Harper Valley PTA
is an early 1980s American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...
A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue...
based on the 1978 film Harper Valley PTA
Harper Valley PTA is a 1978 comedy movie starring Barbara Eden. The movie was inspired by the country music song of the same title written by Tom T. Hall...
, which was itself based on the 1968 song
"Harper Valley PTA" is a country song written by Tom T. Hall that was a major international hit single for country singer Jeannie C. Riley in 1968. Riley's record sold over six million copies as a single. The song made Riley the first woman to top both Billboard's Hot 100 and the U.S...
recorded by country
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...
singer Jeannie C. Riley
Jeannie C. Riley is an American country music and gospel singer. She is best known for her 1968 country and pop hit "Harper Valley PTA" , which missed becoming the Billboard Country and Pop number one hit at the same time...
, written by Tom T. Hall
Thomas "Tom T." Hall is an American country music singer-songwriter. He has written 11 #1 hit songs, with 26 more that reached the Top 10, including the pop crossover hit "I Love", which reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100...
The series went on to flesh out the story in the song, as it told of the adventures of Stella Johnson (Barbara Eden
Barbara Eden is an American film and television actress and singer who is best known for her starring role in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.-Early years:...
), a single mother to teenager Dee (Jenn Thompson), who lived in the fictional town of Harper Valley, Ohio. The town was dominated by the namesakes of the founder, the Harper family, most prominently represented by the mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....
, Otis Harper, Jr. (George Gobel
George Leslie Gobel was an American comedian and actor. He was best known as the star of his own weekly NBC television show, The George Gobel Show, which ran from 1954 to 1960 .-Early years:He was born George Leslie Goebel in Chicago, Illinois, His father, Hermann Goebel, was a...
). Mrs. Johnson's flouting of the small town's conventions, and exposure of the hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie....
of many of its other residents, provided the series' humor.
If there was a catch-phrase to the show, it would be the line that Flora Simpson Reilly (Anne Francine
Anne Francine was an American actress and cabaret singer. She is well-known for her role as villain Flora Simpson Reilly in the American television series Harper Valley PTA.-Biography:...
) uttered every time she was defeated by Stella (which was almost always), "Someday I will get you, Stella Johnson!"
Other actors and actresses in the show included Fannie Flagg
Patricia Neal , known professionally as Fannie Flagg, is an American actress, comedienne and author. She is perhaps best-known for the 1988 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was adapted into the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes; Flagg was nominated for an Academy Award for...
, Mari Gorman
Mari Gorman is an American actress perhaps best known for her work in television. One of her first major roles was as murder victim and mob pawn Taffy Simms on the soap opera The Edge of Night, in the 1970s....
, Bridget Hanley
Bridget Ann Elizabeth Hanley, professionally known as Bridget Hanley, is an American actress, known for her starring and supporting roles in TV comedy, western, adventure and drama programs, including Candy Pruitt on the Western dramedy Here Come the Brides. She also starred in Harper Valley...
, Rod McCary, Allison Harvey and Edie McClurg
Edie McClurg is an American character actress. She is known for her perky North Central dialect , common to persons from Middle America.-Career:...
In the show's early episodes, Mrs. Johnson had been recently elected to the board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...
of the PTA
In the U.S. a parent-teacher association or Parent-Teacher-Student Association is a formal organization composed of parents, teachers and staff that is intended to facilitate parental participation in a public or private school. Most public and private K-8 schools in the U.S. have a PTA, a...
and this was the source of most of the show's plots; later it was decided that this idea had been carried about as far as was practical and the PTA aspect was dropped from the show, which was then retitled Harper Valley
. During this phase, Stella's relationship with Dee was more prominent and actor Mills Watson
Mills Watson is an American actor.Watson was born in Oakland, California. He is possibly best known for his role as Deputy Perkins, first on B.J. and the Bear and later on The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He also played Uncle Buster in the sitcom, Harper Valley P.T.A. Watson has twice played ...
joined the cast as Stella's eccentric uncle, Winslow Homer Smith. Nicknamed Buster, he was an inventor, whose inventions never worked the way they were supposed to. Stella still did battle with the Reillys on occasion.
The show ran from January 1981 to August 1982 on NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...
; it was later released into syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...
to local stations briefly in the mid-1980s, even though there were too few episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...
s made for it to be normally syndicated.The Cable TV network TV Land showed reruns of the show in 2000.
Season 1 (1981)
|| "To Dunk or Not to Dunk"
|| "A Husband for Stella"
|| "Mail and Female"
|| "Don Juan and Two"
|| "The Life of Reilly"
|| "Stella the Reilly Girl"
|| "Moonlighting Becomes You"
|| "A Tree Grows in Harper Valley"
|| "Dirty Tricks"
|| "Stella and Howard"
|| "Mayor Bobby"
|| "Bad Day at Harper Valley"
|| "My Fair Stella"
Season 2 (1981-1982)
|| "Make Room for Buster"
|| "Good for the Goose"
|| "Reunion Fever"
|| "The $500 Misunderstanding"
|| "Stella Scam"
|| "Harper Valley Christmas"
|| "Low Noon"
|| "Flora's Dinner Party"
|| "The Show Must Go On"
|| "Firechief Follies"
|| "Svengali of the Valley"
|| "Stella Della"
|| "Stella Rae"
|| "Harper Valley Hoedown"
|| "Grizzly Gap"
|| "The Return of Charlie's Chow Palace"
|| "Harper Valley Sentinel"