Monday, January 27, 2014

Retro TV Monday - This week in TV Guide: January 29, 1966

I'm generally not one to make hay of other people's misfortunes, but there's a line in Robert De Roos' cover story profile of Pat Crowley that shouts out for contextualization.

The actress, currently starring with Mark Miller in NBC's Please Don't Eat the Daisies, is talking about her marriage to attorney Ed Hookstratten.  De Roos asks her if the marriage, now eight years long, will last now that she's working on a weekly series.  "It sure is," she tells him.  "We are Catholics and there is a little solidity there."

That sounded like such a refreshing attitude to me that I immediately went to Google, to find that the Hookstrattens had divorced sometime in the 70s or 80s - Crowley remarried in 1986, to producer Andy Friendly.*

*Fun fact: Andy Friendly's father is legendary TV newsman Fred Friendly; his brother, David Friendly, was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 as producer of Little Miss Sunshine.

I hasten to say here that I have no knowledge of why Crowley and Hookstratten divorced, and I don't want to play either a pop psychologist, a pop marriage counselor, or a pop theologian.  But one of the many tragedies of the Catholic Church in the latter half of the 20th Century - particularly the post-Vatican II turmoil, which reached a peak in 1968 with Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae - is the breakdown of basic Catholic beliefs.  By the late 60s, Catholic doctrine had become a smorgasbord; if you didn't like what one priest had to say on birth control, for example, you could shop around and find a priest who would readily sanction it.  Similar situations existed for everything from premarital sex to divorce and remarriage to a whole host of previous elements of Catholic teaching that had rarely been questioned.  Inevitably, this kind of confusion among the faithful led many to doubt the Church's sincerity, authority, - what have you.  Bottom line: no solidity.

Again, I have no reason to think that this might have had any role to play in Pat Crowley's divorce from Ed Hookstratten. But I do think it's part of this blog's narrative to fit these kinds of things into the larger cultural environment.  The 60s were already a period of flux by now, and they were headed toward even more cataclysmic change. Understanding the climate of the times (even though the insufficient space here hardly scratches the surface) puts little moments like this into some sense of context.  It even adds, I think, a note of poignancy.

*Hookstratten, Elvis Presley's personal attorney, represented The King in his divorce from Priscilla, which certainly suggests mixed feelings regarding divorce.  

Read the rest here.

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