Rags to Riches (TV series)

Rags to Riches
Genre Drama
Created by Bernie Kukoff
Starring Joseph Bologna
Douglas Seale
Kimiko Gelman
Bridget Michele
Tisha Campbell-Martin
Blanca De Garr
Heidi Zeigler
Opening theme Mark Mueller (lyrics)
Composer(s) J. Peter Robinson (1.1)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 20
Executive producer(s) Bernie Kukoff
Leonard Hill
Andrew Schneider
Cinematography Paul Onorato
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 48 minutes
Production company(s) Leonard Hill Films
New World Television
Original network NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original release March 9, 1987 (1987-03-09) – January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15)

Rags to Riches is an American musical comedy drama series that was broadcast on NBC for two seasons from 1987 to 1988. Set in the 1960s, the series tells the story of Nick Foley, a self-made millionaire who adopts five orphan girls. Each episode included musical scenes of hit songs from the era sung by the girls integrated into the plot (usually with the lyrics changed so that they provided comment on the storyline).


Nick Foley (Joseph Bologna), the millionaire owner of Foley's Frozen Foods, is a street-wise 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 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). He does this to help seal a business deal and does not intend to keep them there permanently. But his plans change when he grows fond of the girls, and he ends up adopting them.

The adjustment is huge on both sides, as the girls acquire a father with no parenting experience. Having spent the past few years in a rundown children's home, the girls now find themselves in the lap of luxury. 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 in the subsequent episodes of the show, Foley has adopted five girls: Rose (aged 17), Diane (aged 16), Marva (aged 15), Patti (aged 14) and Mickey (aged 8). The sixth girl, Nina, appears only in the pilot (after the pilot was made, 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 hit songs from the 1960s 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 Numbers

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.

Cast and characters

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

Episode # Episode Title Original Airdate
1-1 Pilot March 9, 1987
1-2 "High Society" March 15, 1987
1-3 "Foley vs Foley" March 22, 1987
1-4 "First Love" March 29, 1987
1-5 "Business is Business" April 5, 1987
1-6 "Patty's Mom" April 12, 1987
1-7 "Bad Blood" April 19, 1987
1-8 "Born to Ride" April 26, 1987

Season 2

Episode # Episode Title Original Airdate
2-1 "Vegas Rock" September 18, 1987
2-2 "Once In a Lifeguard" September 25, 1987
2-3 "That's Cheating" October 2, 1987
2-4 "Wilderness Blues" October 16, 1987
2-5 "Dear Diary" October 23, 1987
2-6 "Hunk in the House" November 6, 1987
2-7 "Marva in the Key of Cee" November 13, 1987
2-8 "Beauty and the Babe" November 20, 1987
2-9 "A Russian Holiday" December 11, 1987
2-10 "A Very Foley Christmas" December 20, 1987
2-11 "Guess Who's Coming To Slumber?" January 8, 1988
2-12 "Sweet 16" January 15, 1988

DVD releases

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 nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1988 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Under Ten Years of Age in Television or Motion Pictures Heidi Zeigler Winner
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". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved December 18, 2012.

External links

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