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I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sonny Curtis -- Love is All Around

 

Apologies for throwing in another Reminiscings of Youth article so soon after the last one but on hearing about actor Ed Asner's death earlier today, I just had to include this one. Many folks might recently remember the Kansas City-born TV and movie star from the 2009 Pixar-produced computer animated film "Up" where he played the main character of Carl Fredricksen. However for people of my generation, I will always remember Asner as crusty but lovable news director Lou Grant from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Can hardly believe that the show first started almost 51 years ago.

With the announcement of Asner's passing, I've only just realized that almost all of the stars from that famous 1970s sitcom, including Mary Tyler Moore, Gavin MacLeod and Ted Knight are now gone. I think actress Betty White is the only actor from that show who is still here. From what I've gathered over the years since its run between 1970 and 1977 and beyond is that "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", which was about Mary Richards and her personal/professional life involving her work buddies at WJM-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota, could also have been originating network CBS' first attempt to break out of its reputation of being the farm comedy network since many of its successful sitcoms in the 1960s were based on characters who came from the countryside such as "Green Acres" and "The Beverly Hillbillies". 


Even as a kid, I remembered "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" right from its first season since Mary herself had such long hair. The very first time I ever saw the actress was when she was playing Laura Petrie on the black-and-white "The Dick Van Dyke Show", another beloved sitcom from the 1960s, so there was some confusion about her new hairdo and the fact that I was seeing her in colour. And for that matter, where was Dick?

I also remember seeing episodes from time to time in its initial run right from Season 1 along with the tropes of Mary's first apartment, the camaraderie among her and the WJM staff, and the appearance of the cute kitten at the end of the ending credits for each episode. But for me, I think it was in the latter half of the show's 7-year run when I was laughing my guts out at a lot of the episodes including the one that is represented at the very top of the article, "Chuckles Bites the Dust", when the local TV clown is killed in a hilarious accident. It's been voted as one of the top episodes of all time for all American television and it has even merited its own Wikipedia entry.


Yes, I still remember that this is a music blog, and a Japanese one at that, but bear with me. The show was that memorable for me. Besides, it's not the first time that I've given a TV theme song the ROY treatment (see "WKRP in Cincinnati" and "The Odd Couple"). 

 Another thing that I wax nostalgic over when it comes to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" is the theme song. There have been a number of variations of Sonny Curtis' "Love is All Around" played over the seven seasons, but I will always choose the original version from Season 1 as my favourite take. Created by Patrick Williams, the original is cool and swinging like a Burt Bacharach song (especially with the more pronounced horns), and even the instrumental version of "Love is All Around" used for the ending credits is also my favourite among the variations used during the show's run.

Well, I can perhaps say that almost all of the WJM staff have gotten together once more in a new and better place with love all around. In any case, since the show premiered in September 1970, what were some of the singles that came out around that time. Two of them are actually re-releases from the early 1960s while the other one is once again showing a discrepancy in terms of release month with Showa Pops.

Frank Nagai -- Kiriko no Tango (霧子のタンゴ)


Yukio Hashi and Sayuri Yoshinaga -- Itsudemo Yume wo (いつでも夢を)


Toi et Moi -- Hatsukoi no Hito ni Niteiru(初恋の人に似ている)



4 comments:

  1. I was really upset when I heard about Ed Asner's passing. We re-watched "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" last year. It holds up much better than other shows from the same time. When we got to the Chuckles the Clown episode, I told the girls they had to watch it and gave a brief idea of what it was about. One of my daughters was mortified that I'd think the death of a clown was funny. She couldn't keep a straight face, though, no matter how hard she tried.

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    1. Hello, Scott. "Chuckles Bites the Dust" was quite the surprising revelation of how people use dark humour to get through a bad situation, and I wouldn't have expected it of the gang on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Something like "MASH" would have been more expected.

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  2. Slight correction: It was Sonny CURTIS who sang the MTM theme song. Curtis had been a member of Buddy Holly’ Crickets back in the 50s, and the single to "Love Is All Around" was released on Ovation in 1970. Despite its iconic nature, it did not hit the charts, although a country remake did hit #29 on the Country charts a decade later.

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    1. Hi, Mike. Actually, you're being too kind. That was a major mistake on my part so I just gave myself a massive smack upside my head. Thanks for letting me know and I've made the corrections.

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