By Wayne Parker
Many of our attitudes abour modern culture are formed by watching television. Fathers on television tend to be at polar ends of a scale--either extraordinary fathers or clueless dads. This list of famous television fathers tends to reflect our society's favorites. But at the end, you can add your own favorite TV father.
Andy Griffith played Sheriff Andy Taylor, in the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960's. He was a totally committed single father who lived with and raised his son Opie and with their Aunt Bea. He was a doting father, but still held Opie to a high standard of morality and proper behavior. And he courted Opie's school teacher Helen Crump.
As the patriarch of the Cosby clan, Cliff Huxtable was the consummate father of his generation. A busy obstetrician with an office downstairs at his home, Cliff had time to wise crack and spout wisdom with the children we watched grow up over eight seasons in the 1908's. His love of jazz music and great art, his colorful sweaters and his clever repartee inspired many fathers and families.
Architect Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed, headed up his blended family on "The Brady Bunch." Famous for his morality talks with the kids and a sometimes exasperated look at the antics of six busy kids, Mike Brady was beloved by a generation.
Played by well-recognized actor Tom Bosley, this TV father owned and operated a hardware store. Howard Cunningham alwys seemed to have time to be a part of his kids' lives and regularly offered solid fatherly wisdom to his chldren and their sometimes unique frieds like Ralphie, Potsie, Fonzie and Chachie. Howard and Marion's home was always open to any kids who happened to show up.
Michael Landon was best known as Little Joe Cartright from Bonanza fame when he took on the role of Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. Charles was the archetypal pioneer and farmer father raising three daughters on the frontier. He was full of homespun wisdom and was the pillar of their small farming community.
Danny Tanner was played by Bob Saget who later hosted shows such as America's Funniest Home Videos and was an extraordinarily funny stand-up comedian. In Full House, he was a young widower raising four daughters including the Olsen twins (Mary Kate and Ashely) as the baby of the house. Known as a bit overprotective and as a neatness nut, Danny Tanner was lovable and the dad many teenage girls wished they had.
The host of Tool Time on this show, Tim Taylor is the consummate "man's man." He is accident prone, does not know everything about a home workshop, and often feels that a bigger tool will do the job when a smaller tool will not, right or wrong. As a father, Tim is quite unfocused, and his wife Jill totally runs the family, and is the perfect comic foil for Tim. This is a home with love and respect underlying the comedy and silly situations. Home Improvement ran on television from 1991-1999, and can be seen today on TVLand.