That Girl
Logo
GenreSitcom
Created byBill Persky
Sam Denoff
StarringMarlo Thomas
Ted Bessell
Lew Parker
Bernie Kopell
Rosemary DeCamp
Theme music composerSam Denoff
Earle Hagen
Opening theme"That Girl" Theme Song
ComposersWarren Barker
Luchi De Jesus
Dominic Frontiere
Harry Geller
Earle Hagen
Walter Scharf
Carl Brandt
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes136 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersSam Denoff
Bill Persky
Marlo Thomas
Danny Thomas
ProducersDanny Arnold
Jerry Davis
Sam Denoff
Bernie Orenstein
Bill Persky
Saul Turteltaub
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time23–25 minutes
Production companyDaisy Productions
Original release
NetworkABC
ReleaseSeptember 8, 1966 (1966-09-08) –
March 19, 1971 (1971-03-19)

That Girl is an American TV series sitcom that ran on ABC from September 8, 1966, to March 19, 1971. It starred Marlo Thomas as the title character, Ann Marie, an aspiring (but only sporadically employed) actress who moves from her hometown of Brewster, New York, to try to make it big in New York City. Ann has to take a number of offbeat temp jobs to support herself in between her various auditions and bit parts. It was one of the first sitcoms to focus on an unmarried woman who was not a domestic or living with her parents, a forerunner of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Ted Bessell played her boyfriend Donald Hollinger, a writer for Newsview Magazine. Lew Parker and Rosemary DeCamp played Lew Marie and Helen Marie, her concerned parents. Bernie Kopell and Ruth Buzzi played Ann and Donald's friends. That Girl was developed by writers Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, who had served as head writers on The Dick Van Dyke Show (which Thomas' father, Danny Thomas, co-produced) earlier in the 1960s.

Premise

Ted Bessell, Marlo Thomas and Mary Frann (as Jennifer Douglas, one of her first roles) in a scene from the show, 1968[1]

The show reflected the changing roles of American women in feminist-era America. Thomas' goofy charm, together with Bessell's dry wit, made That Girl a solid performer on the ABC Television Network, although the series never made the top thirty during its entire five-year run.

At the end of the 1969–1970 season, That Girl was still doing moderately well in the ratings, but after four years Thomas had grown tired of the series and wanted to move on. ABC convinced her to do one more year. In the beginning of the fifth season, Don and Ann became engaged, but they never actually married. The decision to leave the couple engaged at the end of the run was largely the idea of Thomas. She did not want to send a message to young women that marriage was the ultimate goal for them, and she worried that it would have undercut the somewhat feminist message of the show.[2]

Intro

Every episode started with a small cold open; the dialogue would always turn to Ann, as one of the characters would make an assertive reference to her as "that girl"; the camera would freeze frame on a surprised Ann. This was followed by the opening credits and theme music (written by Earle Hagen). During the first four seasons, the theme song was instrumental only; in the fifth and final season, lyrics (written by Denoff) were added.[3]

Production notes

According to Marlo Thomas, she was approached by ABC executive Edgar Scherick, who saw her in a screen test for a failed pilot, but still wanted to feature her in a project. Scherick gave Thomas several scripts to read, none of which she liked, as they all focused on a woman who was either a traditional girlfriend, wife or secretary to someone else; Thomas wanted a show in which the main character was a young, modern woman focused on her dreams and aspirations.[4]

Although never officially credited as such (Persky and Denoff were the series' creators and official executive producers), Thomas was also a de facto executive producer of the series through her Daisy Productions, which she formed specifically for the series; it was credited on-screen as the production company.[5][6] She originally wanted to name the sitcom Miss Independence, the nickname given to her by her parents.[7][8]

Manhattan exterior shots were filmed in several days. Initially, the apartment was located off the East River on the Upper East Side, in the former East End Hotel (originally known as the Junior League Hotel for Working Women)[9] at 78th Street and the FDR Drive, as seen in several first season episodes, including "What's in a Name" where Ann can be seen exiting a taxicab. In the episode entitled "That Señorita", Ann lists her address as 627 East 54th Street. In the second season - with a new exterior - in the episode "Nothing to Be Afreud of but Freud Himself", Donald gives out her address as 344 West 78th Street, Apartment D.[10] Ann's acting school was modeled after the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre on East 54th Street between First and Second Avenues. That Girl was filmed at Desilu-Cahuenga Studios (for many years called Ren-Mar Studios and now called Red Studios Hollywood), located at 846 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood.[11]

Characters

Episodes

Main article: List of That Girl episodes

Five complete seasons of That Girl aired, with the series finale airing on March 19, 1971. Over the five seasons, a total of 136 episodes aired. Thomas' sister Terre, her brother Tony, and father Danny Thomas all appeared in a 1969 episode called "My Sister's Keeper".

