A Different Perspective on '60s T.V.

A Different Perspective on '60s T.V.

sometimes comedy has something else behind it

There are two points that are the same between my television-viewing as a kid and today:  first, upon finding "retro" channels, I've noticed I enjoy many of the same shows I liked as a youngster;  second, I see t.v.-watching as entertainment--  if I want to "enrich my mind" or "learn something," I read.  With those two points in mind, there were some surprised when "That Girl" recently showed up on a retro channel. 


That Girl was a popular sitcom that aired from the mid-sixties to the early seventies.  Marlo Thomas, daughter of superstar-entertainer Danny Thomas, starred in the leading role.  Her character, Ann Marie, was a young woman on her own in the "big city," with dreams of becoming a star, while taking side jobs to earn a living.  Ann Marie's boyfriend, Donald Hollinger, was played by Ted Bessell. 


During the seasons of That Girl, Ann and Donald became engaged, but never married.  It was not until recently when I was reading about the show that I learned the reason for it:  Ms. Thomas had insisted the two characters never marry on the show, because she did not want to portray to impressionable young viewers that marriage should be a youngster's main priority in life.  As That Girl was airing before the "feminist movement" hit the United States, it was surprising to learn the show was presenting feminist viewpoints. 


Frankly, I think it is wrong to attempt to sway youngsters' beliefs and values, and pass it off as "comedy."  While I believe Marlo Thomas has always been a fine actress, and I deeply respect the work she has been doing with St. Jude's Children's Hospital, I believe she was in the wrong to try to impress her own beliefs and values on youngsters who thought her show to be nothing more nor less than good entertainment.