Created by James Komack
Country of origin United States
Original network ABC
Genre Family sitcom
Composer(s) George Tipton
First episode date 17 September 1969
|Starring Bill BixbyBrandon CruzMiyoshi UmekiJames KomackKristina Holland|
Opening theme "Best Friend" performed by Harry Nilsson
Theme song Best Friend, by Harry Nilsson
Cast Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz, Miyoshi Umeki, James Komack, Kristina Holland
The Courtship of Eddie's Father is an American television sitcom based on the 1963 movie of the same name, which was based on a novel by Mark Toby (edited by Dorothy Wilson).
The series is about a widower, Tom Corbett (played by Bill Bixby), who is a magazine publisher, and his young son, Eddie (played by Brandon Cruz). Eddie believes his father should marry, and manipulates situations surrounding the women his father is interested in. (Eddie's matchmaking efforts were the theme of the movie, but gradually became less central to the storylines in the series.)
ABC had acquired the rights to the story; the series debuted on September 17, 1969, and was last broadcast on March 1, 1972.
Bixby received an Emmy nomination for the show.
Comedy producer James Komack served as both the creator and the executive producer of the show.
The television show's theme song, "Best Friend", was written and performed by Harry Nilsson, and was played over opening credits showing Bixby and Cruz in various happy moments. The song has often been used since that time as an iconic indication of father-son bonding.
An edited version of Nilsson's "Best Friend" was used as the theme song for the 2006 MTV series Rob & Big.
The show centered on Tom Corbett (Bill Bixby), a handsome, thirty-something magazine publisher and widower from Los Angeles. Following the death of his wife Helen, Tom is left to raise his mischievous, freckle-faced son, six-year-old Eddie (Brandon Cruz). Eddie wants a new mother. To that end, he cleverly manipulates his father's relationships with women, sometimes even trying to set his father up to fall for women Eddie knows and likes first. The father-son duo's domestic arrangements are managed, with great competence and discretion, by their Japanese housekeeper, Mrs. Livingston (Miyoshi Umeki). Her low-key diplomacy and sage advice add to the comedic mix in situations where she looks after Eddie, and sometimes helps him further his schemes to marry off his father and find a new mother. One of Mrs. Livingston's most endearing peculiarities is her habit of addressing her nominal employer as "Mr. Eddie's Father", which hints at who she considers to be the more important member of the pair under her care. Characters from Tom Corbett's office included Tina Rickles (Kristina Holland), as his secretary, and Norman Tinker (James Komack), as the magazine's photographer and token radical. Norman, who was also a family man, occasionally served as Eddie's honorary uncle.
In 1970, Bill Bixby made his debut as a director, going on to direct eight episodes of the show.
The show was cancelled in 1972, when Bixby had a falling out with James Komack over the show's direction. Many of the later episodes focused on Norman, Tom, and Eddie rather than on the relationship between Tom and Eddie. Years after the show was cancelled, it became quietly popular as reruns in syndication.
Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz are the only two actors to appear in every episode of the series.
During its three-season run, many familiar or up-and-coming actors who guest-starred on the show went on to become successful stars, including: Jodie Foster, Sally Struthers, Bruce Kirby, Pat Harrington, Jr., Diana Muldaur, Willie Aames, Warren Berlinger, Suzanne Pleshette, Yvonne Craig, Cicely Tyson, Richard X. Slattery, Tippi Hedren, Trisha Noble, John Fiedler, Alan Oppenheimer, Lou Jacobi, Will Geer, Bill Dana, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Ronny Graham, Lori Saunders, Ann Prentiss, Ron Ely, Carol Lawrence, and George Takei. Future Happy Days stars Pat Morita and Erin Moran also made guest appearances. Established stars also made cameo appearances, such as Eve McVeagh as a grumpy neighbor named Lorraine Karn, Sammy Davis, Jr. as an insurance man, and Bixby's then-wife Brenda Benet as Tom's girlfriend.
As early as 1999, Entertainment Weekly reported plans for Nicolas Cage to star in and produce a feature film remake of the series. In a 2011 interview, Brandon Cruz believed Cage was likely no longer interested in the project because Cage's son Weston, who would have played Eddie, had grown too old for the part.
In 2003, filming began on a new television pilot which starred Ken Marino and Josh Hutcherson, but it was not picked up by a network. The child star of the previous series, Brandon Cruz, played a supporting role.
Warner Bros. has released all three seasons of The Courtship of Eddie's Father on DVD in Region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available via WBShop.com & Amazon.com.