Episode 101: The First Time w/ Scarecrow and Mrs. King

What TV show shall we cover for our first time? How about the pilot of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, starring Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner? Susan and Sharon talk about the show, the stars, and the mysteries of this hit 1983 TV action-comedy drama.
Read Transcript

The Conversation

  • Beverly Garland: the hotel AND the actress – Is she Amanda King’s mother – or Laura (Remington Steele) Holt’s!
  • Kate Jackson’s previous hit show: Was it Alley Cats or Harry’s Angels or….?
  • Why did the writers change Amanda from being married to divorced in the pilot script?
  • Who was the first female showrunner in TV history – and why did it take 30 years before there was another?
  • What was Amanda King’s superpower?
  • And what does all this have to do with Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope?

Join us for our “First Time” as we solve the mystery of whether or not Scarecrow and Mrs. King was a feminist show – a progressive show – or both?  And was the word “boyfriend” cut from the original pilot script?

Have no fear: Susan and Sharon are on the case!

Our Audio-ography

Why does Susan call it Audio-ology in this episode? Cause she’s silly, and we’re still figuring out what we’re calling it.

Where to Watch Scarecrow and Mrs. King:

Amazon Prime





WWW.CALLMEACAB.COM Fansite: Call Me a Cab by Taya Johnston


WWW.MKCPODCAST.COM The Mrs. King Chronicles – Hosted by Lexie Fiema, Taya Johnston, Jenn Peterson, Miranda Thomas

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80s TV Ladies.  I’m so sexy and so pretty.

80s TV Ladies. I’m steppin out into the city.

80s TV Ladies.  I been treated kind of sh#*ty.  

Working hard for the money in a man’s world.

80s TV Ladies!  

Susan Lambert Hatem.  0:01  

Hello everyone. Welcome to 80s TV ladies, Episode One, the podcast that takes you on a journey to the fabulous television past. I'm Susan Lambert Hatem, an indie writer and producer who once competed in a rodeo, cutting cows if you can believe it,

Sharon Johnson   0:18  

And I'm Sharon Johnson, Susan's copilot. I'm a television and podcast enthusiast with no rodeo experience. On 80s. TV ladies, we'll be examining beloved female driven TV shows of the 1980s.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  0:31  

With a few sidebars to the 70s and 90s. And who knows what else we'll talk about because we tend to get off track sometimes. Every now and then on this podcast. We're gonna talk about everything from our childhood to Jacqueline Smith's fashion line. But mostly we'll be talking about television shows from 1980 to 1989. So, today, we will be looking at a type of show they made a lot in the 80s... Don't make so much anymore. The action comedy. It's also not one of the most incredibly super... because I like to start like off in the weeds a little bit... So not a hugely super famous ad show like Golden Girls or Remington Steele, but I think people that didn't even see those shows, no doubt about the shows, but a beloved show with a very strong fan base, and one that's very close to my heart,  Scarecrow and Mrs. King

Sharon Johnson   1:21  

And you can count me amongst one of those people that that didn't watch it, but definitely knew of it. It was created by Eugenie Ross Lemming, and Brad Buckner.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  1:31  

Scarecrow and Mrs. King was an action comedy that premiered October 3 1983. The pilot episode was entitled The First Time. It was written by Eugenie Ross Lemming and Brad Buckner. And directed by Rod Holcomb.

Sharon Johnson   1:47  

It starred Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner and ran four seasons on CBS from 1983 to 1987. It also starred Beverly Garland, Mel Stewart, and Martha Smith. And the guest cast in the pilot included John Saxon and Kate Reed.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  2:06  

I love John Saxon...

Sharon Johnson   2:08  

Me too!...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  2:08  

... He's done everything. In the 80s, he was the man.

Sharon Johnson   2:12  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  2:12  

The pilot script for Scarecrow Mrs. King was entitled The First Time which I thought was kind of cute, because it was the first time they met and it's the first pilot. And so I do know the Kate Jackson was a huge star coming off of Charlie's Angels, one of the biggest shows in the 70s. And she kind of had her pick of projects. She ...you know ... so the rumor was, she was looking for a comedy, because she wanted to do something very different from Charlie's Angels. But then she read the script, and really liked it and suddenly decided that that's what she wanted to do.

Sharon Johnson   2:56  

Well, and it's a very different character than what she played in... in Charlie's Angels, what she was most known for. She's now a suburban mom with two kids. Divorced. Just sort of living her life and then it gets inadvertently dragged into this world of spies and spy craft. I mean, it's it's very... it's a very... very big shift from what she she was known for, for her to take to look at something like this. I can see why she would be interested.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:24  

Yeah.. and I think what we've done is, is jump over something because again, we're still learning ourselves. So we didn't even explain to people what the show really is. (laugh) I just realized, but it's fine. You guys are fine. You're fine.

Sharon Johnson   3:36  

Maybe... you may already know that based based on the fact that you're here!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:40  

So if you're listening you probably... that's the only people listening... is the people who love Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

Sharon Johnson   3:45  

(Laughing) ... Anyway,  

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:45  

So Hi there...

Sharon Johnson   3:45  

…probably a good idea, just in case to... to just, you know, just talk a little bit about what the show is about.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:51  


Sharon Johnson   3:51  

So, Mrs. King as played by Kate Jackson, as I mentioned, is a suburban, divorced, mother of two, who finds herself working with a spy in a pseudo CIA government agency.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  4:11  

and um.... named The Agency ...

Sharon Johnson   4:12  

That's right. That's right. And his... his codename is Scarecrow hence the title of the show. It... what happens in the pilot is, she has dropped her boyfriend off at the train station. He's at the train station running away from some people who are trying to get a hold of the box that he has.

Susan Lambert Hatem

The Package.

Sharon Johnson  

The package. Yeah. And he... in trying to to evade them, he runs into her, literally. Begs her to take his package and just hand it to somebody in a red hat on the train. It's all he wants her to do. And then he runs off and she sees him being accosted by these people who are... who are chasing him. And then you know, things happen from there that get her pulled deeper and deeper into this... um... this situation.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:07  

Well, you know, it's going to be a comedy when she steps onto the plane...um onto the plane... onto this train and looks down the train car and it is a sea of guys in red fezzes.

