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Television moms have come a long way


Dear Mom,

OK, so maybe you weren't like the Beav's mother (Barbara Billingsley), who always seemed to be making cookies and wearing pearls when he came home from school.

And you didn't make us kids into a rock band, either, like Keith Partridge's mom (Shirley Jones), or marry a guy with three kids of his own, like Mrs. Brady (Florence Henderson).

You weren't a lawyer either, like Claire Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad). But that's OK. At least you didn't sit around on the sofa all day like Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal)!

Happy Mother's Day . . .

. . . Oh, sorry, Media Monitor was just looking at the guest list for tonight's CBS special "Mom Knows Best" (at 8 on Channel 11), and decided to get a card off to home to observe Sunday's annual celebration of maternity.

The mothers noted above all participate in tonight's special, which takes a look at how the portrayal of mothers on television has changed over the years -- which is quite a lot, actually. Just look at "Murphy Brown."

In fact, the evolution of moms on the tube seems a perfect opportunity for another informal poll of readers: Which TV mom did you like best?

Media Monitor would like to receive short communications nominating one mother (by show, character and actress) from any TV series past or present. Use any criteria you like, but offer some reasons for your choice.

Write Media Monitor/Steve McKerrow, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or fax your reply to (410) 783-2519.

Tonight's show might offer a starting point, for it divides the field into four categories: expectant moms, moms with young kids, moms of teen-agers, and adults and their moms.

A future column will explore some representative writings, and perhaps even come up with a Mother of All TV Series award.


MORE ON MOMS -- Lucille Ball, by the way, is said to have been the first TV performer whose real pregnancy was incorporated into a show, in the second season of "I Love Lucy" in 1952-53 -- although a demure CBS forbade the use of the word "pregnant." Lucy was merely said to be "expecting."

Cable's Nick At Nite service on Sunday is celebrating "Mother's Day With Lucy," by showing six episodes back-to-back of "The Lucy Show," each dealing with mothering issues. The programming stunt begins at 8 p.m.

The episodes all ran in Lucy's second series, which was on CBS from 1962-68, with Vivian Vance from the first show but not Desi Arnaz and William Frawley.

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