My Three Sons

Season 1 Episode 1

Chip Off the Old Block

5
Aired Unknown Sep 29, 1960 on ABC
7.4
out of 10
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Episode Summary

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Chip Off the Old Block
AIRED:
Aeronautical Engineer Steve Douglas and his youngest son Chip face a parallel problem -- how to rid themselves of two designing females: Widower Steve is introduced to attractive and eligible Pamela MacLish, and is pursued by her because she wouldn't mind being the new Mrs. Douglas. Steve's youngest son Chip, aged eight, has similar problems with his classmate Dorine Peters, who would love to be his steady girlfriend. Pamela decides to call upon Steve with some leftover cake from their dinner, only to be met with a rambunctious houseful of children. Michael O'Casey, Steve's father in law, affectionately known as 'Bub' attends to the household chores. The eldest son Mike, aged eighteen and named after his Grandfather, is talking on the telephone, while middle son Robbie, aged fourteen, plays with the family's shaggy dog, known as Tramp. Before long Steve is accompanying Pamela and Chip to Chip's grade school dance. Chip takes it upon himself to give his father some sonly advice. Meanwhile, Grandfather Bub is only too pleased to marry his son-in-law off, and when they return home, grills him for sordid details. Steve is non-commital.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
    William Frawley

    William Frawley

    William Michael Francis 'Bub' O'Casey (1960-65)

    Fred MacMurray

    Fred MacMurray

    Steve Douglas (1960-72)

    Tim Considine

    Tim Considine

    Mike Douglas (1960-65)

    Don Grady

    Don Grady

    Robbie Douglas (1960-71)

    Stanley Livingston

    Stanley Livingston

    Chip Douglas (1960-72)

    Harlan Warde

    Harlan Warde

    Hal Mosby

    Guest Star

    Patricia Barry

    Patricia Barry

    Pamela MacLish

    Guest Star

    Bette McMahon

    Bette McMahon

    Nancy Mosby

    Guest Star

    Debbie Megowan

    Debbie Megowan

    Dorine Peters

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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    • TRIVIA (1)

      • Background trivia and Production information for this entire episode guide for "My Three Sons" was Written by Geoff Brown, Editor.

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (12)

      • From this premiere installment, the series will continue to be broadcast on ABC on Thursday nights at 9:00-9:30pm until September 12, 1963 changing times from the start of the fourth season.

      • Whilst doing research through the Don Fedderson Productions Collection held at UCLA, I viewed via the Online Archive of California, information that astounded me; there is a 1957 episode of "A Date with the Angels" also titled 'Chip Off the old Block' which had its teleplay written by George Tibbles (along with Fran van Hartesveldt and William R. Kelsay).

      • To emphasise Frawley's continued appearance on the program as the Douglases grandfather, the final shot of the episode is of a smiling Bub. Strangely enough, this tag segment (the last scene after the final commercial break and before the closing credits) is often edited out in reruns.

      • Show business trade paper Variety labelled the show's premiere episode as "an amiable, leisurely paced family comedy," adding that "Frawley was perfectly cast as MacMurray's wry father-in-law who acted as chief cook and bottle-washer."

      • Even though Fred MacMurray had to be talked into appearing on a show he didn't want to do because of the workload, he insisted on a unique shooting plan that was to be copied by other top actors and christened "The MacMurray Method." This alone shows MacMurray's standing within the Hollywood community at the time and his clout in getting what deal he wanted. This so-called "Writer's nightmare" stipulated that all of MacMurray's scenes were to be shot in 65 non-consecutive days. For example, scenes of many episodes set in the upstairs hallway, or kitchen or living room, were all shot out of sequence over several days. All other actors had to complete their fill-in shots while MacMurray was on vacation. Through the magic of television, and some miracle film editing, viewers never knew that MacMurray and his co-stars were sometimes in scenes together that were shot perhaps weeks apart. Practically speaking, this meant the series had to stockpile at least half a season's scripts before the season ever began so that MacMurray's role could be shot during his limited work days. The repercussions of this schedule were enormous. Guest-stars often had to return months later to finish filming an episode. This was all pretty much a well kept secret for many years and was not basically publicised outside of those who worked the show. MacMurray did score a bonus during this first year when he was paid the princely sum of $125,000 for working 25 days over his agreed 65 at the rate of $5,000 per day! (This was later attributed to Director Peter Tewksbury's perfectionist attitude, and obviously the reason he was let go at the end of the first year because Don Fedderson wasn't used to losing money on producing a show). Of course, the "MacMurray Method" isn't particularly novel in its creation (it is, after all, how most feature films were and are shot, and a method probably most comfortable and familiar to the film actor MacMurray), but its introduction to TV production methods was certainly innovative at the time.

