1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 2 (USA)
157 x 25 minute episodes
Smooth John Forsythe starred as Bentley Gregg – a successful Hollywood lawyer with an office in the Crescent Building and a ladies’ man – who becomes guardian to his thirteen-year-old orphaned niece, Kelly (Noreen Corcoran) when her parents are killed in a car accident.
The series ran on CBS from September 1957 to June 1958, on NBC from June 1958 to September 1961, and on ABC from October 1961 to September 1962.
Typical storylines involved Kelly trying to find Uncle Bentley a wife, or his incompetence in teenager management.
Kelly and her friends Ginger (Bernadette Withers) and Howard (Jimmy Boyd) attended Beverly Hills High School and hung out at Bill’s Malt Shop after school.
Howard (Jimmy Boyd) was Kelly’s on-and-off boyfriend from 1957 to 1961.
When the series switched to ABC, Kelly, who had become a beautiful young lady, needed a more sophisticated boyfriend (lanky Howard was immature and lacked Bentley’s polish and finesse). Warren Dawson (Aaron Kincaid), Bentley’s law partner, became her new love interest.
Asian houseboy Peter Tong (Sammee Tong) inscrutably kept the Gregg mansion (at 1163 Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills) functioning amid the mayhem.
Peter called Bentley ” Mr Gregg” and Kelly “Niece Kelly”. He attended night school to improve his knowledge of America and he muttered in Chinese when he got upset.
He had many relatives and two of them, Grandpa Ling and Cousin Charlie (Victor Sen Yung), appeared often. Peter called Grandpa “a 70-year-old juvenile delinquent” while Charlie was the schemer of the family and always looking for an easy way to make money.
Appearing in regular roles were Joan Vohs, Del Moore, Evelyn Scott, and – at various times – Alice Backus, Shirley Mitchell, Sue Ann Langdon, Jeanne Bal and Sally Mansfield as Bentley’s various pretty secretaries.
There was, of course, a lovable shaggy dog (called ‘Jasper’) too.
Cousin Charlie Fong
Victor Sen Yung
Kitty Devereaux (Secretary)
Sue Anne Langdon
Suzanne Collins (Secretary)
Harry Von Zell
Peter’s Aunt Rose