|Mary Tyler Moore|
Mary Tyler Moore opening titles.
|Created by||James L. Brooks
|Starring||Mary Tyler Moore
|Theme music composer||Sonny Curtis|
|Opening theme||"Love Is All Around", written and performed by Sonny Curtis|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||168 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||James L. Brooks
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||MTM Productions|
|Original run||September 19, 1970 – March 19, 1977|
Mary and Rhoda
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (also known as Mary Tyler Moore as seen in the opening titles) is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from September 19, 1970 to March 19, 1977. The program was a television breakthrough, with the first never-married, independent career woman as the central character:
It has also been cited as "one of the most acclaimed television programs ever produced" in US television history. Over a seven-year period, it received high praise from critics and Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975, 1976, and 1977). The show continued to be honored long after the final episode aired. In 2003, USA Today called it "one of the best shows ever to air on TV". In 1997, TV Guide selected a Mary Tyler Moore Show episode as the best TV episode ever, and, in 1999, Entertainment Weekly picked Mary's hat toss in the opening credits as television's second greatest moment.
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-TV, only to find it has already been filled. To her surprise, she is offered the position of associate producer for the station's Six O'Clock News (which, though it has a more prestigious title, pays $10 a week less than the job she had originally sought).
At work, she befriends her tough-but-lovable boss Lou Grant (played by Edward Asner); sympathetic, long-suffering newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod); and pompous, dim-witted, and buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Mary's other acquaintances and friends include upstairs neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), a self-deprecating ex-New Yorker who becomes her best friend; their neurotic, self-involved landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman); and Phyllis's precocious daughter Bess (Lisa Gerritsen). Characters introduced later are the acerbic, man-hungry host of WJM's cooking program, The Happy Homemaker, Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White); and sweet-natured, soft-spoken Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel), Ted Baxter's girlfriend and eventual wife.
For episode descriptions, see List of The Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes.
|Season||Rating†||Episodes||Broadcast Year||Reigion 1 DVD Release Date|
|1||#22||24||1970–1971||September 24, 2002 ‡|
|2||#10||24||1971–1972||July 26, 2005 ‡|
|3||#7||24||1972–1973||January 17, 2006|
|4||#9||24||1973–1974||June 20, 2006|
|5||#11||24||1974–1975||October 6, 2009|
|6||#19||24||1975–1976||February 2, 2010|
† Annual rank among all television shows.
‡ Season 1 DVD includes these features: Audio commentary on select episodes; The Making Of Season 1; CBS promos and Emmy Awards clips; Trivia Challenge game. Season 2 DVD includes: Audio commentary on select episodes; Mad Magazine Parody: The Mary Tailor-Made Show; All-Star Trivia Challenge.
In 2007, TIME magazine put The Mary Tyler Moore Show on its list of "17 Shows That Changed TV." TIME stated that the show "liberated TV for adults—of both sexes" by being "a sophisticated show about grownups among other grownups, having grownup conversations." The Associated Press said that the show "took 20 years of pointless, insipid situation comedy and spun it on its heels. [It did this by] pioneer[ing] reality comedy and the establishment of clearly defined and motivated secondary characters."
Tina Fey, creator and lead actress of the 2006-debut sitcom 30 Rock, explained that Moore's show helped inspire 30 Rock's emphasis on office relationships. "Our goal is to try to be like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where it's not about doing the news," said Fey. Entertainment Weekly also noted that the main characters of 30 Rock mirror those of the The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
When the architects of the sitcom Friends were about to write their series finale, they watched several other sitcom finales. Co-creator Marta Kauffman said that the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the "gold standard" and that it influenced the finale of Friends.
The opening title sequence for the show begins with the name of its star across the screen, which then multiplies both upward and downward vertically in a number of colors, followed by a montage of brief shots of Mary, mostly engaging in everyday activities around the city, as the theme song plays. In the final shot, she cheerfully tosses her tam o'shanter in the air in the middle of the street; a freeze-frame captures her smiling face and the hat in mid-air.
