Posts Tagged ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’

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).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKwZ_aejLw8

“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

Director James Burrows on Makin’ His Way in the World Today

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Director James Burrows is practically synonymous with popular television comedies. Burrows got his start in television under the tutelage of Jay Sandrich on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, went on to direct episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, co-created Cheers with Les and Glen Charles (and directed almost all of the series’ episodes), directed episodes of Taxi, Friends, Frasier, and the entire series run of Will & Grace.

Burrows stated that one of the biggest laughs he’s ever seen on television occurred when he was directing Friends:

Watch James Burrows’ full interview here to hear his tales of Taxi, Cheers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and other TV favorites.

About this interview:

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, James Burrows discusses his early years working as a stage manger under his father, playwright/director Abe Burrows, and outlines his years directing for the stage in regional theater. He recalls his break into television directing, working at MTM Productions on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and describes directing Fay, The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, and Phyllis. He details working with the cast and creative team behind Taxi, and directing the majority of the series’ episodes. Burrows chronicles the eleven-year run of Cheers, which he co-created with Glen & Les Charles, and for which he directed nearly every episode.  As one of the pre-eminent directors of sitcom pilots, Burrows shares what he looks for in selecting a pilot and explains what drew him to directing the pilot episodes of Night Court, NewsRadio, and 3rd Rock From the Sun. He talks of working on the early seasons of Frasier, Friends, and Caroline in the City, and speaks of the joy of being the sole director of the hit series, Will & Grace. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on December 17, 2003 in Los Angeles, CA.

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.

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.