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.