Flashback to 1970: The actress bolted into town to film the opening sequence of her now-classic CBS sitcom, the "Mary Tyler Moore" show. The snippets show her character, Mary Richards, driving along a freeway and scoping out the Minneapolis-St. Paul skyline, washing her car, riding an escalator and tossing her hat into the air in front of what is now Marshall Field's. That moment has been frozen in time, not only in our psyche, but in a more tangible way a life-size bronze statue of Mary Richards anchored on the corner of Nicollet Mall and South 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis. The city's golden girl Mary Fran Bradley of Stuart lived in Minneapolis when the "Mary Tyler Moore" show debuted. "I worked at WCCO radio, just down the street, when she walked down the mall. I recall she stayed at the Ritz, which was a fancy new hotel at the time. "Minneapolis adored her. It was a wonderful time. It helped put the city on the map," she said. "Up until then, there were no shows set in Minneapolis." The statue still draws crowds. During a recent late-fall day, a gaggle of tourists was snapping pictures in front of the statue. A bartender down the street at the News Room restaurant said tourists particularly women gravitate toward it. And chamber of commerce literature still gives "MTM" a mention after all these years. Images from the TV series show Dayton's and Donaldson's department stores in the background; the building where the statue is positioned is now the flagship outlet of classy Marshall Field's. On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I just had to pay homage to Mary. As I approached the intersection with much anticipation, I could hear the sitcom's old theme song dancing though my head: How will you make it on your own? This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone But it's time you started living It's time you let someone else do some giving Love is all around, no need to waste it You can have a town, why don't you take it? You might just make it after all You might just make it after all The statue was erected three years ago by the New York-based cable network TV Land and the city of Minneapolis. Its inscription reads, "Who can turn the world on with her smile?" Across the street is the 57-story IDS Center, where Mary was seen on the show riding up an escalator holding a potted plant and dining (with then real-life husband Grant Tinker) at a windowside table in a restaurant. During the summer months, tourists can even venture away from downtown to snap pictures of Mary's original three-story house. The downtown sculpture represents TV Land's second effort to honor cities and towns closely identified with signature television shows by recognizing the site as a "TV Land Landmark." The network's first effort a bronze statue of Ralph Kramden of "The Honeymooners" was unveiled last year and now adorns the entrance to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal. "Mary Richards is an American icon who captured the hearts of millions while playing an enormous role in redefining women in the workplace," said Larry Jones, executive vice president and general manager of TV Land. "By bestowing a sculpture of Mary to the residents of Minneapolis, TV Land can help ensure that the social and comic value of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' is felt for generations to come." Mary made it after all. If you go: WHAT: The statue of Mary Tyler Moore's character from her '70s TV show WHERE: The corner of Nicollet Mall and South 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis INFORMATION: For information on traveling to Minneapolis, call The Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association at (888) 676-6757, or visit http://www.minneapolis.org/. "Mary Tyler Moore" fun facts The show's lead character, Mary Richards, worked as a producer at fictional and low-rated WJM-TV Channel 12 news in Minneapolis. The series ran on CBS from 1970 to 1977 and always aired on Saturday nights, mostly in the 9 p.m. slot. The show's theme song, "Love Is All Around Us," was sung by Sonny Curtis. Mary Richards lived at 119 N. Wetherly Drive, Minneapolis. Walter Cronkite once guest starred on the series. The series garnered three Emmy Awards as "Outstanding Comedy Series" (in 1975, 1976 and 1977). Moore, Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter) and Betty White (Sue Ann Nivens) all won Emmys for their performances and the show's writing and directing were similarly honored several times. Mary Tyler Moore shut down the show in 1977, despite its still-large audience.
Mary Richards Statue - Life-size bronze statue inspired by the Mary Richards character on the sitcom THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW/CBS/1970-77. On Wednesday May 8, 2002 at 7:00am about 3000 onlookers braved early morning cold (43 degrees) as Larry W. Jones, the General Manager of cable channel TV Land along with Mayor R.T. Rybak, Councilmember Lisa Goodman unveiled the eight-foot bronze statue of Mary Richards as composer Sonny Curtis performed a special rendition of the series theme song "Love is all around." A metal placard at the base of the statue reads: "Mary Tyler Moore - Who can turn the world on with a smile? Presented by the people of (TV LAND Logo). On hand for the dedication was 64 year old actress Mary Tyler Moore who played the role of Mary Richards - a single, independent woman (and symbol of women's liberation) who worked as a newsroom producer at the fictional WJM-TV station. The eight-foot statue was created by Milwaukee, Wisconsin sculptor Gwendolyn Gillen. Built and installed for a cost of $150,000, the statue stands on Marshall Field's side of the Nicollet Mall at Seventh Street in downtown Minneapolis in the exact spot where Mary Richards threw her hat in the air during the opening sequence of each episode. At the end of the ceremony, Mary Tyler Moore recreated her famous hat toss for the crowd of fans. Earlier that morning Mary had done numerous hat tosses for the many photographers on hand to record the historic homage. About 1,000 tams had been distributed to the spectators for a massive toss but when the time came to toss the hats, nobody wanted to throw their tam away. During the event Mary Tyler Moore gave satellite interviews to such TV anchors as ABC's Diana Sawyer, NBC's Bryant Gumbel and CNN's Paula Zahn. Upon seeing the statue Mary Tyler More told newscaster Paula Zahn "She did a very good job on all of that, too. I think I look a little too tan, however." Not everybody was happy with the idea of a statue. Detractors of the celebration commented "Why is TV Land putting up this statue? Is it marketing? If it's marketing and the mayor is buying into it, then we are complicit in marketing the TV Land network (Minneapolis-Issues commentator Tim Connolly) and "It's like honoring a unicorn. It's honoring something that doesn't exist." (Clay Steinman, a communication studies professor at Macalester College in St. Paul). This was not the first time TV LAND had dedicated a statue to a TV character. In August, 2000 the TV LAND network erected a 1,000 pound eight-foot bronze statue of Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden character from the sitcom THE HONEYMOONERS at New York City's Port Authority Bus Station on 42nd Street in Mid Manhattan. The network, which is owned by Viacom Inc., is also considering statues of Joe Friday, (played by Jack Webb) on DRAGNET, for Los Angeles, and Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry (played by Andy Griffith) on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, for Raleigh, North Carolina (in lieu of the fictional town of Mayberry).