|Theme music composer||Bob James|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||114 (list of episodes)|
|Production locations||Stage 23, Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Distributor||Paramount Domestic Television|
|Original release||September 12, 1978 –|
June 15, 1983
Taxi is an American sitcom that originally aired on ABC from September 12, 1978, to May 6, 1982, and on NBC from September 30, 1982, to June 15, 1983. The series won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. It focuses on the everyday lives of a handful of New York City taxi drivers and their abusive dispatcher. Taxi was produced by the John Charles Walters Company, in association with Paramount Network Television, and was created by James L. Brooks, Stan Daniels, David Davis, and Ed. Weinberger.
For most of the run of the show, the ensemble cast consisted of taxi drivers Alex Reiger (Judd Hirsch), Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway), Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner), Tony Banta (Tony Danza), and "Reverend" Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd), along with their dispatcher Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito) and mechanic Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman).
The show was a critical and commercial success, having been nominated for 31 Emmy Awards and winning 13, including three straight years winning Outstanding Comedy. It has remained in syndicated reruns ever since the series ended.
The show focuses on the employees of the fictional Sunshine Cab Company, and its principal setting is the company's fleet garage in Manhattan. Among the drivers, only Alex Reiger, who is disillusioned with life, considers cab driving his profession. The others view it as a temporary job.
Elaine Nardo is a single mother working as a receptionist at an art gallery. Tony Banta is a boxer with a losing record. Bobby Wheeler is a struggling actor. John Burns (written out of the show after the first season) is working his way through college. All take pity on "Reverend Jim" Ignatowski, an aging hippie minister, who is burnt out from drugs, so they help him become a cabbie. The characters also include Latka Gravas, their innocent, wide-eyed mechanic from an unnamed foreign country, and Louie De Palma, the despotic dispatcher.
A number of episodes involve a character having an opportunity to realize his dream to move up in the world, only to see it yanked away. Otherwise, the cabbies deal on a daily basis with their unsatisfying lives and with Louie's abusive behavior and contempt (despite being a former cab driver himself). Louie's assistant, Jeff Bennett, is rarely heard from at first, but his role increases in later seasons.
Despite the humor of the show, Taxi often tackles such dramatic life issues as drug addiction, single parenthood, blindness, obesity, dissociative identity disorder, animal abuse, homosexuality, racism, teenage runaways, divorce, nuclear war, sexual harassment, premenstrual mood disorders, gambling addiction, and grief.
|Alex Reiger||Judd Hirsch||Main|
|Bobby Wheeler||Jeff Conaway||Main||Recurring|
|Louie De Palma||Danny DeVito||Main|
|Elaine O'Connor Nardo||Marilu Henner||Main|
|Anthony Mark "Tony" Banta||Tony Danza||Main|
|Latka Gravas||Andy Kaufman||Main|
|John Burns||Randall Carver||Main|
|Reverend Jim "Iggy" Ignatowski||Christopher Lloyd||Guest||Main|
|Simka Gravas||Carol Kane||Guest||Recurring||Main|
Among the many guest stars, Ruth Gordon won an Emmy Award for her guest portrayal of Dee Wilcox in "Sugar Mama" (1979), and Eileen Brennan was nominated for an Emmy for her guest portrayal of Mrs. McKenzie in "Thy Boss's Wife" (1981). Actresses Marcia Wallace and Penny Marshall, psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers, cookie entrepreneur Wally "Famous" Amos, newscaster Edwin Newman, journalist Eric Sevareid, actor Hervé Villechaize and ring announcer Jimmy Lennon portrayed themselves in separate episodes.
George Wendt and Ted Danson, who appeared in separate episodes, went on to star in primary Taxi director Jim Burrows' next series, Cheers , as did recurring Taxi performer Rhea Perlman. Tom Selleck also had a memorable guest appearance, constituting one of the memorable fares of Cab 804, while Tom Hanks portrayed Reverend Jim's college roommate in the flashback episode "The Road Not Taken, Part 1".
WBC world welterweight champion Carlos Palomino appeared in the episode "One-Punch Banta" as himself (season 1, episode 2, original air date September 19, 1978). In that scene Palomino accidentally punches Tony in the face when he failed to pull his punch. Allan Arbus, who portrayed US Army psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman in M*A*S*H , played his manager in the episode. Football player-turned-actor Bubba Smith appeared in one episode. Martial artist and professional wrestler Gene LeBell played himself in multiple episodes as the referee for Tony Banta's boxing matches.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||22||September 12, 1978||May 15, 1979||ABC|
|2||24||September 11, 1979||May 13, 1980|
|3||20||November 19, 1980||May 21, 1981|
|4||24||October 18, 1981||May 6, 1982|
|5||24||September 30, 1982||June 15, 1983||NBC|
Taxi is one of television's most lauded shows. During its run, the sitcom was nominated for 31 Emmy Awards and won 18, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. It was also nominated for 25 Golden Globes, with four wins (three for Best TV Series – Musical/Comedy). In 1979, it received the Humanitas Prize in the 30 minute category. It was also ranked 48th in TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 1997, two of the show's episodes, "Latka the Playboy" and "Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey" were respectively ranked #19 and #63 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2013, the series was ranked #35 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time.
