Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And all the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic
MTMbookJennifer Keishin Armstrong
336 pages
Simon & Schuster
Kindle Edition  $11.89
Amazon Hardcover price $17.59
Amazon Paperback price $12.91

If you remember and love The Mary Tyler Moore Show or other shows from MTM (Bob Newhart, Rhoda, Lou Grant, etc.), I think you will enjoy this book.

Armstrong describes all the changes and tweaks it took to get the show on the air. She describes how producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns first wanted Shelly Berman for the Lou Grant character and then Jack Klugman. She tells us that Gavin MacLeod first read for that role before landing the Murray role. Can you imagine how the dynamic of the show would have been so entirely different with actors other than Ed Asner as Lou and Gavin MacLeod as Murray?

Armstrong takes us through the entire run of the show. She does not shy away from Moore’s health problems. She talks about marriages and divorce among the cast and staff. She takes us post-Mary Tyler Moore Show all the way to the present for both the actors and producers.

One thing I learned was that Ted Baxter was based on CBS affiliate KNXT Channel 2 news anchor Jerry Dunphy. I grew up in Southern California and the word in those days was that the character was based on the pompous independent station anchor George Putnam. After all, Dunphy was an icon and untouchable. But Armstrong clearly describes how a staffer spent time in the newsroom at KNXT. And Terry tells me that she’s read that Dunphy could be pompous off the air.

Very much worth the read If you remember and look back fondly on those days.

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