My Three SonsMy Three Sons

1960-1972 | ABC, CBS
Added to the database on May 22, 2009
(30 votes)
My Three Sons is sitcom that ran from 1960 to 1965 on ABC, and moved to CBS until its end 1972, that chronicles the life of a widower and aeronautical engineer named Steven Douglas (Fred MacMurray), raising his three sons.
When one thinks of cutting edge television, My Three Sons does not immediately leap to mind, but this beloved Boomer-era staple (it ran for 12 seasons, which, for a family sitcom, is second in longevity only to The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet) broke the nuclear family mold. Fred MacMurray's Steve Douglas was a widower, raising his titular brood--college-bound Mike (Tim Considine), middle son Robbie (Don Grady), and youngest son Chip (Stanley Livingston)--with the help of his gruff, but soft-hearted father-in-law, Bub (William Frawley). In the first episode, when a door-to-door cosmetics salesman asks to see the woman of the house, Bub laughs, "Boy, do you have the wrong house." Also not par for the sitcom course is the avant-garde use of sound effects. In one episode, sibling rivalry over a girl results in a "cold war" between Mike and Robbie. Their dinner table sniping as Steve tries to broker peace is punctuated by the sounds of guns firing and bombs exploding. Which is to say that My Three Sons has aged nicely, and has much to offer beyond nostalgia.

My Three Sons Cast

No offense to the great William Demarest, who replaced an ailing Frawley in 1965, but the series' "Bub" years were the best. Save for the episode in which comedian George Gobel is a guest at the house, the situations are grounded in reality, and the writing often surprises with twists that subvert sitcom convention and stereotypes. "Countdown" cleverly unfolds in real time as the family's Monday morning routine plays out against a televised satellite launch. In another episode, a fraternity rejects Mike, not because they are snobs (the usual sitcom portrayal), but because they believe Mike isn't serious enough about his education. Some episodes simply bring home the laughs, as in "The Little Ragpicker," in which a realistic looking dummy causes a new neighbor to think the worst about the Douglases. But there is genuine pathos in "Bub in the Ointment," in which Bub's "Irish temper" and lack of tact embarrass the kids, until Steve reminds Mike of the sacrifices Bub made to move in with the family after his daughter died. The boys talk, act, and fight like brothers, and Steve, while a pipe-puffing fount of sage fatherly advice, is sometimes at a loss, and is allowed to be testy and impatient with his "wild bunch." The split season is unfortunate, but these inaugural 18 episodes are a healthy serving for those who want a taste of this iconic series.

Cast & Characters

  • Fred MacMurray as Steven "Steve" Douglas
  • Tim Considine as Michael "Mike" Douglas (1960–1965)
  • Don Grady as Robert "Robbie" Douglas (1960–1971)
  • Stanley Livingston as Richard "Chip" Douglas
  • Barry Livingston as Ernest "Ernie" Thompson/Douglas (1963–1972)
  • William Frawley as Michael Francis "Bub" O'Casey (1960–1965)
  • Meredith MacRae as Sally Ann Morrison Douglas (1963–1965)
  • William Demarest as Uncle Charley O'Casey, Bub's brother (1965–1972)
  • Tina Cole, Katie as Miller Douglas (1967–1972)
  • Beverly Garland as Barbara Harper Douglas (1969–1972)
  • Dawn Lyn as Dodie Harper Douglas (1969–1972)
  • Ronne Troup as Polly Williams Douglas (1970–1972)
  • Daniel and Joseph Todd as Michael (1970–1972)
  • Stevie and Charley Douglas as Robbie (1970–1972)
  • Cynthia Pepper as played Jean Pearson
  • Peter Brooksas Hank Ferguson (1960-1963)
  • Cheryl Holdridge as Judy Doucette (1960-1964)
  • Mimi Gibson as Carol (1966-1968)
  • Lesley-Marie Colburn as Frieda (1964-1965)
  • Marcia Mae Jones as Mary (1964-1968)
  • Susan Gordon as Eloise (1962-1967)
  • Marta Kristen as Linda Travis (1960-1964)
  • Ricky Allen as Sudsy Pfeiffer (1961–1967)
  • Hank Jones as Pete (1964–1966)
  • John Howard as Dave Welch (1965–1967)

Broadcast History

My Three Sons Title Card First Telecast: September 29, 1960
Last Telecast: August 24, 1972
Original Network:  ABC,  CBS
Number of Seasons: 12
Number of Episodes: 380
Original Primetime TV Schedule:
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Theme Song & Opening Credits

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My Three Sons On DVD

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