Love, American Style (1969–1974)
|Creator||Charles R. Rondeau|
|Awards||Won 2 Primetime Emmys2 wins & 5 nominations total|
|Company||American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Paramount Television, Parker-Margolin Productions|
Love, American Style
Love, American Style is an anthology comedy television series produced by Paramount Television that originally aired between 1969 and 1974. For the 1971-72 and 1972-73 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.
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Each week, the show featured unrelated stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. Episodes featured various 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 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 the first season, the show's 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 adding to 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 lineup of ABC Friday night programs that included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.
Some of the show's segments also served as pilots for proposed television series. Many never made it beyond the pilot stage, but two resulted in a series:
- 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.
- Two weeks later, on February 25, 1972, the show aired a segment titled "Love and the Television Set", a story about Richie Cunningham, his family, and friends. The premise and characters were later used for the 1974 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 was not picked up). For syndication, the segment was retitled "Love and the Happy Days". Happy Days, in turn, launched an extensive franchise of spinoffs into the 1980s.
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 mid-season. 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 the show went off the air, a new version premiered on ABC's daytime schedule in 1985 entitled New Love, American Style (including an updated version of the theme performed by Lou Rawls), but was canceled after a few months because of 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.
- 1969-70 - #58, 13.2 rating
- 1970-71 - N/A
- 1971-72 - #33, 19.3 rating
- 1972-73 - #41, 18.4 rating
- 1973-74 - #75, 11.7 rating
On November 20, 2007, CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released Love, American Style, Season 1 Volume 1 on DVD in Region 1. Season 1, Volume 2 on DVD was released on March 11, 2008.
|DVD name||No. of|
|Season 1, Volume 1||12||November 20, 2007|
|Season 1, Volume 2||12||March 11, 2008|