The Danny Thomas Show

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The Danny Thomas Show
Danny thomas marjorie lord 1962.jpg
Danny Thomas and Marjorie Lord, 1962.
Also known as Make Room For Daddy
Genre Sitcom
Directed by Sheldon Leonard
William Asher
Danny Thomas
Starring Danny Thomas
Jean Hagen
Marjorie Lord
Sherry Jackson
Rusty Hamer
Angela Cartwright
Composer(s) Herbert W. Spencer
Earle Hagen (MSI)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 11
No. of episodes 120 (MRFD)
231 (TDTS)
351 (total)
24 (MRFG) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Louis F. Edelman
Producer(s) Sheldon Leonard
Charles Stewart
Running time 23–25 minutes
Production company(s) Marterto Enterprises (1953–1962)
T&L Productions (1962–1964)
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (1953–1957)
CBS (1957–1964)
Original run September 29, 1953 (1953-09-29)  – September 14, 1964 (1964-09-14)
Chronology
Followed by Make Room for Granddaddy
Related shows I Love Lucy
The Andy Griffith Show
The Joey Bishop Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show

The Danny Thomas Show (known as Make Room for Daddy during the first three seasons) is an American sitcom which ran from 1953 to 1957 on ABC and from 1957 to 1964 on CBS. A revival series known as Make Room for Granddaddy aired on ABC from 1970 to 1971.

In March 1953, Danny Thomas first signed the contract for the show with ABC and chose Desilu Studios to film it using its three-camera method.[1] Two proposed titles during pre-production were The Children's Hour[2] and Here Comes Daddy.[1]

Synopsis[edit]

Thomas with television daughter Terry (Sherry Jackson).

Thomas played Danny Williams, a successful comedian and nightclub entertainer at the Copa Club. Jean Hagen played his serious and loving wife Margaret, Sherry Jackson their daughter Terry, and Rusty Hamer their son Rusty. The show's premise dealt with Danny rarely having time to spend with his family and Margaret dealing with the children on her own. Margaret often felt neglected by her husband and on several occasions felt like leaving him. Margaret was a society woman and strict with the children but loved her family. Louise Beavers made several appearances during this era as the Williams' maid, Louise Evans, and often found herself at odds with Danny and sided with Margaret in most fights between the couple. Nana Bryant appeared often as Margaret's kind mother, who Danny and the children were fond of; but Margaret, who had been raised by her aunt and uncle because of her mother being away on stage tours often, was not as warm towards her mother. Bryant died in late 1955 and her character simply stopped appearing. During 1955, Louise Beavers became ill and Amanda Randolph took over the role of Louise.

Series changes[edit]

Shortly after the third season finished filming, Jean Hagen left the show due to dissatisfaction with her role and frequent clashes with Danny Thomas. Thomas was upset with her for leaving as he felt the show would not last without her, but he decided to push on without Hagen. At the start of the fourth season, it was explained Margaret had died suddenly off-screen. Danny had Louise and his friends often looking after the children while he was still touring. He decided to move them to a boarding school but later relented and the family moved into a new apartment. During the season, Danny dated a few other women and nearly got engaged to a widowed singer until he found out she didn't like children. By season's end, Rusty fell ill with the measles and Danny hired Kathy O'Hara (Marjorie Lord), a young Irish nurse, to look after him. Danny and Kathy became fast friends and Danny fell in love with her very quickly as did the kids. In the season finale, Kathy proposed to Danny (as Danny was too nervous to do so himself) and the two became engaged.

Charlie and Danny don't believe they are really seeing performing poodles in the Williams living room.

Danny and Kathy were married by start of the fifth season and the Williams moved into a larger, brand new apartment and Linda (Angela Cartwright), Kathy's young daughter from her first marriage, was adopted by Danny, and the show's ratings dramatically increased.[3] During this season, Randolph was sick and rarely appeared as Louise. The majority of the season, Louise was said to be recovering from the flu and Kathy was seen doing most of the housework.

