Top Singing & Dancing Dads

A couple big dates this week: Sunday is Father’s Day (still time to grab a Half Price Books gift card or check out our gift guide!) and today is my Grandma Bonnie’s 75th birthday. When I volunteered to do a blog post on Iconic Dads, I realized that all of my favorite father figures came from the musicals I watched with said Grandma (and Grandpa) when I was little.

I have to admit, I teared up a little bit while listening to some of these songs– these dads are so especially loveable to me because most of them start out spectacularly grumpy, curmudgeony, or flawed in some manner and then redeem themselves in the loveliest, sweetest, most tear-jerking ways.


GEORGE BANKS (Mary Poppins, 1964, played by David Tomlinson)

Worst moment: When he makes Jane and Michael feel awful for causing a run on the bank (and when he tears up their list of nanny requirements. Mary sure showed him!)

Best moment: When he stands up to Mr. Dawes in the board room, and this:

CAPTAIN VON TRAPP (Sound of Music, 1965, played by Christopher Plummer)

Worst moment: When he angrily calls the (soaking wet) children to order in front of Baronness and orders Maria back to the abbey.

Best moment: Allowing his love of music to melt his hard veneer with his family (below); oh, and also refusing to join the Nazis and instead leading his family to safety.

CARACTACUS POTTS (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968, played by Dick Van Dyke)

Worst moment: A widower and eccentric inventor, this man is so lovely that he really doesn’t have a worst moment (other than a few tough spots at the beginning when his inventions go haywire.) His scrappy, entertaining struggles to provide financially for his family make him an excellent underdog hero against the rich Baron and his terrible, child-hating wife.

Best moment: There are so many — when his song and dance routine at the carnival earns him enough tips to save the kids’ beloved car from the junkman; when he reveals the magnificent Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the first time, after weeks of work; when he saves Truly Scrumptious from the muddy marsh; when he uses Chitty to evade capture from the evil Baron over and over; when he and Trudy save all the children with their fantastic doll song and dance at the end. For me, though, it doesn’t get any better than this lovely lullaby — just a dad wishing his kiddos sweet dreams.

OLIVER (DADDY) WARBUCKS (Annie, 1982, played by Albert Finney)

Worst moment: Telling Grace he wanted a boy orphan (“I said an orphan! Orphans are boys!”); letting Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily take Annie even though he doesn’t trust them.

Best moment: Telling Annie he wants to adopt her (via Tiffany necklace proposal); not only swallowing his disappointment when she says no but offering to help her find her birth parents with a $50,000 reward; and of course, this little musical number.

JEAN VALJEAN (Les Miserables, Original London Cast, 1987)  

Worst moment: Every single time he commits a crime to benefit/protect someone else and incriminates himself even further with Javert.

Best moment: Hard to say, since he saved so many lives — but who can ever listen to Bring Him Home and not burst into tears?

GRU (Despicable Me, 2010, voiced by Steve Carell)

Worst moment: Adopting the girls for his own personal gain.

Best moment: Adopting the girls because he loves them (sob sob sob sob.) Also this:

Which singin’ and dancin’ dads do you love? Who did I miss?

 — Kristen D.

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