Hank

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired 1965-66


DAD: Hank Dearborn (Dick Kallman) / Single

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 his situation turned him into an “undercover student,” sneaking into college classes using a variety of disguises. Of course, Hank was always trying to stay one step ahead of the registrar, Dr. Royal (Howard St. John).

Another waggle of the Songbird Memorial Wings for Shaul Ceder (ceder@netvision.net.il) for pointing out this ’60’s show. Thanks again, Shaul!
Update: Alert Viewer Valerie Ellis chimes in with some Sweet (as in Katie) info:

One role Katie Sweet did was on Bonanza. She was Peggy Dayton, the 9 (or so)-year-old daughter of the airhead (played by Kathie Browne) they tried to saddle Adam with when Pernell Roberts was giving them a hard time about his contract. She eventually went off with Guy “Zorro” “Lost in Space” Williams, who played Cousin Will Cartwright, when the female fans raised bloody hell about marrying off her and Adam. Katie Sweet was the best thing about those four episodes (The Waiting Game, The Cheating Game, The Pressure Game, Triangle Dec.1963-May 1964). She was a better actress than Browne and she and Roberts had much more chemistry than Browne and Roberts. But she must be closer to 45 or 50 than 40. I’m 43 and I was 7 when she was in those episodes. I only saw them in reruns. Hope this helps with the filmography. It does indeed, Valerie – thanks!

More updates: Alert Viewer Janet Roy relates a childhood experience with Katie Sweet:

…Could not resist the urge to forward a bit of info about Katie Sweet. She should be 45 years old and going on 46.

When I was in the 7th grade at Turkeyfoot Jr. High in Edgewood, Kentucky,(Greater Cincinnati area), she came to our school for awhile because she was staying with her grandparents for some reason. (Never thought about the reason). She was in our grade but not my class. This was the school year 1967 – 1968. She had that super long hair and it flew around a lot. She made a few class plays until one day she announced she was going back to Hollywood to do a movie. That was the last time I heard of Katie Sweet.

It was around 1973 or so after graduation she did appear again in the Northern Kentucky area to attend NKU for drama. (Not sure whether to teach or further education).

She again stayed with her grandparents in Ft. Wright, Kentucky.

After reading the article in the Kentucky Post newspaper, no mention of her ever again that I heard of.

I wished always I kept that newspaper article. I never forgot the time she portrayed a ghost in the class play. She looked so cute and was never a shy person.
Thanks for the look back, Janet!

Update, 29 June 2005: And the finale? Katie Sweet herself writes in!

I used to be Katie Sweet. And I’m alive and well and 49 and an insurance agent in Central Oregon — go figure… I never did sneaky things behind the teacher’s back but I did get in trouble for my skirts being too short at Turkeyfoot Jr. High in Kentucky. I can’t believe people remember me or have any interest in whatever became of me. I have three daughters – 27, 8 and 6 and this stuff on the internet blows them away almost as much as it blows me away. I enjoyed my career and must admit, for all the cool jobs I had and all the cool people I met( like Alfred Hitchcock when I worked on The Birds) the highlight was when I met Sean Connery with whom I’d fallen in love from watching Darby O’Gill and the Little People on to James Bond.

A huge tip of the Ben Cartwright Memorial Ten Gallon Hat to Katie Sweet for filling in the details after all this fan mail. Thanks, Katie!

O.K. Crackerby!

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1965-66


DAD: O.K. Crackerby (Burl Ives) / Widower

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 his kids accepted into “High Society.” The tutor was hired to teach O.K.’s kids “ethics” instead of O.K.’s constant buying and selling of properties and people.

Update: An alert viewer from Israel pointed out that the Crackerby kids’ tutor, St. John (SIN-gin) Quincy, was played by Hal Buckley. St. John was an American, despite his British-sounding name.

A tip of the Lorne Greene Memorial Cowboy Hat to Shaul Ceder (ceder@netvision.net.il) for the inside scoop on the Crackerby’s stand-in “mom”, and the existence of O.K.,Jr. Thanks, Shaul!

Kentucky Jones

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1964-65


DAD: K.Y. “Kentucky” Jones (Dennis Weaver) / Widower (?)

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 “Bachelor Father.” By the way, the reason he was called “Kentucky” was because his initials were K.Y. … fill in your own punchline here.

Author’s Note: A lot of mail I receive about Dennis Weaver revolves around the mistaken idea that Gentle Ben was a TV Single DAD’S show. I think people confuse the plots of Kentucky Jones and Flipper and come up with Gentle Ben. For the record, the mom on Gentle Ben was played by Beth Brickell. And it’s easy to confuse Flipper with Gentle Ben, because in both shows, you’ve got a wild animal in the Florida Everglades.

King Kong

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1966


DAD: Professor Bond / Widower(?)

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 time Kong was rescuing the kids, or the kids were rescuing Kong.

Flipper

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1964-68

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 homework, hardly ever wore sunblock or shirts in the Florida sun, lived in an alligator-infested swamp, and frequently wound up having guns pointed at them by criminals. It’s arguable that Mr. Ricks was no mental marvel, as he couldn’t remember to take off his street shoes before diving off the side of his Chris Craft (which he did about once an episode).

Update: Alert Viewer Chris (CFROSTY@aol.com) noted the second season appearance of semi-girlfriend/would-be stepmom Ulla Norstrand. Thanks for pointing her out, Chris!

Update: Alert Viewer Bob Stone says the boat used in Flipper was NOT a Chris Craft, but a 25-foot Thunderbird, made in North Miami. “It was a new design and was given to the show for promotion use.” The boat also had one of the first Inboard/Outboard engines from OMC – which was quite an innovation at the time. Thanks for the info, Bob!

