Ichabod and Me

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: Newspaper editor KIDS: Benjie (Jimmy Mathers) (6) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. Unknown cause. STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown. The “Ichabod” of the title is Robert Major’s boss at a small-town paper called the Phippsboro Bulletin. Robert moved from New York City to raise his young son in a small town. Strange how much this sounds like a modern-day sitcom version of …

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 …

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 …

Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1955-57 DAD’S JOB: Legionnaire KIDS: Cuffy Sanders (Cullen Crabbe)(11) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – – so’s Dad – he’s an orphan. STAND-IN “MOM”: Sergeant Du Val (Gilles Queant) Somewhat like Rin-Tin-Tin, only subtract the dog and add the desert. I’m pretty sure this is a first: Buster Crabbe’s foster child was played by his real-life son Cullen. This show was …

Mayberry R.F.D.

Jim 1950s - 1960s

DAD’S JOB: City Councilman of Mayberry, NC. KIDS: Mike (Buddy Foster)(7) WHERE’S MOM?: Dead – unknown cause. STAND-IN “MOM”: Aunt Bee (again!) (Frances Bavier) What do you do when Andy Griffith wants off The Andy Griffith Show? Easy – you replace him (and Opie, too) with Ken Berry and son, keep Aunt Bee(!) and continue the franchise. The show lasted …

Quickdraw McGraw

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1960-62 DAD: Doggie Daddy (voice of Doug Young) / Single? DAD’S JOB: He’s a DOG! KIDS: Augie Doggie (voice of Daws Butler) (10?) WHERE’S MOM?: Unknown. STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown If I didn’t mention it before, cartoons *count* in the TV Single Dad universe. “Augie Doggie” was a supporting made-specifically-for-this-show cartoon under the “Quick Draw McGraw” umbrella. Doggie Daddy, a …

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, …

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 …

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, …

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, …