Updated May 17, 2013 at 12.46 p.m. GMT with videos from Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
In the 36 years since The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended, weâve had snippets of information here and there: TV specials celebrating various anniversaries, articles when the release of the disappointing Mary & Rhoda TV movie appeared, and retrospectives when Mary Tyler Moore herself was presented with a SAG award. But no one, till now, has put together a tome on how the show was created and its eight-year history.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrongâs Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted and All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic is the best researched book on the topic. Newly released by Simon & Schuster, Armstrong has talked to the surviving members of the cast and crew, including writer Treva Silverman, and producers and creators Allan Burns and James L. Brooks, as well as Moore, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod and others. She has exhaustively researched period articles and even feminist conferences. But donât expect a laborious effort to get through the 300 pp.: anyone with even a passing interest in television sitcoms, television history in general, recent American history or the mediaâs role in the development of feminism will find Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted an absorbing and entertaining read, tracing the origins of the show in the 1960s to the years after its final episode, told chronologically.
Itâs hard to believe now just how revolutionary The Mary Tyler Moore Show was in 1970. Itâs even harder to believe that it had a difficult gestation and plenty of doubt among network executives. CBS had expected it to flop after its 13-episode commitment, not take home multiple Emmys. Ed Asner could have walked away permanently after a bad audition. But it became a ratingsâ winner, catching the smart, urban crowd, and the fictional Mary Richards became the first mainstream character to tell America that it was OK to be single, over 30, and independent.
Jay Sandrichâs style of directing is mentionedâhe believed that actors should play to each other, rather than on stage in the theatre, performing to the audience. That, the live audience, and the use of film helped lend The Mary Tyler Moore Show a different style. The use of Evan-Picone as a sole supplier of Moore’s wardrobe also helped with realism: Mary Richards might repeat an outfit during a season, which a real working woman would. Brooks and Burns, in their own commitment to reality, sought out female writers, who were extremely hard to come by in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to give the show an authentic voice. The networks themselves had remarkably few women, with the few female executives who had broken the glass ceiling needing to leave their high heels outside the washroom so that their male colleagues knew they were inside.
Norman Learâs remake of Till Death Do Us Part, called All in the Family, which proved more ground-breaking in pushing the envelope, is also mentioned more than just in passing. All of it is placed into the context of the social changes in the United States at the turn of the 1970s, making Armstrongâs book a particularly useful text, covering many bases.
We read about male friends writing to CBS angrily when it was implied that she had stayed over at a boyfriendâs, or even about how ground-breaking one scene was when Maryâs visiting mother, talking to her father, says, âDonât forget to take your pill,â to which both father and daughter replied, âI wonât.â
The teamâs personal demonsâTed Knight had anxieties stemming from his slow rise to stardom, for instance, and the pressure put on Grant Tinker and Mary Tyler Mooreâs marriageâare dealt with, and Armstrong successfully transplants the reader to the 1960s and 1970s as though the events were unfolding before us. The fact Mary Richards fought for equal pay but still accepted a lower rate did not endear the show fully to feminists, but The Mary Tyler Moore Show largely stayed true to not dealing with the issues of the dayârather, it would address them through character-driven plots, with one or two exceptions. On that note, it was quite unlike All in the Family, which would deal with racism or sexism head-on. Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted is better than any DVD commentary or documentary so far produced on the show. With over 300 pp., it is the definitive reference on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and to a lesser extent, its spin-offs. In terms of interest among American readers, we think itâs going to make it after all.
Armstrong has emailed Lucire with some of the events she has planned to promote her new book.
âIf you’re in New York, I especially encourage you to join us for MTM-related bar trivia to celebrate release week. There will be prizesâT-shirts, books, mugs, and free Entertainment Weekly subscriptions!â she says.
âSo far I’ve got stuff planned for New York, DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, and LA, but I’ve still got more in the works, so if you’re somewhere else, please check my website for updates.â
Right now, those events are (please check her website for corrections and updates):
â¢ Thursday, May 9, 7 p.m.: Mary Tyler Moore Show trivia night for Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted release. At Pacific Standard, Brooklyn.
â¢ Monday, May 13, 12 p.m.: Mary Tyler Moore Show discussion and reading from Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted. At 92nd Street Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson Street.
â¢ Friday, May 17, 7 p.m.: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted reading and discussion at the Village Zendo, 588 Broadway (near Houston), Suite 1108.
â¢ Monday, May 20, 12 p.m.: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted reading and signing at the National Archives, Washington D.C.
â¢ Tuesday, June 4. 7 p.m.: The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Modern Woman discussion at Boswell Book Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
â¢ Wednesday, June 5, 8 p.m.: Sexy Feminism and Chicago Doll party, Old Town Social, 455 W. North Ave., Chicagoâjoin us for a fundraising raffle, cocktails, and fun.
