DAD: Babbo Bonino (Ezio Pinza) / Widower
DAD’S JOB: Basso Profundo operatic singer
KIDS: Doris(Lenka Peterson), Jerry(Chet Allen, then Donald Harris), Carlo(Oliver Andes), Francesca(Gaye Hudson), Andrew(Van Dyke Parks)
WHERE’S MOM?: Dead, recently
STAND-IN “MOM”: Martha (Mary Wickes) / Maid
This series holds the distinction of being the earliest TV Single Dad show created specifically for television.
Though short-lived, this was a live sitcom starring the famous opera star Ezio Pinza as a (guess what?) famous opera star, Bonino. Bonino’s wife died, leaving him with a “party of six.” Bonino gave up opera touring to raise his kids, but found out that the kids were a leetle more independent than he was expecting.
The series was created by Fred Coe and David Swift, producers of the popular NBC show Mister Peepers. Coe and Swift previously worked with Ezio Pinza on The RCA Victor Show in 1948, and were interested in building a series around Pinza’s vocal and dramatic talents.
I imagine it must have been really interesting to watch a show where five kids had to hit their marks, live, every week.
Very Kewl Update: Just got a cast correction in from none other than Carlo Bonino himself, Oliver Andes!
It was even more interesting to actually hit the marks on live TV. I notice that several web sites have the same incorrect information. The part of Francesca was played by Gaye Huston.
Keep up the good work.
Oliver Andes (Carlo)”