From the producer of "My Three Sons" and "Family Affair" comes "The Smith Family"
For the record,actor Henry Fonda starred in two landmark television shows that were in fact a decade apart.
First of all,audiences got to see him as U.S. Marshal Simon Frye on the landmark western series THE DEPUTY(Top Gun Productions/Revue Studios-MCA/for NBC-TV that ran from September 12,1959 until July 1,1961)that was produced and created by Roland Kibbee and Norman Lear(future creator and producer of "All In The Family" fame)that ran for two seasons and produced 76 episodes that were in classic black and white.
The second series he did was when he portrayed Detective Sgt. Chad Smith on another short-lived series THE SMITH FAMILY(Don Fedderson Productions/The ABC Television Network that ran from January 20,1971 until June 7,1972)that was produced and created by Edmund Hartmann under executive producer Don Fedderson that was in color and produced 39 episodes. The series ran 30 minutes(which included commercials).
Produced by the same company by brought you "My Three Sons",and "Family Affair","The Smith Family" was a far departure from Don Fedderson's previous sitcoms. But this one had a premise. Picture if you will "Dragnet's" Joe Friday or "The Untouchables'" Elliott Ness as a family man,happily married and determined to keep his job and his homelife separate There you have the challenges faced by Henry Fonda's Detective Sgt. Chad Smith,and focal point around which each episode revolved. It was your average sugarcoated typical family sitcom,but with a kick that includes a lot of police action and tight situations in just about every episode that was above your average half-hour family situation comedy-drama. His determination to safeguard his family's normality is illustrated by their picket-fence enclosed house on Primrose Lane. The series did have some solid moments to it,including the episode in which a mild-mannered man inveighies his way into the Smith household as "an old friend of Chet's" titled "Ex-Con"(Airdate: January 27,1971).
There were some other episodes that were outstanding thanks to actor Ron Howard's brilliant performance as the oldest son Bob. In the episode titled "Where There's Smoke"(Airdate: February 3,1972),Bob is sitting at a teacher's desk when he sees a group of boys pouring gasoline on the floor of the next classroom to torch the school. Bob picks up the phone to call the police when the boys take Bob by force and badly beat him to a pulp. It's up to Bob to call his dad and save the school from being destroyed. Other episodes were great too. From the first episode "Cindy"(the pilot episode airdate:January 20,1971),to "The Peer Group" that guest starred Butch Patrick and Stefan Arngrim(airdate: April 14,1971),to the two part episode titled "Strangers",guest starring Betty Lynn,aka Thelma Lou from "The Andy Griffith Show"(airdates: February 24,1971 and March 3,1971),and including one episode where the teenage daughter is harassed at school by a group of bad girls(one of them is Kathy Garver,aka Cissy Davis of Family Affair is a role that was a far departure from her good girl status). Other guest stars including Stanley Livingston,Jerry Mathers and even Jay North in recurring roles and in one episode William Windom. The final episode of "The Smith Family" was "Father In Law"(airdate: June 7,1972). Repeats of this series ran on ABC from June 14,1972 until August 23,1972.
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