Tag Archives: entertainment

Charles van Doren

Charles van Doren died this week. For those of you to whom that name means nothing, he was at the centre of the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. Robert Redford directed this excellent film about it all. Because it has no car chases or shooting and the actual scandal didn’t involve anything sexy, I can’t see it attracting any Millennials, but I highly recommend it – a nostalgic portrait of a time when we expected honesty from people. It is also about the van Dorens. My family was never quite so glamorous, but my parents — like van Doren’s mother and father — were extremely competitive and had huge expectations for their kids. I always felt a lot of pressure.

The film’s trailer:

St. Patrick’s Day

For St. Patrick’s Day, here is a photo from my trip to Ireland last year: it’s Maureen O’Hara’s house on Bantry Bay! (She doesn’t live there now, obviously, as she is dead.) FYI, The Quiet Man is on TCM tonight – you are a fool if you don’t watch it (or at least tape it to watch it later). And if you don’t get TCM and/or haven’t seen The Quiet Man, purchase/rent the film, pronto.
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Mary Tyler Wars

So way back in January — the day Significant Other had his hip surgery — Mary Tyler Moore died. I posted about it and said I would comment more soon. Not sure eight months constitutes “soon” but here I am. I am a fan of both The Dick van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, though the former was completely before my time and the latter, though I was alive during its run, was not something I appreciated till I began to watch it in reruns in the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. If I had to choose one of the two series to watch, it would be a tough call, but I would choose the Minneapolis-based sitcom. She died a few days after the pussy-hat marches and one of the best memes I saw was a photo of Mary Richards in the WJM newsroom juxtaposed to one of the marchers (a woman who was wearing a vagina hat). The caption said something like, “Feminism, then and now: where did we go wrong?” Pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter.

The reason for the title line of this post is that I firmly believe I could win any “Mary Tyler War” – i.e., any trivia contest concerning the sitcom. Or at least place. In fact, I was reading this book about the series, and while it is quite thorough and interesting, there were a couple of mistakes that struck me right off the bat. Example 1) The book asserts that Mary Richards asks her boss for equal pay but settles for less that that. This is false. In the episode in question, Mary discovers that the man who had the job before her earned more and she confronts Lou Grant about it. He talks his way out of it…almost. At the end of the episode she insists on receiving equal pay with her predecessor and Grant agrees to her demands. 2) This second mistake isn’t about MTM but about another show – Room 222.┬áThe book calls it an “hour-long drama.” Huh? ‘Twas a half-hour sitcom, though one that dealt with ‘heavy’ issues, like hippies and race and war and such.

So Mary was a goddess and a friend to the animals and in tribute, I post here one of my favourite episodes of MTM. I can’t really pick one favourite because they change, depending on my mood. Yes, Chuckles Bites the Dust was funny, but so many others were funnier, in my view. I loved Lou Douses and Old Flame, for example, and this one, which you should watch to the end so as not to miss Lou’s great speech on the meaning of life.