Monday, September 14, 2015

This Week in Television History: September 2015 PART III

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

September 14, 1965
My Mother The Car premiered on NBC TV. The series was canceled after only a few weeks after the debut. 
Critics and adult viewers generally panned the show, often savagely. In 2002, TV Guide proclaimed it to be the second-worst of all time, just behind The Jerry Springer Show. In 2010 The O'Reilly Factor recorded its viewers as listing it as the worst show of all time. In the context of its time, however, My Mother the Car was an original variation on then-popular "gimmick" shows like My Favorite MartianThe Flying NunI Dream of Jeannie, and especially Mister Ed, all of which depended on a fantastic, quirky premise for their comedy. Like these situation comedies of the 1960s, My Mother the Car is remembered fondly by baby boomerswho followed the series during its one broadcast season.
Allan Burns, co-creator of My Mother the Car, went on to create some of the most critically acclaimed shows in television history, including The Mary Tyler Moore ShowRhoda, and Lou Grant. Television producer James L. Brooks, who later collaborated with Burns on these series, created, among others, Room 222 and Taxi, and served as executive producer of The Simpsons (which later parodied the show in the "Lovematic Grandpa" segment of "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"), got his start in television sitcoms when he was called upon to rewrite a script for an episode of the series. The other co-creator, Chris Hayward, produced and wrote for Barney Miller during its first several seasons.

September 14, 1965
F Troop debuted. 
F Troop is a satirical American television sitcom about U.S. soldiers and American Indians in the Wild West during the 1860s that originally aired for two seasons on ABC-TV. It debuted in the United States on September 14, 1965 and concluded its run on April 6, 1967 with a total of 65 episodes. The first season of 34 episodes was broadcast in black-and-white, the second season in color.

F Troop Opening and Closing Theme 1965 - 1967 from TeeVees Greatest on Vimeo.
The series relied heavily on character-based humor; verbal and visual gags, slapstickphysical comedy and burlesque comedy make up the prime ingredients of F Troop. The series played fast and loose with historical events and persons, and often parodied them for comical effect (such as with calling the Winchester 73 rifle the Chestwinster 76 rifle) There were some indirect references made to the culture of the 1960s such as a "Playbrave Club" (a parody of a Playboy Club) and imitations of Rock & Roll bands (including singing songs written in the 1960s).

September 14, 1985
The Golden Girls first aired. Created by Susan Harris and starring Bea ArthurBetty WhiteRue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty. The show centers on four older women sharing a home in Miami, Florida. It was produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, in association with Touchstone Television, and Paul Junger WittTony Thomas, and Harris served as the original executive producers.

The Golden Girls received critical acclaim throughout most of its run and won several awards, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series twice. It also won three Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Each of the four stars received an Emmy Award (from multiple nominations during the series' run), making it one of only three sitcoms in the award's history to achieve this. The series also ranked among the top ten highest-rated programs for six out of its seven seasons. 

In 2014, the Writers Guild of America placed the sitcom at #69 in their list of the "101 Best Written TV Series of All Time".

September 15, 1965
Lost in Space premiered on CBS TV. 
Lost in Space is an American science fiction television series created and produced by Irwin Allen, filmed by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965, and March 6, 1968. The first television season was filmed in black and white, with the second and third seasons filmed in color. In 1972 a pilot for a cartoon version was made. Two documentaries were released in the 1990s. In 1998, a Lost in Space movie, based on the television series, was released. In 2003 a pilot for a new live action reboot of the series was produced and in late 2014 plans for the development of a brand new series was announced.
In the unaired original pilot, the ship, named Gemini 12 in this early version without Smith or the Robot, was going slow enough that the crew wondered if they were on Mars, while in the first aired episode, just seconds of hyper-drive caused them to be lost, unknown light-years from Earth. The possible distance and location varied between episodes and authors. As an example, Penny asks Will if they could be on Mars in one of the early episodes. The ability of the Jupiter 2 to quickly cover vast distances allowed the ship to pass through an entire galaxy overnight in one later episode although this was more likely the writers' confusion about what solar systems and galaxies actually are. There were two versions of the pilot, a complete version with the credits at the very beginning and a 2nd shorter version minus John's and Don's initial encounter with "One-Eye the Cyclops" and with the credits appearing between Alpha Control's statement that the Gemini 12 was hopelessly Lost in Space and the crash landing sequence.
Though the original television series concept centered on the Robinson family, many later story lines focused primarily on Dr. Zachary Smith, played by Jonathan Harris. Smith, along with the Robot, was absent from the pilot as the addition of their characters was decided once the series had been commissioned for production. Originally written as an utterly evil but careless saboteur, Smith gradually becomes the troublesome, self-centered, incompetent foil who provides the comic relief for the show and causes most of the episodic conflict and misadventures. In the unaired pilot, what causes the group to become lost in space is a chance encounter with a meteor storm, but in the first aired episode, it is Smith's sabotage and unplanned presence on the ship that sets the ship off course into the meteor field. Smith is thus the key to the story.

