Friday, May 06, 2011

Seven Questions with Marion Ross from Happy Days; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 9, 2011)

Mother's Day is on Sunday, and to celebrate Mother's Day, The Hub is bringing you a marathon of some of the best episodes featuring America's favorite TV mom, Mrs. Cunningham from the series Happy Days. But Mrs. Cunningham was only a character on the popular series, and behind that character is the award-winning actress Marion Ross, and we recently had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Ross, just in time for this special marathon dedicated to her and her character (which, as I learned in my phone conversation, are very much one and the same). In my interview with Ms. Ross, it became obvious very early in the conversation that she is just as wonderful as the character she played on television decades ago, and that she truly appreciates the legacy that she left by starring in that series and has a deep respect and admiration for her many fans. So, on Sunday, check out the marathon on The Hub, but before you do that, "sit on it" and check out our interview with Marion Ross, better known as Mrs. C.!

"Seven Questions with Marion Ross From Happy Days"

Marion Ross

SitcomsOnline: Tell us how you got the role of Mrs. C. from Happy Days, and when you got the role, did you expect that the series and your role would become such a huge part of pop culture as it has become?
Marion Ross: We certainly didn't. We had no idea. It was wonderful. Not only did it have it's wonderful run, but to have it rerun over and over again. And now, The Hub is airing the series, so children will get the opportunity to see it again. It's just wonderful. People everywhere see me on the street and they recognize me as Mrs. C. right away, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We thought that the series could be successful, but it has taken on a life of it's own, and it is just wonderful!

SitcomsOnline: When a lot of people hear your name or see you, they immediately begin to think of Mrs. C. from Happy Days. So in what ways are you like (or not like) Mrs. C. in real life?
Marion Ross: It doesn't bother me that they think of me as Mrs. C., but if you think about it, we all need a handle. They don't think about your whole career and everything that you stand for. Of course, I am pretty much like that. When the guys like a series, they start to like you. It's a really great feeling. I'm not so sure how I'm like or not like her, but I really do enjoy being known to people, especially these guys that I meet out on the street who instantly recognize me as Mrs. C. and they admire and respect the character, and me for that matter.

SitcomsOnline: What were some of your favorite moments from Happy Days? Were there ever any things that you just hated doing for any reason?
Marion Ross: We have one where I'm trying to revive our marriage, and I come down in this outfit and I'm not sure if I can do this. But it is like children at play, and mostly a lot of fun. Sometimes we'd get into fights like a real family, but we'd get along. Garry Marshall, our producer, knew that we didn't want to do certain things and we'd get into little spats but we'd always just end up doing whatever he wanted us to do anyway. You'll see one of those episodes Sunday on The Hub, the "Dance Contest" episode where I take tango lessons from the Fonz. I wasn't so sure about it, but it turned out great.

SitcomsOnline: Happy Days is one of the few sitcoms from that era where many of the younger actors went on to continued success in life. How often do you interact with those whom you played the TV mom to?
Marion Ross: The Fonz (Henry Winkler) is in Boston starring in a movie called Here Comes the Boom with Kevin James. They're kind of off doing their own things and they're pretty successful at it. It's great to know that I was such a great mom to them and raised them so well! (laughs)

SitcomsOnline: Here's a question that the TV conspiracy theorists all over the world really want an answer to: what happened to Chuck Cunningham? Or is that a secret that even his own TV mother isn't allowed to have the answer to?
Marion Ross: (laughs) Gosh, I feel so bad about that! We had multiple Chucks, and none of them just seemed to work with the cast. It was a running gag on the set that we'd always say "there's Chuck!" at the most unusual times. One time, we were shooting in Malibu, pretending it was Hawaii, and Tom Bosley said "look over there, it's Chuck!" You know, I really ought to make up with some big story about what happened to Chuck just to have a story to tell and impress people, but there really isn't one.

SitcomsOnline: You've had roles on television going back to some of the earliest days and continue to do roles today, so as TV has evolved, what changes do you think have been positive? And which ones have been not-so-positive?
Marion Ross: Our whole culture has changed really, and I really liked the older culture more. I don't really think that TV has changed so much, but it is more of the culture as a whole. Just the other day, I saw a little girl outside playing a game on a cell phone and I just wondered why don't her parents come to play with her? We've gotten so much into our iPods and everything these days that we just don't take time to relax.

