Archive for the ‘"Mary Tyler Moore Show"’ Category

She Made it After All: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” Ended 35 Years Ago

Monday, March 19th, 2012

“It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,

But my heart’s right there.”

The final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show did something rather novel: it introduced a World War I battle song into the 1970’s lexicon. “The Last Show” aired on CBS on March 19, 1977 and re-acclimated the world to “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” Jack Judge and Harry Williams’ 1912 song that was adopted by British soldiers in the first World War. Though Mary, Lou, Murray and Sue Ann weren’t exactly going off to battle, they were about to enter the great unknown, leaving a world they and viewers had come to love over the previous seven years.

When new ownership takes over WJM-TV, the entire Six O’ Clock News Crew is fired, except for Ted, the one truly expendable member of the team. To cheer up a despondent Mary, Lou arranges for Phyllis and Rhoda to visit, and in the famous final scene, the WJM news crew group hugs, moves as a unit to retrieve tissues, and exits the newsroom singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”. It’s an ending that’s been spoofed and referred to in several shows since (notably parodied in MAD-TV, and referenced in the final episode of another MTM Enterprises show, St. Elsewhere, in which the group hug and shuffle to the tissue box is reenacted).

“The Last Show” won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series and reminded us all that sometimes the people you work with aren’t just the people you work with. Mary eloquently tells her co-workers, “thank you for being my family,” and even Lou Grant gets mushy, admitting to the gang, “I treasure you people.” As co-creator James L. Brooks states in his Archive interview, “The Last Show” was one of the first series finales to have the characters say goodbye to each other. Art imitated life:

Mary Tyler Moore describes how the show’s cast indeed felt like family:

Jay Sandrich shares what the mood was like on set as he directed “The Last Show”:

Gavin MacLeod (“Murray Slaughter”) offers his remembrances of shooting the final episode:

And according to James Brooks, The Mary Tyler Moore wrap party gave him his philosophy on all future wrap parties:

Have a look at the final curtain call, which does not appear in syndication. You can truly sense the love between cast members:

It’s been 35 years since the finale first aired, but as the battle cry says, our hearts are still right there, with the original WJM-TV news crew. Farewell, guys. Catch you in syndication.

Learn more about The Mary Tyler Moore Show at our show page.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Mary Tyler Moore Honored at SAG Awards

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Actress Mary Tyler Moore received the Screen Actor’s Guild Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday’s SAG Awards. Dick Van Dyke presented the award.

In her 1997 Archive interview, Moore reflects on some of her favorite moments with Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show:

The SAG Awards aired on TBS and TNT at 5pm PST/8pm EST on Sunday, January 29, 2012.

Golden Girl Betty White Turns 90!

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Betty White celebrates her 90th birthday today! The Hot in Cleveland star is hot all over the globe these days, hosting Saturday Night Live, making memorable appearances on Community, and stealing scenes from Sandra Bullock in The Proposal. She’s a consummate comedienne with a quick wit that keeps audiences wanting more.

Born January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, White got her start in television when the medium first emerged onto the American landscape back in 1939, appearing in a closed circuit presentation of “The Merry Widow” in the Los Angeles Packard Building. A natural from the start, she loved the rush of live television, and when regular programming began she was quickly tapped to be Al Jarvis’ right-hand woman on 1949’s Hollywood on Television, a 5.5 hour/day broadcast for KCLA TV that was largely a televised version of Jarvis’ radio program. White and Jarvis ad-libbed for over 30 hours of airtime/week:

In 1951 she starred in the first of what would be three Betty White Shows – this one a short-lived, half hour daytime program. She soon moved on to producing and starring in the 1952 sitcom Life with Elizabeth, and to hosting the second Betty White Show in 1954, a national network show for NBC that aired at noon.

From there, White hosted her first of 20 Rose Parades in 1955. She also spent 10 years hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Lorne Greene.

In 1955 White began appearing on television game shows, a pastime dear to her heart. A lover of games since childhood, she enjoyed playing What’s My Line?, Make the Connection, and many other Goodson/Todman games. As fate would have it, she made quite the connection when she appeared on Password and met future husband Allen Ludden, who hosted the program:

The third Betty White Show came along in 1957, a short-lived sitcom produced by and starring White, and in the 1960’s White made over 70 appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar – one of her favorite programs. She then got to showcase her love of animals on The Pet Set, a 1971 show in which she interviewed celebrities and their pets. She appeared on The Carol Burnett Show in the mid-1970s (which led to her later role as “Ellen Harper Jackson” on Mama’s Family) and in 1973, got a call from casting director Ethel Winant to play the role of “Sue Ann Nivens,” the “neighborhood nymphomaniac” on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White won two Emmys for the role and reminisced about the show’s famous series finale in her 1997 Archive interview:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was both a critical and popular darling, and yet another hit comedy was in White’s future. She was up for the role of “Blanche Devereaux” on a new series called Golden Girls, which would make its debut in 1985. White explains how director Jay Sandrich (who directed many episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show) was instrumental in her winning the role of “Rose Nylund” instead:

White was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995, and continues to bring laughter to millions as an ensemble player in projects for both the big and small screen. You can currently catch Betty White on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland Wednesday nights at 10pm.

