Widower Steve Douglas raises three sons with the help of his father-in-law, and is later aided by the boys' great-uncle. An adopted son, a stepdaughter, wives, and another generation of sons join the loving family in later seasons.
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Widower Steven Douglas is left to bring up three boys all by himself with the aide of his housekeeper "Uncle Charlie". The series revolves around the trials and tribulations of life's experiences as a single parent family. Written by
I never thought that Fred MacMurray would ever get a biography written about him simply because of the subject. The man was apparently as normal as he seemed. No scandals of any kind, no movie or television star temperament, no salacious gossip of any kind. Still a good biography was written about him in the past couple of years.
When MacMurray was offered My Three Sons his film career had rejuvenated due to Walt Disney's, The Shaggy Dog. Quite frankly MacMurray wanted to have it all, but there are only 365 days a year. Producer Don Fedderson to get his participation in the show agreed to a system whereby all of his scenes in all of the show's episodes were shot first, taking about 2 months. Then everyone else's scenes were shot and the episodes edited together. It allowed Fred time for his outside work, mostly with Walt Disney.
This was a firm and fast rule, even guest stars who didn't get around to their commitments on a show, found themselves saying their dialog to furniture as the episodes were put together. If they could be called back, they were, otherwise it was playing to the scenery.
What I find amazing is that people actually put up with this, but there's no denying the success of the results. My Three Sons had a twelve year run on the show, all of the original sons got married and started families. One son, Tim Considine quite halfway through the run like Adam Cartwright, still the show kept going as MacMurray adopted Barry Livingston to keep the trio with Don Grady and Barry's older brother Stanley Livingston.
Females gradually entered the all male household with the marriages of Considine to Meredith MacRae, Grady to Tina Cole, and Livingston to Ronne Troup. And the big finish was in those final couple of seasons as widower MacMurray married Beverly Garland and became a stepfather of girls for the first time with Dawn Lyn.
Before the females invaded the household chores and the raising of the boys was assisted by William Frawley and later William Demarest. Both had done films with MacMurray back in the old days. Frawley's health so declined the producer's could not get him insured any longer. He was not a happy camper when he was let go.
When My Three Sons completed its run, gentle family comedies like this were going way out of style. Shows like All In The Family which had a more pessimistic view of the human condition were the vogue when the Seventies were ushered in. Still the show provides some fond memories for me and it had the weirdest shooting schedule allowing it's star to have it all.
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