ALICE, based on the movie, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," ran from 1976 to 1985 and won many Golden Globes and Emmys. The series had several cast changes but the show was still incredibly popular throught it's entire nine-year run.
Alice Hyatt is a widowed mother with a teenage son, Tommy, who leaves New Jersey after her husband's death to move, and her car breaks down in Phoenix, Arizona. Her aspirations to be a singer, which would be hard without a backup job, require her to do something... anything. She becomes a waitress at Mel's Diner, a truckstop, where Mel is the cook and her boss. Mel is from Brooklyn, and has many stories from his childhood and his stint as Navy frycook.
Mel has two other waitresses... Flo, from Texas, who's slew of favorite expressions includes "Kiss my grits!!!" and "When donkeys fly!", and Vera, from New England, who is slightly ditzy, as Mel's nickname for her, "dingey," exhibits. Besides the regulars, several recurring characters are remembered warmly by fans, such as the telephone man, Henry (Marvin Kaplan), and Earl (Dave Madden).
At the end of the fourth year, Polly Holliday leaves to star in the spin-off, FLO, where Flo moves back to Texas. The spin-off lasts one season, sadly, and Flo never returns to ALICE. In her space, we are introduced to Belle Dupree. Mel tells everyone how she was his first waitress when he first established his business in Phoenix.
Mel initially favors Belle, until she begins to bond with Vera and Alice, and his attitude soon changes. The following year, Belle leaves to pursue a singing career and the next new waitress, Jolene, is introduced.
Jolene is a trucker, and she and her co-driver, Burt, eat at Mel's Diner just after Belle leaves. They have a terrible fight, resulting in some diner plates being broken. To pay this off, Mel hires her as a temporary waitress, but she stays for four and a half years.
In season 8, Vera marries a policeman, Elliot Novack. In season nine, at the close of the series, Alice decides to give up her waitress uniform and become a singer full time, a job which requires her to travel most of the time. Mel closes the diner, Vera becomes pregnant, Tommy continues college, Elliot gets promoted, and Jolene buys a beauty shop.
What really happened to the characters after the close of Mel's Diner remains a mystery, but fans continue to speculate (see the Fan's Corner page to see some of their comments). Certainly ALICE entertained viewers of all walks of life and will continue to do so in DVD form and, hopefully, in reruns for years to come.