43 Hours of ‘Love’

What does the comedy anthology series Love, American Style (ABC, 1969-1974) mean to you, if anything?

Silly, sexually suggestive, segments? Big-name guest stars? The birthplace of Happy Days? Or a jingly theme song that sticks inside your eardrums for hours?

Let’s listen to the theme now:

Now, imagine hearing that over and over and over and over again this weekend when Decades presents a 43-hour, 86-episode Love, American Style marathon. The pre-Valentine’s Day laughs will start at noon ET on Saturday, February 8, and last until 7 am on Monday, February 10.

The series produced 108 episodes, most of them an hour long, over its five seasons. Each show consisted of up to five unrelated segments. The hours were later assembled into half-hour shows for syndication, and it’s those half-hour versions you’ll see on Decades.

For many classic TV fans, Love, American Style is now known primarily for having aired the pilot for what would later become Happy Days (ABC, 1974-1981). That segment, “Love and the Television Set,” aired in February 1972. Later retitled “Love and the Happy Days” for syndication, it may also have helped star Ron Howard land a plum role in George Lucas’ Golden Globe-winning American Graffiti (1973).

“Love and the Happy Days” is not included in this weekend’s Decades marathon, so we’ll present it to you right here:

Decades similarly will not show Love, American Style’s pilot for Hanna-Barbera’s animated primetime sitcom Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (syndicated, 1972-1974). Titled “Love and the Old-Fashioned Father,” that segment aired in February 1972, two weeks before the Happy Days pilot. Tom Bosley, who played the father in the former, would later be dad in both series.

So here’s “Love and the Old-Fashioned Father,” with a supporting cast that includes comedian Jack Burns, who passed away just last week, as Ralph:

For this weekend’s Love, American Style schedule on Decades, visit decades.com/binge. For a list of where you can see Decades free over the air via antenna, or on cable, visit the channel’s “Where to Watch” page.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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