Sunday, November 20, 2011

Right Pair, Wrong Program?

Question: What does the 1973 ABC-TV sitcom Adam’s Rib have to do with the NBC Mystery Movie series McMillan & Wife? Answer: According to an item published in the Portland Oregonian during the summer of ’73, the stars of Adam’s Rib--Blythe Danner (the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow) and Ken Howard--were offered the lead roles in McMillan, “and turned them down within 15 minutes of each other.” Those parts went instead to Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James.

(Left) TV Guide’s September 8, 1973, preview of the sitcom Adam’s Rib

Adam’s Rib ... may be one of the more palatable situation comedies of the fall season, judging by the pilot,” remarked Oregonian TV critic Francis Murphy. “The plot is taken from the [1949] Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movie of the same name, featuring a man-and-wife attorney team.”

Palatable to Murphy or not, the fact is the Friday series Adam’s Rib lasted 13 episodes, just four months. McMillan & Wife ran for six years, 39 episodes (plus pilot). Do you think Danner and Howard might later have spent more than 15 minutes regretting their choice of one show over the other?


Austin Carr said...

Ken who?

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

Howard and Danner previously appeared in _1776_ (1972), as, respectively, Thomas Jefferson and Martha Jefferson.

John said...

They were Thomas and Martha Jefferson in the movie version of 1776 and were great though they had only one scene together. All actors make a few dumb decisions throughout their career. Who can say if McMillan and Wife would've been the same with Danner and Howard?

BTW- the MAW episode set in Scotland w/ Roddy McDowall in a big part (one of my favorites) was just on MeTV a few nights ago. Forgot it was a locked room plot! Cleverly done and as fantastic as a John Dickson Carr novel.

Liz said...

Interesting to see Blythe Danner needed identification as the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I did that for the younger members of our audience.


Elizabeth Foxwell said...

I also should have mentioned that the late Bruce Paltrow, Danner's husband, was writer/director/producer of _The White Shadow_, which starred Howard.