Free To Be You and Me and...That Girl
I had the chance to watch part of the "That Girl!" marathon this past weekend on TV Land. I am proud in the knowledge that I am perhaps the only grown woman who squealed (yes, squealed) with delight when I saw the train tracks that marked the opening to the show. "Why on earth?" you might demand. It was because I LOVED Marlo Thomas when I was a little girl.
Marlo was so groovy looking to me. Especially her incredible eyelashes and always-present black eyeliner. She slept in it, showered in it, it was a thing of wonder.
On "That Girl!" Marlo played Anne Marie who lived in New York City and tried to make it as an actress/model. She had a boyfriend (Donald) but never acted very interested in getting engaged. She only wanted to date, wear incredibly adorable, mod clothes and have a fabulous career. Far Out!
When "That Girl!" ended Marlo went on to direct the production of Free to Be You and Me
I was in first grade when it came out as a TV special, a book and an album and was immediately hooked. Songs about Mommies being people ("people with children...but there are a lot of things a lot of mommies can do") and how William might want to play with a doll. Rosey Greer singing about it being alright to cry. Stories about how girls might be strong and fast and boys might be sensitive and loving. Very few collections of songs and stories for children have ever come close to challenging the status quo as this one did -- let alone doing it with such humor and style.
Marlo went on to do TV specials and marry Phil Donahue or talk show fame. She also took over her father, Danny Thomas', charity work after his death. She is still a very active leader of the fund raising for Saint Jude Hospital.
Imagine my shock when I got the inside UGLY skinny on Marlo. I was working for a Wall Street employment agency in New York City in the early 90s, and beside filling positions with support staff, traders, high-level admin assistants, we also had requests come in for personal assistants. One day, I got the file for a position that had had several candidates "fall off" -- which meant they were hired, started the job and then quit. I read further and found the assistant was for none other than Marlo herself. I got so excited thinking, "I HATE my freakin job! I am going to apply for this one and work for the grooviest gal in the world!"
Then I read the notes from the last attempted hire: "Applicant must be ready to work for a bitch."
Is nothing sacred?
I was too scared to apply for the job.