The Rifleman

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1958-63 DAD’S JOB: Rifleman / Homesteader KIDS: Mark (Johnny Crawford)(12) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for quite some time – unknown. STAND-IN “MOM”: Miss Milly Scott (Joan Taylor) If you’re over 60, this is probably going to be one of the first five TV shows you will name if someone asks you about TV Single Dads. Take The Andy Griffith Show, …

Flipper

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Porter Ricks (Brian Kelly) / Widower (?) DAD’S JOB: Park Ranger KIDS: Sandy (Luke Halpin)(15), Bud (Tommy Norden)(10) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead, maybe. STAND-IN “MOM”: either oceanographer Ulla Norstrand (Ulla Stromstedt) or Flipper (?) (Suzy the Porpoise) Porter Ricks is the reason real-life Dads don’t get custody very often. Sandy and Bud were never were seen in school, never did …

Lancer

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Rancher KIDS: Scott Lancer (Wayne Maunder), Johnny Madrid Lancer (James Stacy) 20-something, foster daughter Teresa O’Brien (Elizabeth Baur) late teens WHERE’S MOM?: 3 kids – 3 different dead moms. STAND-IN “MOM”: Jelly Hoskins (Paul Bringear) / Ranch Hand Boy oh boy, this smells like Bonanza. Or maybe the Single-Dad version of Big Valley. Murdoch Lancer had a ranch, …

The Ed Wynn Show

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1958-1959 DAD: John Beamer (Ed Wynn ) / Widower-Grandfather DAD’S JOB: Retired? KIDS: Laurie (Jacklyn O’Donnell) (18), Midge (Sherry Alberoni) (9) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – so is Dad. STAND-IN “MOM”: John Beamer — the grandfather. Here’s a great twist on the “Not the Dad-Single Dad Show” motif (like Bachelor Father) — in this case, the “Dad” is the grandfather …

King Kong

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Ape Scientist KIDS: Bobby (10), Susan (9) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead, maybe. STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown Rankin-Bass updated the King Kong story in this briefly-lived cartoon. In this incarnation, King Kong makes friends with the Bond family on the island of Mondo, an island near Indonesia. Bad guys were always gunning for Kong and his friends, so most of the …

The Governor & J.J.

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Governor KIDS: J.J (20-ish) (Julie Sommars) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for a while – unknown cause. STAND-IN “MOM”: none

Jefferson Drum

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Jefferson Drum (Jeff Richards) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Newspaper Editor KIDS: Joey Drum (Eugene Martin) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – unknown how STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown Is it me, or don’t you think this western format was done to death in the late fifties? Jefferson Drum (how’s THAT for a name?) edited the town of Jubilee’s paper, and fought bad guys …

Kentucky Jones

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Veterinarian KIDS: Dwight Eisenhower (‘Ike’) Wong (9) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. Ike was an adopted orphan STAND-IN “MOM”:Unknown The late Mrs. Jones applied to adopt a Chinese orphan just before she died. Kentucky was left to care for a 9-year-old daughter and still manage a veterinary practice in Southern California. Kentucky was a reluctant dad in the style of …

Daktari

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Jungle Veterinarian KIDS: Paula Tracy (Cheryl Miller)(19) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead or something. STAND-IN “MOM”: none I just remember the cross-eyed lion, Clarence. Beats me about the rest of it. Wait, didn’t Paula date a guy who looked like Mike Minor from Petticoat Junction?

My Little Margie

Jim 1950s - 1960s

AIRED: 1952-55 DAD: Vernon Albright (Charles Farrell) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Investment Banker KIDS:  Margie (Gale Storm), 18 WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – so is Dad. STAND-IN “MOM”:Mrs. Odetts (Gertrude Hoff) The granddaddy of them all, My Little Margie set the stage for most TV Single Dad sitcom plots: the child decides Dad needs a new wife, and goes “shopping” for …