By the end of 1976, producer extraordinaire Norman Lear had a crisis on his hands. His cult-favorite sitcom Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman imploded when its star, Louise Lasser, went through emotional trauma that forced her to resign. But Hartman's hometown of Fernwood, Ohio (ZIP Code 45989) would not shrivel up. Toward the end of the next summer, a new set of characters emerged with a "talk show" called Fernwood 2Night, airing (originally) live from Channel 6 in Fernwood. The host of Fernwood 2Night was Barth Gimble, who had left a very successful talk show in Miami under circumstances similar to Louise Lasser's real-life breakdown. Barth returned to his home of Fernwood to start this new talk show on Channel 6. Immediately, he used it as a platform to deny the charges made against him in the Fernwood Courier ("There has never been a conviction"). But on the bright side, Barth did get in banter with interesting guests, his second banana Jerry Hubbard, and musical director Happy.
Barth talks about his unusual day-to-day contract. Howard Palmer, a man in an iron lung, plays the piano. ""Talk to a Jew"" -- Morton Rose answers audience questions. (""When is Barbra Streisand's next movie coming out?"")
Barth thanks the viewers for their support that got him renewed for another episode. Rocket to Stardom: Baby Irene sings ""I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded"". Barth talks to her about gun control. Happy talks about his nostrils. From Fernwood Commmunity College: Doctor Richard Osgood has proof that leisure suits cause cancer. (You see, they dress up the mice in tiny leisure suits... No, really!) Bury the Hatchet: Iris and Joseph Case want their son, a Catholic priest, to come back to them. Howard Palmer plays, while Baby Irene dances.
Barth introduces his dad. The body language of April McTear -- contortionist. Lou Moffatt plugs Blendermatic, the Wonderblender. The owner of the Butterfly Deli, Susan Cloud (""...the body _requires_ burgers""). Barth's father Garth Sr. and his idiot dog perform,
Hula hoopist Darius Washington. South Vietnamese gardener Mian Co Thiam plugs his book: "Yankee Doodle Gook". The Other Side of the News:High School Principal Marshall O. Petty discusses corporal punishment by demonstrating it on Debbie Dunbar. Lastly, Garth Sr. and his dumb dog.
Barth talks with Debbie Dunbar's mother. Since ""last weeks"" on-air spanking, Debbie has gotten several lucrative modeling jobs. Russ Tuttle, the Fernwood coroner talks about cut rate funeral alternatives; Mrs. Dunbar appears with both of her daughters, shamelessly plugging the phone number for her ""talent agency"". Jerry rambles on about families. Barth sings ""Feelings"" while Debbie does cheerleader stuff. Once again, Garth and Louie.
Vernon Taylor (AKA ""Uncle Sam, Jr"") reads one of his poems, Candy Lee Hargrove talks about the Fernwood Fascinating Females League.
Pet control center director Connie Bushman on Hearing Ear Dogs for the Deaf. Also: dancer Lisa Martin; Garth Gimble, Sr. and his dog.
The Barlow Brothers singers; consumer advocate Lou Moffett plugs "Latin Oldies"; Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers perform "Disco Duck"; Congressman Chambers.
Ambassador-at-large Harold Mislap talks about his efforts to bring tourism to Fernwood, Dr. Richard Osgood presents his no-frills hospital plan.
Daredevil Virgil Simms; Emanuel Kasinski on his latest findings on ethnic myths and prejudice.
Grandmother Lillian Dunbar and presidential namesake James Earl Carter.
Candy discusses gynacology and the need for female gynacologists. Bart plays the guitar while Happy and Vernon accompany him.
Barth challenges Jimmy Carter to come on the show and compete with him to prove just who is a star. Lou Moffet offers tips on home music ripoffs and the presents the American Guitar Studios home study course offered by Gimblco Enterprises. Happy & band member Tommy Maranucci sit and chat.
Professional football consultant Emanual Kasinski on the breeding of large men.
This episode is tentatively scheduled for air on TV LAND July 20th at midnight. Original production number: 127 Barth promotes the planned Garth Gimbel Memorial Tennis Classic. W.D. ""Bud"" Prize (Kenneth Mars) returns, and bows to public demands that he reveal the secret of his chinadonture treatment. In a rebuttal to Dr. Van Moot (aka Dr. Osgood), Phil Maltby (Morgan Upton) of Phil's Fashion Funwear and Medical Research Lab explains that leisure suits, far from causing cancer, actually can help cure disease. ""Bud"" Prize is so stimulated by this revelation that he falls asleep.
Connie Bushman talks about her dating service for dogs. Radio personality Terry Guy plugs his disc jockey correspondence course.
Lou Moffatt on land deals; Bassist Eddie Thomerson. Sylvia Miller also appears and discusses how a martian violated her with a beam of blue light.
Vernon Taylor, better known as Uncle Sam, Jr. is back and as passionate as ever.
Insurance salesman Elliott J. Tubbs demonstrates his comedy sales techniques. Happy Kyne on shut-ins.
Tom Waits. ""Bud"" Prize on using CB radio to bring in tourists.
A dumbness measuring machine is demonstrated. Actually, more like a dumbness alarm. Say a dumb thing, and the alarm goes off. Like every time that Jerry opens his mouth.
Happy Kyne shares the latest gizmo developed by the Olfactory Center of Toledo; the nose aid.
Mario Dorsett on his success as a singer; Tony Rolletti; Mrs. Walter Donker, whose husband sells cars.
Gilbert Ulysses Nelson discusses the treatment of criminals.
