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FORT WORTH (CBS11) – I never thought that a 1912 war song from Ireland could make its way into the final episode of one of the most successful network TV shows in history… but it did.
“It’s A Long Way To Tipperary” isn’t really a war song per se in the sense that it rallies the troops to victory, but more about wanting to be home with loved ones. It became very popular among Irish and British troops during World War I. In November 1914, it was recorded by a well- known tenor of that day named John McCormack, who helped make the song even more popular. Written by Jack Judge and co-credited to Harry Williams, the song goes like this:
“It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go,
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly! Farewell Leicester Square!
It’s a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there!”
And now, fast forwarding nearly 63 years later to March 19, 1977, one of the top sitcoms of all time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was signing off.
After seven years and 169 episodes on CBS, WJM TV gets a new station manager who is brought in to fix the ratings. Everyone knows who is causing the low ratings for WJM newscasts… except the new manager, who fires Mary Richards, Lou Grant, Murray Slaughter and Sue Ann Nivens (Moore, Ed Asner, Gavin McLeod, and Betty White). The cause of poor ratings, Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), stays! In the final scenes, Ted expresses his “love and affection” for them in his own inimical way yet you know he really cares about them! He signs off the 6:00 p.m. newscast with the phrase, “It’s a long way to Tipperary….a long way to go!”
When everyone gathers in the newsroom for the final time, Lou starts the singing of this popular WWI song and everyone struggles to hold back tears.
Take another look at one of finest moments in television!