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Arnie aired from September 1970 until September 1972 on CBS.

For more on Arnie go to the mini-page right here at Sitcoms Online.

Here's a look at the fall shows during the 1970-1971 season from Time Magazine. This was about 4 months before television would be changed forever by the premiere of All In The Family.

The New Season: Perspiring with Relevance
Monday, Sep. 28, 1970 By RICHARD BURGHEIM Article

What did the Manhattan moguls of prime-time television do with the new season? To hear them talk, they discovered America. Blurb writers who could not spell "relevant" collected severance. Faster than a speeding memo, the West Coast got the word that the medium must have a message: entertainment TV could be cool no more but must be aflame, or at least perspiring, with social consciousness.

The premieres of NBC's and CBS's new shows last week (ABC held its fire until this week) suggest that life in televisionland is no more real this season than it ever was. It is just more earnest. The Beverly Hillbillies lit out for the White House to donate $95 million for pollution control. Lassie taped a show battling the same cause last week. Not to be out-involved, other series are tackling the grievances of migrant workers, the excesses of twitchy-fingered National Guardsmen, the spread of gonorrhea, the need for penal reform, the problems of abortion, and the Senate seniority system.

In self-conscious emulation of the youth they have helped to alienate, TV producers and writers keep proclaiming that their programming has suddenly become "heavy." Yet from the series already unveiled and the scenarios of those due this week, one can only conclude that the heaviness is not in the writers' hearts but in their hands.

Dramatic Series

Most pretentious of the new shows is The Senator, which will appear every third week on NBC's catchall The Bold Ones series. But except for an authoritative performance by Hal Holbrook and a patina of knowingness (terms like "Evans and Novak" popped up without explanation), the premiere was just another action show about an assassination plot.

Four-In-One (NBC) is really four different six-week series. The first, subtitled "McCloud," features old Gunsmoke Deputy Dennis Weaver. The gimmick is that McCloud is a New Mexico marshal assigned temporarily to take lessons from the New York City police. Naturally he turns the tables, proving himself Manhattan's fastest gun, lowest tipper, and the lucky stud who stashes his boots under the sofa of the police commissioner's worldly cousin. It is all hokum, of course, but more entertaining than most of the competition.

The Storefront Lawyers (CBS) and The Interns (CBS) both exploit Mod Squad's multihero angle, but neither one is genuinely mod or engrossing. The three attorneys, one a woman, earn their bread by serving a stuffy Los Angeles firm, and their kicks by melodramatically providing legal aid from a ghetto storefront. The five interns, including one female and one black, churn in a centrifuge of subplots as soaperific as any afternoon hospital show.

Situation Comedies

Andy Griffith and Mary Tyler Moore have been coaxed back to CBS and situation comedy this season, but only for Andy does it seem like a halfway happy return. In Headmaster, the old sheriff of Mayberry smartens up and takes over a coed prep school in California. The series' intention, says Griffith, is "to tell it like it is for the young people while remaining palatable to older audiences." The premiere involved a student who refused to pop "uppers" and "downers" like the rest of the kids. The comic relief, provided mostly by the school's bicep-brained athletic director (Jerry Van Dyke), was a downer. As usual, Griffith came off as platitudinous but rather engaging.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, on opening night at least, was a disaster for the old co-star of the Dick Van Dyke Show. She plays an inadvertent career girl, jilted by the rounder she put through medical school, and working as a "gofer" at a Minneapolis TV station. Her bosses, a drunken clown of a news director and a narcissistic nincompoop of an anchorman, do an injustice to even the worst of local TV news.

Herschel Bernardi is another talent entombed in a seemingly moribund CBS property. Arnie, as his series is titled, has a possibly workable premise: a lifelong blue-collar worker is suddenly hoisted from the loading dock to an executive desk. But what laughs there were in the first episode belonged to the firm's fatuous, polo-playing president (Roger Bowen), whose main professional interest seems to be avoiding handclasps lest he endanger his mallet hand. Arnie is around obviously to provide hardhat wisdom and wit, but the premiere script suggests that Eric Hoffer he isn't.

Without question, the most contemptible show of the season so far is Nancy (NBC), a sappy comedy about the President's daughter (Renne Jarrett) and her fiance, a clod-kicking Iowa veterinarian (John Fink). Producer Sidney Sheldon denies lifting the idea from CBS's Governor and J.J. He got the idea, he says, during the Johnson Administration (which, in possibly its wisest decision, was unofficially unreceptive). The Nixon girls saw the pilot and found it "cute." Nancy's most embarrassing character, actually, is a wisecracking White House woman aide (Celeste Holm) with some of the most pitiable material on the air. Liz Carpenter should sue for equal time.


