Created by Leonard Stern and Arne Sultan
Starring Dan Dailey, Julie Sommars, Neva Patterson, James T. Callihan
Leonard Stern was a major name of 1960s comedy, if for nothing else than his creation (with Roger Price) of Mad Libs. But he also produced and wrote TV shows with his partner Arne Sultan, shows like Get Smart, He & She, The Good Guys, and Macmillan and Wife. The Governor and J.J. was just another example, and deserved more than the single season it was on.
The show was about William Drinkwater (Dan Dailey), governor of an unnamed state (probably in the midwest). He was a widower, so the role of First Lady fell to his 20-something daughter, J.J. (Julie Sommars). J.J. was a mildly rebellious child of the 60s, who much preferred her work as a curator at the local zoo and who often disagreed politically with her father (mildly).
The show was only political in the general sense, usually dealing with personalities more than real issues. Often, J.J. would say something that was potentially embarrassing, and the governor would have to work with her to put out the fire. Or other other way around: J.J. had to find evidence to quash a potential scandal (which turned out to be an innocent error, of course).
Dan Dailey was a Hollywood and Broadway hoofer, appearing in many musicals of the 40s. Julie Sommars had been a frequent guest star on TV.
The show won three Golden Globes, for Best Comedy Series, and for Best Comedy Actor and Actress. But the Golden Globes didn’t mean much back then, and poor ratings doomed the show to a single season.
After then, Dailey’s appearances were less frequent. Sommars worked steadily in TV, and eventually got a regular role in Matlock.
I’d love to be able to see it again.