Sharon Johnson   5:18  

Yes. (Laughing)

Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:19  

And so, she doesn't know who to give the package to. Of course, it happens all the time. (chuckles) But it's a lovely moment, and we get to see like basically, Kate Jackson, you know, be very like um... again, it's very Katharine Hepburn in in in, Baby ... what's the tiger one? Or the Panther one?

Sharon Johnson

... not Bringing Up Baby?

Susan Lambert Hatem

Bringing Up Baby!

Sharon Johnson   5:45  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:45  

It's very...  it's very Katharine Hepburn in Bringing up Baby. Where she's scattered and ...

Sharon Johnson   5:51  

But at the same time, she's clearly, you know she... Yeah. She's a stereotypical divorced mom of two and living in the suburbs, but she's... she starts showing how resourceful she can be through the course of this episode too. That she's not just, you know, this sort of dim bulb sitting over in the corner, that things...let's things happen to her. She's able to kind of step up and... and try to solve problems... um... Which is... Which is nice to see. So...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  6:24  

But it also... the show also started Beverly Garland as Kate Jacks... as as Amanda King's mother, who lives with her since the divorce. And Mel Stewart as her boss Billy Melrose. And Martha Smith as the kind of dismissive, other female agent, Francine Desmond. One of the things that I like about the show was that there was another woman in the show...heh And that other woman, though they definitely had a little bit of a like... a snarky... She had a snarky, relac... reaction to the housewife. They ultimately kind of become friends, and coworkers, and they easily could have not had that. And they easily could have taken that in a very, like less interesting? They didn't quite take it as interesting as you would now in the show. I think they just didn't even know what they had, kind of on the table, with that. One of the things I love about the show was that she was divorced and with two kids. My mom at the time that the show started, was divorced with two kids. And so that sort of resonated. My mom also worked for Centers of Disease Control. She was a microbiologist, so she worked for the federal government. It was not a secret. (hehehe) Like it is in the show. So in the show, she keeps her secret government agency job from her family. And her family does not know that she is, you know. They think she's going out to do her dog walking job. And various other jobs...

Sharon Johnson   8:00  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  8:01  

Covers....The cover for the agency is a film company that makes documentaries around the world, like about, you know, crickets. And so that's the cover for why they have to... Oh my god, we're going to be in the editing room late. Oh my gosh, we have to go on location. So that's the excuse for the spy stuff they have to go do. So this chance meeting, spins her life in a whole other direction. And `she takes it! Like that, um, I think that's the other thing, is this really is a female driven show. It is really about Amanda King's choices in this show. And, and her discovering that she wants to be both a mom and make a difference.

Sharon Johnson   8:46  

There are several times in the pilot even where she says, "I'm looking for a job. Is there anything..." It's so... she, she definitely wasn't saying... Thanks very much. I'm gonna go on with my life and you guys do whatever you do. She was like, it was already like a seed was planted, and with this door being open to this world she wasn't familiar with... and and she... But she obviously found intriguing enough to want to stay in it. So.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  9:11  

All right, and then I am of course, a big fan of romantic comedies. And Bruce Boxleitner and Kate Jackson, I think, are very cute together, in... as these two... as Scarecrow and

Mrs. King. Although a little bit like, like Lee Stetson's very upset that he has to deal with this housewife... who is sort of barging in to the case more than he expected her to. So of course it starts off with the... but I don't even like you! (guffaw) Now, I have to work with you. So, in in. One of the things that was fascinating to me in reading the original script, and again, this is... I found this online, at a website that again, I'm also going to shout out later. So I assume it's pretty legit? It seems pretty legit. There's several drafts of the, of the first pilot online. Which is really unusual for...  to be able to find for a show from the 80s. And what's interesting... one of the biggest changes is that she was Married!.. to the dean. So in the, in the, in the original pilot script, she was actually married and having this secret life begin. Now I don't know what was happening to that. Which I thought was kind of huge because it makes it not as exciting or fun. It makes it a little bit creepy.

Sharon Johnson   10:39  

Yeah! I'm not sure how they thought they could maintain that for the length of a series, that you were hoping would run multiple seasons. Because essentially, you're asking her to lie to her husband constantly.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  10:53  

Yeah, and I think that was a really good change. So a lot of times, so a lot of times, you know, like the script will come in, and they're like, Oh. We love the script, but we're going to change this, this and this. And sometimes those changes may not make the show better, but I think this one did. Because it made her, a, available. They gave her this boyfriend at the start of the show, which is interesting because you never see him. So they did this this gag in the pilot where you'd only... they're shooting over the shoulder of the boyfriend or they're shooting, you know, like you don't get to see him. He's behind the couch. Again, it... I, you know, you sort of get why they're doing it? But it's something that works better sort of on the page than on the stage as it were.

Sharon Johnson   11:33  


Susan Lambert Hatem

Because it feels awkward. Like it feels really awkward. You're like why are they not showing us this dude? He can be... and he's, you know, he's a whether, he's a weather guy, and he's a weatherman. And he's sort of not very exciting. And she clearly knows that he's stable, and a good guy. And, you know, will stick around. But it's clear that her mother's more interested in her pursuing that relationship (giggles) then, then Amanda King is interested in pursuing that relationship. So that's also, like it... But it was sort of also interesting to sort of, like, she clearly had this romantic relationship already in her life. It may not have been THE romantic relationship. The other thing that I think is really interesting, we don't know this at the top of the show, or even for the first season really...

There's no divorced husband around for the pilot. He's just gone somewhere. But another interesting thing over the course of the show, that I saw and noticed. She doesn't talk bad about him.

