The Danny Thomas Show
The Danny Thomas Show
Danny Thomas and Marjorie Lord, 1962.
Also known as Make Room For Daddy Genre Sitcom Created by Melville Shavelson Directed by Sheldon Leonard
Starring Danny Thomas
Composer(s) Herbert W. Spencer
Earle Hagen (MSI)
Country of origin United States No. of seasons 11 No. of episodes 120 (MRFD)
Production Executive producer(s) Louis F. Edelman Producer(s) Sheldon Leonard
Running time 22–24 minutes Production company(s) Marterto Enterprises (1953–1962)
T&L Productions (1962–1964)
Broadcast Original channel ABC (1953–1957)
Original run September 29, 1953– September 14, 1964 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 1953-1957 on ABC and from 1957-1964 on CBS. A revival series known as Make Room for Granddaddy aired on ABC from 1970-1971.
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. Two proposed titles during pre-production were The Children's Hour and Here Comes Daddy.
Thomas played Danny Williams, a successful comedian and nightclub entertainer. 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.
Shortly after the third season (1955-56) 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 wouldn't last without her, but he decided to push on without Hagen. At the start of the fourth season (1956-57), 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.
Danny and Kathy were married by start of the fifth season (1957-58) 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. 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 (1958-59), Sherry Jackson was let go by Danny Thomas because he felt she was too old for the part and had few ideas on where to take the character. Terry was said to have gone to a girls school in Paris, Kathy 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 (1959-60) Terry was brought back played by Penny Parker (as Jackson was still insulted by her firing the year before and refused to return) for 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 the 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.
- Danny Thomas as Danny Williams
- Jean Hagen as Margaret Williams (1953–1956)
- Marjorie Lord as Kathy "Clancey" O'Hara Williams (1957–1964)
- Rusty Hamer as Rusty Williams
- Angela Cartwright as Linda Williams (1957–1964)
- Sherry Jackson as Terry Williams (1953–1958)
- Penny Parker as Terry Williams (1959–1960)
- Louise Beavers as Louise (1953–1955)
- Amanda Randolph as Louise (1955–1964)
The supporting cast included:
- Sid Melton as Charlie Halper
- Pat Carroll as Bunny Halper
- Sheldon Leonard as Phil Brokaw (1957–1961)
- Ben Lessy as Benny (1953–1959)
- Pat Harrington, Jr. as Pat Hannigan (1959–1960)
- Horace McMahon as Horace (1953–1954)
- Jesse White as Jesse Leeds (1953–1957)
Notable guest stars
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, and Thomas protegee Italian teenaged singer Piccola Pupa.
The theme music was various versions (changing over the years) of the traditional Irish song, "Danny Boy".
- 1957-1958: #2 (35.3)
- 1958-1959: #5 (32.8)
- 1959-1960: #4 (31.1)
- 1960-1961: #12 (25.9)
- 1961-1962: #8 (26.1)
- 1962-1963: #8 (28.7)
- 1963-1964: #9 (26.7)
Spin-off and crossovers
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 in February of 1960 and The Andy Griffith Show aired later that year.
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. In the series, the character of Terry left her son, 6-year-old Michael (played by Michael Hughes) in the care of his grandparents while she and her soldier husband were stationed overseas. New characters were played by Stanley Myron Handelman and former football player Roosevelt Grier. The show only lasted a single season, producing 24 episodes.
Reruns 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, 1987 to 1991, the show's 5th through 9th seasons were shown on Nick at Nite. TV Land has also showed 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 Season Eight and Nine).
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.
The complete sixth season on DVD was released on January 22. 2008. 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.
- ^ 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
- ^ 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.
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1957-1958
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1957
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1958-1959
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1959-1960
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1960-1961
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1961-1962
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1962-1963
- ^ ClassicTVHits.com TV Ratings: 1963-1964
- ^ The Danny Thomas Show, "Danny Meets Andy Griffith"
- ^ The Danny Thomas Show/Make Room For Daddy and I Love Lucy/The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
- ^ The Joey Bishop Show,"This Is Your Life"
- ^ DVD details, Make Room for Daddy season five
- ^ DVD details, Make Room for Daddy season six
- ^ Make Room for Daddy, Volume 1
- ^ Make Room for Daddy, Volume 2
- Make Room For Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show at the Internet Movie Database
- Make Room For Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show at TV.com
- Make Room for Granddaddy at the Internet Movie Database
- Make Room for Granddaddy at TV.com
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series (1952–1975)
The Red Skelton Show (1952) · I Love Lucy (1953) · I Love Lucy (1954) · Make Room for Daddy (1955) · The Phil Silvers Show (1956) · The Phil Silvers Show (1957) · The Phil Silvers Show (1958) · The Jack Benny Program (1959) · Art Carney Special (1960) · The Jack Benny Program (1961) · The Bob Newhart Show (1962) · The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963) · The Dick Van Dyke Show (1964) · The Dick Van Dyke Show (1965) · The Dick Van Dyke Show (1966) · The Monkees (1967) · Get Smart (1968) · Get Smart (1969) · My World and Welcome to It (1970) · All in the Family (1971) · All in the Family (1972) · All in the Family (1973) · M*A*S*H (1974) · The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1975)
Complete List · (1952–1975) · (1976–2000) · (2001–2025) Mayberry, North Carolina TV series Telefilm Main characters Recurring charactersErnest T. Bass · Chuck Boyle · Otis Campbell · Emmett Clark · Martha Clark · Alice Cooper · Helen Crump · Briscoe Darling Jr. · The Darlings · Clara Edwards · Warren Ferguson · The Fun Girls · Charley Hacker · Mike Jones · Floyd Lawson · Flora Malherbe · Duke Slater · Howard Sprague · Millie Swanson · Thelma Lou Related programs Related topics"Main characters" are those whose portrayers were billed in the opening credits of at least one of the programs listed under "TV series". "Related programs" are those which had a direct influence on, or were heavily influenced by, the programs listed under "TV series".
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