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Child actress Soleil Moon Frye played the title role in the lightweight half-hour sitcom Punky Brewster. After being abandoned by her parents, resourceful eight-year-old Penelope "Punky" Brewster moved into an an empty Chicago apartment with her little dog, Brandon. They were discovered and subsequently adopted by the building's owner, middle-aged photographer Henry Warnimont (George Gaynes), the archetypal "old grouch with the heart of gold." Punky quickly became friends with Cherie Johnson (played, amazingly enough, by Cherie Johnson), who lived in the apartment upstairs with her legal guardian, registered nurse Betty Johnson (Susie Garrett). The two youngsters attended school with their other friends, stuck-up Margaux Kramer (Ami Foster) and mischievous Allen Anderson (Casey Ellison). Their teacher during season one was Mrs. Morton (Dody Goodman), succeeded in season two by Mike Fulton (T.K. Carter). Also on hand during the series' inaugural season was Eddie Deezen as the apartment's goofy maintenance man, Eddie Malvin. The series debuted September 18, 1984, on the NBC network, whose programming head, Brandon Tartikoff, had actually had a childhood friend named Punky Brewster (still alive at the time the series was produced -- and, incidentally, generously compensated for the use of her name). Though the series lasted only two seasons on NBC, it proved to be a huge hit in rerun syndication after its cancellation on September 7, 1986. Thus, beginning in the fall of 1987, new episodes of Punky Brewster were seen in first-run syndication with virtually the entire cast (except for T.K. Carter) intact. The property remained in production for an additional two years, during which time the character of Henry Warnimont forsook his photography career to open up a restaurant, appropriately christened "Punky's Place." And from 1985 to 1989, an animated cartoon spin-off featuring the same cast in voice-over roles, It's Punky Brewster, was seen on NBC's Saturday-morning manifest. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Close
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