Harper Valley P.T.A. and Harper Valley U.S.A.

Harper Valley P.T.A. (1981)
Harper Valley U.S.A. (1981-1982)
Type: Series Revamp

   Man, a modest hit of a novelty song spawns a modestly popular movie that then inspires a modest failure of a sitcom. All because of the day some girl's momma socked it to the Harper Valley P.T.A.

   The song, the movie and the TV show all told a story with the same premise. A girl living in an uptight town where folks have a "holier than thou" attitude is treated badly and spoken down to because she and her mom aren't good enough. Specifically the mother, Stella Johnson, is looked at with contempt for her sexy looks and way of dressing and because she is very forward and up front with her behavior and opinions. Stella ends up going head to head with the Harper Valley P.T.A. over the unfair treatment being handed to her daughter. And while Stella might appear less than innocent, the rest of the goody-two-shoes in Harper Valley are just as sinful as they claim she is. They are gossipy small minded folks just as sinful as anyone else... they just hide their faults away and deny them.

   In both the movie and the series Stella Johnson was played by I Dream Of Jeanie's Barbara Eden. Ahh. You couldn't ask for a better actress to play the part of an inspiring, honest and HOT mom. Yoiks! You bet your ass I Dream Of Jeanie!

   After it's first run as a mid season replacement series, the show came back the next fall as Harper Valley U.S.A. Lets face facts. There is only so much plot to be mined by being forced to center on the P.T.A. alone. Why there's a whole town full of crappy folks to battle who have no tie to the school at all! According to The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network And Cable TV Shows, a bible of TV knowledge, the show's new name was just Harper Valley. I swear I remember it as Harper Valley U.S.A. They needed the U.S.A. just so they could keep the theme song sounding right. Obviously the original theme was based on the song that started it all. The theme for the new season changed the words but kept the tune the same and you really need "Harper Valley U.S.A." to properly replace "Harper Valley P.T.A." Not that it matters: neither title apparently helped 'cause the show died after that season.

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