The Don Knotts Show (NBC) and the Tim Conway Comedy Hour (CBS) attempt to elevate two old situation comics to variety headliners. Conway, late of

McHale's Navy and the short-lived sitcom bearing his own name, made it obvious that he is, at best, a second banana. Knotts, the Milquetoast deputy sheriff on the old Andy Griffith Show, tried to make a virtue of his inability to sing, dance or string a show together. Opening night, Guest Anthony Newley pushed Knotts around and took command,a running gag that provoked a feeling of sympathy. But can other guests and the same gag make a season?

The most promising variety hour and in fact the liveliest premiere of any description all week was the Flip Wilson Show (NBC). Flip is black and cool, and the first night played as easily off David Frost as James Brown. He does not do quotable one-liners but routines, of which the standards include a sassy drag bit and his "Church of What's Happening Now" sermon.

Judging by the returning shows and the eleven new ones, viewers can safely dismiss the pseudo-hip, summer-long promotion pushes NBC's "Don't let it happen without you" and CBS's "We've put it all together." The two networks might, if they truly wanted to be relevant, begin by taking it all apart.

-Richard Burg helm

Here's Herschal Bernardi's Obituary from The LA Times

Herschel Bernardi, First 'Zorba' on Broadway, Dies
May 10, 1986|JACK JONES | Times Staff Writer

Veteran actor Herschel Bernardi, whose face was known for his many television roles and for such stage portrayals as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" and whose voice was familiar as that of Charley the Tuna or the Jolly Green Giant in commercials, died Friday at his Los Angeles home. He was 62.

His sister-in-law, Sophie Bernardi, said he suffered a massive heart attack early in the morning.

The balding Bernardi became widely recognizable as Lt. Jacoby on the "Peter Gunn" television series that ran from 1958 to 1961. He starred in his own 1970-72 series, "Arnie," about a loading dock foreman whose life was changed by promotion to an executive position.

He performed in such films as "A Cold Wind in August" (1961); "Irma La Douce" (1963); "Love With the Proper Stranger" (1964) and "The Front" (1976).

In the late 1930s he was in two Yiddish films, "Green Fields" and "Yankel the Blacksmith."

His biggest stage hit was as the philosophical milkman in "Fiddler on the Roof," the part Zero Mostel created on Broadway. Bernardi took over the role in 1965, traveling with the show to Los Angeles and other West Coast cities. He played more than 1,200 performances as Tevye.

In 1968, he was the first star of "Zorba!" on Broadway, a role for which he received a Tony nomination. Remarkably, he performed the athletic Greek dances and 10-foot leaps despite the fact that 10 years earlier his left leg had been crushed when his motor scooter collided with an automobile.

He also scored a success in 1979 in Herb Gardner's "The Goodbye People," playing Max, an angry Coney Island hot dog stand proprietor.

Throughout most of those years, Bernardi was being heard in the nation's living rooms as the voice of the Jolly Green Giant and Charley the Tuna in television commercials. He recently was given a plaque by Star-Kist for serving for 25 years as the voice of Charley, a tuna who had good taste but didn't taste good enough to be canned.

His voice-only career began in the mid-50s when he realized there was a big demand for character voices in commercials. He made a tape recording of himself doing nearly two dozen different voices, then "jumped on my motor scooter and went from agency to agency selling myself."

He was seen in numerous television shows, including "Matinee Theater," where he appeared 22 times, and "Bonanza."

Bernardi was not one to sit around waiting for the big-salaried jobs. Even after he was successful in the early 1960s, he played the so-called "Freeway Circuit" in Southern California, doing the pathetic Willie Loman in "Death of a Salesman" at one-night stands on college campuses and in community theaters.

He said he did it out of a need for applause.

Bernardi was born Oct. 30, 1923, in New York City. He made his theatrical debut at the age of 3 months in his mother's arms. His parents were traveling actors on the Yiddish stage. At 12, he played his first Broadway role, in the play "Dead End."

By his mid-20s, he had already played on Broadway and had knocked around Hollywood. His career, however, developed slowly.

Blacklisted by CBS-TV

Because he had enrolled in the Actors Lab, a gathering place for Hollywood radicals in the 1940s, Bernardi was blacklisted for two seasons by CBS-TV. "I inadvertently found out when I lost three jobs in a row," he once told an interviewer. "A friend informed me that my credentials had been checked and said, 'Your name came up dirty.' "

But because he was fairly new to the business, the blacklisting did not hurt him as much as it did some better-known performers. By 1958 he was on "Peter Gunn" and was winning an Emmy nomination.

He leaves his wife, Teri, and their 15-month-old son, Michael. He also leaves three children by a former marriage as well as two brothers, Jack and Sam.

Funeral services are pending.

To read an article about Arnie go to

To watch some clips from Arnie go to

For an episode guide go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For some Arnie-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

To watch the opening credits go to and
Date: Fri February 13, 2009 � Filesize: 70.8kb � Dimensions: 531 x 653 �
Keywords: Arnie: Cast Photo


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