Friday, December 1, 2017


Our last monthly induction into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame for the year; we still have the Christmas Honors list, but hopefully no more surprise inductions for the rest of the month.....

As this was a memorial year theme, paying tribute to a few actors who passed away in the last few years by inducting their Hall-worthy characters, there were several TV characters whom I just couldn't induct without their most famous partners.  Whether team-mates on the job or in their personal lives, it was unthinkable that I should hold off even if the other actor yet lived.

The examples this year were:

  • Napoleon Solo & Illya Kuryakin
  • Laura & Rob Petrie
  • Officers Malloy & Reed
And Grizzly Adams' gentle friend Ben (NOT 'Gentle Ben'!) was inducted with him, and when it came to honoring Van Williams, I can't see bringing in Kenny Madison without acknowledging his most famous character, Britt Reid (better known as the Green Hornet.)

In the case of Ben the bear, he had passed away first, but long before I had started the TVXOHOF.  And that's the situation we have with this month's inductee.  One of the duo had passed away years before, so there was no need to put a rush order on that induction.  But now....

Here are a few Wikipedia selections:

Thomas played Danny Williams, a successful comedian and nightclub entertainer at the Copa Club. 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. 

For its first three years, Make Room For Daddy garnered decent ratings, but failed to make the list of the top-30 programs. Shortly after the third season 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 would not last without her, but he decided to push on without Hagen.  

Both Thomas and producer Sheldon Leonard were faced with a serious dilemma - how to explain Jean Hagen's absence on the show. To have Danny and Margaret Williams separate and divorce would have been unacceptable to television audiences at that time. So, it was explained that Margaret had died suddenly off-screen. It was a risky move. Until this time, no character on a situation comedy had died. Danny was now a widower juggling a performing career while raising two children on his own. 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 did not like children. By season's end, the ratings had suffered and it was decided that a wife and mother was needed to complete the family unit. In a four-part story arc that began airing in April, 1957, Rusty fell ill with the measles and Danny hired Kathy O'Hara (Marjorie Lord), a young Irish nurse, to look after him. Kathy was a widow with a little girl (played by Lelani Sorenson). 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. 

At this time, ABC cancelled the series, which proved to be fortunate. In the spring of 1957, I Love Lucy, which had reigned as the top-rated show for almost all of its six-year run on CBS, was ending production. When CBS heard that ABC was cancelling The Danny Thomas Show, they picked it up for their fall season line-up, adding it to the 1957-1958 schedule.

"Make Room for Daddy" 
Danny: 344 episodes (1953-1964)
Kathy: 224 episodes (1957-1964)

"The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" 
    - Lucy Makes Room for Danny (1958)

"The Joey Bishop Show" 

    - This Is Your Life (1961) 

Commercials for Post Cereals

Danny Thomas Reunion Special (1965) 

"The Danny Thomas Hour" 
    - Make More Room for Daddy (1967)

"Make Room for Granddaddy"
24 episodes

As mentioned above, Danny and Kathy appeared in several blipverts for the show's sponsor, Post Cereals.  In at least one Uncle Tonoose also appeared and there was one which featured only Rusty and Linda.  So those would be added to their tallies for entry.  (Uncle Tonoose got in earlier this year on the occasion of his centenary and Rusty was inducted several years earlier.  Someday Linda will join the family and maybe Terry will as well.  We'll see, considering her character's history behind the scenes.)

Here are some of those blipverts:

It wasn't just that Danny and Kathy made crossovers on their own, but they invited other members of the Hall of Fame into their home - Buddy Sorrell, Jack Carter, Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, and of course Lucy & Ricky Ricardo. 

And a couple of times they met up with other Hall of Famers on the road - Jack Benny in Las Vegas and on a different vacation, they introduced the world to Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie in the first view of Mayberry.  

(There were some alterations to the look of the jailhouse as well as to some of the townfolk, but that can be laid at the feet of a woman who will be inducted into the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame during the 20th anniversary year of 2019.

And so we make room for Danny and Kathy Williams to the Hall of Fame.  Welcome!


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