Everybody loves a good “opposites attract” story, and CBS knew it. Taking that premise to a political extreme, the network trotted out Major Dad, a half-hour sitcom about two polar opposites: liberal reporter/widow Polly Cooper and straight-arrow Marine officer Major John D. “Mac” MacGillis. After free-spirit-she interviewed spit-and-polish-him for a local paper, the two fell in love and got married, placing disciplined Mac in the uncomfortable position of having to deal not only with his free-thinking wife, but also with his three brand-new stepdaughters. This trio of very non-military sass consisted of thirteen year-old Elizabeth, eleven year-old Robin, and six year-old Casey.
The show divided its time between Mac’s home and Camp Singleton, the San Diego, California base where he worked. The homebodies you’ve already met, and the characters at the base included perky secretary Merilee Gunderson and two assistants, Lt. Holowachuk and Sgt. James. In the second season, Mac got a transfer to Camp Hollister in Virginia to work as the staff secretary for General Marcus Craig. Mac was given a new assistant, “Gunny” Bricker, and Holowachuck followed along to be his aide. Meanwhile, Polly continued her career as the feature editor of The Bulldog, the Camp Hollister newspaper.
The episode plotlines usually focused on the clash between Mac’s conservative attitudes and Polly’s liberal beliefs, as well as the ongoing lessons Mac received from his daughters in the art of being a father. However, there was more to the show than domestic issues: in the 1990-91 season, the real-life tensions going on in Kuwait and Iraq became part of the show as Mac pondered a transfer to Saudi Arabia to fight in the Gulf War. Also, the issue of cutbacks in military funding was reflected in the show when Camp Hollister was threatened with being shut down.
Major Dad was notable for providing a unique, realistic insight into the issues that military families face. It was telecast for four seasons, lasting through September of 1993. Star Gerald McRaney, who had previously played one half of the duo Simon and Simon, would go on to appear in another family-themed show, Promised Land.
USA / CBS – SSB Prod – Spanish Trail Prod / 96×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 18 September 1989 – 13 September 1993
Producer: Will MacKenzie
Gerald McRaney as John MacGillis
Shanna Reed as Polly Cooper
Marisa Ryan as Elizabeth Cooper
Nicole Dubuc as Robin Cooper
Chelsea Hertford as Casey Cooper
Jon Cypher as General Marcus Craig
Beverly Archer as Alva Lou “Gunny” Bricker
Whitney Kershaw as Merilee Gunderson
Matt Mulhern as Lt. Eugene Holowachuk
and this just in
Savage Wilderness (1955, Victor Mature, James Whitmore)
Victor Mature, the ’50s star once dubbed ‘a beautiful hunk of man’ but now often unfairly labelled the Sylvester Stallone...
Let Him Have It (1991, Chris Eccleston, Paul Reynolds)
Let Him Have It is Peter Medak’s vividly dramatized account of the infamous and still controversial 1952 Craig-Bentley case focused,...
Legend Of The Lost (1957, John Wayne, Sophia Loren)
Henry Hathaway’s Boys Own adventure Legend Of The Lost is given extra curiosity value by Ben Hecht’s philosophical script. John...
I Could Go On Singing (UA 1963, Judy Garland, Dirk Bogarde)
In I Could Go On Singing Jenny Bowman (Judy Garland) is a great singing star. A Palladium season brings her...
Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes (1970, Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely)
This entertaining addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon saw Billy Wilder come up with a new adventure for the famous...
A Million Little Things: Band Of Dads (Episode 2 ABC 3 Oct 2018)
Band Of Dads: The group tries to be there for Sophie as an upcoming father-daughter dance recital approaches, and when...
Modern Family: I Love a Parade (Season 10 Premiere ABC 26 Sep 2018)
I Love a Parade: The Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan are going to be setting off more than a few fireworks when they...
A Million Little Things: Pilot (Series Premiere ABC 26 Sep 2018)
Pilot: hey say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of...
Bus Stop (TCF 1956, Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray)
Bar-room singer Cherie in Bus Stop was Marilyn Monroe’s first screen performance after she had retrained at Lee Strasberg’s Actors...
Guns Of The Magnificent Seven (1969, George Kennedy, James Whitmore)
After the success of The Magnificent Seven the men were no longer mere movie icons. They were also a popular...
Amorous Prawn, The (1962, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker)
Director Anthony Kimmins and Nicholas Phipps collaborated on the slick script for The Amorous Prawn a lively screen version of...