Thursday, May 4, 2017


Dan Whitfield was an author living in the Minneapolis area in the early 1970s.  He wrote a book entitled "Television Journalism" and traveled across the country lecturing on the subject.  

In 1971, Mary Richards, the associate producer of the WJM news program in Minneapolis (Channel 12), took Whitfield's class along with her friend Rhoda Morgenstern.....

'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
    - "Room 223" (1971)
Mary enrolls in a nighttime TV-journalism class, hoping to sharpen her professional skills. Rhoda also enrolls, hoping to improve her social life. Ultimately, however, it is Mary and not Rhoda who ends up dating the class' handsome lecturer. Michael Tolan makes his first series appearance as Dan Whitfield, who'd turn out to be one of Mary Richards' most persistent suitors.
(Synopsis by Hal Erickson)

Frustrated with her lack of progress at WJM, Mary decides to sharpen her skills with a class in television journalism. Naturally, she catches the teacher's eye.

After she is the cause of a writing gaffe at the newsroom, Mary, on Phyllis' advice, decides to take an introductory television journalism course. Rhoda decides to join Mary in the class. Mary ends up being the only student there who is taking the class to enhance her already established television journalism career. When Dan Whitfield, the teacher, asks Mary to stay after class, she believes he is going to chastise her for dominating the class discussion with her rather benign anecdotes of life at WJM. Instead, he, attracted to her, asks her out, which she accepts. He even accepts her offer to have a slightly reluctant Lou give a talk to the class. Will Mary and Dan's new dating status affect the way he treats her in class? And will Mary wish his professional treatment of her was different?


But the romance between Mary and Dan didn't last very long and after a few months they broke up.  However, a year later.....

'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
    - The Courtship of Mary's Father's Daughter (1972)
Mary runs into her former boyfriend Dan Whitfield in an elevator by chance. Subsequently, Dan realizes he still has feelings for Mary, breaks off his engagement, and begins dating her again.

Mary runs into her old journalism teacher and one time boyfriend, Dan Whitfield. She is happy to see him in a somewhat romantic way until she learns that he is engaged, with his fiancée, Judy Conrad, being the woman standing right behind her. Regardless, Dan invites Mary and Rhoda to their engagement party. Mary isn't sure why she ends up going, but upon her and Rhoda's arrival, it is obvious that Judy doesn't want her there and that Judy and Dan have been fighting about her. Mary ends up being the reason for Judy and Dan breaking up. In turn, Dan and Mary start dating again. Everything between them is moving very quickly, with Mary believing that Dan is soon going to ask her to marry him. Although she thinks she loves Dan and loves him more than any man she has ever known, she gets the feeling that he's more in love with the idea of being in love than he is with her. If that is indeed the case, Mary and Dan have to figure out if there is any future for them at all. 

Just a side note of conjecture at this point:

Dan Whitfield may have been engaged, but had he married Judy Conrad it would not have been his first marriage.  I believe he had been previously married, perhaps once he got out of college in the late 1940s.  Whenever the marriage began, it lasted until around 1967.  Mr. and Mrs. Dan Whitfield had a son, named after Dan, whose full name was Dean; "Dan" was just a nickname.  

"Mary Tyler Moore"
    - One Boyfriend Too Many
Mary is pursued by two charming bachelors, each of whom wants her constant companionship.
Mary's old flame Dan Whitfield, who once proposed to her, returns to Minneapolis and she's forced to choose between him and her current boyfriend.

Mary has to choose between her current boyfriend and an old flame that returns to town.

Mary and Joe's relationship is at a stage of public declaration of love on both sides. But their relationship hits a potential bump when Mary's old boyfriend, journalist Dan Whitfield, returns permanently to Minneapolis, he who wants to rekindle their relationship. The only reason they broke up was because Dan moved to New York for work which crushed Mary at the time. Despite Mary's feelings for Joe, she isn't sure if she's over Dan and feels like she needs to explore if her romantic feelings for Dan are stronger than they are for Joe. She tries to be as up front to both Joe and Dan about the other, at which she isn't very good. Joe, in particular, doesn't take the news well. Mary's friends all have their own view if Mary should pick Joe or Dan, especially Ted who has bonded with Joe. An impulsive and somewhat reckless move by Joe in the matter makes Mary come to some conclusions about the situation.


Joe Warner won out in the end because of that reckless act.  And Dan Whitfield left Mary's life forever.

Getting back to the theory of relateeveety, he may have focused more on re-establishing his relationship with his son Dean, who was born in 1964.

After his parents divorced around 1967, Dean and his mother moved back to her home state of Connecticut.  There Dean grew up, attended Yale, and became immersed in state politics.  His was a meteoric rise and he was his party's golden boy, eventually becoming the governor of the Nutmeg State.

But Dean Whitfield wasn't the knight in shining armor which his publicity depicted.  He cheated on his wife; he made shady deals which primarily enriched him; he betrayed his allies to get ahead.  Most of this went unnoticed by his constituents, but eventually he paid the price.

"A popular US governor died.
Maybe he wasn't popular with everyone

Dr. Jason Bull

When a state governor and the co-owner of a sky-diving company die during a jump, Bull helps the co-owner's brother and daughter fight a lawsuit filed by the governor's widow.

"Governor Whitfield would take us on these thrill seeking adventures to show off.
I guess the last one didn't turn out too good for him."



Governor Whitfield at least outlived his father, if only by a few years - Dan Whitfield passed away in 2011.  
Like I said, this has only been conjecture, a theory of relateeveety.  But I feel comfortable with it.  And while this is the type of thing that keeps me off the streets, I at least want to make sure what I blog doesn't keep me awake at night.....

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