Sharon Johnson

Right?! Yeah. He's just not in their day-to-day life. And in the way that maybe, you know, you could easily just assume he sees the kids on the weekends or holidays or whatever their, their divorce called for. But yeah, I mean, you wouldn't necessarily expect that he would be there every morning at breakfast and dinner, since they're divorced. So, it made perfect sense to me, I think, in a lot of ways.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:00  

Yeah. But it's interesting because you, you wouldn't do that now. In a television show, if you had, you wouldn't, you would make more dramatic choices for these other characters in the show than they make and I think that was very 80s. The main characters got the drama, but the, like, it wasn't like oh, and then he's like... They do later bring in SPOILER ALERT later in seasons they bring in the ex-husband. It becomes a little bit of drama, but not much. What was interesting is like, how little like ... That was just who she was at the start of the show. She's divorced with two kids. But it was also not like played for a lot of drama. She needs a job because she doesn't have enough money. That that that sort of, you know,

Sharon Johnson   13:46  

And perhaps that was one of the choices that they made because, to keep him kind of off the, off the stage if you will, because they didn't... Maybe maybe they felt they'd have to create, create some sort of drama around the ex-husband and this is a Comedy. So it's probably just easier just to leave him out of the picture. And just, everybody just assumes he sees the kids, that you know, other times, other than when we're dipping in her life. And her mom is used as kind of the person that's kind of like, "You're going where? You're doing what? Are you going to be late for this? You know, kind of thing.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  14:23  

Were. Yeah, The other thing that's funny is, is her mom is used basically to assure the audience that her kids are okay. When she's off saving the world ... (laughing) like she's like, Oh, you can pick up the kids. Like mom is there to hold down the fort, literally, so that she can go off and save the world. But I have to give a shout out to Beverly Garland. Who's amazing. She's a great actress, like, you know, classic, like Movies-TV Star. The joke being is that like, I just wanted to point out that Remington Steele started, a year before? Two years before? I'm gonna have to go look that up.... Started just before Scarecrow Mrs. King. And in Remington Steele, Beverly Garland plays, the mom of Laura Holt! (chuckles)

Sharon Johnson   15:18  

I forgot about that!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  15:19  

Which is Very funny when she walks out, and is again slightly different character, but basically the mom of our lead actress detective slash spy. And, um, we like like literally, I was like, Okay, this was her audition. Like this.... They saw this, and they were like, Oh my God, you know who we need to get to be Amanda's mom? Beverly Garland! By the way, I never, also never occurred to me that the Beverly Garland Hotel was related to the actress Beverly Garland.

Sharon Johnson   15:53  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  15:53  

But it is.

Sharon Johnson   15:54  

Yeah, of course. Yes, it is. (laughing)

Susan Lambert Hatem.  15:56  

I don't know why I didn't put it together. I know in Hollywood.... So, in in Los Angeles, there’s a Beverly Garland Hotel, and it's been there for decades.

Sharon Johnson   16:05  

Decades. Yeah.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  16:06  

And I knew it existed. And literally it never occurred to me that it was named after the actress and built for her by her husband, who clearly loved her very much. (chuckles) And built her a hotel. So yeah, so Beverly Garland plays the mom of all spies and detectives in television. And Eugenie Ross Lemming actually started as an actress and comedian. She started with Second City, which I also didn't know till I started researching this... Which was very exciting because again, Scarecrow and Mrs King has a lot of comedy in it, and so she started as a comedy writer and a comedy actress. And, in fact, she was with the Second City team, along with Harold Ramis and John Belushi, which was again, for me, those are like, oh my God, she worked with Masters and ran with the Wolves! Like, you know, so that I'm very excited. um...

Sharon Johnson   17:06  

Well that's another example of how there's not one path for any thing in this business in particular, that those... They started in the same place, but certainly didn't end up in the same place. She ended up as a showrunner on television, John Belushi ended up as a a comedic God to most of us and and... So you just never know where some things are going to lead you, or where your talents are going to lead you sometimes.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  17:35  

And you know it's, I just watched an interview with her from the 90s and she literally talked about that. She's like you just, I just wanted to keep making stuff and, and that became a way to, you know, to find a voice, which I thought was really interesting. So, and she's been partner... They've been writing partners, Brad Buckner and her, kind of since she started writing. So the first show that they were on is Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman back in 1977.

Sharon Johnson   18:05  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  18:07  

And, and then... But it was 1983 that they wrote a pilot called Scarecrow and Mrs. King as far as I can tell. And I actually have a copy of that pilot, a script in hand. I'm gonna wave my script around. (paper waving noise) (Sharon Laughs) Alright, so I think we should take a little break. And we'll come back, and and then talk more about Kate Jackson. Talk more about the pilot, The First Time, and then about our really... So we're going to do Three Questions. And then we're also going to do, But Is It? We do a little segment we're gonna call, But Is It? So we'll the take and break. Stay with us! We'll be back.

Sharon Johnson   18:52  

See ya soon.    

(Commercial Break)

Susan Lambert Hatem.  18:58  

Welcome back to 80s TV Ladies. And we're talking about Scarecrow and Mrs. King. And one of the things we haven't really gone into is that it's Romantic and Sexy. (chuckles) Or I thought so.

Sharon Johnson   19:17  

Well, definitely. But I have always been of the opinion that men and women that work together on television don't need to have a romance. That always seems to be kind of the

direction that, that the writers like to push things because the audience I think, kind of likes it. But, ehhh, for me, it's it's a double edged sword in that respect.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  19:41  

Well, for sure, and again, but I think it was completely expected in the 80s, that if you had a man or woman working together, they would be romantically involved. With it, there would be at least sexual tension between them. I mean, Remington Steele had launched just before Scarecrow, Mrs. King and that was basically all that show was about in a lot of ways. That and the cases. But I think this was very classic. It was set up to be a romance as well. And what I enjoyed was that it was also them becoming friends, as well as romantic partners.

Sharon Johnson   20:18  

Yeah I was, one of things I was glad about is, They took as long as they did to go there, if you will. That it wasn't just from the beginning. Even, it seemed like it was headed that way, but what, you weren't entirely sure. Which I kind of appreciated because it gave the Amanda character a chance to learn her way in this new world and figure out what her worth, and what she could contribute, and, which I really appreciated.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  20:46  

Yeah, there was, it was, they actually really...  I think the pilot did a good job actually of setting up like, their personalities in such a way that you knew, like, there was potential both for their friendship, their partnership, and a romantic relationship. And I think it really balanced that out. I really... There's a scene at the Lincoln Memorial, and, and it's very cute! She's like, What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Do you have a place to go? Are you okay? Are you like, you seem so... And he's like, I'm a loner. Leave me alone.

