Maude is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from 12 September 1972, until 23 April 1978.
Maude stars Beatrice Arthur as Maude Findlay, an outspoken, middle-aged, politically liberal woman living in suburban Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, with her fourth husband, household appliance store owner Walter Findlay (Bill Macy). Maude embraces the tenets of women's liberation, always votes for Democratic Party candidates, and advocates for civil rights and racial and gender equality. However, her overbearing and sometimes domineering personality often gets her into trouble when speaking about these issues.
The show was the first spin-off of All in the Family, on which Beatrice Arthur had made two appearances as the character of Maude, Edith Bunker's cousin; like All in the Family, Maude was a sitcom with topical storylines created by producer Norman Lear.
Unusual for a U.S. sitcom, several episodes (such as "Maude's Night Out" and "The Convention") featured only the characters of Maude and her husband Walter, in what amounted to half-hour "two-hander" teleplays.
Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) first appears in a pair of season two episodes of All in the Family: the first in December 1971, and the second, a pilot setting up the premise of the Maude series, in March 1972. She is Edith Bunker's (Jean Stapleton) cousin who has been married four times. Her first husband, Barney, had died shortly after their marriage; she had divorced the next two, Albert and Chester. Albert was never portrayed on screen, but the episode "Poor Albert" revolved around his death, while former second husband Chester would appear on the show (played by Martin Balsam).
- Walter Findlay (Bill Macy) Maude's current husband, Walter Findlay, owns an appliance store called Findlay's Friendly Appliances. Maude and Walter met just before the 1968 presidential election. Maude sometimes gets in the last word during their many arguments with her hallmark catchphrase, "God'll get you for that, Walter", which came directly from Bea Arthur. Maude's deep, raspy voice is also an occasional comic foil whenever she answers the phone and explaining in one episode, "No, this is not Mr. Findlay; this is Mrs. Findlay! Mr. Findlay has a much higher voice."
- Carol Traynor (played by Adrienne Barbeau – Maude's daughter from her first marriage, (in the AITF pilot episode the character was played by Marcia Rodd) Carol is also divorced and has one child, like Maude. Carol and her son, Phillip (played by Brian Morrison and later by Kraig Metzinger), live with the Findlays. Though single, Carol maintains her reputation of dating many men. She dates various men throughout early seasons, initially forming a serious (but brief) relationship with a man named Chris (played by Fred Grandy). Like her mother, Carol is an outspoken liberal feminist who is not afraid to speak her mind, though they often clash.
- Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain) - The Findlays' next-door neighbor, and a stuffy, sardonic Republican and foil for Maude, Arthur has been Walter's best friend since the two men served together in World War II; he was the one who brought Walter and Maude together in 1968 and "affectionately" called Maude "Maudie."
- Vivian Harmon - (Rue McClanahan) - sweet but scatterbrained second wife of Arthur, who's has been Maude's best friend since they both attended college together. Rue McClanahan confirmed in an interview with the Archive of American Television that she was approached by Norman Lear during the taping of the All in the Family episode "The Bunkers and the Swingers" (1972) to take on the role as a late replacement for Doris Roberts, who was originally intended for the part. At the beginning of the series, Arthur is a widower and Vivian is a soon-to-be divorcée. Arthur and Vivian begin dating at the beginning of the second season and marry each other by the end of the season.
For the entire run of the show, Maude also has a housekeeper. At the beginning of the series, the Findlays hire Florida Evans, a no-nonsense black woman who often has the last laugh at Maude's expense. Maude often makes a point of conspicuously and awkwardly demonstrating how open-minded and liberal she is (Florida almost quits working for Maude because of this). Despite Florida's status as a maid, Maude emphasizes to Florida that they are "equals," and insists she enter and exit the Findlay house via the front door (even though the back door is more convenient). As portrayed by Esther Rolle, the character of Florida proved so popular that, in 1974, she became the star of her own spin-off series, entitled Good Times. In the storyline of Maude, Florida's husband, Henry (later James), received a raise at his job, and she quit to be a full-time housewife and mother. Good Timeswas based on the childhood of its creator, Mike Evans, who starred as Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Whereas Maude took place in New York, the setting for Good Times was Chicago.
