Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nose-talgia: The Top Two TV Dads

I'm just going to plant my flag in the sand and declare, on this Father's Day weekend, that the following two television characters epitomize the ideal father. There are so many great dads on TV to choose from, of course, and it was difficult culling the list down to just a pair, but truly, I doubt anybody would disagree much with this Top Two List.

Andy Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, from The Andy Griffith Show

Playing widower father Andy Taylor, sheriff of the small town of Mayberry, Andy Griffith brought his soothing country grace to this calming portrayal of mid-20thCentury domestic life. Mayberry was certainly the ideal small town, where everybody was your neighbor and the peacekeepers truly kept the peace. Andy Taylor's parenting of his young son Opie was straight and true, kind and honest, and through the idealized -- but not syrupy sweet -- stories of life in Mayberry, Andy Griffith created a character whose good judgment and down-home wisdom could not help but serve as a role model for fathers everywhere.

Charles Ingalls, played by Michael Landon, from Little House on the Prairie

Has there ever been a more honest depiction of the hard work, difficult sacrifices, simple pleasures and inevitable tragedies of everyday life than in executive producer and star Michael Landon's brilliant Little House on the Prairie? Landon's intellectual guidance of the show wouldn't have meant nearly as much without his sensitive acting work as Charles, head of the Ingalls household. Decent, proud, dignified, quick to laugh, affectionate...Charles Ingalls was all of these things and more. It was also great seeing a father so delighted by his household of girls, though later the Ingalls family adopted young orphan Albert. Charles Ingalls was not only a figure of guidance in his own home, but in his role in the community and out in the world he stood for the things he believed in and never gave less than his best. The other terrific quality of Charles was his obvious adoration of his strong and lovely wife Caroline, played so well by Karen Grassle. Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls provided one of the most appealing fathers ever, and he also was a wonderful tribute to the generations of real American fathers who settled this nation.


Jane said...

These are the two best TV Dads ever. I can't think of any others that even come close! A very fine Father's Day post, Lisa!

Scott said...

Here here! I can't think of any others either. Not even Howard Cunningham (but he does rank #3 imo). All those "Father Knows Best"/"Leave it to Beaver" shows are just too unrealistic and simplistic. I must make an honorable mention of a MOVIE dad: Will Smith's character in "The Pursuit of Happiness." That movie made me cry.

Dr Zibbs said...

Fact: Michael Landon used to pulla nose hair out when he needed to cry for a scene