The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became an Emmys stalwart soon after its story, of the aspiring comedian Midge Maisel’s quest for glory, first aired on Prime Video. Back in the ’50s, another comedy about a stand-up comic received top Television Academy honors: Make Room for Daddy, which took home best new program in 1954 and best comedy series in 1955.
The ABC series “built on the trials of an entertainer whose hectic professional life leaves him but scant time for his family,” as THR described it in 1953, starred real-life comedian Danny Thomas, Jean Hagen as his wife, and Sherry Jackson and Rusty Hamer as their children. In scenarios that Midge could probably relate to, Danny contends with coming home from a three-month gig and his dog not recognizing him, imploring a journalist friend to write an article about him to drum up some good publicity, and losing out on a studio contract because he won’t get a nose job.
The series received glowing reviews, with THR proclaiming in 1954 that “very few shows can even sporadically match the consistent warmth and gentle humor of this family series.” When Hagen left after season three, the writers made Danny a widower and the show was renamed The Danny Thomas Show. It would go on to score 17 total Emmy noms and five wins over 11 seasons. Maisel, for its part, has scored 80 nominations — including 14 this year — and 20 wins over five seasons.
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.