Black Ribbon Bow Memories: Remembering Rose Marie

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The black ribbon bow was her trademark.

It always was in her blonde hair, and it seemed to take on a life of its own with every funny quip or gesture she made to get her co-writers laughing.  The writing staff of The Alan Brady Show–the show inside of the Dick Van Dyke Show–consisted of Sally (Rose Marie), Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) and Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke). Yep, that was it–three writers. But these three writers were gold!  And though Sally was the typist, looking for a man, she broke new ground, being the only woman writer in the room.

And Rose Marie played her perfectly.

Born in Manhattan as Rose Marie Mazzetta, she was a vaudeville baby, performing as Baby Rose Marie for years on stage and the radio. She did guest roles on various TV shows, but it was The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961 that made her a star. With her black ribbon in place, Sally was known to trade quips with the boys and make fun of producer Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon). Always fashionable, she gave Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) a run for her money with her clothes; usually she dressed in a jacket top and a midline black skirt.

She could wear those clothes today and still look fashionable.

If you wanted Sally’ opinion, she would be happy to give it to you. This didn’t endear her to men, though; many of them didn’t want her opinion.

But she didn’t care.

She did have an on-again/off-again relationship with a man named Herman, but he didn’t last long, so it was back to the single jokes and hanging out with the guys. It was a tough job, but what’s a girl to do?

The Dick Van Dyke Show ran for five seasons, then Rose Marie returned to guest starring on various shows. The best one she did at the time was–of all places–The Monkees. The boys couldn’t pay their rent, so the landlord rented their house to Rose Marie’s Millie. Millie moved all her things in, then moved into the boys’ lives, trying to set them up with girls, getting them to eat right. They also had to get the place clean! While tidying up, she noticed how well Mike (Mike Nesmith) cleaned, then he admitted that he had to do a lot of cleaning when he was growing up because times were tough.

“What do you need?” she asked.

“Make me a star,” he said.

“I’ll make you a sweater,” she replied.

After making dinner one night, she talked to Davy (Davy Jones) about her old neighborhood and how she used to say hi to all her neighbors. “Then why did you move?” Davy asked. She looked melancholy when she said: “Nobody said hi back.”

The boys then played “Sometime in the Morning” and even though it was rock and roll, she couldn’t help but like it. Later on, the boys fixed her up with her moving man, and she moved out. I always wanted her to come back, take care of the boys some more.

Rose Marie continued to do guest spots throughout the next three decades. She was a regular on The Hollywood Squares and she was Doris Day’s sidekick on The Doris Day Show, playing–I’m not making this up–Myrna Gibbons. (I swear to God, no relation!) She even appeared with Amsterdam on The Love Boat as a married couple.

In 2003 The Alan Brady Show was brought back in animated form and Carl Reiner voiced the man who wouldn’t die, Alan Brady! Rob, Buddy and Sally weren’t characters in this version, however, she did voice Brady’s long suffering secretary. The next year CBS broadcast a reunion of The Dick Van Dyke Show, the plot being Rob and Laura’s son bought their old home in New Rochelle. Rob and Laura were living in Manhattan, but Rob is recruited to write Alan Brady’s eulogy. Sadly, Buddy couldn’t help him; Amsterdam died several years before. However, good old Sally was up to the task! Only she had a hyphen: She was now Sally Rodgers-Glimscher. Yes! Herman finally proposed, and she said yes.

Rose Marie had been recently in the news for a documentary based on her life called Wait for the Laugh.

It’s hard to get my head around that Marie died the same year as Mary Tyler Moore.

Joyce Maynard once wrote about a time she was writing on a television show and she wore a black ribbon in her hair for the first writer’s meeting. She sat down, thinking people would think it was funny that she was evoking Sally Rogers.

Sadly, no one in the room noticed the black ribbon, no one noticed television history right in front of them.

They should’ve.