Comprehensive episode guides for many short-lived TV shows are difficult, if not impossible, to find. Occasionally, I’ll create an episode guide myself for an obscure TV show if I have access to every episode.
Sons and Daughters ran for just nine episodes on CBS during the 1974-1975 season. A pilot telefilm titled Senior Year aired in March 1974 and the weekly series debuted September 11th, 1974. The final episode aired less than three months later on November 5th, 1974.
Set in the mid-1950s, the drama starred Gary Frank and Glynnis O’Connor as high school sweethearts Jeff Reed and Anita Cramer. The cast also included Barry Livingston, Debralee Scott, Scott Colomby, Lionel Johnston, Jay W. MacIntosh, Michael Morgan, Jan Shutan, John S. Ragin, and Laura Siegel.
Learn more about Sons and Daughters by reading my in-depth article about the show.
Senior Year (Pilot Telefilm)
March 22nd, 1974
Jeff Reed and Anita Cramer are going out on their first date. After a pep rally at Southwest Senior High School, they’ll stop at the diner where everyone from school hangs out, and then head to Inspiration Point.
Jeff relatively popular. He plays baseball and has dated a number of girls. Jeff lives with his parents Paul (played by Dana Elcar) and Lucille (Jay W. MacIntosh). He has a younger brother named Danny (played by Michael Morgan). Anita is an only child who moved to town a month earlier with her parents Ruth (played by Jan Shutan and Walter (John S. Ragin).
Jeff’s best friend Stanley “Stash” Melnyk (played by Scott Colomby) is more of a tough guy. Stash copies homework from anyone and everyone and has a strained relationship with his father. Jeff’s other good friends are smart but insecure Murray “Moose” Kerner (played by Barry Livingston) and straight-laced Charlie Riddel (played by Lionel Johnston).
Jeff and Anita’s budding romance is interrupted when Anita learns her mother has been having an affair and is leaving her father. Shortly thereafter, Jeff’s father dies suddenly from heart attack.
With his father gone, Jeff takes on more responsibility at home. He balances his mother’s checkbook and tries to handle Danny, who is struggling with the loss of their father. Anita is having trouble coming to terms with her parents separating and her anger toward her mother, who’s moving to Omaha with her lover.
Anita’s father, afraid of losing his daughter the way he lost his wife, insists on keeping a close eye on her. Meanwhile, things get heated between Jeff and Danny during an argument and Jeff slaps his little brother.
Anita and Jeff bond over their family turmoil. After talking with her mother, Anita is able to begin moving past her anger. Jeff apologizes to Danny and the brothers, united by grief, are determined to support their mother.
Subplots include Moose starting to date Evie Martinson (played by Debralee Scott), a girl with a bad reputation, and an underclassman named Cody (played by guest star Christopher Stafford Nelson) who is obsessed with trying to show up the senior class.
September 11th, 1974
NOTE: Laura Siegel joins the main cast, playing Anita’s best friend Mary Anne Coburn.
The series premiere picks up a month after the events of the pilot telefilm Senior Year. Jeff and Anita are celebrating their one-month anniversary. Jeff buys Anita an expensive necklace to mark the occasion. Imagine his shock when Anita refuses to take it.
Still distraught about her parents splitting up, Anita worries taking the necklace means she’s obligated to stay with him. She’s afraid their relationship will fall apart. After talking with her father, who tells her to take a chance on happiness even if she may get hurt, she gladly accepts Jeff’s gift.
(Anita is seen wearing the locket throughout the remainder of the series.)
A subplot involves Danny losing the money Jeff had begged and borrowed from his friends. Danny then steals the necklace from a store. Also, after learning Anita had refused to take the necklace, Stash, Moose and Charlie decide to throw a stag party to cheer up Jeff, which means Moose has to rent a dirty movie.
September 18th, 1974
Anita is delighted to learn she’ll receive the Ellen Skylar Award. It’s given to the outstanding female student at Southwest High. After Mary Anne’s mother spots Jeff and Anita outside a motel, where they were calling a tow truck, the award is rescinded. The implication being the two had spent the night together. Mary Anne is also forbidden to see Anita.
Jeff attempts to tell Mary Anne’s mother what really happened but she won’t listen. He he later gets into a fight with someone from school who makes a comment about motels. Later, he tries to convince Anita to play the piano at the school open house as planned. It will show everyone she isn’t the girl they assume she is. Anita’s father thinks it’s a bad idea but Anita agrees to perform. Both her parents go to support their daughter, despite the awkwardness between them.
The plan works. Anita’s performance, and the simple fact she was brave enough to show her face in public, rehabilitates her image. Mary Anne’s mother admits she’s ashamed she had judged Anita.
A subplot involves Cody placing red lights on his car to impersonate the police so he can scare the seniors away from Inspiration Point. Stash, Moose, and Charlie eventually get their revenge.
September 25th, 1974
A corrupt track coach becomes a surrogate father for Jeff. The coach only cares about winning and dopes his runners with amphetamines without their knowledge. Jeff enjoys winning and the attention from his coach. His relationship with Anita begins to suffer because he’s exhausted from running all the time.
Moose, as manager of the track team, learns about the amphetamines. He tells Anita, who tells Jeff, but Jeff doesn’t believe her. Even after Moose quits as manager, Jeff still won’t listen. Only after he confronts the coach and runs without drugs–and doesn’t do so well–does he realize Moose and Anita were telling the truth.
