Friday, August 30, 2013

My Three Sons Quiz


I've just started watching a DVD of the first season of My Three Sons starring Fred MacMurray as widowed patriarch Steve Douglas.  The long-running series was broadcast on ABC from 1960 to 1965 and on CBS from 1965 until 1972.  The show ran for 12 seasons and more than 360 episodes were produced. Why don't you test your knowledge of this series about the Douglas family.  Get ready and good luck!

My Three Sons Quiz and Trivia

Note:  Above is a photo of the original cast of My Three Sons (Clockwise from left: William Frawley as Michael Francis "Bub" O'Casey, Tim Considine as Mike Douglas, Fred MacMurray as Steve Douglas, Don Grady as Robbie Douglas and Stanley Livingston as Chip Douglas.

1. The eldest of the Douglas sons was Mike, played by Tim Considine. When Considine left the show, his character married a woman named Sally Anne Morrison and the couple moved away.  Who played Sally?

A.  Sally Field

B.  Karen Valentine

C.  Sally Struthers

D. Meredith Baxter

E.  Meredith MacRae

2.  What was Chip Douglas' real first name?

A.  Clifford

B.  Richard

C.  Charles

D.  Steven Douglas, Jr.

E.  Chester

3.  Why did My Three Sons move from the ABC network to CBS for the 1965-66 season?

A.  Its ratings had dropped on ABC.

B.  Fred MacMurray had some disagreements with ABC over the scripts.

C.  ABC refused to spend the money needed to produce the show in colour.

D. ABC was tired of the series and wanted to replace it with a fresher and newer show.

E.  ABC decided to move the show to a time slot that was less desirable to MacMurray and the other stars of the show.

4.  What did Fred MacMurray's character, Steve Douglas, do for a living?

A.  Steve Douglas was a lawyer.

B.  He was an aeronautical engineer.

C.  He was an architect.

D.  He was employed as an accountant.

E.  He was an insurance salesman.

5.  William Frawley, best known for his role of Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy, played the boys' maternal grandfather Michael Francis "Bub" O'Casey.  He lived with the family and served as housekeeper.  Frawley, however, left the show in 1965.  Why?

A. Frawley left My Three Sons because he was considered too ill to work.

B.  He decided it was time to retire from acting.

C.  He was not comfortable with the out-of-sequence filming method used on My Three Sons.

D.  He was tired of the show and had opportunities to perform on Broadway.

E.  He didn't think his "Bub" character was getting enough screen time.

6.  After eldest son Mike married Sally and moved away, the Douglas family adopted Ernie Thompson, an orphaned boy who had been moved from one foster home to another.  In real-life, the actor who played Ernie is related to one of the stars of the series.  Who is his relative?

A.  In real life, Ernie is Fred MacMurray's nephew.

B.  He is the grandson of William Frawley (Bub).

C.  He is Don Grady's younger brother.

D.  He is the younger brother of Stanley Livingston (Chip Douglas).

E.  He is Tim Considine's cousin.

7.  What was the name of the fictional town where the Douglas family lived until 1967?

A,  Oak Woods

B.  Pinewood

C.  Bryant Park

D.  Spruce Hill

D.  Forest Park

8.  After the Douglas family moved to California, Robbie married Katie Miller, a fellow college student.  They had triplets, all male.  What were the names of Robbie and Katie's three sons?

Tina Cole as Katie bringing the triplets home from hospital

A.  The triplets were named Michael, Robert and Thomas

B.  James, Steven and Robert

C.  Charles, Thomas and Robert

D.  Steven, Robert and Charles

E.  Robert, Charles and Michael

9.  What was the name of the Douglas family dog?

A.  Tramp

B.  Stripe

C.  Patch

D.  Frosty

E.  Leo

10.  In 1969, Steve Douglas fell in love with Ernie's widowed school teacher, Barbara Harper, played by Beverly Garland and they were married during the season.  Barbara had a young daughter.  What was the name of her daughter?

A.  Debbie

B.  Dodie

C.  Dora

D.  Dee Dee

E.  Dina

11.  In 1970, Chip eloped with his college girlfriend, Polly Williams (Ronne Troup).  Why did they elope?

A.  They eloped because they couldn't afford a formal wedding.

B.  The couple had simple tastes and did not want a fancy wedding.

C. Their families thought they were too young to get married.

D.  Chip was drafted into the army and there was no time to plan a formal wedding.

E.  Polly wanted to get away from her strict father.

12.  By the final season of the series, Don Grady had decided to leave the show and his character was written out.  Robbie, a structural engineer, was sent to another country to work on the construction of a bridge. Where was Robbie Douglas sent?

