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!

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 blue beagle or some kind of hound (with a voice like Jimmy Durante), is the ambitious father of a precocious Augie Doggie. In this show, the son is waay smarter than the Dad, and certain predictable cartoon hijinks ensue.

A tug of the Benton Quest Memorial Beard goes to Shaul Ceder (ceder@netvision.net.il) for pointing out the Single Dad status of Doggie Daddy. Thanks, Shaul!

Does Augie have a mommy? If you know, E-mail me.

Ichabod and Me

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1961-1962


DAD: Robert Major (Robert Sterling) / Widower

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 Jefferson Drum, doesn’t it?

Oh, and Jimmy Mathers was the brother of TV’s Beaver Cleaver, Jerry Mathers. No casting surprise as the producers (Connelly and Mosher) also produced Leave it to Beaver.

Stagecoach West

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1960-1961



DAD: Simon Kane (Robert Bray) / Widower – Grandfather

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 show about the making of M*A*S*H, and Luke Perry could play Wayne Rogers — just to square things up.

The Andy Griffith Show

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1960-68



DAD: Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) / Widower

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 in this format: Dad sits down and has a heart-to-heart talk with the child; then, the child improperly applies the “lesson” of the talk to a comedic predicament, wherein Dad gets upset, but then realizes that the child was just trying to be obedient.

My Three Sons

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1960-72


DAD: Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) / Widower

DAD’S JOB: Aerospace Engineer

KIDS: Mike(Tim Considine), Robbie (Don Grady), Chip (Stanley Livingston), Ernie (Barry Livingston) (I know it’s four, read on)

WHERE’S MOM?: Dead for quite some time / Ernie was adopted when his missionary parents moved to China (!)

STAND-IN “MOM”: “Bub” O’Casey (William Frawley) / “Uncle Charley” O’Casey (William Demarest)

Face it, this show could be called Leave it to Beaver Without June, but it’s so much more. It’s a house where arguments never end and the toilet seat is always UP.

The show reached new limits, though, when the writers started marrying off the sons one by one. Mike, played by Tim Considine, got married and moved clean out of the program, necessitating the adoption of Ernie to keep the eponymous show, but Robbie (and later, Chip) brought their brides home with them. The boys then had to face the stark reality of pantyhose hanging from the shower rod and the need to close the door when changing their corduroys.

CBS finally wimped out by marrying off Fred MacMurray’s character to Beverly Garland (a sure sign of impending disaster is when the main character gets married). Then, the show turned into a poor man’s Brady Bunch.

The Dennis O’Keefe Show

Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1959-1960

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 of a housekeeper, aptly named “Sarge”, to watch his precocious son. Meanwhile, DAD’S newsy entertainment column lets him rub elbows and stuff with movie stars and supermodels. Lucky for him mom’s dead, huh?