Jim 1950s - 1960s

Aired: 1966-67

DAD: Russell Lawrence (Don Porter) / Widower

DAD’S JOB: College Professor

KIDS: Gidget (real name:Frances) (Sally Field) (15), Anne (Betty Connor) (17)

WHERE’S MOM?: Mom’s dead

STAND-IN “MOM”: Don’t know – yet.

Based on the Sandra Dee movie series of the same name, this show lasted just long enough to age Sally Field so she could become The Flying Nun.
Here’s a case of art imitating life: the Gidget series of movies, TV shows, and movie-of-the-week specials was based on a book by Frederick Kohner, who wrote about his experience of raising a daughter in California by himself in the fifties.

A revamped show, Gidget’s Summer Reunion, appeared in 1985 with a married Gidget (Mrs. Moondoggie?) still at the beach for some tasty waves. Fortunately, the show took a ratings bullet in the head after just two episodes.

If Gidget were on a final exam, I think a good question would be: “Compare and contrast the plot structures of Gidget and That Girl. How does growing up on the Pacific coast different from growing up in the environs of the New York Metropolitan area?”

UPDATE 9 April 2006: Alert Viewer Christopher begs to differ – –

“Howdy. My name is Chris, and I can’t believe I’m about to write an e-mail to you about the original Gidget book.

In the original book, Gidget’s mom is still alive, well, married to Gidget’s dad, and very present around the household. The book isn’t about raising a child near the beach on your own, but more about the things that teenagers do and get themselves into while their parents are unaware. Gidget’s mom is alive in the movie, too, but I haven’t seen it. I guess they axed the mom for the show to turn it into a more-profitable single dad angle, or something.”

Possible? let me know if you’ve read the books.