A.  Morocco

B.  Peru

C.  Mexico

D.  Australia

E.  Belgium

13.  My Three Sons was originally supposed have another title.  What was it?

A.  The Fred MacMurray Show

B..  My Three Boys

C.  Steve's Boys

D.  The Trio

E.  The Douglas Family


1.  E

Tim Considine and Meridith MacRae 1965

The late Meredith MacRae played the role of Sally on My Three Sons.   In the first CBS episode entitled "The First Marriage" (Season 6, Episode 1, Air Date: September 16, 1965), Mike and Sally got married. and moved "east" so that Mike could accept a job as an assistant psychology instructor at a college.  In a later episode, they are said to be living in Arizona.  Trivia Note: "The First Marriage" was the first colour episode of My Three Sons and it marked Tim Considine's last appearance on the show.

2.  B

Richard "Chip" Douglas was the third son of Steve Douglas and as a toddler, he pronounced his name "Chipper."  The character was portrayed by actor Stanley Livingston.  Livingston, born November 24, 1950, is now 62 years old.  After My Three Sons left the air, he became a producer and director in Los Angeles.

In 1968, at the age of 18, Stanley secretly married a go-go dancer named Sandra L. Gable.  The couple divorced in 1974 but the marriage produced one child, a daughter named Samantha.

3.  C

My Three Sons moved to CBS for the 1964-65 because ABC was not willing to finance the series' switch from a black and white production to a colour production.

4.  B

Steve Douglas was an aeronautical engineer.

5.  A

William Frawley

When My Three Sons moved to the CBS television network for the 1965–66 season, along with the change in networks and the transition to colour, Desilu Studios deemed William Frawley too ill to work since the company was notified that it would be very expensive to insure him.  Frawley retained his role as Bub until he was replaced at midseason by veteran actor William Demarest.  Demarest had played Bub's curmudgeonly brother Charley part way through the 1964–65 season (the last on ABC).  The explanation for Bub's absence was that he had gone to Ireland to help his Auntie Kate celebrate her 104th birthday. Uncle Charley O'Casey later paid the Douglas family another visit and ended up staying as their housekeeper.  Bub never returned from Ireland.

On March 3, 1966, William Frawley collapsed of a heart attack while walking along Hollywood Boulevard after viewing a movie.  He died at the age of 79.

6.  D

Barry and Stanley Livingston

Barry Livingston played the role of Ernie.  Barry is the real life younger brother of Stanley Livingston, who played Chip Douglas.

7.  C

The Douglas house in Bryant Park

The Douglas family lived in the fictional American Midwest town of Bryant Park.  The state, however, was never identified.  In the fall of 1967, Steve Douglas moved the family to North Hollywood, California due to a job transfer.

8.  D

The triplets were named Steven, Robert and Charles after grandfather Steve, father Robbie and Uncle Charley.  From 1970 until 1972, they were played by Joseph Todd (Steve Jr.), Daniel Todd (Robbie II) and Michael Todd (Charley Douglas).

9.  A


The name of the Douglas family's sheepdog was Tramp.  If you are wondering about his breed, he was a Briard.  Tramp was played by a dog named Spud and owned by Frank Inn.  Another dog in the series was Wilson, Ernie's dog.

10.  B

Dawn Lyn as Dodie

Barbara's daughter was named Dodie.  Dodie was portrayed by Dawn Lyn.  Lyn, born January 11, 1963 is 50 years old now.  Her older brother is 1970s teen heartthrob Leif Garrett.

11.  E

Chip and Polly eloped because Polly's disciplinarian father, Tom Williams (Norman Alden) did not approve of their relationship and Polly wanted to escape from his dominance (He even sent a private detective on their trail). After their honeymoon, the newlyweds moved into a college dormitory.

12.  B

Robbie was sent off to Peru, leaving Katie and the triplets to live with the Douglas family until they could join him there.

13.  A

The series was originally going to be called The Fred MacMurray Show but Fred himself objected to that title.