SitcomsOnline: Would you be interested in taking on a regular or recurring role on a TV series these days? Is there any type of character that you have never played on television that you would like to play?
Marion Ross: I would, especially if it was if it was like films and I could work two days or so and be done with it. TV is a lot of work, but in movie roles, you can just work a few days and be done. I've done a few roles like on Brothers & Sisters as the mother of Sally Field's character but that is done with, they killed her off. Then there was Nurse Jackie, which I loved doing, where I played a dementia patient. I have done quite a few roles that are different from who I am, such as a show called Brooklyn Bridge, where I played a Jewish character living in New York City. It was created by Gary David Goldberg, who also created Family Ties, and it won numerous awards but it only ended up lasting a few seasons. Next year though, I'll be on stage in Toronto in the starring role of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers, where I'll get to play another Jewish character from New York, so that should be interesting.

Ms. Ross had quite a bit more to say that we couldn't quite fit in our scope of our "seven questions" format, and we love her for the additional contributions that she made. In regards to her other work on TV, she talked quite a bit about her role as the grandmother on the Fox series That '70s Show, where she played a role that was very much different from the role that she played on Happy Days. In fact, she described the role as a "chain-smoking grandmother with bowel problems." As she mentioned in the interview, she very much enjoys playing in these roles that are a lot different from the role that most people associate her with, but she certainly doesn't mind being known as Mrs. C. Also, in regards to the "disappearing Chuck" on Happy Days, she brought up the fact that Chuck definitely wasn't the only kid who disappeared, but Richie Cunningham also disappeared in the later seasons. Of course, any Happy Days fan knows that, but what they may not realize is the extremes that they had to go through to avoid using the on-screen likeness of Ron Howard. She mentioned that after he left the series, his new contract prohibited the Happy Days producers from showing him on-screen in any way, meaning that the most that they could do is talk to Richie on the telephone. Even photos of Ron Howard that could potentially appear on camera couldn't be shown!

We deeply appreciate Ms. Ross for giving us the time and opportunity to interview her, and for continuing to entertain generations of viewers through reruns of Happy Days and her continuing work on the big screen, the small screen, and on stage! Don't forget to catch the "Mom-a-thon," airing 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM ET on Sunday, May 8, on The Hub. You can catch the following episodes of TV's favorite mom:

6:00PM "Dance Contest" - Mrs. Cunningham secretly takes tango lessons from the Fonz.
6:30PM "Marion Rebels" - Mrs. Cunningham takes a job as a waitress at Arnold's to escape her routine.
7:00PM "Marion: Fairy Godmother" - Ralph and Leather are transformed into a fashionable couple for the ROTC Ball.
7:30PM "Marion Goes to Jail" - Marion lands herself in jail when her car crashes through Al's drive-in.
8:00PM "Empty Nest" - Joanie has left the Cunningham house, Marion looks to find ways to cope and occupy her time.
8:30PM "So How Was Your Weekend" - Marion's finicky mother causes rift when she visits the Cunninghams.


It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of May 9-13, 2011, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, May 9, 2011
  • Josh Gad (Back to You) - Watch Josh on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Adrian Grenier (Entourage) - Catch Adrian on Lopez Tonight at 12am on TBS.
  • Sinbad (The Sinbad Show/A Different World) - Sinbad drops by Lopez Tonight at 12am on TBS.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me) - David visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings for time and channel.
  • Tracy Pollan (Family Ties) - Tracy appears on The Gayle King Show at 10am on OWN.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo talks with Kathie Lee and Hoda on Today on NBC at 10am.
  • Will Ferrell (The Office) - Will stops by Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
  • Paul Reiser (The Paul Reiser Show/Mad About You/My Two Dads) - Watch Paul on The Gayle King Show at 10am on OWN.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) - Catch Yvette on The Nate Berkus Show, so check local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) - Candace guest hosts on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Will Ferrell (The Office) - Will continues to make the rounds on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
  • Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - The legendary Mr. Van Dyke visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC. His book My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir is now available.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Watch Patricia Good Morning America on ABC between 7-9am and later on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Grizz Chapman (30 Rock) - Catch Grizz on The Mo'nique Show at 11pm on BET.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Catch the hilarious Jim on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Norm Macdonald (The Norm Show) - Watch Norm on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Betty is the guest on Tavis Smiley on PBS, but check listings for time.
  • Will Ferrell (The Office) - Will talks about The Office on Today on NBC between 7-9am.
Friday, May 13, 2011
  • Paul Reiser (The Paul Reiser Show/Mad About You/My Two Dads) - Paul drops by the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) - Melissa and the cast of Bridesmaides visit the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She will later appear on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS. Bridesmaids opens in theaters on May 13.
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - The funny lady Tina chats on The Gayle King Show at 10am on OWN.
  • Will Ferrell (The Office) - Will concludes his appearances this week on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.

Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 14

Fresh Off the Boat - "Cousin Eddie" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The battle begins between mother and son when Eddie informs Jessica that he wants to spend Christmas with friend Nicole in New York. But Jessica insists that tradition prevails and he needs to spend the holiday with the family, so he does everything within his power to try and get her to crack and allow him to go. Meanwhile, Louis and Evan do their best to try and help an overwhelmed Emery decide on which one of his numerous friends to invite to the family’s Christmas Eve dinner.

Speechless - "J-I-- JINGLE T-H-- THON" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
A Christmas tree fire leads Maya to tell a small lie with big consequences. Meanwhile, Ray struggles to live in Pepper’s shadow as Dylan twists the knife, and JJ encourages Kenneth to stand up to his sisters (guest stars Niecy Nash and Lisa Leslie).

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Pioneer Women.” Both were colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed. The main titles and end credits are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS on Christmas Eve, 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Long thought to be lost, the program was rediscovered by CBS in 1989.

In “Pioneer Women,” Lucy and Ethel’s hopes of joining the posh Society Matrons’ League leads to a bet with their husbands over which sex – the men or the women – had it harder living in a bygone era. They select the turn of the last century, and as Lucy and Ethel start to bake their own bread and churn their own butter, the men become acquainted with straight-blade shaving and riding home from work on horseback. They all have some “‘splainin’” to do when two ladies from the Society Matrons’ League stop by for an unexpected visit.

“Pioneer Women” was originally broadcast on March 31, 1952, and became an immediate viewer favorite.

The Dick Van Dyke Show - "The Dick Van Dyke Show -- Now in Living Color!" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The special features the season one episode “Where Did I Come From,” written by Carl Reiner, and the season four episode “Never Bathe on Saturday,” also written by Reiner. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set – at the beginning and end of the hour – with no interruption between the episodes.

The Emmy Award-winning series starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as television comedy writer Rob and his wife, Laura Petrie; Larry Matthews as their son, Ritchie; Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie as Buddy Sorrell and Sally Rogers, co-writers on the fictional “The Alan Brady Show”; Carl Reiner as Alan Brady; Richard Deacon as Mel Cooley; Jerry Paris as Dr. Jerry Helper; and Ann Morgan Guilbert as Millie Krumbermacher Helper.

In “Where Did I Come From,” 6-year-old Ritchie asks his parents the inevitable “where did I come from?” question, and they recall the days before his birth. The episode was first presented on Jan. 3, 1961 during the series’ first season.

In “Never Bathe on Saturday,” the Petries’ romantic second honeymoon becomes a disaster when Laura’s toe gets caught in a bath spout. The episode was first presented on March 31, 1965, during season four.

Last Man Standing - "The Gift of the Mike Guy" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vanessa helps the family realize the importance of its long-standing holiday family traditions.

The Cool Kids - "Margaret Dates the Zodiac Killer" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Margaret begins dating Karl, a fellow resident who may or may not be the "Zodiac Killer."

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

Friday, December 14

  • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Watch Karen on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. She talks about The Party's Just Beginning on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Tony Shalhoub (Wings/We Are Men) - Watch Tony on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, Laura Linney (The Big C) and Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Bryan, Laura and Nick make special guest appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bill Burr (F Is for Family/Townies) - Bill is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Romany Malco (Weeds/Blunt Talk) - Romany is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Kathryn talks about the film Private Life on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Minnie Driver (Speechless/About a Boy) - Minnie is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (The Office/Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Angela and her husband Joshua Snyder serve up monkey bread and chocolate peppermint cupcakes on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless) - Vanessa talks about Second Act on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Chris Elliott (Schitt's Creek/Get a Life) - Chris talks about Clara's Ghost on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Tia Mowry (Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia talks about Hallmark Channel's A Gingerbread Romance on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest