Lime Street (TV series)


Lime Street
Lime Street cast photograph. Clockwise from left: Samantha Smith, Robert Wagner, Lew Ayres, and Maia Brewton
Created byLinda Bloodworth-Thomason
Written byLinda Bloodworth-Thomason
Ron Friedman
E. Jack Kaplan
Mark Redmond
Directed byRay Austin
Earl Bellamy
StarringRobert Wagner
Lew Ayres
Maia Brewton
Samantha Smith
Theme music composerLee Holdridge
ComposersAlf Clausen
Lee Holdridge
Arthur Kempel
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Executive producersLinda Bloodworth-Thomason
Harry Thomason
Robert Wagner
ProducerE. Jack Kaplan
CinematographyCharles R. Young
EditorsMichael F. Anderson
Roger Bondelli
Jack Harnish
Running time45–48 min
Production companiesR.J. Productions
Bloodworth/Thomason Mozark Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkABC
Lifetime (episodes 6–8)
Original releaseSeptember 21, 1985 (1985-09-21) –
1987 (1987)

Lime Street is an American action/drama series that aired on the ABC television network during the 1985 television season. The series was created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who also served as executive producer alongside husband Harry Thomason, and series star Robert Wagner.


James Culver (Wagner), a widower, raises his two daughters, Elizabeth (Smith) and Margaret Ann (Brewton) with his father, Henry (Ayres), and investigates insurance cases with the British Edward Wingate (Standing).


The cast of Lime Street included veteran Hollywood star Robert Wagner and Samantha Smith. Smith, a schoolgirl in Manchester, Maine, had written then-Soviet premier Yuri Andropov a letter asking him whether he was truly desirous of a nuclear war with the United States, as she had heard suggested by some. He wrote her a reply stating that he was not, and then invited her to visit the Soviet Union; the event, which was followed by media in both countries and elsewhere around the world, gained her fame.

Two versions exist of how Smith was cast into the show: one story states that she had caught the attention of Bloodworth-Thomason in early 1985 when the latter's brother-in-law spotted her on a talk show and suggested that she might fit the role of the elder daughter in the series, at that time known as J.G. Culver.[1] Another suggests that Wagner, who had first seen her on The Tonight Show, called her up, asking her to audition for the role.[2]

Three episodes and the pilot had been shot when Smith was killed on August 25, 1985, in the crash of a small plane belonging to Bar Harbor Airlines.[2] Smith's death occurred prior to the airing of any of the programs, the premiere being on September 21. Although production continued, her role was never recast.[3] Auditions were held instead for a new character, another daughter to Wagner's character,[4] but the notion was entirely dropped. The plan had been for Smith's character, Elizabeth, to live on off-screen, moving to Paris to be with her divorced mother. The show was subsequently dedicated to Smith's memory.[3]

Critical reviews on Lime Street were not enamored of the program itself. Bill Kelley of the Sun-Sentinel said, "Apart from the fact that the pilot devotes a large volume of boring time to depicting Wagner's J.G. Culver character as a doting father, there is virtually nothing to separate Lime Street from such Wagner series as It Takes a Thief, Switch or Hart to Hart....The series pins its hopes squarely on the TV audience's fondness for the Wagner they have come to know over the years, rather than on plot turns or originality."[5] There was genuine praise for Smith's talents and acting ability in the few episodes she had completed. John Leonard of New York said "...Samantha was wonderful—gawky but sincere, life-loving, a saint with bangs...."[6]

However, the series had trouble finding much of an audience, mainly due to competition from NBC's Top 20 hits The Golden Girls and 227, both also debuting that same season.[3] The fifth episode aired on ABC on October 26, 1985, after which the show was canceled at the request of the producers,[3] the episodes recorded after Smith's death having made them realize that going on with production had not been a wise decision.[7][8] However, three then-unaired episodes were shown on the Lifetime network in 1987.[7]

The series' fourth episode, "Diamonds Aren't Forever," guest-starred Annie Potts and Jean Smart as sisters and diamond thieves. Bloodworth-Thomason was impressed by the pair's chemistry, and combining them with Delta Burke and Dixie Carter from a previous show, Filthy Rich, was the impetus for her later, much more successful Designing Women.[9]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Pilot"Ray AustinLinda Bloodworth-ThomasonSeptember 21, 1985 (1985-09-21)
2"The Mystery of Flight 401"Ray AustinLinda Bloodworth-ThomasonSeptember 28, 1985 (1985-09-28)
3"The Wayward Train"Ray AustinRon FriedmanOctober 5, 1985 (1985-10-05)
4"Diamonds Aren't Forever"Ray AustinMark RedmondOctober 12, 1985 (1985-10-12)
5"Old Pilots Never Die"Earl BellamyLinda Bloodworth-ThomasonOctober 26, 1985 (1985-10-26)
6"Swiss Watch and Wait"Ray AustinE. Jack Kaplan1987 (1987) (Lifetime)
7"Treasure Hunt"Earl BellamyAlan Rosen1987 (1987) (Lifetime)
8"The Three Million Dollar Spirit"Ray AustinWalter Dallenbach1987 (1987) (Lifetime)


  1. ^ "Famed as Andropov's Pen Pal, Samantha Smith Appears Again—as Robert Wagner's Co-Star :". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  2. ^ a b "A Plane Crash Ends the Bright Brief Passage of Samantha Smith, America's Littlest Ambassador :". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  3. ^ a b c d "Still Mourning Samantha Smith, Robert Wagner Decides That His Lime Street Show Must Go on :". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  4. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  5. ^ "Originality Not Found On `Lime Street`". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  6. ^ New York Magazine 23 Sep 1985, p. 97, at Google Books
  7. ^ a b Snauffer, Douglas (2008). The show must go on: how the deaths of lead actors have affected television series. McFarland. p. 154. ISBN 0-7864-3295-0. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  8. ^ "I'm curious why Les Nessman, of "WKRP in Cincinnati". Chicago Tribune. August 17, 1986.
  9. ^ The Designing Women Reunion (Television production). 2003-06-04. At time 8:33. Retrieved 2021-04-20.

Further reading

External links

  • Wagner's 'Lime Street' To Begin Its Run on ABC, New York Times article dated September 27, 1985
  • 'Lime Street' Right Down Wagner's Alley, August 24, 1985
  • Lime Street at IMDb
  • Lime Street at