Substack.Com calls itself “The home for great writing,” and we can tell you this much – they sure prove they know their business with this excerpt of the new paperback Edition of Herbie J Pilato’s bio of Mary Tyler Moore. Fine, tasty writing by one of TVWriter™’s favorite boychiks. (The “chik” thing got you worried? Nothing sexist here, honest. Look it up.)
“Oh, Rob!” – New Paperback Edition of
MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY
As explored in the new paperback edition of MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, by TV personality Herbie J Pilato, the series catapulted Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore into national stardom. As Rob and Laura Petrie, this dynamic duo became one of TV’s most likable married couples. And thanks to syndication, their comedic and musical adventures have never left the air.
Since watching the series in their youth, grandparents now share it with their own children and grandchildren. The comedy stays bright and the performances sharp. Critics lauded not only the display of Kennedy Era relationships but also the look of the show for its sophisticated take on the nuclear family in the Nuclear Age.
Just one look at the famous living room opening – furniture with cleaner lines (all the better to trip over) and no-frills window dressing – tell us we’re well into New Frontier, Mid-Century Modern design, and not Ozzie and Harriet’s, or Dobie’s, or The Beaver’s households, let alone Lucy’s.
Not to be overlooked was The Dick Van Dyke Show’s understated ease with a workplace lacking in gender bias, where the strutting and liberated comic attitude of Sally Rogers (played by actress Rose Marie, herself a performer since age 5) was more than equal to her male co-creatives in the writers’ room. This model was a hopeful and radical one, as actual women writers in 1961 prime-time television production saw only a handful of series assignments.
With series creator Carl Reiner (who played the ego-centric Alan Brady on the show), the series also risked showing the 1960s housewife more like a real person – less Mamie Eisenhower and more Jackie Kennedy. In his book MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, Pilato (who hosts Then Again with Herbie J Pilato on Amazon Prime) writes, “Mary ignited a new fashion statement with her signature slim-fitting tight slacks and flat footwear. While other wives of the small screen wore billowing dresses and pearls, Mary’s Laura adorned the Capri pants in the family.”
From The Dick Van Dyke Show on, the modern-era woman’s role could no longer be justifiably portrayed on TV as just the hapless homemaker, but as an active and full-blooded participant in the family’s episodic undertakings. In MARY, Pilato notes, “Joanne Stang of the New York Times wrote, ‘Miss Moore has made housewifery a highly palatable pastime.'” This template set the stage for all sitcoms to come, not the least of which would be The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where, as Pilato puts it, “MTM added texture to characters and a more modern emphasis on human frailties, follies, and strengths.”
Read about it all of this and Moore in the new, paperback edition of MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY by Herbie J Pilato, published by Jacobs/Brown Media Group.
For more information, visit www.JacobsBrownMediaGroup.com
Herbie J Pilato, host of Then Again, a classic TV talk show streaming on Amazon Prime, is the author of several books about television. This article first appeared on substack.com