Chico and the Man hit the airwaves in 1974 and rose to the top ten, where it remained for its first two seasons. It told the story of Ed Brown ("The Man"), a curmudgeon who lived and worked (as a mechanic) in a Los Angeles barrio. Ed, a hard drinking and bigoted pessimist, finds himself irritated by the enthusiastic optimism of Chico Rodriguez, a young man from the neighborhood who comes in looking for work, and who won't take no for an answer. But over time, Ed warms up to the young man and their relationship evolves into one similar to father and son (despite Ed's denials of this).
During its third season, the show staggered under the load of star Freddie Prinze's serious drug habit. Prinze looked bad enough at times that writers felt obliged to craft dialog for Ed explaining his haggard appearance as (ironically) the consequence of too many late nights. Sadly, about halfway through the third season, Prinze took his own life. The producers made attempts to repair the damage, but these largely failed; the shows success owed much to the chemistry between Albertson and Prinze, and never really recovered; it lasted another season and a half of attempts to focus on Ed and various minor characters, and finally left the airwaves in the middle of 1978.