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Steve Frame
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All That Glitters (syndicated)

Network: Syndicated
Schedule: 10:00 p.m. for 30 minutes
First aired: April 18, 1977
Last aired: July 25, 1977
Genre: Comedic soap opera
Producer: Norman Lear, Viva Knight & Stephanie Sills
Directors: James Frawley & Herbert Kenwith
Created by: Norman Lear
Basic Premise: "Our premise is simple," explains Lear. "God created Eve first, took out her rib and gave her a companion so she wouldn't be lonely. This was Adam. I think the audience will be fascinated to watch the endless role playing and, more important, to discern the similarities in the needs, hopes and fears shared by all human beings, regardless of gender."

Cast:

Barbara Baxley (L.W. Carruthers)
Eileen Brennan (Ma Packer)
Vanessa Brown (Peggy Horner)
Greg Evigan (Role Unknown)
Anita Gillette (Nancy Langston)
Linda Gray (Linda Murkland)
Jim Greenleaf (Jeremy Stockwood)
David Haskell (Michael McFarland)
Chuck McCann (Burt Stockwood)
Lois Nettleton (Christina Stockwood)
Wes Parker (Glenn Langston)
Gary Sandy (Dan Kincaid)
Louise Shaffer (Andrea Martin)
Marte Boyle Stout (Grace "Smitty" Smith)
Tim Thomerson (Sonny Packer)
Jessica Walter (Joan Hamlin)

Theme Song Lyrics:

One morning the Lord she woke up to say
I feel like I wanna be creative today
So by virtue of the power I've invested in me
I'll make the Heaven, Earth and the deep blue sea.

Things that swim, fly, walk by, creep and crawl
Now I better make someone to name them all.
Yes, a human was needed in the neighborhood
So the Lord made woman, and it was good.

She said the Garden of Eden's no place to be alone
So from the rib of the madame came Adam full grown.
As time went by this groom and bride
Followed the instructions, and multiplied.
She's hunt, he'd cook, she'd work, he'd play
While she administered the government, he crocheyed.

She wore the male, he wore the veil
Her head was crowned, his feet were bound
He concubined and walked behind
She was, to pardon th _expression, the mastermind.
So is it any wonder that the men complain
When from the dawn of time it's been a woman's domain.


Summary:

Picture this: women sit in the executive suites and men in the typing pools. Women are aggressive and combative, and men are meek and passive. Women ogle waiters and crack bad jokes about sex while their male companions sit and fume. Imagine all that and you know most of what you need to know —or want to know—about All That Glitters, Norman Lear's new syndicated TV soap opera, premiering on 40 stations across the country this week.

All That Glitters was a creative, but short-lived series produced by Norman Lear. It depicted a complete gender role-reversal. The world was exactly like ours except that women were the dominate gender. Women were the captains of industry and men were household workers, secretaries and waiters trying to attract attention with their sexuality. To add some additional twists to that twist there were characters into dominance/submission, a woman who had been a man (played by Linda Gray) and, of course, women CEOs having affairs with their secretaries such as Christina (Lois Nettleton) as the executive that is having an affair with her cute secretary Dan (Gary Sandy) who is deemed by another female character to have the "cutest little bottom in the office." Meanwhile Christina's husband (portrayed by Chuck McCann) frets at home, taking care of the kids, gaining weight —and wondering why Christina no longer shows any interest in him.

Lois Nettleton admitted in Time magazine that she modeled her character after Clark Gable.

The series featured many notable celebrities including: Eileen Brennan, Greg Evigan, Linda Gray (as the transexual woman), Wes Parker, Gary Sandy (as a cute secretary who was willing to use his sex appeal to move up in the company), Tim Thomerson, Barbara Baxley (as L. W. the tyrant who ran Globatron) and Jessica Walter. Comic actor and cartoon voice artist Chuck McCann was also a regular.

The first episodes centered on the troubles at Globatron, a giant conglomerate run by a terrible-tempered tyrant everyone calls "L.W."—a woman, of course. Globatron is about to spend $125 million on a new ad campaign to promote Wilmington beer. Since women are the beer drinkers in this upside-down world (beer is considered too vulgar for men), Globatron has created the Wilmington Woman, the ideal consumer. The only problem is—shades of Myra Breckinridge—that the Wilmington Woman (Linda Gray) turns out to be a transsexual. While the board of Globatron considers this staggering information, the Wilmington Woman is kidnaped by some Okies. And so on into confusion.

The series ran on late night at the time, but it still caused a lot of controversy and was met with different reactions from both sides.

In the initial test screenings in New York and Hollywood, reaction was mixed and occasionally angry. "So far," said Executive Producer Stephanie Sills after the screenings, "the strongest negative reaction has come from a group of male executives. They didn't mind being portrayed by women. It was simply that they detest the way we depicted them." But the most puzzled reaction, adds Sills, has come from feminists. "They don't know whether to cheer or boo. They're confused and want to think through all of the ramifications." After one screening in Manhattan, several feminists said they were afraid that audiences would see the program not as a satire but as a hideous projection of a female-dominated world.

Critics did not think too highly of the show either. Time magazine had this to say: "The real problem of All That Glitters, however, is not the show's concept. Nor is it the complaints of feminists or chauvinists. It is the execution: compared with many of Lear's other productions, the show is embarrassingly amateurish. The jokes are flaccid and the writing flat. The acting is mediocre and the direction aimless. Lear has tried to mount a revolution, but he has succeeded only in enthroning the yawn." - Gerald Clarke

After one season the show was cancelled.

It is strange as I search for information on this series on the Internet and in publications of today, that so many people remember this show fondly and beg for episodes or information about it. For a show that was panned in 1977, it has develped a mystique that makes people want more. Many feel the show was not given enough time to make it or given a chance to make it. We could always debate that. I guess it could be compared to the movies Bringing Up Baby and It's A Wonderful Life that were considered failures in their day but over time became regarded as classics.

Steve Frame (July 26, 2007)

Sources: TV.com; IMDb.com; MemorableTV.com; Blackcatter's World of Theme Song Lyrics; Wikipedia.org; "Eve's Rib and Adam's Yawn," Time Magazine, April 25, 1977
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