20 Facts about the Fan-Famous 'My Three Sons' Some Fans Might Not Know
“My Three Sons" was released in 1960, and became another television series with a home for men only: "Bachelor Father" and "Bonanza" also had no mother figure. However, it was the first TV series to show a more realistic version of this type of family.
They had a house far from looking perfect, with naughty and noisy boys, and chaos was almost always the order of the day. Here are some facts about the Douglas family.
THE SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF THE MACMURRAY CONTRACT IMPACTED OTHERS
MacMurray agreed to star in the series with two conditions: one, which would own a percentage of the show, and two, which would only be required to work three months of each year. Years later, other actors agreed to star in a project only with "the MacMurray Method."
MACMURRAY WAS A FAMILY MAN
MacMurray was a dedicated family man, and after years of being absent, he had planned to retire and spend most of his time at home with his wife and four-year-old twin daughters. The money they offered him for that role was too tempting not to consider, as he could secure the future of his daughters, so he agreed to play the widowed patriarch
FRED MACMURRAY WAS A HIGHLY FIGURE IN HOLLYWOOD BEFORE THE SERIES
MacMurray was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood and the fourth highest-paid American. He could play the good guy or explore his dark side in black cinema. However, in 1959, he was the best father thanks to Disney's "The Shaggy Dog." No one was surprised that he was chosen to lead the Douglas clan, which also featured a hairy dog.
IT IS THE SECOND SERIES IN LONGEST AIR DURATION IN HISTORY
During the 12 seasons that were on the air, "My three Sons" completed 380 impressive episodes. Ozzie and Harriet have first place with 425 episodes. So if someone wants to watch the entire series, they will need a lot of free time.
MACMURRAY WAS NOT THE FIRST CHOSEN TO PROTAGONIZE
The show could have been very different from Eddie Albert playing Patriarch Steve Douglas. Albert also went on to play Wilbur in “Mr. Ed ”, because he wanted to focus on his film career. He, of course, would eventually star in "Green Acres."
IT WAS TRANSMITTED BY TWO TELEVISION NETWORKS
“My Three Sons” is a television series that enjoys successful audiences on two different television networks. The first five seasons were aired on ABC before the show skipped to CBS. Why? Color TV. ABC was reluctant to invest in the cost of producing the color show.
THE "CHILDREN" HAD TO BE APPROVED BY MACMURRAY
Stanley Livingston at nine years old was already a veteran of the show. He had worked on "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet." Stan was hired to play "Chip," who was the youngest of Douglas's boys when the series premiered.
Tim Considine was recommended by Ryan O'Neal for the role of Mike, as they had worked together on “The Shaggy Dog.” Don Grady, was chosen to play Robbie, had good behavior and also had a cleft in his chin that looked like MacMurray's.
BILL FRAWLEY TAKES OFFENSES SERIOUSLY
That the former "I Love Lucy" co-stars, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, were not best friends was certainly no secret in Hollywood. Frawley had been willing to put aside any difference when Desilu proposed a derivative series starring Fred and Ethel Mertz. However, Vivian Vance absolutely refused and Frawley never forgave her.
JOKES HAD A PLACE DURING FILM
Stanley Livingston recalled that Lucy's program was recorded in the studio next door. When Bill saw Vivian, he shouted a kind of obscenity and made jokes constantly. When she was making a scene, she let the children in to sneak in and throw a pile of empty film cans or use them as one and ruin her scene so she had to do it again.
THREE SONS WAS NOT THE RIGHT NAME
"My three children" is a misnomer because there were more sons and a daughter. Steven Douglas had five children: Mike, Robbie, and Chip formed the original trio. Ernie was later adopted and stepdaughter Dodie joined him.
“My Four Sons and Daughter” is more appropriate, however, the total number of children who participated in the series is eight, when the second trio formed by Robert, Steven, and Charles, Robbie's triplets are counted.
MACMURRAY CARED FOR HIS ECONOMY
MacMurray was known as one of the nicest guys of Hollywood and was also known for being thrifty with the money he had accumulated during his career. He was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, and yet he packed his meals every day while filming “My Three Sons” and watched all the expenses associated with the program.
THE MACMURRY CONTRACT GAVE SOME DIFFICULTIES
The MacMurray Method was a nightmare in terms of continuity, so production manager John G. Stephens had the task of keeping everything running smoothly and as if it had been filmed in sequence. This is why the cast had to be doubly diligent about their appearance for each entire season.
SPECIAL SOLUTION FOR CONTINUITY
When Fred finished with a scene, the other actors froze in place and Stephens would take a set of detailed snapshots of everyone. Three months later, when the rest of the scene was filmed, the actors, with the same costumes and hairstyles as before, resumed their frozen poses from that last shot before the director shouted "Action!"
THE ELDEST SON LEFT THE SERIES
Tim Considine had great experience as he had starred in Disney short films and feature films. After a few seasons in "My Three Sons," he wanted to direct and act, but Fedderson don't like the idea.
The two had a serious discussion and Considine left the series at the end of the fifth season. His last appearance was in the sixth season "The First Marriage", where Mike marries his longtime girlfriend Sally and then they move to California.
"ROBBIE" AND DON GRADY SERVED IN THE RESERVE
Don Grady joined the Army Reserve and his character in "My Three Sons" as well, and his filming schedule was adjusted accordingly for the six months the actor had to spend on active duty.
When he finished his basic training, he was assigned to a music band unit, which was mainly composed of actors and musicians. For two years, all reservists in that unit were allowed to keep their hair long, as it was considered a "requirement" for their civil occupations.
BEVERLY GARLAND WAS THE IDEAL OPTION TO INTERPRET "BARBARA".
There is nothing more lively in a series than a wedding. That's why in season 10, Steve met and quickly fell in love with Ernie's new teacher, an attractive widow with a five-year-old daughter.
Beverly Garland had a point over the others that gave him an advantage because the story of "My Three Sons" was her own story. She had married a widower with two children, the ones she raised and was now a grandmother.
MACMURRAY WAS A KNIGHT
June Haver, wife MacMurray, and their twin daughters were during the filming of Steve and Barbara's wedding. Once the director said "cut" after the final kiss, Fred turned to his wife and apologized saying it was just a performance.
A SPIN-OFF THAT WAS NEVER FILMED
During the eleventh season of “My Three Sons,” there was an attempt to make with Robbie, Katie and their triplets their own series. In the episode "After the honeymoon," Robbie was fired from his job and moved with his family to San Francisco for a new job.
SOME CHARACTERS DISAPPEARED WITH LITTLE EXPLANATION
Grandpa Bub went to visit his mother in Ireland. Then there is Mike, the older brother, who moved to California. Robbie leaves his young wife and three children with his father because he goes to work on the construction of a bridge in Peru and disappears in the twelfth season.
THE DOUGLAS HOUSE WAS A BARN
The Douglas family house appeared before as the farm in the musical “Melody Ranch” by Gene Autry in 1940. Located on the grounds of Republic Pictures, the barn was conditioned with a suburban facade in the 1950s. It was not so far away. from the Gilligan Lagoon, which was also on the same property.