1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 5 (USA)
348 x 15 minute episodes
The World of Mr Sweeney originally appeared on The Kate Smith Hour as a 10-minute weekly spot with Charles Ruggles, Glenn Walken, and Helen Wagner.
It quickly became one of the most popular segments of the daytime variety show, prompting NBC to schedule a regular weekday afternoon series in 1954.
Episodes revolved around Cicero P Sweeney (Ruggles), the kindly and good-natured owner of a general store in a small town who was full of years, wisdom and philosophy; his daughter, Marge (Wagner) and his impish young grandson, Kippy (Walken).
Henrietta (Janet Fox) was Marge’s best friend, Tom Millikan (Harry Gersham) was Cicero’s friend, and Abigail (Betty Garde) was Tom’s wife. Other regular characters included Molly, the town spinster (Jane Cleveland) and Little Eva (Lydia Reed), a refugee girl.
Each episode found Mr Sweeney helping a neighbour in distress or solving problems for the townsfolk, dispensing free advice and counsel to anyone who seemed to need it.
In his efforts to do good, Cicero often became involved in embarrassing but amusing situations, such as when he tried to aid a local man who had been conducting a chess game by mail for years with an old rival in another town.
The rival had beaten out the local man on the football team, swiped and married his girl, and was now beating him at chess. Unable to bear to lose again to his ancient foe, he and Cicero cooked up a telegram explaining that the local man “can’t finish the chess game today, seeing as how he died yesterday”.
The scheme backfired when the ancient rival showed up for the funeral and found his opponent still breathing lustily.
In another episode, Cicero won the support of one of the town’s socialites to the removal of a statue of her great-grandfather by persuading her (quite untruthfully) that it wasn’t really a statue of her ancestor but a second-hand statue of a man who looked a little like him, which the town had purchased at bargain rates.
Cicero P Sweeney