That Girl


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About

Single girl moves to the big city to make it on her own -- it’s a premise quite familiar to television these days, but one quite novel for the 1960s. The prologue of the 1966 show that first featured the concept ensured that viewers would always remember the program’s title, and star. Someone asked a question (e.g. “of whom do you think when you hear the phrase ‘diamonds, daisies, snowflakes…’?”), the camera zoomed in for a close-up of Marlo Thomas, and the answer was proclaimed: “That Girl!”

Created by Sam Denoff and Bill Persky, two writers who cut their teeth on The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl gave America its first televised, single gal in New York City. Fresh out of college, Ann Marie (Marie was her surname, not part of her first name) moved from Brewster, New York to Manhattan to be an actress. She lived in her own apartment, worked odd jobs to pay the rent, and dated journalist Don Hollinger, a reporter for Newsview magazine. She was a ‘60’s modern woman – or as close to one as primetime would permit.

Marlo Thomas, who portrayed Ann Marie, was no stranger to the spotlight, or to the burgeoning women’s movement. The daughter of legendary entertainer Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas not only starred in That Girl, but served as the show’s un-credited Executive Producer via her role as the head of newly formed Daisy Productions. Thomas did not want the show to be about a character who was a stereotypical wife or mother, or a woman longing to find a husband, but about a young woman out on her own for the first time. She fought for Ann not to get married, quarreling with ABC network executives when they wanted the series to end with the wedding of Don and Ann. Though the couple did get engaged in the fifth and final season, they did not marry on the show. Instead, the series finale featured Ann taking her betrothed to a women’s liberation meeting.

The program starred Ted Bessell as Ann’s boyfriend/fiancé Don Hollinger; Rosemary Decamp as Ann’s mother, Helen; Lew Parker as her father, Lou; and Ronnie Schell as Ann’s agent, Harvey Peck. That Girl also featured an impressive roster of guest stars, including Ethel Merman, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, and of course, Danny Thomas, who made one of two memorable appearances on Episode 79 as a clergyman into whom Ann bumps. Their exchange: Ann: “Oh, excuse me, Father.” Clergyman: “That’s all right, my child.”

The original contract for the half-hour sitcom was for five years, and though offered additional seasons, Marlo Thomas declined. According to her, “That Girl” had become a woman and Ann had already exhausted all of her acceptable-for-1960’s-primetime adventures. Since Thomas refused to portray Mrs. Hollinger, the show finished its fifth and final season in 1971, just as Mary Richards, another single girl in the big city (Minneapolis this time), made her debut on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, following in the always fashionable, independent, footsteps left by Ann Marie.

Co-creators: Sam Denoff and Bill Persky

Producers: Jerry Davis (season 1), Danny Arnold (seasons 2, 3), Bernie Orenstein and Saul Turteltaub (seasons 4, 5)

Programming History: 136 episodes, 5 seasons, ABC

September 8, 1966 – September 10, 1971

Thursday nights through September 1970, then Friday nights

- by Adrienne Faillace

Highlights
Bill Persky on the legacy and message of That Girl with Marlo Thomas
Reza Badiyi on the title sequence of That Girl
04:12
Marlo Thomas on how the title of That Girl came about
01:10
Sam Denoff on the creation of That Girl with Marlo Thomas
11:00
Dann Cahn on forming Charlie Chaplin, Jr. productions for a script written by Danny Arnold of That Girl and Barney Miller fame
01:05
Who talked about this show

Howard Anderson, Jr.

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Howard Anderson Jr. on creating the opening titles for That Girl
00:51

Larry Auerbach

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Larry Auerbach on packaging That Girl and working with Marlo Thomas
03:19

Reza Badiyi

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Reza Badiyi on the title sequence of That Girl
04:12

Bruce Bilson

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Bruce Bilson on directing That Girl
00:48

Dann Cahn

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Dann Cahn on forming Charlie Chaplin, Jr. productions for a script written by Danny Arnold of That Girl and Barney Miller fame
01:05

Hal Cooper

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Hal Cooper on directing Marlo Thomas on That Girl
06:33
Hal Cooper on directing Ted Bessell on That Girl
00:35
Hal Cooper on directing the That Girl episode "This Little Piggy Had A Ball"
02:02

