Fresno Beehive

Hey, ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ scarf woman: Don’t scowl at someone who turns the world on with her smile

Like much of the rest of the country, I stopped what I was doing at around noon today, thought a bit about Mary Tyler Moore and hummed a few bars of “You’re going to make it after all.”

I’ll refrain from writing one of those full-fledged appreciations that are now pouring out of several generations’ worth of over-40 journalists across the land raised on a happy diet of meetings in Mr. Grant’s office, tongue-twisting obfuscations from Ted Baxter and a big “M” on Mary’s apartment wall.

Instead I’ll focus on a weirdly specific memory: the woman in the scarf at the opening of the opening credits of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

We catch a glimpse of her just as Mary flings her hat in the air. Growing up, I watched for her every week. Turns out I wasn’t the only one. As my dear college friend MaryAnne told me today: “Her look of confusion/disapproval always delighted me.”

I like to think the woman isn’t as much of a crab as this momentary peek might suggest. Perhaps she just has a bit of a sour stomach. Or she had a fight with daughter this morning. Or – and this is my favorite interpretation – just after this point in the clip, when we can’t see her anymore, she breaks into a wide grin at the sight of this enthusiastic young woman so obviously in love with life. Her whole day is brightened.

I hadn’t thought about Mystery Scarf Woman for years. But doing so today gives me a cozy, nostalgic feel. We’ll miss you, Mary.