Follow Me

Monday, July 28, 2014


Many cities across the country have statues and monuments dedicated to historic figures that were born, lived or died in those communities (often all three), and while Minneapolis has its share of those, it also has a rather unique monument to someone who never actually existed.

Back in the 1970’s, Minneapolis was the setting for what has become one of the most famous and groundbreaking television shows of all time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  This show was groundbreaking in that its main character, Mary Richards, was a single woman, who was not elderly or widowed, but rather, young and full of life.  She was established in her own career, was not looking for a man to “take care of her”, and even used birth control, and although the character dated quite a bit, she remained single throughout the entire seven-season run of the show (1970-1977).

In the opening credits of the show, Mary could be seen wandering the streets of Minneapolis getting to know her new home.  Finally at the end of the opening shots, she did what has become perhaps the trademark of a generation; she threw her beret up into the air as a sign of claiming her new city and her new life.  This hat toss has been ranked by Entertainment Weekly as the second greatest moment in television, and in 2002, Mary Tyler Moore was on hand to see a statue of that famous toss dedicated at the intersection in downtown Minneapolis where that shot was filmed (I was there too).  To this day, visitors and residents alike, stop to have their photos taken with “Mary”.

The other iconic location from the show, located in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis near Lake Of The Isles, is what has affectionately come to be known as “The Mary Tyler Moore House”.  Seen from the outside, this was the house owned by Mary’s snobbish friend and neighbor, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), where she rented a studio apartment next door to Rhoda (Valerie Harper).  This house was so well known that for years after the show ended, people would show up at the house and ask if “Mary was home?” and roughly 30 bus tours a day would still drive by over a decade after the show had ended.

The "Mary Tyler Moore House".

As I look at many of the reality shows on television today, it’s hard for me to see any of them having the lasting impact that The Mary Tyler Moore Show has had.  It’s been almost forty years since the show went off the air, and people are still looking to her to turn their “world on with her smile!”  That’s a connection Minneapolis is proud to have.

***Who is your all time favorite television character?

No comments:

Post a Comment