Family Matters "Rachel's First Date" (partially found original cold open from fourth episode of ABC and CBS sitcom; 1989)

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Screenshot from the original cold open of the fourth episode.

Status: Partially Found

Another screenshot from the original cold open.

Family Matters was a spinoff of fellow long-running TGIF sitcom Perfect Strangers, on which the character Harriette Winslow was an elevator operator. The new show was meant to focus on Harriette, her husband Carl, and the other family members living under the same roof, including their three children (Eddie, Laura, and Judy), Harriette's widowed sister Rachel and her son Richie, and Carl's mother.

Early episodes focus on routine family sitcom subjects, such as Eddie and Laura throwing a party without their parent's permission, Rachel entering the dating scene again, and Harriette losing her job. However, Family Matters changed forever when Steve Urkel was introduced in the twelfth episode.

Although only intended to have that single appearance, Urkel soon became not only the most popular part of the show but something so inextricably linked to it that the producers shot four new cold opens showcasing him. Those replaced the original cold opens from the fourth, seventh, eighth, and tenth episodes.[1][2]

The last three replaced cold opens were included as a bonus feature on the Season 1 DVD set.[3] However, the one from the fourth episode, at least in its original form, appears gone forever.

Given how prevalent VCRs were in 1989, it's possible someone recorded it. It's unlikely though, given it was only the original airing of the fourth episode of a show that had yet to gain a following. So far all that has turned up is a Spanish dub.

Although Urkel's becoming the star of the show meant the only Winslow family members with significant roles going forward were Laura (whom he was in love with), Eddie (with whom he wanted to be best friends), and Carl (who served as his straight man for comedic bits), nobody was pushed aside more than Judy, who had astonishingly little to do by the fourth season and was dropped without explanation after that. In an instance of kicking someone while she's down, the lost cold open is something she was featured throughout.

Note: A cold open is the scene shown before a television show's opening credits or title card.


Only existing resurfaced footage of the original cold open.


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