1 9 7 6 – 1 9 7 8 (USA)
325 x 30 minute episodes
This comedy soap opera spoof was designed for syndication, beginning in January 1976.
The problems that the characters faced were more than any human could bear. Developed by Norman Lear (of All In The Family fame), it told of Mary Hartman (Louise Lasser), a ‘typical American housewife’ who lived at 343 Bratner Avenue in the Woodland Hills section of Fernwood, Ohio.
Pigtailed and plain, Mary went through one crisis after another. Her father (Philip Bruns) disappeared, her daughter (Claudia Lamb) was held prisoner by a mass murderer, her auto factory worker husband (Greg Mullavey) was impotent, her best friend (Mary Kay Place) was paralysed, her grandfather (Victor Kilian) became known as the Fernwood Flasher for exposing himself, she had a nervous breakdown (any wonder!) and an affair with a policeman (Bruce Solomon), her sister (Debralee Scott) became a hooker, her mother (Dody Goodman) was flaky, and she was worried about how to avoid ‘waxy yellow buildup’ on her kitchen floor.
When Louise Lasser left the show in 1977, it continued for another six months under the title Forever Fernwood.
Most of the original cast was intact, but Tab Hunter had replaced Philip Bruns as Mary’s father – the explanation being that George had fallen into a chemical vat and had been restored with plastic surgery (!).
Philip Bruns (1)
Tab Hunter (2)
Mary Kay Place
Sgt Dennis Foley
Garth Gimble/Barth Gimble