About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Minneapolis Christmas: Mary Tyler Moore Show

I'm such a huge Peppermint Patty fan! These Charles Schulz-inspired sculptures were an important destination.

This Spring, I had the wanderlust again and hit the road. This was my first time in Minneapolis, Minnesota and there were so many pop culture attractions! Of course, I toured Prince's home and recording studios at Paisley Park. The downtown features a colorful mural of musician Bob Dylan--honoring his time spent in Minneapolis. I also made a quick jaunt across the river to St. Paul to visit the seven statues of Peanuts characters--honoring the hometown of comic artist Charles Schulz. But you know one of the first locations I hunted down when I arrived in Minneapolis, right? Yes, I went looking for the home used in the exterior shots of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show home--Minneapolis, May 2018.

It wasn't difficult to locate at all. The home is a private residence so I stayed off their property to snap my pics. (I needed the distance to capture the whole home anyway!) Very little has changed over the decades. You can see that the tree in the front yard has grown, and the house is a different color. But these are minor changes, in my opinion. It sits in an amazing neighborhood filled with large upscale homes.

Screen shot of the home from the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Compare the two images of the home. The above screen shot from the first season must have been captured in 1970. The house has been well cared for over the decades. Travel tip: take a screen shot of your destination and save it on your phone when you travel. It makes it much easier to identify your TV location when you arrive.

Can you image Phyllis, Lars and Bess living on the first floor? Mary on the second floor? and Rhoda on the third?

If you're a fan of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a trip to Minneapolis must also include locating the statue of Mary as well. In 2001, the TV network TVLand donated the life-size statue to the city and it was placed on the street corner of 7th and Nicollet where the sequence used in the opening credits was originally shot. You know--the iconic sequence of Mary spinning around and throwing her hat up in the air? The statue recreating that inspiring and iconic image of Mary with her hat is located at that intersection! I just had to find it.

You can't LOOK at this statue without hearing the theme song in your head!

For a while, the statue was moved from the corner of 7th and Nicollet because of street construction. I had read that the city made it available to tourists in a temporary indoor location during limited hours. But I'm pleased to report that it has since been moved back to the street corner at 7th and Nicollet. She looks fabulous!

The base of the statue.

Those of us that love pop culture travel know that TVLand dedicated several television-inspired statues throughout the country. I've already visited Fonzie in Milwaukee, Bob Newhart in Chicago, and now Mary Richards in Minneapolis. I still need to visit Andy and Opie in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Samantha Stevens in Salem, Massachusetts, and Ralph Kramden in New York City. Have you ever visited any of these TVLand statues too?

We might just make it after all :)

1970's "Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II" episode from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Christmas TV fans will remember the first season Christmas episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. To see my discussion of that episode again, click HERE. I've also written about the fifth season episode "Not a Christmas Story." See that essay again HERE. Moore fans fondly remember her in the 1963 holiday episode from The Dick Van Dyke Show too. See that essay again HERE. Did you know that Mary Tyler Moore appeared in several Christmas TV movies too? She appears in 2002's Miss Lettie and Me and 2005's Snow Wonder. Moore makes a guest appearance on Danny Kaye's variety TV show at Christmas in 1963. And, she lends her voice as Granny Rose in the 1996 animated TV special How the Toys Saved Christmas.

If you're looking to re-watch a special treat--check out the 2001 episode "Ellen's First Christmess" from DeGeneres' second sitcom The Ellen Show. The holiday installment features a Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion, of sorts. Special guests include Mary Tyler Moore as Ellen's aunt, and Ed Asner as the mall Santa Claus. Cloris Leachman plays a recurring character, Ellen's mother. It's so great seeing the actors who play Mary, Lou Grant, and Phyllis together again in this Christmas episode that is filled with Mary Tyler Moore Show in-jokes and references!

from 1975's "Not a Christmas Story" episode from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sure looks like Christmas to me!

Curious about my other pop culture/Christmas destinations? Feel free to click through to the following links:

John Denver statue/Mork & Mindy House in Colorado
Perry Como's statue in Canonsburg, PA
Dean Martin's hometown of Steubenville, OH
Rosemary Clooney's home in Augusta, KY
The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA
It's a Wonderful Life Museum in Seneca Falls, NY
Lucille Ball's birthday celebration in Jamestown, NY
A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland, OH

A few months ago, I recorded a podcast with travel writer Lisa Iannucci for her series Reel Travels. Listen again HERE.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Yes, I have been and enjoyed all the Mary sites in the opening scenes of the show. I am the administrator of a Mary Tyler Show Page. If anyone would like to join, please do so. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/564563180286103/

  3. Joanna, I loved seeing your pictures of Minneapolis. To answer your question about picturing the characters living on those floors, no I can't picture Mary living on the second floor because she lived on the third floor! Go back and look at your pictures from the first Christmas episode and the window behind Mary's tree.
    That's the beautiful Palladian window on the third floor.

    Evidently Rhoda lived in the attic or elsewhere on the third floor. It was very small. And the Lindstroms must have occupied the first and second floors.

    While you're imagining, you might as well imagine correctly!

  4. Ah, you should have let me know you were going to be in town! Maybe next time! It's really quite something how much Mary Tyler Moore meant to everyone here, even though only a few of the exterior shots were done here. Setting the show here did a lot to legitimize the Twin Cities, at least in the eyes of those of us who lived in the Twin Cities.

    1. Oh Mitchell, I blew my chance! I'm sorry. I would have looked you up but I somehow didn't know. Again, I'm sorry. Next time for sure :)

    2. It's a deal! I'll take you to the restaurant in the IDS Center (the restaurant that overlooks a glass atrium) where she's seen eating. No matter how many times they renovate it, they still keep "The Mary Tyler Moore table"!

  5. I saw & took pictures of the Samantha Stevens statue when I was in Salem, MA, in July 2016, but I haven't seen any of these other statues yet. I'd love to see them all eventually.

    1. Me too! I'd love to see them all eventually. I'm making good progress--one at a time :) Thanks for commenting.