Guest Author - Robin Rounds Whittemore
Most people remember Bob Newhart as the psychiatrist Bob Hartley on “The Bob Newhart Show”. We laughed at his fumbles through some of life’s situations. Most memorable was the total supporting cast he had as friends and patients. His discussions in the bedroom with his wife Emily, played by Suzanne Pleshette, were prevalent and memorable enough to help end his next series finale.
When he moved to Vermont and became a totally different person as how-to writer, Dick Loudon, the series, “Newhart” captured our interest once again. The supporting cast he smartly surrounded himself with was once again brilliant. The characters were just that, characters; from the lying Kirk Devane, the previous owner of The Minuteman Café next door to The Stratford Inn, to the rich maid, Stephanie, we grew attached to them all.
In one episode, the brothers Larry, Darryl and Darryl held a dinner party and pleasantly surprised everyone. Remember, these were brothers who had a business where they did everything for a buck. Larry invited people to join in intelligent talk and later, his brothers revealed what apt piano players they were.
This time his wife, Joanna, was played by Mary Fran, a nice looking blonde woman who wore sweaters. She, like Suzanne Pleshette in the previous Bob Newhart show, was a rather elegant second half to Bob Newhart.
The final episode has the whole town gathering for one more time in a reunion of sorts. Everyone has sold their homes and moved on with their lives. All except Dick and Joanna, that is. They are still at the Stratford Inn amidst golf courses and a whole new way of life.
With the door open, Dick gets hit in the head with a golf ball and then the set went black. Perhaps a few people had a notion what was coming next. When the night table lamp went on, and you saw that familiar checkered pattern, you could tell that the audience was starting to catch on.
When the shouts from Dick/Bob went out to Emily and the other night table lamp went on; you heard the familiar voice and saw the dark hair, the gig was up. Vermont, The Stratford Inn, and all those characters had been nothing more than a dream. The audiences loved it and couldn’t get enough.
The biggest laugh might have been when Bob/Dick told Suzanne Pleshette that she should wear more sweaters. Another memorable moment came when the two Darryls told their wives to be quiet. These were the first lines either Darryl had uttered throughout the series.
Both shows were extremely well written and well cast. It is too bad that good things always have to come to an end.