Valerie Bertinelli is iconic in a 1970s throwback pic she shared with Instagram. It was taken during a time when the actress was a staple of the teen magazine world and a cast member of one of the most groundbreaking television series of the era.
In the image, Valerie is seen alongside former One Day at a Time co-star Mackenzie Phillips. The pic was from an episode when the two teenagers dressed up as Elton John and Kiki Dee, and performed a rousing rendition of the rock tune “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”
The original song, released in 1976 and performed by Elton and Kiki, would rocket to the top of the Billboard charts and settle in at the No. 1 position in the United States for four weeks and in the United Kingdom for six weeks.
Valerie posted the pic with a caption that reminded viewers of the episode. The actress did not specify why she shared that particular image with her followers.
The show featured the girls dressed up as the rock and roll singers for an episode titled “Happy New Year,” where Barbara Cooper (Valerie), her sister Julie (Mackenzie), mother Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin), and Schneider (Pat Harrington) put on a New Year’s Eve show for a local retirement home in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The episode parlayed Valerie’s love of the singer into her character. Fans may remember that Barbara Cooper had Elton John posters decorating her side of the room she shared with her big sister. The episode also utilized the singing skills of Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of legendary Mamas and Papas singer John Phillips.
Valerie detailed her personal obsession with Elton John in her book Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time. She revealed in a passage that she provided the writers of the show details about her own life as a teenager growing up in the era.
“Barbara’s bedroom, like mine, was decorated with Elton posters. We also did a show where I dressed up like Elton, sang a song, and someone sent the tape of me to Elton. Much to my delight, I received an autographed photo in return that said ‘You look more like me than I do, Love Elton,'” wrote Valerie in the book.
Fans — including celebrity pals such as Faith Ford, a longtime friend of Valerie’s — wholeheartedly loved the image and the great memories it invoked for viewers of the television series.
One Day at a Time was groundbreaking in that it featured one of the first broken families depicted on television. The storyline was based upon Ann Romano, who divorced her husband and moved into her own apartment with her teenage daughters. The Norman Lear series would evolve via the three main characters’ struggles to make it on their own during an era when the divorce rate was at an all-time high.