A subplot involves Charlie losing money on bets with Stash, including betting on Jeff’s races.
October 2nd, 1974
Depressed and feeling aimless, Lucille (Jeff’s mother) begins acting hostile toward Anita. She realizes she feels threatened by Anita. Jeff and Danny are all she has in the world. Lucille decides she needs her own life, which means getting a job. There’s only one problem: she hasn’t worked in 18 years and doesn’t have any skills.
Lucille gets a job as a waitress at a diner but lies to Jeff and Danny, telling them she’s working in an office. She’s no good as a waitress and is let go. Jeff and Danny find out and, after a long talk, Lucille decides she’s her own person even without a job. Anita isn’t a threat.
A subplot involves Mary Anne and Charlie working on a President Eisenhower’s reelection campaign with Lucille.
October 9th, 1974
Stash accidentally hits Lucille with his car when she steps out traffic without paying attention. Her injuries are severe. She’s in a coma and there may be brain damage. Jeff and Danny fear losing their mother so soon after their father died. They also struggle with the fact Stash was behind the wheel of the car that hit their mother.
As Jeff and Danny wait for news from the hospital, things with Stash become tense. He tries to stay away from Jeff. He sneaks into Lucille’s hospital room to apologize. Although Lucille begins to improve, Danny wants to make Stash pay. He throws a rock through a window at Stash’s house and later slashes the tires on his stepfather’s car. After Jeff lies to a police officer to protect Danny, Anita confronts him about Danny’s actions. More importantly, she makes him face his own feelings about Stash.
Jeff catches Danny outside Stash’s house again and convinces his little brother to stop. They can’t let their anger consume them. Besides, Stash already feels terrible. Jeff has a talk with Stash and the two come to terms with what had happened. Later, Stash apologizes again to Lucille, who is fully conscious and on the mend.
Subplots involve Moose trying to talk to Stash about the accident and Evie and Mary Anne cooking dinner for Jeff and Danny.
October 15th, 1974
Moose’s father forbids him from seeing Evie. He calls her her cheap. Upset, Evie goes out with an old boyfriend. When she comes home late, her father throws her out of the house, calling her a tramp.
Evie moves in with Anita and her father. She gets a job at Hogies so she can save enough money to move to New York City to live with her sister, who was also thrown out of the house.
Moose confronts first his father and then Evie’s father. He tells his father he’s going to see Evie no matter what. He convinces Evie’s father to forgive his daughter and let her move back home.
October 30th, 1974
Jeff’s ex-girlfriend Julie (played by Linda Purl) tells Jeff she’s pregnant and doesn’t know what to do. Jeff talks to the father, who refuses to accept responsibility. So he tries to help Julie as best the can. When word gets out, Anita starts to worry Jeff is getting too involved.
After Julie tells her parents Jeff is the father of her baby, her father insists Jeff do the right thing and marry Julie. Jeff refuses, even after Julie’s father promises to pay for his education and take care of his mother and brother.
Her father then tells Julie she has to have an abortion. Jeff decides he has no choice but to offer to marry her. Ultimately, Julie goes off to a home for pregnant girls, uncertain whether she’ll keep the baby or repair her relationship with her parents.
October 30th, 1974
Anita finally meets the man her mother left her father for: Jerry Michaelis (played by Dabney Coleman). Ruth invites Anita and Jeff to dinner, promising Jerry won’t be around. But Jerry is tired of the tension in their relationship so he shows up unexpectedly. Anita refuses to have anything to do with him and bitterly rejects her mother as well.
Jerry goes to Jeff to ask for help connecting with Anita. Jeff suggests Jerry help with the senior class car rally because they need an adult to supervise.
Ruth calls Walter and asks him to dinner, which makes Walter and Anita think maybe Ruth wants to get back together with him. Instead, she wants to talk about Anita. Afterwards, Walter gets drunk and confronts Jerry at the car rally, punching him in the face.
Realizing Anita won’t accept him, Jerry decides to leave town temporarily. But Jeff convinces Anita that rejecting Jerry is only hurting her mother. He also gets her to admit she’s mad at her mother, not Walter. Anita is ready to try to get to know Jerry and accept the fact her parents are never getting back together.
A subplot involvs Cody sabotaging the car rally and Stash, Moose, and Charlie getting their revenge.
November 5th, 1974
In the final episode, Jeff and Anita decide to take their relationship to the next level. Beforehand, Anita talked with her mother and Jeff talked with Stash. Anita even did research at the library. The two are caught kissing in a stairwell by the vice principal. Holding hands is permissible, kissing is not. The vice principal then gives Anita a stern talking to.
Undeterred, Jeff and Anita lie about going to a movie and instead go to a motel. But they can’t go through with it. Not knowing where that left their relationship, Anita has another talk about sex with her mother. Jeff talks with his mother as well, having learned his parents had had pre-marital sex.
Jeff and Anita decide they can keep their feelings in check and wait until the time is right.
A subplot involves Stash kissing Evie and Moose refusing to listen to Stash’s apology.
NOTE: Four episodes of Sons and Daughters were later edited into a pair of made-for-TV movies: Love Is Not Forever (“The Rejection” and “The Tryst”) and Teenage Lovers (“The Pregnancy” and “The Invitation”).