1 9 5 3 (USA)
16 x 30 minute episodes
Fortunato Bonino (Ezio Pinza) was – as Pinza was in real-life – an opera singer who loved to perform, and he toured the world.
Called “Babbo” by his kids, he was a widower with eight children and was away from his large family for long periods of time.
When he forgot his son Carlo’s birthday (Oliver Andes) because of a photo-shoot, he cut back performances in order to spend more time with his family. This decision greatly pleased Babbo’s daughter, Doris (Lenka Peterson), who was about to be married to her fiance John (Anthony Eisley).
His eldest son, Edward (Conrad Janis) was attending college, and his ten-year-old son, Andrew, who felt he now had a real father, was portrayed by actor/musician Van Dyke Parks.
Also in the cast were Chet Allen as son Terry; Gaye Huston as daughter Francesca; Paul Jonali as son Michael; Lucille Graygor as daughter Angela; Mary Wickes as Martha the harried housekeeper; Mike Kellin as Rusty (Babbo’s valet and confidant) and David Opatoshu as Babbo’s manager, Walter Rogers.
Bonino was broadcast live from the Hudson Theater on West 44th Street in New York, with a live studio audience. 16 episodes were broadcast.
Sponsors included Philip Morris Cigarettes (Dunhill Cigarettes) and Lady Esther Cosmetics.
Fortunato “Babbo” Bonino
Van Dyke Parks