Hello everyone. Today I found out that Valerie Harper passed today from cancer. I’m very sad that she is gone because she was one of my favorite TV actresses. The first time I saw her on TV was when she was in her last year on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1973. When my family and I moved to the Ashburn neighborhood in Chicago in September 1974, Valerie began her first season on Rhoda. I saw the first episode, and I was hooked. The show was sometimes even funnier than when she was on The Mary Tyler Moore show.
The most famous episode of the series was Rhoda’s Wedding. It was a two-parter that aired on WBBM-TV Channel 2 Monday on October 28, 1974. I remembered watching it, and it was one of the funniest wedding episodes in TV history. 52 million people watched the show that fewer people watched Monday Night Football that aired the same night. It was reported that most viewers were switching the channels during the commercials. The funniest scene that I remembered was when Rhoda was getting to her parent’s apartment where the wedding was held and had to travel on the subway. Cloris Leachman, who played Phyllis forgot to pick her up.
Eventually, Rhoda arrived rather late, and the wedding went on. Her memorable line was when she got there was, “Somebody tried to spray paint graffiti on my wedding .” The show became more popular for a couple of seasons. Then in Season 3, Rhoda and her husband Joe separated. The ratings of the show nosedived and never recovered.
Faithfully, I watch the show all the way to the end. It wasn’t great, but watchable. I felt bittersweet that the show ended in the spring of 1979. Reruns of Rhoda aired on WGN-TV Channel 9 in the early 1980s. I didn’t watch it during that time, because I was going to college and was working. I resumed watching the reruns on Nick at Nite on cable in the late 1990s.
I have watched other shows and movies that starred Valerie Harper over the years. But I just see her as Rhoda when I watched them. She was beloved by her family, co-workers and her fans. She is now gone, but we can still see her on reruns on TV forever. Thank you. Pete Kastanes, Admin of Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.