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Polish

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ALL IN THE FAMILY (ARCHIE BUNKER'S PLACE)/CBS/1971-83
*(Rob Reiner/costar) Mike Stivic, a know-it-all, Polish-American college student married to the daughter of a bigoted New York loading dock foreman. Mike's liberal political persuasion was constantly at odds with his father-in-law, Archie with whom he lived while going to school. Their shouting matches over a variety of social issues often ended with Mike being called a "dumb pinko-Commie Pollock" or a "Meathead". Once Archie proclaimed “Sticks and stones will break my bones but your are one dumb Pollock.“ When Mike finally received his degree in Sociology, he moved to California in 1978 with his wife, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and his young son, Joey (Jason & Justin Draeger), thus effectively being written out of the script. During the 1982 season, he divorced his wife and ran off to a commune to be a flower child. His wife, Gloria resurfaced in a short-lived spin-off GLORIA/CBS/1982-83 which dealt with her struggles after the divorce.

ANGEL STREET/CBS/1992
*(Pamela Gidley/costar) Dorothy "Dotty" Paretsky, a cigarette-smoking police detective of Polish-Catholic descent working for the Violent Crimes Unit of the Chicago Police Department. Dorothy grew up in the Polish Hill section of Chicago also known as Angel Street. She was teamed with a African-American female partner.

ANYTHING BUT LOVE/ABC/1989-92
**(Holly Fulger) Robin Dulitski, a dental hygientist and best friend of writer Hannah Miller who owned the apartment building in which Hannah lived. Robin has known Hannah since she was five-years-old. They referred to each other as Mrs. Schmenkman.

BANACEK/NBC/1972-74
*(George Peppard) Thomas Banacek, a cool, suave Polish-American investigator who assisted insurance companies in solving theft and loss cases. His fees for his efforts afforded him a luxurious home in the exclusive Beacon Hill section of Boston, Massachusetts. Banacek's mathematician father was born in Warsaw, Poland. When he moved to American he worked for an Insurance but after 20 years of service he was replaced by a computer. His son, Thomas remembers this little affront and now says "I don’t; work for anybody, I work for myself." Banacek charges 10% commission on the value of any items recovered. George Peppard was very popular with the Polish viewing audience who reveled in his positive, non-stereotypical persona. His character often dropped a Polish proverb or two along the trail of his criminal investigations. Some examples: "There's an old Polish proverb that says"..."Just because a dress is red satin, doesn't mean it comes off easy"; "A truly wise man never plays leap frog with a unicorn"; and "Only someone with nothing to be sorry about smiles at the rear of an elephant." The BANACEK series was originally broadcast as a rotating segment of the NBC WEDNESDAY MYSTERY MOVIE. See also "Irish" section on MADIGAN.

BARNEY MILLER/ABC/1975-82
**(Maxwell Gail) Detective Stanley "Wojo" Wojohowicz, a naive, but lovable plainclothes police officer working at the 12th Precinct, a run-down police station located in Greenwich Village in New York City. Wojo was single, loved baseball and wore the oddest color combinations when it came to his shirts and ties.

BLUE THUNDER/ABC/1984
**(Dick Butkus) Officer Richard "Ski" Butowski, a hulking policeman who assisted special Los Angeles Police Department unit responsible for "Blue Thunder," a high -tech helicopter.

THE BOBBY VINTON SHOW/SYN/1975-78
*(Bobby Vinton) Bobby Vinton, a popular Polish-American singer who starred in his own musical variety show that featured songs, comedy sketches and animated shorts. Polish-Americans who had already dubbed him the "Polish Prince" adopted his song "My Melody of Love" as their anthem.

CHINA BEACH/ABC/1988-91
*(Marg Helenberger) Karen Charlene ("K.C.") Koloski, a civilian prostitute and heroine addict (born in Kansas City) working at the China Beach R & R facility in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam during the late 1960s. K C. charges a $100 an hour and has type "O" blood. During her stay in Nam she befriended an Irish-American nurse named Colleen McMurphy. In 1967 K. C. got pregnant with a child fathered by General A. M. Miller. She later gave up her baby (Karen) to a Vietnamese woman as she said "until I get my life together." Just before the Fall of Saigon, she retrieves her child (played by Shay Aster) and tells her to contact Boonie Lanier, a soldier who loved her. Back in the states, Boonie raised Karen as one of his own. K. C. went on to become the owner of a diner and later a high powered business woman. Christine Elise played Karen during her college years.

C-16: FBI/ABC/1997-98
*(Eric Close) Special Agent John Olansky, Polish-American leader of a maverick squad of FBI agents based in Los Angeles. Olansky and his loyal agents get the job done by not “going by the book.“

COACH/CBS/1989-97
**(Bill Faberbakke) Dauber Dybinski, a slowwitted student assistant who worked with Coach Hayden and the Screaming Eagles Football Team at Minnesota State University.