The sequence was created by Reza Badiyi who also did the opening sequence for Hawaii Five-O. Badiyi came up with the idea for the final shot, which Entertainment Weekly ranked as the second greatest moment in television. An older woman can be seen in the background, obviously puzzled by the sight of a young woman tossing her hat in the air. This unwitting "extra" was Hazel Frederick, a lifelong Minnesota resident who happened to be out shopping the day the sequence was shot. Mrs. Frederick finally met Moore in 1994 when she was on a book tour for her autobiography, After All. Moore introduced Frederick as "my co-star".
The sequence has been parodied numerous times. In the opening sequence of the spin-off Rhoda, Rhoda also flings her hat in the air, but it just falls to the ground and she has to sheepishly pick it up. In The Simpsons episode "And Maggie Makes Three", while working at the bowling alley, Homer Simpson spins around singing, "I'm gonna make it after all!", and tosses a bowling ball in the air. It too lands on the ground. Peter Griffin wins a piano competition in the Family Guy episode "Wasted Talent" by playing the The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme. Afterwards, a girl throws her hat in the air and freezes, while those around her look perplexed as to why she is not moving. In addition, The All New Alexei Sayle Show parodies the opening credits in its opening sequence, with Alexei Sayle dancing through the streets of London to the theme song 'Life's a Big Banana Sandwich'. The film Wayne's World also parodied the opening sequence.
From 1973 to the series' conclusion, Mary is shown washing her car while wearing the #10 home jersey of Minnesota Vikings' quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton and the Vikings had played in three Super Bowls around this time, the last in the 1976 season.
Some of the scenes show Mary interacting with crew members. In one, the camera pans over a shot of Mary eating at a restaurant with an older man, the actress' then-husband, Grant Tinker, who served as president of MTM Enterprises until 1981. Another scene shows Mary walking in the park, where she is passed by two joggers: creators James L. Brooks and Allan Burns.
In later seasons, Mary is shown looking at a package of meat at a supermarket, then rolling her eyes as she throws it into her shopping cart. This is a reference to the skyrocketing consumer inflation during the mid-70's.
Scenes showing Mary driving a white 1970 Ford Mustang toward Minneapolis in the first-season sequence were supposedly filmed on Interstate 494 (the Sheraton Bloomington, at the time a Radisson, can be seen in the background) and what is now Hennepin County Road 122 (at its interchange with Cedar Ave).
From season two onward, Moore's costars were also featured in the opening, with shots of Moore with Phyllis and Rhoda in Mary's apartment (seasons four and five featured Moore and Harper walking down a Minneapolis street laughing), and Mary hugging Lou, Murray and Ted (crushing Ted's fedora, in the process, which he'd held in front of his torso).
The theme song, "Love Is All Around", was written and performed by Sonny Curtis (often mistakenly attributed to Paul Williams; Pat Williams wrote the show's music). The lyrics are words of encouragement directed to the character and the first season featured the first verse of the song, which refers to the ending of her relationship and making a fresh start, concluding "You might just make it after all". The more familiar second verse of the song was used in subsequent seasons, with the lyrics affirming her optimistic character, concluding "You're gonna make it after all."
The song has been covered by artists such as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Christie Front Drive, Sammy Davis Jr., and Twin Cities-based Hüsker Dü, and was featured in a long-running commercial for Chase bank in the mid-2000s. It was also sung in the TV series 7th Heaven in the episode "In Praise of Women" during the birth of the Camden twins.
The show has remained popular since the final episode was broadcast in 1977. Several songs, films and other television programs reference characters from the show as well as the infamous "...can turn the world on with her smile" line from the title song. Barbara Kessler and Relient K are two artists who have referenced the show in their songs.
The show's memorable final episode has been referenced many times in other series' closing episodes, such as the finale of St. Elsewhere (including the group shuffle to the tissue box), Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Just Shoot Me!. Additionally, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which was produced in Minneapolis) often featured numerous references to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show has also been parodied numerous times on sketch shows such as Saturday Night Live and MadTV.
The show has been referenced in film as well, such as in Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, when the characters argue with each other while exclaiming "I'm the Mary and you're the Rhoda."
The show was honored with a Peabody Award in 1977. In presenting the award, the Peabody committee stated that MTM Enterprises had "established the benchmark by which all situation comedies must be judged" and lauded the show "for a consistent standard of excellence – and for a sympathetic portrayal of a career woman in today's changing society."