Local opera singer Donny Lee Savage; Dr. Hugh Slocum on his latest scientific discovery; Amateur photographer Marianne Cox.
Singing duo Doug and Diana Mitchell; Fernwood blood drive chairman Larry Guy.
Singer Laurie Gallagher performs, accompanied by her mother on drums. Also: Bud Prize and Sylvia Miller.
Doctor Alexander Beach discusses his findings on marijuana. How the Humdinger Barbershop Quartet became a trio.
Barth begins the show talking about folk music and then leads the show's cast in a performance of the first song written in America, Men. Guests include Nettie Foreman and Barbie Osgood, founders of Two Ladies Against Pornography.
The founder of the Church of the Devine Lemonade, Billy Jenkins. George and Sally Krepps discuss the La Fromage method of childbirth.
Martin Worth reads one of his poems. Also: Susan Cloud and chauffeur Earl Simmons.
Fernwood mayor Merle Jeeter honors champion Girl scout cookie seller Wendy Price. Also: contortionist Mike Timmins and Mary Lou Bridgewater.
Alberta Cornwall on how colored clothing affects moods; poet Vernon Taylor.
Hair stylist Sal Magglione and Presidential namesake James Earl Carter.
Sportscaster Jane Tiffany and W. D. ""Bud"" Prize.
Tony Rolletti plugs his autobiography. The Mirth-Makers perform ""Rock Around the Clock"".
Virgil Simms tells how to get the most out of your new-car waranty. Basically, you make sure that it goes into the shop just before that waranty expires.
Linda Barry, owner of the Fernwood Nudist Colony. Toy maker George Ellsworth.
Jane Tiffany; Sylvia Miller; Wrestler Rock Mondo and his assisstant.
Representative Chambers on solving water shortages with icebergs. Lucy and Ed Campbell show how they display affection.
Vern Taylor; Sex therapy clinic founder Matthew Johnson; Happy sings about tooth decay.
Comic Buddy Brown; Author Dottie Ann Lee; Eddie Thomerson's real estate tips.
Larry Guy takes questions from the audience; The Mirth-Makers play ""Skateboard Angel"".
Las Vegas entertainer Debbie Dunbar; Mobile home daredevil Virgil Simms.
Impressionist Reggie Morrison; Principal Marshall Petty; Susan Cloud.
Connie Bushman on her computer pet mating service; Sherry McCormick performs "" I Like Dreamin'""; The Birchfield, Ohio mayor tells how he spent 90 days in jail.
Historian Harrison Edwards. Also: Tony Rolletti and Jane Tiffany.
Author Duane Goff plugs his book, ""Behind Hollywood"". The Mirth-makers perform ""Fifteen and Free"".
Barth starts the show with a slide show of his travels around Hollywood. Guests for this episode are etiquette authority Meg Endicott and her new book, Etiquette Guidelines for the Future and U.S. Defense Department representative, Col. Morris Chandler, announcing the newly formed War Deprogramming Center, a facility that helps war veterans ease back into the civilian life by first returning them to the war.
The show starts off on a somber note when Barth announces that the recently hired sportscaster, Jane Tiffany, was injured and is now in a coma, her prognosis uncertain. They proceed to hold an impromptu tribute to her which was quickly thrown together without hardly any thought or preparation and it shows. The first guest claimed to be Barth's Aunt Edith but is in fact Barth's former "patron" from Miami. This much older woman has tracked him down for the promised "services to be rendered" once she "put mirrors on every ceiling." The next guest claimed to be an accomplished dancer who defected from the Soviet Union but it becomes obvious that Serge Nabokov was kicked out because, as his mother put it, "you stink."
Barth says a prayer on the show before introducing former daredevil now auto mechanics instructor Virgil Simms. He talks about being an auto-mechanics instructor at the Fernwood Community College. Also appearing is Elliot J Tubbs, the newly appointed National Liquor Lobby representative furthering the alcohol industry's cause. Barth ends the show with a song about truckers and fruit.
The show begins with Barth and Jerry reacting to some comments made by Tom Snyder. With the band's strike over, things return to normal. Tonight's guests include Edward Bailey, a hamburger bun juggler from the Bun-N-Run, Dr. Harlen Washburn, who describes his vision of integrated education and returning guest Baby Irene performing Animal Crackers.
Father George Reese plugs his theological correspondence course, and accordianist Frankie ""Kid"" Carbone.
Six-year-old trombonist Kevin McCormick. Mrs. Lillian Lattimore describes her diet program.
Virgil Simms introduces his battery powered car. Emanual Kasinski on Gay Liberation.
Harry Shearer discusses his work in TV news.
Bob and Joanne Herlick recite Shakespeare. Nelson Phipps of the Amusement and Healing Parks.
On the show tonight: Indian princess Shosen Rising Star and psychologist Stanley Turnbull.
Barth Gimble fan club president Mercedes Blyweiss presents an award to Barth.
Happy Kyne talks about where songwriters get their inspiration. Happy and the Mirth-Makers sing ""Ice Cream Baby"". Barth interviews three heavily-disguised criminals. Barth explains to Jerry how cartoons work. Bud Prize talks about the ransom note. Somebody has his chow-chow! Barth gets a singing telegram -- actually a summons from Miami.
The set is bare after Barth sells most of the furnishings to avoid doing jail time in Miami. For the final episode of the series, Barth and Jerry stage a telethon to try and save the show. Two former guests return to join the telethon, Vern Taylor with his crazy rants and even crazier horn and Candy Lee Hargrove, who is just plain crazy. The show is replaced with America 2Night.