Screen Gems, 1966
In the first minutes of the first episode of Love On A Rooftop (LOART), boy meets girl. A few scenes later, boy marries girl. And with those preliminaries out of the way, this bright new Screen Gems comedy series — premiering Tuesday, September 6 at 9:30 p.m. (PDT) on ABC-TV, proceeds to chronicle their adventures in the happy-ever-after department.
The names of the boy and girl are David and Julie. Both attractive, in their twenties, and full of life, hope, and a zest for living.
David is good looking, athletic in build, and an apprentice architect. His desire is to earn more than $86.00 per week.
Julie is pert, vivacious, very, very lovely. She’s an art student and like most girls, her ambition is to get married.
When David and Julie meet the blueprints and paint brushes are thrown away and it’s love at first sight. The young couple marry and set up housekeeping in a one-room closet-sized apartment.
The creator-writer of Love On A Rooftop, who captures the San Francisco aura, is 35-year-old Bernard Slade. Of Canadian origin, he is story editor and writer on Screen Gems’ top-rated Bewitched series. Being of the opinion that television needed more family-type programs without benefit of gimmicks, he created LOART long before putting it to the pen — since as a young married he has experienced the trials and tribulations which haunt all young couples flexing their muscles in the tangle of readjustment.
“It’s certainly no easy feat — but it’s a heckuva lot of fun,” says Slade, “and if you’ve lived it, you can write it,” he said. Slade was an actor before turning to writing.
Harry Ackerman, one of television’s outstanding executive producers, is responsible for the making of Love On A Rooftop. He is a key figure in the television industry, credited with development of many of its finest programs — Bewitched, Donna Reed, Hazel, Gidget, and The Wackiest Ship In The Army, among many others. Ackerman began his career in show business in radio and was associated with such top shows as The Kate Smith Hour and The Aldrich Family. He was a trailblazer in radio drama and was the director of The Screen Guild Theatre. In recent television years he has figured prominently in the creation and development of Our Miss Brooks, Gunsmoke and I Love Lucy.
He found LOART to his liking. Following a meeting with Screen Gems production head, Jackie Cooper, it was decided this series had the all-age appeal needed in today’s vast television market. Messrs. Cooper and Ackerman further agreed that since the locale was San Francisco, the series should be filmed in color to capture the picturesque flavor of the city by the bay.
Cognizant that television is always in need of new and exciting faces, yet experienced performers, Ackerman embarked on a personal talent hunt to find the right actors for this series. After numerous interviews, twenty young actresses were tested for the role of Julie. Among them was one actress who sparked for the role of Julie — Judy Carne.
Although no newcomer to the ranks — having been seen in TV’s Fair Exchange and Baileys of Balboa — she emoted a fresh and vibrant quality needed for the role.
Dark-eyed and vivacious, she was born in Northhampton, England, twenty-four years ago. She started dancing when she was three and studied at the famed Bush David Theatrical Boarding School in Sussex. Following a thorough dramatic and musical training, she appeared in a West End Revue, For Amusement Only, and later toured for a year in musical productions. Prior to coming to the United States she got her big break by replacing Julie Andrews in the London staging of My Fair Lady. Arriving in Hollywood in 1961, she made her motion picture debut in The Americanization of Emily.
For the role of David, her husband, the search was easier. In fact, Ackerman didn’t have to look any further than the sound stages at Screen Gems. Here under contract was Peter Deuel, already working in a running role in the Gidget series — and with definite star quality.
Peter is the scion of three generations of doctors and was torn between his love of acting and the medical profession. Finally, with the blessings of his family, he decided upon a theatrical career. A two-year course with the American Theatre Wing, and a short hitch later with the Shakespeare Wrights Repertory Company, were instrumental in his landing a part in Wounded In Action, a motion picture filmed in the Philippines. His first big acting opportunity came as a member of the national road company of Take Her, She’s Mine, starring Tom Ewell. His role of the studious brother-in-law in Gidget attracted Ackerman.
Then the parts of the young neighbors: Rich Little, an upcoming actor-impressionist from Canada, had been seen while making TV guestings on variety shows, and won the role of the over-imaginative Stan Parker. Pretty Barbara Bostock, a former June Taylor dancer, turned actress, was signed as his adoring wife, Carol.
