‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Stories: Tripping During the Hat Toss and Learning from the Writer of ‘Chuckles Bites the Dust’

In the past few weeks, two readers have written to me to share stories about their own encounters with The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They were so good I wanted to pass them along here.

First, from Anita Garcia, whom you can spot just to the left of the woman in the scarf behind Mary Tyler Moore in the iconic hat-toss of the opening credits:

At the time I was living in a small town in Minnesota called Marshall.  My friends and I decided to skip school and take the bus to Minneapolis, which was three hours away.  We were hippies and in high school.  On the way we decided to take LSD.  When we got to Minneapolis, my friends wanted to go to Dinkytown, where all the head shops were, but I was having an issue with depth perception so decided to take a walk.  All of a sudden, I saw this woman who was very tall and her face was orange.  I thought I was trippin’ … and I was but then she threw her hat up into the air.  I thought she looked like Mary Tyler Moore … and it was.  I had no idea they were filming.  Then I met my friends at a pre-decided restaurant that was a famous Chinese restaurant and when I came in, the waiter said my friends were upstairs.  I still was having a problem with depth and so it took me what seemed like forever to climb the stairs.  I told my friends that I saw Mary Tyler Moore and they all said, “you’re high.”  And then I looked over the railing and in came Mary Tyler Moore and her whole entourage.
And this is from Dr. Roy Eskow, whom I met at the Gaithersburg Book Festival last weekend. It’s a story from his time at Rutgers Preparatory School in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1960-1961:
On Saturday evening October 25, 1975, the credits began rolling following an extremely clever episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. In fact, it was the iconic “Chuckles Bites the Dust” episode. As I watched, one name caught my eye, David Lloyd. I thought for a second, could this be the same fellow who was my freshman English teacher at Prep? The one who made even pop quizzes funny? Was this the same guy who would run out of the building on the corner of College Avenue and Somerset Street early in the afternoon to catch the train from New Brunswick to New York to write monologues for Johnny Carson? The Tonight Show was being broadcast from NYC at that time. Intrigued, I wrote a letter and sent it off to the Mary Tyler Moore studios in Hollywood. Within days a long and wonderful letter came back from David recounting his days at Prep. We continued to correspond and he even extended an invitation for me to visit if and when I was to visit California. He was a wonderful addition to our school. He brought humor and enthusiasm to frightened freshmen English students. Unfortunately for Prep, his tenure was brief, lasting only one year, as his career propelled him to greater heights, including an Emmy award for the Chuckles episode. Just one more example of the wonderful memories of an inspiring faculty member at Prep.
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