Henry Winkler Meets Mary Tyler Moore, And More Pre-Fame Acting Fun

Recently I finished watching the fourth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD. It was quite good. Given that I am spending effectively all my time inside, I watched 16 episodes over the weekend. There’s a reason why I write a binge recommendation article every week. I live that life. However, I’m not here to recommend watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, fourth season or otherwise. I mean, I do recommend it, but that’s not the reason I am writing this. I am writing this because of Penny Marshall and Henry Winkler.

It seems like Garry Marshall may have been watching the fourth season of Mary Tyler Moore Show once upon a time. In one episode, a pre-fame Winkler, known best as The Fonz on Happy Days, has a guest role as a guy who worked with Rhoda but got fired. In the season finale, Marshall has an acting role as a woman at a singles bar. This was years before she started playing Laverne, or before her directing career. I hope Garry was watching that episode, given that he’s Penny’s brother.

Henry Winkler/"The Dinner Party" - Sitcoms Online Photo Galleries

It’s always delightful to see somebody in a small role on a TV show before they are famous. Winkler appeared in a The Bob Newhart Show Episode as well. Seinfeld was good at this. A lot of pre-fame faces showed up on that iconic sitcom. Well, you don’t see Jon Favreau’s face, because he’s dressed as a clown, but other faces you do see. It’s fun to be like “Hey, that’s Jennifer Coolidge as Jerry’s masseuse girlfriend!” In the first season of The Office Amy Adams has a notable role. It feels weirdly rewarding, like all that time watching TV was worth it.

At some point, I will probably watch the fifth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I’ll have to get it on DVD to do so, but I certainly have the time right now to watch it. When I do, I bet I see some more future sitcom stars in small roles. It will add a little extra enjoyment to the proceedings. Everybody had to get their start somewhere. Sometimes it’s by playing a waitress on The Bob Newhart Show or a bar patron on Cheers. And to think, right now we’re watching current shows that feature actors in guest roles that someday we will be seeing starring in some future sitcom. I’m looking forward to it.

About Chris Morgan

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