"THAT'S MY BOY" the TV Series surpassed the 1951 movie of the same title because of just two words. "Eddie Mayehoff!"
Now here is a series that can truly be described as being "all but forgotten". We well remember it as being on Sarturday Evenings, around 8:00 P.M. or so, Central Standard Time.
I was a kid of 8 year sold when the show started, yet even then,it seemed to be a very interesting and funny series. This opinion was shared by my folks, who made it a point to both sit down in front of the DuMont Console in our Living Room and watch it, together, yet! Remember, this was before the Advent (or Lent) of Video Tape, so a series was either filmed (I LOVE LUCY, IT'S A GREAT LIFE, THE HANK McCUNE SHOW), like a Theatrically Released Movie, Kinoscoped (a fast developing film type which made use of the same image that a TV Camera was sending out) or it was Live. And if a show was really and truly "Live", it usually had a Studio Audience.
"THAT'S MY BOY" was Live and did have that Studio Audience to boot! It presented fresh, new half-hour plays on their show every week that they were on. Any program in a like manner, was basically giving we lucky American Televiewing Public the equivalent of a new, fresh Broadway Play each and every time they were on stage.
The series featured Gil Stratton as "Junior", who provided the "Boy" in the Title. Miss Rochele Hudson portrayed Alice Jackson, Junior Jackson's supportive Mother. But it was Mr. Eddie Mayehoff the character of "Jarin' Jack" Jackson, the former grid-iron great and greatest football player ever from that College; who made the show.
It was the by play of Jack with Junior, and his pompous and overly energetic "Go, Go, Go's" that gave a life of its own to what started out as Football College Comedy.
And one thing we have to discuss is that this series was the biggest bundles of Unknown factors. First, I had no idea for years that the series followed a feature film of the same name by 3 or 4 years. The movie was the second starring vehicle for that ever so hot Comedy Team of Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis. Dean was a big time Varsity hero, while Jerry portrayed Junior, the klutzy, decidedly non-Athlete of former Varsity Star, "Jarin' Jack" Jackson (Eddie Mayehoff).
The film had some good success at the Box Office, and someone decided to adapt it to the still young medium of Television. But the show would have the elder Jackson as the star. Mr. Mayehoff was the only transferee to jump from one medium to the other, and it is obvious as to why. He was a very, very funny man with a somewhat refreshing and original comic persona.
Whereas the film centered on Jarin' Jack's attempt to land Junior on the Varsity, following in his own footsteps, the TV series version had to come up with more situations, one a week to be exact. In one episode, just about the whole time of the ½ hour went by with the Father thinking that the Son had made the Varsity Gridiron Squad; only to find out that Junior was chosen to be the Team Mascot. "When I was playing on the Varsity, we had a Goat for a mascot!" he protested, to no avail.
On the series they gave old Jarin' Jack a business as a Construction Contractor. He had one on-going gag about his pet developmental project in a locale known as "Noonan Swamp." He would always get to say, "There's no quicksand in Noonan Swamp; just flabby rock!", and be waving his hand sand making a great facial expression to accompany it. (You just gotta see it for yourself!) As to "Junior", Gil Stratton had been in movies for quite a time, having started out as a juvenile. But he had and apparently is still having a most active career. As that eight year old I told you about, I wasn't aware that this was the same guy from STALAG 17 (Paramount, 1953) who portrayed Cookie, the 'flunky' for Sgt. Sexton (William Holden).
Furthermore, I was oblivious to that name of "Gil Stratton" because it was he who did the National Football League on Sunday, a lot of them from the Los Angeles Coliseum, with the Rams vs. (???) But, once again we repeat, the show was most memorable because of Mr. Eddie Mayehoff's talents, some good writing and a lively rendition of "Knuckle Down, Winsackey, Knuckle Down." This is one case in which the spin off, this resulting Comedy Show, was superior to the Movie, Dean & Jerry, or not!
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