Note: The series was resurrected in 1995, with Bud growing up to become a marine biologist. That series doesn’t count as a TV Single Dad show, though, because Porter Ricks is missing from the cast.

The Baileys of Balboa

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1964-65


DAD: Sam Bailey (Paul Ford) / Widower

DAD’S JOB: Fishing Boat Captain

KIDS: Jim (Les Brown, Jr.)(16?)

WHERE’S MOM?: Dead

STAND-IN “MOM”: Buck Singleton? (Sterling Holloway)

Who could not like this show? Sam Bailey ran a charter boat service in the middle of a ritzy yacht club named Balboa. He and his son Jim (and their first mate, a Gilligan-like character played by the amazing Sterling Holloway) lived on an island that was the antithesis of the aristocratic society of the yacht club. Of course, teenager Jim was in love with the daughter of Commodore Wyntoon (John Dehner) and wacky hijinks ensued. The daughter, Barbara, was played by the then teenaged Judy Carne.

The cast of this show was an astounding collection of character actors. John Dehner has been the voice of millions of Hanna-Barbera characters, and Paul Ford made his mark as the Mayor in The Music Man. And who would not recognize Sterling Holloway, the voice of Winnie the Pooh?

Milton the Monster

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1965-1968


DAD: Professor Weirdo / Single

DAD’S JOB: Mad Scientist

KIDS: Milton (voice of Bob McFadden)(last week)

WHERE’S MOM?: 10000 cemeteries?

STAND-IN “MOM”: Count Kook

Producer Hal Seeger patterned this Saturday-morning cartoon after the success of such “monster” hits as The Munsters and The Addams Family. Milton was accidentally created with “too much tenderness” by Professor Weirdo, and was therefore a disappointment to his “dad.”

The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1963-64


DAD: Doc Sardius McPheeters(Dan O’Herlihy) / Widower?

DAD’S JOB: Traveling Doctor

KIDS: Jaimie McPheeters (Kurt Russell) (12)

WHERE’S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN “MOM”: Mrs. Kissel? (Meg Wylie)/ traveling companion

Long before he was Snake Pliskin, Kurt Russell was lovable Jaimie McPheeters, crossing the Rockies in a wagon train with his shifty dad, played by a stovepipe-hat-wearing Dan O’Herlihy.

Don’t cry because the series was cancelled, because these actors had to move on with their careers. Kurt became the Official Teenage Kid of Walt Disney movies, Dan O’Herlihy would become the Voice of Kraft Music Hall on NBC, and Meg Wylie would become one of those big-headed aliens with the pulsing vein on her head in Star Trek. See? Every ending is a beginning.

A tip of the Richard Mulligan Memorial Speculum to Gary Bradford for the tip about this series. Thanks, Gary!

Beverly Hillbillies

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1962-71

DAD: Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) / Widower

DAD’S JOB: Bazillionaire

KIDS: Elly May Clampett (teenager – yeah, right)

WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for quite some time – unknown.

STAND-IN “MOM”: Granny Clampett / Daisy Moses (Irene Ryan)

Bet you forgot Jed Clampett was a TV Single Dad. Technically, he was also a father-figure to live-in nephew Jethro, but Jed’s sister Pearl was on enough to put Jethro on the “debatable” list.

Update: The “Just what kind of kin IS Granny?” question has been solved. An Alert Viewer in Israel, Shaul Ceder (ceder@netvision.net.il) spotted a discussion between Jed and some Weather Bureau folks talking about “Hurricane Daisy” — when the weather people discuss what steps they can use to stop the hurricane, Jed says, “Oh, you can’t do that! She’s still my mother-in-law!”

A tip of the Porter Ricks Memorial scuba mask goes to Shaul Ceder (ceder@netvision.net.il) for the Granny info. Thanks, Shaul!

The Alvin Show

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1961-62


DAD: David Seville (voice of Ross Bagdasarian) / Single

DAD’S JOB: Booking Agent

KIDS: Alvin (voice of Ross Bagdasarian), Simon (voice of Ross Bagdasarian), and Theodore (voice of Ross Bagdasarian) Chipmunk

WHERE’S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN “MOM”: Unknown

This one will cause arguments as to “Is David Seville a Single Dad?” — except — David has (on at least two shows) needed to make sure the boys got to school on time. He professed a requirement to get this task accomplished, so it must be inferred that he *is* the responsible guardian for Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. OK, they’re *rodents*, but they’re *talking* (and singing) rodents, so that makes them a special case. Besides, if they go, I can’t include Duckman, either.

Update: Alert Viewer Cassidy Peterson checks in with ponderments on Alvin, the Chipmunks, and their mom – – “I’m pretty darn sure what I watched wasn’t the original The Alvin Show, but I forget the specific name of the series I watched – probably “Alvin & the Chipmunks” . The Chipettes were involved. Anyways, the Chipmunks’ mother HAS been shown. There was a Mother’s Day special in which they visit her in her forest tree home – unfortunately I only saw it once, some years ago, but I think her logic behind leaving them with Dave was that she didn’t think she could provide them with the kind of life they deserved (NOT that she couldn’t take care of them, just that she couldn’t take care of them like she wanted to). I also seem to remember her saving them from some sort of forest-dwelling meanie like a warthog or something? – but I could just be retroactively hallucinating.”

A tip of the Ben Cartwright Memorial Stetson to Cassidy Peterson on the mom info. Thanks, Cassidy!