After Florida's departure in 1974, Mrs. Nell Naugatuck (played by Hermione Baddeley), an elderly (and vulgar) British woman who drinks excessively and lies compulsively, assumes the role of housekeeper. Unlike Florida, who commuted to work, Mrs. Naugatuck is a live-in maid. She meets and begins dating Bert Beasley (an elderly security guard at a cemetery, played by J. Pat O'Malley) in 1975. They marry in 1977 and move to Ireland to care for Bert's mother. Mrs. Naugatuck's frequent sparring with Maude is, arguably, just as comedically popular as Florida's sparring. The difference in the two relationships was that Mrs. Naugatuck often seems as if she despised Maude Findlay, whereas Florida seems only periodically frustrated by her boss.
Lear said the last name 'Naugatuck' was directly taken from the town of Naugatuck, Connecticut, which he found amusing. Due to the popularity of the program, Baddeley even visited the town in the late 1970s and was given a warm, official ceremony at the town green.
Maude then hires Victoria Butterfield (played by Marlene Warfield), a native of Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands, whom Maude initially accuses of stealing her wallet. Victoria remains until the end of the series in 1978. However, Warfield's character was never as popular as her two predecessors, and she was never given a credit as a series regular.
The opening title sequence begins with an aerial shot of New York City, including the Chrysler Building. It then showcases a drive from the city to Maude's house in Tuckahoe, where Maude answers her door, wearing a Bob Mackie gown, ostensibly to greet the viewing audience. Although the sequence supposedly shows the trip in the then-present day (1970s), most of the cars in one part of the sequence appear to be from the 1950s.
The first travel shot was taken on the old West Side Elevated Highway, heading downtown (south), which is the opposite direction from Tuckahoe. If a driver on the highway was headed uptown, to the driver's left would be abandoned piers on the Hudson River and New Jersey. Like the shot on the Miller Highway, another in the title sequence takes the viewer over the George Washington Bridge. In reality, this bridge connects New York City with New Jersey to the west, whereas Westchester County, where Maude lives, lies to the north of Manhattan. The most obvious and direct route from Manhattan to Tuckahoe would be to drive through The Bronx.
The character of Maude Findlay was said to be loosely based on creator Norman Lear's then-wife Frances. She first appeared on two episodes of All in the Family as Edith Bunker's cousin. A "Cousin Maud," with a similar role, had also appeared on an episode of Till Death Us Do Part, the British series on which All in the Family had been based. Maude represented everything Archie Bunker did not: She was a liberal, a feminist, and upper-middle class, whereas Archie was conservative, sexist and working class.
Maude's political beliefs were closer to those of the series creators than Archie Bunker's, but the series often lampooned Maude as a naive "limousine liberal" and did not show her beliefs and attitudes in an entirely complimentary light. Just before the show's premiere in September 1972, TV Guide described the character of Maude as "a caricature of the knee-jerk liberal."
Series history and topicality
While the show was conceived as a comedy, scripts also incorporated much darker humor and drama. Maude took Miltown, a mild tranquilizer, and also Valium; she and her husband Walter began drinking in the evening. Maude had an abortion in November 1972, two months before the Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal throughout the U.S., and the episodes that dealt with the situation are probably the series' most famous and most controversial. Maude, at age 47, was dismayed to find herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her daughter Carol brought to her attention that abortion had become legal in the state of New York. After some soul-searching (and discussions with Walter, who agreed that raising a baby at their stage of life was not what they wanted to do), Maude decided at the end of the two-part episode that abortion was probably the best choice for their lives and their marriage. Noticing the controversy around the storyline, CBS decided to rerun the episodes in August 1973, and members of the country's clergy reacted strongly to the decision. At least 30 stations pre-empted the episode. The two-part episode was written by Susan Harris, who would work with Bea Arthur again later on The Golden Girls.
The producers and the writers of the show tackled other controversies. In a story arc that opened the 1973-74 season, Walter came to grips with his alcoholism and subsequently had a nervous breakdown. The beginning of the story arc had Maude, Walter, and Arthur enjoying a night of revelry. However, Maude panicked when she woke up the following morning to find Arthur in her bed. This alarmed her to the point that both of them swore off alcohol entirely. Walter could not do it ("Dean Martin gets a million dollars for his buzz") and became so aggravated during his attempts to stop that he struck Maude. Afterward, he suffered a breakdown as a result of his alcoholism and guilt over the domestic violence incident. The arc, which played out in two parts, was typically controversial for the show but gained praise for highlighting how social drinking can lead to alcoholism.
