Monday, March 13, 2017

This Week in Television History: March 2017 PART II

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.

March 15, 1977
Three's Company first aired.  It is based on the British sitcom Man About the House.
The story revolves around three single roommates: Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt), Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers), and Jack Tripper (John Ritter), who all platonically live together in a Santa Monica, California apartment building owned by Stanley Roper (Norman Fell) and Helen Roper (Audra Lindley). Following Somers' departure in late 1981, Jenilee Harrison joined the cast as Cindy Snow, who was soon replaced by Priscilla Barnes as Terri Alden

Three's Company [First UNAIRED Pilot Episode] by UnknownArchiveTV
After Norman Fell and Audra Lindley left the series for their own sitcomDon Knotts joined the cast as the roommates' new landlord Ralph Furley.
The show, a comedy of errors, chronicles the escapades and hijinks of the trio's constant misunderstandings, social lives, and financial struggles, such as keeping the rent current, living arrangements and breakout characters. A top ten hit from 1977 to 1983, the series has remained popular in syndication and through DVD releases.
After crashing a party and finding himself passed out in the bathtub, cooking school student Jack Tripper meets Janet Wood, a florist, and Chrissy Snow, a secretary, in need of a new roommate to replace their departing roommate Eleanor. Having only been able to afford to live at the YMCA, Jack quickly accepts the offer to move in with the duo.
However, due to overbearing landlord Stanley Roper's intolerance for co-ed living situations, even in a multi-bedroom apartment, Jack is allowed to move in only after Janet tells Mr. Roper that Jack is gay. Although Mrs. Roper figures out Jack's true sexuality in the second episode, she does not tell her husband, who tolerates but mocks him. Frequently siding with the three roommates instead of her husband, Mrs. Roper's bond with the roommates grows until the eventual spinoff The Ropers.
Jack continues the charade when new landlord Ralph Furley takes over the apartment complex because Mr. Furley insists that his hard-nosed brother Bart (the building's new owner) would also never tolerate such living situations.

March 15, 1977
Eight Is Enough First Aired.
The show was modeled on the life of syndicated newspaper columnist Thomas Braden, a real-life parent with eight children, who wrote a book by the same title. The show centers on a Sacramento, California, family with eight children (from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas). The father, Tom Bradford, was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan (Diana Hyland) took care of the children. Hyland was only in four episodes before falling ill; she was written out for the remainder of the first season and died five days after the second episode aired.

The second season began in the fall of 1977 with the revelation that Tom had become a widower. Tom fell in love with Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott, (Betty Buckley) a schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor Tommy who had broken his leg in a football game. They were married in one of the series' TV movie broadcasts on November 9, 1977. The role went to Buckley after being approved by network chief Brandon Tartikoff, who felt the character of the sympathetic teacher she had played in the 1976 film Carrie would also be great for the series. In another TV movie event in September 1979, David and Susan were both married in a double wedding. As the series progressed, Abby got her Ph.D. in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school, oldest sister Mary became a doctor, while second-youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock-and-roll band.

March 19, 1977
The Last Show (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) The 168th episode and series finale of the television sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and was written by Allan Burns, James L. Brooks, Ed Weinberger, Stan Daniels, David Lloyd and Bob Ellison. 

It was first broadcast on CBS on March 19, 1977. The episode won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series." In executive producer Allan Burns' "Outstanding Comedy Series" acceptance speech at the 29th annual prime time Emmy Awards, he stated, "We kept putting off writing that last show; we frankly didn't want to do it. I think it said what we wanted it to say. It was poignant, and I believe The Mary Tyler Moore Show was, in the long run, important for many women."
Plot summary
The new owner of WJM-TV is firing people left and right, and wants to do something about the Six O'Clock News' low ratings. Surprisingly, Lou, Mary, Murray, and Sue Ann are fired, but the person widely perceived as the cause of the Six O'Clock News' low ratings, Ted, is retained.
Mary takes the news particularly hard. To cheer her up, Lou arranges for old friends Rhoda and Phyllis to fly to Minneapolis for a surprise visit at Mary's apartment.
After their final news broadcast together, in which Ted gives a sincere but comical sendoff to his colleagues on the air, the Six O'Clock News' staff, along with Georgette, gather in the newsroom to say goodbye to each other. The memorable and oft parodied scene culminates in an emotional huddle, during which nobody wants to let go, and, needing some tissues, the group shuffles en masse toward a box on Mary's desk. After final goodbyes, everyone exits the newsroom singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary." Finally, a very emotional Mary looks back, then bucks up and smiles before turning off the lights and closing the door.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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