      • Composer Frank DeVol (1911-99) wrote the now-famous theme from "My Three Sons" with Fred MacMurray in mind. Aware that MacMurray had performed on the vaudeville stage as a saxophone player in a band called the California
        Collegians in the 1930s, he immediately decided that the lead instrument would be a sax (representing MacMurray). He added to the mix a bassoon (representing Frawley's character), and for the three kids, a toy piano playing a variation of "Chopsticks." The addition of the intentionally off key harmonica that interrupts the melody in the much longer closing theme was another reference to the kids. The ASCAP theme by DeVol was originally published by Don Michael Music Co. Inc. (BMI), and Meridian Music Corp.(BMI) Don Michael Music is a reference to the late Executive Producer Don Fedderson and his actor son Mike Minor. The company is a publishing wing of Don Fedderson Productions based in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

      • William Frawley, still under contract to Desilu Studios in April, 1960 following the end of the "I Love Lucy" ensemble was the first actor to sign with Executive Producer Don Fedderson for the series. In fan circles it has been reported that originally the series was going to star William Frawley as father to three beautiful daughters! However, Director Peter Tewksbury (1923-2003) also had previous television experience, having been a staff director on the Robert Young "Father Knows Best" series.

      • In between shooting the Pilot and the second episode, Tim Considine was cast in the movie "Sunrise at Campobello" as one of the sons of Franklin Roosevelt. He was bleached blonde for the role, and had to go back to his normal dark color so all of his new scenes would match those of the Pilot. So much for being a blonde!

      • The tag scene of this premiere episode has the classic Steve Douglas quote: 'You know what you are Michael Francis O'Casey? You're a great big DUMB!'

      • Later in the series, Bub's full name is given and referred to frequently as William Michael Francis Aloysius O'Casey, but for this season the William and Aloysius are ommitted.

      • The genesis of this premiere episode was that it was one of the first shot, however it appears that whilst Executive Producer Don Fedderson had originally conceived the show solely as a television vehicle for movie veteran Fred MacMurray who actually had to be talked into doing the show, he was initially approached by Chevrolet to develop a program that was "representative of America." And although Producer-Director Peter Tewksbury did have a say on the show's eventual format, George Tibbles, a writer that had worked on previous Fedderson programs such as "A Date with the Angels" and "The Betty White Show", was contracted to write the first episode and us such, under Writers Guild of America rules with its 'Separation of Rights' arrangement, is unofficially credited as Creator of the series due to the clause that stipulates that the writer of a show's pilot episode is considered the show's creator, even if they never write another episode for the series, and if the arbitrary 'Created by' credit is never listed on-screen. Of course Tibbles would later go on to become the Head Writer of the show and Story Editor in its later years, despite the fact that this is his first of only two scripts for the first season. [At this point in his career he was still submitting scripts to other shows, most notably "Leave It To Beaver"]. From the following season he also takes over the Line Producer's role. Nonetheless the historical Pilot episode (Production #6272-0001; a revised shooting script dated August 15, 1960 resides in the archives) actually began filming in June of 1960 and made its inauspicious television debut on September 29, 1960 on the ABC Network.
        (Source: Don Fedderson Productions Collection of Television Production Material, 1955-1972. Collection #50. Stored and organized in the Entertainment Arts Library Special Collections, Second Floor, Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.)

      • See Episode 53 for further notes on Guest Star Patricia Barry and her "relationship" with series co-star William Frawley.

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