Marlo Thomas...most visibly known today for her work with St. Jude's Hospital, was once a popular TV star. Those of us of a certain age will remember her exasperated sigh, "Oh Donald!" whenever she was frustrated with her boyfriend (Donald), and her winning smile, her enthusiasm for life, her cheerful approach to adversity - and so much more.
I'm talking, of course, about the 60s show, That Girl! (This is a paid announcement...well, not paid, no money exchanged hands, but I did receive the collection of DVDs! Whoopee!)
Let's take a step backward - first of all, why am I writing about Marlo Thomas in the first place? Well, besides the fact that she's one of the top 10 actresses that I admire - as much for her community service as her acting - there's the fact that Marlo was the poster-girl for independence back in the days when women going off on their own was still frowned upon. Back in the mid-to late sixties, we were rebellious and pushy, we burned our bras (well, someone burned someone's bra - personally, I never knew anyone who burned her bra), and we all went on 'the pill' to our parent's horror, but not many of us ever really...flew far from the nest. Not many that I knew, anyway.
Marlo Thomas, daughter of Danny Thomas (of The Danny Thomas Show - I always thought it was a good thing Marlo didn't inherit her father's nose!), always made me think I could spread my wings and tackle the big bad world, too. If this tiny, beautiful brunette could tackle New York City on her own, with verve and panache, then I could surely go to - oh, Binghamton, or Albany! (Binghamton I did - to visit family; Albany came years later when the first daughter went to college there).
This collection of the first 30 episodes of That Girl! is more than a collection of a popular hippies-days comedy with an Emmy® nominated star. It's a glimpse into a world of uncomplicated fun. Real fun. Not the stuff kids today think of as fun - ok, maybe Friends was funny (Monica, anyway), and Jerry Seinfeld made me chuckle a few times (but I never understood Elaine), but for good, all America fun, That Girl is it. For me, anyway.
The collection is being described by PR firms as, "A beloved and landmark television series," which I agree with. They even say, "Over the course of the five funny, adventurous and fashionably fabulous seasons, effervescent wannabe actress Ann Marie (Thomas) progressed from a naive young girl who dreamt of becoming a star to a smart, confident woman who could stand up to her parents and become engaged to her boyfriend on her own terms, and never - ever- lost her sense of identity," which seems okay. I'd say her foibles and stumbles were the prime draw of the show...even though now, looking back on it, I can appreciate the strength of her character, and that character's determination to be - more than anyone thought she could be.
Watching the show again really opened the floodgates of 'remember when.' When I watched it, during my teen years, this show seemed a little dangerous - a bit exciting - without being insulting. But, I bet parents cringed when it came on - in-between laughter. Today, it's so tame as to be foolish. But, oh, the vivid memories of wanting to be Ann Marie, strong, independent, even a bit outrageous. While still maintaining a sense of decorum and privacy. That's the key, for me. Maintaining a sense of decorum and privacy. Because back in those days, as 'wild' as we were - we understood parental respect (though we pretended to thumb our noses at it), we dressed in crazy, colorful outfits, but all the right parts were pretty well covered up (unless you REALLY, really wanted the attention, and then you just went naked!), and we - girls - if we weren't protesting for equal rights, we were determined to become the next superstar - in Hollywood, or politics, or corporate America. Just like Ann Marie and her quest...all over Manhattan...to become famous.
Buy this for the nostalgia and the real humor, and buy it to watch with your kids. They'll love it. Even better - they might learn a little something. Like - young people acting crazy is mandatory, in the end, everyone stops being 'young' - they get married, have kids of their own, and...go nuts when their kids do the same dang things they did!
This is just too fun! Talk about a womn who knew how to take charge, and craft her world on her terms...That Girl! could give all of us lessons. On sale May 16th. (Gotta LOVE that hair!)
Check these links out - then...tell the kids to get the popcorn ready, pop the DVD in...and enjoy!
Preview Windows Media QuickTime Assets (Stills, Press Notes & Box Art)
Assets (Stills, Press Notes & Box Art)