Airdate – June 19, 2005
One of the most popular situation comedy shows of the late 50s and early 60s was the Donna Reed Show. Both of Donna Reed’s original offspring, Shelley Fabares, who played Mary Stone and Paul Petersen, who played Jeff Stone, had short but spectacular recording careers in 1962-63. In fact, Paul’s syrupy ballad, released late in 1962, has become a Father’s Day classic for many of us …
The Donna Reed Show aired from September of 1958 through September of 1966. During its peak in 1962-63, teenage stars, Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen made their recording debuts and stole a page from Ricky Nelson of Ozzie & Harriet fame by introducing their songs on their show.
By April 1962, Shelley Fabares claimed the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 with her classic “Johnny Angel.”
However, the Father’s Day memory was born late in 1962 when Paul Petersen sang about his TV father, Dr. Alex Reed, (played by Carl Betz for you trivia buffs). After this episode aired, it was only a matter of weeks before the record became one of the nation’s top-selling singles. The song reached the Top Ten peaking at the #6 position early in 1963. Some say that if it had been released in June, prior to Father’s Day, it, too, would have made it to #1.
So, let’s give a listen to a then seventeen-year-old Paul Petersen pay tribute to his TV father with “My Dad,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
Epilogue: in December of 1998, this particular show featuring Paul singing “My Dad” was subsequently inducted into the Television Hall of Fame as an “all-time” episode.