Diff’rent Strokes

Jim 1970s

DAD: Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Corporation President KIDS: Kimberly Drummond (Dana Plato), Arnold Jackson (Gary Coleman), Willis Jackson (Todd Bridges) WHERE’S MOM?: Drummond adopted dying maid’s kids / Kimberly’s mom died. STAND-IN “MOM”: Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) The source of most “troubled child actor” stories. Based on the outcome of their growing up, maybe Conrad Bain …

How the West was Won

Jim 1970s

DAD: Zeb Macahan (James Arness) / Single DAD’S JOB: Pioneer Homesteader KIDS: Luke (Bruce Boxleitner), Laura (Kathryn Holcomb), Josh (William Kirby Cullen), Jessie (Vicki Schreck) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. STAND-IN “MOM”: Molly Culhane (Fionnula Flanagan) / Aunt Sure, The Oregon Trail didn’t work AT ALL, but would that stop a network from building a GIGANTIC series starring TV icon James Arness …

The Oregon Trail

Jim 1970s

DAD: Evan Thorpe (Rod Taylor) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Wagon Train Pioneer Guy KIDS: Andrew Thorpe (Andrew Stevens) (17), William Thorpe (Tony Becker) (12), Rachel Thorpe (Gina Marie Smika) (10) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. STAND-IN “MOM”: Margaret Devlin (Darleen Carr) / Girlfriend Perhaps this is another motif buried in TV Single Dad shows: the idea of the Single Dad taking the …

The Hardy Boys Mysteries

Jim 1970s

Aired: 1977-79 DAD: Fenton Hardy (Edmund Gilbert) / widower DAD’S JOB: Private Investigator KIDS: Joe Hardy (Shaun Cassidy), Frank Hardy (Parker Stevenson) (teens) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for some time STAND-IN “MOM”: Aunt Gertrude (Edith Atwater) / Aunt Just as Xena has Hercules, so Nancy Drew had The Hardy Boys. Like Nancy Drew, the boys had a father deeply involved in …

Nancy Drew Mysteries

Jim 1970s

Aired: 1977-78 DAD: Carson Drew (William Schallert) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Criminal Lawyer KIDS: Nancy (Pamela Sue Martin) (18) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for quite some time STAND-IN “MOM”: Bess (Ruth Cox) Nancy Drew wasn’t that much different from another child of a Single Dad, Ellery Queen (Ellery’s show doesn’t count, however,since he didn’t live with his father). The plots revolved …

The Tony Randall Show

Jim 1970s

Aired 1976-1977(ABC), 1977-1978(CBS) DAD: Judge Walter Franklin (Tony Randall ) / widower DAD’S JOB: Judge KIDS: Roberta “Bobby” Franklin (Devon Scott ’76-’77, Penny Peyser ’77-’78) (18), Oliver Wendell Franklin (Brad Savage) (11) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for past two years STAND-IN “MOM”: Mrs. McClellan (Rachel Roberts) / housekeeper How did I miss *this* one? This show, about a widowed Philadelphia judge …

Popi

Jim 1970s

Aired: Jan-Aug 1976 DAD: Abraham Rodriguez (Hector Elizondo)/ widower DAD’S JOB: Building Handyman KIDS: “Junior”(Anthony Perez)/14, Luis (Dennis Vasquez)/10 WHERE’S MOM?: Dead STAND-IN “MOM”: Lupe (Edith Diaz) / Neighbor Based on the 1969 movie starring Alan Arkin, Popi followed tenement living for the widowed superintendent and how he kept his boys out of trouble. Strange how this show was the …

Mr. T and Tina

Jim 1970s

DAD: Taro Takahashi — Mr. T (Pat Morita) / Widower DAD’S JOB: Inventor KIDS: Sachi (June Angela )(10), Aki (Eugene Profanato) (8) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – unknown circumstances STAND-IN “MOM”: Tina Kelly (Susan Blanchard) No, silly, the OTHER Mr. T! Yet another twist: how about if the rest of the family was foreign-born, but the live-in domestic wasn’t? Lots of …

Three for the Road

Jim 1970s

Aired: 1975 DAD: Pete Karras (Alex Rocco) / widower DAD’S JOB: Photographer KIDS: John (Vincent Van Patten) (16), Endy (Leif Garrett) (15) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead STAND-IN “MOM”: None Let’s try analogies on this one — picture Jonny Quest without Race Bannon; make Dr. Quest a freelance photographer; give him a Winnebago instead of a jet; and make Hadji blonde. Another …

Bronk

Jim 1970s

Aired: 1975-1976 DAD: Lt. Alex Bronkov (Jack Palance) / widower DAD’S JOB: Cop KIDS: Ellen (Dina Ousley) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – accident STAND-IN “MOM”: None Kind of a west coast Kojak. Lt. Bronkov was a tough special-cases cop who fought The Man in Ocean City, California. Meanwhile, he was also The Dad to his wheelchair-bound daughter, who was disabled in …