September 15, 1965
The Big Valley premiered on ABC TV. 
The TV series was based loosely on the Hill Ranch, which was located at the western edge of Calaveras County, not far fromStockton. One episode placed the Barkley Ranch a few hours' ride from town, while another has Jarrod riding past a Calaveras County sign on his way to the TV series' ranch.[citation needed] The Hill Ranch existed from 1855 until 1931, including almost 30,000 acres; and the Mokelumne River ran through it. The source is from an episode in which Heath is on trial in a ghost town with another man (played by Leslie Nielsen) and tells the judge how much land they have. Lawson Hill ran the ranch until he was murdered in 1861. His wife Euphemia (aka "Auntie Hill") then became the matriarch. During their marriage they had four children, one daughter and three sons. Today, the location of the ranch is covered by the waters of Lake Camanche. A California state historical marker standing at Camanche South Shore Park mentions the historic ranch. The set used to film the exterior of the Barkley Mansion stood on the backlot of Republic Studios from 1947 until 1975.
In the first episode, "Palms of Glory," the grave of Thomas Barkley (1813–1870) is shown after it is commented that he fought the railroad six years ago, establishing that the show was initially set no later than 1876. At the beginning of the same episode, Jarrod Barkley and the other actor on the train indirectly say that the year is 1876.

In "The Odyssey of Jubal Tanner," Jubal states to Victoria Barkley that he has been gone 30 years since his wife Margaret Tanner's death, her grave marker showing that she had died in 1854; this appears to indicate that the series starts in 1884. However, in another episode, a newly dug grave has a marker with the year 1878, so the best that can be said is that the events of the series take place sometime in the late 1870s or early 1880s. The dug grave appears at the beginning of the episode "The Long Ride," in which a friend of Audra Barkley was killed, and where the grave clearly shows 1878, which would make her 23 at the date of death based on the grave showing 1855 as the year of birth. In the episode "They Called Her Delilah," the telegram Jarrod received from Julia is dated April 27, 1878.

September 15, 1965
Green Acres premiered on CBS TV. 
Green Acres is about Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), an erudite New York City attorney, acting on his dream to be a farmer, and Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), his glamorous Hungarian wife, dragged unwillingly from an upscale New York condo and the city life she adores to a ramshackle farm. The theme tune, as with those of the show's rural cousins, explains the basic premise of the show. At the end of the opening sequence, Albert and Gabor strike a pose in parody of Grant Wood's painting American Gothic. The debut episode was a mockumentary about the decision to move to a rural area, anchored by former ABC newscaster (and then-current host of the CBS game show What's My LineJohn Charles Daly. A few weeks after the show's debut, Albert and Gabor returned the favor by appearing on What's My Line as that episode's Mystery Guests, and publicly thanked Daly for helping to launch their series.

After the first episodes the series developed an absurdist world. Though there were still many episodes that were standard 1960s sitcom fare, the show became notable for its surrealism andsatire. The show appealed to children through its slapstick, silliness, and shtick, but adults were able to appreciate it on a different level. 

September 15, 1995
The first episode of Xena: Warrior Princess aired. 
The series was created in 1995 by writer-director-producer Robert Tapert under his production tag, Renaissance Pictures, and writer-producer John Schulian, with later executive producers being R. J. Stewart (who developed the series along with Tapert) andSam Raimi. The series narrative follows Xena (played by Lucy Lawless), as an infamous warrior on a quest to seek redemption for her past sins against the innocent by using her formidable fighting skills to now help those who are unable to defend themselves. Xena is accompanied by Gabrielle (played by Renee O'Connor), who during the series changes from a simple farm girl into anAmazon warrior and Xena's comrade-in-arms; her initial naïveté helps to balance Xena and assists her in recognizing and pursuing the "greater good".
The show is a spin-off of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; the saga began with three episodes inHercules where Xena was a recurring character originally scheduled to die in her third appearance. Aware that the character of Xena had been very successful among the public, the producers of the series decided to create a spin-off series based on her adventures. Xena was a successful show which has aired in more than 108 countries around the world since 1998. In 2004 and 2007, it was ranked #9 and #10 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever and the title character was ranked #100 on Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters. Xena's success has led to hundreds of tie-in products, including, comicsbooks,video games and conventions, realized annually since 1998 in Pasadena, California and London.
The series soared past its predecessor in ratings and in popularity. In its second season it was the top rated syndicated drama series on American television. For all six years Xena remained in the top five. The series came to an end in June 2001, after cancellation. It completed a full sixth season and ended with a two-part series finale. The show has since acquired a strong cult following, attention in fandomparody, and academia, and has influenced the direction of other television series.