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRank
First airedLast aired
PilotApril 29, 1996 (1996-04-29) (on TV Land)TBA
130September 8, 1966 (1966-09-08)April 6, 1967 (1967-04-06)57
230September 7, 1967 (1967-09-07)April 25, 1968 (1968-04-25)TBA
326September 26, 1968 (1968-09-26)March 27, 1969 (1969-03-27)44
426September 18, 1969 (1969-09-18)March 26, 1970 (1970-03-26)48
524September 25, 1970 (1970-09-25)March 19, 1971 (1971-03-19)TBA

Pilot

The only episode never shown during the series' original network run was the pilot produced in 1965. The major differences were evident in its opening credits. Bessell's character was Don Blue Sky, Ann's talent agent who was part Cherokee, and Harold Gould and Penny Santon played her parents. By the time the series aired on ABC, Thomas and Bessell were the only actors to receive top billing.[12]

The pilot episode centered on Ann's attempt to adopt a stage name based on her agent's suggestion. After her use of "Marie Brewster" (the names of her family and hometown combined) was met with disapproval from her parents, she decided to not make the change in the end. This storyline and numerous scenes were recycled into the 11th episode of Season 1 titled "What's in a Name?" from November 17, 1966.[12]

The pilot was included in the 5-disc set of That Girl: Season One, which was released by Shout! Factory in 2006.[13] It has since been added to the series' broadcast syndication package; it led off a New Year's Day marathon on MeTV at the start of 2012.[14]

Syndication and home media

ABC aired reruns of the show on its daytime schedule from June 1969 to March 1972. Reruns have aired on TV Land from the network's launch in 1996 to 1998. On January 1, 2012, That Girl reruns returned to national television on MeTV with episodes shown on weekday mornings and Sunday afternoons until September 1, 2013. On September 1, 2014, the show returned to MeTV. The series is distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Beginning January 2, 2020, the show currently airs on Antenna TV. As of 2020, the series is available on Tubi and Amazon Prime.

Shout! Factory has released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1. Each release contains extensive bonus features including episodic promos, featurettes, commentary tracks and the original pilot episode.

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released all five seasons on DVD in Australia/New Zealand. On April 21, 2010, Madman released That Girl: The Complete Series, a 21-disc box set that features all 136 episodes, as well as extensive bonus features.[15]

Novel

Newly engaged Ann travels to Maine to take the role of Cathy in a production of Wuthering Heights but finds herself embroiled in a real-life gothic.

Spin-offs

In 1973, Rankin/Bass produced That Girl in Wonderland, an animated television special in which Marlo Thomas reprised the role of Ann. It aired as an episode of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie on January 13, 1973.[16] The special also featured the voices of Patricia Bright, Dick Hehmeyer, Rhoda Mann, and Ted Schwartz.[17]

Popular culture

The series' theme song and opening visuals have been parodied in pop culture several times. They appeared as a series of T-shirts, then as a Saturday Night Live skit featuring Danitra Vance in an African American remake "That Black Girl",[18] and as a sequence on episodes of Animaniacs,[19] The Simpsons,[20] Family Guy, Clarissa Explains It All, Arthur, Friends and Roseanne.

It was also parodied in the cold opening of an episode of The Nanny where Maxwell's mother encounters Fran at the florist.

The 2011 advertising campaign for the launch of Fox's sitcom New Girl[21] featured posters of that sitcom's star, Zooey Deschanel, in the make-up, pose and graphic look of Marlo Thomas from the original That Girl series.

In season 7, episode 2, of Mad Men, episode 80 of That Girl ("There Was a Time Ann Met a Pie Man") which originally aired February 13, 1969, can be seen playing in Donald Draper's home.

In season 3, episode 9, of Friends, "The One With the Football", the cast plays a game of touch football for the coveted Geller Cup. Phoebe is wearing a That Girl T-shirt during the game.

Further reading

References

  1. ^ "Ann vs. Secretary" (5 Dec. 1968), That Girl: Season 3, Episode 11 at IMDb, Accessed April 27, 2014
  2. ^ "THAT GIRL on The Web: Interviews with Marlo Thomas" Archived December 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2013). Television Introductions: Narrated TV Program Openings since 1949. Scarecrow Press. p. 338. ISBN 978-0810892491.
  4. ^ Archive of American Television (March 26, 2003). "On "Two's Company"; on the genesis and pilot episode of That Girl". Interviews: People. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Paley Center for Media | She Made It | Marlo Thomas". The Paley Center for Media.
  6. ^ "' That Girl' Marlo Thomas Now Plays a Mom". ABC News Internet Ventures. May 4, 2002.
  7. ^ "76 Minutes With Marlo Thomas". NYMag.com.
  8. ^ "Commentaries". wysu.org.
  9. ^ "STREETSCAPES: City and Suburban Homes; East Side Women's Hotel Built Among Tenements".
  10. ^ "That Girl (1966)". TV.com. CBS Interactive.
  11. ^ "Ren-Mar Studios". seeing-stars.com. Gary Wayne.
  12. ^ a b Stoddard, Sylvia. TV Treasures: That Girl. Second Edition. Los Angeles: SquareOne Publications, 2004.
  13. ^ Vancheri, Barbara. "TV on DVD: That Girl: Season One; Brilliant But Cancelled: EZ Streets," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thursday, May 18, 2006.
  14. ^ "That Girl Coming To MeTV Network In January 2012, MeTV Merry-thon, & More Affiliates Added - SitcomsOnline.com News Blog". sitcomsonline.com.
  15. ^ "Madman Entertainment". Madman.com.au.
  16. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 55. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  17. ^ The Big Cartoon DataBase (January 13, 1973). "Cartoon Characters, Cast and Crew for That Girl In Wonderland". Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Archived from the original on January 19, 2015.
  18. ^ "SNL Archives.com; Sketches".
  19. ^ Neumyer, Scott (February 3, 2013). "A Guided Tour of Animaniacs: Volume 4 with Rob Paulsen and Tom Ruegger". Mental Floss.
  20. ^ "The Old Man and the Lisa transcript (The Simpsons Archive)".
  21. ^ "Tumblr:Image". Tumblr.