One of our favorite podcasts has a new episode online! This week's episode is about Newhart, the '80s television sitcom which aired on CBS from October 25, 1982, to May 21, 1990.
The series starred comedian Bob Newhart and actress Mary Frann as an author and wife who owned and operated an inn located in a small, rural Vermont town that was home to many eccentric characters. Newhart's series finale is widely considered one of the most memorable in television history.
Bob Newhart plays Dick Loudon, an author of do-it-yourself books and travel books. He and his wife Joanna move from New York City to a small, unnamed town in rural Vermont to operate the 200-year-old Stratford Inn. Dick is a sane, mild-mannered everyman surrounded by a community of oddballs in a town which exists in an illogical world run by rules that elude him. Near the end of Season 2, Newhart was re-tooled and Dick began hosting a low-rated talk show on the town's local television station. As the series progressed, episodes focused increasingly on Dick's TV career and the quirky townsfolk. As the years went by, some characters were dropped and others were added.
The Retroist is a fantastic podcast, and it's long-been a personal favorite among the Atari I/O Moderators for many years. I hope you'll find the time this weekend to maybe put on a great game, tune in and listen to this great podcast. Maybe it'll become a weekend routine!
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Here's what The Retroist had to say about the episode:
Retroist Podcast – Episode 197 – NEWHART
On today’s show I talk about the eighties’ sitcom hit, “Newhart”. I start off talking about how I would and still do run a good catchphrase into the ground (it is a compulsion of mine), then I move onto the show. I talk about the cast, the creator, the characters, the “location” of the famous Inn, the show’s reception, the final episode, its music and much much more. Newhart is an amazing show. I hope this might encourage people to check it out.
Music on the show was provided by Peachy (the Burt Bacharach of Wales), if you have musical needs, why not contact and “like” him on his Facebook Page.
If you have a moment please stop by iTunes or wherever you might download the show and perhaps give the show a quick rating. It is very much appreciated.
If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for me to cover in the future, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like more retro fun, you can also follow me on the Twitter and on the Facebook.
The Series Finale
The series finale of Newhart, entitled "The Last Newhart", has been described as one of the most memorable in television history. The entire town is purchased by a visiting Japanese tycoon, who turns the hamlet into a huge golf course and recreation resort. Dick and Joanna are the only townspeople who refuse to leave. The others accept huge payoffs and leave in a farewell scene which parodies Fiddler on the Roof.
Five years later, Dick and Joanna continue to run the Stratford Inn, which is now located in the middle of the golf course. The other townspeople, now richer and older than before, unexpectedly return for a reunion. The Darryl brothers also speak for the first time on screen (loudly yelling "QUIET!" at their wives in unison). Dick gets frustrated with the increasingly chaotic scene, eventually storming out shouting "You're all CRAZY!" only to be knocked out by a golf ball.
The final scene takes place in a setting previously seen on the popular '70s television sitcom The Bob Newhart Show. Bob Newhart reprises the role of Dr. Bob Hartley, with Suzanne Pleshette returning to play Bob's wife Emily. Bob wakes and explains his weird dream, apparently revealing that the entire Newhart series was just a dream in his head. This parodies the infamous Dallas "Dream Season" from a few years earlier, and possibly the last episode of St. Elsewhere, in which the entire series turns out to be the imagination of an autistic child. There are several references to Bob Newhart's former show, including the use of its theme song and credits. In the MTM logo shown after the closing credits, Mimsie the Cat says what the Darryls shouted in the series finale.
Interviews with Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette and director Dick Martin reveal that the final scene was kept a secret from the cast and most of the crew. A fake ending was written to throw off the tabloids that involved Bob going to heaven after being hit with a golf ball and talking to God played by George Burns or George C. Scott. Pleshette was kept hidden until her scene was shot. When the scene began, many people in the audience recognized the set as the bedroom from "The Bob Newhart Show" and burst into spontaneous applause. Pleshette and Newhart did the scene in one take.
Newhart's Final Scene