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Ain’t we happy we got em? “Good Times” aired on CBS from February 1974 through August 1979. The story of a poor Black family trying to make the best of life in Chicago’s housing projects became an instant hit.
ESSENCE.com revisits some of the fond memories shared on the set. Keep clicking to find your favorite moment.
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Pretty face Willona Woods (Ja’net Dubois), Florida Evans (Esther Rolle) and James Evans (John Amos) share some scene time on the set. Willona made the Evans’ apartment her home away from home.
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The series is the first prime-time show to feature a strong Black family and a strong Black father figure, something Ester Rolle pressured producers about.
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The Evans family graces the cover of TV Guide in the 70’s. The sitcom was notorious for tackling controversial issues in the Black community.
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On-screen, J.J. and dad had great chemistry as James Evans often busted his namesake’s chops. However, once the cameras went off, John Amos was becoming increasingly frustrated with the show straying in the direction of stereotypes.
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J.J.’s outgoing energy was often contagious, as was his signature phrase, “Dyn-o-mite!”
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Before she was in "Control or welcoming fans behind the “Velvet Rope,” Janet Jackson won our hearts as Penny Gordon on the show. Though she had many great lines and costarred in dozens of shows, the most memorable episode was the serious plotline of being burned with an iron by her mom. The incident opened the door for her to be adopted by Willona, our choice all along.
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In the opening episode of season four, the family learns that dad James Evans has been killed in an accident while traveling for work. Viewers could feel the lost of the first up close depiction of a strong Black father on television. And Florida’s exclamation of “damn, damn, damn” when she heard the news, remains an iconic moment and phrase.
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The women surround the rock of the family, Florida Evans, for some juicy conversation. Bern Nadette Stains is considered the first Black sex symbol for her role as “Thelma”.
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Thelma gives her big bro a peck on-set. Today actress Bern Nadette Stanis shares a message of abstinence to teens around the world.
“Find out what you like and your passions before you get so wrapped up in someone else,” she says.
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A few years ago, the cast come together again at the BET Awards. Even Janet Jackson joined the fun.
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Bern Nadette Stanis and Jimmy Walker continue to have a close relationship following their days on the show.
By: Jenisha Watts
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