1 9 7 1 – 1 9 7 2 (USA)
24 x 30 minute episodes
Film legend James Stewart made his much-anticipated, highly-publicised series TV debut in this domestic comedy about the frequently chaotic home and professional lives of a small-town college professor.
Josiah Kessel had travelled from Pennsylvania to California during the gold rush. He had found gold by selling whiskey and then purchasing quite a bit of land. As a result, he became extremely wealthy.
Kessel couldn’t read or write, but ironically his mansion in Easy Valley, California, became Josiah Kessel College years later.
Stewart played Kessel’s grandson, Jim Howard – a professor of anthropology at the college who had been married to the same youthful woman, Martha (Julie Adams), for 30 years, living at 35 Hillview Drive.
Together they had a 29-year-old son named P.J (Jonathan Daly) – short for Peter Jacob – and a very bright eight-year-old son named Teddy (Dennis Larson).
P.J. and his wife Wendy (Ellen Geer) also had an eight-year-old son, Jake (Kirby Furlong). Teddy insisted that Jake call him “Uncle Teddy” even though they were born only five days apart.
Peter, Wendy and Jake lived in their own house in Easy Valley until Jim accidentally burned it down when he fell asleep with a lit cigar while babysitting for grandson Jake.
Jim and Jake got out safely, but nothing was saved, and with nowhere else to go, the family moved in with Jim and Martha and the three generations of Howards were now all living under the same roof.
Nobel-prize winning fellow professor Luther Quince was a bachelor and a dear friend of the family who often stopped by for meals and to give his opinions.
Jim travelled to work each day by bicycle. He also played the accordion in his spare time.
Jimmy Stewart’s star power attracted many big name guest stars such as Cesar Romero, Jackie Coogan, Vincent Price and Regis Philbin.
Jimmy Stewart stepped out of character at the beginning and end of each episode to address the audience as himself.
Sadly, Stewart was one of those huge motion picture stars who just couldn’t make the successful transition to television. He tried again with a series titled Hawkins, but it suffered the same fate.
James Kessel (Jim) Howard
Peter Jacob ‘P.J’ Howard
Dr Luther Quince