Recently I read where Don Grady, the actor who played the character Robbie on the long-running TV series “My Three Sons,” died.
I was saddened to learn of Don’s death. “My Three Sons” ran from 1960 until 1972 and during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s there was seldom a time when I did not watch the show. I’d normally watch the show at my grandmother’s house in Webster County. It started on ABC but moved to CBS in 1965, which was a good thing for me because Channel 3 was about the only channel we could pick up very well in Webster County.
I had a crush on Robbie, Dan Grady’s character. And no, not that kind of crush. If I had that kind of crush, I guess I would no longer be able to eat at Chick-fil-A. No, I mean the kind of crush where a young boy wants to be just like the guy he sees on TV. I thought Robbie was the coolest guy around. He could get all the girls and was athletic, popular, etc.
Of course, Robbie was being raised by his widowed father, Steve Douglas, played by Fred McMurray. Steve was wise and noble and always smoked a pipe. In today’s television he would not be allowed to smoke a pipe because, heaven forbid, this might send the wrong message to impressionable youth.
In addition to Robbie and his father, there was his brother Chip and an adopted son named Ernie, and salty housekeeper, Uncle Charley. They dealt with such difficult problems as whether or not Ernie would get a date to a dance or Chip would struggle with being broken up by his sweetheart or someone would be bullying Ernie at the playground.
If the show was produced today, Chip would be gay, Ernie would be filing a lawsuit over the bullying that occurred at school and Robbie would be placed in jail for sexual advancements because he commented to a teacher that she looked nice today. Daddy Steve would not be allowed to smoke a pipe, but it would probably be OK if he smoked a bong of marijuana every now and then. Uncle Charley would be a cross-dressing transvestite.
After “My Three Sons,” “The Lawrence Welk Show” would come on. Lawrence Welk was a big band leader from Switzerland who spoke with a thick accent and for a 10-year-old boy watching his show was a fate worse than death.
Heck, let’s be honest, I’m a grown man and watching his show is a fate worse than death.
He always started by announcing “A one, and a two ...” and the next song or band would begin playing. My grandfather, who grew up during the big band era, loved it.
I would rather have wet sand poured in my underwear and walk to Atlanta than watch one of his shows, but there I sat each weekend watching Lawrence and the Ballroom Dancers spin around.
As bad as it was, I can’t help but think of how things have changed. My two children have already seen more murders, people blown up, and budding love affairs than a Navy Seal Veteran. I consider a program these days which does not include the “F” word to be free of cussing.
If I can make it through a movie without explaining why two guys were kissing, it’s a miracle.
I guess you can’t, as they say, hold back the hands of time, but it sure would be nice if we could at least put ‘em on pause.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.