Running from 1953 to 1964, “Make Room for Daddy” a/k/a “The Danny Thomas Show,” was one of the key situation comedies from television’s golden age, chronicling the humorous experiences in the life of nightclub entertainer Danny Williams (Danny Thomas) and his family. The show went through several distinct changes. From 1953 to 1956, Jean Hagen played Danny’s wife Margaret, and Danny’s children, Rusty and Terry, were respectively portrayed by Rusty Hamer and Sherry Jackson. Hagen left the show after the conclusion of the 1955-56 season and, for the 1956-57 season, Williams was a widower. For the 1957-58 season, Marjorie Lord joined the cast as Williams’ second wife Kathy, who brought along her daughter Linda (Angela Cartwright) into the new family. By the beginning of the 1958-59 season (the 6th season, which this DVD set covers), Sherry Jackson’s character was phased out of the principal cast and the show would continue with the regular lineup of Thomas, Lord, Hamer and Cartwright for the duration of the series. The show was produced and frequently directed by the legendary Sheldon Leonard.
Though it’s considered by many to be one of the all-time classic family TV sitcoms, “Make Room for Daddy” has not fared well in the digital age . . . . until now. Previous DVD releases of the series have consisted of a handful of episodes from the Jean Hagen years that have fallen into the public domain, as well as the release of season 5 of the series in 2004 which, unfortunately, utilized edited, syndicated episodes losing 3 or more minutes per episode. Many fans of the series criticized that release and, for a while, it looked as if there were not going to be any additional DVD releases of the series. That situation has now been rectified, thanks to a change in the company releasing the DVDs. The new company, S’more Entertainment, has considerable experience in bringing vintage and classic sitcoms to the market, including “Mister Peepers,” “Good Morning, World” and “Lotsa Luck.” For those who have been concerned about the length of the season 6 episodes, you can put your mind at ease . . . . these are the full-length episodes, including full opening and closing credits, and clocking in at just under 26 minutes per episode. In addition to the full-length episodes, S’more has secured prints that are appreciably cleaner and sharper looking than those utilized for the season 5 release; simply put, the prints utilized for this release are as good as one might expect for a show that was broadcast 50 years ago. The bonus features for this release are also an improvement over the season 5 set and include the following:
‘ Present day interviews with Marjorie Lord (Kathy Williams), Angela Cartwright (Linda Williams) and Sid Melton (Uncle Charley Halper)
‘ Photo Gallery (includes 43 promotional, on-set, and behind-the-scenes photos)
‘ Blooper Reel
‘ St. Jude’s Hospital Promotional Film
S’more has also included brief episode synopses for the 32 episodes contained in this collection, as well as the original broadcast date, and season and series production numbers, so you can either watch the episodes in original broadcast sequence or in the order in which they were originally produced. This type of information is rarely included on TV-on-DVD releases and is a small, but nice touch that more releasing companies ought to consider when issuing television shows on DVD.
Bottom Line: “Make Room for Daddy” is a bonafide television comedy classic that has not received it’s just due on DVD in the past. This season 6 collection showcases the series in the way it was meant to be seen on DVD . . . . uncut and with the strongest visuals available for a 50 year old television show; it easily earns my full five stars.
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Questar released Season Five of this landmark series with chopped up syndicated episodes and even the syndicated opening credits. It was awful.
My hope is that S’More is giving us the complete episodes with the original titles!
If so, my five star review will stand.
Folks, I got the set today – the review stands. This is a terrific set. It is more than expected and leaves a lot of other TV series collections in the dust. At last this series, which was the bridge between “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” is available as it should be seen for those who loved it then – and for those who will discover it anew.
The sad Season Five had edited syndication versions of the show with the syndication titles. This set has the original titles at the beginning of each episode and the episodes are full length. If you were disappointed in Season Five, don’t let that keep you from buying Season Six. It’s a whole new ball game.
All of the characters are here along with some stunning guest stars: Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Dinah Shore, William Demarest, and in a continuing arc, Miss Annette Funicello who also sings and dances. The episodes look better than they did way back when. The sound is as crisp and clear as the images.
The extras include interviews with Marjorie Lord, Angela Cartwright, and Sid Melton. They all talk candidly and with a lot of affection for the show, their work, and the star Danny Thomas. It’s great seeing Marjorie and Angela and hearing about their lives after the show. One extra also has Marjorie (mother of actress Anne Archer) reading from her book “A Dance and A Hug.”
There is a PSA for St. Jude Hospital that opens each DVD, and another PSA
is a short extra on one disk. There is also a “blooper” reel that gives you a great backstage feel for how the show was put together. Annette is featured in a couple of the clips, and Angela Cartwright and a hula hoop figure prominently in another.
Easy to navigate – you will enjoy all 32 episodes of “The Danny Thomas Show” – aka “Make Room for Daddy.” Danny Thomas was a unique performer who could sing, dance, do comedy, and also deliver a serious line when he wanted to. His mannerisms – sometimes hilariously mimicked by Marjorie, Angela, and Rusty Hamer – are still funny. The show entertains on a couple of levels: as a sitcom and as a variety show.
Thanks to S’More Entertainment for getting it right. Buy it. Tell them Uncle Tanoose sent you.
Given the almost four year timeframe between this set and the Season 5 set, there was much concern whether “Make Room For Daddy” would even see a Season 6 release. Questar (the studio behind the previous set) caught a lot of heat from consumers over the syndicated episodes used for the Season 5 set. Enter S’more Entertainment who apparently listened to buyers by releasing Make Room For Daddy – Season 6 with complete, uncut episodes plus great extras. Unlike Questar with the Season 5 box set, S’more requested the original broadcast masters (not the syndicated versions) so all the original openings and closings of each episode are included. They also cleaned up the audio, interviewed Marjorie Lord (Kathy Williams), Sid Melton (Charlie Halper) and Angela Cartwright (Linda Williams) and even found a 10 minute outtake/blooper reel for the set. With a smaller box size than the previous set, the discs are housed in slimcases which not only give brief episode synopses and original airdates but also the episode number for the season followed by the episode number for the series. Overall, S’more Entertainment went above and beyond with this release. Fans who’ve been longing to own a quality Make Room For Daddy season set on DVD are sure to be pleased by all the work put into this set.