The Great Gildersleeve

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1955 Syndicated DAD: Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman) / Single DAD’S JOB: Water Commissioner of Summerfield KID: Marjorie Forrester(Stephanie Griffith), Leroy Forrester(Ronald Keith) / Niece & Nephew WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. So’s Dad. STAND-IN “MOM”: Birdie Lee Coggins (Lillian Randolph) / Housekeeper Technically, this show started before WWII — but it was a *radio* show when it began in 1941. …

The Guns of Will Sonnett

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Retired cavalry scout KIDS: Jeff Sonnett (Dack Rambo) (19) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. But that’s not important. STAND-IN “MOM”: Will Sonnett — the grandfather. Let’s return to a familiar storyline — Grandpa raises the kid when the parents are dead/missing (see The Ed Wynn Show for details). In this western, Jeff Sonnett’s dad, who is also Will Sonnett’s son, …

The Andy Griffith Show

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1960-68 DAD’S JOB: Sheriff of Mayberry, NC KIDS: Opie (7)(Ronnie Howard) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for quite some time – unknown. STAND-IN “MOM”: Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) A comedic take on The Rifleman, The Andy Griffith Show relied on a formula pioneered in the series this show was spun off from: Danny Thomas’s Make Room for Daddy. The formula was …

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 …

Circus Boy

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1956(NBC)-57(ABC) KIDS: Corky (Mickey Braddock {Mickey Dolenz})(10) WHERE’S MOM?: Mom and Dad both dead – killed in a high-wire act. STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown Consider the role of disastrous high-wire acts in the history of TV Single Dads. In this show, Corky the Circus Boy loses his acrobatic parents in a trapeze mishap, and winds up sharing adventures with Big …

Accidental Family

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Nightclub comedian KIDS: Sandy (Teddy Quinn)(11) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. STAND-IN “MOM”: Sue Kramer / divorced “nanny” Am I the only one who remembers this show? This was kinda like Green Acres without Eva Gabor. Jerry Webster was a comedian who bought a farm so that his son would have a place to stay while Jerry was on the …

Stagecoach West

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1960-1961 DAD’S JOB: Stagecoach Driver KIDS: David Kane (Richard Eyer) (13) WHERE’S MOM?: Unknown STAND-IN “MOM”: Possibly Luke Perry (Wayne Rogers) / Stagecoach Co-pilot Uh, this is kinda like Love Boat on a stagecoach, and without the comedy. Simon and Luke drove the stagecoach between California and Missouri, and Simon’s son travelled with them. Maybe someday they’ll make a …

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 …

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 …

Bachelor Father

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD: Bentley Gregg (John Forsythe) / Single (!) DAD’S JOB: Lawyer KIDS: Kelly (Noreen Corcoran)(14) WHERE’S MOM?: Mom and Dad both dead. Bentley was Kelly’s parents’ attorney and executor – wound up with wardship! STAND-IN “MOM”: Peter Tong (Sammee Tong) Should have been called “Suddenly Dad;” this show was a retake on the My Little Margie scenario, except Uncle Bentley …