TV Actor Edward Mayehoff (L), with Gil Stratton Jr. in scene from "That's My Boy!".
That's My Boy aired from April 1954 until January 1955 on CBS.
"Jaring" Jack Jackson ( Eddie Mayehoff) was a junior partner in the firm of Patterson and Jackson, made a comfortable living and had a pleasant home in the suburbs. An ex-fotball star and married to a former tennis star named Alice ( Rochelle Hudson), Jack had delusions of grandeur about the future potential of his son Junior ( Gil Stratton, Jr.) as an athlete. Unfortunately Junior neither had the interest nor the ability to excel at sports. A quiet, intellectual sort, he was constantly hounded and prodded by his father into doing things he was not capable of succeeding at. Jack not only made life miserable for his son, but treating the world and everyone in it as though he was still calling singnals in a football game, he also managed to make himself pretty hard for everyone else to take.
Based on the 1951 movie of the same name, which also starred Mayehoff ( with Jerry Lewis as his son).
An Article from Time Magazine
Daddy with a Difference
Monday, May. 17, 1954
In television's stable of 35 home-life comedies, it is a rare show that treats Father as anything more than the mouse of the house—a bumbling, well-meaning idiot who is putty in the hands of his wife and family. Latest but different entry in this competition to sell Pop short is a boisterous CBS show from Hollywood called That's My Boy! (Sat. 10 p.m., E.D.T.; sponsor: Plymouth). Dad, as portrayed by spade-jawed Supper Club Comic Eddie Mayehoff, is a middleaged, nine-letter man out of old Rossmore U. whose driving passion is to make a he-man out of his skinny son, a 17-year-old bookworm who gets his exercise by reading without his glasses.
Now five programs old and still burdened by a lot of the usual slapstick, That's My Boy! is nevertheless making a meaningful attempt to get pathos as well as humor out of the delicate, universal problem of father & son.
A Wide Difference. Two reasons for its higher-than-average caliber are Producer-Writer Cy Howard, an old radio-TV hand (Luigi, My Friend Irma), and the star of the piece 44-year-old Eddie Mayehoff. Three years ago, in the Howard-written movie, That's My Boy!, Comedian Mayehoff qualified for some kind of screen immortality by stealing the show from two Dillingers of scene stealing, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Mayehoff played Jarrin' Jack Jackson, the all-American has-been. That role, now revived for television, seems a natural. Mayehoff feels that the character has been with him all his life. His father, he says, "was a successful clothing manufacturer in Norwalk, Conn. He had a plan for his son, a truly Teddy Roosevelt sort of plan. The son did not live up to the dream. The distance between the father and his son was a wide and lonely one."
Father Mayehoff reluctantly paid Eddie's way through Yale's School of Music, but saw little promise in his boy's taking over the Collegians, a school band started by Rudy Vallee. Five years out of Yale (class of '32). Bandleader Eddie was still plugging along in the small time. Says Eddie of his father: "We had very little contact with one another. It was an uncomfortable, heart-eating situation." Then, at a screening of the movie That's My Boy!, the elder Mayehoff, after silently watching his son portray a father who does not understand his son, announced at last that he was proud of Eddie.
Closing the Gap. In the TV show, Jarrin' Jack can never quite reconcile himself to the fact that Junior is not a muscular fresh-air fiend like himself, but a studious type who collects tropical fish. Junior is convincingly played by Gil Stratton Jr., burr head, droop jaw, horn rims and all. What particularly jars Jack is the knowledge that the son of his meek, pint-sized office bookkeeper is a strapping answer to a football coach's prayer. Yet in program four, after Pop has the bookkeeper's boy underfoot for a weekend, he finds that he much prefers his own chess-playing son, who at least does not eat like a horse and grab the sports page.
Scripter Howard, who says he never had a more difficult program to write, is trying to ease up on its heavy-handed humor: "The villain in this show is not Daddy and it's not Junior—it's the great wide gap between them. To show that, I had to do the show in sharp black & white." Now I can begin closing the gap."
Actor Mayehoff insists that Jarrin' Jack must be treated with sympathy: "You can't make a fool of the father, because the father is like all fathers. I'll bet you this: this show has a greater degree of self-identification than any other show on television."
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