Saturday, April 25, 2015

Classic TV: Love, American Style (1969)

Love, American Style was usually at the bottom of ABC's lineup during the course of its 5 year run (1969-74), largely due to the adult themes in some episodes. Nonetheless, reruns found their way into the network's daytime lineup during the early 70's, and, eventually, into syndication.

The anthology format used on the show was later perfected by Aaron Spelling for The Love Boat, augumented with unconnected story arcs weaving in and out of each episode, a tactic Spelling also used on Fantasy Island.

The Cowsills performed the show's theme the 1st season, but a studio band credited to musical director Charles Fox, took over with season 2. The theme won't be heard in this season 1 entry. Guest stars include Paul Winchell and Henry Gibson.

Love, American Style, however, is best known as being the home to a backdoor pilot for Happy Days. The episode was originally titled, "Love & the Television Set", but was changed to "Love & the Happy Days" for syndication. Curiously, while Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard, ex-The Andy Griffith Show) narrated the story, this device was not used when Happy Days went to series. As we all know, Harold Gould was the original Howard Cunningham, but due to film commitments ("The Sting"), Gould was unable to return for the series, opening the door for Tom Bosley to take over, and the rest was history. I believe Love also housed a backdoor pilot for Hanna-Barbera's Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home, which also starred Bosley.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I remember seeing the show in syndication - usually when I was home sick.

It was OK, but then again, I wasn't the intended audience. I only had interest in the numerous character actors who appeared in the stories - it seemed anyone who was anyone was in it!

hobbyfan said...

I was wishing I could pull an episode with Yvonne Craig in it, post-Batgirl, but no go. The Happy Days pilot was posted in 2 parts, and I only use 1 screen at home, so......!

magicdog said...

There was a pre-Batgirl episode of Ben Casey in which she appears - she plays the young abused wife of a glue sniffer - played by none other than pre-Monkees Davy Jones!

hobbyfan said...

And let's factor in, too, her appearances on Star Trek and Wild, Wild West. I'll see if I can find that Ben Casey episode.....