Golden Globe Awards:
Golden Globe Awards:
Taxi was inspired by the non-fiction article "Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet" by Mark Jacobson, which appeared in the September 22, 1975, issue of New York magazine.This article helped suggest the idea for the show to James L. Brooks and David Davis, though nothing from the article was used directly. The article was a profile of several drivers who worked the night shift for a New York cab company.
The series was produced on Stage 23 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, from July 5, 1978, to February 18, 1983.
When the series was cancelled by ABC, it seemed for a time that the premium cable television network HBO would pick up the series. When it did not, the series was picked up by NBC, which at first kept it on at its ABC time slot of Thursday 9:30 p.m following the first season of Cheers . An NBC promo for Taxi's move to the network featured Danny DeVito in character as Louie saying "Same time, better station!"
The taxicabs shown in the show are Checker A11s.
The opening titles show a Checker cab driving east across the Queensboro Bridge. The footage originally was intended as a "bridge" between scenes and is only about fifteen seconds long; parts of it are repeated to fill the opening. Driving the vehicle is cast-member Tony Danza.The closing version consisted of a cab driving into the night.
Bob James wrote the opening theme, "Angela", which had been intended for a sequence in episode #3 ("Blind Date"). The producers liked this slower, more melancholic tune better than the up-tempo opening theme they had originally chosen ("Touchdown"), and were able to make the switch before the first episode aired. Both songs are on James' 1978 album, Touchdown .
In 1983, James released The Genie, an LP containing much of the incidental music he had written for Taxi during its run.
Reruns of Taxi began airing in syndication in 1983 on 64 television stations immediately after NBC cancelled the program. It has been airing in syndication every year since. The program also aired on Nick at Nite from 1994 to 2001. Taxi currently reruns Sunday nights on MeTV as part of the "Last Laughs" block. Hulu, Amazon Prime, and CBS All Access have all the seasons, but not all the episodes. In the UK, Taxi aired on BBC1 with repeats airing on Paramount Comedy 2 and CBS Drama. As of 2020, the series has been airing weeknights on Decades as part of their “Smart Coms Across The Decades” block. Decades has also aired “Taxi” as a weekend binge.
Danny DeVito hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live (on NBC) soon after Taxi was canceled after the fourth season. During the opening monologue, DeVito read a letter supposedly from his mother asking God to forgive ABC for cancelling the show, adding that "but I'll understand if you don't." A filmed bit had him driving around New York looking morose until inspiration strikes, and he blows up the ABC building. In addition, the Taxi cast members were given an opportunity for closure, which up to that point had been denied for them due to the abrupt cancellation. The actors took their "final" bows during DeVito's opening monologue, only to have NBC (which aired SNL) pick up the show.
Decades later, most of the cast returned to play their younger selves and briefly re-enact scenes for the Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon . Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Jeff Conaway, Carol Kane, Randall Carver, J. Alan Thomas and Christopher Lloyd all reprised their roles. The only two living members of the principal cast who did not were Danny DeVito, who produced and co-starred in the film as Kaufman's manager George Shapiro, and Tony Danza, who at the time of filming was performing in A View from the Bridge on Broadway.
Several of the cast members (along with cast members from other Judd Hirsch and Bob Newhart vehicles) reunited in different roles for an episode of the Judd Hirsch/Bob Newhart series George & Leo .
In January 2009, Danny DeVito mentioned wanting to make a Taxi reunion movie.
All five seasons of Taxi have been released from Paramount Home Entertainment. The first three seasons of Taxi were released on DVD in Region 1 between 2004 and 2005. It took almost four years until Paramount released The Fourth Season on September 22, 2009, and The (Fifth &) Final Season on December 22, 2009 (the last two seasons were released through CBS Home Entertainment). As of October 2014, all seasons have been released in Germany (Region 2).
On November 11, 2014, CBS Home Entertainment released Taxi- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. All 114 episodes are featured on a 17-disc collection.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2|
|The Complete First Season||22||October 12, 2004||April 28, 2008|
|The Complete Second Season||24||February 1, 2005||February 9, 2009|
|The Complete Third Season||20||September 13, 2005||TBA[ contradictory ]|
|The Fourth Season||24||September 22, 2009||TBA[ contradictory ]|
|The (Fifth &) Final Season||24||December 22, 2009||TBA[ contradictory ]|
|The Complete Series||114||November 11, 2014||TBA|
Carolyn Laurie Kane is an American actress and comedienne. She became known in the 1970s and 1980s in films such as Hester Street, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, Dog Day Afternoon, Annie Hall, and The Princess Bride. She appeared on the television series Taxi in the early 1980s, as Simka Gravas, the wife of Latka, the character played by Andy Kaufman, winning two Emmy Awards for her work. She has played the character of Madame Morrible in the musical Wicked, both in touring productions and on Broadway from 2005 to 2014. From 2015 to 2020, she was a main cast member on the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, in which she played Lillian Kaushtupper. During the Star Trek Day 2022 streaming event, it was announced Kane would be joining the Season 2 cast of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman was an American entertainer and performance artist. While often called a "comedian", Kaufman preferred to describe himself instead as a "song and dance man". He has sometimes been called an "anti-comedian". He disdained telling jokes and engaging in comedy as it was traditionally understood, once saying in an interview, "I am not a comic, I have never told a joke. The comedian's promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him. My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can."