â¢ Thursday, June 6, 7 p.m.: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted Chicago launch party, Hemingway House and Museum, Oak Park.
â¢ Friday, June 7: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted reading and talk at Book Cellar, Lincoln Square, Chicago.
â¢ Sunday, July 7, 7 p.m.: How to Write a Non-fiction Book Proposal workshop with LA Writersâ Group.
â¢ Tuesday, July 9, 7 p.m.: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted panel discussion: What Has Changed for Female TV Writers Since the â70s? With Mary Tyler Moore Show writer Treva Silverman. At Book Soup, Los Angeles.
â¢ Thursday, July 11, 7 p.m.: A dialogue and how-to discussion about pop-culture writing with Gavin Edwards, co-author of VJ: the Unplugged Adventures of MTVâs First Wave. At Pop-Hop Bookshop, Los Angeles.
Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko attended the Los Angeles premiÃ¨re of their latest film, To the Wonder, directed by Terrence Malick, at the Pacific Design Center.
Kurylenko was not the only Bond alum in the film: Spanish actor Javier Bardem also stars.
McAdams, Affleck and Kurylenko had nothing but praise for Malick. McAdams speaks of Malick’s ability to appreciate beauty; Affleck says he learned from Malick as a director; while Kurylenko talks of his story-telling.
McAdams wore a black lace Maria Lucia Hohan dress, while Kurylenko wore a Christian Dior dress and Manolo Blahnik sandals.
The movie is about a married couple, played by Affleck and Kurylenko, finding problems with their relationship. Affleck then encounters an old flame, played by McAdams. Bardem plays a local disillusioned priest. Early reviews indicate it will appeal to many of Malick’s fans.
The film has already been shown at Venezia and Toronto.
Sebastian Professional has teamed up with fashion designer Mara Hoffman, which sees a Mara Hoffman for Sebastian custom scarf given away with its latest limited-edition designer gift set.
The gift pack comprises the Sebastian Professional Volupt shampoo and conditioner, along with Hoffman’s scarf, which features bold colours and graphic prints, inspired by her own spring 2013 collection, which had a SÃ£o Paulo theme. The scarf has a retail value of US$120.
Sebastian Professional lead hairstylist Thomas Dunkin says the scarf suits current trends: ‘This print is bold, beautiful and inspiring. Combine this with braids for a cool urban look or leave hair down and very natural, and tie the scarf in a bow at the crown for a more â50s vibe.’
The choice of Hoffman, with her Brazilian-themed spring collection, ties in with Sebastian’s Urban Explorer promotion, which educates consumers on different hair trends around the globe. The gift set shows step-by-step styling tricks from Dunkin as part of the promotion.
Dunkin himself had led Hoffman’s hair styling at her spring 2013 show at New York Fashion Week.
The pack will be available from Sebastian salons across the US for US$25 from MayâJune 2013.
Details of Sebastian salons can be found at www.sebastianprofessional.com.
To commemorate Victoria’s Secret releasing the latest of its Swim 2013 catalogues, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel and Karlie Kloss have modelled items from the collection in Los Angeles: the Fabulous push-up bikini, the Very Sexy bandeau, and the Unforgettable demi bikini. Victoria’s Secret also announces the return of the Beach Sexy Bikini Mixer, where customers can mix their favourite top and bottom styles.
The Los Angeles setting is appropriate given that the collection has been inspired by old Hollywood. Photographer Russell James had been shooting out at the Turks and Caicos Islands and Miami, Florida, but the latest promotion sees the three “Angels” return Stateside (and poolside) for the company’s biggest market.
The Angels & Artists series of music video collaborations, which had begun earlier in 2013 with a track by Bruno Mars, also comes to an end with a final video featuring a Rihanna track. Rihanna performs ‘Stay’ in a video featuring Victoria’s Secret spokesmodels Behati Prinsloo, and Erin Heatherton.
The collection is available via VictoriasSecret.com, through the traditional catalogue, select Victoria’s Secret stores in the US, Canada and the UK, and the Victoria’s Secret All Access Ipad and Iphone apps.
Since Cheryl Cole always gets additional readers for the British tabloids, she’s the subject of further speculation againâthat The X Factor supremo Simon Cowell will offer Cole her old judging job back on the American version of the franchise.
Cole was heavily promoted in the British press when she went to the US for its version of The X Factor in 2011, only to be quietly dumped. One episode had Cole start the show and her replacement, Nicole Scherzinger, end it.
A rift had been reported between Cole and Cowell in the British press in subsequent months, but neither would offer an official comment on what had happened.
Since then, Scherzinger, and her replacement, Britney Spears, have left the show. L. A. Reid is also leaving The X Factor USA.
Cole’s legal team has filed suit against The X Factor USA producers Blue Orbit, claiming she is owed the equivalent of Â£1Â·4 million. Blue Orbit claims that Cole lacks standing in the case.