The Tom Ewell Show

The Tom Ewell Show is an American sitcom that aired on CBS during the 1960-61 television season under the alternate sponsorship of Quaker Oats and Procter & Gamble.

The Tom Ewell Show
Created byMadelyn Martin and
Bob Carroll, Jr.
StarringTom Ewell
Composer(s)Jerry Fielding
Rudy Schrager
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes30
Running time24 mins.
Production company(s)Ewell-Carroll-Martin
Four Star Productions
DistributorFour Star Television
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 27, 1960 (1960-09-27) 
May 9, 1961 (1961-05-09)


Tom Ewell stars in this half-hour sitcom as Tom Porter, a real estate agent whose entire life, away from the office, was dominated by females:[1]

  • Family-dog Mitzi

Recurring characters included Norman Fell as co-worker Howie Fletcher, heavy-set actor Barry Kelley as friend Jim Rafferty, and child-actor Vance Meadows as a neighborhood youngster.

List of episodes

{{Episode list

#Episode NameOriginal air date
1"Tom Cuts Off the Credit"September 27, 1960 (1960-09-27)
Tom cuts off the wife and daughters from credit cards and the family checking account in order to teach them a lesson about finances.
2"Debbie Takes Up the Tuba"October 4, 1960 (1960-10-04)
Daughter Debbie starts taking tuba lessons, annoying the entire family.
3"The Safety Lesson"October 11, 1960 (1960-10-11)
Tom, upset at always being the family chauffeur, tries to teach his wife how to drive a car. Junius Matthews (best known as the voice of Rabbit in Disney's Winnie the Pooh movies) guest-stars as an elderly man.
4"Tom Takes Over"October 18, 1960 (1960-10-18)
This Pilot episode, in which Tom's wife Fran gets appendicitis, shows Tom taking over the housework.
5"Tom Puts the Girls to Work"November 1, 1960 (1960-11-01)
Tom finds part-time jobs for his daughters, who rebel against the idea. Billy Mumy guest-starred as a young boy.[2]
6"The Second Phone"November 15, 1960 (1960-11-15)
Tom is pressured to get another phone for the house.
7"The Handwriting on the Wall"November 22, 1960 (1960-11-22)
The daughters behave badly and try to hide the results.
8"The Spelling Bee"November 29, 1960 (1960-11-29)
In an episode about his daughters competing in a spelling bee, Tom dreams how it would be to have three sons instead of three daughters.[2]
9"Site Unseen"December 6, 1960 (1960-12-06)
Dick Powell guest-star in this episode in which the actual Four Star Studios production lot is used as part of a story involving an important real-estate deal.[2]
10"The Friendly Man"December 20, 1960 (1960-12-20)
Ernest Truex and Mildred Dunnock guest-star as Mr. and Mrs. Steckel.
11"Salesmanship Lesson"December 27, 1960 (1960-12-27)
Tom and the girls learn a lesson in sales.
12"Advice to the Lovelorn"January 3, 1961 (1961-01-03)
Whit Bissell and Ray Stricklyn guest-star.
13"Try It on For Size"January 10, 1961 (1961-01-10)
Tom has to explain how he ended up buying something he didn't want in the first place.
14"No Fun in the Sun"January 17, 1961 (1961-01-17)
Robert Hastings guest-stars.
15"Mr. Shrewd"January 24, 1961 (1961-01-24)
John Dehner and Herbie Faye guest-star.
16"The Middle Child"January 31, 1961 (1961-01-31)
Debbie is upset she'd not treated the same as her younger sister or her older sister.
17"The Trouble With Mother"February 7, 1961 (1961-02-07)
Mother-in-law isn't satisfied with her life.
18"A Fellow Needs a Friend"February 14, 1961 (1961-02-14)
Alan Reed Jr. (son of actor Alan Reed) guest-starred as a teenage boyfriend of Carol who becomes Tom's football-watching buddy.[2]
19"Out of Left Field"February 21, 1961 (1961-02-21)
Baseball causes strife.
20"Storm Over Shangri-La"February 28, 1961 (1961-02-28)
Tom's pending real-estate deal may leave three elderly ladies (Katherine Squire, June Walker, and Isabel Randolph) homeless.
21"I Don't See It"March 7, 1961 (1961-03-07)
Alice Ghostley played eccentric painter Lavinia Barrington, and Robert Emhardt played villainous Orville Bostwick.
22"The Old Magic"March 14, 1961 (1961-03-14)
John Emery plays Tom's old college buddy, Jack Hunter, who invites Tom and his wife to a wild Hollywood party. Former "Miss Iceland" Sirry Steffen and character actor Fay Roope also appear as party guests.
23"Mrs. Dynamite"March 21, 1961 (1961-03-21)
EpisodeNumber=24 Title=The Prying Eye OriginalAirDate=March 28, 1961 (1961-03-28) ShortSummary=George Fenneman appear as Randy Rambo, and Jean Carson as a girl named Diane. But, though it is definite that actress Grace (Gillen) Albertson appears as Sally Gallagher, it is not clear whether Frank Albertson (Grace's husband), or Jack Albertson (brother of series star Mabel Albertson) appears in the role of Sally's husband Al Gallagher. This was a take off on the hidden camera TV program where Tom Ewell's character vows he would never get caught on such a program and writes to the show to tell them they would never be able to trick him. So, the show decides to find him and get him in a situation. Ewell is then shown being subjected to different situations, but suddenly realizes this could be that show and walks away. During these situations the camera movements switch from being typical of a sitcom to those of the hidden camera TV show. That is, the camera is photographing the event from a distance using a zoom lens and panning to follow Ewell as he participates in the scene. (This is what I remember of that episode when it was shown on television during that season. The situation and the production values have stuck in my mind all of these years.)


