“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father was a television sitcom that originally aired from 1969 to 1972. It was based on the 1963 movie of the same name. The show chronicled the life of a man named Tom Corbett (Bill Bixby) who was a widower. He had unexpectedly found himself alone and tasked with raising his young son, Eddie (Brandon Cruz), without a wife and mother.
Tom Corbett was a handsome, thirty-something professional from Los Angeles, California. After the death of his beloved wife, he was at somewhat of a loss as to how to raise 6 year old, Eddie, who was a typical little boy. He was healthy, curious and mischievous. Tom definitely had his work cut out for him.
Eddie, being wise beyond his years, was of the opinion that his father should remarry. He desperately wanted a new mother. He never missed an opportunity to manipulate a situation involving an eligible candidate for his father to marry. If Eddie liked a woman, for whatever reason, he automatically connived to get his father to fall madly in love with her.
Tom Corbett was a magazine publisher with a very demanding career. It was all he could do just to keep up with his work responsibilities and take care of his son. Although he had employed the help of a Japanese housekeeper, Mrs. Livingston (Miyoshi Umeki), Tom never felt as if he had enough time in the day to pursue a romantic relationship. He went through the motions of dating but never found the right woman to take the place of his wife.
Mrs. Livingston was the calm in the storm. She was low-key and insightful; only offering advice at the appropriate time. In addition to being insightful, she also had some quirky behaviors which added to the comedic relief of the show. She addressed Tom as, “Mr. Eddie’s father” which suggested that Eddie was the more important of the two. Mrs. Livingston also often found herself in cahoots with Eddie in his efforts to marry off his father.
Naturally, the father and son duo became very close. They were all each other had and each considered the other their best friend. The theme song, in fact, was entitled, Best Friend. The opening of the show depicted Tom and Eddie enjoying a loving and close relationship. It has since been borrowed by others to promote father/son bonding.
When the show first aired, there were few other shows that portrayed a single man caring for young children. My Three Sons and Family Affair were shows that were similar in nature. It is interesting to note, however, that each of these shows had a housekeeper and/or caretaker to help with the duties of raising the children. America just wasn’t ready to accept that a single father could successfully care for children without a woman.
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