Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Rhoda Met Ethel

Valerie Harper and Vivian Vance on Rhoda
Here's a rare opportunity to see, side-by-side, the actresses who played two of classic TV's best known sitcom sidekicks. The picture is from Vivian Vance's 1975 guest appearance on Rhoda. (Adding to the nostalgic ambiance was Vivian's TV husband, played by David White of Bewitched).

As Valerie Harper admitted, "Vivian was an idol of mine and it was wonderful to see her work ... Her talent contributed to the atmosphere to write for a character like Rhoda ... Without Lucy and Ethel, they wouldn't have wanted Mary and Rhoda."

You can read about this classic episode, and Vance's remarkable career, in Frank Castelluccio and Alvin Walker's book The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: The Life Story of Vivian Vance (Knowledge, Ideas & Trends, 1998).

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