The Courtship of Eddie's Father

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The Courtship of Eddie's Father
From left: Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz and Miyoshi Umeki, 1969.
GenreFamily sitcom
Created byJames Komack
Opening theme"Best Friend" performed by Harry Nilsson
ComposerGeorge Tipton
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes73 (list of episodes)
Running time26 minutes
Production companyMGM Television
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 17, 1969 (1969-09-17) –
March 1, 1972 (1972-03-01)

The Courtship of Eddie's Father is an American sitcom based on the 1963 film of the same name, which was based on a novel by Mark Toby (edited by Dorothy Wilson).

The series is about a widower, Tom Corbett (played by Bill Bixby), who is a magazine publisher, and his young son, Eddie (played by Brandon Cruz). Eddie believes his father should marry, and manipulates situations surrounding the women his father is interested in. (Eddie's matchmaking efforts were the theme of the film, but gradually became less central to the storylines in the series.)

The series debuted on September 17, 1969, and was last broadcast on March 1, 1972.

Bixby received an Emmy nomination for the show.[1]


Bixby and Cruz as Tom and Eddie

The show centered on Tom Corbett (Bill Bixby), a handsome, thirty-something magazine publisher and widower from Los Angeles. Following the death of his wife Helen, Tom is left to raise his mischievous, freckle-faced son, six-year-old Eddie (Brandon Cruz). Eddie wants a new mother, so to that end, he cleverly manipulates his father's relationships with women, sometimes even trying to set his father up to fall for women Eddie knows and likes first.

The father-son duo's domestic arrangements are managed, with great discretion, by their Japanese housekeeper, Mrs. Livingston (Miyoshi Umeki). Her sage advice adds to the comedic mix in situations where she looks after Eddie, and sometimes helps him further his schemes to marry off his father and find a new mother. Mrs. Livingston addresses her employer, Tom, as "Mr. Eddie's Father." Characters from Tom Corbett's office included Tina Rickles (Kristina Holland) as his secretary and Norman Tinker (James Komack) as the magazine's photographer and token radical. Norman served as Eddie's honorary uncle.


Main cast[edit]

Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz are the only two actors to appear in every episode of the series.

Guest cast[edit]

During its three-season run, many familiar or up-and-coming actors who guest-starred on the show went on to become successful stars, including: Jodie Foster, Sally Struthers, Bruce Kirby, Pat Harrington Jr., Diana Muldaur, Willie Aames, Warren Berlinger, Suzanne Pleshette, Yvonne Craig, Cicely Tyson, Richard X. Slattery, Tippi Hedren, Trisha Noble, John Fiedler, Alan Oppenheimer, Lou Jacobi, Will Geer, Bill Dana, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Ronny Graham, Lori Saunders, Ann Prentiss, Ron Ely, Carol Lawrence, and George Takei. Future Happy Days stars Pat Morita and Erin Moran also made guest appearances. Established stars also made cameo appearances, such as Eve McVeagh as a grumpy neighbor named Lorraine Karn, Sammy Davis Jr. as an insurance man, and Bixby's then-wife Brenda Benet as Tom's girlfriend.



Comedy producer James Komack served as the show's creator and executive producer. In 1970, Bill Bixby made his debut as a director, going on to direct eight of the show's episodes.

Theme song[edit]

The theme song, "Best Friend", was written and performed by Harry Nilsson; it was an adaptation of his song "Girlfriend" with new lyrics written for the show. The theme was played over opening credits showing Bixby and Cruz in various happy moments.

An edited version of "Best Friend" was used as the theme song for the 2006 MTV series Rob & Big.


The show was cancelled in 1972, when Bixby and Komack had a falling out over the show's direction. Many of the later episodes focused on Norman, Tom, and Eddie rather than on the relationship between Tom and Eddie. Years after the show was cancelled, it became quietly popular as reruns in syndication.

Home media[edit]

Warner Bros. has released all three seasons of The Courtship of Eddie's Father on DVD in Region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available via and Amazon.[2][3][4]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 26 September 27, 2011
The Complete Second Season 24 October 9, 2012
The Complete Third Season 23 January 14, 2014

Failed spin-offs[edit]

There have been three attempts at re-making the show, none of which resulted in a new series.

As early as 1999, Entertainment Weekly reported plans for Nicolas Cage to star in and produce a feature film remake of the series.[5] In a 2011 interview, Brandon Cruz believed Cage was likely no longer interested in the project because Cage's son Weston, who would have played Eddie, had grown too old for the part.[6]

In 2003, filming began on a new television pilot which starred Ken Marino and Josh Hutcherson, but it was not picked up by a network. The child star of the previous series, Brandon Cruz, played a supporting role.

In 2014, Willie Garson was developing a version in which he would star as Norman Tinker. Garson was going to write and produce alongside feature filmmakers Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett and Conan O'Brien. The series never eventuated.[7]


  1. ^ "In 1971 Bill Bixby received an Emmy nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for The Courtship of Eddie's Father." The Courtship of Eddie's Father Online
  2. ^ "The Courtship of Eddie's Father - 'The Complete 1st Season' is Now Selling from the Warner Archive". Archived from the original on December 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Courtship of Eddie's Father - 'The Complete 2nd Season' of Bill Bixby's Show is on DVD Today". Archived from the original on October 14, 2012.
  4. ^ The Warner Archive Schedules the 3rd and Final Season for MOD Archived December 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Lee, Will (September 17, 1999). "Tube Tied". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  6. ^ "The Courtship of Eddie's Father: Brandon Cruz Recalls the Show and His Friend Bill Bixby". December 26, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Courtship of Eddies Father Returns to Television" October 17, 2014

External links[edit]