CRUSADER/CBS/1955-56
**(Brian Keith) Matt Anders, a freelance writer of Polish descent who helps people escape the oppressive hands of dictatorships and Commuist regimes. Matt's mother died in a Polish concentration camp after the Polish government was overthrown by Communists.

DELTA HOUSE/ABC/1979
*(Josh Mostel) Jim "Blotto" Blutarsky, rowdy college transfer student living Delta House a fraternity at Faber College in Pennsylvania during 1962. Jim was the younger brother of Bluto Blutarsky (played by John Belushi), the guy who yelled "Food fight!" in the movie "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978).

THE DREW CAREY SHOW/ABC/1995-2004
**(Kathy Kinney) Mimi Bobeck, overweight cosmetically-challenged secretary of Polish heritage who worked at Winfred-Louder Department Store in Cleveland. Mimi is mean, vindictive, dresses in outrageously colorful costumes and is the thorn in the side of assistant director of personnel, Drew Carey. Mimi later falls in love with Drew’s brother Steve Carey and (horror of horrors) Mimi becomes one of the family. Mimi often calls Drew Carey a “pig” and not surprisingly, her catchphrase is ”Bite me, Pig.“ Mimi’s family heritage of Polish is mentioned in the March 19, 1997 episode 42 "Two Drews and the Queen of Poland Walk into a Bar" in which Mimi (a descendent of Polish royalty) prepares to meet a neighborhood man called the King of Poland with hopes of becoming his queen. Unfortunately, the Polish-American community wasn't amused by the episode and references to Mimi’s Polish heritage. In the June 3, 1997 issue of the PAC NEWS Connection Frank Milewski, who heads the Anti-Bigotry Committee remarked “The material was so defamatory that we felt the issue had to be taken up face-to-face basis...The problem rests on two characters depicted as Polish on the March 19th episode of the Drew Carey series. One was “Mimi Bobeck,” a clown-like caricature of a Polish woman who has not been given any ethnic identity until this particular show. The other was “Stan,” a vulgar and repulsive individual holding himself out to “King of Poland.” The PAC concerns were based on similar complaints in the past as the cancellation of the old “Dick Tracy“ series by another network because Asian and Hispanic communities objected to characters named “Jo Jitsu“ and Go Go Gomez.” Chris Hikawa, Vice President of Broadcast Standards & Practices at ABC, initially advised the Anti-Bigotry Committee that “This storyline in no way denigrated Polish-Americans. Mimi is clearly proud of her Polish heritage and does not exhibit any of the negative stereotyped traits which are the basis of Polish jokes. We believe that the program does not ridicule Polish-Americans and regret that your were offended.” But later Hikawa reached an agreement with the producers of The Drew Carey Show to have the episode entitled “Two Kings and a Queen” edited for rebroadcast. The character of the King of Poland will be eliminated from the program." The PAC also proposed that ABC not repeat the March 19th episode or put it into syndication and stop identifying “Mimi” as Polish. (Check out the related 1997 PAC News Connection articles at http://www.polamcon.org). Another character with a Polish surname is Lewis Kiniski (played by Ryan Stiles), a janitor at DrugCo Pharmaceutical Company. He has known Drew Carey since they were kids growing up in Cleveland. Lewis’ character can be borderline philosophical but generally is just down right stupid and “creepy.”

THE FACTS OF LIFE/NBC/1979-88
*(Nancy McKeon/costar) Jo Polniaczek, a tom-boyish young lady of Polish descent who loved to putter with automobile and motorcycle engines. Alex Rocco played her father, an ex-con who got enough money together to send her to Eastland, a suburban New York finishing school for women where she roomed with a group of young girls of varied backgrounds. The series followed their development as friends. All four graduated and lived with the school's former dietician where they worked at her business (first a gourmet shop and later a novelty shop). Claire Malis appeared as Jo's infrequently seen mother, Rose Polniaczek.

THE FATHER DOWLING MYSTERIES/NBC/ABC/1989-91
*(Tracy Nelson/costar) Stephanie Oskowski, a streetwise young women of Polish descent who joined the convent and later was to be known as Sister Steve. She taught at St. Michaels and helped Father Frank Dowling solve crimes in the city of Chicago.

GAVILAN/NBC/1982-83
**(Kate Reid) Marion Jaworski, Polish-American supervisor at California's DeWitt Institute of Oceanography who assigned projects to a former CIA agent named Gavilan.

GIMME A BREAK/NBC/1981-87
*(Dolph Sweet) Carl Kanisky, a beefy, widower police chief of polish descent who lived in the suburban town of Glenlawn. His family included Kari Michaelson as Katie; Lauri Hendler as Julie; Lara Jill Miller as Samantha "Sam"; Pete Schrum as Uncle Ed Kanisky; and John Hoyt as Grandpa Stanley Kanisky and Jane Dulo as Grandma Mildred Kanisky. When the chief died (Dolph Sweet died in real-life), Nell Harper, his black housekeeper, took care of the children.

