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The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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Additionally, with Phyllis having spun off into her own series as of season 6 (Rhoda had done the same a year earlier), the showrunners worried that there were no scene partners for Mary away from the office. So the move to a new apartment building would, they thought, help with that, with its manager who showed her the vacant unit, and two neighbors down the hall (Mary Kay Place and Penny Marshall). All three were built up in the TV Guide preview article that fall, as recurring additions to the cast. But in fact they never recurred, except for one further appearance for Penny Marshall; the scripts made do with the newsroom gang, plus Georgette and Sue Ann.

Edited by Rinaldo

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I find the second reason (need to refresh the neighbor cast now that Phyllis and Rhoda were gone) a lot more plausible than the first (can't shoot the exterior of the house anymore). Mainly because I have to believe they had enough exterior shots of the house in their library to last them as long as the show could possibly last. Although another reason might have been the showrunners just wanting to be nice to the owner of the house in a way they didn't strictly have to be.

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I agree on the relative plausibility -- I too had often thought "didn't they have all the stock footage they needed?" -- after all, they never showed Mary actually entering or leaving the house exterior. But that reason has been repeated widely (which of course is no guarantee of truth), and I too can believe that they were willing to spare the homeowner more annoyance, and maybe spare themselves more conflict and ill feeling, and just avoid the whole thing. If so, it didn't quite work out: that house is still the one people remember, and if visitors seek out any MTM location (which probably fewer and fewer have done each year), that house is what they find. Hey, when I visited friends in the twin cities, that's where they drove by for my benefit, though we didn't stop or gawk or anything. (They also showed me the duckpond and the downtown intersection.)

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I had heard before that they had also planned to give Mary a regular boyfriend, maybe Ted Bessell, who would had picked up a lot of the slack post-Rhoda and Phyllis.  But it didn't take either.

I think the timing with Penny Marshall was interesting.  I have no idea how whatever deal they had with her coincided with her taking Laverne and Shirley.  I will say that while I didn't think she was bad by any means, her character Paula did come off a little too on the nose as Rhoda 2.0.

 

Poor Mary must have had terrible back pains, sleeping on that sofa-bed all those years!

Oh, no kidding.   I have no idea how anyone post 30 could stand sleeping on one of those every single night.  

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I don't know.  Just conceptually, it always felt weird to me to move the character of Lou Grant from a sitcom world to a more dramatic one.  But that's just me.   

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I read Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (2013).  It's great.  You learn how difficult it was to get this show on the air (CBS wanted Mary to be a divorcee; they didn't think a show about an unmarried 30+ year old working woman would be interesting to anyone).  Thank goodness they couldn't get Andy Williams to sing the theme song. He was a crooner and his highly recognizable voice would've distracted from Mary driving to the Big City, looking at food in a case at the supermarket, riding an escalator, etc.

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Cousin Oliver (i.e. Robbie Rist) was Ted and Georgette's son.

Beth Howland (dingy Vera from Alice) played the other woman twice to Mary in different roles.  First, she was a friend to Mary who broke up with her husband (Bert Convy?), and Mary promptly started dating him.   I guess  Mary wasn't really  that close to her.  And that might  explain why  late in the show's run, an incredulous Mary said " who is that girl?" to Ted Bessell's character.   I always wanted to say that it was her friend from years ago.  Heh.

That reminds me, Mary Frann was the bright and shiny new friend who turned out to be anti-Semitic.   I thought she was quite good in the role, too.

Mary also dated Jerry Van Dyke, Dick's brother.   That still seems weird to me.   I guess it was sorta an inside joke?

And let's not forget that Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, and First Lady Bette Ford all had very famous guest spots. 

Edited by vb68
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Pat (or at that period "Patte") Finley -- later Howard Borden's sister on The Bob Newhart Show -- played two characters with confusingly similar nicknames, Sparky and Twinks.

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I loved that little studio apartment and wished she had stayed there (but was pleased to see the "M" hanging on the wall in her new apartment).  Once Mary Richards moved to the new apartment (and Phyllis & Rhoda were gone), the show just wasn't as much fun for me (never could stand Georgette) unless Sue Ann Nivens was given some shenanigans and great dialogue.  Always loved it when Mary had to work up her courage to be assertive.

