Decades after it originally aired, “The Golden Girls” continues to be loved by fans of all ages. However, as the show was being developed it was thought that such a series about four older women living together would not be of interest to television audiences.
This, obviously, proved not to be the case. And, one of the beloved sitcom’s stars addressed this very issue during a 1988 appearance on “Larry King Live.”
That star was Rue McClanahan. She played the sassy, flirty, and funny character of Blanche Devereaux on “The Golden Girls.” Her interview with Larry King took place after the show had become a hit. It aired its first episode in 1985, according to IMDb.com. And, continued its television run until 1992. The finale of the series aired on May 9, 1992.
During their interview, King asked McClanahan about the general conception that television shows about characters such as those that appeared on “The Golden Girls” could be successful.
“Wasn’t it the general thinking that teens watch a lot of television? And, teens are not interested in older people?” King asked “The Golden Girls” star.
Her response was perfect. And, she made it clear that what people thought about a show such as hers was dead wrong.
“That was the misconception, but we’ve blown that one sky-high,” Rue McClanahan said. “Most of the fan mail I get is from teens.”
‘Golden Girls’ Star Compared Fans Enjoying Her Series to Her Enjoying Radio Shows That Starred Older Entertainers
Larry King then wanted to know what was wrong with that conception. “What weren’t they buying?” he asked. According to McClanahan, it had to do with a lack of effort and openness to new ideas.
“Somehow I don’t think they tried, you know? It’s like picketing a movie you haven’t seen,” she said. “You know, you don’t know until you find out what … I mean, it’s scientific isn’t it? To try it and see how the people respond, instead of trying to second guess them.”
“The Golden Girls” actress then recalled that the shows she enjoyed during her childhood often had stars who were middle-aged.
“I used to love those radio shows in the ’40s when I was a kid. Bob Hope was, you know … and all those people was [sic] much older than I was. Red Skelton,” McClanahan said.
King agreed and said. “That’s right. We loved them as kids and they were older. That’s right.”
“Why, of course,” McClahanan added. “They were (in their) 40s, 50s then, maybe. And, I didn’t think about how old they were.”
Also during the 1988 interview with Larry King, Rue McClanahan said she knew “The Golden Girls” would be a hit early on.
“In fact, I thought it would be a winner when I first opened that script up in my office,” she said. “In fact, even before I opened it. When I saw the title, ‘The Golden Girls’ by Susan Harris I said, ‘Uh-oh, I want to be a part of this.’ It was an instinct I had about it.”
She was absolutely correct about that. Rue McClanahan passed away in 2010 at the age of 76.
You can watch Rue McClanahan talk about “The Golden Girls” with Larry King below.