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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mary In Bronze

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).

21 comments:

Valerie said...

i loved the show...even though it was just a little too grown up for me at the time...

who COULD turn the world on with her smile? besides you, that is?!

Sheila said...

Cool statue! That was always one of my favorite shows. Always made me laugh!

Sandi McBride said...

Oh how I loved Mary...just as I had loved Laura before that...Mary T. is such a fine actress, she can do comedy, drama, and dramady...and I applaude TVLand for all it does for the old decent shows of what I guess we now term "yesteryear" back when bathrooms and sex weren't quite so prominant a theme on tv comedy.
Great post, as usual!
hugs
Sandi

PAT said...

We enjoyed our days away at the lake and now I'm visiting and catching up! Wonderful posts, since we've been away! Enjoyed all.

One of these days, I'll have a computer at the lake and won't get so far behind...but then...perhaps no computer at the lake is a good thing!

Have a wonderful week, Sue!
I'm celebrating my 200th post.
Pat

Susie said...

I always watched MTW. Love that statue. Hope you're having a wonderful time
xo

justabeachkat said...

Hi sweet friend! Since my Mom and Aunt visited last week and we did nothing but have fun, I'm behind (yes again) in my blog reading. It's been fun reading all your posts I've missed. You've been busy! Great photos!

I loved Mary in everything she did. What a beauty...inside and out.

Hugs!
Kat

Mom2fur said...

I loved the MTM show! I used to watch it when I was out babysitting.

Rosemary said...

OMG Susie,
That was my favorite show. I didn't know about the statue.
I went to a taping of that show when I was a teenager.
Did you see when the cast was recently on Oprah?
Hope you had a great weekend!
I have been busy!!
Rosemary

Deb said...

What great posts on Mary. I loved the Mary Tyler Moore show too... such a wonderful cast of actors! And speaking of actors :-} ... we've just ordered our tickets to see Brian Dennehy in Stratford!

Hooked on Houses said...

I love Mary Tyler Moore--one of my favorite shows is the Dick Van Dyke Show. I own every single season and have watched them all a dozen times. I also loved Mary Richards. How fun to see her statue. I've never been there myself. -Julia

Lisa "Oceandreamer" S. said...

I lived in Mpls for three years in the early 70's. I watched the Mary Tyler Moore Show religiously and frequented the Nicolett Mall. Dayton's and Donaldson's was still there......even Woolworth with a cafe counter. When I was an interpreter for the deaf we did a film that took place on the very spot, our deaf actress reenacted the tossing of the hat. My inlaws live in Mpls-St Paul and so much has changed in 30+ years but it's still a lovely place to visit. I used to ride my bike around Lake Harriet and there summer concerts in the park. those were the days when my friends and I could find TONS of things to do for little to no money!
Funny, I never knew about the location of the house until now. duh!
Thanks for the memories!
I haven't been around here for a while but needed to drop off some love and hugs. I've moved to a brand new blog so when you're back on visiting around I hope you'll stop by!
XOXOXOXO
Lisa

Pat said...

Loved this post and the one below! I loved the Mary Tyler Moore show and I learned so much about it from reading your posts.

Thanks!

Pat in NY

wendster said...

That's cool that you got to go and see MTM's digs, statue, and all ...

I know someone else who can turn the world on with her smile!

Wendy

wendster said...

OK. I gotta admit I didnt' read ALL of that. But I enjoyed the first four or ten paragraphs. LOL.

Thanks for sharing.

And I LOVE your new look. Your blog always looks great and this look is no exception.

wendster said...

And I have got to look into that "automatic" thing where I can have posts pop up automatically.

What a cool feature, and it would be PERFECT for when my family goes camping in August!

Thanks for the tip.

Would a tutorial on how to do that auto thing be possible?

wendster said...

(You didn't get a picture of the window with the naughty people?)

Cheryl Wray said...

I just love that statue, and I loved that show. In fact, I think I'm gonna pop over to youtube and watch some clips. :-)

Alice said...

What a cool post, Susie! I watched Mary every Saturday night. I haven't seen it on the "Old Shows" channels; I'm surprised because certainly it would have held up well. We all know a Ted, even today.

smilnsigh said...

Great sculpture!

Miss Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh

Gayla said...

Wow... Thanks for stopping by my blog. I didn't know they had this statue. How very cool. I loved that show. Did you happen to see the tribute to it on Oprah not too long ago? It was wonderful. That show made me feel so good.... I love your blog.

Terri said...

She threw her hat up outside of Daytons downtown, right? I remember going there at Easter. They had a giant bunny and if you pressed his toe an Easter egg would come out . I don't remember what was in it, but I had to be 4 or 5 and I still remember being there. That was "pre-MTM" though!
Glad you had a nice time.
Love,
Terri