‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ Turns 50: Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz and Others Take a Look Back

When it comes to Classic TV, the late Bill Bixby managed to star in several  television shows that have proven enduring over the course of several generations, including the sci-fi comedy My Favorite Martian and the Marvel superhero The Incredible Hulk. However, the one that touched the greatest chord with the television audience — and continues to do so 50 years after its debut — is The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, which paired the actor up with young Brandon Cruz and ran from 1969-72.

In the series — which, for the actor, followed My Favorite Martian — Bill plays widower Tom Corbett, a magazine publisher, who is raising his young son Eddie (Brandon) with the assistance of housekeeper Mrs. Livingston (Miyoshi Umeki). Also lending a helping hand is “Uncle Norman,” actually Norman Tinker (James Komack), Tom’s partner. Part of the premise of the show is that Eddie is always trying to set his dad up with women.

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For his part, Brandon tells Closer Weekly, “Bill would go from show to show and they were all high quality. It wasn’t crap. It wasn’t crazy. Bill brought a certain class to it and Bill never did anything that kids couldn’t watch. As crazy as his private life might have been, publicly and professionally he was pretty much a goodie goodie.”

Actress Kristina Holland, who played Tom’s secretary Tina Rickles, tells Closer, “Bill was extremely intelligent, a little bit manic. He always had 15 different things going at once and partly because of that, he was always late. I would always tell him dinner time was an hour earlier than I told everybody else. But he was great fun and had great enthusiasm, and just in general had a zest for life.”

That zest for life fed into The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. “I knew the emotional potential of Eddie’s Father,” Bill, subject of a previous in-depth profile, related to the Los Angeles Times in 1984. “It dealt with feelings. You’d laugh one minute and you were touched the next. But it wasn’t sugary. it was children relating to parents as well as parents dealing with children. It wasn’t perfect, but TV in a half-hour format is an awesome challenge. We gave one answer; we didn’t preach.”

For more on the show and our 50th Anniversary celebration, please scroll down.

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