In case you aren’t aware, the first season of Bob Newhart’s second sitcom, Newhart, has just been released on DVD. The series ran for seven seasons on CBS and was a staple of the network’s Monday night line-up. If you purchase the season one set, you’ll notice that that series began as a run-of-the-mill sitcom but slowly developed into a showcase of dry wit and absurd humor.
Newhart is also remembered for its very memorable series finale that has become, as TV Guide called it in 2005, the most unexpected moment in television history. Since it will likely take several years before we’ll see the seventh season released on DVD, here’s a clip from the famous last installment.
In the earlier part of the episode, a Japanese businessman became so enamored with the town that he wanted to buy it and turns it into a giant golf course. With the exception of Dick (Newhart) and Joanna Loudon (Mary Frann), everyone sold their homes for one million dollars and left town. Five years later, Dick is frustrated by the inn constantly being pelted by golf balls and regrets turning down the offer. Unfortunately, the businessman respects Dick’s honor too much to buy from the Loudons now. Many of the town residents return to the inn for the anniversary of their good fortune and are just as crazy as ever. They’re also quite bored so they decide to take up permanent residence at the inn. It’s more than Dick can take.
By the way, if you’ve only seen the episode in syndication, you likely haven’t heard the distinctive Bob Newhart Show music at the very end.