During the early part of the sixth season, Sherry Jackson left the show and the character of Terry was said to have gone to a girls school in Paris. Kathy also adopted Rusty, and the show then was presented as though Danny and Kathy were always married and Linda and Rusty were both their children. During season seven, the character of Terry was brought back but recast with Penny Parker. Terry was featured in a seven-episode story arc which saw her engaged and eventually married to Pat Hannigan (Pat Harrington, Jr.), a nightclub friend of Danny's. After the wedding, the Hannigans moved to California and Terry was rarely mentioned and never seen in the program again.

During the last two seasons, Danny and Kathy both regularly traveled (Danny Thomas and Marjorie Lord were tired from their roles and decided to reduce them to a degree) and much of the tenth season they were touring Europe (a handful of episodes featured location shot footage from Europe) and Rusty and Linda were looked after by Danny's manager, Charlie Halper (Sid Melton) and his wife, Bunny (Pat Carroll). During the eleventh and final season, Thomas decided to retire from the show and the program ended in spring 1964.

Cast[edit]

Danny and Margaret Williams.
Milton Berle spends some time with Linda and Rusty after he and Danny quit show business.

Supporting[edit]

Uncle Tonoose (Hans Conried) gets a lecture from his older brother, Tufik (played by Danny Thomas).

The supporting cast included:

Notable guest stars[edit]

Hans Conried had frequent guest appearances as Danny's eccentric Lebanese "Uncle Tonoose". (In real life, Thomas was Lebanese, Conried was not.) Other frequent guests included Bill Dana as "Jose Jimenez", Annette Funicello as an Italian exchange student named Gina Manelli, and Thomas' protégée Italian teenage singer Piccola Pupa.

Episodes[edit]

Theme song[edit]

The theme music was various versions (changing over the years) of the traditional Irish song, "Danny Boy".

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

NOTE: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

Season Rank Rating
1) 1953-1954 Not in the Top 30
2) 1954-1955
3) 1955-1956
4) 1956-1957
5) 1957-1958 #2 35.3
6) 1958-1959 #5 32.8
7) 1959-1960 #4 31.1
8) 1960-1961 #12 25.9
9) 1961-1962 #8 26.1
10) 1962-1963 #7 28.7 (Tied with Ben Casey)
11) 1963-1964 #9 26.7

Spin-off and crossovers[edit]

The series was responsible for the creation of another long-running sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show. In the seventh season, Danny Thomas is arrested by Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) and detained in the small town of Mayberry in an episode entitled "Danny Meets Andy Griffith". The episode aired on February 15, 1960 and The Andy Griffith Show aired later that year on October 3.[4]

The series also crossed over to several other series including The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour[5] and The Joey Bishop Show.[6]

Morey Amsterdam guest starred as Buddy Sorrell of The Dick Van Dyke Show in the episode "The Women Behind the Jokes".

Some episodes featured Bill Dana as Jose Jimenez, which lead to the spin-off series The Bill Dana Show. Danny Thomas played himself in one episode.

Sequel[edit]

The Make Room for Granddaddy cast.
Guest star Diana Ross with Roosevelt Grier and Thomas in 1971.

The show ended in 1964, but Danny Thomas, Marjorie Lord, Angela Cartwright, Rusty Hamer, Sherry Jackson and Hans Conried returned in two hour-long "reunion" specials on NBC- The Danny Thomas TV Family Reunion in 1965 (considered the first TV reunion show), and Make More Room For Daddy, which aired as an episode of The Danny Thomas Hour in November 1967. There was then a CBS reunion special, Make Room for Granddaddy, in 1969. The special did so well that it was picked up as a series by CBS but Thomas considered the slot they gave it to be a death slot and pulled the show.