September 16, 1965
The Dean Martin Show debuted on NBC-TV. 

Martin was initially reluctant to do the show, partially because he did not want to turn down movie and nightclub performances. His terms were deliberately outrageous: he demanded a high salary and that he need only show up for the actual taping of the show. To his surprise the network agreed. As daughter Deana Martin recalled after meeting the network and making his demands Martin returned home and announced to his family, "They went for it. So now I have to do it." (Contrary to his stated concerns, Martin's commitment to the program ultimately did not prevent him from appearing in a series of Matt Helm films concurrent with the show's run, as well as other projects such as a co-starring role in the first Airport film in 1970.)
Martin believed that an important key to his popularity was that he did not put on airs. His act was that of a drunken, work-shy playboy, although the ever-present old-fashioned glass in his hand often only had apple juice in it. The show was heavy on physical comedy rather than just quips (he made his weekly entrance by sliding down a fireman's pole onto the stage.) Martin read his dialogue directly from cue cards. If he flubbed a line or forgot a lyric, Martin would not do a retake, and the mistake — and his recovery from it — went straight to tape and onto the air.
The Dean Martin Show was shot on color videotape beginning in 1965 at Studio 4 inside NBC's massive color complex at 3000 West Alameda Avenue in Burbank, California. The same studio was used for Frank Sinatra's yearly TV specials in the late 1960s, and Elvis Presley's 1968 "Comeback Special". Studio 4 is currently one of two used in the production of the soap opera Days of Our Lives.

September 17, 1950
Comedians Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis make their first appearance as hosts of a new TV variety show, The Colgate Comedy Hour. 

Martin and Lewis first teamed up in 1946. Martin, born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1917, had started a nightclub act after working as a prizefighter and a steelworker in the 1940s. Lewis, the son of performers, debuted in comedy acts with his parents at age five and was working steadily as a comic by 1946, when he met Martin. The pair performed an act in which screwball Lewis constantly interrupted straight man Martin's singing. They made their first appearance at a club in Atlantic City and were an instant hit, soon in demand for radio and movie performances. They made their first movie together, My Friend Irma, in 1949. The following year, they were chosen, along with Eddie Cantor and Fred Allen, to share the host position for The Colgate Comedy Hour. The show ran until 1955, a year before Martin and Lewis split up.
After the duo parted ways, Martin launched his own TV variety show, which ran from 1965 to 1974. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin teamed up with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop to perform in Las Vegas. The group quickly became known as the Rat Pack, a suave group of young, fast-living entertainers. The group made several movies together in the early 1960s, including Ocean's Eleven (1960), Sergeants Three (1962), and Robin and the Seven Hoods. Dean Martin died in 1995.
Jerry Lewis went on to sign one of the most lucrative film contracts of the day, a $10 million deal for 14 films with Paramount. Lewis' films, including Cinderfella (1960) and The Nutty Professor (1963), failed to attract much praise from American critics but made him a star in France, where he has long been considered a comic genius. After a long absence from film, he gave an acclaimed performance in the 1986 film The King of Comedy, co-starring Robert De Niro.

September 17, 1965
The Smothers Brothers Show, the first TV series featuring comedians Tom and Dick Smothers, debuts. 

The sitcom featured elder brother Dick as a publishing executive pestered by the ghost of his brother, Tom. The show lasted only one season. However, the brothers were back in 1967 with their comedy variety show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which became the most popular show on television during its two-year run. CBS abruptly cancelled the show at the height of its popularity after a series of censorship disputes with the brothers.
In 1975, NBC revived the original show, now called The Smothers Brothers Show, but the brothers' humor had lost its edge, and audience interest waned after the first few episodes. The show lasted only one season.

