Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What Might've Been: Accidental Family (1967)

Ah, the saga of Jerry Van Dyke. Searching to find a hit series he could call his own, and emerge from the shadow cast by brother Dick.

Two years after My Mother The Car had spectacularly flopped, Van Dyke was back on NBC, this time reunited with his brother's producer, Sheldon Leonard (Jerry had guested a few times on The Dick Van Dyke Show), for Accidental Family. Leonard, with I Spy entering its 3rd & final season in 1967, was looking for a sitcom hit at NBC as well, as Hey, Landlord had flopped a year earlier, but Family wouldn't be the answer.

Jerry Webster (Van Dyke) was a nightclub comic who left his son (Teddy Quinn) in the care of the manager of a suburban farm (Lois Nettleton) while on the road. Webster was a widower, but insofar as I know, since I never saw the show, there was no indication of flashbacks to his marriage.

Slotted on Fridays against another frosh, ABC's Guns of Will Sonnett, Family was gone by January, replaced with a primetime version of Hollywood Squares.

Here's the opener, "Everywhere a Chick Chick":

No rating.


Mike Doran said...

Just for the record:

Everywhere A Chick Chick was supposed to be the name of the series.
When NBC announced it for the schedule, that's what it was called.
Exactly whose decision it was to change to the more generic Accidental Family is lost to history.
Most likely it was NBC; when the "critics" wrote up Everywhere A Chick Chick, the mockery kicked in majorly.
I've heard/read that Sheldon Leonard was against making the change, but wanted to keep the sale.

hobbyfan said...

Thanks, Mike. I don't think critics really got the farm reference, since the title was taken from "Old McDonald Had a Farm".

Seems to me that Sheldon Leonard only had the 1 hit for NBC (I Spy), and that everything else he tried averaged about a season.