Today is (17 January 2021) Betty White’s 99th birthday. She’s forgotten more about television than most of us will ever know, and the evidence of that came in the outpouring of well-wishes that dotted social media from celebrities and fans.
To put the cherry on the cake, White’s long-unseen series, Pet Set, created by and starring the television icon, will make its debut on digital platforms and DVD on February 23.
The star-studded 39 half-hours feature fellow animal-loving icons, including Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Doris Day, Burt Reynolds, Jimmy Stewart, Shirley Jones, James Brolin, and dozens more.
The showed aired in syndication from 1971-1972 and was produced by White and her husband, Allen Ludden. It was cancelled when its main sponsor, the Carnation Company, decided to direct its advertising budget exclusively to commercials rather than programming.
The talk show had four segments. White would bring out a guest star to showcase their pets, talk about the animal, then transition to a segment on a select species. The show would then feature an animal expert, then conclude with White and sometimes her guest stars outside with a wild animal, among them a 500-pound Bengal Tiger, a Black Bear, and an Asian Elephant.
“If I haven’t told you already, I will now. The Pet Set is one of my favorite shows,” said White. “I’m thrilled it’s going to be seen again after all these years.”
MPI Media Group has teamed with Darren Wadyko Media and Betty White via her Albets Enterprises banner to release the long-lost 1971 series. It will be available on Apple TV, Google Play and Prime Video during its initial rollout, with more platforms expected later this year.
For the uninitiated, White’s career started in the test days of television and has brought her multiple Emmy Awards, thanks to her work on such classic TV as The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Hot in Cleveland, as well as countless game and talk show appearances.
The new DVD special features include a behind-the-scenes look at the series, original promotional spots, the featurettes Betty White: Game Show Goddess and Betty White: Queen of Television, Betty’s Photo Album, and her public service ads.