Sunday, 22 August 2010

New York, this is your last chance!

"My name is Rhoda Morgenstern. I was born in the Bronx, New York in December, 1941. I've always felt responsible for World War II. The first thing I remember liking that liked me back was food. I had a bad puberty; it lasted 17 years. I'm a high school graduate. I went to art school. My entrance exam was on a book of matches. I decided to move out of the house when I was 24; my mother still refers to this as the time I ran away from home. Eventually I ran to Minneapolis, where it's cold, and I figured I'd keep better. Now I'm back in Manhattan. New York, this is your last chance!"
Who'd have thought it? Rhoda is seventy!

Many happy returns to actress Valerie Harper, who cheered up the masses in the 1970s as Rhoda, her wise-cracking spin-off from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, ably supported by the wonderful Julie Kavner [famous now as the voice of Marge Simpson] who played sister Brenda, and household favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers Nancy Walker as the mother.

As with so many American comedies, it does not bear a repeat viewing these days as the "laughter track" just becomes an absolute irritant [it was either edited out by the BBC or just less noticeable when I was a kid, as it was on Taxi, Happy Days and Mork & Mindy; all of them unwatchable now if ever they are repeated].

Despite a few cameo roles on TV (in such shows as Melrose Place and Sex in the City), Miss Harper tends to concentrate mainly on the stage these days, most notably her recent Tony award-nominated role portraying Tallulah Bankhead in a one-woman show, which only closed this year. Happy birthday to a true trooper!

Valerie Harper on Wikipedia

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