In March 1985, Nancy Reagan was honored with a crystal eagle head from the United Service Organization. The Distinguished American Award was given to Nancy for her involvement in the national "Just Say No" campaign against teenage drug and alcohol abuse. 

On March 10 1983, Nancy taped 2 scenes for the TV sitcom, 'Diff'rent Strokes'. Nancy's anti-drug message was shot before a live audience of 250 at Universal Studios. The episode went on air on March 19 1983. The White House advised, "Mrs. Reagan has agreed to appear on the program because the show reaches millions of young people and she feels it offers an excellent chance to communicate to the children the danger of drug and alcohol abuse." 

In May 1985, Ronald Reagan attended the 7-nation economic summit in Bonn, Germany. Nancy left Ron for 3 days to visit Italy where then Prime Minister Bettino Craxi's wife Anna presented Nancy with the Project Man award, a 2-foot high replica of the abstract bronze statue signifying modern man's search for meaning. Earlier Nancy had lunch with then President Sandro Pertini at Quirinal Palace to discuss the drug problem before taking a 10-minute helicopter ride to Castel Gondolfo. 

Pope John Paul II also had a private 30-minute meeting with Nancy in the Pope's library at the Vatican. Pope John Paul II donated a villa in Rome which Reverend Mario Picchi founded the San Carlo Solidarity Center in 1980 to treat and rehabilitate drug victims. The Project Man program was modeled on the American Daytop Villages program. Pope John Paul II praised Nancy's international anti-drug campaign saying "God bless you, thank you very much for your visit" and called for international cooperation in "arresting and eventually eliminating this grave social evil." 

Nancy, joined by a party of 15 people including hairdresser, maid and security, was also given a 20-minute tour of Pauline Chapel and the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo's frescoes. Nancy had made fighting drug abuse among the young her personal crusade. During the 3 days, Nancy was guest of honor at a dinner given by U.S. Ambassador Maxwell Rabb at Villa Taverns. He had selected VIPs "representing a cross-section of Italy's genius". Nancy also attended a gala lunch hosted by U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, William A. Wilson.

'Diff'rent Strokes', about a white New York millionaire living in Park Avenue with his daughter who adopted 2 orphaned black brothers from Harlem. Gary Coleman played Arnold received the most fan mails. However Conrad Bain insisted, "Although I think Gary's contribution is inestimable, it's the series concept that makes it work. Gary's a very talented young man, but over the years I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that none of us is indispensable." 'Diff'rent Strokes' ran from November 1978 to March 1986.

Of the concept, Conrad clarified, "The show is really about love. It's about different kinds of love. People have taken to identifying with the relationship that exists between the adults and children on the series. It is a very nourishing experience for all of us." Conrad also told Jay Robbin in 1982, "When I was hired for 'Maude', I'd never done a series before; simply put, they offered the part and I took it. Because of my contract in this instance, though, I was involved in the whole process that led to the selection of the concept. 

"I had veto power over the concept, the role and the pilot script, so they all had to be agreeable to me so by the time it was all sorted out and everyone was in agreement, it fit what I thought would work. I could have been wrong, but I had a very strong feeling about it. We have running discussion on (the role of Phillip Drummond) but I'm not sure the producers, the writers and even some of the production company's leadership see eye-to-eye with me. It doesn't mean that we're at war, either. However, my feeling is that the character should be expanded and made less perfect than he's been represented to be. 

"Though, that's possible, two things work against it. Once a series is a hit, they don't want to change anything; I think that's an incorrect point of view. You either develop what you do, or you go backward from a creative standpoint. Also, some people feel Drummond is a basically unsympathetic character. I ask what makes him that way, and they respond, 'He's rich.' In some people's minds if a character is wealthy, he automatically becomes unsympathetic … and I just think that's nonsense. As the series became successful, there was less anxiety and they could see the character was being accepted." 

Conrad said he relied on real life experiences to create Phillip Drummond, "I have always tried to encourage my own children to make decisions for themselves. I attempt to always give them love, support and encouragement in everything they undertake. I think that's a suitable working philosophy. Lots of actors don’t like working with kids. It requires a lot of extra patience to work with the limitations of children. I love kids and have never found this to be a problem." 

Producer Howard Leeds had stated, "We are essentially a family show and an interracial show but we don't deal with the black and white complications, which were the basis of some of the early stories. It gets harder every year to come up with fresh material."

The success of 'Diff'rent Strokes' spun off another TV sitcom, 'The Facts of Life' (1979-1988). Casting director Eve Branstein recounted in 2006, "Charlotte (Rae) was really the reason the show was built around. Charlotte came out of a show ('Diff'rent Strokes') that had a really big audience. It was a big hit and she was a big talent and it was a chance for her to sort of 'launch her own show'. And initially the show was called 'Garrett's Girls' and that was before 'Facts of Life' and it was built around her taking on this new job and coming into this world and she was really a centerpiece for the adult experience in this show. 