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I always find it disappointing when I sit down to watch an episode and Mary is in her new apartment.  I realize Mary wouldn't stay in the original flat forever where she didn't have a bedroom.  But I missed that place.  It was like a character of the show.

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Robert Redford attended one of her parties, but alas the lights went out and we ever saw him!

Bernie Koppel (doc on The Love Boat) was her date who tagged along to the opening of Ted's broadcasting school.

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Robert Redford attended one of her parties

Unless I'm remembering a different episode, wasn't that Johnny Carson?

Edited by Rinaldo

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Also, Flo was the only character, besides Lou himself, to recur on Lou Grant. She appeared on an episode about reporters following political campaigns, and got to know Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey).

 

...and Linda Kelsey played the young thing who tried to 'All About Eve' Sue Ann!

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Was it really not Robert Redford? Mary was in her new apartment and convinced everyone to come because she would have a big star attending. Lights go out and she doesn't have candles or flashlights and you just hear his voice. I have always remembered it as Redford, thinking part of the joke is that you want to see his gorgeousness. I wouldn't have thought that for Johnny. Was it really Carson? I am getting old.

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Mary (Richards, that is) had a bit of a running gag throughout the series that the thought of Robert Redford made her weak at the knees. But the special guest, whose presence would have redeemed her previous dreadful parties if only the lights hadn't gone out, was definitely Johnny Carson. (I couldn't find a YouTube clip, but here's the IMDb episode writeup.)

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Bruce Boxleitner played a delivery boy who dated one of Murray's daughters. And Craig T. Nelson played a mechanic who worked on Mary's car and asked her out on a date.

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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@Milburn Stone, I actually found a clip, and although I think Ted Knight was perfect, Jack definitely good have pulled it off.

And I don't know if there are any David or Sean Cassidy fans out there, but dang if they both don't take after their dad like 100%!

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Thanks for finding that clip, BizBuzz! I used to love that show. (Not sure how well it holds up now based on that clip, but it seemed pretty fresh to me in 1967.)

 

Besides the info that Cassidy was offered the role of Ted Baxter, it seems to me likely that the MTM creators had the "Oscar North template" in mind when they conceived the character. It's not mere speculation that they would have been well aware of the character; director Jay Sandrich was a common element of both shows.

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According to Shirley Jones' autobiography (a truly bizarre read), Jack Cassidy regretted turning the part down quite a bit.

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I just came across this.

 

The dude is like 85 years old, and he is still kicking butt and taking names.

 

That is a whole lot of acting in his life.

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Ed Asner's imdb page has more than 300 entries! He started off in the 1950's on the TV drama anthologies that were popular at the time and appeared in lots of small movie roles. He's done both comedy and drama with equal success. He played a cop in A Change Of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore, a year before he started playing Lou Grant. I had forgotten his Hawaii Five-0 role - he played a criminal on the original show who went to prison in 1975. In 2012, he played the same guy, newly released into society. Pretty cool, still working after all those years.

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vera charles (love that name and reference, by the way), that's so cool that Asner repeated the same role in both H50 series! I somehow missed hearing about that. And of course in the last few years he got maybe his biggest and most-seen (or more appropriately in this case, -heard) credit on the big screen, the central character in Up.

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I read Gavin MacLeod's bio- and perhaps the most stunning revelation in it re Ted Knight was that he and Gavin were BEST FRIENDS and Gavin was the one most broken up by Ted's death.  That's even more shocking than learning that Cloris and Valerie were chums despite their characters despising each other! 

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He played a cop in A Change Of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore, a year before he started playing Lou Grant.

 

 

Wonder if that's why they thought of him for Lou.    It's been a few decades since I watched that movie.   Did they have any scenes together?   

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Oh my, never in my wildest dreams would I have put Ed Asner and Elvis Presley together!  Thank you @vera charles for finding that link and sharing it, that was some entertaining reading!

