Many Happy Returns (TV Series 1964–1965) Poster


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Mr. McGiver's Only Lead Role Sit-Com
theowinthrop31 October 2005
1964, in retrospect, was a dismal television year, and among the numerous failures was this sitcom. It is notable only because it was the only time that that fine comic character actor John McGiver had the lead in a television show. McGiver was Walter Burnley, the head of a department store's returns department (hence the title). He was constantly facing pressure from his boss Owen Sharp (Russell Collins) regarding the rules and regulations of the department store - basically it was a battle of who was really running the department. McGiver normally was the winner of these struggles.

I can't recall the episodes too well today - the show was not that great, though McGiver and the cast did what they could do. One episode was interesting and remains in my mind. Mickey Manners played Joe Foley, one of the clumsy staff in McGiver's department. In one episode he was in an amateur production of Romeo and Juliet in the lead role. But he could not get a hang on the Shakespearean language and poetry. McGiver tries to train him how to appreciate Shakespeare, but he can't get through. Then, he gets an idea. Manners knows how to mouth the lines. McGiver reads the role of Romeo out of sight of the audience while Manners acts it. As McGiver had a clear, marvelous speaking voice, it suddenly became apparent that had he looked handsomer than he did he might have had a career in such plays. Only at the end, when Manners is about to take his poison, does he (rather than McGiver) say the last line of Romeo. It was an interesting episode, and (to me) remains the most memorable episode of that show.
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Krocmeyer's Appreciates Your Patronage
raher2 May 2007
One of the running jokes in the show was the minor speech impediment of one of the characters (Mickey Manners's Joe Foley, IIRC). One of the store's regulations was that, after every interaction with a customer, the employee was expected to say, "Krocmeyer's appreciates your patronage." Foley always had a particularly difficult time with this sentence.

Another source of comedy was that the return desk was expected to ask the customer why he/she was returning the item, and to try to convince the customer to keep the merchandise anyway. I got the impression that this was actually a major function of the department, to _discourage_ actual returns. Thus I was a little confused when the plot of one episode was that the store considered replacing the returns employees with a computerized system in which customers would simply drop unwanted merchandise in a bin, insert the receipt in a slot, and automatically get their money back (with a recorded "Krocmeyer's appreciates your patronage").
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