Prior to his relationship with Sally Morrison, Mike Douglas (Tim Considine) dated Jean Pearson, played by Cynthia Pepper.  Jean was literally "the girl next door" as she and Mike were next door neighbours who opened their upstairs windows to speak to each other.  In 1961, Cynthia Pepper left My Three Sons to star in her own show, ABC's Margie.  In 1964, Cynthia made a guest appearance on an episode of My Three Sons entiteled "Goodbye Again (Season 5, Episode 9, Air Date: November 12, 1964). In the episode, Jean returns to Bryant Park hoping to connect with Mike again. Brother Robbie, however, tells her that Mike is engaged to Sally and she quickly leaves town.  Now 72 years old, Cynthia is retired and resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tim Considine and Cynthiia Pepper as Mike and Jean

* Sebastian Cabot, best known as Mr. French on Family Affair, played Sally father, Tom Morrison, in a 1964 episode of My Three Sons entitled "The In-Law Whammy" (Season 5, Episode 14, Air Date: December 17, 1964).

* In 1971, the late Anne Francis portrayed portrayed a cocktail waitress named Terri Dowling.  Terri was the love interest of Steve's look-a-like Scottish cousin, Fergus McBain Douglas (played by Fred MacMurray).

* Don Grady, who played Robbie Douglas, passed away on June 27, 2012 after a battle with cancer.  He died in Thousand Oaks, California at the age of 68.

* Fred MacMurray died on November 5, 1991 in Santa Monica California at the age of 83.  He had suffered from throat cancer in the late 1970s and a major stroke at Christmas 1988.

* Barry Livingston, born December 17. 1953, is now 59 years old.  He married Karen Huntsman in 1983 and they have two children, Spencer (born 1989) and Hailey (born 1992).  It was Barry who announced the death of  his co-star Don Grady on Facebook.  He wrote, "My dear friend and TV brother Don Grady passed away today.  He was an inspiration to me in so many ways."

* Tim Considine, born December 31, 1940, is now 72 years old.  After leaving My Three Sons, he became an automobile historian and a photo-journalist specializing in motor sports.  He is the author of The Photographic Dictionary of Soccer (1979), The Language of Sport (1982) and American Grand Prix Racing: A Century of Drivers and Cars (1997).  Considine has been married twice.  His first wife, whom he wed in 1965, was actress Charlotte Stewart.  Stewart is best recognized for her role as Miss Beadle, the school teacher on Little House on the Prairie.  She and Considine divorced in 1972.  Considine subsequently wed Willette Hunt in 1979 and they have one child, a son named Chris.  In early 2007, Chris Considine founded CXC Simulations, a company that describes itself on its website as "a high-tech engineering firm that has revolutionized the design and manufacture of advanced personal racing simulation equipment."

* William Demarest played the boys' Uncle Charley O'Casey, a gruff former Merchant Marine.  Demarest died of prostate cancer on December 28, 1983.  He was 91 years old.

William Demarest

* Beverly Garland died at her home in Hollywood on December 5, 2008.  The talented actress was 82 at the time of her death.  In the 1980s, she played the role of Kate Jackson's widowed mother, Dottie West, in the television series Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

* Ronne Troup, born June 10, 1945, is 68 years old now.  She is the daughter of musician/actor Bobby Troup.  In 1967, prior to her stint as Polly Williams Douglas on My Three Sons, Ronne was cast as Sister Bertrille in The Flying Nun.  When Sally Field, Columbia/Screen Gems' first choice for the role, became available, the studio dropped Troup and replaced her with Field.  Troup was 22 years old at the time. Given that Field is an Academy Awared-winning actress, one wonders how successful The Flying Nun would have been if Troup had remained in the lead role.

To watch a "Polly" montage featuring Ronne Troup, click on the link below.

* A 50th anniversary My Three Sons Reunion was held at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, California.on June 19, 2010.  All the surviving cast members were in attendance except for Don Grady who was undergoing cancer treatment in Europe and Dawn Lyn who was residing in Germany.

- Joanne

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Joyce Randolph: The Honeymooners' Trixie Norton

Joyce Randolph is best known for her role as Trixie, the wife of happy-go-lucky sewer worker Ed Norton (Art Carney) in the "Classic 39" episodes of The Honeymooners.  Trixie and Ed were the best friends and upstairs neighbours of Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and his no-nonsense wife, Alice (Audrey Meadows).

