Love, American Style
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|Love, American Style|
Love, American Style opening title.
|Starring||An ensemble cast, changing from week to week.|
|Theme music composer||Charles Fox, Arnold Margolin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||108
(93 hour episodes)
(15 30-minute episodes)
|Running time||60 minutes (1969–1974)
30 minutes (1970–1971)
|Production company(s)||Parker-Margolin Productions
Paramount Network Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original run||September 29, 1969 – January 11, 1974|
Love, American Style is a comedic television anthology, which was produced by Paramount Television and originally aired between 1969 and 1974. For the 1971 and 1972 seasons it was a part of an ABC Friday prime-time lineup that also included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.
Each week, the show featured unrelated stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. Episodes featured different characters, stories, and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. In addition, a large, ornate brass bed was a recurring prop in many episodes. Charles Fox's delicate yet hip music score, featuring flutes, harp, and flugelhorn set to a contemporary pop beat, provided the "love" ambiance which tied the stories together as a multifaceted romantic comedy each week.
For its first season, the theme song was performed by The Cowsills. Beginning in the second season, the same theme song was sung by the Ron Hicklin Singers featuring the Bahler Brothers John and Tom, (billed as The Charles Fox Singers).
This second version of the theme was carried on for the remainder of the series, as well as on most episodes prepared for syndication.
In many ways, the show initiated the "mini comedic soap opera" form used and "perfected" later on by Aaron Spelling for The Love Boat. While it lacked the connective threads that The Love Boat used, it generally told the same sort of "cotton candy" light, emotional stories about underlying aspects of love, romance, and human relationships.
The title is loosely derived from a 1961 Italian comedy film called Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce, Italian Style), which received Academy Award nominations in 1962 for Best Director for Pietro Germi and for Best Actor for star Marcello Mastroianni. The film was later spoofed in 1967 by Divorce, American Style, starring Dick Van Dyke. The snowclone "(xxx), (nationality) Style" became a minor cultural catch-phrase as the 1960s progressed.
The original series was also known for its 10–20-second drop-in silent movie-style "joke clips" between the featured segments. This regular troupe featured future Rockford Files cast member Stuart Margolin, future Vega$ leading lady Phyllis Davis, and a young character actor, James Hampton (F Troop, The Longest Yard). These clips allowed the show to be padded to the required length without padding the main segments. They generally consisted of then-risque, burlesque-style comedy of manners visual jokes.
During its first four years on ABC, Love, American Style was popular with viewers and received decent ratings, although it never ranked among the top thirty shows in the Nielsens. For a few seasons, it was part of a power-house line-up of ABC programs on Friday, which included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple. At the start of the 1973-1974 fall season, the ratings for Love, American Style, and Room 222 had plummeted. As a result, both shows were canceled at midseason. The series received several Emmy nominations, including two for Best Comedy Series for 1969–1970 and 1970–1971.
The show subsequently became a daytime standard in syndication, since it was readily edited down to a half-hour by the proper interweaving of the clips with a main segment, effectively making ten seasons out of five. This allowed for heavy stripping.
A decade after it went off the air, a new version premiered on ABC's daytime schedule in 1985 entitled New Love, American Style but was canceled after a few months due to low ratings against The Price Is Right on CBS. A third edition, starring Melissa Joan Hart among others, was shot as a pilot for the 1998–1999 television season, but was not ordered into a series. Nevertheless, ABC aired the pilot on February 20, 1999.
For years during its run, producer Garry Marshall was fond of joking that Love, American Style was where failed sitcom pilots went to die. At the time, if a TV producer could not interest a network in a sitcom pilot, the producer would then sell the unused script to Spelling, who would extract the funniest bits of the pilot and use them as a segment on Love, American Style.
When Marshall came up with a sitcom concept originally titled New Family in Town, shot a pilot for it in 1971, and couldn't interest any of the three major networks in a show about teenagers growing up in the 1950s, he finally took advantage of the well-known anecdote for Hollywood writers and producers.
After the completed pilot was sold to Spelling, the show aired in February 1972 as one-half of the episode known as "Love and the Happy Days", starring Ron Howard as Richie, Marion Ross as Richie's mother, and Anson Williams as Potsie, Richie's friend, along with Harold Gould, Susan Neher and Ric Carrott in supporting roles as Howard, Richie's father, Joanie, Richie's sister, and Chuck, Richie's older brother, respectively.
However, when the 1971 musical Grease became a huge hit on Broadway in early 1972, a wave of 1950s nostalgia was born. That fall, CBS tried out a sitcom of its own, also based in the 1950s, entitled M*A*S*H, but the series struggled in its first season, narrowly escaping cancellation. When American Graffiti became another huge hit in Hollywood the following summer, CBS picked up the show for a second season, beginning its eleven-year reign as one of the longest running and most successful sitcoms in the history of American television.
Not wishing to be left behind, ABC executives picked up Marshall's pilot after all, replacing Gould, Neher, and Carrott in the process and truncating its name to Happy Days. With an eleven-year run of its own, the show became the second biggest sitcom success of the `70s after M*A*S*H and spawned numerous successful spinoffs.
Hanna-Barbera's animated Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was another series pilot which originally aired on Love, American Style. Paramount declined to be involved in that series, but later teamed up with Hanna-Barbera to produce several other animated spin-offs of the Happy Days franchise.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Season 1, Volume 1||12||November 20, 2007|
|Season 1, Volume 2||12||March 11, 2008|
- "Love, American Style" Returns, Zap2it, February 15, 1999. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
- Love, American Style – Get the Rest of the 1st Season this March with More DVD Love, TVShowsOnDVD.com, December 18, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Love, American Style|
- Love, American Style at the Internet Movie Database
- Love, American Style at TV.com
- Release of Love, American Style on DVD planned