November 7, 2007 3:52 PM
Half of the first season of “Love, American Style," the anthology series (if you can dignify it with that adjective) that ran on ABC from 1969-74, is due out on DVD Nov. 20.
Nah, it wasn’t all that bad—basically three romance-themed comedy sketches glued together by silly “Laugh-In”-style interstitial blackouts and featuring a parade of B- and C-list celebrities. Consider it the run-up to “Love Boat” except that the storylines didn’t intertwine.
At the time, the best part of the series was the title music, sung by the Cowsills. But revisiting it today, it’s fun to recall all those performers and wonder whatever happened to them—the few that are still alive, that is.
Just to name a few: Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Bill Bixby, Sid Caesar, Michael Callan, Judy Carne, Hans Conreid, Yvonne Craig, Bob Crane, Broderick Crawford, Bob Cummings, Richard Deacon, Rosemary DeCamp, Brandon De Wilde, Andy Devine, Phyllis Diller, Shelley Fabares, Gail Fisher, Kathleen Freeman, Alice Ghostley, Sandra Gould, Carolyn Jones, Patsy Kelly, Ozzie & Harriet Nelson, Margaret O'Brien, Regis Philbin, Aldo Ray, Robert Reed, Ann Rutherford, Tommy Smothers, Ann Sothern, Connie Stevens, Larry Storch, Jessica Walter, Lesley Ann Warren, Flip Wilson Estelle Winwood and Jane Wyatt.
Historical footnote: The unsold pilot for “Happy Days,” which was rejected by the networks the first time around in 1971, was burned off as a “Love, American Style” segment during the 1971-72 season. Owing to the success of “Grease” on Broadway, where it opened in June 1972, and of “American Graffiti,” a smash hit in movie theaters in 1973, the series finally ended up selling to ABC in 1974.