Words of Wit and Wisdom From TV Dads

on June 16, 2011
<i>The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet</i>

In the 1950s and ‘60s, millions of Americans tuned in each week to enjoy the wholesome entertainment brought into their homes via beloved television sitcoms. We loved the picturesque perfection of those black-and-white TV worlds and the families whose stories we followed.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and remember three favorite TV dads: Ozzie Nelson, father of Ricky and David, who starred for 14 seasons on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952-1966); Sherriff Andy Taylor, widowed father of Opie on The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968); and Rob Petrie, comedy writer and the father of Ritchie on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966).

These characters were happy, devoted fathers who loved their families and were always ready to share valuable gems of advice that made us think and, sometimes, smile. Here are some of their memorable words of wit and wisdom:

Andy Taylor on facing a crisis:
“The main thing is to stay calm.” — from the episode titled “The Loaded Goat”

Ozzie Nelson on remaining calm and composed:
“You can’t let yourself get flustered. The idea is keep your wits about you at all times. Keep your mind on what you’re doing.” —“The Car Mix-Up”

Rob Petrie on being optimistic:
“Whoever said there was a silver lining for every cloud sure knew his clouds.” —“The Night the Roof Fell In”

Ozzie Nelson on punctuality:
“You’ve got to learn to organize yourself, son. Time is a precious commodity—and when you’re late you not only waste your own time, but you waste the time of other people around you.” —“Be On Time”

Andy Taylor on spelling:
“I before e except after c—and e before n in chicken.” —“Mountain Wedding”

Ozzie Nelson on reading the classics:
 “There’s nothing wrong with television and movies and all—but I do not think we should give up reading—especially the classics.” —“The Reading Room”

Rob Petrie on rumors:
“I am defending the principle that a man is innocent until his wife proves him guilty.” — “My Neighbor’s Husband’s Other Life”

Andy Taylor on the subject of love:
“I guess the best thing to do would be just treat her as nice as you can—and after that, it’s up to the love bug as to whether he’s gonna bite or not.” —“The Rivals”

Ozzie Nelson’s advice on car keys:
“Never leave your keys in the car. As soon as you park the car, make a habit of putting them in your pocket.” —“The Car Mix-Up”

Rob Petrie on minding your own business:
“I don’t see why anybody has to talk to anybody—it’s their business.” — “My Neighbor’s Husband’s Other Life”
Ozzie Nelson on criticism:

“What’s wrong with a little constructive criticism? … Everybody has a right to criticize, and nobody’s so big he can’t accept criticism.” —“The Suggestion Box”

Andy Taylor on happiness:
“That’s the main thing, ain’t it? That’s the goal that every individual is shootin’ for, ain’t it? It’s kinda the prize of the game—to be happy.” —“Class Reunion”

Found in: Traditions