Sharon Johnson   21:22  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  21:22  

But it's very, it's very sweet. There's a real sweetness to the Amanda King character that, that everybody sort of bristles about in the agency world, but ultimately ends up being kind of her superpower. Is that she's sort of...  The naivete that she brings to it, is the ability enables her to see things that the rest of them can't see because they're so jaded and spy agency guys.

Sharon Johnson   21:49  

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, she brought a lot to the table. I think things that she didn't really understand, or know, that she had to offer as well. And that was part of it. And

I liked that they gave her a chance to speak up and speak her thoughts and, and really contribute to, to solving a number of the cases that they come up with. Which is great.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  22:12  

Yeah, so we'll get into when we start looking at Season One, which will be next. Next time. Our next time, as opposed to The First Time. Look what I did there with the pilot. But we'll talk about some of my favorite episodes in Season One. And which one I think is sort of the penultimate episode of the show for me.  Maybe Sharon's going to have to pick one, and it might...I, my imagination, it's going to be different from mine. (chuckles) But I really liked when they, you know, sort of, kind of, like worked really well together, but were also themselves like... very strongly like, the Amanda King character was like, "Well, this is how I do things." And the Lee Stetson character was like, "Well, I don't do things that way, but this is how I do things." And when both of their strengths came together, that was when the show sort of shined the most. And for me also, what became more later in, in, in the seasons. I think they really perfected it. Probably in later Season One. Season Two was sort of these little buttons at the end of the episode that were really mostly about them. And and those, that's what I lived for, is those little character buttons where they were cute, either buddies or sexual tension. So that is my favorite. And I'm a big fan of both these stars. So like Kate Jackson, totally big fan of hers. Bruce Boxleitner, totally big fan of his. And I think again, they both sort of found a show where they could shine together. In a way that was pretty unique for the time.

Sharon Johnson   24:02  

Oh, absolutely. It's... I know that there was Remington Steele, but that was a different kind of relationship, if you will. But I... Even though there was in this, in the show, there were some, and even in this pilot, there was some indication of, or dismissiveness of her suburban housewife-ness. It was never as dismissive as perhaps you might think it could have been at the time. um. There was underneath it... maybe just kind of a, okay your your... was more of a, your inexperienced, not, you're stupid. You know, what do you know?! And I think that was that was one of the strengths of the show.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  24:49  

Yeah, for sure. Although in some of those early first season, you're like, okay... He he's a little angry at her. That's not nice. But I think that was because like the Amanda King character was so nice. And and again, I think even looking back that still resonates for me. And one of the things that I felt like, Oh, here's this person who is actually not your typical spy or female detective character. You know, Laura Holt in Remington Steele is very Tough and her whole point is, I can do it. I'm, I always wanted to do this. This is what I wanted to do, and I can do it as good as a man. In fact, I do it AS a man in some ways, a man I invented and nobody knows that he's invented. And then this guy walks in, right. So the whole premise of that show is, she is Tough. And she is a detective. And she is up for

that job. And this is a woman who kind of felt like, Oh, I'm a mom, and I'm a housewife, and I'm going to live this life. And then her life got turned upside down. And she sort of discovers what she wants to do. And, and discovers that she can be both.

Sharon Johnson   26:05  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  26:06  

And that is actually still even unusual. That you can have both in this world. Like, it actually to me, I look at something like Parks and Rec. And, and in some ways there's a parallel for me looking at a show like Parks and Rec where Leslie Knope is perky and sweet and driven. But ultimately, a, like is, is very much her own woman. And is a somewhat untraditional woman in a business environment. And yet is able to sort of bring all that home for herself and be incredibly successful. And also true to, kind of her sweetness, and, and those characters really appealed to me.

Sharon Johnson   26:53  

Yeah, I liked that they didn't force her to lose that, um, sense of herself, where, as you said, she's a nice person. She was still a nice person at the end, despite all the things she'd experienced and the things that she'd seen. The things that had happened. She still approaches things from the standpoint of I'm going to treat people well. You Know?

Susan Lambert Hatem.  27:19  

Yeah and, I'm going to assume the best of them. Even those Russian spies. (hahaha) A lot of Russian spies in this show because it was 1983. So yeah, and the show would, you know, we'll get into it later. The show definitely takes a little "Reagany", you know, kind of... It's, it's got a, it's got some Reagan in the background. Because he was our President (ha) at the time. So, but I want to also talk about Bruce Boxleitner because I was a fan... One of the reasons I watched the show, was for him. Bruce Boxleitner, the star of Tron, also the star of For Me Again. The other place that I knew Bruce Boxleitner from was Kenny Rogers, The Gambler: the TV Movies. um. But he also starred in How The West Was Won, which was a television show. And, and right before this, he had done a show called Bring 'em Back Alive. That was sort of clearly inspired by, sort of the Indiana Jones phenomenon. And, and there was another show that same season, that was another like, you know, Ride 'em Buck. (Laughing) Was again, sort of the, sort of Great White Hunter/Explorer, Indiana Jonesy kind of show. But that was not a successful show. So, I think, um, I was really glad when he showed up in Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

Sharon Johnson   28:56  

I don't think I was really familiar with him before Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Which is, I think I mentioned earlier, earlier, I did not watch but was aware of because, again, there were

only three networks at the time. It was almost impossible not to at least be somewhat aware of some of the other shows. So I didn't bring that into the show. Although of course, like everybody else who watched television, I was aware of Kate Jackson. So...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  29:24  

Well, and Kate Jackson. We'll, We'll do a deep dive on Kate Jackson later.  But again, not only was she coming off Charlie's Angels, but some of the stuff that I didn't quite realize, even though I again, I was somewhat aware of her earlier shows. But she had starred in Dark Shadows, and then The Rookies. And, and with The Rookies, she became super famous. Like she had the most fan mail for that show, than any of the other people on the show....