September 17, 1965
The Wild Wild West Premiered.
Developed at a time when the television western was losing ground to the spy genre, this show was conceived by its creator,Michael Garrison, as "James Bond on horseback." Set during the administration of President Ulysses Grant (1869–77), the series followed Secret Service agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) as they solved crimes, protected the President, and foiled the plans of megalomaniacal villains to take over all or part of the United States.
The show also featured a number of fantasy elements, such as the technologically advanced devices used by the agents and their adversaries. The combination of the Victorian era time-frame and the use of Verne-esque technology has inspired some to give the show credit as being one of the more "visible" origins of the steampunk subculture. These elements were accentuated even more in the 1999 movie adaptation.

Despite high ratings, the series was cancelled near the end of its fourth season as a concession to Congress over television violence.

September 17, 1965
Hogan's Heroes first aired.
The television sitcom set in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during World War II. It ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to April 4, 1971, on the CBS network. Bob Crane starred as Colonel Robert E. Hogan, coordinating an international crew of Allied prisoners running a Special Operations group from the camp. Werner Klemperer playedColonel Wilhelm Klink, the incompetent commandant of the camp, and John Banner was the inept sergeant-of-the-guard, Hans Schultz.
The setting is a fictional version of Stalag Luft 13 (Camp 13 in early episodes), a prisoner-of-war camp for captured Allied airmen located north of the town of Hammelburg in the Bad Kissingen woods. It was on the Hammelburg Road (now known as E45), on the way to Hofburgstraße and eventually Düsseldorf. "Anchors Aweigh, Men of Stalag 13" (S1E16) reveals the camp is 60 miles from the North Sea. Another episode places the camp 106 kilometres (66 mi) from Heidelberg in flying miles; it is 199 km (124 mi) by car. The camp has 103 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) during the first season, but becomes larger by the end of the series.
Though the series spans several seasons, it's always winter at Stalag 13; there are ever-present patches of snow on the ground and on buildings, and prisoners regularly gather around a barrel fire or shiver through roll call.
The farcical premise of the show is that the prisoners of war (POWs) are actually using the camp as a base of operations for Alliedespionage and sabotage against Nazi Germany as well as to help Allied POWs from other camps and defectors to escape Germany (including supplying them with civilian clothes and false identification). The prisoners work in cooperation with an assortment ofresistance groups (collectively called "the Underground"), defectors, spies, counterspies, disloyal officers, and others. The mastermind behind the whole operation is the senior ranking prisoner American Colonel Robert Hogan. His staff of experts in covert operations comprises two Americans, one British serviceman, and one Frenchman. They are able to accomplish farfetched schemes such as having a prisoner visit the camp as a phony Adolf Hitler or rescuing a French Underground agent from Gestapoheadquarters in Paris.
Colonel Hogan and his band are aided by the incompetence of the camp commandant Colonel Klink and Sergeant of the GuardSchultz who wants to avoid trouble more than anything. Hogan routinely manipulates Klink and gets Schultz to look the other way while his men conduct these covert operations. Klink and Schultz are constantly at risk of being transferred to the cold and bloodyRussian Front, and Hogan helps to keep the duo in place if for no other reason for fear of their being replaced by more competent soldiers. In general, Germans in uniform and authority are depicted as inept, dimwitted, and/or easily manipulated. Many of the German civilians are portrayed as at least indifferent towards the German war effort or even willing to help the Allies.
Klink has a perfect operational record as camp commandant in that no prisoners have escaped during his time in the job (two guards may have deserted). Hogan actually assists in maintaining this record and ensures any prisoners who need to be spirited away are transferred to another authority before their escape takes place, or replacements are provided to maintain the illusion that no one has ever escaped from Stalag 13. Because of this record, and the fact that the Allies would never bomb a prison camp, the Germans use the Stalag for high level secret meetings or to hide important persons or projects the Germans want to protect from bombing raids. Klink also has many other important visitors and is temporarily put in charge of special prisoners. This brings the prisoners in contact with many important VIPs, scientists, high-ranking officers, spies, and some of Germany's most sophisticated and secret weapons projects (Wunderwaffe), which the prisoners take advantage of in their efforts to hinder the German war effort.
The main five Allied prisoners (Hogan and his staff) bunk in "Barracke 2" (a goof here was that whenever the door was open, another building labeled "Barracke 3" could be seen, even though the barracks were supposed to be directly in front of the Kommandantur, which was, unlike actual prison camps, situated inside the prisoner's compound (kommandantur = headquarters, barracke = barracks). The prisoners are able to leave and return almost at will via a secret network of tunnels and have tunnels to nearly every barracks and building in the camp, so much so that Hogan, in a third-season episode ("Everybody Loves a Snowman"), has difficulty finding a spot in the camp without a tunnel under it. The stove in Klink's private quarters, a tree stump right outside the camp (known as the emergency tunnel), and a doghouse in the guard dog compound serve as trapdoors. A bunk in their barracks serves as an elaborate trapdoor and the main entrance to the tunnels. The tunnels include access to the camp's Cooler, a name used by Allied prisoners for solitary confinement, where prisoners are routinely sent for punishment and to hold special prisoners temporarily entrusted to Klink. Just inside the "emergency tunnel" is a submarine-style periscope, which the prisoners use to check conditions outside the tree stump trapdoor. There is also a periscope in their barracks with one end hidden in a water barrel outside the barracks and the other disguised as a sink faucet inside the barracks that allows them to see events in the compound.

