Screen Couples

We all know them: the Stoneses, the Andersons or the Stephenses. For some, they may be a guilty pleasure, for others a mere necessity to get a story told. For me, they are the cherry on top of any tale: fictional couples and their personal stories. On the fringes of drama, comedy and mayhem, romantic innuendo has always been my favorite treat. From Date with the Angels and Family Ties to Murder She Wrote or Babylon 5, I have a weakness for double entendre paired with a healthy sense of humor, smarts and mutual respect.

Della and Perry1) Perry Mason and Della Street, for example, have been my favorite couple for more years than I care to admit. On paper, radio and screen, the lawyer and his secretary know how to put a smile on my face. Committed to their work as much as to each other, the true nature of their relationship has always remained a mystery. For some fans, they are the best of friends while others suspect some hanky-panky behind closed doors. For me, they have long been married, the epitomized working couple who combines independence with traditional values. And that’s the beauty of those characters and their story. They ignite your imagination and tease you to the point of sizzling frustration with a simple look, remark or smitten smile. It is a tradition Erle Stanley Gardner himself started in The Velvet Claws in 1933 and lasted until 1994 when the last Perry Mason TV movie aired on NBC. Perfected by its signature cast, Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale, Perry and Della have since lived on in the hearts of many fans, the flame of their romance burning more and more brightly towards the series’ end.

Jennifer&Jonathan2) The second couple I have loved for as long as I can remember are Jennifer and Jonathan Hart. Sophisticated, rich and charming, the Harts had everything including a mutually executed interest in solving mysteries. Following in the footsteps of TV’s Mr. and Mrs. North, they dug up trouble where it’s usually hard to find but their love for each other made their cases stand out from others. Together, they were invincible and (much like Della and Perry) have stood the test of time. A mere decade after Hart to Hart was canceled on ABC, the couple returned to television in 1993, matured, refined, and every bit as committed to each other as they had always been. Today, the Harts are still a dream couple for their fans, a twosome who showed their audience the ingredients of true love and how it beautiful life can be even if you are denied to have your desired offspring.

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Scarecrow and Mrs. King

TV classics: Scarecrow and Mrs. King

USA 1983-87, 4 seasons,  88 episodes, approximately 45 minutes each, CBS, color. Cast: Bruce Boxleitner, Kate Jackson, Beverly Garland, Mel Stewart, Martha Smith, Greg Morton, Paul Stout, Sam Melville

Plot summary: Amanda King, a divorced mother of two, lives an uneventful life with her mother in DC until she stumbles into Lee Stetson who happens to be an agent with the alias Scarecrow.

Review: Designed as a family show with James Bond elements and romance, Scarecrow and Mrs. King entered American living rooms in the fall of 1983, introducing Kate Jackson in her first series lead since Charlie’s Angels in the late 70s. Teamed up with Bruce Boxleitner, she instantly built up a chemistry between herself and her co-star and thus turned the show into a decent hit. Typical for its day and age, Scarecrow and Mrs. King used the cold war as a setting for suspense and entertainment, but also managed to give the characters room to grow. Starting out as a housewife and mother, Amanda Kind slowly tapped into the world of espionage, curious and excited about her new adventures but also feeling guilty for having to keep her family in the dark. Apart from her budding attraction to The Agency’s star agent Lee “Scarecrow” Stetson, Amanda’s dynamic with female agent Francine (Martha Smith) and her clueless mother Dotty (Beverly Garland) only added to the charm and quality of the show.

Diverting, good-natured and mildly patriotic, Scarecrow and Mrs. King worked well for three consecutive season until Kate Jackson, unfortunately, was diagnosed with breast cancer in season four. Her treatments resulted in the reduction of her character and led to alterations that ultimately affected the show in an unfortunate way. The series was finally canceled by CBS at the end of the season, closing the characters’ storylines without too much dissatisfaction.

Today, three seasons of Scarecrow and Mrs. King have already been released on DVD and it’s safe to believe that the last season will follow eventually. For anyone who used to enjoy the show during its original run, it is a great pleasure to revisit the charming storyline in a good quality that will outshine your old VHS recordings. Lee Stetson and Amanda King are still as lovely and entertaining to watch and their supporting cast members continue to be a blast. Blessed with Beverly Garland, Mel Stewart and Martha Smith, the show still has the potential to attract a new audience that may not even have been born when the series first aired. It is a fun show full of suspense, romance and witty lines, and if you’re fond of the 80s, this gem will definitely make you smile.

Author’s note: Happy 4th of July by the way!