From the opening scenes of every episode to the places and events portrayed in the show, Mary Tyler Moore and its setting in Minneapolis are inextricably linked.
On May 8, 2002, cable TV network TV Land dedicated a statue of Mary Tyler Moore near the corner of 7th Street and Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. It captured her iconic toss and was placed near the spot where it occurred (the actual location was in the middle of the street). Although many in the press were skeptical of TV Land's motive at first, some claiming it was a marketing strategy, one Macalester professor stating that it was "like honoring a unicorn" – crowds of onlookers at the unveiling exhibited hushed excitement rather than animosity. Moore herself attended. It has become something of a tourist attraction for fans of the show, who sometimes throw their own hats in front of it. Moore released the cap when her hand was about at waist-level and her hand went high in the air only as a follow-through. The statue by necessity shows her hand high above her head as she is releasing (or possibly catching) the cap.
The Dayton's department store in the background of some of those scenes (later a Marshall Field's and now a Macy's) has changed considerably in appearance. In fact, the exact spot where the cap toss occurred was debated extensively, because the layout along Nicollet has changed substantially since the early 1970s due to urban renewal. The actual backdrop of the scene, the Donaldson's department store catercorner to the site, was destroyed in 1982 by the Minneapolis Thanksgiving Day Fire.
In 1995, Entertainment Weekly said that "TV's most famous bachelorette pad" was Mary's apartment within a house. For the first few seasons, Rhoda and Phyllis also lived in apartments within the same house, located at 119 N. Weatherly. The exterior of a real house in Minneapolis (in the Kenwood neighborhood, at 2104 Kenwood Parkway) was filmed for regular establishing shots of Richards' house. In the real house, an unfinished attic occupied the space where Mary's apartment was supposedly located.
Once fans of the series discovered the place, the house became a popular tourist destination. According to Moore, the woman who lived in the house "was overwhelmed by the people showing up and asking if Mary was around". To discourage crews from filming additional footage of the house, the owners placed an "Impeach Nixon" sign beneath the windows where Mary supposedly lived. This was allegedly the motivation behind Mary Richards' move to the high rise (Riverside Plaza, then known as Cedar Square West), at the start of the 1975 season. Despite this move, the Kenwood neighborhood house continued to attract large numbers of tourists. More than a decade after the shows's production ended, the house was still drawing 30 tour buses a day in the summer.
In 2005, Don and Patricia Gerlach purchased the house for approximately $1.1 million and began extensive renovations. The third-floor space that was the fictitious setting for Mary's apartment is now a state-of-the-art media room with a plasma TV over the fireplace.
The famous shots of Mary walking around a lake (be it in the summer or the winter) were filmed in the "Chain of Lakes" area west of downtown Minneapolis, most notably at the Lake of the Isles, and another shot was taken in Loring Park.
The establishing shots of Mary's workplace were of Midwest Plaza at the corner of 8th Street and Nicollet Mall. The IDS Center was still under construction across the street when the most familiar establishing shot was taken. For an update of the opening montage for the fourth season, Mary visited the completed IDS Center and was seen riding the escalator in the Crystal Court and dining with a man at what is now the Mary Tyler Moore table at Basil's Restaurant. In 2006, the manager of Basil's said that his customers still frequently request the table where Mary sat. Other sites were featured on the show, particularly in the opening credits, but since actual filming of the series took place in Studio City, California, the cast was rarely in Minneapolis.
Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977) is an American television sitcom that aired on CBS. (The correct name of the sitcom is Mary Tyler Moore, although it is widely known as The Mary Tyler Moore Show.) Actor Mary Tyler Moore stars as Mary Richards, a single woman who, at age 30, moves to Minneapolis, Minnesota to work as an associate producer for the news broadcast on WJM-TV. Her new friends at work include her tough boss, Lou Grant; sympathetic newswriter Murray Slaughter; and buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter. Mary's acquaintances and friends outside of the job include self-deprecating ex-New Yorker Rhoda Morgenstern and their insincere, self-centered landlady Phyllis Lindstrom. Later cast additions include acerbic, man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens, host of WJM's cooking program, The Happy Homemaker, and soft-spoken Georgette Franklin, Ted Baxter's girlfriend.