Benton Harbor grad created 'Saved By The Bell' TV series, co-wrote Elvis song – News/Talk/Sports 94.9 WSJM

A local theater director has uncovered a piece of lost history about one former area resident.
While working on the award-winning comedy-mystery “The Psychic” for the Twin City Players, show director Renee Wright discovered that the show’s author, Sam Bobrick, was a 1950 graduate of Benton Harbor High School. To honor his memory, the cast of the play took a break in their rehearsal Tuesday to toast the legendary writer.
Bobrick is best known as the creator of Saved By The Bell, and also wrote for Captain Kangaroo, The Andy Griffith Show, The Flintstones, Bewitched and Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, among many other television shows. He penned more than 40 plays, and is credited with co-writing the Elvis Presley song The Girl of My Best Friend.
The New York Times obituary for Bobrick said he moved to Benton Harbor after after an anti-Semitic attack on him in his Chicago school. He then moved to stay with grandparents in Benton Harbor.
After high school, he served in the Air Force and studied journalism at the University of Illinois before moving to New York to become a songwriter. He then moved to Los Angeles to work in television, then became a playwright. He continued writing plays until his death on October 11, 2019.
“He just had an amazing, amazing life,” said Wright, who organized the toast on the date of his death in tribute to the work he’s done, as well as his local roots. “We didn’t even realize he was a graduate until after we started rehearsing.”
In another coincidence, Bobrick graduated from Benton Harbor High School with the grandfather of The Psychic assistant director Jodie Wilson.
“When [Wright] texted me, it jogged my memory,” Wilson said. “I was pretty sure my grandpa graduated in 1950, and I knew from Benton Harbor High School.”
Wilson also learned that Bobrick went to school with the mother of Twin City Players Treasurer Larry Nielsen, who graduated in 1949. On Tuesday, Wilson visited the Benton Harbor Public Library to see what else she could find.
“They gave me a copy of the 1950 yearbook to find both of them in it,” Wilson said. “The coolest thing was talking to the woman who does the references and the older things at the Benton Harbor library. She knew his name. She knew who he was and knew what he had been a part of. … It’s a very crazy coincidence. We are so honored to put on this production.”
Watch the toast below:
The show
The Psychic is a murder mystery comedy about a mystery writer who is looking for a plot that has never been done. He puts a “Psychic Readings” sign in his apartment window in a desperate attempt to make the rent, which attracts the attention of the lovely and conflicted Laura, her shady husband Roy, Roy’s mistress, a gangster named Johnny Bubbles and ace Detective Norris Coslow.
The play won the 2011 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Play. Cast members are Chase Samuelson, Abigail Taylor, Steve Hamel, Danielle Babcock, Mason McCray, Josh Weber, Beth Ward, and Lloyd Bolick.
Crew includes Tech Director Tabitha Nelson, Stage Manager Caitlin Sampsell, Costumer Tamela Green, Set Designer John Taylor, Properties Rachel Thursby, Hair/Makeup Beth Ward, Set Painter Cindy Jakeway, Set Builders Aaron Rennhack and Braeden Wilson and Prompter Cassi File.
Tickets are $10-$15 (plus a $1 fee per ticket). Tickets and Flex Passes are available online at or through the TCP box office at 269-429-0400. Performance dates are Oct. 21 – Nov. 6, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the TCP Playhouse, 600 W. Glenlord Road, St. Joseph. Masks are required.
“Get your tickets,” Wright said. “We predict you will have a good time.”


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