It’s hard to believe that, 40 years ago today, Lou Grant told Mary Richards that he hated spunk. The ground-breaking sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, first aired on September 19, 1970.
The show begins with Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) moving to Minneapolis to make a fresh start. She moves into an apartment in a large house. Her nosy landlady and friend, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), lives below while self-deprecating Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) lives above.
Mary finds a job at the local WJM television station, working under gruff news producer Lou Grant (Ed Asner). She works with news writer Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), buffoonish news anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), and later the man-hungry host of The Happy Homemaker show, Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel), a sweet co-worker of Rhoda’s, eventually marries Ted.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended on its own terms after seven seasons and had one of the most memorable series finales in history. In short, the new station manager fires entire news staff — except for Ted.
We’ve all seen many of the memorable episodes but here’s something you may not have seen before. It’s a gag reel that was put together at the end of the show’s run. Some goofs are more amusing than others. The end however, is particularly worth seeing. You may recall that we recently posted a clip of the last episode’s curtain call. It was only shown during the CBS run and was replaced in syndication by the usual credits.
At the end of the gag reel, there’s a bit more footage from that special night. You can see director Jay Sandrich, some of the producers and writers join the cast on stage and essentially recreate the big group hug that was part of the scripted show. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Take a look…
What do you think? What are your favorite memories from the WJM newsroom?