THE GEORGE CARLIN SHOW/FOX/1994-95
**(Susan Sullivan) Kathleen Rachowski, Polish-American owner of a pet store in New York City where cabbie George O'Grady got dog food supplies and got dates with shop's attractive proprietress.

GLORIA/CBS/1982-83
*(Sally Struthers) Gloria Bunker-Stivic, the ex-wife of Polish-American Michael Stivic who abandoned Gloria to live on a California commune on the sitcom ALL IN THE FAMILY. Gloria now works in Upstate New York as a veterinarian's assistant. Her little boy, Joey Stivic was played by Christian Jacobs.

GRACE UNDER FIRE/ABC/1993-1997
**(Casey Sander) Wade Z. Swoboda, tall, blond, Polish-American police officer living in Victory, Missouri next-door to series title character (Grace). Also featured was Nadine Swoboda, Wade,s wife. Wade is a Vietnam veteran. He carried a silver cigarette case for good luck. He once discovered that his name was mistakenly displayed on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial. Later in the series, Wade became a traffic helicopter pilot.

HACK/CBS/2002-2004
*(David Morse) Michael Olshansky, a Polish-American cab driver living in Philadelphia. He is tall, somber and a former police officer for the Philadelphia Police. He lost his job on a corruption charge for stealing money from a narcotics crime scene. Ever since, Michael has tried to redeem himself by helping those in need - many of whom he meets while driving his cab (No. P2626) about town. Michael especially wants the respect of his wife, Heather (Donna Murphy, who divorced him and his young son, Michael "Mikey" Olshansky Jr. (Matthew Borish). Mike's friend Father Grizz Grzelak (George Dzundza), a Catholic priest with a gambling problem who comes to Michael's aid and council from time to time (Grizz steals money from the collection plate to feed his addiction). Of all the people, Michael disappointed his father (Brian Smiar) is hurt the most. He refuses to forgive his son for disgracing the family's honor and the once untarnished image he once held of his son.

HARDBALL/NBC/1989-90
*(Richard Tyson/costar) Joe "Kaz" Kaczierowski, a streetwise cop of polish descent who worked with his detective partner at the Metro Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Kaz's mother, Beverly Kaczierowski, was played by Patricia Harty.

HAWAIIAN HEAT/ABC/1984
*(Jeff McCracken/costar) Andy Senkowski, a Chicago police detective of Polish descent who relocates to Hawaii with his partner Mac Riley and eventually become undercover cops for Major Taro Oshira of the Oahu Police Department. Also featured was Shelley Winters as Andy's mother, Florence Senkowski.

HENNESEY/CBS/1959-62
**(Henry Kulky) Max Bronsky, naval orderly of Polish decent who was assigned to the San Diego Naval Base in California. In the fall of 1961 Max got promoted to Chief Petty Officer. Also featured was Frank Gorshin as Seaman Pulaski.

THE HEIGHTS/FOX/1992
**(Zachary Throne) Lenny Wieckowski, Polish-American worker at the Seven Seas restaurant who plays keyboard with a blue-collar rock and roll band called The Heights.

HILL STREET BLUES/NBC/1981-87
**(Robert Prosky) Sgt. Stanislaus Jablonski, a cynical police officer who supervised the 7.A.M. roll call at Hill Street station. After updating his fellow officers about what was happening on the streets, he left them with these parting words "Let's do it to them before they do it to us." Jablonski's predecessor Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (now deceased) had ended each roll call with "And, hey! Let's be careful out there."

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS/SYN/1997-2000
*(Peter Scolari/costar) Wayne Szalinski, a Polish-American research scientist who lives with his lawyer wife, Diane Murdock (Barbara Alyn Woods) in the town of Matheson, Colorado, They share their home with their children: Amy Szalinski (Hilary Tuck), a teenager and Nicholas "Nick" Bradbury Szalinski (Thomas Dekker), a boy computer genius. Quark is the family dog. Wayne’s ancestor “Lo Fat’ fought Ninjas.

HOPE & FAITH/ABC/2003-2006
*(Ted McGinley) Charles "Charley" Shanowski, a Polish-American   physician who lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, Hope (Faith Ford). Family members include Macey Cruthird, Paul Litowsky, and Megan Fox as Charley and Hope's children Hayley, Justin and Sydney. Also living in the Shanowski household is Hope's sister, Faith Fairfield (Kelly Ripa), an unemployed Hollywood daytime soap opera star who once played Ashley Storm on "The Sacred and the Sinful" until her character was killed off by her evil twin. Robert Wagner appeared as Jack Fairfield, the girl's widowed father. He had an affair and fathered a boy who grew up to be the owner of "j's" a successful restaurant. 

HUNTER/NBC/1984-91
*(Darlanne Fluegel) Officer Joann Molenski, a female policewoman of Polish descent working with Detective Sergeant Rick Hunter in the city of Los Angeles. Officer Molenski replaced Officer Dee Dee McCall during the 1990-91 season. She was killed three months later.

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