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Bachelor Father
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TV Series
    (September 15, 1957-September 25, 1962)
    Born in United States
    Originally aired on CBS from 1957 to 1959
    Aired on NBC from 1959 to 1961
    Aired on ABC from 1961 to 1962
    Synopsis: Bachelor attorney Bentley Gregg raises orphaned teenage niece Kelly (with the assistance of a wisecracking housekeeper) while trying to juggle his career and his own love life
    John Forsythe as 'Uncle' Bentley Gregg
    Noreen Corcoran as Kelly
    Sammee Tong as Peter Tong
    Jimmy Boyd as Howard Meechum
    Two words: Sammee Tong.
    Its title was misleading, as Bentley was Kelly's uncle, not her father (although he filled the role of a father).
    It debuted on Ronald Reagan's 'General Electric Theater.'
    Like Johnny Crawford, Noreen Corcoran parlayed the show's success by translating her popularity into a pop singing career.
    It was the only primetime show to come close to running consecutive years on the three major networks; CBS, NBC, and ABC.
    Sammee Tong typically spoke a form of broken Pidgin English which many Asians deemed offensive.
    Kelly tended to address Forsythe by crooning/whining the name 'Uncle Bentley,' in an annoying manner.
    Because of his aversion to marriage (and the producers' wish that the title character remain a 'Bachelor Father'), Bentley went through girlfriends like Kleenex, rarely dating any one woman twice.
    Its tone was often preachy, especially in episodes concerning Kelly's school problems.
    It pulled a Johnny Unitas when ratings started to decline and switched to ABC where it died a quiet death.
    It was sponsored by American Tobacco and often glamorized smoking.
    It went through different theme instrumentals nearly every season (the longest lasting one was utilized for two years).
    Linda Evans guest-starred as one of Kelly's teenage friends, over twenty years before she would play Forsythe's wife on Dynasty (looks like the 'Bachelor Father' turned 'cradle robber' on us).
    It provided some job security for an aging Jimmy Boyd, whose career was being slowly killed by puberty.
    Ronald Reagan personally suggested Noreen Corcoran for the part of Kelly because she resembled an actual 13-year-old teenager.
    Along with 'The Rifleman,' which was released in the same year, it was one of the first series to depict a single-father household.
    It was the forerunner for all the 'single-parent family sitcoms' to come, including 'My Three Sons,' 'Family Affair,' 'My Two Dads,' 'Full House,' and 'Two & a Half Men.'
    Peter Tong subtly challenged Asian stereotypes, often exhibiting agency and proving to be sharper than Bentley in many instances.
    Tong had acquired such a fan-base on the show that he was the only thing keeping Mickey Rooney's short lived sitcom, 'Mickey,' from being cancelled (the show was cancelled shortly after he committed suicide, in 1964).
    John Forsythe had difficulty finding a niche after the show's cancellation because he was so closely identified as 'Uncle Bentley' (finally getting his break as the unseen Charlie Townsend on Charlie's Angels).
    It featured a virtual who's-who of both Hollywood stars and up-and-coming entertainers as guest-stars; including Jack Benny, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Eden, Donna Douglas, Bill Bixby, Frankie Laine, and Patti Page.
    Noreen Corcoran was 13-years old at the start of the show, virtually growing up on the show.
    Although a popular show during its time, it has all but been brushed under the rug due to political correctness.
    It was wholesome family entertainment that broke from the traditional 'Father Knows Best' nuclear-family format.
    Despite its significance, it has yet to attain a full-scale DVD release for its five seasons.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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