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Love American Style - Season 1, Vol. 1
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Love, American Style was an hour-long television anthology which originally aired between September 1969 and January 1974. For the 1971 and 1972 seasons it was a part of an ABC Friday prime-time lineup that also included Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple. Each week, the show featured different stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. All episodes were unrelated, featuring different characters, stories and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. In addition a large and 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.
No "I Love the '70s" party will be complete without this blast from the groovy past, when women were "chicks," beaded door curtains were cool, and Carl Betz got top billing over Harrison Ford. Love American Style was an anthology series of comedic playlets about modern love, some sweet (two shy ventriloquists let their dummies do the talking in "Love and the Dummies"), some silly (a greeting-card writer's romance is threatened by his penchant for practical jokes in "Love and the Joker"), and some mildly risqué (In "Love and a Couple of Couples," a man regards his ex-wife's posterior as she asks of their former marital bed, "Is it still firm?"). A more apt title for this series could be, "Comedy, Neil Simon-style." One of the more interesting segments is "Love and the Good Deal," co-written by Garry Marshall, and which plays like a deleted act from Barefoot in the Park in which newlyweds Paul and Corie look for a new bed for their cramped apartment.
Love American Style debuted in 1969, a year in which the networks started to reach out to "modern people living in a modern world" with shows such as Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Mod Squad, and The Music Scene (which anticipated Saturday Night Live with its mix of satirical sketches and contemporary music). Love American Style was hip enough to feature a story called "Love and the Pill" and to refer to Philip Roth's novel Goodbye, Columbus. But traditional values invariably triumphed. In "Pill," a young man tells his girlfriend's overwrought parents that they have abstained from you-know. "That's the way we happen to feel about it," he reassures them. But what we truly love about American Style are the casts. You'd have to sail The Love Boat or visit Fantasy Island to find such a stellar gathering of Hollywood greats, comic legends, TV Land faves, future stars, and unsung character actors with the indelible and unforgettable faces. To name a few: Bill Bixby, Sid Caesar, Hans "Uncle Tonoose" Conreid, Broderick Crawford, Dwayne "Dobie Gillis" Hickman, David Ketchum (Agent 13 on Get Smart), Shari Lewis, Regis Philbin, Connie Stevens, Larry Storch, Paul "Tigger" Winchell, Joe Flynn and Carl Ballentine from McHale's Navy, and Mr. Ford, who shows up as Roger, the boyfriend, in "Love and the Former Marriage." Stuart Margolin (The Rockford Files) is the most recognizable face of the show's stock company who appear in Laugh-In-style blackouts that link the stories. These are hit and miss, but some are blink-twice bizarre, as the one in which a black man reassures his reluctant fiancée, "Okay, we'll raise the kids Jewish." So cue the Cowsills ("Love American Style/Truer than the red, white and blue .") and ignite the fireworks. It's dated, yes, but Love will never go out of style. --Donald Liebenson
- 12 episodes from the 1969 season on 3 discs
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While the series is over 30 years old, it's amazing how fresh it plays out today. Suffice it to say creators hit squarely on a theme (love and relationships) that's pretty much timeless. While we tend to believe we're more sophisticated nowadays in terms of relationships, communication and the like, viewing a few episodes of LAS quickly brings one back to the realization that life goes on, regardless of how `sophisticated' our culture has become.
The writing is clever and witty, playing on the taboo of open sexual talk in our society (which - despite arguments to the contrary - really hasn't advanced that much over the years). The humor is wonderful. The acting is surprisingly good - obviously a tribute to the stature the show held with the acting community, from which so many participated.
To describe the show in most basic terms really doesn't do it justice. Three or four short, unrelated vignettes about relationships, each one with different actors, none about extraordinary situations (you'd think it would be rather hard to sell that concept to the broadcast executives). However, it's amazing how well it comes together into the most entertaining format.
I'll always remember watching the original series when broadcast. As the last segment came to a close I was always thinking "Oh, come on...show just ONE more!" Well, now on CD, you can continue watching as many as you like. I look forward to future years' releases.
"Oh! Calcutta!" raised a lot of eyebrows back then. I was too young back then to see it, but what my friends and I heard about "Oh Calcutta," nudity on stage. "OH BOY!!!" I remember the large billboard ad for it in Timess Square in New York City. A painting of a naked woman (white, shoulder length brown hair) with her back towards you with her head turned towards you and with a white towel around her waste.
Like I said, I was to young to see it back then, but a number of years ago, I had the fortune of finding a VHS copy of the video presentation of "Oh Calcutta" in a video rental store.
"Oh Calcutta" was a set of racey comical vignettes in which in between the vignettes, they had performers dancing in the nude.
In 1969, about two years after "Oh Calcutta" opened on Broadway and became a hit, The TV comedy "Love American Style" appeared on TV.
I have come to realize that "Love American Style" may have been influenced by "Oh Calcutta." It certainly dose come across as a version of "O Calcutta" made acceptible for TV. The show was racey for its time and at times did push the envelop, but it still was TV and unlike in "Oh Calcutta" you could not show nudity or use strong language. But like I said, the show for its time was racey and did seem to push the envelope at times. Still being under 18 years old, it was good enough for me and other teens under 18 at the time.
Like "Oh Calcutta" the shows consisted of three comical vignettes. They did not have nude dancers in between the vignettes, but they did have short quick commical sketches in which some can be racey and some can be corny.
Each show of "Love American Style" would have appearing for the week's show a number of popular TV actors that appeared in a sucessful show or shows.
Of course, by today's standards "Love American Style" may not appear to be as racy as it did when the show first aired on ABC in 1969 to 1974, but the show is like a time capsule. It does show the attitudes towards sex at the time. Also, you have a number of great TV stars apppearing in these shows that give great performances. The vignettes are funny.
AS A SIDE NOTE: In 1972, an episode of "Love American Stle" featured the pilot for "Happy Days" called "Love and the Happy Days." It had Ron Howard, Anson Williams, and Marion Ross but the other characters were played by other actors. The character of Fonzie was not on it. Richie's older borther Chuck was originally supposed to have been the one Richie would go to for advice.
I had forgotten there were mini skits (kinda like Laugh-in) that helped introduce the coming episode.
Some episodes - and sex talk - were fairly progressive. Humor aplenty. And if you're a tv buff you will be entertained by the faces and names that turn up! trust me!
I might not go out of my way to by any more LOVE AMERICAN STYLE but know that the Original "Happy Days" (Richie and Potsie in it with Harold Gould playing Mr. C...!) started during one of the later seasons (not this one) of LOVE AMERICAN STYLE. That might be worth checking out.
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