Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), who whistled his way to that fishin’ hole along with young Opie (Ron Howard) at the beginning of every episode of The Andy Griffith Show, squeaked out a win in the TV Feeds My Family Father’s Day poll. Seems about right to me. That episode with the dead bird and the father-son talk still chokes me up all these years later.
One vote behind, however, are three famous TV dads: Homer Simpson (who, you have to admit, at least does stuff with his kids), Cliff Huxtable (the ultimate ’80s dad once you get past those sweaters) and Ward Cleaver, the stern, paternal, ’50s father from Leave It To Beaver.
When I suggested several years ago to Tony Dow, who played the Beav’s older brother, Wally, that Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward, seemed like the ideal TV dad, Dow just rolled his eyes and snorted. Dow told me Beaumont, who died in 1982, was a total pain in the ass on the Leave It To Beaver set and barely tolerated the younger stars.
Ah, geez Wally, why’d ja have to spoil it like that for me?

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