Happy birthday, Betty! Here’s to many, many more!

Watch Betty White’s full Archive interview here.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Happy 75th Birthday, Mary Tyler Moore!

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The lovely Mary Tyler Moore is 75 years young today! The actress, best known for her roles as “Laura Petrie” on The Dick Van Dyke Show, as “Mary Richards” on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and as “Beth Jarrett” in the film Ordinary People, spoke in depth about playing these characters in her Archive interview.

On getting cast as “Laura Petrie” on The Dick Van Dyke Show:

On the ensemble cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show:

On her role in Ordinary People:

Happy birthday, Mary!!

Watch Mary Tyler Moore’s full interview here.

About this interview:

Mary Tyler Moore always knew she’d have a career on stage, “I knew at a very early age what I wanted to do. Some people refer to it as indulging in my instincts and artistic bent. I call it just showing off, which was what I did from about three years of age on.” In her Archive interview, Mary Tyler Moore discusses growing up in Brooklyn before moving with her family to Los Angeles. She chronicles her first TV job, as “Happy Hotpoint” on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which she began right after graduating high school, and discusses her time as a chorus dancer before choosing to pursue acting. After she revealed that she had played the unseen “Sam” on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, her career began to take off. She turned to comedy when Carl Reiner cast her as “Laura Petrie” in The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Moore discusses the show, as well as meeting her future husband Grant Tinker on the set. She then talks about her next series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the first of many series produced by MTM Productions. She speaks of her later series and her acclaimed work in the film Ordinary People, and on stage in Whose Life is it Anyway? Mary Tyler Moore was interviewed in New York City on October 23, 1997. Diane Werts conducted the two-hour interview.

Valerie Harper on “Rhoda”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” & more!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Wishing a very happy 72nd birthday to actress Valerie Harper! In her Archive interview, Harper describes starting her career as a dancer in New York, moving to Los Angeles, and getting her big break on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She reminisces about Rhoda and Valerie and shares that she was once a member of the Writers Guild of America and co-wrote an episode of a popular 1969-74 sitcom. Watch below to find out which show!

Enjoy Valerie Harper’s interview in its entirety here:

About this interview:

Valerie Harper was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in North Hollywood, CA. Harper discusses her early years as a dancer in New York City, her time as a member of Second City, and moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. She talks in detail about her most famous character, Rhoda Morgenstern, whom she portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the spinoff, Rhoda. She reminisces about working with Mary Tyler Moore, James L. Brooks, Jay Sandrich and many others of the cast and crew of both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda. Harper also describes why she was only on Valerie for one year, and outlines her current theater projects. Jim McKairnes conducted the interview on February 26, 2009.

Noted Director Reza Badiyi Dies at 81

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

We’re sad to report that director and main title visualizer Reza Badiyi has passed away on August 20th at age 81. The Archive interviewed him in 2003. Badiyi began his career in Iran, where he won awards for documentary filmmaking. He came to the United States to assist with low budget films, including those directed by a young Robert Altman. He then began his own television directing career, helming episodes of such series as  Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, and Cagney & Lacey. He was also known for his innovative title designs for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, That Girl, and for Hawaii Five-O, which featured memorable location footage, jump cuts and slow motion effects. Badiyi holds the record for directing the highest number of hour-long episodes, at 417, according to the Director’s Guild of America.

In the following interview excerpt, Badiyi talks about the title sequence for The Mary Tyler Moore show, and on what makes a good story:

Watch Reza Badiyi’s full interview here, conducted in 2003.
Los Angeles Times Obituary

Carroll Pratt, Laugh machine expert, has died

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Carroll Pratt, a protege of laugh machine creator Charley Douglass, has died at the age of 89.

Carroll Pratt’s Archive Interview was conducted on June 12, 2003.