Sam Denoff

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Sam Denoff on the creation of That Girl with Marlo Thomas
11:00
Sam Denoff on the pilot episode, work week, and budget of That Girl 
10:41
Sam Denoff on his favorite episodes of That Girl 
01:42
Sam Denoff on critical acclaim for and the end of That Girl
02:17

Ruth Engelhardt

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Ruth Engelhardt on packaging The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and That Girl
06:09

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Leonard Goldenson on ABC's That Girl
00:17

Earle Hagen

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Composer Earle Hagen on working on That Girl
03:16

Eddie Foy III

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Eddie Foy III on going to work for 4D Productions and casting That Girl
06:52
Eddie Foy III on casting That Girl
10:15

Bernie Kopell

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Bernie Kopell on playing "Jerry Bauman" on That Girl
02:41
Bernie Kopell on working with Marlo Thomas, who played "Ann Marie" on That Girl and was also a producer on the show
01:22
Bernie Kopell on favorite memories of shooting That Girl
03:27
Bernie Kopell on the end of That Girl, and on producer Danny Arnold
03:54
Bernie Kopell on the legacy of That Girl
02:24

Thomas W. Moore

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Thomas W. Moore on programming various series in the '60s, including That Girl with Marlo Thomas, and the long-running The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
02:58

Bernie Orenstein

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Bernie Orenstein on he and Saul Turteltaub becoming the producers of That Girl
01:00
Bernie Orenstein on he and Saul Turteltaub's responsibilities as producers of That Girl and what they looked for in staff writers
03:43
Bernie Orenstein on he and Saul Turteltaub deciding that Marlo Thomas' That Girl character should get married, and his regrets over this because it led to the end of the show and how this same thing happened later on when they produced Kate & Allie
01:22
Bernie Orenstein on working with Marlo Thomas on That Girl
02:55
Bernie Orenstein on working with Ted Bessell on That Girl and another story about Bessell
03:20
Bernie Orenstein on the lack of network interference on That Girl and the show's theme song
01:32
Bernie Orenstein on the legacy of That Girl: representing feminism on television
02:44

Dick Van Patten

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Dick Van Patten on a guest role he had on That Girl with Marlo Thomas
00:37

Bill Persky

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Bill Persky on the legacy and message of That Girl with Marlo Thomas
Bill Persky on the premise of That Girl, starring Marlo Thomas, which he wrote with Sam Denoff

Hazel Shermet

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Hazel Shermet on acting in That Girl
01:53
Hazel Shermet on acting in That Girl with Marlo Thomas
01:11

Treva Silverman

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Treva Silverman on writing for That Girl, starring Marlo Thomas
04:35

Marlo Thomas

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Marlo Thomas on the premise of That Girl 
23:33
Marlo Thomas on how the title of That Girl came about
01:10
Marlo Thomas on the structure and filming schedule on That Girl
02:24
Marlo Thomas on the That Girl theme song written by Earle Hagen with lyrics by Sam Denoff
00:52
Marlo Thomas on her favorite episodes of That Girl; on the pilot episode and fashions 
09:36
Marlo Thomas on why That Girl went off the air and how her character changed over the years
02:00
Marlo Thomas on what would have happened to "Ann Marie" and where That Girl would be today
01:26
Marlo Thomas on the legacy of That Girl
00:55

Saul Turteltaub

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Saul Turteltaub on how producing a special for Cass Elliot led to he and his partner Bernie Orenstein becoming producers for That Girl
01:57
Saul Turteltaub on how he and his partner Bernie Orenstein divided the responsiblities of producing That Girl
02:35
Saul Turteltaub on Marlo Thomas' input on That Girl, and how his and Bernie Orenstein's push for Thomas' character to get married led to the end of the show
02:14
Saul Turteltaub on directing episodes of That Girl and getting to meet St. Louis Cardinal's player, Stan Musial
02:45
Saul Turteltaub on That Girl co-star Ted Bessell
00:35
Saul Turteltaub on the legacy of That Girl
00:42

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