each other to live in the mansion in Bel Air where he lives with his butler, John Clapper (Douglas Seale). Foley does this to seal a business deal and does not intend to keep the girls permanently, but Foley's plans change as he grows attached to the girls, and he ends up adopting them permanently.

The adjustment is huge on both sides, as the girls acquire a new father with no parenting experience. Having spent the past few years in a rundown orphanage, the girls suddenly find themselves in a life of luxury (hence the series' title). The series follows the trials and tribulations of the girls and a man who has previously never loved anyone but himself, and often struggles to cope with his new family.

In the pilot for the series, Foley takes in a group of six girls; however, Foley only adopted five of them for the remainder of the series' run: Rose, 17; Diane, 16; Marva, 15; Patti, 14; and Mickey, 8. The sixth girl, Nina, appears only in the pilot (after the pilot was produced, it was decided that six children was too many for the series cast, so Nina was written out of the series as having been reunited with her birth mother).

The series differed from regular comedy-dramas in that the girls would frequently burst into song to help explain their feelings or move along the plot. Each episode therefore contained at least two musical scenes with covers of popular songs from the early 1960's with the lyrics changed to provide commentary on the storyline of the episode.


Promoted with the tagline, "If you liked Annie, you'll like Rags to Riches", ratings for the series were not strong enough for its Friday night time slot, and NBC canceled the show part way through its second season.[1][2]

Musical NumbersEdit

Mark Mueller wrote new comedic lyrics for existing hit songs from the '50s and early '60s that were featured in most episodes of both seasons of the show. He also wrote the lyrics to the show's theme song. Many of the songs used were not around yet during the time frame when the series takes place; 1961-63.

Cast and charactersEdit

Actor Role
Joseph Bologna Nick Foley
Douglas Seale John Clapper
Kimiko Gelman Rose
Bridget Michele Diane
Tisha Campbell Marva
Blanca De Garr Patti
Heidi Zeigler Mickey
Heather McAdam Nina
Sarah Buxton Amy Hillerman
Sue Ball Marnie
Jeff Harlan Marty
John Christy Ewing Mr Donovan
Sandy Ward Al Schweikert


Season 1 (1987)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Pilot"Bruce Seth GreenBernie KukoffMarch 9, 1987 (1987-03-09)
33"High Society"TBATBAMarch 15, 1987 (1987-03-15)
44"Foley vs. Foley"TBATBAMarch 22, 1987 (1987-03-22)
55"First Love"TBATBAMarch 29, 1987 (1987-03-29)
66"Business Is Business"TBATBAApril 5, 1987 (1987-04-05)
77"Patty's Mom"TBATBAApril 12, 1987 (1987-04-12)
88"Bad Blood"TBATBAApril 19, 1987 (1987-04-19)
99"Born to Ride"TBATBAApril 26, 1987 (1987-04-26)

Season 2 (1987–88)Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
101"Vegas Rock"Michael SwitzerAndrew SchneiderSeptember 18, 1987 (1987-09-18)
112"Once in a Lifeguard"Bruce Seth GreenChris_Carter_(screenwriter)September 25, 1987 (1987-09-25)
123"That's Cheating"TBATBAOctober 2, 1987 (1987-10-02)
134"Wilderness Blues"TBATBAOctober 16, 1987 (1987-10-16)
145"Dear Diary"Daniel CahnRobin SchiffOctober 23, 1987 (1987-10-23)
156"Hunk in the House"Bruce GreenHarry & Renee LongstreetNovember 6, 1987 (1987-11-06)
167"Marva in the Key of Cee"TBATBANovember 13, 1987 (1987-11-13)
178"Beauty and the Babe"TBATBANovember 20, 1987 (1987-11-20)
189"A Russian Holiday"TBATBADecember 11, 1987 (1987-12-11)
1910"A Very Foley Christmas"TBATBADecember 20, 1987 (1987-12-20)
2011"Guess Who's Coming to Slumber?"TBATBAJanuary 8, 1988 (1988-01-08)
2112"Sweet 16"TBATBAJanuary 15, 1988 (1988-01-15)

Home mediaEdit

On June 5, 2012, Image Entertainment released Rags to Riches: The Complete Series on Region 1 DVD.[3]

DTP Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Germany. Season 1 was released on May 13, 2011 and season 2 on October 27, 2011.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1988 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Under Ten Years of Age in Television or Motion Pictures Heidi Zeigler Won
1988 Young Artist Award Best Family Comedy Series
1988 Young Artist Award Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Television Comedy Series Blanca De Garr Nominated


  1. ^ Shales, Tom (1987-03-09). "Rags: Moderately Rich; NBC Rips Off Annie, Hits Easy Street". The Washington Times.
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present. Penguin Books. p. 683. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
  3. ^ Lambert, David (February 29, 2012). "Rags to Riches - We've Got the Scoop on a DVD Release of the Show Starring Joseph Bologna and Tisha Campbell". Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.

External linksEdit