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 …

Bonanza

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) / Widower x 3 DAD’S JOB: Rancher WHERE’S MOM?: Each of the three Moms died in childbirth – really! (or NOT — read the Viewer Responses, below)… STAND-IN “MOM”: Hop Sing (Victor Sen Yung) As Danny DeVito said in the movie Tin Men, this show is about “a 50-year-old man with three 49-year-old sons.” Domestic …

O.K. Crackerby!

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Richest man in the world KIDS: Cynthia (Brooke Adams), Hobart (teenagers), and O.K. Jr. (age unknown) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – unknown causes. STAND-IN “MOM”: St. John Quincy (Hal Buckley), the Crackerby kids’ tutor O.K., like Jed Clampett, was a recent billionaire. The difference was that O.K. was not okay about his roots, and was always trying to get …

To Rome With Love

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: College Professor KIDS: Alison (Joyce Menges), Penny (Susan Neher), Mary Jane “Pokey” (Melanie Fullerton) WHERE’S MOM?: Died just before episode one. STAND-IN “MOM”: Harriet Endicott (Kay Medford) / Aunt, then Andy Pruitt (Walter Brennan) / Grandpa

Life with Luigi

Jim 1950s - 1960s

AIRED: 1952-53 DAD: Pasquale (Alan Reed) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Restaurant owner KIDS:  Rosa Pasquale (Jody Gilbert), 18 WHERE’S MOM?: Dead STAND-IN “MOM”:unknown A radio crossover (started on radio in 1948) – this show missed being the first TV Single Dad show by only a few months. Pasquale sponsored the title character's immigration in the hopes of having him marry …

Dudley Do-Right

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Inspector Ray K. Fenwick (voice of Paul Frees) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman KIDS: Nell (voice of June Foray) (18-ish) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – Unknown cause STAND-IN “MOM”: Nobody Dudley wound up with his own show, a decade after Rocky‘s premiere, on CBS. Trivia: watch for Hans Conreid (the voice of Snidely Whiplash) popping up in …

Hank

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Student-in-disguise KIDS: Tina Dearborn (Katie Sweet) (5) WHERE’S MOM?: Parents are dead. STAND-IN “MOM”: Franny (Kelly Jean Peters) / babysitter Okay, adult brothers can be TV Single Dads, too! (See “Kirk” on my ’90’s page.) Hank Dearborn’s parents died when he was 15, leaving him to support his little sister, Tina. Hank’s determination to go to college despite …

Bonino

Jim 1950s - 1960s

AIRED: 1952-53 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, …

The Dennis O’Keefe Show

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Hal Towne (Dennis O’Keefe ) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Newspaper columnist KIDS: Randy (Rickey Kelman) (10) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. Unknown cause. STAND-IN “MOM”: Sarge (Hope Emerson) / Housekeeper Classic elements of TV Single Dad shows abound in this series — Dad, a newspaper columnist (watch how often THAT career pops up in TV Single Dad shows) has a bulldog …

Thunderbirds

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Jeff Tracy / Widower DAD’S JOB: Billionaire recluse KIDS: Scott, Virgil, Alan, John, and Gordon Tracy (late teens/twenties) WHERE’S MOM?: Storyline says Jeff’s wife died because no one “rescued” her STAND-IN “MOM”: Kyrano (Kee-Ron-Noooo!) Hey, they’re made of wood, but so was Pinocchio, and he had a Single Dad! Thunderbirds had the same interpersonal dynamic as Bonanza, typical of …