The television series debuted on September 17, 1969, and the last of the show’s 73 first-run episodes was broadcast on March 1, 1972 — though it “Eddie’s Father” lived on for decades in reruns.
The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father’s theme song, “Best Friend”, was written and performed by singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson (aka Nilsson).
Behind the scenes: The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father
By James Komack, Producer of ABC-TV’s “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”
“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” is a family comedy series — and more. It’s a story of love, total love. The symbol — a little boy’s hand in the hand of his father. What more beautiful expression of warmth and trust than a child offering his hand.
There is also the honesty and reality of “now” in “Eddie’s Father” — today’s life, today’s problems, today’s mistakes. The comedy is derived from reality. No jokes, no contrivances.
The stories evolve from the title word “Courtship.” Little Eddie is a matchmaker. He wants his father to be happy, and happiness, he believes, is with a wife. Eddie’s father is susceptible because he wants Eddie to have the love of a mother.
For the viewers, it will be almost like eavesdropping on the principals — magazine editor Tom Corbett, Eddie’s father, played by Bill Bixby; Mrs. Livingston, the housekeeper, with Miyoshi Umeki in the role; and 6-year-old Eddie, played by Brandon Cruz. Kristina Holland appears as Tom’s secretary, and I play Norman Tinker, a magazine photographer [shown at right].
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I’ve advised them, “Do what’s natural for you in any situation, and say what’s natural.” For instance, in one situation Miyoshi asked to be written out of a scene. Why? She said a Japanese lady wouldn’t be present during this particular conversation between a father and son. Really? You bet!
To maintain this naturalness, we won’t have guest stars. By that, I mean guest stars who are completely identifiable as entertainment personalities. We have Bill Dana playing a policeman — not Jose Jiminez — in one episode. It would be abrasive to tailor a story alien to the main theme to suit a guest’s stage identity.
About the cast Bill (Bixby) has starred on stage, in motion pictures and television. He played a lead role on television in “My Favorite Martian,” and has done additional TV roles, comedy and dramatic.
Miyoshi — she is so marvelous. She has won an Oscar and a TV Emmy, and also received a Tony nomination for her Broadway stage work. What more can be said about her as an actress?
Here’s what a columnist (Rick DuBrow, UPI) wrote: “When she talks… it is as though music were tinkling on some delicate, exotic instrument. One thinks of a chandelier being touched and rustled by a soft breeze.
“When she plays comedy, it is in the slyest way, giving her lines inflections that no writer could imagine. Like the finest of actresses, her comedy is often not far from tragedy, or at least tears.”
That says it all.
As for Brandon, he’s a natural boy. It’s all discovery for him; he’s never done anything professional before. He’s growing up on these stages. Yet, surrounded by all that’s Hollywood, he manages to be himself. We have a kid playing a kid.
Kristina is a trained actress, dancer and singer who loves to talk. That’s what she does in “Eddie’s Father.”
With the right people and the right story, what more could we want? Music?
We have Harry Nilsson, who has two albums out, to score this series. Nilsson brought in a concept, a use of music, that’s never been tried before on television until “Eddie’s Father.” Music isn’t just a bridge as written by Nilsson. He editorializes with it, in the manner of an offstage voice.
And sometimes his music sings the wordless action on the screen.
Courtship Of Eddie’s Father opening theme
Lyrics for “Best Friend” by Harry Nilsson
People let me tell you ’bout my best friend,
He’s a warm-hearted person who’ll love me ’til the end.
People let me tell you bout my best friend,
He’s a one boy cuddly toy — my up, my down, my pride and joy.
People let me tell you ’bout him — he’s so much fun,
Whether we’re talkin’ man to man or whether we’re talking son to son.
‘Cause he’s my best friend.
Yes, he’s my best friend…
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (video clip)
A school bully named Joey is making life miserable for Eddie — and Joey is a girl, played by a very young Jodie Foster.
Brandon Cruz & Bill Bixby on the cover of TV Guide magazine