Born Joyce Sirola in Detroit, Michigan on October 21, 1924, Randoph is of Finnish descent. Her acting career was launched when, as a 19-year-old, she joined a touring company of the play Stage Door.  In 1943, she arrived in New York City to further pursue her career and appeared on Broadway in productions such as A Goose for the Gander with Gloria Swanson.

Although Joyce continued to perform in Broadway shows throughout the 1940s and into the early 1950s, she became more and more involved in early television.  She worked with such legendary performers as Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Danny Thomas, Fred Allen and Jack Benny.  In 1954, she had the uncredited role of Judy in an episode of The Jack Benny Program entitled "How Jack Found Mary." (Season 5, Episode 3, Air Date: October 31, 1954).

As far back as 1946 , Joyce Randolph made her first TV appearance on experimental station WRGB in Scenectady, New York.  She later had roles on the old DuMont television network in Martin Kane Private Eye and The Plainclothesman.  In 1949, she appeared in some episodes of Famous Jury Trials, a half hour courtroom drama on DuMont.

In 1951, she began playing Thelma "Trixie" Norton in The Honeymooners skit on The Cavalcade of Stars, Jackie Gleason's variety show, also on DuMont,   Randolph won the role of Trixie after appearing on live Clorets breath-mint commercials on the show.  She never auditioned for the role.  She was merely informed that Jackie Gleason wanted her to work with him in a dramatic skit on The Calvacade of Stars. " just sat there like a lump," she told Jane Woolman Rusoff in a July 2012 New York Times interview.

Joyce appeared in the dramatic skit and a fortnight later she received a call that Gleason wanted `"that serious actress" to play Trixie.  She had never heard of The Honeymooners but she got the part without an agent negotiating anything for her

Some New York writers dubbed Joyce Randolph "the Garbo of Detroit."  "That's still a mystery," she stated in a New York Times article (January 27, 2007) entitled "For TV's Trixie, the Honeymoon Lives On."  "I was a nobody in Detroit," she added.  "Why Garbo?  Well, she was Scandinavian - and so was I."

Joyce Randolph as Trixie Norton

In the autumn of 1952, according to The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present, "the lure of money" brought Jackie Gleason to CBS.  The comedian had been the star of The Cavalcade of Stars on DuMont since the summer of 1950.  DuMont was struggling financially (it ceased broadcasting in 1956) and CBS offered Gleason a hefty increase in weekly pay with enough funding to improve the his show's production.  It was an offer he did not refuse.

When the show moved to CBS, it was retitled The Jackie Gleason Show and Audrey Meadows replaced Pert Kelton, who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy era, in the role of Alice Kramden.  Joyce Randolph had actually worked with Audrey prior to The Honeymooners.when the two women appeared in a summer stock production of the musical No, No, Louisville, Kentucky.  They got to know each other on the train to Louisville because it was delayed behind a "troop train" of soldiers during the Korean War.  They had no idea they would be working together on television.

In her two-hour interview with the Archive of American Television, Joyce described Meadows as "very quick-witted and very sweet."  She said that "Audrey was a very talented lady - a great singer.  She started out as a singer."  Randolph also told The York Times in 2012 that "Audrey was very smart.  She learned every word of The Honeymooners scripts so she could get Jackie back on track if she had to."

By 1955, Jackie Gleason wanted a break from the demands of a one hour variety program.  A decision was made to film a complete season of The Honeymooners, consisting of 39 episodes, and fill the other half of Gleason's allotted hour on CBS with Stage Show, a musical variety series.  Stage Show, owned by Gleason, featured Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and the June Taylor Dancers.

On October 1, 1955, The Honeymooners debuted as a half-hour comedy series in its own right on CBS.  Its fiercest competition came from The Perry Como Show on the NBC network.  All of the classic 39 episodes were filmed before a live audience and continue to be rerun on local stations.

L to R : Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney and Joyce Randolph

On October 2, 1955, just one day after the debut of The Honeymooners on CBS, Joyce married wealthy marketing executive Richard Lincoln "Dick" Charles.  The wedding took place in a Baptist church on Long Island, New York.  The couple had one son, Randolph Richard "Randy" Charles, born in 1960.  Dick passed away in 1997 at the age of 74.

