Danny Thomas: TV’s Forgotten “Dad?”
In the pantheon on television Dad's who comes to your mind?
Robert Young from "Father Knows Best?" How about Ben Cartwright from "Bonanza?" Of course, one of the most famous TV fathers was Bill Cosby's Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." And many others like John Goodman on "Roseanne," Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver. Tim Allen. Archie Bunker. Michael Landon. Homer Simpson. Yes, the list of famous and favorite TV Dad's is endless.
But why is Danny Thomas so forgotten by TV fans? His "Make Room for Daddy" was one of the 1950s most popular shows. His TV wife was played first by Jean Hagen and then by Marjorie Lord (who, by the way, is still alive at age 94!). And his TV kids were Sherry Jackson, Rusty Hamer and Angela Cartwright. Danny's crazy Uncle Tanoose (Hans Conreid) filled out the family album.
Danny Thomas played a successful TV performer, singer and nightclub performer (much like Desi Arnaz on the Lucy show). He and his family got into all kinds of little spats and predicaments but they were always settled with a sensible lesson explained by Dad, all under the the approving smile of Mom (Kathy).
In these olden days of TV family life very few of the pressing issues of the day were addressed, the Dad always wore a tie and Mom always wore high heels. It seems hopelessly outdated today.
But Danny Thomas was a supremely talented performer and a very much beloved personality. His show scored strong ratings for eleven seasons and really made Danny a household name.
Danny Thomas was a well-known stand up comedian before the sitcom aired and went back to the comedy circuit after the show was cancelled. He made frequent television appearances and became famous for his association with St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital In fact, Thomas' final resting place is in a mausoleum located right on the campus of St. Judes.
His daughter is Marlo Thomas.
I do not know why Danny Thomas seems to be overlooked when people talk about the legends of early television.
I thought he was wonderful. Check out this great old video of the show.