Interview description:

Carroll Pratt was interviewed for over two-and-a-half hours in Philo, CA.  Pratt talked about his start in feature films at MGM in the sound department where his father worked.  He spoke in great detail about the audience reaction (laugh) machine created by engineer Charley Douglass, for whom Pratt worked for after leaving MGM.  Pratt described the device and the types of responses that the machine was capable of doing from whistles to belly laughs. Pratt described the updated version of the laugh machine, which he created with his brother in the 1970s, when he split from Douglass, and started his own company called Sound One.  Pratt talked about providing laugh tracks for numerous television series throughout the years (including the longest laugh he ever recorded, for The Mary Tyler Moore Show), until his retirement from Sound One in the mid-‘90s.  B-roll consisted of a few photos of Pratt at work, and a short video piece in which Pratt shows where he keeps his Emmy Awards.  The interview was conducted by Karen Herman.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” At 40

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

On September 19, 1970, The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted and ran for seven perfect seasons. As part of a Saturday night line-up  considered among the best ever in TV (in the 1973-74 season, the other shows were: All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show), the series was an instant classic.  For many years, it held the record for the most Emmy Awards won by a series (at 29); the show saw wins for ensemble cast members Edward Asner, Valerie Harper, Ted Knight, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, and Betty White.  As noted by The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Encyclopedia of Television: “The program represented a significant change in the situation comedy… As created by the team of James Brooks and Allan Burns, The Mary Tyler Moore Show presented the audience with fully-realized characters who evolved and became more complex throughout their life on the show.”

The Archive of American Television interviewed creators Brooks and Burns, main series director Jay Sandrich, writers including Treva Silverman, and many of the series cast.  Click here to watch these interviews (and the show’s premiere episode from Hulu) on the Archive’s show page for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Additionally, see special curated spotlights on two classic Mary episodes: “The Lars Affair” (that introduced Betty White’s “Happy Homemaker”) and “Chuckles Bites the Dust” (considered one of the best sitcom episodes of all-time).

Betty White Triumphs on “SNL”

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The reviews and ratings are golden for Betty White’s turn as guest host on Saturday Night Live. With Betty’s latest TV success, the Archive looks back on her Emmy-winning role as Sue Ann Nivens- the Happy Homemaker, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Before her continued (and possibly greatest) fame as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls, Betty White had a decades-long career that began in the early 1950s, with a high water mark as a semi-regular on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. When the producers of The Mary Tyler Moore Show sought to find a sickeningly sweet Betty White-type to play WJM’s “Happy Homemaker,” they cast the real McCoy. Sue Ann Nivens was introduced on the September 15, 1973 episode: “The Lars Affair,” wherein she has an affair with Phyllis’ (Cloris Leachman) husband. With White’s great take on the Happy Homemaker, she soon became a fixture of the series. In reviewing this now-classic episode- the show’s fourth season opener- Variety lauded Cloris Leachman’s performance (she’d win the Emmy that year) and noted that Betty White satirized the TV homemaker “to a tee” furthering that this “preem’s inventiveness indicates that the series is off and running for another successful year.”

In ranking the top 100 sitcom episodes of all-time, TV Land To Go: The Big Book of TV Lists, TV Lore, and TV Bests by Tom Hill ranked “The Lars Affair” at #22; in 1997, TV Guide, in its ranking of the Greatest TV episodes, placed it at #27. Take a look at the Archive’s new page on The Mary Tyler Moore Show: “The Lars Affair” to watch interview excerpts with Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White.

The Best Sitcom Episode of All-Time

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The credo of a clown— ‘A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants’
— Chuckles the Clown

Voted at one time the #1 best TV episode by TV Guide* and also the #1 ranked sitcom episode in TV Land To Go: The Big Book of TV Lists, TV Lore, and TV Bests, the classic Mary Tyler Moore Show episode “Chuckles Bites the Dust” makes its DVD debut today (with The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Sixth Season).

The October 25, 1975 episode was in the black comedy vein, as the WJM newsroom finds it hard not find amusement in the unfortunate death of kiddie-show host “Chuckles the Clown,” who, dressed like ‘Peter Peanut’ in a parade, was “shelled” by a rogue elephant. The one holdout among the bemused staffers is Mary Richards, that is, until the most inopportune time to get the giggles…

The Archive of American Television has interviewed the co-creators of The Mary Tyler Moore ShowJames L. Brooks and Allan Burns— as well as several of the main cast members, including Mary Tyler Moore and Edward Asner, who fondly recall this classic TV episode, newly posted on the Archive’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust” show page.

* In a more recent polling, TV Guide listed “Chuckles” as the #3 TV episode (following Seinfeld’s “The Contest” and The Sopranos‘ “College”)