Thursday, April 27, 2017

The origin of a classic: That Girl's unaired pilot (1965)

You only think you know everything when it comes to Marlo Thomas' seminal sitcom, That Girl. What you don't know is that a pilot episode, produced but unaired a year earlier, had some slight differences to the finished product.

For example, Ann Marie (Thomas)'s boyfriend, Don Hollinger (Ted Bessell, ex-Gomer Pyle, USMC) was originally Don Blue Sky, a talent agent, before being rebooted as a magazine writer. Ann's parents were portrayed in this pilot by Harold Gould & Penny Santon, but, as we know the roles were recast a year later (Lew Parker & Rosemary DeCamp). This meant that Gould had two such gigs slip through his fingers as a few years later, he was the original Howard Cunningham in the Happy Days pilot on Love, American Style. Santon would later resurface in a string of guest gigs before joining the cast of Matt Houston.

Now, check out "What's in a Name?":

I don't think Ann kept the waitress gig when the series began a year later.

Production executive Ronald Jacobs, though, was also attached to a 1965 freshman entry that did sell. That, of course, would be the Emmy-winning I Spy.

No rating. This is just a public service.


Mike Doran said...

Production executive Ronald Jacobs was Danny Thomas's nephew, therefore also Marlo's cousin.

Just so you know ...

hobbyfan said...

Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Ronald worked on a good number of Desilu-backed shows, not just That Girl and Make Room For Daddy and I Spy, if memory serves me correctly. Whatever happened to him, anyway?