25"The Chutney Caper"April 4, 1961 (1961-04-04)
Alice Ghostley returns in a different role, as Tom's eccentric sister Polly.[2]
26"Put It On, Take It Off"April 11, 1961 (1961-04-11)
Eleanor Audley plays Madame Defarge.[2]
27"Big Brother"April 18, 1961 (1961-04-18)
Child-actor Pat Close guest-stars as an orphan taken in by Tom for Big Brother Week
28"Handy Man"April 25, 1961 (1961-04-25)
29"Passenger Pending"May 2, 1961 (1961-05-02)
30"Never Do Business with Relatives"May 9, 1961 (1961-05-09)

Production notes

The Tom Ewell Show was created by Madelyn Martin and Bob Carroll, Jr. (of The Lucy Show fame), and produced by Tom Ewell's own production company (in partnership with Martin and Carroll, and with Four Star Productions).

Broadcast schedule

The thirty episodes of the show were broadcast 99:30 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights in the United States from September 27, 1960 through May 23, 1961 on the CBS network. Eight of the episodes were shown as summer repeats in the same timeslot from May 30, 1961 through July 18, 1961. This series was sponsored alternately by The Quaker Oats Company and Procter & Gamble.

Critical reception

TIME magazine said:[3]

"The Tom Ewell Show (CBS) leads a relentless parade of situation comedies, all designed to show that American family life is as cute as a freckle on a five-year-old. The show, which might also be titled Father Knows Nothing, presents the comic with the excavated face as a bumbler named Potter who is trapped in the customary format: Harassed Man Beaten Down by Wife, Three Daughters, Mother-in-Law. In the opening episode, Ewell could find no better way to outsmart his spendthrift women than closing his bank account and ruining his own credit. For those who may have tuned out early, the women were all set to start spending again."


  1. Brooks, Tim and March, Earl (2007) "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946Present", Random House, ISBN 0-345-45542-8, pp. 1047-48
  2. The Tom Ewell Show webpage on the Classic TV Archive website
  3. Online archive of TIME Magazine, "Show Business: The New Shows" TIME (October 10, 1960)
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