"The reason it was different than any other television programs at that time had lots to do with casting because we went after real teenagers who were in their youth. They weren't playing young. The idea was to build this ensemble of gals that were very unique The script has not yet quite being written fully. It was just conceived and so we were just filling it in and so the girls actually as we brought them in, began to develop their relationship to the script after the fact some time.

"We did have some materials. We had scenes written but they won't specifically about anybody yet. We started with Felice (Schachter as Nancy in the pilot) then we were looking for different kind of gals. Felice came up with her character. Nobody really sort of directed her to be that. It was on the page too. She was playing a snobby girl so her interpretation of it was how she was affected."

Charlotte Rae as housekeeper then housemother Mrs Edna Garrett made known, "I want to bring in as much humanity as possible, as well as the humor. I've tried to make her a human being with dimensions. The way they write her now (in 1982) is with a great deal of sensitivity and understanding. But I don't want her to be Polly Perfect, because she must have human failings and make mistakes. 

"She's also a surrogate mother to the girls. I told them I wanted to be firm with the girls because I know it's important. Parents must lay down ground rules for their children to help them to grow up and to learn responsibility for their actions. They must learn to stand on their own two feet. The philosophy I used to raise my own sons is what I put into Mrs. Garrett. Naturally, I’m better in retrospect. When we lived in New York, one of my sons wrote graffiti all over the hallway outside our apartment. I made him get cleaning material and wouldn't let him off the hook until he got every bit off. And I think I grounded him, too. How else are they going to learn?" 

Bill Kaufman of 'Newsday' made the observation in July 1982, "They say time flies when you're having fun. The passage of time has more impact when growing children are involved. In the case of 'Diff'rent Strokes', a recent comparison with some early episodes, from around 1978, when the series premiered, reveals striking physical changes in the young stars of the show. Faces are fuller, voices of the boys are slightly more resonant (but, apparently, still quite a bit away from the Big change). 

"Dana Plato, who at 16 (in 1982) has also reached that magical turning point in life. The most pronounced result of the aging process seems to have been experienced by Todd Bridges, who has grown an amazing 10 inches since the series began, while Dana Plato's orthodonist maintains that her teeth have made fantastic progress on their journey into alignment. Gary Coleman, on the other hand, suffers from a congenital kidney ailment which has left him undersized. But even he grew several inches this past year (in 1981-82)."

Born in Canada, Conrad moved to New York because "there was little or nothing to do theatrically when I left Canada in 1946 ; there wasn't any Stratford, or any English-speaking theater at all, for that matter. Radio was alive, television hasn't happened yet, and the Canadian Film Board was in its infancy." Conrad had served as a sergeant in the Canadian army during World War II. He graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. 

After 7 seasons on air, NBC canceled 'Diff'rent Strokes'. The last season was shown on ABC. In May 1985, Gary Coleman told fans, "I want to say I had nothing at all to do with the decision to cancel. NBC acted of its own accord. It was canceled for some strange reason. I'd like to know why." Brandon Tartikoff told the 'Los Angeles Herald Examiner', "Two months ago (in March 1985), in a personal meeting with me, Gary said he did not want to return to 'Diff'rent Strokes.'" As a result of that meeting, NBC started to plan a schedule without 'Diff'rent Strokes'. Brandon continued, "A couple of weeks ago (back in April 1985), Gary changed his mind. It was only a few days ago (in the last week of April 1985) that he was able to arrive at an agreement with Embassy TV (the production company)." However Brandon said by that time, the network had proceeded far into its new schedule and had new shows planned.  

Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear formed Tandem Production in 1958. In 1975, Bud Yorkin Production was formed. In 1982, Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio bought Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation from Avco Financial and merged it with T.A.T. Communications Company to become Embassy Communications, Inc.' The production division would to be called Embassy Television and ran Tandem Productions. As reported, "In 1985, Tandem Productions and Embassy Television including the rest of the Embassy empire were sold to Coca-Cola for $485 million and Tandem became an in-name-only division of Embassy Television when 'Diff'rent Strokes' was moved to ABC after NBC canceled the show.

"Tandem Productions later became an in-name-only division of Embassy and was renamed to Tandem Licensing Corporation. When ABC canceled 'Diff'rent Strokes' in 1986, Tandem Productions was abandoned, and all television divisions were merged into Embassy Communications in mid-1986, as EC became a full television studio rather than a holding company while Tandem still remained in-name-only.

"However, this company remains currently as an in-name-only unit of Sony Pictures Television under the name of Tandem Licensing Corporation (TLC). The 'Tandem' name was curiously used because when Yorkin and Lear formed the company and they were handling it during that time, they were feeling as if they were riding uphill on a 'tandem' bicycle."

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