One would think that a series involving chimps would be, even on a kiddie level, able to generate some good hearty laughs. Unfortunately, "The Hathaways" is decidedly less fun than a barrel of monkeys.
It's main problem is casting. First off the husband is played by Jack Weston, a character actor who usually plays weak, untrustworthy, selfish types, and not good at playing a likable oddball with a big heart as the part demands. He sells desert real estate, and unintentionally seems poised to become desperately greedy enough to cheat a client. Peggy Cass made all too few visits to the small screen, and it's a shame she was pulled away from "To Tell The Truth" to be in this. Her abilities are untested here. Mary Grace Canfield, best known as "Ralph" on "Green Acres", plays the joylessly unharried housekeeper. Why unharried? Because the worst casting of all is the supposed stars of the show, "the Marquis chimps", are some of the most boringly well-behaved chimps you'll ever see. One would hope for some out-of control chaos, but they never get more to do than shuffle around with toys and wear garish simian-tailored clothes. No authentic, laugh inducing monkeyshines are to be seen. In one episode they take their paint sets out and draw monkeydoodles on the side of the family station wagon, but it comes off as a totally controlled set up. The chimps are mutely obedient and comedy is smothered out of them. In another episode they supposedly are freaking out at a TV studio on a kitchen set while Peggy is trying to do a live talk show only feet away. A lot of dish soap suds and one chimp opening and closing a washing machine door put the overactive laugh track in gales of guffaws, but it did nothing for me. The chimps easily take up only the smallest amount of time in each show. That Peggy and Jack keep referring to them as "The Children" (you can hear the quotation marks!)is only creepy, as if they were in fact some kind of evil mutants they were obligated to treat like children.
The show was the lead-in for "The Flintstones", and originally had decent alternate week sponsorship-Ralston,Mobil and Johnson's Wax. but the show was so poor in ratings and quality, two sponsors left, leaving Ralston supporting alternate weeks with dead-head shows with nothing but other ABC show promos for ads. the show was memorably bad, a punchline to jokes about the quality of TV. One of Screen Gems' worst productions.