The Racy World of Love, American Style
Love, American Style could only have occurred in the late ’60s. A wacky anthology series taking advantage of the country’s new social looseness, each episode featured a series of comic vignettes spotlighting topics ranging from pre-marital sex to nudity to drugs to the everlasting Generation Gap. Now, word is out that the show that brought a bit of late- ’60s/early-’70s naughtiness to ABC’s powerhouse Friday prime-time lineup 40 years ago is being rebooted by CBS.
The show—which had a strong lead-in with shows such as The Brady Bunch and The Odd Couple—featured a revolving pantheon of guest stars weekly, from venerable TV faces such as Jo Anne Worley, Paul Lynde and Flip Wilson to rising talents on the cusp of fame, such as Diane Keaton and Stefanie Powers.
Here, we look back on four episodes that summed up the mood and the moment—as well as the one classic that has made this show a key footnote in history.
1. “Love and the Bashful Groom” (1971)
Though nudist colonies may still be alive and well in certain remote sectors of America, in the early ’70s they were a new bastion of freedom for swinging couples and racy singles (and a titillating idea for those who dared not even peek). Here, the lovely blonde Meredith MacRae, late of My Three Sons and Petticoat Junction, decides an all-nude camp will be the perfect spot for her upcoming nuptials to Paul Petersen, who a few years earlier had played Jeff, the son to Donna Reed and Carl Betz on the seminal family sitcom The Donna Reed Show.
2. “Love and the Elopement” (1970)
A few years before he won the heart of Marcia Brady, Monkees heartthrob Davy Jones was set on eloping with perky TV cutie Karen Valentine (who starred on Room 222, which aired on the same night as Love, American Style). Trouble is, he’s a bit of a klutz, and Karen isn’t even the right girl, but she’s kind of a klutz, too, and so….
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