Sharon Johnson   29:57  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  29:57  


Sharon Johnson   29:58  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  29:58  

...by the end of that show. So basically, when it came time to do Charlie's Angels, which was a really, originally called The Alley Cats. It was developed for Kate Jackson to star in. She apparently renamed the show. She said Alley Cats is dumb. Don't know if she said that, but she was like, No. It should be called Harry's Angels. And then from there, they ended up with Charlie's Angels. But she also sort of made the show... Like wanted different things from that show, which is from what I hear, made it a better show. Now, we can talk about whether it was a Good show or not, later, but... And she got to pick the character she played. She was originally supposed to play Kelly, and fairly later in development she decided she wanted to play Sabrina. And then Jacqueline Smith came in to play Kelly. But here's the thing... So I was a little fascinated by Scarecrow and Mrs. King because it was the first show that I saw female names at, as executive producer. A`s showrunner. And that made an impact to somebody that was interested in film and TV. I was like, I took notice. I remember sort of going Oh! And I am hard pressed to find some other female show runners in the 80s. So, I did a little research.

Sharon Johnson   0:00  

I guess it's not surprising that the finding any, many would be difficult because it's, it still was and certainly not as much now but very much a, like most businesses, very male dominated. so

Susan Lambert Hatem  0:22  

Yes, and I was surprised again that even, you know by the 80s, it was such an unusual thing to see a female showrunner. What I will say... so I did a little research. The very first, what they're calling the very first female showrunner was Gertrude Berg... who was an actress and writer and producer. And created a radio show called Rise Of The Goldbergs, which later became known just as The Goldbergs. And it was a sort of domestic comedy, family show about a Jewish family in the Bronx. And she starred in the show as the matriarch And again, it was first a radio show from 1929 to 1946. And then it was a television show from 1949 to 1956.  Now there were also shows, that like Betty White ran, like kind of not necessarily talk shows, but that variety show. But it wasn't until 20 years later, that apparently the next female showrunner appeared. Charlotte Sue Brown was an American writer, producer and director. And, so I'm gonna call her the first female showrunner who didn't Star in the show, of primetime network television. And she ran Rhoda the spin off for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was a protégé of the creator of Mary Tyler Moore Show, James Brooks. Thank you. I did get there, and had her first writing job on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And then she worked for shows like Doris Day and Partridge Family and then she came back on as a writer on Rhoda when they spun off. And then stayed on the show and worked her way up, from Writer-Producer to Executive Producer.

Sharon Johnson   2:27  

That's great.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  2:28  

So that was my little research dive into the first female showrunners, but that was um, again, pretty late in the television game... 20 years... waiting 20 years for your next first female showrunner.

Sharon Johnson   2:42  

Yeah, no question. But on some level, not surprising, I suppose. Because it's it's kind of astonishing what Gertrude Berg was able to do back at that time. And it, you know, the feminist movement really didn't start taking off until the late 60s, early 70s. So it takes a while sometimes for things to trickle down, up through, to get to a point where things start to change and start to happen. So I wish I could say I were more surprised but, I don't, as think about it. I don't think I am.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:20  


Sharon Johnson   3:21  

You know, I don't think I am. so

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:23  

Yeah, it's it's a long time between trains sometimes...

Sharon Johnson   3:28  

Yeah, absolutely.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  3:29  

... for women. All right. So that question maybe brings us to one of the questions we're going to ask you on the show, But is it? And we're going to look at Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and we're going to ask this question when we're Done looking at Scarecrow and Mrs. King. We want to say, But is it a feminist show? It's female driven. But is it a feminist show?

Sharon Johnson   3:55  

I think it is. Especially because Amanda King, as I said before, she's she's a suburban mom. She's got kids and decides to start down this professional work road that never did, sort of fell into our lap. That she never really thought about as something that might be a career for herself, and jumped into it with both feet, and worked really hard at it. And was very successful at it. And from that same point, I think, absolutely it is. She was... a door opened for her and she ran through it. So good for her.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  4:39  

All right. And I'm going to agree with you. I think it is a feminist show, and I think it's one of the reasons I come back to it. And one of the reasons it has a pretty core fan base, that even though it's again, not the shows that you know, it may not be in that top 1% of shows. It's a show that I think weirdly holds up in in a weird way. But it holds up as a feminist show because it it basically stays about her. And even though it's about them and their romance. It's really about, does she get what she wants out of her world? And I think ultimately, both in the pilot and in the show, in the course of the show, she does. And we're following like, her story even though we're also obviously following their story. It is Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and you know, again, the time also of the name shows Hardcastle and McCormick you know...

Sharon Johnson   5:45  

Simon and Simon.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:46  

Simon and Simon.

Sharon Johnson   5:48  

And on and on.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:51  

So Scarecrow...

Sharon Johnson   5:52  

Jake and the Fat Man

Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:53  

Jake. Yeah. Yeah. 10 Speed and Brown Shoe.

Sharon Johnson   5:57  

(Laughing) Right!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  5:59  

We could do a whole podcast on the name shows... So Yes.  I am gonna say it's a feminist show. It's a little, like it's got a lot of bumps. There's a, there's a you know, some missed opportunities for for doing more with Francine dead, Desmond, the other spy, and and Amanda King. I think that those are two characters that you would Now definitely do more with. Even if the show was Scarecrow and Mrs. King. And I think also, again, he you know, everybody else sort of learns a little lesson from Mrs. King.

Sharon Johnson   6:41  

Oh, absolutely. And they begin to trust her and to listen to her. And not, you know, think oh, she doesn't have anything to offer because she's this suburban housewife.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  6:52  

Yeah. And so there's there's a lot of that. Now is it progressive? And do we need to define progressive?

Sharon Johnson   6:58  

I think we need to define progressive.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  7:00  

How would you define it?

