Probably one of the most pleasant ways to spend part of a Saturday evening in the 1970s was to watch the very popular and controversial, Mary Tyler Moore Show. Set in WJM, a fictional newsroom in Minneapolis, it featured a sterling cast of crusty and unforgettable characters, including Ed Asner as Lou Grant, Gavin MacCleod as writer, Murray Slaughter, Betty White as man-hungry, Sue Ann Nivens,(The Happy Homemaker),Ted Knight as the pretentious newsman, Ted Baxter, Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern and Chloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom, Mary’s shallow landlord.
Who could ever forget the opening montage of the show with Mary throwing her hat up in the air and the background music telling her that “love was all around and that she’s gonna make it after all?” The show ran for seven years, premiering in 1970 and ending in 1977, much to the chagrin of almost a generation of fans.
Mary Richards was different from other female television characters of the time. The attractive, liberated woman did not want a man to support her and she never opted to marry. Instead, she lived with a man in a situation that “didn’t work out” and moved away to start a new life. This type of theme was barely explored during the earlier days of televsion. It was a bold and new concept; the show broke new ground in many ways.
Known as the standard for “the working woman sit-com,” this show set the stage for the likes of Murphy Brown and Kate and Allie who followed in later years.
The fact that the characters evolved into their personas was part of the secret of the show’s success. Crusty boss, Lou Grant gets divorced and his life goes off on other tangents, Ted Knight gets married, although he is a certainly a vain and pompous, though lovable jerk throughout the life of the series.
Rhoda Morgenstern played sod eftly by Valerie Harper, remains the perfect friend and confidant to Mary, but she changes too and in the end, moves off to New York to star in her own series (Rhoda) a few years later.
What are some of YOUR favorite memories from this wonderful show?