"Bosom Buddies" premiered on ABC in the fall of 1980 with little fanfare. The cast was a group of unknowns. The concept seemed a blatant rip-off of the classic gender-bender movie "Some Like It Hot."
But the series turned out to be a surprisingly funny twist on a hackneyed theme. "Bosom Buddies" developed a small but loyal following and squeaked by for two seasons despite having its time period change six times. Nearly 12 years after its debut, "Bosom Buddies" is still enjoying life in syndication and recently joined USA's comedy lineup.
So what made the show so special?
A young Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari starred as Kip and Henry, two friends working in an advertising agency who were also roomies, until a wrecking ball destroyed their building. Office receptionist Amy (a spunky Wendy Jo Sperber), who had a crush on Henry, came up with the bright idea of the two moving into her boarding house, the Susan B. Anthony Hotel. The only problem was, it was strictly for women.
But the rent was low and the women beautiful, so Kip and Henry disguised themselves as Buffy and Hildegarde, Kip and Henry's big-boned sisters. Every so often, Kip and Henry would show up at the hotel for a visit.
Hanks was utterly charming and displayed an endearing comic flair as Kip, the junior illustrator who dreamed of becoming a famous artist. Scolari was his perfect foil as Henry, the copy reader who aspired to be a best-selling novelist. The two worked so well together one honestly believed they had been friends for years.
Donna Dixon co-starred as Sonny, the beautiful but brainy blonde whom Kip loved. Holland Taylor was Kip and Henry's boss, Ruth Dunbar, and former Dawn singer Telma Hopkins played their friend, Isabell.
During its second season, Kip and Henry, who had revealed their true identity to their friends, took over a commercial production business with Amy. Sonny pursued a nursing career and Isabell became manager of the hotel.
All the actors went on to bigger and better things, especially Hanks, who has become a popular film actor and received an Oscar nomination for 1988's "Big." His latest film, "A League of Their Own," opened last week.
Scolari enjoyed a long run on CBS' "Newhart" as the ultimate yuppie Michael Harris and has guest-starred in several TV movies. Dixon, who is married to Dan Aykroyd, was recently in the box-office hit, "Wayne's World." Taylor stars as the ruthless wife of a senator in the NBC comedy "The Powers That Be"; Hopkins is a regular on ABC's "Full House" and Sperber starred in the 1990-91 Fox sitcom "Babes."
"Bosom Buddies" airs Mondays-Sundays at 5 p.m. on USA.