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|Love, American Style|
|Starring||Different cast each week|
|Theme music composer||Charles Fox, Arnold Margolin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||108 (list of episodes)|
42–44 minutes (1969–70 and 1971–74)|
22–25 minutes (1970–71)
Paramount Network Television
Paramount Domestic Television|
CBS Television Distribution
|Original release||September 29, 1969 – January 11, 1974|
Love, American Style is an anthology comedy television series produced by Paramount Television that originally aired between 1969 and 1974. For the 1971 and 1972 seasons, it was a part of an ABC Friday prime-time lineup that also included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222 and The Odd Couple.
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Each week, the show featured unrelated stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. Episodes featured different characters, stories and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. In addition, a large, ornate brass bed was a recurring prop in many episodes. Charles Fox's delicate yet hip music score, featuring flutes, harp and flugelhorn set to a contemporary pop beat, provided the "love" ambiance, which tied the stories together as a multifaceted romantic comedy each week. For the first season, the show's theme song was performed by The Cowsills. Beginning in the second season, the same theme song was sung by the Ron Hicklin Singers, also known as the voices behind The Partridge Family (based on the Cowsills), among others, featuring brothers John and Tom Bahler (billed as The Charles Fox Singers).
This second version of the theme was carried on for the remainder of the series, as well as on most episodes prepared for syndication. The title is loosely derived from a 1961 Italian comedy film called Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce, Italian Style), which received Academy Award nominations in 1962 for Best Director for Pietro Germi and for Best Actor for star Marcello Mastroianni. The film was later spoofed in 1967 by Divorce, American Style, starring Dick Van Dyke. The snowclone "(xxx), (nationality) Style" became a minor cultural catch-phrase as the 1960s progressed.
The original series was also known for its 10- to 20-second drop-in silent movie-style "joke clips" between the featured segments. This regular troupe featured future Rockford Files cast member Stuart Margolin, future Vega$ leading lady Phyllis Davis and a young character actor, James Hampton, who was known to television audiences of the era as Private Dobbs from the TV series F-Troop. These clips allowed the show to be padded to the required length without adding to the main segments. They generally consisted of then-risque, burlesque-style comedy of manners visual jokes.
During its first four years on ABC, Love, American Style was popular with viewers and received decent ratings, although it never ranked among the top 30 shows in the Nielsens. For a few seasons, it was part of a powerhouse lineup of ABC Friday night programs that included The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222 and The Odd Couple.
Some of the show's segments also served as pilots for proposed television series, either as an actual pilot that also served as segment, or as a segment that would be repurposed as a pilot after the fact. Many never made it beyond the pilot stage, but two resulted in a series:
The show's executive producer was Arnold Margolin, the older brother of actor Stuart Margolin, who was a featured actor in the series. Stuart may be best known for his character Angel on the 1970s TV detective show The Rockford Files.
At the start of the 1973–1974 fall season, the ratings for Love, American Style and Room 222 had plummeted. As a result, both shows were canceled at midseason. The series received several Emmy nominations, including two for Best Comedy Series for 1969–70 and 1970–71. The show subsequently became a daytime standard in syndication, since it was readily edited down to a half-hour by the proper interweaving of the clips with a main segment, effectively making nine seasons out of five. This allowed for heavy stripping.
A decade after the show went off the air, a new version premiered on ABC's daytime schedule in 1985 entitled New Love, American Style, but was canceled after a few months because of low ratings against The Price Is Right on CBS. A third edition, starring Melissa Joan Hart among others, was shot as a pilot for the 1998–1999 television season, but was not ordered into a series. Nevertheless, ABC aired the pilot on February 20, 1999.
|DVD name||No. of
|Season 1, Volume 1||12||November 20, 2007|
|Season 1, Volume 2||12||March 11, 2008|
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