Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Mary Tyler Moore Moments

The other day I was feeding Dear Bebe when I decided to turn the TV on. There was Oprah. Even though I rarely watch her anymore, I was completely taken in by a show she was airing. It was a Mary Tyler Moore reunion show. It appears Oprah had been infatuated with the show and I do think it had a lot of influence on her career choice, local TV. She got her start at a station in Baltimore.

The funny thing is, when I was a young producer living out on my own in America's Heartland, I too felt that familiar urge to run outside and throw my hat up in the air. Except I didn't wear hats. But I was going to get one if it meant re-enacting that famous moment.

Now that I am a stay at home Mommy, I too can look back at my early days in TV and smile at how much fun I had.

So here I am, in a photo with Oprah herself! Yes, it looks like we are best buds, but the reality is, there was a line of people waiting to get their chance for a photographic moment. I was attending a PROMAX conference in Chicago and we (local TV promotion producers) were invited to her HARPO studio.

My first TV station job was located near the beach. I decided the low pay was well worth getting to wear shorts and interviewing hot lifeguards. Looking at the photo now I'm wondering why I didn't stand CLOSER? Then I realize I was not supposed to be in the camera shot! I was a producer, not a reporter.

Here I am with Joan Rivers right after a friend and I handed out the statues during an award ceremony at the 1990 NATPE convention. NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) is where TV station managers buy their programs. Joan had a show at the time and was there to promote it. This was probably before her QVC days, or maybe right near the beginning. Gotta love my hair there!

Here I am with Merv at the same convention. Note Alex Trebek of Jeopardy in the background right....

Merv was really nice and funny! I remember asking if I could take his photo and I tilted the camera vertically in order to get his whole picture...and he shook his finger in the air and said "NOOOOO BODIEEEEEEESSSS." This was the same week I was asked to run out and buy makeup to cover up the shiny spot on Ted Turner's forehead. I was in New Orleans and had no idea where to go. I did what any other producer would do... I hailed a cab, asked for the nearest drug store and guessed which color to buy!

While working for an NBC affiliate I was able to participate in an NBC Marketing and Promotion conference. Loved the parties NBC threw. All the promotion folks at my table were thrilled when Kelsey Grammar decided to sit at ours! I almost didn't ask for the photo and now I'm glad I did. Why miss a moment like that? Again, look at that hair. I think I could only afford one hair cut every six months at the time. Ha! Now that I think about is so not Mary.

I have loved my career in local television. I have met all kinds of people and celebrities from Oprah to Jay Leno. There were days when I wondered why I ever decided to go into the industry because the money is in sales or the on-air talent. But it was a LOT of fun and I followed my dream .

Will I ever go back? This has not been decided yet since I am going to be with Dear Bebe for a few years until she can attend school.

But, now that I reminisce, looks like I made it after all.


Kat said...

wow it is amazing how many celebrities you know or met.
an interesting post!

Jillian, Inc said...

How very, very cool that you got to have those experiences.

Connie said...

While we haven't watched tv for over 20 years I do remember the MTM show but the "new" stars are a puzzle to me. I've never seen any of the newer ones......I'm talking about 20 years or newer, chickee. Anyway, bebe is soooooo worth it now, huh?!?!? Loved your little nostalgic post though, honey........ :-)

Michelle said...

Hi Jillian,

What a great post! I enjoyed your walk down memory exciting!! I never missed a MTM show..wanting to move to Minneapolis! Were a Rhoda groupie too? Never missed her show either.

Thanks for sharing,


Ms.Daisy said...

Wow! Love those photos! You really did have a good time at all those parties and shows in those years!
Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

Love you,

Natasha Burns said...

Loved this post Jillian! You would have some fun stories I bet. I also bet Dear Bebe is worth every minute :)

Liz said...

Wow! This is SO COOL! And I bet Bebe will thank you for taking a time out for her, I always appreciated my mom for it.

And btw... these pictures just cemented the fact that you are just gorgeous!

Oliver Rain said...

Those are wonderful memories. It's always fun to look through old photos. You are one beautiful lady.

Betty said...


Precious little you are a celebrity....

Somehow Oprah has lost all appeal to me in the past few weeks..I did like to watch when Dr. Oz was on but I don't turn it on anymore....

Thanks for visiting with me...and Weeweechu a very Merry Christmas...Betty

The Pink Potpourri said...

OH MY GOSH. i can't beleive you've met all those celebrities! i would love to have worked in the media industry. wow, great post!

Sandra Evertson said...

I think that moment when she threw her hat up in the air a whole generation of women cheered!
Sandra Evertson
Adorable photos below!

MJ said...

Isn't it amazing how tv affected us? As a result of tv, I believed I could do and be anything I wanted!

It was neat to see all the people you have met by working in local tv. I haven't a list of similar celebrities that I can show photos of with me!

It appears Bebe's hair is blonder than yours or perhaps it is just not apparent via photos! Does Bebe have any sign of red hair?! This could change!!

Jen r. said...

I have to tell you, you haven't aged a tall!