June 21, 2009

Happy (vintage) Father’s Day!

Good morning, my dears, I hope that you’re all having a fantastic weekend! Lingering spring showers continues to come and go in spurts on this end, but it's definitely nothing that celebrating a holiday can’t banish from one’s mind!

{Fathers of the 40s, 50s and 60s were often portrayed as being wise and a bit stern, but also loving and devoted to their families. Charming vintage illustration via Prudence Pennywise.}

In an ode to dads everywhere, I thought it would be fun to highlight five well-known pops that always spring to mind when I think of vintage era fathers. Come along as we peak into the lives of some of TV’s best known and most loved dads of the 1950s and 60s.

{Ward Cleaver}

Few shows portray the idealized and iconic middle class, white picket fence family of the 1950s like Leave It to Beaver, headed by father Ward Cleaver (played by actor Hugh Beaumont). From his den to his enjoyment of reading the evening paper, Ward definitely personified the sort of kind, but not overly doting, dad that has now come to represent fathers of the fifties and early sixties as a whole.

{Andy Griffith}

You’d know the tune to this next TV dad’s show anywhere (and have probably whistled it to yourself before, especially if you’ve ever gone walking down a quite country road with a fishing pole in your hand), and likewise Andy Griffith himself is one of the best know on-air fathers of the 1960s. Griffith (whose character shared his real name) played a widowed, small town sheriff who ran both his community and family with a time-honoured set of morals, a loving nature and an endearing country charm that made you want to move to Mayberry quicker than you could say, “Golly, Andy!”

{Fred Flintstone}

Based loosely on the TV character Ralph Kramden (from The Honeymooners), this prehistoric Dad had a penchant for large slabs of meat, bowling and hanging out with his neighbour (and fellow Bedrock daddy, Barney Rubble). Fred Flintstone who was as a blue collar worker and his family’s (which consisted of wife Wilma and daughter Pebbles) primary bread winner. While Fred did have a bit of a temper at times, he was generally sweet towards his family, especially his daughter, throughout the show’s many year run. To this day Fred – and his well know catchphrase “Yabba-Dabba-Doo” remains one of television’s most famous cartoon show fathers.

{Jim Anderson}

Akin to Leave it to Beaver in the sense that this show is now seen by some (be they critic or fans) as portraying an unrealistic, polly-anna like view of 1950s life, Father Knows Best was an American sitcom that centred around the Anderson family, including its friendly and loving patriarch Jim (played by actor Robert Young). Did dad always have the right answers or solutions when it came to dealing with the everyday sort of situations encountered by his wife and three children? Naturally, no, he didn’t, but Anderson was an even-handed, thoughtful dad who generally knew what to say or do to help ensure his family was happy.

{Ben Cartwright}

Widowed not once, not twice, but three times, Wild West dwelling, ranch owning father Ben Cartwright (portrayed by actor Lorne Greene), was the sort of man who knew how to rustle cattle and raise his three sons without missing a beat. From 1959 to 1973, Bonanza brought the Old West into living rooms everywhere and made Ben Cartwright into one of the best know single TV fathers to come out of mid-twentieth century.

{All photos found through Google Images. Click on a photo to be taken to each show’s respective IMDB page.}

While many TV dads – from Cliff Huxtable to Michael Landon’s portrayal of Charles Ingalls – have become household names over the decades, on the third Sunday in June I always find myself thinking nostalgically of the of men of the atomic era who proved to be television roll models – or at least entertainers – for generations fathers to come. Who are some of your favourite TV pops of any decade?

Wishing all the dads, grandfathers, and men who take on the role of being a papa in whatever context, a wonderful and relaxing Father’s Day!


  1. Somehow came across your blog as Ive been blog hopping :) Thought Id say Hi :)

  2. Great dads. I enjoyed this post. Happy Father's Day to all dads out there.

  3. @ Candy-Faith, so delighted that you hopped in this direction! :) Thank you for you cheerful "hi", it's lovely to meet you, sweetie.

    @ Keith, I'm really happy you enjoyed this post. I had a lot of fun putting it together :)

    Thank you both for your terrific comments, I hope you have a fantastic week ahead!
    ♥ Jessica

  4. love andy! he was such a great tv dad!

  5. What an amazing fathers day post, Andy Griffith perfect dream dad! ♥

  6. @ Elena and Darla, I couldn't agree more! Andy was the kind of caring, wise, "leader of men" kind of man you really wanted for a dad when you were growing up and as a bf/husband when you got older :)

    Thank you both your your lovely comments, pretty ladies,
    ♥ Jessica