Life with Father

Life with Father TV seriesNetwork: CBS
Episodes: 27 known (half-hour)
Seasons: Three

TV show dates: November 22, 1953 — May 23, 1955
Series status: Cancelled

Performers include: Leon Ames, Lurene Tuttle, Ralph Reed, Steven Terrell, Ronald Keith, B.G. Norman, Freddy Ridgeway, Harvey Grant, Freddie Leiston, Malcolm Cassell, Dorothy Bernard, Marion Ross, and Bob Lemond.

TV show description:      
During the 1920s, Clarence Day Jr. wrote numerous nostalgic articles about his life for The New Yorker. They were so popular that the stories led to a best-selling novel, a successful play — it ran on Broadway for nearly eight years and 3224 performances — and a major motion picture starring William Powell. The stories also led to a live television show.

Set in New York City during the 1880s, the series tells the story of Clarence Day Senior (Leon Ames), a stern but loving Victorian father. His wife is Vinnie (Lurene Tuttle) and together, they have four red-headed sons — Clarence Junior (Ralph Reed, then Steven Terrell), Whitney (Ronald Keith, then B.G. Norman, then Freddy Ridgeway), Harlan (Harvey Grant), John (Freddie Leiston, then Malcolm Cassell).

Day is very traditional and rules his house with an iron hand but also loves and cares for his family deeply. He treats them fairly and, as a result, wins their lifelong respect.

Other characters include Margaret (Dorothy Bernard, the only castmember who’d been in the play) the maid and Nora (Marion Ross). The announcer is Bob Lemond.

Series Finale:     
Father Goes Gallivanting
There are no details available about the last episode’s storyline.
Photoplay by Katharine B. Day, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse.
First aired: May 23, 1955.


Behind the Scenes

Despite being seen in black and white by most viewers, this live series was actually broadcast in color beginning in September 1954. It was also the first color show produced in Hollywood.

Ezra Stone produced the TV series. At the insistence of Mrs. Clarence Day Jr., a special consultant on the show, all of the actors playing the Day family had to have red hair.

What do you think? Do you remember this TV show? What do you like or dislike about it?

Canceled and renewed TV show

7 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Steve Smith says

    Hi Harvey Grant aka Marke Levene (Harley on LIFE WITH FATHER). FYI: As I type this, I’m watching you on RIN TIN TIN on Antenna TV (KTLA-5.2 in southern California). You were a fine little actor. Just writing to tell you that I wish you the best & hope things are good for you!

  2. says

    My acting name was Harvey Grant, I played Harlan in Life with Father. For many reasons, all very straight forward I have never tried to unite my acting identity (I was an orphan and adopted into a Hollywood family) and my real name, Marke Levene, before now. Nothing to hide but my life went into other directions. I know there are episodes in the History of Television Museum in New York. I was just searching for what was on the web and discovered this site.

    Good luck to you all.

  3. Madeline says

    Like Mary, I too, LOVED the show, and am very sadly disappointed that the 27 or so episodes are NOT AVAILABLE for purchase on DVD. I would purchase them in a minute, as I miss the humor, charm, and personalities of these talented actors, the likes of which we have never seen since then.

  4. Sheldon Rudolph says

    The first season starred a great and beautiful actor named RALPH REED who as the eldest son of the family added great talent and substance to the program. Unfortunately, Ralph was drafted into the U.S. Military as the second season began and had to be replaced.

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