Remember Punky Brewster? Well, I do. It was a lovable sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1988, starring Soleil Moon Frye as the always upbeat Punky and George Gaynes as her adoptive father, Henry. Punky’s eclectic sense of style is still part of everyone’s style goals, and has influenced the way we think about fashion (and you could probably say influenced ’90s shows like Blossom and Clarissa Explains It All).
It may have been a while since you watched the show, so I rounded up some facts you might have forgotten or don’t know.
1. Punky is based off a real person.
NBC President Brandon Tartikoff created the character after a teacher’s daughter he knew in prep school, Peyton “Punky” Brewster. He was even able to use the woman’s real name, as Peyton gave NBC lawyers her approval.
2. The real Punky starred in an episode.
She starred in an episode as a teacher, of course, called “The Search.”
3. Herman Munster was almost cast as Henry.
I know, it could have been amazing (no offense, George Gaynes). Oh, Fred Gwynne, you were almost our favorite dad. Well, you still kind of are.
4. The show dealt with addiction.
Henry had a sleeping pill addiction—you know, no big deal. It’s amazing the show was able to deal with such a sensitive topic.
5. When lead actress Soleil Moon Frye didn’t report to work, Columbia Pictures sued her for $80 million dollars.
In 1986, Columbia Pictures sued Frye when she didn’t show up to work because of a contract battle. Kind of crazy right? Nothing came of it, as the show aired for two more years.
6. Punky became a web comic.
Years after the showed ended, Punky became a web comic in 2014 by Lion Forge. The company obtained the license to do so, and the prequel shows Punky as homeless in Chicago after being abandoned by her mother. Eight issues have been released.
7. Buzz Aldrin, the famous astronaut, appeared in an episode.
The episode focused on the 1986 explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, and how Punky and her classmates watched the telecast at the time. Buzz appeared on the episode to help kids deal emotionally with what happened.
8. There was almost a Punky spin-off.
NBC considered a spin-off for fall 1985, Fenster Hall, about an orphanage, but it sadly never happened.
I cant believe my crew, so grateful for these incredible beings that I get to share this journey with. pic.twitter.com/l4xbeUAy3A
— soleil moon frye (@moonfrye) October 22, 2017
9. Punky, aka Soleil Moon Frye, is now a mom of four.
After vocal work on Nickelodeon shows (like Tiny Toon Adventures and The Ren & Stimpy Show), her next big role was on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Ever since then, however, she has been focused on being a mom with her husband and producer Jason Goldberg.