Bridget Loves Bernie

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Bridget Loves Bernie
Meredith Baxter David Birney Bridget Loves Bernie 1972.JPG
The wedding photo.
Created by Bernard Slade
Starring Meredith Baxter
David Birney
Audra Lindley
David Doyle
Harold J. Stone
Ned Glass
William Elliott
Bibi Osterwald
Robert Sampson
Theme music composer Jerry Fielding
Diane Hildebrand
Opening theme "Love Is Crazy"
Composer(s) Jerry Fielding
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 24
Production
Executive producer(s) Douglas S. Cramer
Producer(s) Jerry London (pilot)
Don Nelson
Arthur Alsberg
Running time 26 minutes
Production company(s) The Douglas S. Cramer Company
Thornhill Productions
Screen Gems
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Release
Original network CBS
Original release September 16, 1972 (1972-09-16) – March 3, 1973 (1973-03-03)

Bridget Loves Bernie is an American sitcom created by Bernard Slade. Depicting an interfaith marriage between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man, 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 was canceled by CBS after only one season, despite high ratings.

Baxter and Birney married in real life after the program went off the air.

Overview[edit]

Father Mike picking up the Archbishop's weekly bagel supply.

The series depicted an interfaith marriage between a wealthy Irish Catholic teacher (Bridget) and a Jewish cab driver (Bernie), whom she had 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 the 1972-73 television season and obtained a 24.2 rating, tying with The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. However, CBS executives canceled the show in response to negative reactions to the characters' marriage, making it the highest-rated television program to be canceled after only one season.[1]

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 working class 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".

Cast[edit]

Controversy over content[edit]

The series was controversial due to the differing faiths of the married characters. Some Jewish groups charged that the series "mocked the teachings of Judaism."[2][3] 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."[4] Rabbi Meir Kahane dedicated full columns to the episode.[5] 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 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 producer Ralph Riskin resulted in the arrest of Robert S. Manning,[6] described as a member of the Jewish Defense League.[7] Manning was later indicted on murder charges, and fought extradition to the U.S. from Israel, where he had moved.[8]

Episodes[edit]

