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"To Rome With Love" was an example of those sweet syrupy comedies that
came out of the "bubblegum era" of family oriented shows out of 1960's.
"To Rome With Love" was John Forysthe's third and final family oriented
sitcom after "Bachelor Father" and the short-lived series "The John
Forysthe Show". "To Rome With Love" lasted two seasons,producing 48
episodes when it ran on CBS-TV from September 28,1969 until the final
episode of the series September 21,1971. During the first season of the
1969-1970 season,the show premiered on the network's Sunday night
schedule after "Lassie" and was opposite the science-fiction/action
adventure series "Land of the Giants" which was on ABC-TV,and also up
against NBC's "The Wonderful World of Disney". In the show's second
season(the 1970-1971 season),the series moved from Sunday nights to
Tuesday nights after the short-lived musical variety series "Hee
Haw",and opposite "The ABC Movie of the Week",and "NBC Tuesday Nights
at the Movies". Then in January of 1971,the show in its final season
was moved to Wednesday nights in favor for another sitcom "All In The
Family"(which went on to become one of the great situation comedies of
Produced by Edmund L. Hartmann and under executive producer Don Fedderson(the same producers who were behind "My Three Sons",and "Family Affair")under his production company Don Fedderson in association with the CBS Television Network. In fact,the same producers and writers who were behind the shows "My Three Sons",and "Family Affair",and who were behind "Bachelor Father" were writing the scripts for some of the episodes. The series "To Rome With Love" starred John Forysthe as Michael Endicott,a college professor who decided to leave his native Iowa to accept a teaching position(following the death of his wife)at the American Overseas School in Rome. The adjustments made Michael(who was a widow) and his three daughters to wholly alien but fascinating environment provided much of the gentle humor of the series. But instead of some penthouse suite in New York or suburban household in residental Los Angeles,the show was set in an apartment complex in Rome,Italy.
However,in some episodes,Micheal's sister Harriet(Kay Medford),who tried constantly to get the family to return to Iowa,was living with them in their Rome apartment with his three daughters(Alison,Penny,and Mary Jane,aka "Pokey",played by Joyce Menges,Susan Neher,and Melanie Fullerton)throughout the first half of the 1969-1970 season. However Aunt Harriet gave up and returned home alone. At the start of the second season,Andy Pruitt,the father of Michael's late wife joined the cast(played by Walter Brennan of "The Real McCoys","Guns of Will Sonnett" fame in the Uncle Charley role). The reason why the ratings that this show received were just horrible,it was amazing that the show was moved around three times during its entire two-year run. And in some aspects,some of the episodes were intertwined with both "My Three Sons",or "Family Affair" in which the producers had to resort to crossover episodes for the two aforementioned shows where John Forysthe would appear as a special guest star on both shows(he would appear on "Family Affair" in one episode and then the next would make a guest appearance on "My Three Sons"). "To Rome With Love" was just that....a sweet whole sitcom that was so syrupy that it some of the episodes were terrible,and righteously so since no wonder it lasted two season. Other cast members included veteran Italian actor-comedian Vito Scotti(as Mr. Mancini),and Peggy Mondo(as Ms. Vitale). The show was cancelled in the fall of 1971,after 48 episodes and due to bad ratings. The show that replaced "To Rome With Love" for the 1971-1972 season,was the Quinn Martin produced crime drama/detective series "Cannon",starring William Conrad.
This was one of those syrupy family comedies produced by the same company that gave us "My Three Sons" and "Family Affair". In fact, this had pretty much the same formula as "My Three Sons" except that instead of a single father raising three sons, we had a single father raising three daughters and instead of small town America or a penthouse in New York, the show was set in the exotic city of Rome. And not only that, this was so much a copy of that show, that during the second season the producers decided to bring the girls crusty maternal grandfather (played by Walter Brennan) on the show to play the "Uncle Charley" role. Also, the ratings for this show were so bad that they had to resort to crossover episodes with the two aforementioned shows. No wonder it lasted only two seasons. This pretty much showed that America was getting tired of shows of that ilk and within a year of this show being canceled, the two shows that it pretty much was a carbon copy of were off the air.
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