Love, American Style
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Love, American Style is an anthology comedy television series, which was produced by Paramount Television and originally aired between 1969 and 1974. For the 1971 and 1972 seasons, it was a part of an ABC Friday prime-time lineup that also included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.
|Love, American Style|
|Starring||Different cast each week|
|Theme music composer||Charles Fox, Arnold Margolin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||108 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–44 minutes (1969–70 and 1971–74)
22–25 minutes (1970–71)
|Production company(s)||Parker-Margolin Productions
Paramount Network Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 29, 1969 – January 11, 1974|
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Each week, the show featured unrelated stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. Episodes featured different characters, stories, and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. In addition, a large, ornate brass bed was a recurring prop in many episodes. Charles Fox's delicate yet hip music score, featuring flutes, harp, and flugelhorn set to a contemporary pop beat, provided the "love" ambiance which tied the stories together as a multifaceted romantic comedy each week. For its first season, the theme song was performed by The Cowsills. Beginning in the second season, the same theme song was sung by the Ron Hicklin Singers also known as the voices behind The Partridge Family (based on the Cowsills) among others, featuring brothers John and Tom Bahler (billed as The Charles Fox Singers).
This second version of the theme was carried on for the remainder of the series, as well as on most episodes prepared for syndication. The title is loosely derived from a 1961 Italian comedy film called Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce, Italian Style), which received Academy Award nominations in 1962 for Best Director for Pietro Germi and for Best Actor for star Marcello Mastroianni. The film was later spoofed in 1967 by Divorce, American Style, starring Dick Van Dyke. The snowclone "(xxx), (nationality) Style" became a minor cultural catch-phrase as the 1960s progressed.
The original series was also known for its 10- to 20-second drop-in silent movie-style "joke clips" between the featured segments. This regular troupe featured future Rockford Files cast member Stuart Margolin, future Vega$ leading lady Phyllis Davis, and a young character actor, James Hampton, who was known to television audiences of the era as Private Dobbs from the TV series F-Troop. These clips allowed the show to be padded to the required length without padding the main segments. They generally consisted of then-risque, burlesque-style comedy of manners visual jokes.
During its first four years on ABC, Love, American Style was popular with viewers and received decent ratings, although it never ranked among the top 30 shows in the Nielsens. For a few seasons, it was part of a power-house line-up of ABC programs on Friday, which included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.
Some of the segments on the show also served as pilots for proposed television series, either as an actual pilot that also served as segment, or a segment that would be repurposed as a pilot after the fact. Many never made it beyond the pilot stage, but two resulted in a series:
- On February 25, 1972, the show aired an episode with a segment titled "Love and the Television Set", a story about Richie Cunningham, his family, and friends. The premise and characters would later be used for the television series Happy Days, and the episode would later be recognized as a de facto pilot for the series (it had originally been produced as a pilot for New Family in Town, which had not been picked up). For syndication, the segment was retitled "Love and the Happy Days". Happy Days, in turn, begot an extensive franchise of spin-offs into the 1980s.
- Two weeks earlier, on February 11, 1972, the show presented an animated segment, "Love and the Old-Fashioned Father". This would become the pilot to a first-run syndicated animated series by Hanna-Barbera, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which debuted that fall and was broadcast for three seasons.
The show's executive producer was Arnold Margolin, the older brother of actor Stuart Margolin, who was a featured actor in the series. Stuart may be best known for his character Angel on the 1970s TV detective show The Rockford Files.
At the start of the 1973–1974 fall season, the ratings for Love, American Style and Room 222 had plummeted. As a result, both shows were canceled at midseason. The series received several Emmy nominations, including two for Best Comedy Series for 1969–70 and 1970–71. The show subsequently became a daytime standard in syndication, since it was readily edited down to a half-hour by the proper interweaving of the clips with a main segment, effectively making nine seasons out of five. This allowed for heavy stripping.
A decade after it went off the air, a new version premiered on ABC's daytime schedule in 1985 entitled New Love, American Style, but was canceled after a few months due to low ratings against The Price Is Right on CBS. A third edition, starring Melissa Joan Hart among others, was shot as a pilot for the 1998–1999 television season, but was not ordered into a series. Nevertheless, ABC aired the pilot on February 20, 1999.
|DVD name||No. of
|Season 1, Volume 1||12||November 20, 2007|
|Season 1, Volume 2||12||March 11, 2008|
- Love, American Style (Love and the Happy Days) on IMDb
- Love, American Style (Love American Style at IMDB) on IMDb
- Andreeva, Nellie (August 26, 2013). "'Love, American Style' Gets Reboot At CBS". Deadline.com.
- Lambert, David (December 18, 2007). "Love, American Style – Get the Rest of the 1st Season this March with More DVD Love!". TVShowsOnDVD.com.