“American audiences won’t tolerate divorce in a series’ lead any more than they will tolerate Jews, people with mustaches, and people who live in New York.”
And with that, TV Execs trashed the concept for one of the greatest TV sitcoms of all time – The Mary Tyler Moore Show!
No divorce. No mustaches. No New Yorkers. NO JEWS. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?
The Creation Of the Greatest TV Sitcom Of All Time!
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” premiered 50 years ago this month, and it changed television forever.
This “Wednesday Bookmobile” has the riveting memoir that gives you an inside look at the creation of an iconic show – and I have a Kelly Clarkson performance of the opening theme song as well!
It’s almost impossible to understand the way TV was at the end of the 60’s. Lucky for us, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” broke through ALL of these restrictions to create an iconic TV comedy. Here is the cast that helped change the rules for TV forever!
And here is the classic line, uttered by News Director Lou Grant, when young Mary Richards came in for a job interview:
“You Got Spunk! (short pause) I Hate Spunk!”
What you may not know is that veteran character actor Ed Asner, when he auditioned for the role of grizzled newman Lou Grant, botched that line so bad he had to burst back into the room and demand to try it again!
Cue The Behind-The-Scenes Stories!
It has been called one of the five best TV sitcoms of all time. It opened doors for women, both onscreen and off, and it almost never happened! Wait until you hear about some of the stories of what happened behind-the-scenes during the creation of this classic show!
When writer-producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns dreamed up an edgy show about a divorced woman with a career, you already know how the CBS executives reacted. Now, read how the Producers persevered again all odds!
Now A Book Tells All!
I came across this TERRIFIC book that looks inside the creation of this classic TV show – with tons of interviews with all of those involved!
This show allowed women to speak on TV as never before…as Mary said herself:
“I’m an experienced woman. I’ve been around…well all right, I might not have been around, but I’ve been…nearby.”
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted” tells the stories behind the making of this show, shining a well-deserved light on the groundbreaking female writers who in some cases turned their real-life stories of being a single woman at the dawn of the sexual revolution into scripts…
You’ll meet writers like Treva Silverman, and find out how she made it in a male-dominated industry – resulting in the show taking on “modern day female issues” that were never discussed on TV before then!
Mary, Phyllis And Rhoda!
It was unprecedented for a woman to headline her own show – and now add Phyllis and Rhoda, and you had three of the most important, groundbreaking characters on TV. The book introduces you to creative team behind these indelible characters; the lone woman network executive who cast the legendary ensemble — and advocated for this provocative show — and the colorful cast of actors who made it all work.
James L. Brooks, Grant Tinker, Allan Burns, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel — they all came together to make a show that changed women’s lives and television itself. “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted” is the tale of how they did it.
The First Cast Photo!
Here’s the first publicity photo shot for the show…
For fun, the cast also did a goofy version of their publicity shot at the same time, which they planned to send Critics who wrote a negative article about the show…supposedly to show they had a sense of humor…but as BAD reviews started coming in, they panicked, and so they destroyed the picture…except for this copy that a secretary kept as a souvenir!
The book is full of great anecdotes and candid comments from everyone, including Mary Tyler Moore, who was afraid the audience would reject her as a divorced woman – and then of course it didn’t matter, because the network demanded she just get “dumped” by a fiance instead!
The Last Episode!
Of course, the final episode is one of TV’s best ever, and it is a show with so much heart, emotion and of course humor, you can watch it over and over…which is easier to do now that every episode of the show is also on DVD!
“I’m Ted Baxter, The Best Darn Anchorman On TV!”
That is, of course, what Ted said when he testified in court. Why did he say that?
“I had to – I was under oath!”
Just another hilarious line from one of the greatest character ever created for TV. The book is full of stories about how insecure Ted Knight was with his character, afraid that people would think he was as stupid as his TV character…
And when Rhoda and Phyllis left for spin-offs, the book also tells the fascinating story about how Betty White was cast as “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens…so many great anecdotes!
And now Betty White has been given a Guinness Book of World Records award as the longest running TV personality of all time…congrats Betty!
It is, without a doubt, one of the funniest shows ever created, and this book gives you great inside stories about how it was created – which also brought attention to one of my favorite writers of all time!
Lou Grant Quotes Raymond Chandler!
Yes, the opening paragraph from legendary Author Raymond Chandler’s 1938 short story “Red Wind” was read aloud on the show by Lou Grant to Mary Richards – this happened because Mary gave Lou Grant a short story she wrote, and it was awful – she argued and he asked her if she wanted to hear good writing – then he read this:
“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.”
There is a pause and then Mary says very dryly: “he writes well about the weather.”
When Mary Tyler Moore died a few years ago, we lost a legend, but 50 years on, the show is as fresh as ever…
On Monday, Kelly Clarkson began the season two premiere of her hit talk show by singing the theme songs to “Cheers,” “The Golden Girls,” and “Full House” as part of this extra special #Kellyoke. Then, “America’s TV Dad” Bob Saget joined her and they end with the theme from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show!”
Check it out here:
It was magical to have L>ou Grant himself, Ed Asner, in the “virtual audience”, and he will be returning in a few weeks to talk to Kelly as well!
It’s just one of the fun, interactive features of the show, like when he tries to cook with Chance The Rapper and Jillian Bell!
You can see some of her best cooking “fails” by clicking on this compilation here – oh, and Kelly loves these segments because she freely admits to her cooking fails!
As always, you can follow Kelly’s show at all of these great sites:
For even more fun stuff, visit:
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