Title Directed by Written by Air date
1 "Bridget Loves Bernie" Richard Kinon Bernard Slade September 16, 1972 (1972-09-16)
Series pilot: It's love at first sight when cab driver (and struggling writer) Bernie Steinberg picks up his fare, Bridget Fitzgerald, on a rainy New York day.
2 "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vatican" Lee Philips John McGreevey September 23, 1972 (1972-09-23)
Bernie's parents, Sam and Sophie, win a raffle ticket for a private audience with Pope Paul VI that was sold by Bridget's mother, Amy. Her father, Walt, fears that the Steinbergs may end up causing him major embarrassment.
3 "Wake Up, We're Getting Married Today" Richard Kinon Don Nelson and Arthur Alsberg September 30, 1972 (1972-09-30)
After being married in a civil ceremony, Bridget and Bernie agree to their parents' wishes to have a religious ceremony, but the conflict of religions causes havoc.
4 "The Last of the Red Hot Playwrights" Richard Kinon Bernard Slade October 7, 1972 (1972-10-07)
Despite several rejections, a reluctant Bernie decides to write a play drawn from his own experiences and personal acquaintances.
5 "Who's Watching the Store?" Lee Philips Jerry Mayer October 14, 1972 (1972-10-14)
Confusion and chaos reign when Catholic Bridget runs a Jewish delicatessen, aided by her socialite mother and brother who's a priest.
6 "The Newlybeds" Richard Kinon Warren S. Murray October 21, 1972 (1972-10-21)
Trying to replace a perennially-breaking bed results not only in sleeping trouble for Bridget and Bernie, but also causes an inter-family squabble.
7 "Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Moe" Hal Cooper Lloyd Turner and Gordon Mitchell October 28, 1972 (1972-10-28)
Bernie's Uncle Moe falls in love with Bridget's aunt, which leads to all sorts of trouble.
8 "Bernie's Last Stand" Richard Kinon Burt and Adele Styler November 4, 1972 (1972-11-04)
Despite a generous (and belated) wedding gift of one year's free rent on a plush apartment from Walt and Amy, she and Bernie are reluctant to accept the offer.
9 "How to Be a Jewish Mother" Richard Kinon George Burditt and Paul Wayne November 11, 1972 (1972-11-11)
After Bernie rejects Bridget's breakfast of ham and eggs, she decides to take a crash course in Jewish cooking, which leads to disaster.
10 "The Little White Lie That Grew and Grew" Don Nelson and Arthur Alsberg Lee Philips November 18, 1972 (1972-11-18)
Bridget and her parents become Jewish for the weekend when Bernie's devout aunt stops in New York on her way back from Israel.
11 "The In-Laws Who Came to Dinner" Richard Kinon Jerry Mayer November 25, 1972 (1972-11-25)
Walt and Amy fear that their ability to influence an important art collector will be compromised by the smoke damage that currently has their apartment under repair.
12 "The Homecoming" Ezra Stone Bernard Slade December 2, 1972 (1972-12-02)
Bridget and Bernie spend the weekend at the Fitzgerald country estate and after Bernie meets some of Bridget's friends, he becomes aware of the style to which she was previously accustomed.
13 "You Are Cordially Not Invited" Hal Cooper Ron Friedman December 9, 1972 (1972-12-09)
Sam and Sophie aren't invited to a party that Walt and Amy are holding for United Nations delegates. However, his mother is determined to attend after discovering Moshe Dayan will be the guest of honor.
14 "'Tis the Season" TBA TBA December 16, 1972 (1972-12-16)
Bridget and Bernie reach the holiday season unsure of whether to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah.
15 "Belated Honeymoon" Coby Ruskin Joanna Lee December 23, 1972 (1972-12-23)
Increasing tensions between Bridget and Bernie lead both sets of parents to send them on the honeymoon they never had.
16 "Honesty Is the Worst Policy" Richard Kinon Howard Merrill January 6, 1973 (1973-01-06)
Bernie is distressed when he discovers that Bridget was engaged when they met and never once mentioned there being another man in her life.
17 "Life Begins at 65" James Sheldon Jack Hanrahan and Don Sherman January 13, 1973 (1973-01-13)
After Uncle Moe turns 65, he runs away from home after Sam and Sophie decide he should retire from the deli.
18 "With This Ring" Ozzie Nelson Gordon Farr and Arnold Kane January 20, 1973 (1973-01-20)
Bernie is finally able to buy Bridget an engagement ring, but she quickly loses it.
19 "Into Every Life, a Little Snow Must Fall" James Sheldon Elias Davis January 27, 1973 (1973-01-27)
Bridget and Bernie talk their fathers into spending a weekend at Walt's hunting lodge.
20 "To Teach or Not to Teach" James Sheldon Don Nelson and Arthur Alsberg February 3, 1973 (1973-02-03)
Bridget announces that she's going to teach a sex education class to her fourth graders.
21 "Painting, Painting – Who's Got the Painting?" Ozzie Nelson Bill Dana February 10, 1973 (1973-02-10)
Bridget has a hard time finding a home for a painting that once hung in her nursery until she discovers a potentially rare painting is found hidden under the surface of the canvas.
22 "Steinberg and Son" Richard Kinon Jerry Mayer February 17, 1973 (1973-02-17)
Sam and Walt each get the chance to realize their dream of having Bernie work for them.
23 "The Information Gap" Ozzie Nelson Marty Roth February 24, 1973 (1973-02-24)
In an effort to get some measure of privacy, Bridget and Bernie decide to ignore all questions and phone calls from their parents.
24 "Greener Pastures" Bill Bixby Rick Mittleman March 3, 1973 (1973-03-03)
Bernie is offered the opportunity to work for a newspaper in Providence.

DVD release[edit]

On December 4, 2012, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.[9] This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com and WBShop.com and only in the US.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'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]
  2. ^ "'Bridget Loves Bernie' Attacked by Jewish Groups' The New York Times, Feb 7, 1973
  3. ^ "Some Jews Are Mad At Bernie; Intermarriage Religion, New York Times, Feb 11, 1973
  4. ^ Jewish Groups Score New Tv Show for Intermarriage Theme The Jewish Daily Forward, Oct 24, 1972
  5. ^ Kahane, Meir (1975). "What Makes Bernie Run?". mkwords.com. Manhattan, NY. 
  6. ^ "Producer Gets Threat Call, Milwaukee Sentinel, January 19, 1973
  7. ^ "David Zurawik, The Jews of Prime Time, Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life, 2003, p. 94
  8. ^ [Murder Suspect Overdoses, Delaying Extradition to U.S. LA Times, July 14, 1993]
  9. ^ "Bridget Loves Bernie DVD news: Update about Bridget Loves Bernie - The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. May 25, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]