Love American Style!
Love American Style was a show that featured short segments with a romantic comedy spin to them. Each segment began with a quick 10 – 20-second joke clip. Most of the characters were recurring in different roles. The original troupe, as they called themselves went on to act in other popular programs including Rockford Files, Vega$ and F-Troop.
Each segment, or skit, involved sight gags and burlesque-style comedy, which at the time was a little risqué for television. The program first aired in 1969 on the heals of the cultural revolution. Standards for public television were changing and the producers jumped on the bandwagon. It was very popular with the younger crowd.
Each segment had its own title that began with, the word, “Love”. Love and the Television Set, Love and Happy Days, Love and the Old-Fashioned Father…
Although all of the stories were unrelated, there were a few “staples” in the way of props on the show including that big brass bed. The brass bed was a significant, passive/aggressive “nod” to, The Bed, by James Broughton. The Bed was an award-winning short film that came out in 1967, during the “the summer of love”. It featured both male and female nudity on a large brass bed and was set in a garden. At the time, most conservative people probably had no idea about the silent reference. Then again, most conservative people probably didn’t watch, Love American Style.
Love American Style boasted a few other shows that were spin-offs of the show. One of them that is well known was Happy Days. Ritchie Cunningham evolved from Love American Style in recurring segments. Love American Style featured Ron Howard, Anson Williams and Marion Ross in some episodes. Included in the familiar faces on the show were others like Karen Valentine, Florence Henderson and Davy Jones.
The theme music was usually upbeat, contemporary pop music. As with most shows, the background music set the scene… the love scene. Music for the first season was performed by The Cowsills. If you remember The Cowsills, you probably already know that they were the real-live family group that inspired The Partridge Family.
The show ran for several years before being canceled. It received good reviews in the beginning but never really made it to the top. The show ultimately lost in the ratings and had been canceled by 1974.
Although the show was canceled, it lived on in syndication. Actually, it may have fared better in syndication than in its original airings.
Shows like Love American Style paved the way for future shows portraying real people in real situations. Up until the 1960s many racy topics including sex and flaunting sexuality. Looking back over the years, things have really changed. What was once thought to be inappropriate is now seen as “G” rated.
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