Lucille Adams, a natural born comedienne who can instinctively laugh on cue, was set as Mrs. Loomis, the portly landlady. Other important running roles are those of Edith Atwater and Herbert Voland. They enact Julie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hammond.
Miss Atwater, a product of the legitimate theatre, is well-tailored for her part of the sympathetic and well-mannered loving mother.
Voland, also a by-product of the New York stage, is a natural as a gruff, demanding father who wants the best for his only daughter. Both Miss Atwater and Voland have a distinguished array of credits.
E.W. Swackhamer, producer and director of LOART, is looked upon as one of the most promising directorial talents in television. He was selected by Ackerman because of his extensive experience in comedy.
Better known to intimates as ‘Swack,’ he first entered the entertainment field following his discharge from the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II. His first ambition was to be an actor and he studied at the American Theatre Wing. After achieving moderate success in acting by appearances on Robert Montgomery Presents, The Clock, Suspense, and several off-Broadway stagings — he turned to directing. During this period he also functioned as stage manager and understudied Jackie Cooper. Upon coming to Hollywood he was named associate producer-director-writer on Cooper’s Hennesey TV series. This led to directing chores on such top-rated Screen Gems shows as Bewitched, Hazel, I Dream of Jeannie, The Wackiest Ship In The Army, etc.
While filming LOART on location in San Francisco, Swack kept to a flexible shooting schedule.
San Francisco weather sometimes necessitated an immediate change of site. However, this did not affect the comedy tempo established by his pinpoint direction.
Screen Gems’ Love On A Rooftop opens with a narrator telling the story of David and Julie in San Francisco.
Picture yourself at one of the most famous views in the world, the San Francisco Bay. As you stand enraptured, you’re suddenly distracted. A pair of attractive feminine legs appear. The San Francisco view can wait. It’s better to feast your eyes on a real wonder.
You begin staring at this young lady, healthy, feminine, and possessing a beautiful face. And her figure — Wow — check that mobility. Interested? This is Julie, the heroine in our story. She’s 21 years old and just about to fall in love with David — and this is how it HAPPENS.
It’s a typical spring day — beautiful, not a cloud in sight. The birds are chirping and the sky is blue. David is perched high atop a steel girder eating lunch. There may be more comfortable places to eat lunch than 100 feet off the ground — but this is David’s job — he’s an apprentice architect.
At this high level he is not aware that his entire life will change over a liverwurst on pumpernickel. While absent-mindedly reaching for his sandwich — it falls off the platform into Julie’s tote bag. She, unaware of what transpired, continues walking down the street. David is not the kind of man that gives up his lunch that easily. Especially when it’s liverwurst on pumpernickel. So, he gives chase, catches her, and explains apologetically.
Julie understands. After all — David is handsome, it’s spring, and he did offer to split his liverwurst on pumpernickel. The inevitable happens: It’s love.
Visualize David and Julie on the steepest part of Telegraph Hill professing love for one another. “I love you,” says David. “I love you, too,” replies Julie. Or, in a secluded corner of an intriguing restaurant in Chinatown. “I love you,” says David. “I love you, too,” replies Julie. This limited but enchanting dialogue leads inevitably to a marriage proposal.
It happens while on a cable car heading uphill on Montgomery Street. Julie asks David to marry her. The car is crowded, as cable cars always are, and the passengers become the fascinated audience to David and Julie’s love scene.
Julie insists that if David truly loves her, he’d marry her. The crowd reacts approvingly. David parries that he does love her, but they can’t live on $86.00 per week. Julie responds with, ‘two can live as cheaply as one.’ This time the crowd doesn’t react at all. Julie, never one to give up, repeats that, ‘two can live as cheaply as one.’ Whether that’s true or not, doesn’t matter. They get married. It’s a simple ceremony in the office of a Justice of the Peace and two fidgeting paid witnesses.
What David doesn’t know is that Julie’s parents are rich. She doesn’t dare tell him because of his sensitivity about having no money. She tells David that her father is a used car salesman, which is the truth, but not the whole truth: He is the owner of nine used car lots. It’s agreed they will rent an apartment. One that is cheap, practical, charming … and cheap. Something with atmosphere, a view … and cheap. It’s Julie’s assignment and she finds just the place. David receives a call to meet her at an old building. They climb a seemingly endless staircase to the top landing — their apartment.