Sharon Johnson   7:05  

I... well I guess I would, I would say it's progressive because it pushes the genre, if you will, forward. We are seeing a woman in a role that a, we haven't seen before... being successful. That's being respected. So that says that, despite what you might think of

women who are primarily at home that they do have something to offer. So there's a... in that respect, I think it is progressive. Sure.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  7:46  

Yeah. And, and I'm gonna say it sort of yes and no. Which again, I think we're gonna end up with a lot of that. Yeah, in the 80s. But the yes, I agree with you on all of that.

Sharon Johnson   7:59  

Because if you think about where things were in 1983. What women were doing. I mean, just just a few years before women were finally able to get credit cards in their own names, without having to have some man in their life sign for it. And here we have this woman who basically is saying, Yeah, I did the the normal thing I got married and then unfortunately, I got divorced. But now this is happening for me and I want to do this! I'm Going to do this. I have things to offer here.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  8:31  

Yeah. And I actually love the again, it sort of the challenge of the domestic homelife versus saving the world. Like there's a lot of of stuff that they do with that. Whereas like, I'm still trying to, I've got to fix my flat tire, you know, and get the kids to their dentist. But and so this will be very convenient that the office is near their Dentist. There is literally a line in the pilot when she realizes where the office is... that it's close to her kids' dentist. And again, I think given that that's what you do as a, as a parent, much less a single parent. You're trying to balance those worlds and there, there is a glimpse into that... that we hadn't seen. We've seen it in like One Day At A Time. We've seen it in, in other things but, but this was... I'm gonna have a challenge. I'm going to choose a challenging career, that I want to be a career. And my home. And my kids. And in particular, I think that was very exciting to see. um. And to see be fun and adventurous and not just burdensome.

Sharon Johnson   8:30  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  8:37  

So in that way, I think it was progressive. Still not incredibly progressive on on, you know, elements of race.

Sharon Johnson   9:51  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  9:52  

Other you know, women roles. So it, I think a lot of that was pushed by, you know, I'm gonna give Kate Jackson credit and the showrunners for pushing that for that lead role.

And again, there's a couple of things. There's another thing that's in the pilot script, that did not make the aired pilot. That's a line... it's one line. But it was one of those things that said, to me, that spoke to me is like, Oh, these shows, or showrunners we're at least thinking a little bit progressively... the these craters. So in the pilot script, for when, that Lincoln Memorial scene, and she's asking him about... she's like, you know, any, any Mrs. Spy? Any little spies? You know, any girlfriends? Any boyfriends?.. is something that Mrs. King asked the spy guy if he has a boyfriend in the pilot script. Which for 1983, I'm going to call pretty progressive.

Sharon Johnson   10:59  

Oh, yeah.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  11:00  

Like I'm meeting you and I'm, you know, it's not quite asking pronouns, but it's asking, Are you gay? What's your personal life? And it's sort of like, completely thrown in there. That line in the pilot, I don't know if they shot it a certain way and then changed it. But it is now, Any buddies? (chuckles) Any girlfriends? Any buddies?

Sharon Johnson   11:22  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  11:23  

So clearly someone between the pilot script, the first pilot script which got changed a lot, and the aired pilot, that little tiny bit of progressive... like like the barest hint of progressiveness kind of got pulled out. And I think there's a lot of that in the script. And certainly in terms of, you know, just there's another episode that's later, that I just noticed because it it had a black female spy, working with Lee Stetson. For like a line. She had  lines. And she was in the scene with him and did a thing. Oh, no. She didn't have a line. She looked like she was gonna have a line, and then she didn't. And then they were doing the wrap up of this thing and she's gone. Like, you're like, Wait. But you had her there for it. You certainly had her there for at least an hour. (hehehe) You probably paid her for the day. Couldn't she be in the next scene and have a line? Like, so that background stuff, which I have to say it feels like early on they were actually trying to do that. There's a little bit of color in the show. The pilot was shot in Washington DC, which I think gives it a nice flavor that you don't usually see in the 80s. Like you really are like, Oh, they're standing in DC. But, but yeah, so I'm gonna say it's sort of a five or six on the progressive.

Sharon Johnson   12:55  

I think for its time, it was very progressive. But you're right. As of, you know, for our times...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:00  

It's hard not to look at it. But, and again, I'm thinking of like, I think One Day At... it's not covering issues of importance of the day. So even though again, that's not what the show was trying to do or even pretending to do. But it's, it is progressive in this one way, but it's not in other ways. So I'm gonna say.

Sharon Johnson   13:18  

Fair enough. Fair enough.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:22  

All right. So what's our next thing? What else are we going to talk about?

Sharon Johnson   13:26  

Is it time for three questions?

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:29  

Three questions. Okay. Yes, let's do three questions. All right, who's going first?

Sharon Johnson   13:33  

I'll go first. So the first question is...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:38  

Well, no first means you have to ask me questions,

Sharon Johnson   13:40  

All right. All right. So the first question is...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:42  

Or it means, I have to ask you questions. I think that's the first.

Sharon Johnson   13:45  

Either one is fine.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  13:46  

(Laughing) Alright, I'm gonna ask you the question. Ok. All right. So what is the 80s Ladies driven TV show that resonated with you?

Sharon Johnson   14:01  

I'm gonna go with Designing Women. It's a show that holds up surprisingly well, these days. It has moments that I will remember Forever. Most of them are Julia Sugarbaker rants because they're Fabulous. And I liked that it was these four women working in a

business together, making it work. And they were all so different. They all had different things to bring to the table. But it... Yeah. Great show!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  14:37  

It is great show. And I remember, I remember that aspect of, they were friends but they were also working together. It was a little bit of life goals, in that. And I love that show as well. I don't remember it as as much, but that is, that is an awesome 80s TV Lady show. So then, what is your current, or current shows that are... you would consider TV Lady show?

Sharon Johnson   15:07  

I have two. The first is on network television. Yes, I still watch network television.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  15:15  

Somebody's got to.

Sharon Johnson   15:15  

I know, and that's me. I'm the one. Grey's Anatomy. I've watched it from day one. Loved it from day one. Have stuck with it through thick and thin. There have been some years that were... I mean, it's 18. It's a season 18 is not all going to be great.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  15:30  

Season 18!

