Forty years ago, on March 19, 1977, the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show took their final bow. The series finale, “The Last Show” saw the gang at WJM facing a new station manager and a round of surprise firings. Show creators Allan Burns and James L. Brooks brought back every writer who had written on the show more than once, and crafted a funny, heartwarming script that, as Brooks says, “made the series end honestly.”
But not every moment in the final episode was pre-planned. The group hug turned group walk wasn’t written at all. As Mary Tyler Moore describes it, that moment, “came about spontaneously during rehearsal… In the script it was written, ‘they break up and they go to the Kleenex.’” But Gavin MacLeod, who played "Murray Slaughter" on the show, says that James L. Brooks inspired the group to hang on to each other and move as one, “Jim said, ‘Go for it! Go for it!’”
Watch to hear more about the finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and check out our Mary Tyler Moore Show page for more stories from the cast, crew, and creators of the beloved series.