I was lucky enough to be around when some wonderful classic television shows were on their first run. Watching them gave me a great sense of what quality could be. Shows like
- Star Trek
- Perry Mason
- The Bob Newhart Show
- The Carol Burnett Show
- The Waltons
- Marcus Welby, M.D.
- Love, American Style
- The Odd Couple
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- The Doris Day Show
- I Love Lucy
- Hollywood Palace
- The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour
And these are but a few!
Back then there were only three networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS. PBS was a fledgling that showed up on UHF (if you were lucky). The rotations were predictable; what was the highest-rated show and genre? Copy that! And then there were the breakout shows that many thought wouldn’t survive but somehow did. Like Mary. Saturday nights with Mary Tyler Moore were a staple in my home.
A Breath of Fresh Air
When Mary Richards arrived in Minneapolis she was not only the new kid on the block, she was the new idea in the country. A thirty-year-old single woman (never married) who had left behind a bad relationship and was embarking on a new life. For those who thought Marlo Thomas’s “That Girl” was the epitome of single womanhood – who eventually married – Mary Richards was a totally different reality. Different decades will do that, you know.
Mary was a single woman who wasn’t afraid of being single. Not really. She also wasn’t afraid to be alone or try new things or figure out what she wanted for herself and not depend upon someone else to tell her what she wanted or how to live, etc. She was intelligent, well-read, thoughtful and a person who enjoyed her life. Mostly. 🙂
Mary had co-workers and friends who were just as ordinary and she was and they all had their quirks. Lou was the alcoholic newsman with a heart of gold. Murray was the frustrated author who wrote the news copy and needled the anchorman. Speaking of which, Ted Baxter was the nightmare of most professional journalists…who probably knew their fair share of Teds. I have to wonder if Walter Cronkite ever forgave Lou for introducing him to Ted.
Rhoda, who lived upstairs, was the other side of the coin that was Mary, but both were, in their way, very much alike. Phyllis was, well, Phyllis. Sue Ann Nivens was the archetype of the predatory female. Yikes!
For several years we got to spend time with these people. Suffer through bad times. Celebrate good times. Enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being around good people who are also good friends. We also got a chance to see life in a different way from what was on television and it changed attitudes, provided ideas, planted seeds of possibility and provided a touch of reality that was closer to real than many thought.
The show not only boasted an excellent cast but the behind the scenes folks were high caliber, too. Check out the list of awards the show won HERE.
I often look to find episodes of the show when and where I can. Oddly, I haven’t yet acquired the DVD sets but it is on My List. You can find the entire series on Hulu or purchase them on Amazon Prime. If you need a quick fix, however, go over to YouTube and see what comes up. Like this little gem:
Are you a fan of classic TV? I’d love to learn your favorites.
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