Major Dad

Major Dad is an American sitcom television series created by Richard C. Okie and John G. Stephens, developed by Earl Pomerantz, that originally ran from September 17, 1989 to May 17, 1993 on CBS, starring Gerald McRaney as Major John D. MacGillis and Shanna Reed as his wife Polly. The cast also includes Beverly Archer, Matt Mulhern, Jon Cypher, Marisa Ryan, Nicole Dubuc, and Chelsea Hertford.

Major Dad
The cast of Major Dad.
Created byJohn G. Stephens
Richard C. Okie
Developed byEarl Pomerantz
StarringGerald McRaney
Shanna Reed
Beverly Archer
Jon Cypher
Nicole Dubuc
Chelsea Hertford
Matt Mulhern
Marisa Ryan
Composer(s)Roger Steinman
Steve Dorff
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes96 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Rick Hawkins
Gerald McRaney
Richard C. Okie
Earl Pomerantz
Producer(s)Jim Evering
Barry Gold
Janet Leahy
Liz Sage
Todd Stephens
Editor(s)Skip Collector
John William Heath
Augie Hess
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)S.B.B. Productions
Spanish Trail Productions
Universal Television
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1989 (1989-09-17) 
May 17, 1993 (1993-05-17)


The first season is set at the fictional Camp Singleton (meant to represent Camp Pendleton), where hard-charging United States Marine Corps Major John D. "Mac" MacGillis is commander of the infantry training school's acquisition division. MacGillis's life is changed when he falls in love with a liberal journalist, Polly Cooper. The show follows Mac in his work life, where he deals with Lt. Eugene Holowachuk (Matt Mulhern), Sgt. Byron James (Marlon Archey), and Merilee Gunderson (Whitney Kershaw), as well as his home life, as he learns to live with Polly's three daughters, Elizabeth, Robin, and Casey.

At the beginning of the second season, the MacGillis family moves to Camp Hollister (based on Marine Corps Base Quantico), where Mac must adapt to the role of staff secretary (or, "staff weenie") and the crazy antics of Commanding (Brigadier) General Marcus C. Craig, Aide-de-Camp 1st Lt. Eugene Holowachuk (who transferred with Major MacGillis from Camp Singleton), and Gunnery Sgt. Alva "Gunny" Bricker, the General's secretary, a no-nonsense woman, who despite her brusque nature and unprepossessing physical appearance, is the target of many enthusiastic (and unseen) suitors.

Character development increased during the second season, such as the revelation that MacGillis is a former member of the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.


Episode guide

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRating
First airedLast aired
126September 17, 1989 (1989-09-17)May 21, 1990 (1990-05-21)N/AN/A
224September 17, 1990 (1990-09-17)May 13, 1991 (1991-05-13)2114.9
(Tied with In the Heat of the Night)
324September 16, 1991 (1991-09-16)May 11, 1992 (1992-05-11)916.8
422September 25, 1992 (1992-09-25)May 17, 1993 (1993-05-17)N/AN/A

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1992BMI Film & TV AwardWonBMI TV Music AwardSteve Dorff
1992Emmy AwardNominatedOutstanding Individual Achievement in Main Title Theme MusicSteve Dorff
1990Young Artist AwardsNominatedBest Young Actress Starring in a Television SeriesChelsea Hertford
WonBest New Television Series
1991NominatedBest Young Actress Starring in a Television SeriesMarisa Ryan
Best Young Actress Starring in a Television SeriesChelsea Hertford
Best Young Actress Starring in a Television SeriesNicole Dubuc
Best Young Actor Supporting or Re-Occurring Role for a TV SeriesChance Michael Corbitt
1992NominatedBest Young Actress Starring in a Television SeriesMarisa Ryan
1993NominatedOutstanding Actress Under Ten in a Television SeriesChelsea Hertford


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