1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 1 (USA)
32 x 30 minute episodes
Tom Potter (Tom Ewell in his television series debut) was a bumbling California real estate agent who lived in a female-centric household (even the pet dog, Mitzi, was female) at 611 Elm Street in Las Palmas, California.
His beautiful wife Fran (Marilyn Erskine) and his daughters 15-year-old Carol (Cindy Robbins), 11-year-old Debbie (Sherry Alberoni) and 7-year-old Sissie (Eileen Chesis) kept things lively.
The presence of his sceptical live-in mother-in-law Irene (Mabel Albertson) – who Tom called “Mother Brady” – was the icing on the cake.
Plotlines were fairly standard 60s fare; Tom cutting off his wife and daughters from credit cards in order to teach them a lesson about finances; Tom trying to teach his wife to drive; daughter Debbie learning to play the tuba much to the chagrin of the Potter family; Tom finding part-time jobs for his daughters; arguments over hogging the family telephone; and various sibling squabbles and boyfriend troubles.
Tom was a huge sports fan, so he was always seeking male companionship and male bonding to balance out his life, but usually to no avail. There were, however, a few recurring male characters on the show: Norman Fell was Tom’s co-worker, Howie Fletcher; Barry Kelley was Tom’s friend, Jim Rafferty; and Vance Meadows was the neighbour’s boy, Stanley.
The CBS sitcom – also known as The Trouble With Tom – aired between September 1960 and May 1961 on Tuesday nights at 9.00 pm and was broadcast in black & white. Sponsors included Quaker Oats and Procter and Gamble.
Tom Ewell took another shot at sitcom stardom dom in 1981 as Dr Jerome Kullens in the very funny but short-lived Best of the West.
Cindy Robbins (Cynthia Chenault)
Sissie (Catherine) Potter
Tom Cuts Off the Credit | Debbie Takes Up the Tuba | The Safety Lesson | Tom Takes Over | Tom Puts the Girls to Work | The Second Phone | The Handwriting on the Wall | The Spelling Bee | Site Unseen | The Friendly Man | Salesmanship Lesson | Advice to the Lovelorn | Try It on For Size | No Fun in the Sun | Mr Shrewd | The Middle Child | The Trouble With Mother | A Fellow Needs a Friend | Out of Left Field | Storm Over Shangri-La | I Don’t See It | The Old Magic | Mrs Dynamite | The Prying Eye | The Chutney Caper | Put It On, Take It Off | Big Brother | Handy Man | Passenger Pending | Never Do Business with Relatives