ABC brought it back on a weekly basis in 1970, in Make Room for Granddaddy. For the series premiere, Sherry Jackson reprised her role of oldest daughter Terry. There was no mention of her husband Pat Hannigan. Instead, for this new version of the series, Terry's husband was named Bill, who was a soldier. In this episode, Terry left her son, 6-year-old Michael (played by Michael Hughes) in the care of his grandparents (Danny and Kathy) so she could join Bill, who was stationed overseas. In addition to Marjorie Lord, Rusty Hamer, and Angela Cartwright, the only other returning regulars were Sid Melton as Charley Halper and Hans Conried as Uncle Tonoose. During that season, new characters were played by Stanley Myron Handelman and former football player Roosevelt Grier. The show lasted only one year, producing 24 episodes; its cancellation came at a time when the networks were purging content favoring older, rural and other less affluent viewers due to the loss of a half-hour of daily program time in 1971. According to Marjorie Lord, the series faced many obstacles including the unprofessionalism and inexperience of the child actor Michael Hughes; the absence of Sheldon Leonard as producer/director to control Thomas and improve the quality of the scripts; and the fact that ABC switched the time slot of the show from Wednesday nights at 8:00 P.M. to Thursday nights at 9:00 P.M. As a result, the ratings went from mediocre to poor. (from The Lucy Book by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman - Renaissance Books. On page 269, Marjorie Lord and Angela Cartwright talk about Lucille Ball's guest appearance on Make Room For Granddaddy as well as the series itself.)

Episode list for Make Room for Granddaddy[edit]

  1. "Make Room for Grandson" / 1970.09.23
  2. "The Return of Barney Shaker" / 1970.09.30
  3. "This Granddaddy Is Rated X" / 1970.10.07
  4. "The Great Emancipator" / 1970.10.14
  5. "A Time for Loving" / 1970.10.21
  6. "Is This Trip Necessary?" / 1970.10.28
  7. "Teaching Linda to Drive" / 1970.11.04
  8. "Tonoose the Exile" / 1970.11.11
  9. "A Hamburger for Frank" / 1970.11.18
  10. "The Arrangement" / 1970.11.25
  11. "He Did It His Way" / 1970.12.02
  12. "Women of the World, Unite" / 1970.12.16
  13. "The Teen Idol" / 1970.12.30
  14. "Cheating the Cheater" / 1971.01.06
  15. "The Horrible Horoscope" / 1971.01.13
  16. "Lucy and the Lecher" / 1971.01.21
  17. "Of Mice and Mini" / 1971.01.28
  18. "Will the Real Diana Please Stand Up?" / 1971.02.04
  19. "Over Thirty Is Out" / 1971.02.11
  20. "Karate Kate" / 1971.02.18
  21. "The Greatest Ear in the Business" / 1971.02.25
  22. "The Big Hang-Up" / 1971.03.04
  23. "The Arm Wrestle" / 1971.03.11
  24. "Monument for Uncle Tonoose" / 1971.03.18

Syndication[edit]

Reruns of the ABC episodes were aired Monday through Friday, on NBC from 1960 to 1965. Subsequently, most of the CBS episodes were then syndicated and played on local stations. The first four seasons from ABC were not put into syndication.

From February 1, 1988 to 1991, the show's fifth through ninth seasons were shown on Nick at Nite. TV Land has also shown several of the Marjorie Lord episodes. GoodLife Television aired the majority of the episodes from the fourth season up until the seventh season (and select episodes from Seasons Eight and Nine).

Me-TV has been airing the show since Labor Day 2012.

In 2014, the series is being aired by Cozi TV.

DVD releases[edit]

On September 28, 2004, Questar released the complete fifth season on Region 1 DVD. The set includes two special episodes: the fourth season finale, "Danny's Proposal", and the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show.[7]

The complete sixth season on DVD was released on January 22. 2008.[8] It was released by a different company than the season 5 package and contained uncut episodes with vintage second-run opening credits, though not the actual network, prime time opens.

Several of the early episodes with Jean Hagen can be purchased on discount DVDs, due to the lapse of copyrights and the episodes entering public domain.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The I Love Lucy Book by Bart Andrews (revised and updated Broadway Books trade paperback edition, 2001), ISBN 0-385-19033-6, p. 116
  2. ^ Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 173. ISBN 0-06-096914-8. 
  3. ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1957-1958
  4. ^ The Danny Thomas Show, "Danny Meets Andy Griffith"
  5. ^ The Danny Thomas Show/Make Room For Daddy and I Love Lucy/The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
  6. ^ The Joey Bishop Show,"This Is Your Life"
  7. ^ DVD details, Make Room for Daddy season five
  8. ^ DVD details, Make Room for Daddy season six
  9. ^ Make Room for Daddy, Volume 1
  10. ^ Make Room for Daddy, Volume 2

External links[edit]