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My Top 10 Favorite Television Dads

By Ken Foote | CBSDFW.COM
Actors Robert Reed and Florence Henderson stand in a hotel lobby with their television family in a still from the TV series "The Brady Bunch," circa 1969. (credit: Paramount Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Actors Robert Reed and Florence Henderson stand in a hotel lobby with their television family in a still from the TV series “The Brady Bunch,” circa 1969. (credit: Paramount Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

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Who are your favorite TV dads? As we approach Father’s Day on Sunday, June 15, here are those TV dads that bring me fond memories (not ranked in any order):

1. Jim Anderson, “Father Knows Best” (Robert Young): Jim always had a solution for things when his wife and kids needed him. Everything got solved in 30 minutes! This show started on network radio on NBC and when television started growing, Young and his partner Gene Rodney took it to Columbia Pictures’ TV division and the show ran from 1953 to 1963, first on CBS and later NBC. Also ran in reruns in daytime on ABC.

2. Ward Cleaver, “Leave It To Beaver” (Hugh Beaumont): Ward was a great father to Wally and The Beaver but you sure didn’t want to cross him! Beaumont in real life was a Methodist minister and a movie actor in the 1940s playing the role of Detective Michael Shayne. The Beaver show started on CBS in 1957 but moved to ABC and stayed there until 1963. Has been in syndication since!

3. Cliff Huxtable, “The Cosby Show” (Bill Cosby): Nothing more needs to be said… remains one of the most successful shows in television history. Big hit when it ran on NBC and later in syndication.

4. Ben Cartwright, “Bonanza” (Lorne Greene): Ben would do anything for Hoss, Little Joe, and Adam…. all born with different mothers that were married to Ben… ostensibly the women died giving childbirth. Airing on TV since 1959.

5. Lucas McCain, “The Rifleman” (Chuck Connors): Lucas was a great father to his son Mark….”Paw…Paw…!” But don’t come between him and his son or you would see the barrel of a rifle! Ran on ABC from 1958-1963 and now on MeTV.

6. Charles Ingalls, “Little House On The Prairie” (Michael Landon): Father to four daughters, three adopted kids, and husband to Caroline, making a living during the 1800s. Based on books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ran on NBC from 1974-1983.

7. Andy Taylor, “The Andy Griffith Show” (Andy Griffith): This show was a spin off from “Make Room For Daddy” starring Danny Thomas. Thomas and Sheldon Leonard who were the producers created the Griffith show and as we all know this show became iconic with millions of Americans. After 50 years, the show still can be seen and in some areas of the country it is scheduled around local TV newcasts. Ran on CBS from 1961-1968.

8. Mike Brady, “The Brady Bunch” (Robert Reed): Great TV father and husband. In real life, Reed clashed with the show’s producer Sherwood Schwartz over creative issues. Reed was a Shakespearean trained actor and thought that some of the stuff on “The Brady Bunch” was hokey, but Schwartz would have nothing to do with it. Ran on ABC from 1969-1974 and still airing today.

9. Jed Clampett, “The Beverly Hillbillies” (Buddy Ebsen): Ebsen was a dancer by training and appeared in movies during the 1930s and 1940s. Television revived his career when producer Paul Henning cast him as the head of the Clampett family who strikes oil in the Ozarks and goes from rags to riches while trying to fit in Beverly Hills, California. I got to meet Mr. Ebsen at a national convention before he passed away.

10. Steve Douglas, “My Three Sons” (Fred MacMurray): MacMurray was a Hollywood movie actor starting in the 1930s, usually cast as a tough guy (“Double Indemnity”) but later was cast in movies produced by Disney in softer, comedic roles. MacMurray was one of the richest actors in Hollywood in his day, known around town as a tightwad! He was a great TV father on “My Three Sons,” but on the set he would come and do his part and leave, not very personable with the kids. Show ran on CBS from 1960-1972 and had two of the kids get married… Don Grady and Stan Livingston. Grady was a musician in real life and composed a lot of the music you hear on “Dr. Phil.” Grady himself passed away recently.

Let us know which TV fathers you like. To all the dads, have a very happy Father’s Day. See you next time.

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