Open main menu

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour is an American sitcom-variety show starring Mary Tyler Moore, Dody Goodman, Michael Keaton and Joyce Van Patten that aired on CBS from March 4, 1979 to June 10, 1979, with a total of 11 episodes spanning over one season.

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour
GenreSitcom-variety show
Written byDavid Axlerod
Stan Burns
Garry Ferrier
Peter Gallay
Carol Gary
Robert Illes
Gary Jacobs
Coslough Johnson
Patricia Jones
Pat Proft
Donald Reiker
Mary-David Sheiner
Larry Siegel
James Stein
Aubrey Tadman
Sheila Judis Weisberg
Arnie Kogen
Directed byJay Sandrich
Robert Scheerer
Walter C. Miller
Noam Pitlik
StarringMary Tyler Moore
Dody Goodman
Michael Keaton
Joyce Van Patten
Ron Rifkin
Doris Roberts
Theme music composerSonny Curtis
Opening theme"Love Is All Around"
Composer(s)Alf Clausen
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes11
Producer(s)Perry Lafferty
Production location(s)CBS Television City
Hollywood, California
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)MTM Enterprises
Distributor20th Television
Original networkCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseMarch 4 (1979-03-04) – June 10, 1979 (1979-06-10)



In the spring of 1979, nearly five months following the negative reception of her first venture in a variety show entitled Mary which CBS pulled from its schedule after only three broadcasts, Mary Tyler Moore returned to CBS with this new short-lived series; it was part situation comedy and part variety show, using a show-within-a-show format that centered around the problems encountered in putting a variety series together.

Moore stars as Mary McKinnon, the host of a fictional weekly variety series called The Mary McKinnon Show. McKinnon is a well-established star of comedy who could also sing and dance. Also seen were her long time personal secretary-companion Iris Chapman (Joyce Van Patten), her writer-director Artie Miller (Ron Rifkin), her producer Harry Sinclair (Michael Lombard), her studio page Kenneth Christy (Michael Keaton), her housekeepers Ruby (Dody Goodman) and Crystal (Doris Roberts), and her head writer Mort Zimmick (Bobby Ramsen).

In addition to these regulars, major stars appeared as themselves in the guise of being guest stars on the fictional McKinnon program. Some of these included Lucille Ball, Beatrice Arthur, Nancy Walker, Linda Lavin, Bonnie Franklin, Ken Howard, Mike Douglas, Gene Kelly, Hal Linden, Johnny Mathis, Paul Williams and Dick Van Dyke.


Theme musicEdit

Despite having no narrative connection to her earlier sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour featured an instrumental version of that sitcom's theme music.

Episode listEdit

Guest star(s) Director Airdate Tape date
1.1Lucille Ball and Mike DouglasRobert ScheererMarch 4, 1979 (1979-03-04)TBA
Mary tries to get Lucille Ball to appear on her show on short notice when her scheduled guest suddenly becomes ill. Although Lucy wants to do the show, she must first get talk-show host Mike Douglas' permission to be absent the following day, as she is contracted to be his co-host for the week. Mary and Lucy decide to ask Douglas for his consent on live television.
1.2Beatrice ArthurRobert ScheererMarch 11, 1979 (1979-03-11)TBA
Mary has two guests on her show – the militant Beatrice Arthur and Benny Baxter (Howard Morris), a washed-up vaudevillian comic. During rehearsals, Bea takes over Mary's dressing room and orders everyone about, including Benny and Mary, by assuming the same bustling, take-charge type character she portrayed in her CBS sitcom Maude.
1.3Bonnie Franklin and Henny YoungmanRobert ScheererMarch 18, 1979 (1979-03-18)February 2, 1979
Bonnie Franklin and Henny Youngman are Mary's guests, but The Mary McKinnon Show may not go on because Mary and Bonnie are held up in night court when they are arrested for jaywalking while dashing across the street from the studio. Meanwhile, at the taping, pandemonium reigns when they fail to return and nobody knows where they are.
1.4Dick Van DykeJay SandrichMarch 25, 1979 (1979-03-25)TBA
Mary is worried when a brushfire nears her California home and she may be forced to evacuate. At the same time, Dick Van Dyke meets the show's creative team to mull over ideas for a possible guest appearance and they fantasize about what a sketch of The Dick Van Dyke Show would look like on Rob and Laura Petrie's 50th wedding anniversary.
1.5Gene KellyRobert ScheererApril 1, 1979 (1979-04-01)December 1, 1978
Mary is nervous about performing with her upcoming guest, Gene Kelly. During rehearsals, Mary pulls her back out and is unable to continue. She expresses her disappointment to Gene, and he says he cannot do the dance without her and asks for her help. As she shows him the steps, her back seems to heal. They rehearse and their performance goes on without a hitch.
1.6Johnny MathisRobert ScheererApril 8, 1979 (1979-04-08)TBA
Mary welcomes Johnny Mathis on The Mary McKinnon Show and an uninvited guest – her goddaughter Mary Ellen (Claudia Lonow), a stage-struck 16-year-old who hopes to make it big in Hollywood with a little help from Mary.
1.7Ken HowardWalter C. MillerApril 15, 1979 (1979-04-15)March 23, 1979
Mary is plagued by guilt when guest star Ken Howard makes calamitous purchases of a house and a car at her urging. Meanwhile, her longtime personal assistant Iris quits her position to pursue a career in real estate and is replaced by overly officious corporate secretary Arlene Hoffman.
1.8Hal LindenNoam PitlikApril 22, 1979 (1979-04-22)TBA
Guest Hal Linden acts as peacemaker when Mary has a falling out with producer Harry Sinclair (Michael Lombard) over a misquote in a gossip column.
1.9Linda LavinRobert ScheererApril 29, 1979 (1979-04-29)TBA
Mary and guest Linda Lavin are distracted during their performance by a televised award ceremony on which they are competing in the same category. David Letterman appears as Linda's press agent, "Gus Kirkwood".
1.10Nancy WalkerRobert ScheererMay 6, 1979 (1979-05-06)February 9, 1979
Nancy Walker becomes a candidate to fill a vacancy on the board of the Actors League, thereby driving everyone on The Mary McKinnon Show to utter distraction. When she receives news of her victory, Nancy insists on everyone following the rules and regulations of the actor's union to the letter which results in rehearsal chaos for Mary.
1.11Paul WilliamsJay SandrichMay 13, 1979 (1979-05-13)January 12, 1979
Paul Williams is Mary's guest and trouble ensues as they try to find an actress to play a waitress for one of the sketches. Harry becomes smitten with actress Pam Medford who is auditioning for the role, however, her acting is a bit too intense. When Iris asks how hard is it to recite a line which she does effortlessly, she surprises everyone and ends up with the role.


The show's premise was to give the audience a fictionalized view into the life of the star of a television variety show, much as The Jack Benny Show had purported to do two decades earlier on the same network. Unlike the Benny show, or Moore's sitcoms, but more like her earlier variety show the previous fall, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour would have trouble attracting a sizable audience.

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour premiered on March 4 and was cancelled after its June 10 broadcast and 11 episodes. Moore announced plans to return in a new sitcom in the fall of 1980, but instead turned to Broadway, where she starred in a revival of Whose Life Is It Anyway? (winning a special 1980 Tony Award for her performance of a role originally played by Tom Conti), and then went back to Hollywood, where she played the emotionally crippled mother in the acclaimed film Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Moore did not return to series television and the sitcom format until the fall of 1985, with a sitcom entitled Mary.


External linksEdit