TV US TV

Harper Valley P.T.A (NBC 1981-1982, Barbara Eden)

Harper Valley P.T.A

Harper Valley P.T.A was a sitcom starring Barbara Eden as Stella Johnson a widow with a 13 year old daughter, Dee. The pair lived in Harper Valley, Ohio, a Stepford Wives kind of a place, sweet on the surface but with a sleazy undercurrent.

Stella was a very pro-active member of the school P.T.A. board a fact which obviously gave the show it’s title. The rest of the board thought Stella was far too radical for them and were determined to be rid of her.

Leader of the PTA was the highly snooty Flora Simpson Reilly who hated Stella with a passion. Reilly and her family played a big part in the series.

For season two there several changes (most notably the shortening of the title to simply Harper Valley) with the PTA side of things taking a back seat and the setting becoming more a traditional suburban one. Stella’s inventor Uncle Buster moved in with her and Dee for this season.

The show was actually based on the hit record of 1968 Harper Valley PTA by Jeannie C. Riley which in turn led to the 1978 film of the same name which also starred Barbara Eden as Stella.

production details
USA / NBC / 36×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 January 1981 – Saturday 14 August 1982

Theme Music: Harper Valley P.T.A. by Tom T. Hall

cast
BARBARA EDEN as Stella Johnson
JEAN THOMPSON as Dee Johnson
ANNE FRANCINE as Flora Simpson Reilley
FANNIE FLAGG as Cassie Bowman
GEORGE GOBEL as Mayor Otis Harper Jr
BRIDGET HANLEY as Wanda Reilly Taylor
SUZI DEAN as Scarlett Taylor
ROD McCARY as Bobby Taylor
CHRISTOPHER STONE as Tom Meechum
GARY ALLEN as Norman Clayton (1981)
MARI GORMAN as Vivian Washburn (1981)
EDIE McCLURG as Willamae Jones (1981)
ROBERT GRAY as Cliff Willoughby (1981)
VIC DUNLOP as George Kelly (1981)
KEVIN SCANNELL as Coach Burt Powell (1981)
MILLS WATSON as Winslow Homer (Uncle Buster) Smith (1981-82)