It's hard to imagine that an iconic, multiple-Emmy-winning comedy series like Taxi ran for only five seasons and 114 episodes. But that was the case for the comedy that helped launch the career of future stars including Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd and Tony Danza.
The ABC turned NBC comedy, which this month marks 40 years since its series debut, told the story of a group of dreamers — drivers with aspirations always just outside their grasp and humiliations well within it. Finding a kinship inside a grungy garage, they build a refuge from the daily struggles of the outside world. Nobody wanted to be there, yet while they were, they celebrated and supported one another.
The pioneering sitcom — which premiered 40 years ago on Sept. 12, 1978 — didn't crack jokes as much as derive humor from recognizable situations. The actors didn't project as much as portray. No one wore a black or white hat, just different shades of gray. Smart writing, rich characters and the close bond of cast and crew forged a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.
In just five seasons, Taxi won three Emmys for best comedy series. It launched the careers of DeVito, Henner, Lloyd and Danza. It introduced Andy Kaufman to mainstream audiences. And if not for the machinations of network executives, it could have continued for many more years.
1:43 Taxi (1978-83 TV Series) - 1974 Checker Taxi Sunshine Cab Company #804