Don't adjust your dial—The Oprah Show is going retro! To honor one of Oprah's all-time favorite television shows, her crew painstakingly recreated the classic newsroom and apartment sets from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Oprah Show production designer, Tara Denise, along with her brilliant crew, went to great lengths to recreate these rooms as a tribute to the show's incredible cast. "When I first heard we were going to do the Mary Tyler Moore set, I was just ecstatic. It's history," she says. "I really think it's a show that we all admired, and so we really wanted to give it the best representation and show it as close as we could get."
Before doing anything else, the crew got busy watching DVDs of the classic show. "We just started watching them over and over again," says scenic designer Dustin. "We found out how tall she actually was, and we scaled all the drawings based on her height."
Every square inch of the newsroom and Mary's apartment was either built from scratch or hunted down. "Welcome to our Mary Tyler Moore trailer," says set art director Jim. "We've been shopping—thrift stores, antique shops, just about everywhere, eBay—looking for Mary Tyler Moore stuff."
Jim says one of the coolest pieces they found was Mary's stove. "We got it from Southwestern Michigan University Museum," he says. "It's actually a real stove."
Jim didn't have to search long and hard for Mr. Grant's coffee pot. "It actually came from my grandma's house," he says.
Every discovery was cause for celebration, Jim says. "We would do a little happy dance every time we'd find something," he says. "Like this little duck."
Love was in the painstaking details. Our crew found '70s-era phones and handpainted a replica spice rack. They crew even tracked down the exact mirror that sat on Mary's dresser and the pumpkin cookie jar she had at her apartment for all seven seasons!
Of course, Mary's apartment wouldn't be complete without the infamous "M" hanging on her wall.
The Harpo crew would settle for nothing less than retro perfection. The newsroom was practically in working order!
Mary's apartment set was perfect enough to live in!
Hats off to our crew! More than 75 people and thousands of man-hours later, they made it after all. "Being able to actually recreate a vintage television show … we dream of doing stuff like this," Jim says.
Published on May 29, 2008