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Favorite TV Dads

Published May 25, 2011        by Sarah

Image by dbking on FlickrWho are some of your favorite TV dads? You know, the ones who make you laugh until your sides split or keep you captivated in high drama shows. TV dads have sure changed over the years. Here are some of the dads you may remember through the ages.

Straight-laced dad Ozzie Nelson was unforgettable as he played himself in “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” on TV from 1952-1966. Does it get any more apple pie and down home goodness than that?

Did you watch a young Danny Thomas on “Make Room for Daddy” in the 1950s and 60s? The character was Danny Williams and he, his wife, and three children made TV history.

Perhaps the best known father of the golden age of TV was Robert Young as Jim Anderson in “Father Knows Best.” He played the ever smiling and sage head of the household in glorious black and white. The 1950s had a role model in this suit-wearing, happy-go-lucky Father of the Year.

Who could forget Walter Brennan and his larger than life Amos McCoy? “The Real McCoys” was a late 1950s and early 1960s smash hit. We still call things “the real McCoy” today because of the show.

June, Ward, and The Beaver couldn’t have pulled it off without cool and unruffled dad, Ward, in “Leave it to Beaver.” The show’s premise was light and the audience loved it. Never was a dad so even keeled and yet so respected.

For the family that had it all and a dimple cheeked dad at the helm, viewers tuned into the “Donna Reed Show.” They found Carl Betz’s portrayal of Alex Stone, the dad with the perfect coiffure a heartthrob.

As the times changed, fathers came to take on roles as single dads in mixed situations. Remember Fred MacMurray as Steve Douglas, the single dad with three boys in “My Three Sons”? This was innovative and must-see TV in the 1960s.

Another single dad was Andy Griffith. His show ran through the 1960s with a young Ron Howard, who would later become Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days.” And speaking of “Happy Days,” Tom Bosley was our favorite plump and loveable dad as Mr. Cunningham, the hardware store owner.

Dads have sure changed over the ages. Cartoon dads like Homer Simpson came to bring a whole new meaning to being a dad. And the dads we didn’t want as our own were many including Al Bundy on “Married with Children,” John Goodman’s and his stint as Roseanne’s husband on the “Roseanne” show and others.

TV went from portraying dads who never had a hair out of place to dads with no hair and a messy life. Viewers love them all and look for traces of their own fathers in the portrayals of television’s most celebrated dads. Perhaps you even see your own dad in some of the comic characters that have graced the screen as head of household.

It’s fun to grab some old episodes of TV from the early days and watch them on DVD. It’s a reminder of what used to be considered the ideal family and how fathers have matured and changed over the ages. Why not make your Father's Day gift be a family movie night this Father’s Day to celebrate your dad and have a few chuckles, too?

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