Monday, September 8, 2014

Main Street Blues

Almost any classic TV watcher will remember actor Robert Young as Jim Anderson on Father Knows Best, or for his starring role in Marcus Welby, M.D. But how many know that, in between those two iconic roles, he spent a year starring in a CBS series called Window on Main Street?

Young and his producing partner, Eugene B. Rodney, shut down Father Knows Best while it was still popular, and the show's many years of success had paid off for both. But after a year or so of early retirement, Young was bored, and agreed to do another weekly series. Window on Main Street, which debuted in 1961, mixed drama and comedy, casting the star as a celebrated writer returning to his hometown after many years' absence. The show was designed to be an anthology, telling the stories of many different residents of the town of Millsburg through the eyes of Young's character. "This character is certainly no father image," Young told journalist Cynthia Lowry at the time of its debut, "so there can be no confusion between the old role and the new one. If you want to tie the two together, I suppose you might say that we're making the whole town of Millsburg my family."

Somewhere between concept and execution, however, Young and Rodney's new project went awry. Audiences didn't take to the show, which lasted only one year. Looking back some years later, Young said the show had him playing "a male Mary Worth ... in each episode I stuck my nose into somebody else's business ... it lasted one season and I was delighted when it was canceled." Being burned by that experience, Young would do little acting after its cancellation, until 1969, when he was cast as Marcus Welby, the doctor viewers everywhere wished they could consult.

No comments:

Post a Comment