Remembering Cultural Icon Mary Hartman (1976)

Marietta, Ohio. “It’s just incredible. The Fernwood flasher, mass murders, chickens, goats”¦ and my floor has a yellow waxy build-up.”   To those of you who are new fans of Norman Lear’s soap opera, this quote makes perfect sense.   It is Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as she ponders a new turn of events in the mystical town of Fernwood, Ohio.


What and who is Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, you may ask?   And well you should, as living in this part of the country we are not usually exposed to such progressive programming.

TV producer Norman Lear created some of the top shows in the 1970s.

The show, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, referred to by those in the tele vision business as “MH 2,” is a new soap opera spoof created by the same creative mind that gave us All in the Family.


As for Mary Hartman herself, she is the not-so-sure-of-what’s-going-on star of the program.   Flustered by the new found knowledge of a gang murder in Fernwood, Mary shudders at the thought of slain chickens, goats”¦ “and the people, too.”

A major gift to the shows brilliance lies in the supporting cast.   Tom Hartman, Mary`s husband, is an ex-jock usually attired in a baseball cap and Fernwood High School jacket. He can win the game for the buxom secretary of his auto plant, but with his wife he is always a loss.

Grandpa Larkin, Mary’s Grandfather, is known to the Fernwood Police as the Flasher. ln the habit of exposing elderly epidermis in public, he spends much of his time in the police headquarters. Explaining the situation to her family, she concluded that, “everything’s going to be all right”¦ and afterwards, we’re all going to the House of Pancakes.”

The rest of the cast includes Loretta and Charlie Haggers, Mary’s parents, sister and daughter.

Originally published in The Original, Marietta, Ohio, September 24, 1976.

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91 – Norman Lear

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Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce ( writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (, he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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