Sharon Johnson   15:30  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  15:31  

Oh my god.

Sharon Johnson   15:31  

I don't know that we'll ever see a season 18 for Anything again. So... but I love it. And the other one you can find on Paramount Plus.  It's called The Good Fight. It's a spin off, if you will, from a show that was on CBS called The Good Wife. It stars the incomparable Christine Baranski who has been overlooked... Deprived of an Emmy for her work on that show for all these years.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  16:05  

She's amazing. She is amazing!  

Sharon Johnson   16:08  

Yeah, it's an incredible show. It's a, it's a wonderful, incredible show that goes in places, does things. It's it's the showrunners are a married couple, Robert and why can't I think of her name? The Kings is what I usually think of them as. They are, they're. It's an incredible show, and I highly recommend it.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  16:31  

All right, The Good Wife. Yeah, it's on my list. I loved... I mean, I love The Good Wife. And then The Good Fight is on my list. It's literally in my queue. And I watched the first episode and loved it. And then of course I haven't gotten around to it because you cannot watch everything.

Sharon Johnson   16:45  

Yes, exactly.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  16:46  

And I, but that is... it's still in my queue. I haven't taken it out of my queue. So, all right. All right. And then the last of the three questions. What's the most television moment that you've had in your life?

Sharon Johnson   17:05  

So um, at work, I am an alto in the employee choir. And as part of the performance that we do, there is a, um, some Christmas songs that are, that are played that we don't necessarily have to sing but there, there are voices singing it. So we recorded them about five years ago. And movie nerd as well as television nerd that I am, I was incredibly amazed to find that we would be recording, re-recording these songs at the Newman Stage at the Fox Studio over in Culver City. The Newman Stage is named after the first of the many Newmen men who scored all kind, have scored all kinds of movies that you have all heard of, none of which I have coming to mind right at this moment. But it felt. I'd never been on a stage like that before, but I could... It was just as if I could feel all of the other, the ghosts of all of the other movies that had been scored there and all the musicians that had played there. And it was magical!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  18:25  

I was gonna say that, that is... that was pretty great. I love those moments where you realize you're in someplace special doing someplace special, and and, you sort of never match it. And you can kind of feel the beauty of being present in that.

Sharon Johnson   18:45  

Okay, so those are my three questions. Now for yours. So let's start again with What is the, or are the 80s Ladies driven TV shows that resonated with you?

Susan Lambert Hatem.  18:58  

Well, there's an awful lot of 80s television that resonated with me, but I'm going to I'm going to pick my top three.

Sharon Johnson   19:06  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  19:07  

Which is Scarecrow and Mrs. King. One of the reasons we started this. Which I still have a lot to say about, so we'll do a few more episodes. Remington Steele, which again, one could argue started as a female driven television show and becamAe a male driven television show. But I would, really it's probably, ah, both. And then Cagney and Lacey. And not because I watched a lot of Cagney and Lacy. To be fair, as a kid it felt very serious. It got very serious. And, but the idea of Cagney and Lacey existing, was very resonant to me. And I love those actresses and I loved watching them. I didn't religiously watch that show. But that show was like, it was like, oh my god we have our own Starsky and Hutch. like like It was. it was. I knew it was important. But I also just liked... kind of.. IT. And it's a again, a show that visually has stayed with me. That I think was really, truly, trying to be groundbreaking. And those actresses are are like, amazing.

Sharon Johnson   20:25  

Terrific. And what about currently? What is resonating with you now?

Susan Lambert Hatem.  20:32  

Yeah see, I should have done some research.

Sharon Johnson   20:34  

Oh, what's the fun of that?

Susan Lambert Hatem.  20:35  

That is no fun at all. Okay, so I'm just gonna go with things that just are popping off the top of my head. Like I have to say again, Parks and Rec even though it's not now- now still stays with me. The Good Place still stays with me. And I would watch it in in an instant. But in terms of just what's on now you just start blanking on things. They just slide away? It's about the writer. It's based on her book. Shrill. Thank you. I got there. I got there. It's just like association game. Shrill was really, like I just finally caught up with it. And that's the thing. Now is, is now wherever you happen to get it into your queue. Right?...

Sharon Johnson

.... Exactly.

Susan Lambert Hatem

So I just caught up with Shrill and really enjoyed it, and thought that again, as a show that feels both progressive and feminist, which is what I would call a Ladies of TV Show. A TV Ladies. I think that you know, that's right there. And there's just, there's a lot now. That's so exciting that there's like more than I can think of to name right now. Which is fun.  But those are the ones that are in my mind. Right now.

Sharon Johnson   21:54  

Yes, it is an embarrassment of riches right now when it comes to watching television. And it's it's been for years, for several years, but continues to be impossible to watch it all.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  22:03  

Yes, we now have a big big buffet.

Sharon Johnson   22:08  

Exactly! Okay, and last but not least... Your own TV... Real Life TV moment?

Susan Lambert Hatem.  22:18  

Okay, so probably one of the more dramatic moments of my life was a random thing that happened when I was driving back from Angels Crest Forest with my boyfriend at the time, and we stopped to help this... it was getting dark. We were kind of having a little bit of a fight, but not really. But we were gonna go see Dark Man. This was in 1990. We're driving back down into Glendale. And I see this woman on the side of the road. She's got a child in her arms. And she looks like she's broken down. There's a van, and it looks like she's broken down. So I pull over. He's like what are you doing? And I'm like, she needs help. And then she comes. Runs up to our car. Gets in the car and says, I just needed a ride to the bottom of the hill. And as I pull out, I realized there's somebody chasing us from that vehicle. And ultimately, it turned out to be her husband, who was mad and drunk and had a gun.

Sharon Johnson   23:28  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  23:29  

And ended up following us down the mountain. And fired twice at my car.