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The first time I was ever on a plane in my life was at age 19, a student charter from Philadelphia to London with my roommates, in 1969. The inflight movie? Change of Habit. It just contributed to the giddy surrealism of the whole experience.

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In real life, I would get annoyed working with someone like Ted, but I enjoyed watching him on the show.  Too bad so many couldn't separate character from actor.  An affliction that still plagues many today.

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Agreed, aquarian1. I'm determined not to contribute to the phenomenon: the words "[Actor X] will always be [Role Y] to me" will never cross my lips.

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Carole King (then going by Carole Larkey) had a small part in the 1975 episode Anybody Who Hates Kids and Dogs. She was the aunt of the obnoxious kid  - the son of Mary's current beau. 

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Jack Cassidy played Ted Baxter's brother in one episode.  Jeff Conaway played a figure skater who Lou's former girlfriend Charlene brought to a party.

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Carole King (then going by Carole Larkey) had a small part in the 1975 episode Anybody Who Hates Kids and Dogs. She was the aunt of the obnoxious kid  - the son of Mary's current beau. 

 

Just curious about the "then going by" part. Do you mean she adopted a pseudonym just for her billing on this episode? Or "Carole Larkey" was her character's name? I'm confused only because Carole King was already world-famous under her professional name of Carole King (I think her last name at birth was Klein, if memory serves) and wouldn't be working, in general, under any other name.

Edited by Milburn Stone

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According the to the book mary and lou and rhoda and ted, Ms. King just wanted to do the show and hang around the set, and asked it not be promoted as a big pop star's acting appearance.  And it wasn't. 

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So, then, was "Carole Larkey" how she was billed in the end credits of that episode? I'm just trying to figure out what "then going by" means in this instance.

 

Also curious as to whether her character was given any punchlines and/or received any laughs. If anyone remembers her dialogue (even to roughly paraphrase), I'll appreciate knowing it.

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She only used Larkey for the show I think to obscure the fact that it was Carole King--I don't think she ever used Larkey professionally otherwise. 

It's been a good while since I've seen the episode, but I think at most she had a couple lines, no real laughs.  The premise of the episode was that Mary didn't like the son of her current boyfriend, and that fact was uncovered during a party with a bunch of relatives. King/Larkey's big line as the aunt was something like, "She doesn't like Stevie!?"

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Sorry to have caused confusion. Ms King was married to a Charles Larkey in the nineteen seventies and for whatever reason used his surname at the time she appeared in the episode. As to why she would need to obscure the fact that she was Carole King, I have no idea. Walter Cronkite, Betty Ford among others seemed able to appear on the show without disguise :)

 

The episode aired here quite recently and Charlie Baker is quite right. Ms King  had a few lines that furthered the plot but nothing of any great significance. While watching,  I thought I recognized the actress but for the life of me, could not figure out from where. Since it

 was either put away laundry or search the interwebs for information, I chose the latter.

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The late Leonard Frey was the only student at Ted Baxter's Famous Broadcasters' School (Mary was the Dean of Women). 

Edited by Lava VaVoom

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I wasn't sure which thread to post this in, but I saw on the news tonight that Richard Schaal died today. The news story showed a clip of him as Chuckles the Clown, in the episode where he delivered the election results on the morning news. He actually appeared several times: as bumbling Howard Arnell, his suave brother Paul, and a swinging single guy in the episode that featured a news broadcast from a singles bar. He also appeared on Rhoda and Phyllis and, of course, was married to Valerie Harper for many years.

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/obituary-headlines/20141107-richard-schaal-regular-on-60s-and-70s-sitcoms-dies-at-86.ece

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Richard Schaal appeared as Stevie Parsons - a talk show host - on a last season episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Sally Rogers  apparently was a frequent   guest on the show and on this occasion  she advertised for a husband.

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Anyone watching "Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid" or "Not a Christmas Story" for the holidays? One of my favorite scenes is when Lou finds the little bottle-brush Christmas tree that Mary put on his desk, stares at it with that intense glare, then looks up at Mary and asks, "It isn't going to drop needles all over my desk, is it?"

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