Gender-role revolution inspired by beloved sitcom is explored.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, September 1, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — On October 3, 1961, CBS debuted The Dick Van Dyke Show, which landed 80th in the national ratings. Narrowly saved from cancellation, The Dick Van Dyke Show jumped to #9 in its second season. In its third season it peaked at #3 and went on not only to win 15 Emmy awards out of 25 nominations over five ground-breaking seasons. This hip and smart sitcom transformed American television – and America followed.
As documented in the newly-released paperback edition of “MARY: The Mary Tyler Moore Story” (Jacobs/Brown), by noted TV historian and Amazon Prime personality, Herbie J Pilato, the series catapulted both Dick Van Dyke and his TV wife, 24-year-old Mary Tyler Moore, to national stardom as they became one of American television’s most admired couples.
Whether streaming on Tubi, ME-TV, Hoopla, or Hulu – all preceded by decades of VHS and DVD releases—the show has never been off the air. Rob, Laura and the gang continue to show us in evergreen black-and-white how life once was for us, if we all lived in New Rochelle, NY, and wrote for a comedy show.
Critics then and now laud not only the character-driven writing, but the show’s forward-leaning look at one nuclear family in the Nuclear Age, as it dared to show the 1960s housewife as modern, progressive, and sophisticated – less Mamie Eisenhower and more Jackie Kennedy. In “MARY”: The Mary Tyler Moore Story, author Herbie J Pilato (host of Netflix’s “Then Again with Herbie J Pilato”) writes, “Mary ignited a new fashion statement with her signature slim-fitting tight slacks and flat footwear… Mary’s Laura adorned the Capri pants in the family.”
“I wanted to portray a housewife wearing clothing that I wore in my kitchen,” Moore told Variety. Carl Reiner, the show’s creator, agreed: “Women today are not wearing full-skirted frocks with high heels as they vacuum the rug.”
Not to be overlooked was The Dick Van Dyke Show’s understated ease with a workplace utterly lacking in gender bias, where the strutting and liberated comic attitude of Sally Rogers (played by Rose Marie) was more than equal to her male co-creatives in the writers’ room. This model was a hopeful a one, however, as actual women writers in 1961 prime-time television production saw only a handful of series assignments.
Real-world truths notwithstanding, from The Dick Van Dyke Show onward, a contemporary woman’s role could no longer be justifiably portrayed on TV as just the hapless homemaker, but as a vigorous, full-blooded driver 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 future sitcoms, not the least of which would be The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where, as author Pilato puts it, “MTM added texture to characters and a more modern emphasis on human frailties, follies, and strengths.”
Six decades ago this October, The Dick Van Dyke Show started a revolution by presenting fresh role models like Mary Tyler Moore’s Laura Petrie. Her brisk, suburban, quick-witted, and forward-thinking approach to life both reflected and shaped the New Frontier of sexual dynamics then emerging in society.
And we haven’t looked back since.
Now in paperback, “MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY” by Herbie J Pilato, published by Jacobs/Brown Media Group.
In less than 9 years, Los Angeles-based Jacobs/Brown Media Group has become the preeminent publisher of in-depth, non-fiction books that examine in unprecedented detail those mid-20th century pop-culture productions, performers and personalities whose work, even after half a century, continues to inspire, educate and entertain. Whether it’s their Saturn Award-winning work on Star Trek: The Original Series, or X-Men: The Animated Series, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Mary Tyler Moore, or The Moody Blues, Jacobs/Brown publishes books that illuminate fact, dispel misbelief and validate its motto, “Where Truth is Better Than Fiction.”