Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore is someplace in "Carolina in the Morning" with Dick Van Dyke

I don't know...I really can't bear to hear the fucking song again. But did the lyricist specify whether nothing could be finer than to be in NORTH or SOUTH Carolina?

I think North Carolina was the fictional home to Sheriff Andy Taylor and his Mayberry dingleberries. They were such an adorable bunch. BUT...South Carolina was where the "Swamp Fox" bedeviled the British troops during the American Revolution. The state is still swampy, and loaded with insects, but it does have some good history.

Then again, "Carolina" could be the name of a woman. Isn't that the beauty of lyrics? You can interpret them in so many ways.

Both North and South Carolina, and the rest of the nation, loved Mary Tyler Moore, no matter where she was in her TV world. "The Dick Van Dyke" show took place in Manhattan and New Rochelle, yet everybody watched. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" took place in Minneapolis, and yet it was as strong in the ratings in the South as in the frozen North.

Mary had an apartment right across from Central Park. It was well known to the birders, because it wasn't far from the nest of "Pale Male," the famous hawk. "Pale Mail" would swoop into the park and make off with a starling or a mouse or whatever, and bring some food back to his mate (of the year) and any offspring. Building residents were irritated that people in the park would set up their high-powered telescopes and binoculars and cameras to look at the birds and, egocentric prats that they are, "them." As if you could see into a window that high up from ground level. Mary was high profile in her support of "Pale Male," and in leaving the nest alone.

Mary was buried today, but not in a New York City location, or up in Woodlawn, the Bronx resting place for many famous eople. She was buried in a cemetery in Connecticut, which was immediately festooned by flowers and signs, thanks to whatever local Huelbig (German synonym for fanboy, or asshole) thought this would be a neat photo opportunity.

Maybe she'll rest in peace in a week or two, when the Huelbig assholes of the world stop their gawking.

Aside from the forgotten stage musical failure “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Mary Tyler Moore rarely had a chance to sing a solo song. I’m not sure if she did it much on her short-lived variety show (the one that had an ensemble cast that include a very embarrassed David Letterman trying his best to sing and dance).

Simply put, Mary is such an icon, so beloved, that despite this being the avowed “blog of less renown,” it was important to somehow get her in. Not that anyone cares about whether she’s on the blog except you and me. So…she was an underrated singer. How about that?

Below, one of her many duets from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” If I had unlimited bandwidth, I might’ve added “I am a Fine Musician,” from one of the Christmas shows, only because Mary sings as a piccolo player and, in true Mary-fashion, gets a laugh by suddenly finding herself all alone on stage, and rushing away in charming high-pitched distress. “Deedle-deedle-dee!”

I was a Mary watcher, it turns out, before there was all that much of Mary to watch. Most Millennials have never heard of “Richard Diamond” (aka “Call Mr. D”). David Janssen (oh, the Selfie bunch don’t know HIM either) was a typical squinty, raspy-voiced detective and Mary played “Sam,” who took switchboard messages. You only saw her legs, and heard her sultry voice. Yes, remarkably enough, high-pitched Mary actually pitched her voice to be a little more Bacall, and pretty sexy.

Some very interesting dramatic roles followed and then came her breakthrough, playing the first sexy modern housewife in a sitcom. Everyone remembers the Capri pants she wore, in lieu of the traditional Donna Reed house dress. After "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Mary got her own long-running series.

Revisionist twats consider it a great example of “women’s lib.” Yeah? The show was written and produced by men. The theme song was written by a man. At the workplace, she had a male boss. Most of the comedy was based on her being timorous and insecure, not a feminist bitch. Mary wasn’t even that funny on the show, leaving it to an ensemble cast of kooks and weirdos to get all the laughs (same as comedian-turned-straight man Andy Griffith did with his Mayberry rubes a few years earlier).

The show was simply a good, charming sitcom, and it presented a realistic look at a single woman living on her own, but having a lot of vulnerable insecurities. The fact that we didn’t see her dating all that much, was simple enough: that shit ain’t funny. How do you get laughs watching a very bright and attractive woman going out with handsome hunks? Besides, we wanted Mary to ourselves. Guys wanted to spy on her in her home, ogle her at work, and NOT see her going out with too many handsome hunks. Female viewers would've been jealous of Mary having a social life (the sitcom was aired Saturday night, when anyone watching was obviously NOT on a date.)

Moore's show also kept Bob Newhart afloat for many many years. After you watched Mary at 9pm, you had nothing better to do than watch Bob, who came on to fill the next half hour. Bob was a lucky guy.

Mary want on to do some fine dramatic roles, and sparingly returned to the stage or to variety TV. The fact is, an attractive woman in her 50’s and 60’s is not going to get big laughs in the sitcom world unless she is a ridiculous horny “golden girl” or some kind of overbearing bitch (“Basil!”). Mary eased into semi-retirement, and then the uneasy battle with diabetes and other ills, including brain surgery. Yes, you wished for her the same serene joy of aging that her one-time co-star Betty White enjoyed. But life is…like that.

She was born in Brooklyn. There’s a statue of her in Minneapolis. It’s doubtful she would’ve wanted to be in “Carolina in the Morning,” but listen…she really was a Carolina songbird here. What a pretty, and clear voice she had.


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