6.9/10
82
7 user 1 critic

The Smith Family 

Chad Smith is the protagonist in this light-hearted, family-oriented show about a police detective, his wife and their three children.
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2   1  
1972   1971  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Henry Fonda ...  Det. Sgt. Chad Smith 39 episodes, 1971-1972
Janet Blair ...  Betty Smith 39 episodes, 1971-1972
Darleen Carr ...  Cindy Smith 39 episodes, 1971-1972
Ron Howard ...  Bob Smith 39 episodes, 1971-1972
Michael-James Wixted Michael-James Wixted ...  Brian Smith 39 episodes, 1971-1972
John Carter ...  Sgt. Ray Martin 39 episodes, 1971-1972
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Storyline

Chad Smith is the protagonist in this light-hearted, family-oriented show about a police detective, his wife and their three children. Written by Bob Sorrentino

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Primrose Lane, life's a holiday on Primrose Lane See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 January 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ah! Quelle famille See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(39 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Erin Moran made a guest appearance on an episode, years later, she would star with Ron Howard on Happy Days (1974). See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent effort doomed by seeming aimlessness
2 February 2004 | by bigpurplebear-1See all my reviews

Pointing the finger at "aimlessness" as the culprit for this excellent show's early demise is, in a sense, as misleading as describing "The Smith Family" as "lighthearted." Neither term is fully adequate when discussing this series. It's more accurate to say that this is a show that deserved an audience, yet failed to find one. Quite likely, such an audience simply didn't exist; sadly, I doubt even more that one would readily materialize today.

Picture "Dragnet's" Joe Friday as a family man, happily married and determined to keep his job and his homelife separate. There you have the challenge faced by Henry Fonda's Detective Sgt. Chad Smith, and the focal point around which each episode revolved. His determination to safeguard his family's normality is illustrated by their picket fence-enclosed house on Primrose Lane (an image further reinforced by the use of Jerry Wallace's hit "Primrose Lane" as the show's theme song, sung by Mike Minor with special lyrics). Unfortunately, this normality too often translated in the series as "mundane," partially due to excellent performances by a standout cast (which included a post-Opie Ron Howard as teenage son Bob), all of whom never stepped out of character.

The show did have some solid moments to it, including the episode in which a mild-mannered middle-aged gentleman inveigles his way into the Smith household as "an old friend of Chet's" shortly before Chet is due home. The suspense builds, as we're aware that this charming, innocuous individual is actually quite mad, and determined to kill Sgt. Smith for having sent him to prison several years earlier. How Chet manages to save himself and, afterward, keep his family from learning the truth (Chet: "He had an appointment and couldn't stay for supper." Betty: "Oh, what a shame.") is handled without an excess of drama or violence, highly realistically, and delivers a superb payoff. Again unfortunately, however, such quiet heroism is rarely the fare of network TV success.

Had the show delivered a touch either of the "bells and whistles and sirens" of most contemporary police dramas, or else the alcoholism and stress-related angst which several Wambaugh-inspired series would soon introduce into cops' off-duty lives, "The Smith Family" might have stuck around significantly longer. Unfortunately, Chet Smith was simply a decent man fighting the good fight, both on the job and at home; the series' doom came as a result of his winning both fights so handily.

What a shame!


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