On September 22, 1987, ABC premiered a sitcom entitled Full House. It starred Bob Saget as Danny Tanner, a single father raising his three daughters, D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle (respectively played by Candice Cameron, Jodi Sweetin, and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen), with the help of his brother-in-law, musician Jesse Cochran (later Katsopolis) (John Stamos) and best friend/aspiring comedian Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier). The first season finished at #71 in the Nielsen ratings, but the series built enough of a following to give it a significant ratings boost in the third season, when it was tied with the CBS sitcom Designing Women, and thus Full House received high ratings for the rest of its eight-season run, which resulted in the series continuing to be a favorite in syndication and through its DVD releases.
However, before the series was greenlit, an alternate version of the pilot was shot. It was mostly identical to the aired version, except Saget, the producers' first choice for Danny, was unavailable due to his commitment as on-air contributor for CBS' short-lived The Morning Program, so the role was given to John Posey. Once the pilot received good enough reception to earn Full House a full-series order, Posey was replaced with Saget, and it was reshot, leaving the unaired version on the shelf. Eventually, the first version of the pilot was released on the February 2005 DVD release of the first season, and was also retained on the later complete-series box set.
Differences between versions
This is a work in progress.
- In the opening sequence, the film quality is different between both versions, as the John Posey version has a pink tint to the film, perhaps from being taken right from the original film.
- In the opening sequence, the shot of the Tanner family riding in Danny's car has a few differences between them. Some are more subtle than others (the mirror is tilted differently, Jesse's arm is positioned at a different angle), while some are more noticeable (D.J.'s arm isn't out, and you can see some scenery).
- The title is arranged differently:
- Aired: Two lines
- Unaired: One line
- Two of the actors have completely different shots when their names are called in the opening sequence.
- Bob Saget's credit has him catching a football and laughing, while donning a tan and black jacket. John Posey's credit features him in a blue shirt, sitting around and talking.
- In the Saget version, Dave Coulier is credited as "Dave Coulier" and talks with his hand out. He then puts it down. In the Posey version, he's credited as "David Coulier" and lies on the grass laughing, again in an entirely different shot and in different clothes.
- The shot of Jesse playing his guitar, then stopping and turning his head as he notices Stephanie doing her ballerina act appears just before the lyric in the theme song - "There's the face of somebody who needs you". In the aired version, the shot was moved to the middle of the word "somebody", as an additional shot of Jesse on his motorcycle was added.
- When the first act starts, the credits are placed in the middle, and rendered in white and in a different font.
- The opening shot:
- Aired: It starts with Grandma (Alice Hirson) walking down the stars and we pan down. By the time Danny, D.J. and Stephanie walk into the house, she's already at the door.
- Unaired: We pan across the empty living room, then Danny and the kids walk in. Only after Danny's first line does Grandma walk in.
- Although Danny's first line is basically the same in both, he leads off with a different word each time:
- Aired: "Let's go, Mom! Your bags are packed, the meter's running."
- Unaired: "C'mon, Mom!..."
- Grandma delivers the series' first joke - "The baby's sleeping like a baby" - differently between both versions.
- Aired: She walks down the stairs and is already at the door before saying the line in a straightforward way.
- Unaired: She says it in a more dramatic manner while walking down the stairs, and also says it without a contraction.
- Danny's clothes are different between both versions.
- When Stephanie tries to get out of her and D.J.'s room, she gets found out by the Tanner elders. The shot of her saying "Just hanging around" is at different angles in both versions.
- When Joey tries to convince D.J. to move into her room again through a Bill Cosby impersonation, he says one of his lines slightly differently:
- Aired: "If you move back into the house, you can have a big juicy bowl of Jell-O."
- Unaired: "If you move back in, you can have a big juicy bowl of Jell-O."
- The closing credits are longer and have different footage. They also have no credits listed, except for the production companies.
- A DVD-only difference concerning logos:
- Aired: The program ends with the 2003 Warner Bros. Television logo after Lorimar-Telepictures.
- Unaired: It just ends with Lorimar-Telepictures.
- The runtimes differ as well:
- Aired (on DVD): 24:43
- Unaired: 26:55
Here are some comparison shots between both versions of the pilot.