Forgotten in Primetime: Wait ‘Till Your Father Gets Home (1972-1974)

Starting as “Love and the Old Fashioned Father” on the popular series “Love, American Style”, Wait ‘Till Your Father Gets Home was a wildly popular cartoon that premiered on September 1, 1972 on CBS. It was the first cartoon featured in the primetime slot airing Thursdays at 8:30 pm. The show lasted forty nine episodes and ended on November 1, 1974. This animated sitcom was years ahead of cartoons like “The Simpsons”, who were only the second cartoon to be featured on primetime television history.

Photo credit: Hanna Barbera Studios

The Beginning

Wait ‘Till Your Father Gets Home began as an animated segment from “Love, American Style” in 1972. The show was highly rated and it was decided to create a series based on the characters. The pilot was picked up by NBC to fill the prime-time slot. Series creators Harvey Bullock and R.S. Allen built the show as a view into the real generation gap between parents and children in the 1970’s. The show focuses around Elm Street in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California.

The Boyle Family

The parents, Harry Boyle and his wife Erma try to understand their children, Chet, Alice, and Jamie and their changing society.

Harry Boyle (Tom Bosley)

Harry is your every man. He owns a restaurant supply company and is the sole provider for the family. He doesn’t understand the changes happening around him, but is willing to learn. HE is the true “Old fashioned father”.

Erma (Joan Gerber)

As with most women and mothers in that era, Erma is the stay-at-home mom that keeps things in order and keeps the peace in the house. Erma does show independence in spurts throughout the series.

Chet and Jamie in Wait 'Till Your Father Gets Home

Photo Credit: andertoons via Compfight cc

Chet (David Hayward and later, Lenny Weinrib)

As a 22-year-old college dropout or college graduate, depending on which episode you are watching, is constantly “finding himself”. Chet likes sleeping and asking his dad for money to fix his motorcycle. He does hit it big a few episodes, but nothing ever pans out the way he’d like.

Alice (Kristina Holland)

Sixteen year old Alice is the heavy (weight, not slang for “deep or emotional”) daughter of Harry and Erma. She is constantly teacher her mother about the “independent woman” and how her mom needs to find her own identity. Alice is constantly on a diet, yet is always eating.

Jamie (Jackie Earl Haley and Willie Aames)

Jamie is the nine year old and the capitalist of the family. He is always earning money from each family member and people in their neighborhood. Harry says Jamie has more money than he does.

Other Characters

Ralph Kane (Jack Burns)

The militant and racist next door neighbor of the Boyle Family. Ralph is a conspiracy theorist and always suspicious of everyone. Harry and Ralph car pool to work, giving plenty of time for Ralph to try to convince Harry that the world is out to get them. Ralph also runs a militant outfit within the neighborhood. They keep the area “safe and secure”, yet a prowler strikes, Harry gets mugged, and other shenanigans happen under their nose.

Sara Whittaker (Joan Gerber)

Sara Whittaker was the old lady on the block that Ralph hired to help him “protect” the neighborhood. She was always willing to shoot someone and was somewhat of a loose cannon. She also fell in love with any man that crossed her path.

Wait ‘Till Your Father Gets Home Theme Song

Harry and Jamie in Wait Till Your Father Gets Home

Photo Credit: andertoons via Compfight cc

I love my mom and dad and my brothers too

and the groovy way we get along.

But every time the slightest thing goes wrong,

Mom starts to sing this familiar song:


Wait ‘til your father gets, until your father gets,

wait ‘til your father gets home.

Dad’s not so bad and he seldom gets mad

and we aren’t about to desert him

Kids today like to have their own way

and what daddy doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

I think my mom’s just swell,

but she starts to yell

every time we have a blast.


Just wait ‘til your father gets, until your father gets,

wait ‘til your father gets home.

“See what I mean.”

Wait ‘til your father gets home.

“We know.”

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