She's a Real Mother

Mutha's got eyes in the back of her head.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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.


At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, man, another dream shot all to hell.

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous al said...

"Ohh, Daw-null'd..." Squeaked out by Marlo ever ten minutes or so, that's what I remember most about the show.

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous al said...

By the way, on a historical note, most republicans believe that "Free to Be You and Me" marked the very beginning of America's long slide into an abyss of cultural turpitude.

So, yeah, I could work for...

That Bitch.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please define bitch. I just want to hold onto my illussions of the carefree That Girl!

I loved that show too but like Al, I seem to only be calling up her saying "Daw-null'd". That and her go-go boots. She did dress fly.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Oh, I do love me some Marlo Thomas. Whatever personality defects she may have, I've been in love with her for 35 years and I'll stand by her. My biggest charitable contribution has been St. Jude's for a long time so she'll think I'm sweet. I don't care about children.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Mutha said...

Goldennib:Buzz Kill Supreme.

Al:It's true -- that was in fact a catch phrase. Another was, "Daddy! When are you going to stop treating me like a child?!" Complete with balled fists and foot stamp. And I knew I loved "Free to Be..." for more than one reason. "That Bitch!" is a lost spin-off opportunity as far as I am concerned.

G: The only specifics given were pretty broad, but damaging. They included adjectives like "Impossible" and "Crazy." I know! It was traumatizing. Loved the go-go boots and the fact that every coat she had went with the outfit.(i.e. 27 dresses, 27 coats). She was like a living, moder Barbie.

Doug: I really did have you pegged for a Marlo Man. It's the voice, I am sure: A little raspy, a little low...and a great giggle.
I am so glad I put Marlo out as bait to get you to stop by. Welcome Back!

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Doug said...

You were right. No need to lure me, but the bait was good.

To be a little serious, my ex bought me Free to Be You and Me a few years back and I was stunned by how skinny she was. I guess swooning 5-year-olds don't think about anorexia.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger First Nations said...

oh rock on, i can post a dman comment without having to resort to base subterfuge! *pathetically happy*
'That Girl' was the prototype for Fran Dreschers' 'Nanny'; hadda be. that honking voice, that ultra trendy fashion wardrobe...the problem being, i suppose, that fran drescher is a human woman and apparently marlo thomas is not. cow.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mutha said...

Doug: True! Very skinny. She was kind of a living Barbie -- so I never questioned my doll's or Marlo's healthy weight. What is your favorite song/story on "Frr to Be..."? I think mine is the conversation between Mel Books and marlo when they are babies and Brooks says he wants to be a cocktail waitress when he groes up.

FN: Easy girl! Fran could be an even bigger cow. I never get the chance to read the file on her personal assisitant. So glad you are back to posting and roaming!

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Like Doug...majorly crushed on Marlo when I was a kid. Never missed the show. I "ran into" Marlo a couple of months ago...okay she was getting into an elevator on my floor...not so crushed on her anymore.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad that I found your blog!

I am a '63 baby with dark brown hair and eyes. When That Girl was on, when I was just entering Grammar School the other TV gals that everyone loved were all blondes -- you know, Barbara Eden (easy boys) and Elizabethe Montgomery. Loved their shows too but I could really identify with Ann Marie! Hey, I was a kid and had the brunette, twist-and-turn Barbie with the 'flip' hairdo. She was the future me! I thought. :)

Anywho, yeh, it's pretty commonly known that later in life Marlo turned into a raving bitch. That hurts, in the memory sort of way. But, the CHARACTER, not Marlo...sorry, still stand as one of the grooviest gals ever!

I sit her watching disk three of season two of the That Girl DVD's. So there. :) I'm also exploring the idea of doing a 'flip' hairdo with my roundbrush/hotbrush and playing with some black, liquid eyeliner and false eyelashes -- just for the sheer fun of it!

Hey, mod, groovy styles are back and since I was a child when they were hot then I insist on enjoying them now!

Thanks for posting this topic. I had a blast reading it and you seem FAB! ;)

BTW....I am in Southern, NH. Seems that lots of groovy gals ended up there.




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