The prisoners' infiltration of the camp is so extensive it includes control of the camp telephone switchboard, allowing them to listen in on all conversations and to make phony phone calls. They have radio contact with Allied command, based in London, code named "Mama Bear" in some episodes and "Papa Bear" in others. Hogan's code name is "Goldilocks" sometimes, and Papa Bear other times, although in later seasons Stalag 13 utilized different code names. Their radio antenna is hidden in the camp flagpole on top of Klink's headquarters, and the prisoners are able to make phony radio broadcasts including some by a prisoner impersonating Adolf Hitler. A real microphone, hidden in Klink's office in the picture of Hitler making a speech exactly where the microphone is in the picture, allows the prisoners to hear what is being said in the office (the speaker is disguised as the coffee pot in their barracks). The guard dogs are friendly to the prisoners, thanks to the town veterinarian Oscar Schnitzer (played by Walter Janowitz), who supports the prisoners. He routinely replaces the dogs on the premise that they could become too friendly with the prisoners, but he also uses his truck to smuggle people and items in and out of the camp, where the German guards are too afraid of the dogs to open the truck. Prisoners work in the camp's motor pool and "borrow" vehicles, including Klink's staff car, as needed to carry out their schemes. Sections of the barbed wire fence are in a frame which the prisoners can easily lift when they need to get out of the camp. When required, Allied airplanes land near the camp, or make airdrops. Allied submarines pick up escapees and defectors Hogan and his men are helping flee Germany.

September 17, 2010 - CBS aired the final episode of "As the World Turns."

In December 2009, CBS confirmed that it would not renew As the World Turns, and the last broadcast episode was on September 17, 2010. The final scene included Kim Hughes (Kathryn Hays) telling Bob Hughes (Don Hastings) to take as much time as he needed. Bob said the final two lines "Good night" and left the Oakdale Memorial Hospital, and the globe started spinning before the final fade-out.

September 18, 1955
Ed Sullivan's popular talk show, originally called Toast of the Town, changes its name to The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan was so closely identified with the show, which first aired in 1948, that most Americans already called the program "Ed Sullivan." Among the many celebrities who made their TV debut on the show were Bob Hope, Lena Horne, the Beatles, and Walt Disney. Elvis also made several high-profile appearances, in 1956 and 1957. CBS cancelled the program in 1971.

September 18, 1965
The first episode of I Dream of Jeannie was shown on NBC-TV. The last show was televised on September 1, 1970. 
The series was created and produced by Sidney Sheldon in response to the great success of rival network ABC's Bewitched series, which had debuted in 1964 as the second most watched program in the United States. Sheldon, inspired by the movie The Brass Bottle, which had starred Tony RandallBarbara Eden, and Burl Ives as the genie Fakrash, came up with the idea for a beautiful female genie. Both I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched were Screen Gems productions. The show debuted at 8 p.m., Saturday, September 18, 1965, on NBC.

When casting was opened for the role of Jeannie, producer Sidney Sheldon could not find an actress who could play the role the way that he had written it. He did have one specific rule: He did not want a blonde genie because there would be too much similarity with the blonde witch on Bewitched. However, after many unsuccessful auditions, he called Barbara Eden's agent. When NBC began telecasting most of its prime time television programs in color in fall 1965, Jeannie was one of two regular programs on NBC that remained in black and white, in this case because of the special photographic effects employed to achieve Jeannie's magic. By the second season, however, further work had been done on techniques to create the visual effects in color, necessary because by 1966 all US prime time series were being made in color.