Their son Randy, now 53, attended Harvard Business School and was a marketing executive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He is currently President of Elsevier Business Intelligence, the world's leading publisher of medical, scientific and technical information and is located in the West Palm Beach, Florida area.

Randy Charles

In the fall of 1956, with Stage Show's lack of success and The Perry Como Show's dominance of The Honeymooners, Gleason reverted to his regular variety show format.  Art Carney left The Jackie Gleason Show in 1957.  When he returned for the 1966-67 season, The Honeymooners was revived in the form of full-hour colour episodes.  There were other changes too.  At Gleason's insistence, the show had been moved from New York to Miami.  Sheila MacRae had replaced Audrey Meadows in the role of Alice Kramden and Jane Kean had replaced Joyce Randolph as Trixie Norton.  This Honeymooners quartet travelled and sang musical numbers.

In 1964, Joyce made a guest appearance in the CBS medical drama The Doctors and Nurses.  She played Alice Loring in an episode entitled "The Prisoner: Part 2" (Season 3, Episode 3, Air Date: October 6, 1964).  In 1991, she portrayed Trixie Norton in an episode of Hi Honey, I'm Home!, an unusual show about a 1950s sitcom family, the Nielsens (named after the Nielsen ratings), that was transferred to 1990s suburbia via the Sitcom Relocation Program.  Randolph appeared in an episode of the series entitled "Fur Flies" (Season 1, Episode 3, Air Date: August 2, 1991).  She also portrayed a dog walker in the 2000 feature film drama Everything's Jake, about a homeless man in New York City.

Now 88 years old, Joyce Randolph has resided in the same Manhattan apartment building since 1959 and she is the only survivor of the 1950s Honeymooners quartet. Jackie Gleason died on June 24, 1987 of colon cancer.  He was 71 years old.  Audrey Meadows passed away on February 3, 1996 at the age 73 after suffering from lung cancer.  Art Carney died in his sleep of natural causes on November 9, 2003 near his Connecticut home.  He was 85 at the time of his death.

Of her television husband Art Carney, Joyce told the Archive of American Television that "he's a very shy, quiet man.  You don't get to know Art right away at all - ever maybe  He's not as expansive as Jackie."  She also referred to him a "genius." and stated that she didn't think "Mr. Gleason would have gotten as far as he did without Art Carney."


* Joyce Randolph was not the original Thelma "Trixie" Norton.  Elaine Stitch played Trixie for one sketch on The Cavalcade of Stars before being replaced by Randolph. Stitch's Trixie had a background as a burlesque dancer at a theatre called Minsky's.

* Of her role as Trixie Norton, Joyce made the following statement to the Archive of American Television.

Trixie was married to a sewer worker and I guess she considered herself a little better than the character of Ed Norton. But she was just a housewife - she and Alice didn't have jobs. They stayed home all the time, which was kind of amazing, but the husbands didn't want them to work. But twice during the course of all of our years it was mentioned that probably Trixie had been in burlesque. They never expanded on that, but mention was made that she could have been a dancer in burlesque

* In the 1980s, the so-called "Lost Episodes" of The Honeymooners showed up on Shotime's pay-cable network.  The episodes were not actually lost.  The were Honeymooners sketches that had been originally broadcast in the 1950s. Jackie Gleason had released  kinescopes of the sketches to Viacom, Showtime's parent company.

* Joyce Randolph is the great-aunt of professional baseball pitcher Tim Redding. During his career, Redding, 35, has played for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, New York Mets and my hometown Toronto Blue Jays.  He is currently pitching in the Mexican League.

* Joyce is a strong supporter of the United Service Organization (US0) which provides recreation and welfare-type services for American soldiers.  She is a member of its Board of Directors.

* Joyce has attributed her longevity and good health to vitamins and dietary supplements.  She's been taking Omega-3 fish oil for many years.

Editor's Update (January 31, 2014):  Jane Kean, who played Trixie Norton in a series of hour-long Honeymooners episodes on The Jackie Gleason Show from 1966-1970, passed away on November 26, 2013.  She died at the age of 90 in Burbank, California after complications from a fall that led to a stroke.

Editor's Update (January 14, 2024):  Joyce Randolph passed away on January 13, 2024.  She died in her sleep at her home in New York City at the age of 99, her son confirmed.

- Joanne