Summary: The TV dads from the 50s till today can teach us a lot.
Things are a lot different now then they use to be when it came to the sex or even amount of babies being born. With my first born, dads set in a waiting room until the nurse came in and said “It’s a boy.” With my next two I was present at their birth but had no idea of their sex until they were born.
Four expectant fathers were in Minneapolis hospital waiting room, while their wives were in labor. The nurse arrived and announced to the first man, "Congratulations sir, you’re the father of twins."
"What a coincidence" the man said with some obvious pride. "I work for the Minnesota Twins baseball team."
The nurse returned in a little while and turned to the second man, "You sir, are the father of triplets."
"Wow, that’s really an incredible coincidence” he answered.
"I work for the 3M Corporation. My buddies at work will never let me live this one down.”
An hour later, while the other two men were passing cigars around, the nurse came back, this time she turn to the 3rd man - who had been quiet in the corner. She announced that his wife had just given birth to quadruplets.
Stunned, he barely could reply. "Don’t tell me another coincidence?" asked the nurse. After finally regaining his composure, he said "I don’t believe it; I work for the Four Seasons Hotel."
After hearing this, everybody’s attention turned to the 4th guy, who had just fainted, flat out on the floor. The nurse rushed to his side and after some time, he slowly gained back his consciousness.
When he was finally able to speak, they could hear him whispering repeatedly the same phrase over and over again.
"I should have never taken that job at 7-Up "I should have never taken that job at 7-Up "I should have never taken that job at 7-Up...
I grew up in the decades of the 50s and 60s. For those of you who think that was ancient times, I assure you we had television, although it was black and white. There were only 3 channels to watch so our viewing time was limited. In fact, television broadcasting actually ended at 11:30 pm.
Today children have almost unlimited time to view television if not monitored by their parents. In the 1950s twenty two percent of children lived with a single parent. Today that figure is estimated to be at a staggering 51% with 90% of those households being headed by women. That means we have 24 million children in this country not living with a biological father in the same household. We have an amazing number of children growing up with TV. dads as their primary image of what fathers are all about.
So let’s take a walk through the decades to look at some of the typical fathers as they were portrayed on television.
In 1952 we were introduced to the first family of television, the Nelsons. “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” was the first sit-com based around a family atmosphere. It stared the actual Mom, Dad and two sons, Ricky and David. Ozzie worked from home but we never knew at what. Harriet took care of the household chores. Each week was centered on the boy’s dilemmas and Ozzie’s wise counsel solving the crisis.
We had Ward Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver) and Jim Anderson (Father Knows Best). They worked a steady but boring 9-5 job while mom was at home to manage the kids in a middle class suburban bubble. Dad would arrive home every evening, remove his jacket, and solve the entire crisis that included everything from prom dates to homework to burnt pot roast. The day would end with everyone gathered around the supper table talking about the day’s events. And dad, being the patriarch and moral compass of the family ended every show with wise words and a life lesson for his children. And no one sassed or dared to back talk him.
In the 60s we were introduced to two TV dads that were single parents, Ben Cartwright and Andy Taylor. Ben raised three sons on the western frontier, each with a different personality because each had a different mother. Ben was widowed three times. He instilled in his sons a sense of justice and morality. Andy was also a widower who instilled his son one important lesson- always do the right thing. He always made sure that he took time to go fishin’ with his son and built a lasting bound.
We also had our first TV cartoon dad, Fred Flintstone. Fred was your basic blue-collar worked at the quarry. He worked every day, packing his lunch to save money so he could occasionally treat his family out to the neighborhood drive-in. His favorite family time was playing with his precious daughter, Pebbles.