Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This past weekend, I was sad to learn of the passing of Gavin MacLeod, a prolific actor of stage and screen best known for his TV work on The Love Boat (from 1977-1986), along with McHale’s Navy (from 1962-1964), and as you all know, one of this blog’s quintessential favorites, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (from 1970-1977).
In celebration of MacLeod’s life and work, I have bumped this week’s scheduled entry (for later) and replaced it with a rare chance to appreciate this TV veteran’s musical theatre chops, courtesy of an audio — for subscribers who comment below to alert me of their interest — from an April 1973 San Diego production of Gypsy (1959), in which MacLeod, on a hiatus from Murray Slaughter and Mary Tyler Moore, plays Herbie (the role The Odd Couple’s Jack Klugman originated on Broadway). This recording is doubly special for sitcom fans because this showing of the great Styne/Sondheim/Laurents classic put MacLeod opposite his friend, Broadway diva and The Mothers-In-Law’s own Kaye Ballard — then going by “Kay.” (Incidentally, this was the second time Ballard would take on the role that she would forever call her favorite; the first was 11 years prior alongside He & She’s Jack Cassidy!) And keeping the sitcom energy going, this production’s Louise was none other than Petticoat Junction’s Linda Kaye Henning, making for a triumvirate of TV comedy stars having musical comedy fun — and eight times a week.
Now, this recording is not complete (for instance, “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” is sadly missing), but it’s close to it, and for fans of these memorable performers, it’s a real treat. (Also, the audio is untracked, save for a few of the seminal numbers that I took out for easy access.) As a sample, above is Ballard’s “Rose’s Turn,” and in honor of the dearly departed, here they are together with the simply charming “Small World.” Enjoy, and smooth sailing, Captain MacLeod!
Another frequent TV personality with notable stage credits also recently passed — Arlene Golonka, best remembered as Millie from Mayberry R.F.D. (from 1968-1971). A good friend of Valerie Harper’s, Golonka also appeared with MacLeod on Mary Tyler Moore (and The Love Boat). We celebrate her life and work this week as well.
Come back next week for another Wildcard! And stay tuned Tuesday for more Barney Miller!