People of today's generation only know Danny Thomas as the philanthropic entertainer who became closely associated with St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis. However, Thomas before that was a nightclub & sitcom star who landed on TV in 1953 with Make Room For Daddy.
Thomas played Danny Williams, a NY-based nightclub performer, husband, and father of 2. The series lasted 11 seasons, changing its title after the first 4 seasons to The Danny Thomas Show, which is the title used in the video you'll see shortly. There were other changes as well. Jean Hagen, who played Williams' 1st wife, Margaret, left after 3 seasons. Marjorie Lord, who played Danny's 2nd wife, Kathy, joined the show in season 4. Sherry Jackson, who played Danny's eldest child, Linda, left early, and when they decided to bring Linda back, the part was recast. Angela Cartwright, later of Lost In Space, joined along with Marjorie Lord in season 4, and would return for the sequel, Make Room For Granddaddy, in 1970. Rusty Hamer rounded out the core cast, and after Granddaddy ended, essentially retired from show business.
Make Room For Daddy was produced & directed by Sheldon Leonard, and produced at Desilu, a winning combination that would continue into the 60's, including a pair of series that had their roots on this show. The Andy Griffith Show began as a backdoor pilot, and Bill Dana's alter-ego of Jose Jiminez was a recurring character on the show before landing his own series. Toward the end of the run, Danny went on a European tour, as Thomas began cutting back on his schedule, leaving the kids in the care of his manager, Charley (Sid Melton, ex-Captain Midnight) and his wife, Bunny (Pat Carroll).
Following is an episode featuring special guest star Jack Benny:
As of today, the series has joined the Me-TV Sunday lineup, with back-to-back episodes airing at 7 am (ET). If you never had the chance to watch the show before, now's a good time.