Is this the little girl he carried? The Nov. 16 episode of NBC’s new sitcom The Torkelsons will feature a father-daughter reunion between series regular William Schallert and guest star Patty Duke — the first time the two have worked together since he played Duke’s dad on The Patty Duke Show (still in reruns on Nick at Nite) 25 years ago. ”We picked up right where we left off,” Schallert, 69, says. ”We didn’t even have to reminisce — it was like we were still working together all these years later.” Duke will play Schallert’s estranged former daughter-in-law, but she’ll make at least one reference to her previous TV incarnation — she’ll give her street address as ”Martin Lane,” the name of Schallert’s character on Patty Duke.
Schallert has made something of a specialty out of playing smiling TV dads over the years: He was the father in The Nancy Walker Show (1976), The Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-78), and Little Women (1979) — and on The Torkelsons he stars as Wesley Hodges, the fatherly boarder in the Torkelson home. Schallert has also found lots of commercial voice-over work: He was Milton the Toaster for 10 years (”I pushed lots of Pop-Tarts”) and, more recently, has been pitching Van de Kamp’s frozen fish and Mrs. Smith’s pies. This month you can find him on the big screen as well: He plays the befuddled college dean in House Party 2. ”Actors never really retire,” he says. ”I’m just grateful to know people still want me.”