The first-season episode "The Grass Story" tackled the then-recent Rockefeller Drug Laws, as Maude and her well-meaning housewife friends try to get arrested in protest over a grocery boy's tough conviction for marijuana possession. The severity of the marijuana laws was contrasted with the characters' own lax attitudes toward drinking and prescription pill abuse.
In season four, Maude had a session with an analyst, in which she revealed insecurities about her life and marriage and talked through memories from her childhood. The episode was a solo performance by Beatrice Arthur.
The Nielsen ratings for Maude were high, in particular, during the first seasons of the program (during the heyday of topical sitcoms, which its presence helped to create), when it was regularly one of the top-ten highest-rated American television programs in any given week.
- Main article: List of Maude episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||September 12, 1972||March 20, 1973|
|2||24||September 11, 1973||March 5, 1974|
|3||23||September 9, 1974||March 31, 1975|
|4||24||September 8, 1975||March 15, 1976|
|5||24||September 20, 1976||April 4, 1977|
|6||24||September 12, 1977||April 22, 1978|
Broadcast history and Nielsen ratings
|Season||Time slot (ET)||Rank||Rating|
|1972–1973||Tuesday at 8:00 pm||4||24.7|
|1974–1975||Monday at 9:00 pm||9||24.9|
|1975–1976||Monday at 9:30 pm||4||25.0|
|1976–1977||Monday at 9:00 pm||Not in the Top 30|
|1977–1978|| Monday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 1-8)|
Saturday at 9:00 pm (Episode 9)
Monday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 10-13)
Saturday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 14-24)
On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Maude. They subsequently re-released the first season on DVD on February 3, 2015.
On December 2, 2014, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series; they subsequently released the complete series on DVD on March 17, 2015. Among the bonus features, the set includes the two Second season episodes of All in the Family, which introduced Maude ("Cousin Maude's Visit" and "Maude"); two previously unaired episodes of Maude ("The Double Standard" and "Maude's New Friends"); the Syndicated Sales Presentation, which was hosted by Norman Lear; as well as three featurettes called "And Then There's Maude: Television's First Feminist"; "Everything but Hemorrhoids: Maude Speaks to America"; and "Memories of Maude" with interviews by Adrienne Barbeau and Bill Macy, along with newly discovered interviews with the late Bea Arthur, the late Rue McClanahan and Maude director, the late Hal Cooper.
In 2015, Shout! began releasing individual season sets; the second season was released on August 11, 2015, followed by the third season on November 10, 2015. the fourth season on March 22, 2016, the fifth season on June 14, 2016 and the sixth and final season on August 9, 2016.
- ↑ BEATRICE ARTHUR. Retrieved on 31 May 2017.
- ↑ Rue McClanahan Interview - Part 2 of 5. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
- ↑ Sharbutt, Jay (1973-08-22). 'Maude' Abortion Furor in Repeat. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
- ↑ Sharbutt, Jay (1973-09-10). 'Maude' debut on drinking. Park City Daily News. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
- ↑ Sharbutt, Jay (1973-09-11). 'Maude' two-parter is funny, but serious look at alcoholism. The Herald. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
- ↑ Brooks, Tim (2007). pp. 1686–1687. Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- ↑ Mill Creek Entertainment Signs Deals With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment To Expand Their Distribution Partnership. Retrieved on 23 September 2014.
- ↑ 'The Complete 1st Season' to Get a Value-Priced Re-Release. Retrieved on 11 December 2014.
- ↑ Maude: The Complete Series. Retrieved on 2014-12-01.
- ↑ Maude DVD news: Announcement for Maude - The Complete 3rd Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- ↑ Maude DVD news: Announcement for The Complete 4th Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- ↑ Maude DVD news: Announcement for The Complete 5th Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- ↑ Maude DVD news: Announcement for The Complete 6th and Final Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com.
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