Although we still haven't been able to see every episode from its seven-year run together, Damian finally saw the brilliant finale of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," so felt emotionally equipped to begin watching "Rhoda." (What's up with neither Hulu nor Netflix having the complete series run of either of these classic shows?) In trying to explain to my guy just how HUGE Valerie Harper's spinoff started out -- more than 53 million Americans tuned in to watch Rhoda marry Joe, which at the time was the second-highest rated sitcom episode to date, surpassed only by Lucy Ricardo giving birth to Little Ricky -- I stumbled upon some other indicators, ones so mortifying I'm glad I don't recall. Apparently Lorenzo Music, the celebrated sitcom writer and co-creator of "The Bob Newhart Show," "Taxi" and "Rhoda," who played Carlton the doorman, not only released a single ("Who Is It?"), but also filmed an animated spinoff called "Carlton Your Doorman," which you can watch below.
It didn't get picked up -- and didn't feature Ruth Gordon as his mom this time -- but Music did go on to provide the voice of Garfield, which is ironic given how poorly Carlton treated his cat (Ringo) in the pilot for his eponymous show. (I'm still reeling.) The show aired as a "CBS Special Presentation" on May 21, 1980 -- a year and a half after Rhoda went off the air -- and has (shockingly) never been rebroadcast! (Lorenzo Music died in 2001 at 64.)
"Who is it?"
And speaking of little-known "Rhoda" details: Just learned that David Lloyd -- of "Chuckles Bites the Dust" fame -- had written a script for the series called "Your Old Friend Phyllis" that would have reunited the Minneapolis frenemies after Mrs. Lindstrom gets stranded in NYC sans wallet. The idea was for the fourth season, which was right after "Phyllis" ended its run after two seasons, but ultimately never came to be for reasons that are not clear. (I always loved "Phyllis" but realized having your breakout stars being an octogenarian and a nonagenarian(!) wasn't a recipe for a long-running show. Would it kill Hulu to get those two seasons?)
Read the script for "Your Old Friend Phyllis" HERE.