Bridget Loves Bernie
|Bridget Loves Bernie|
The wedding photo.
|Created by||Bernard Slade|
Harold J. Stone
|Theme music composer||Jerry Fielding|
|Opening theme||"Love Is Crazy"|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||24|
|Executive producer(s)||Douglas S. Cramer|
|Running time||26 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Douglas S. Cramer Company
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||September 16, 1972 – March 3, 1973|
Bridget Loves Bernie is an American television comedy program created by Bernard Slade, the creator of the 1970–74 ABC sitcom The Partridge Family and the 1967-70 sitcom The Flying Nun. Bridget Loves Bernie was based loosely on the premise of the 1920s Broadway play and 1940s radio show Abie's Irish Rose. It stars Meredith Baxter and David Birney as the title characters. It ran for one season, from 1972 to 1973, on CBS.
Baxter and Birney married in real life after the program went off the air.
The series was regarded, at the time, as somewhat controversial, in that it depicted an interfaith marriage between a wealthy Irish Catholic teacher (Bridget) and a Jewish cab driver (Bernie), whom she'd met at a bus stop. With a primetime slot between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Saturday nights, the situation comedy was #5 in the ratings among all shows for that television season and obtained a 24.2 rating, tying with The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. Nevertheless, CBS executives decided to cancel the show in response to negative reactions to the inter-religious marriage depicted on the series. Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, called the show “an insult to some of the most sacred values of both the Jewish and Catholic religions." Orthodox rabbis met with CBS officials several times. A conservative rabbi organized a boycott by advertisers, and reform rabbis met with CBS staff in secret to have the show cancelled. Rabbi Abraham Gross, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of Orthodox Rabbis and Educators, described the show as a "flagrant insult" to Jews, protesting that intermarriage was strictly forbidden under Jewish law. Threats followed. Meredith Baxter, the female lead, said, "We had bomb threats on the show. Some guys from the Jewish Defense League came to my house to say they wanted to talk with me about changing the show." Threatening phone calls made to the home of Ralph Riskin, one of the producers, resulted in the arrest of Robert S. Manning,  described as a member of the Jewish Defense League. Manning was later indicted on murder charges, and fought extradition to the U.S. from Israel, where he had moved.Some Jewish groups charged that the series "mocked the teachings of Judaism."
It was the highest-rated television program ever to be canceled after only one season.
Supporting cast members included Audra Lindley, David Doyle, Harold J. Stone, Ned Glass, and Bibi Osterwald. Lindley and Doyle played Bridget's wealthy parents, Walter and Amy Fitzgerald, and Stone and Osterwald played Bernie's more down-to-earth parents, Sam and Sophie Steinberg. The Steinbergs owned a delicatessen above which Bridget and Bernie lived. Glass played Bernie's uncle, Moe Plotnik. Actor Robert Sampson played Father Michael Fitzgerald, a Catholic priest, who was Bridget's brother, and was more sympathetic to his sister's marriage. Bill Elliott played Otis, Bernie's best friend and fellow cab driver. Nora Marlowe was cast as Aunt Agnes in the 1972 episode "The Little White Lie That Grew and Grew".
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1-1||"Bridget Loves Bernie" (pilot)||September 16, 1972|
|1-2||"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vatican"||September 23, 1972|
|1-3||"Wake Up, We're Getting Married Today"||September 30, 1972|
|1-4||"The Last of the Red Hot Playwrights"||October 7, 1972|
|1-5||"Who's Watching the Store?"||October 14, 1972|
|1-6||"The Newlybeds"||October 21, 1972|
|1-7||"Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Moe"||October 28, 1972|
|1-8||"Bernie's Last Stand"||November 4, 1972|
|1-9||"How to Be a Jewish Mother"||November 11, 1972|
|1-10||"The Little White Lie that Grew and Grew"||November 18, 1972|
|1-11||"The In-Laws Who Came to Dinner"||November 25, 1972|
|1-12||"The Homecoming"||December 2, 1972|
|1-13||"You Are Cordinally Not Invited"||December 9, 1972|
|1-14||"'Tis the Season"||December 16, 1972|
|1-15||"Belated Honeymoon"||December 23, 1972|
|1-16||"Honesty Is the Worst Policy"||January 6, 1973|
|1-17||"Life Begins at 65"||January 13, 1973|
|1-18||"With this Ring"||January 20, 1973|
|1-19||"Into Every Life, a Little Snow Must Fall"||January 27, 1973|
|1-20||"To Teach or Not to Teach"||February 3, 1973|
|1-21||"Painting, Painting- Who's Got the Painting?"||February 10, 1973|
|1-22||"Steinberg and Son"||February 17, 1973|
|1-23||"The Information Gap"||February 24, 1973|
|1-24||"Greener Pastures"||March 3, 1973|
On December 4, 2012, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com & WBShop.com and only in the US.
- Jewish Groups Score New Tv Show for Intermarriage Theme The Jewish Daily Forward, Oct 24, 1972
- "Producer Gets Threat Call, Milwaukee Sentinel, January 19, 1973
- "David Zurawik, The Jews of Prime Time, Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life, 2003, p. 94
- [Murder Suspect Overdoses, Delaying Extradition to U.S. LA Times, July 14, 1993]
- "'Bridget Loves Bernie' Attacked by Jewish Groups' The New York Times, Feb 7, 1973
- "Some Jews Are Mad At Bernie; Intermarriage Religion, New York Times, Feb 11, 1973
- "'Live From Baghdad': The Cameras of War", by Tom Shales, Washington Post, December 7, 2002, citing Brilliant But Canceled documentary on Trio (TV network) cable network. Retrieved 2007-11-12.[dead link]
- "Bridget Loves Bernie DVD news: Update about Bridget Loves Bernie - The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. May 25, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
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