The television show “Home Improvement” was one of the most-watched shows of the 90s. Airing from 1991 to 1999, “Home Improvement” is considered one the most beloved family sitcoms of all time. But it was not all love behind the scenes.
Based on the stand-up comedy of Tim Allen, “Home Improvement” made its debut on ABC on September 17, 1991, and was one of the highest-rated sitcoms for almost the entire decade. It launched the careers of many of the well-known actors today.
“Home Improvement” launched Pamela Anderson’s career. Anderson had a reoccurring guest role during season one and season two as Lisa, the Tool Time Girl. Anderson served as the eye candy for Tim Allen’s show within a show, as well as the eye candy for all of America during that time!
Beginning in Season 2, “Home Improvement” began each episode with a cold open, which features the show’s logo during the teaser. From Season 4 until the end of the series in 1999, an anthropomorphic version of the logo was used in different types of animation.
Cast Changes – Jill
The first filmed pilot was produced in April 1991, with Frances Fisher playing Jill Taylor. Fisher, primarily known as a dramatic actress, was well qualified for the co-starring role but was viewed by the studio audience as not being comedic enough, and too serious in her line delivery. The producers tried to work with Fisher on adapting to the situation comedy setting, but shortly after the pilot wrapped post-production, they decided to recast her.
The character Wilson is based on Tim Allen’s childhood memories of when he was too short to see over a fence, and was therefore unable to see his neighbor. Wilson is usually shown from the nose or eyes up behind the backyard fence. There are other times when he is shown with various other props to hid his face.
Actor Earl Hindman, neighbor Wilson, would bring a miniature picket fence to hold in front of his face so that it would remain hidden from view. The only time his full face was shown was in the series finale curtain call. Many fans were hoping to one day see his face and when it was shown, it made for a great ending to the show!
The 9th Season
According to E’s “True Hollywood Story,” Tim Allen was offered $50 million to do a 9th season of the show and Patricia Richardson was offered $25 million for a 9th season. Allen and Richardson did not agree and a 9th season was never filmed, leaving the 8th season as the last season in 1999.
Colleges and universities in Michigan sent star Tim Allen sweaters and T-shirts to wear on the air, and he did. As the television show is set in Detroit, Michigan, Allen loved to show support for the state. The fact that colleges and universities sent him t-shirts to wear shows what a beloved show this was during its run!
Tool Time Audience
The audience for Tim’s Tool Time show within a show is the actual live studio audience. The camera will often cut back and forth from Tim to the audience to show their interaction. This made being a studio audience guest of “Home Improvement” a fun and interactive experience, as most other shows of the time did not do this.
Tool Time Unseen Character
While taping some episodes of Tool Time, Tim sometimes asks an unseen character, Klaus, to play music for Tool Time segments. Klaus Landsberg worked in the sound department on “Home Improvement.” This was just another example of how Tim Allen made this show fun and engaging.
The Three Brothers
In the show the oldest brother, Brad is 13 months older than the second brother, Randy. However, in reality, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Randy, is older by a month and a day than Zachery Ty Bryan, who played his older brother. Confusing, yes it is! But JTT had that baby face that made him look younger!
The character ‘Tim Taylor’ was ranked #20 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” in the 20 June 2004 issue. Other notable dads included Bill Cosby of “The Cosby Show” and Bob Saget of “Full House.” Everyone loves a fun and loving sitcom dad and Tim Taylor is one of the most popular!