This is the Paleontological TV Single Dad era.
In the first twenty years of television, the TV Single Dad grew from the bare bones of the most simple of plotlines: the typical show consisted of a daughter and her father, and the daughter's efforts to "improve" her father's life. From these simple beginnings, the flow of scripts evolved, covering the relationship of fathers in the unusual (to society) nuturing parent role, and their children.
A point to ponder: most of the Single Dads around today grew up learning about the Single Dad experience from the fictional Dads on this page. Our point of reference for fathering isn't Ward Cleaver: it's Fred MacMurray and Bill Bixby.
Author's Update: There's been a few suggestions for the 50's-60's page: "Popeye", "Journey to the Center of the Earth", "Space Angel", and "Clutch Cargo", to name a few. I am working on adding some of these shows. Please be patient while I collate the information. Thanks!
- My Little Margie
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 one. Dad winds up meeting the child’s “pick” and things go awry. Dad winds up yelling at the child, and then apologizes. Everything is fine until the next exciting episode…
Although it’s the earliest known TV Single Dad show, My Little Margie was a radio cross-over from CBS. The television version of the radio series, produced by Desilu, made it to the screen as a summer replacement for I Love Lucy.
Update: Alert Viewer Gord Bates reports that the company Vernon Albright worked for was “Honeywell & Todd”. Thanks, Gord!