And it became this huge, very huge, drama moment in which you realize it's absolutely zero fun to be in a dramatic moment like that. And is really not where you want to be and you want it to just end. And then we were all safe when when all was said and done. And he was arrested when all was said and done. And then I ended up having to go to court and testify at the grand jury. And, and it was a long, crazy thing that didn't necessarily end up great for me in terms of like how I felt about the whole experience. But I do remember when we did finally end up going to see Dark Man...That night!  (Snigger)

Sharon Johnson   24:25  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  24:26  

That I was like, it is zero fun to watch them just gunplay around this movie like it's no big deal. But that was literally driving down a dark mountain road with a angry person behind you. Who is drunk according to their partner that's in your car with their child. And having them, and hearing shots, is was one of the most dramatic moments of my life. So it was super dramatic. I don't recommend it. And we all ended up safe in that moment afterwards. So we're lucky.

Sharon Johnson   25:05  

I just have no words. That's incredible!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  25:08  

It was a weird moment. It made the Paper.

Sharon Johnson   25:12  


Susan Lambert Hatem.  25:13  

My boyfriend's mother called him because his name was (laughing) in the Paper. And was like what happened? (hehehe) Yeah. It made the Glendale news

Sharon Johnson   25:24  

Wow Wow. Well, I'm I'm glad that everybody, you know got out of there in one piece!

Susan Lambert Hatem.  25:30  

I am super glad! There. It's It's insane that I have never really owned any guns. And yet I've been shot at twice.

Sharon Johnson   25:37  

That's once...

Susan Lambert Hatem.  25:39  

But that's another story for another day.

Sharon Johnson   25:40  


Susan Lambert Hatem  25:45  

I like my drama, scripted. And filmed. That's what I decided.

Sharon Johnson   25:51  

That sounds like a bumper sticker.

Susan Lambert Hatem.  25:55  

All right. I want to do the little part that I'm going to call audiology, which is a little bibliography for our podcast and for what we're looking at. So first I want to tell you where to watch. Scarecrow and Mrs. King, in case you want to check it out. Probably the easiest place to watch it, because they own everything, is Amazon Prime. That is probably the easiest place to watch it. You will have to purchase it. It is not part of their free video. So that's kind of a bummer. However, I highly recommend the DVDs which are still available. Which you can also find on Amazon. (Laughs) Or your DVD provider, because the quality of the sound and picture is much much better. The Amazon streaming for 80s shows seems like a lot of people weren't paying attention to what they were doing. I mean literally, they are... the cropping is wrong. They're cutting off the heads of Bruce Boxleitner and I think that is rude. He's a tall guy, but you shouldn't cut off his head. I've got a lot of the research that I did, on Fan Sites for Scarecrow and Mrs. King. One of which is... The best of which is called, Call Me a Cab, and it's at callmeacab.com, which is a line that's used in one of the later episodes. One of my favorite little exchanges between them. And she has done an amazing job of collecting materials and scripts and I want to give a shout out to that show. She is also part of a podcast called The Mrs. King Chronicles, along with three other ladies, who are doing episode walkthroughs. It's very fan base. They're super adorable, and it's really funny to hear them talk about the show. So that's at MKCpodcast.com There were two books I actually looked at for this show. One is called, How Tall Are You by Greg Morton, who starred in Scarecrow and Mrs. King as the little brother. But it's very, he's talking, he talks about being on that show and being a child actor in the 80s. And then the other show is like an academic book. And it is Televisions Female Spies and Crime Fighters: 600 characters and Shows. 1950s to the Present, written by Karen A. Romanenko. So those are, those are our Audiology for this week. There's some homework to do.

Sharon Johnson    

And now we want to give a shout out to our Audio Engineer Kevin Ducey. Co-Producer Melissa Roth, plus our Social Media Manager and Production Assistant, Megan McKiernan

Susan Lambert Hatem.    

And a special thanks to my husband Richard Hatem, who will be on as a guest later... in later episodes. He's a podcast Super Guest. He's been on many, many episodes of various podcasts. And so he had a lot of great advice for us. I want to shout out the guys from Astan, Astonishing Legends, Forrest Burgess and Scott Philbrick... and fabulous podcast about Astonishing Legends of Supernatural Phenomenon.

Sharon Johnson

And our other advisors, Chris Stachiw and Mike White from The Projection Booth and Culture Cast. Check out their podcast if you haven't already.

Susan Lambert Hatem

Find out more about us at our website. 80sTVLadies.com. That's eight zero S TV Ladies.com

Sharon Johnson  

Let us know if you're liking this podcast, giving us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram really helps a lot. And through the website you can send us an email to tell us, we got something wrong.

Susan Lambert Hatem

But not too wrong. Don't me, don't yell at us. Melissa thinks you're gonna yell at us. So please don't do that. (giggle) I want to be right. Tell us what we got right. We hope you join us for our next episode we're going to continue our dive into Scarecrow and Mrs. King Part Two. I know you think that there's... that we've covered all the Scarecrow and Mrs. King. But we haven't.

Sharon Johnson

Not at all.

Susan Lambert Hatem.

We're going to look at the First Season which is adorable! And funny. And really fun. We're going to talk about what went right, and what what, what we think went wrong in Season One. We're also gonna look at the making of the show. We get to talk about something that's not unheard of in television production, but it's still unusual. In the middle of Season One, Scarecrow and Mrs. King changed showrunners, and so we're gonna, we're gonna talk about that. But I want to tell you a story or two about Juanita Bartlett, the female showrunner that was brought on mid-season, and would go on to run the rest of Season One, and all of Season Two. She's an incredibly underrated and lesser-known showrunner who started on the Rockford Files.

Sharon Johnson

We hope 80s TV Ladies brings you joy, and laughter, and lots of fabulous new and old TV shows to watch. All of which will lead us toward being amazing ladies of the 21st century.

Susan Lambert Hatem.

I want to be an amazing lady of the 21st century Sharon.

Sharon Johnson

Me too.

Susan Lambert Hatem.

Let's do it.

Sharon Johnson


Susan Lambert Hatem.

All right. Thank you, guys!

Sharon Johnson

See you soon!


80s TV Ladies.  I’m so sexy and so pretty.

80s TV Ladies. I’m steppin out into the city.

80s TV Ladies.  I been treated kind of sh#*ty.  

Working hard for the money in a man’s world.

80s TV Ladies!