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 Show— James 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”)