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Major Dad

1 9 8 9 – 1 9 9 3 (USA)
96 x 30 minute episodes

Major John D “Mac” MacGillis (Gerald McRaney) was the main character in this CBS sitcom series. MacGillis was a conservative spit-and-polish Marine officer stationed at Camp Singleton in Oceanside, San Diego, California.

A veteran of three tours of duty in Vietnam, he lived a well-ordered life until he fell in love with Polly Cooper (Shanna Reed), a liberal unconventional reporter who interviewed him for the Oceanside Chronicle – a local newspaper. Polly was a widow with three daughters.

After a whirlwind three-week courtship Mac married Polly and suddenly found his ordered life turned upside down when he became surrounded by females.

Polly’s three daughters were 15-year-old Elizabeth (Marisa Ryan), 11-year-old Robin (Nichole Dubuc) and 6-year-old Casey (Chelsea Hertford).

Other regular characters were Mac’s staff members, including easy-to-please Second Lieutenant Gene Holowachuk (Matt Mulhern), quick-tongued Sergeant Byron James (Marlon Archey) and the perky secretary Merilee Gunderson (Whitney Kershaw).

Major MacGillis and his new family relocated to Camp Hollister, near Washington DC, for the show’s second season – which Polly calls “a military hell-hole”. They now lived on the base (house number 485) and Mac became a ‘staff weenie’ – the nickname for the job he held as staff secretary to General Marcus Craig.

Polly became the managing editor of the camp newspaper, the Bulldog and wrote the “At Ease” section of the paper and a column called “The Suggestion Box”.

Added to the cast were Gunnery Sgt Alva ‘Gunny’ Bricker (Beverly Archer) – who soon became one of the most popular characters on the show – and Jeffrey Craig (Chance Michael Corbitt), the commanding officer’s mischievous grandson who was called “the beast of the base”.

During the final season, Camp Hollister was threatened with possible closure, reflecting what was actually happening to military bases throughout the United States at that time.

A November 1990 episode commemorated the 215th anniversary of the Marine Corps and featured a guest appearance from Dan Quayle, then the vice president of the USA.


Major John D “Mac” MacGillis
Gerald McRaney
Polly Cooper
Shanna Reed
Elizabeth Cooper
Marisa Ryan
Robin Cooper

Nichole Dubuc
Casey Cooper

Chelsea Hertford
Lt Gene Holowachuk
Matt Mulhern
Sgt Byron James 
Marlon Archey
Merilee Gunderson

Whitney Kershaw
Gunnery Sgt Alva ‘Gunny’ Bricker
Beverly Archer
General Marcus Craig
Jon Cypher
Jeffrey Craig
Chance Michael Corbitt