1972: 'The Bob Newhart Show' Began on CBS
On this day in 1972, CBS introduced The Bob Newhart Show, a sitcom starring comedian Bob Newhart as Robert Hartley, a Chicago psychologist.
The primary cast included Suzanne Pleshette as Emily, Hartley's wife; Bill Daily as their neighbor, Howard; Peter Bonerz as Jerry, the orthodontist with whom Hartley shared an office suite; and Marcia Wallace as their receptionist, Carol. A range of guest stars played Hartley's patients, and his and Emily's family and friends.
The Bob Newhart Show, which ran six seasons, is considered one of television's classic comedies. It has often been referenced in other series, and its characters have appeared on shows ranging from St. Elsewhere and Murphy Brown to Saturday Night Live.
Its most famous, and unexpected, reference was in the series finale of Newhart's 1982-1990 sitcom, Newhart, in which Newhart's character, Dick Loudon, is hit in the head by a golf ball, blacks out and awakens in bed — not with his current series wife (Mary Frann), but with The Bob Newhart Show's Pleshette, implying that the entire Newhartsitcom was Robert Hartley's dream.