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Favorite foil George Jefferson could always put one over on Archie, and he knew it. Archie may have called son-in-law Mike "Meathead," "Polack," and every other name in the book, but he still let Mike and Gloria live in his house for the first five years of their marriage. And he was proud of his young father days, too, saying "I never left Gloria alone when she was a baby. Wherever I went, I made sure Edith was with her. We learned about the actors' personal lives — that Robert Reed was gay, and Florence Henderson and Barry Williams once went out on a date.

We also learned that Reed, who played Mike Brady, had hated the schmaltzy sitcom, even refusing to appear in the final episode, which featured son Greg's high-school graduation. He'd have a little more moral high ground if he hadn't also starred in "Bloodlust," a movie so bad it became a Mystery Science Theater episode. But while Reed may have hated playing Mike Brady, those of us who were kids in the s adored him. A cool-and-collected architect by day, he was a true-blue husband and ace father by night.

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Weaving three daughters into his family couldn't have been easy, and admittedly, he needed a few lessons in women's lib. Marcia showed him a thing or two by joining the formerly all-male Frontier Scouts.

God's Love letter for you...(worth watching)

But overall, he was devoted to his children without getting all "thirtysomething" mushy about it. His parenting ranged from the cliched "A wise man forgets his anger before he lies down to sleep. He was the kids' dad, not their friend, and if none of the Brady Six ever ended up in jail, rehab or bankruptcy court, he was a large part of the reason why. One of Cosby's lines from his comedy routine — "I brought you kids into this world, and I can take you out" — made its way to the show, where it garnered at least as big a laugh as it did in the clubs.

Heathcliff Huxtable was a doctor, his wife Claire a lawyer, and their well-dressed, well-appointed family showed a still-so-white TV Land that African-American families could be just as monetarily successful as whites. That said, Cliff wasn't about to give his kids everything they wanted.

And money was far from everything for the Huxtables. For parents with such time-consuming jobs, Cliff and Claire seemed to be around the house as much as any stay-at-home parent, Cliff especially. And his creative parenting looked so cool onscreen that any kid watching wished for him as a dad. In one episode, Cliff transformed their home into the Real World Apartments, with Claire, Denise, Vanessa and little Rudy all taking roles to teach brother Theo about the realities of life outside. But one question was never answered: With a dad like Cliff, why would he even consider leaving home in the first place?

Dog Jack was a bulldog in real life, not whatever Benji-like breed the show featured. Rural Minnesota didn't have the mountains that often appeared in the background of the supposed prairie. And perhaps most jarring of all, Laura's dad, Charles "Pa" Ingalls, didn't have the beard that his daughter spoke of so fondly in her books.

Fans got over it.

15 things you never knew about 'Father Knows Best'

Michael Landon seemed born to play Laura and Mary's beloved dad. He was understanding in the way that we think of modern fathers being, but at the same time, tough, as was required by the American frontier. When he learned a friend of Laura's had one leg shorter than the other, he made her special shoes. When he discovered another friend of theirs was being beaten by his drunken father, he stayed with the man to try and keep him sober.

And when the whole world, it seemed, drew themselves up against the Indians, he befriended them and took them food. The Ingalls family never had the money that Laura's nemesis, Nellie Oleson's family did. The girls were often teased for being "country girls," and could only look enviously at the many store-bought possessions of others.


Yet in one episode, Nellie's father Nels admirably called Charles Ingalls "the richest man in Walnut Grove," and so he was. Rich in love, in respect, and in strength. No money could buy that. Tony Soprano, Mob Dad The Huxtable family had a lot of money, but also good solid family relationships. The Ingalls family had very little money, but plenty of love and respect. I hope I can return the favor when I grow up by achieving every single goal that you always wanted me to. I love you. I love you, Dad.

Archive Highlights

He told me that I was uncommonly beautiful and that I was the most precious thing in his life. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express. I hope I can find a man that will treat me as good as my dad. I love you! And yet, you will adore your daughter every day of her life, hoping to be valued again, but realizing how fortunate you were even if you only get what you already got.

This is my only girl. You can call it what you want to call it. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails.


She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps. Related Articles. Explore Father's Day Posts. Mug for Dad. Father's Day Ideas. Personalized Gifts. Dow was a championship diver when he got into show business.

Dow says he felt that Mathers was his brother. All four men remain close. They occasionally make appearances, such as at a tribute last week at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills. Mathers still acts; Dow turned to directing and now is a sculptor. They adore Billingsley, Osmond says Eddie is more popular today than ever.

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