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Never-married attorney Bentley Gregg took on the task (with help from his "houseboy", Peter) of raising his young niece Kelly, after her parents died in an accident. The job was easier when Kelly was a little girl, but now she's in her teens, and beginning to date and venture into the adult world, while Bentley continues to juggle his career, looking after Kelly, and his own romantic life. Written by
Charming low-key comedy - forerunner of others but better
The easy natural charm of young John Forsythe and the essential sweetness of his "getting into problems" teenage niece Kelly Corcoran, caused this series to be a hit, and made Forsythe a beloved fixture in America. I remember it very fondly though I haven't seen it since it was originally broadcast.
Unlike one later series with a similar premise (The Courtship of Eddie's Father), both Forsythe and niece whom he was raising were people you'd like to know - the very definition of gentility, charm, restraint - even Kelly whose problems were never due to her own outrageousness, but simply her age.
Unlike another later series (Family Affair), Forsythe had a gentleness rare for paternal figures in television dealing with teenagers. (Brian Keith was curmudgeonly and would rail at fate!). It made the program tremendously reassuring.
Forsythe's well-dressed handsomeness, his restraint, his distinguished voice, his very movement, and the affluence of his character and home, gave this series an urban and upper middle class reassurance that was unlike most other series of the day (or any day for that matter).
E.g., Donna Reed (father a doctor) or My Three Sons (MacMurray an aircraft engineer) were suburban, patio barbecue and swimming pool sorts of series. "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver" seemed to take place in a sort of mythical small American town. "The Life of Riley and "the Honeymooners" had dads going to the bus depot, the sewer or the "plant". Although "Make Room for Daddy" took place in New York, but the life of a nightclub comic (and the Danny Thomas character) was frenetic - voices constantly shrieking.
In contrast, Bachelor Father was set in a penthouse - and seemed to be in a large Eastern or Midwestern city - probably New York, definitely not southern California. It was lovely and I thank all those involved for presenting it so very well to create such fond memories.
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