Tony Clifton is a character created by comedian and performance artist Andy Kaufman in the late 1970s. An absurdly foul-mouthed and domineering lounge singer claiming to hail from Las Vegas, the tuxedo-clad Clifton often led unsuspecting audiences through awkward yet elaborate lounge singer performances. Kaufman has appeared as Clifton on stage and on television programs ranging from The Merv Griffin Show to The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show.
Man on the Moon is a 1999 biographical comedy-drama film about the late American entertainer Andy Kaufman, starring Jim Carrey as Kaufman. The film was directed by Miloš Forman and also features Danny DeVito, Courtney Love, and Paul Giamatti.
Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. is an American actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He gained prominence for his portrayal of the taxi dispatcher Louie De Palma in the television series Taxi (1978–1983), which won him a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award. He plays Frank Reynolds on the FX and FXX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2006–present).
Vincent Andrew Schiavelli was an American character actor noted for his work on stage, screen, and television. Described as an "instantly recognizable sad-faced actor", he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome in childhood.
Judd Seymore Hirsch is an American actor known for playing Alex Rieger on the television comedy series Taxi (1978–1983), John Lacey on the NBC series Dear John (1988–1992), and Alan Eppes on the CBS series Numb3rs (2005–2010). He is also well known for his career in theatre and for his roles in films such as Ordinary People (1980), Running on Empty (1988), Independence Day (1996), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), and Hollywood Stargirl (2022).
Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway was an American actor. He was known for playing Kenickie in the film Grease and for his roles in two television series: struggling actor Bobby Wheeler in Taxi and security officer Zack Allan on Babylon 5. Conaway was featured in the first and second seasons of the reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Rhea Jo Perlman is an American actress. She played head-waitress Carla Tortelli in the sitcom Cheers (1982–1993). Over the course of 11 seasons, Perlman was nominated for ten Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress – winning four times – and was nominated for a record seven Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series. She has also appeared in films, including Canadian Bacon (1995), Matilda (1996), The Sessions (2012), and Poms (2019).
Cleavon Jake Little was an American stage, film, and television actor. He began his career in the late 1960s on the stage. In 1970, he starred in the Broadway production of Purlie, for which he earned both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. His first leading television role was that of the irreverent Dr. Jerry Noland on the ABC sitcom Temperatures Rising (1972–1974). While starring in the sitcom, Little appeared in what has become his signature performance, portraying Sheriff Bart in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy film Blazing Saddles.
Vito Giusto Scozzari, known professionally as Vito Scotti, was an American character actor who played both dramatic and comedy roles on Broadway, in films, and later on television, primarily from the late 1930s to the mid-1990s. He was known as a man of a thousand faces for his ability to assume so many divergent roles in more than 200 screen appearances in a career spanning 50 years and for his resourceful portrayals of various ethnic types. Of Italian heritage, he played everything from a Mexican bandit, to a Russian doctor, to a Japanese sailor, to an Indian travel agent.
The Reverend Jim "Iggy" Ignatowski is a fictional character in the 1970s television series Taxi. He was played by Christopher Lloyd. A gentle soul, Jim, in his own words, was "the living embodiment of the Sixties." His most noticeable character trait was his extremely "spaced out" behavior as a result of extensive drug use.
Latka Gravas is a fictional character on the television sitcom Taxi portrayed by Andy Kaufman. A sweet-natured and lovable-but-goofy mechanic, Latka was based on a character Kaufman created known as Foreign Man.
The 37th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and television for 1979, were held on 26 January 1980.
The 36th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and television for 1978, were held on January 27, 1979.
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Danny DeVito is an American actor and filmmaker, who has been active in film since the 1970s. One of his early notable roles was as Martini in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975 alongside Jack Nicholson. In the 70s and 80s, he appeared in Car Wash (1976), Terms of Endearment (1983), Romancing the Stone (1984) and its sequel The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Ruthless People (1986), Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Twins (1988), and The War of the Roses (1989). In 1992, he was cast in the role of the villain Penguin opposite Michael Keaton's Batman in Batman Returns. In the 90's, he starred in Renaissance Man (1994), and co-starred in the films Get Shorty with Gene Hackman (1995), Matilda with wife Rhea Perlman, which he also directed and produced. He played George Shapiro in 1999's Man on the Moon opposite Jim Carrey, who played Andy Kaufman, a real-life friend of DeVito's.
Randall Carver is an American actor. Carver started his acting career in the late 1960s, and had roles in films and television. He portrayed John Burns throughout the first season (1978–79) of Taxi.
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