The only room is bare as she shows David an old stove and sink in one corner; two shutters and a circular iron staircase leading to the roof. David hides disappointment; Julie appears exalted.
David crosses to the shutters and upon opening, screams, “No windows! It has no windows!” Julie doesn’t care. She knew it had once been a store room. Realizing David has to be sold on the apartment, she grabs him and leads him to the rooftop. There they face the most breathtaking view in the world, the San Francisco Bay. Overcome by this setting, David agrees to move in.
Lack of money leads young couples to do strange things. But, when you’re in love, stranger things can happen — and they do. They decide to save money by spending their honeymoon under the stars — specifically, on the roof in a pup tent.
When they begin to furnish the apartment, the motif is ‘early sparse.’ A card table, two chairs, a Goodwill sofa, an old coffee table and an artist’s easel. Not fancy — but fashionably uncomfortable.
Residing in the building are Stan and Carol Parker, a couple down the hall. They, too, are young. Stan is an inventive type whose wife describes him as a sort of freelance genius — currently he’s putting his wit to work by planning food menus.
Mrs. Loomis, the landlady, is a jolly, rotund type whose specialty is laughing.
Julie is a master of deficit spending. When David gives her money to pay bills — she buys Japanese lanterns. David is dollar conscious. The result: A common battleground for financial bickering and a chance for young love to recoup in an embrace.
Julie will continue attending art classes. David won’t allow her to work — but even if he did, what could she do? The next morning Julie is surprised to see David enter her art class. He heads towards her — but suddenly freezes. Directly in front is a nude model. A moment or two passes before he breaks his trance and makes his way to Julie. He tells her that a letter arrived from her parents stating they will visit them at their apartment that very night.
She panics and becomes frantic as to how her parents will react to the apartment, the ersatz windows, and David. Particularly David. She drops her brushes and runs home leaving a somewhat bewildered David.
When Julie reaches home, she airs her problems to Mrs. Loomis and Carol. They agree to help by loaning furniture and household items. Julie also decides to paint windows under the shutters — hoping her folks will think there are real windows there.
When David arrives home, Julie’s parents are sitting on the beat-up sofa. Mrs. Hammond is good-natured and understanding. Mr. Hammond is suspicious and cold. When David inquires about the excess furniture, Julie pulls him aside and explains. Mr. Hammond takes this opportunity to open the shutters and discovers there are painted windows. Minutes of tension and discussion, with very little explanation, follows before everyone is seated to face Julie’s spaghetti — when the lights go off: Julie explains it is a blown fuse. David knows better — that Julie forgot to pay the light bill. It’s decided that they can’t eat in the dark, so they move to the roof and the cold spaghetti.
A short time later, Mrs. Loomis and Carol enter the apartment. Finding no one there, they decide the party is over and begin to remove their furniture. Julie’s father, wanting a glass of water, has come downstairs. Spotting a figure moving about in the darkness, he believes it to be a thief. With a cry of triumph, he tackles Mrs. Loomis and both crash to the floor with the impact of Gemini being launched. The noise brings everyone onto the scene. David figures that the time to explain everything to Julie’s parents is now — and he does. He tells them that the furniture was borrowed, that Mrs. Loomis is no burglar, but the landlady, that he makes $86.00 per week, and that he loves their daughter very much.
When Mr. Hammond discloses that he is rich and not just a used car salesman, David refuses the offer of financial assistance. He tells Julie’s parents he wants to be a self-made man and Julie will have to live on his salary. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond are impressed — particularly the father, who is happy that David isn’t asking for money. The parents decide that maybe their new son-in-law isn’t so bad after all. They give their blessings and depart. Eating breakfast the next morning on the roof, Julie and David hear a deafening crash. They run downstairs and find their room filled with dust, falling plaster, and workmen. One is breaking open the wall with a pneumatic drill, another helping, and another holding a blueprint.
Dumbfounded and annoyed, they demand an explanation. “Simple,” replies the foreman, “it’s a wedding gift from dear old dad. He’s giving you TWO WINDOWS.”