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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - Volume 1
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Legendary TV producer Norman Lear developed this outrageous soap-opera spoof staring Louise Lasser as a pigtailed, gingham-frocked housewife beset by a bewildering array of crises. The three-disc set features the first 25 episodes of the groundbreaking series hailed by critics as "hilarious" (TV Guide), "mind-blowing" (Newsweek) and "televisions zaniest show!" (Readers Digest)
Mass murders, kidnappings and a flasher may be troubling the residents of Fernwood, Ohio. But housewife Mary Hartman (Lasser) has a much more serious problem; waxy yellow buildup on her kitchen floor. And while her husband Tom (Greg Mullavey) struggles in the bedroom and her best friend, country singer Loretta Haggers (Mary Kay Place), struggles to make it big in Nashville, Mary teeters closer to the edge, desperate to save her marriage, keep her family together and give her kitchen floor a proper shine!
Long before Twin Peaks, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman turned the soap opera inside out. Produced by Norman Lear (All in the Family), the syndicated serial centers around gingham-clad housewife Mary Hartman (Woody Allen regular Louise Lasser). The saga begins with Mary agonizing over her floor's waxy yellow buildup when neighbor Loretta Haggers (Emmy winner Mary Kay Place) bursts in to announce that a mass murderer is on the loose in Fernwood. That isn't Mary's only problem. The magic has gone out of her marriage to Tom (Greg Mullavey) and her grandfather is revealed as the Fernwood Flasher. And that's just the pilot.
At first glance, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman resembles a daytime soap with consecutive airings (five nights a week), frame-filling close-ups, and syrupy score, but everything is off-kilter. When Mary isn't looking at other characters as if they're speaking in tongues, she appears to be on the verge of laughter or tears--maybe both at once. She's the ultimate desperate housewife. Aside from Grandpa Larkin (Victor Kilian), regulars include Marys preteen daughter Heather (Claudia Lamb), younger sister Cathy (Debralee Scott), and parents, Martha (Dody Goodman) and George Shumway (Philip Bruns). In addition, there's Sgt. Foley (Bruce Solomon), who has the hots for our sexually unsatisfied heroine, and Loretta's hubbie, Charlie (Graham Jarvis), who works with Tom and George at the plant. Mrs. Haggers, an aspiring country singer, loves her Baby Boy "more than a hundred billion frozen Milky Ways." The first set of this groundbreaking series features 25 episodes. Between 1976-1978, a whopping 325 were produced, some as Forever Fernwood when Lasser left in 1977, reportedly due to exhaustion. That year, the series also spun off talk-show satire Fernwood 2Nite, which would soon develop a cult following of its own. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Stills from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, I know I'm not the only person who's been waiting for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman to either make its way back to TV reruns or DVD... and the only who was ANGRY how long overdue it was, but now, finally its HERE... though I remembered it as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, to be honest, I didn't remember just HOW great it was, otherwise the wait would have been harder...
Starting with the first episodes (complete with the overhead mic slipping into the frame) the show is on a heavy roll... There's no laugh track, and no time killing... Jam packed with great script delivered by a crack ensemble. In fact, the writing is SO brilliant you get broadsided by the humor sometimes and find yourself gigling without even realizing why... then if you go back a half a minute and watch it again you're like... "oh my god ! ! !" (am I the only person who reacts like this?) The strange, soap opera spoof, non-sequitor double entendre lines, TV commercial derived dialogue and strange scenerios all delivered in the dry quirky uniquely MH2 style makes this a must have/must see/must repeatedly see view... and Mary Hartman's unforgetable young, unhappy, valium dazed housewife is so great... (and actually reminds me of my mother's friends and neighbors... back then going to shrinks and getting your tranqs to deal with the stresses of middle class American life was really in!Read more ›
Mary Hartman, for many, was a great guilty pleasure. People who scoffed at soap operas in the 1970s sat down and watched each night while Mary, early on, dealt with such issues as the waxy yellow buildup on her kitchen floor or her grandfather being arrested for exposing himself. Neighbor Loretta's funniest moments included her day stint appearance on The Dinah Shore Show cooking her sweet potato pie and making a crack that almost ended her career (Loretta's, not Mary's) , which included Dinah playing herself. Then there was the rivalry between Mary and her sister Cathy for the attentions of the police officer Dennis Foley. The show was also played "straight" and not for laughs, which added to the campiness and watchability of the show. Season One (probably the most famous season) ended with Mary melting down on the David Susskind Show. Season One also helped to spawn, briefly, the singing career of Mary Kay Place both as Loretta and under her own name.
I sincerely hope that the powers-that-be can arrange for the 1976 hilarious spoof of Mary Hartman from The Carol Burnett Show to be put on as a future extra. It was called "Mary Mary Quite Contrary, Mary Mary Quite Contrary" and had Carol as Mary, Vicki Lawrence as Loretta, Jim Nabors as Charlie, and Tim Conway as grandfather who liked to play peek-a-boo.
How could this have happened? I think it was carelessness, rather than deliberate. This is my theory. Many of you are too young to remember that during the summer hiatus of 1976 (July 5, 1976 to October 1, 1976), the stations participating in the MH syndication aired "The Best of" Mary Hartman. These were 65 compressed, edited versions of the original first 130 episodes that aired January 5, 1976 to July 2, 1976. Rather than choosing the best 65 episodes, the producers actually reedited all of the episodes in order to maintain a story flow and allow new viewers of the reruns to understand the show. About 50 percent of the scenes had to be deleted to fit 130 episodes of material into 65 rerun episodes, so they eliminated extraneous tangents to stories, as well as some "B" stories, to just highlight the central plots of the show.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is more dated than I expected. Low key and slow paced compared to today's comedies.Published 3 months ago by MysteryAuthor
I had never seen this show but I recently saw Carol Burnett parody it and it looked worth checking out. Read morePublished 5 months ago by KSArnold
Another tv show from the good old days. Ground breaking series for sure. The kids today will have nothing as good as this to look back on when they are older.Published 6 months ago by GAF
great to visit this old series very funny characters are classic way ahead of its time.Published 8 months ago by Ralph Davila
I loved this show way-back-when.......I just wish the whole series was a bit cheaper....asking too much.Published 8 months ago by Whitey
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Any news on Volume 2 of Mary Hartman?||
It is WAY overdue!
Feb 28, 2008 by SEAN MCATEER | See all 24 posts
|Big studios are cheap and greedy this is all BS!||
so right you are- if shows like mary hartman, baretta etc. are worthless due high costs then unload your rights to companies that are willing to take on and print whole sereis and let us your onetime consumers for these programs buy from someone else sense it is all not working ouy for the... Read More
Jun 5, 2010 by revekiah | See all 2 posts
|Is Volume 1 the same as Season 1||
I'm not certain, but if I recall the very first episode featured Loretta going to Mary's talking about a mass murder.
I did hear that volume 1 will be the first 25 episodes.
This series and Maude were some of the best television ever produced. Any thoughts?
Feb 11, 2007 by Craig Beasley | See all 4 posts
|About Martin Mull on this dvd||
Martin Mull was great on "MH, MH." Garth had a twin brother (Barth?) and I recall him dying in some bizarre
fashion. Also great on the show was Dabney Coleman, who played the town mayor. I distinctly remember an episode where he rode into Mary's kitchen on a tricycle.
Oct 9, 2008 by P. Baum | See all 4 posts
|TV SOAPS AS KNOTS LANDING||
Issues concerning "Knots Landing" should be brought up in the "Knots Landing" listing. This one is for "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman."
Feb 21, 2007 by Ashley | See all 5 posts
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