Magazine article Variety

Father Figures

Magazine article Variety

Father Figures

Article excerpt

"Father Knows Best," at least in the persons of easygoing, expansive Charles Ingalls and Cliff Huxtable. Each of them throws open the door to his inner sanctum, like Mr. Roarke welcoming you to Fantasy Island, clearly delighted to share with you his wit and wisdom at length.

To be sure, some wise papas would rather die than sit you down for a sermon. About them you might say, "Father Knows Best But He Ain't Talkm'." There's a courtly, Old West reticence about rancher Ben Cartwright, possum hunter-turned-millionaire Jed Clampett or rifleman Lucas McCain, each of whom will speak softly and deliver life lessons solely by example - often on horseback.

The type can run from mellow (Steve Douglas, paterfamilias of His Three Sons) to grumpy (spunk-hating editor Lou Grant). Either way you may not hear much from them, but whenever they're proud of you, you can't miss it.

And then there are the households where "Father Knows Nothing." Comedy dads tend to be saddled with an amusing blind spot, like "Family Guy" Peter Griffin chafing to live in a simpler time. …

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