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TV Facts: The 1970’s

January 25, 2016

This page isn’t a rerun—these facts are about shows from the 1970s.

The Partridge Family

Despite being a fictional band with songs performed almost entirely by studio musicians, the Partridge Family was nominated for Best New Artist at the 1971 Grammy Awards. (They lost to the Carpenters.)

partridge family

All in the Family

Today, many shows carry a “mature themes” warning, but All in the Family was the first, in 1971. The sitcom’s first six episodes had a disclaimer to warn viewers that they were about to hear racist (although satirical) dialogue from Archie Bunker.

Mary Tyler MooreThe Mary Tyler Moore Show

Moore’s character, Mary Richards, was originally written as a divorced woman. CBS nixed that, worried that divorce was too controversial (it was 1970) and that audiences might think she was still playing her character on The Dick Van Dyke Show…and that she’d divorced Rob Petrie.

Kojak

Some TV cops smoked cigarettes, but Lt. Theo Kojak (Telly Savalas) sucked on lollipops. Reason: As the series began shooting in 1973, Savalas was trying to quit smoking and was using lollipops as a substitute. Kojak writers incorporated it into his character.

WKRP in Cincinnati

There were lots of Saturday-morning cartoon versions of popular 1970s sitcoms, such as Mork and Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, and Happy Days. Hanna-Barbera Productions also proposed a cartoon version of WKRP in which all the main characters…were dogs. (It never got past the planning stage.)

The Dukes of Hazzard

Half of all the hundreds of fan letters the show received each week were addressed to “General Lee.” That’s not an actor; it’s the orange, Confederate flag-adorned 1969 Dodge Charger driven by Bo and Luke Duke.

general lee

The Odd Couple

Neil Simon wrote the play The Odd Couple, but not the 1968 movie version on which the TV series was based. After the first season, he asked that his name be dropped from the series’ title, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. He eventually came to like the series and even appeared on the show once…weirdly, as himself.

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