According to Dreaming of Jeannie, a book by Stephen Cox and Howard Frank, Sheldon originally wanted to film season one in color, but NBC did not want to pay for the extra expenses, as the network (and Screen Gems) believed the series would not make it to a second season. According to Sheldon in his autobiography The Other Side of Me, he offered to pay the extra US$400 an episode needed for color filming at the beginning of the series, but Screen Gems executive Jerry Hyams advised him: "Sidney, don't throw your money away."

September 18, 1965
Get Smart Premiered.
Get Smart was an comedy television series that satirized the secret agent genre.
Created by Mel Brooks with Buck Henry, the show starred Don Adams (as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86), Barbara Feldon (as Agent 99), and Edward Platt (as Chief). Henry said they created the show by request of Daniel Melnick, who was a partner, along withLeonard Stern and David Susskind, of the show's production company, Talent Associates, to capitalize on "the two biggest things in the entertainment world today"—James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. Brooks said: "It's an insane combination of James Bond and Mel Brooks comedy."
The success of the show (which ran from September 18, 1965, to September 11, 1970) eventually spawned the follow-up films The Nude Bomb (a theatrical release) and Get Smart, Again! (a made-for-TV sequel to the series), as well as a 1995 revival series, and a 2008 film remake. In 2010, TV Guide ranked Get Smart's opening title sequence at No. 2 on its list of TV's Top 10 Credits Sequences as selected by readers.

During the show's run, it generated a number of popular catchphrases, including "Would you believe...", "Missed it by that much!", "Sorry about that, Chief", "The Old (such-and-such) Trick", "And ... loving it", and "I asked you not to tell me that".

September 19, 1970
The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered 

Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns the show aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The program was a television breakthrough, with the first never-married, independent career woman as the central character: "As Mary Richards, a single woman in her thirties, Moore presented a character different from other single TV women of the time. She was not widowed or divorced or seeking a man to support her."
 It has also been cited as "one of the most acclaimed television programs ever produced" in US television history. It received high praise from critics, including Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975–77), and continued to be honored long after the final episode aired.

Mary Richards (Moore) is a single woman who, at age 30, moves to Minneapolis after breaking off an engagement with her boyfriend of two years. She applies for a secretarial job at TV station WJM, but is offered the position of Associate Producer for the station's "Six O'Clock News." She befriends her tough but lovable boss Lou Grant (Edward Asner), newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), and buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Mary later becomes Producer of the show.

Mary rents a third floor studio apartment in a Victorian house from existing acquaintance and downstairs landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), and becomes best friends with upstairs neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper). Characters introduced later in the series are acerbic, man-hungry TV hostess Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) and Ted Baxter's girlfriend, sweet-natured Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel). At the beginning of season 6, after both Rhoda and Phyllis have moved away, Mary moves to a one bedroom high-rise apartment.

In the third season, issues such as equal pay for women, pre-marital sex and homosexuality are woven into the show's comedic plots. In the fourth season, such subjects as marital infidelity and divorce are explored with Phyllis and Lou, respectively. In the fifth season, Mary refuses to reveal a news source and is jailed for contempt of court. While in prison, she befriends a prostitute who seeks Mary's help in a subsequent episode. In the final seasons, the show explores humor in death in the classic Emmy-winning episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust" and juvenile delinquency; Ted deals with intimate marital problems, infertility, adoption, and suffers a heart attack; and Mary overcomes an addiction to sleeping pills. Mary dates several men on and off over the years, two seriously, but remains single throughout the series.
The show spun off three television series: the sitcoms Rhoda (1974–1978) and Phyllis (1975–1977), and the one hour drama Lou Grant (1977–1982). In 2000, Moore and Harper reprised their roles in a two-hour ABC TV movie, Mary and Rhoda.

September 20, 1955
The Phil Silvers Show, originally titled You'll Never Get Rich primiered. 
The sitcom which ran on CBS from 1955 to 1959 for 142 episodes, plus a 1959 special starred Phil Silvers as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko of the United States Army.

The series was created and largely written by Nat Hiken, and won three consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series. The show is sometimes titled Sergeant Bilko or simply Bilko in reruns, and is very often referred to by these names, both on-screen and by viewers. The show's success transformed Silvers from a journeyman comedian into a star, and writer-producer Hiken from a highly regarded behind-the-scenes comedy writer into a publicly recognized creator.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".



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Tony Figueroa
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