New York Film Locations

 





That Girl TV Show

15 December 2014

Between the years 1966 and 1971, ABC ran a TV show called That Girl. It starred Marlo Thomas as the title character Ann Marie, an aspiring, but only sporadically employed actress, who moves from her hometown of Brewster 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. 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, Ruth Buzzi and Reva Rose played Ann and Donald's friends.

The show was developed by writers Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, who had served as head writers on The Dick Van Dyke Show earlier in the 1960s. Each episode began with a pre-credits teaser in which an odd incident occurs or a discussion foreshadows the episode's story. The scene almost always ends with someone exclaiming "...that girl!", just as Ann wanders into the shot or the character notices her. The words "That Girl" would appear over the freeze-frame shot of Ann. The opening credits during the first season featured Thomas, in character, strolling the streets of New York. From the second season forward, the opening shot was the view from a high-speed Pennsylvania Railroad commuter train entering the North River Tunnels, then Thomas flying a kite in Central Park, and seeing (and exchanging winks with) her double in a store window. Lyrics were added to the theme for the final season, written by series co-creator Sam Denoff, sung by Ron Hicklin.

That Girl was one of the first sitcoms to focus on a single woman who was not a domestic or living with her parents. Some consider this show the forerunner of the highly successful Mary Tyler Moore Show, Murphy Brown, and Ally McBeal, and an early indication of the changing roles of American women in feminist-era America. Thomas's goofy charm together with Bessell's dry wit, made That Girl a solid performer on the ABC Television Network, and while the series, in the overall ratings, never made the top thirty during its entire five-year run, the series did respectably well.

At the end of the 1969–1970 season, That Girl was still doing moderately well in the ratings; however, 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, although they never actually married. The decision to leave the couple engaged at the end of the run was largely the idea of Thomas herself. She did not want to send a message to young women that marriage was the ultimate goal for them and she was worried that it would have defeated the somewhat feminist message of the show.

Manhattan exterior shots were filmed in several days. The apartment was located off the East River in the Upper East Side, in the upper 70s or lower 80s streets between York Avenue and East End Avenue. In the episode entitled "Señorita," Ann Marie lists her address as 627 East 54th Street. In the second season episode "Nothing to Be Afreud of but Freud Himself", Donald gives out her address as 344 West 78th Street, Apartment D. Ann Marie's acting school was modelled after the Neighbourhood 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.

The Seagram Building located at 375 Park Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets is show as her work place. The skyscraper was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with the American Philip Johnson and completed in 1958. It is 516 feet tall with 38 stories. Several films have featured the building including The Family Man, Scrooged, Hitch, Baby Boom, Celebrity, Birth, The Out of Towners and For Love or Money.





 


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