Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977)
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Chuckles Bites the Dust 

Mary thinks that the death of Chuckles the Clown is nothing to laugh about--until she attends the funeral.

Director:

Joan Darling

Writers:

James L. Brooks (created by), Allan Burns (created by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Mary Tyler Moore ... Mary Richards
Edward Asner ... Lou Grant
Gavin MacLeod ... Murray Slaughter
Ted Knight ... Ted Baxter
Georgia Engel ... Georgette Franklin
Betty White ... Sue Ann Nivens
John Harkins ... Reverend Burns
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Storyline

Mary is appalled with everyone's reaction to the death of their station co-workers Chuckles the Clown is killed. He was the Grand Marshall at a circus parade but having appeared as one of his TV characters, in the form of a peanut, is shelled by a rogue elephant. Murray in particular simply can't stop making jokes about it all and Mary thinks it's all inappropriate, despite Lou's claim that it's just a way of dealing with death. They all attend the memorial service but it's Mary who has trouble remaining solemn. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

clown | manic laughter | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1975 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MTM Enterprises See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Influential comedy writer Danny Simon used to read this script to his classes as an example of excellent writing. See more »

Quotes

Ted Baxter: [ad-libbing an on-air obituary] Ladies and gentlemen, sad news. One of our most beloved entertainers, and close personal friend of mine, is dead. Chuckles the Clown died today from - from uh - he died a broken man. Chuckles, uh, leaves a wife. At least I assume he was married, he didn't seem like the other kind. I don't know his age, but I guess he was probably in his early sixties; it's kind of hard to judge a guy's face especially when he's wearing big lips and a light bulb for a nose. But he ...
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Connections

Referenced in Crossing Jordan: Death Toll (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is All Around
Written and performed by Sonny Curtis
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User Reviews

 
A little song, a little dance . . .
8 July 2016 | by fredcdobbs5See all my reviews

WJM's Chuckles the Clown is at a parade dressed as "Peter Peanut" and, as Lou Grant so succinctly put it, "a rogue elephant tried to shell him". Poor Mary Richards is emotionally devastated because of Chuckles' death, but unfortunately shows it in some not-quite-appropriate ways, culminating in a meltdown at Chuckles' funeral.

This is probably the funniest episode of this terrific series, and continually makes the lists of Top 10 comedy episodes. It's not every sitcom that can make comedy gold out of someone's death, but they pull it off flawlessly here. Everything is just letter-perfect: the writing, the directing, the acting--even Murray, probably my least favorite character on the show, comes off well. It's Mary Tyler Moore's turn to shine here, and she's just perfect. There were some episodes of the series that didn't quite come off particularly well--not many, but some-- but this is definitely not one of them. Besides being the funniest episode in this series, it's quite possibly the single funniest episode of any series, period. It's about as close to perfection as you can get.


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