1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 8 (USA)
104 x 30 minute episodes
This NBC comedy ran from 6 October 1955 to 25 September 1958 and featured former child star Jackie Cooper as Socrates “Sock” Miller, a naturalist and city councilman in New City, California – a city near Los Angeles which was built in a hurry and was famous for its lettuce crops.
Sock and his aunt Augusta “Gus” Bennett (Margaret Irving), lived in a trailer camp in New City’s Paradise Park.
Cleo was Sock’s basset hound who, unbeknownst to him or his girlfriend Mandy (Pat Breslin) – the pretty daughter of New City’s mayor, John Peoples (Paul Maxey) – or the rest of the characters, routinely gave the TV audience her two cents on Sock and his doings.
Cleo’s voice was provided by Mary Jane Croft, who shot 37 episodes of the show before she ever actually set eyes on the pooch.
The dog was also required to regularly learn a new trick and perform it on cue (jump on Cooper’s back, fall over backwards, walk on her hind legs, etc.). The only things she wouldn’t do were chase cats or bite anyone. For that, trainer Frank Inn used Cleo’s niece, Wanda, who harassed felines and did high jumps when needed.
Two marriages took place on the series: Aunt Gus married Mayor Peoples and Sock married Mandy in 1957.
Shortly after his marriage, Sock applied for a position as a lawyer with Barker Amalgamated in New York City. They hired Sock – but as the sales manager for Barkerville, a housing development with 294 houses for sale “20 miles from nowhere”. The houses sold for $15,995 and Sock and Mandy lived rent-free in the model house (number 119).
Valerie Delmar (Jean Porter) was Sock’s girlfriend before Mandy. Lawyer Roger Crutcher (John Stephenson) was Mandy’s boyfriend prior to Sock.
John called Sock “Nature Boy” and Gus “Mousey”. He also owned a part interest in a whaling ship in Seattle. Hexley “Hex” Rollo (Dick Wesson) was a friend of Sock’s from childhood who now resided in New City. They were also in the Marines together.
Another of Sock’s friends, Pierre Quincy (Leonid Kinsley), was an eccentric painter who Sock called the “Michelangelo of Paradise Trailer Park”.
Socrates “Sock” Miller
Augusta “Gus” Bennett
Mayor John Peoples
Hexley “Hex” Rollo
Mary Jane Croft