Remember the experiment in which a university athlete's endurance
waned as he attempted to keep pace with one tot's round of activities for one day?
Then imagine the life of Richard Long, starring as Professor Harold Everett in
ABC's "Nanny and the Professor".
With Juliet Mills toplined as Nanny, Long plays the father of three super-active
youngsters ranging in age from 4 1/2 to 12 years. They are co-stars David Doremus as
Hal, the eldest, Trent Lehman as Butch, 8 1/2, and Kim Richards as Prudence.
"When I leave the set at the end of the day, I go home to my own three," Long said.
They are Carey, 12, Valerie, 11, and Gregory, 9.
During a typical day on the set, the actor is rushed by tiny Kim, a 36-inch tall
blonde, and subjected to strangling bear hugs around the neck. Or she bounces
enthusiastically on his knee while they chat. David and Trent, while slightly more
reserved because they are older, are normal, healthy boys who race each other when they
are called from the school room. They share an interest in football and baseball and
are not one bit against Long's joining them when they practice passing and pitching
outside the soundstage.
Their series father takes the happy hubbub in good-natured stride.
"At least," he said with quiet humor, clutching a giant lollipop Kim had just used
in a scene, "here in the series all my problems of fatherhood are neatly resolved by
the script or with the word 'cut'." Commenting that he and his actress-wife, Mara
Corday, share in matters of discipline, he adds wryly "like any other set of parents,
we don't always agree about it.
"As a father," said the actor, "I'm just around and they're around, except for my
older boy, Carey. He writes plays for the neighborhood kids which they rehearse in the
back yard, and he and I play some golf together."
The Long's take many weekend trips--to the ocean or Disneyland. Occasionally the
youngsters accompany their father when he plays in golf tournaments. "We were in
Seattle for the Pat Boone tournament and I will probably take them to the next Andy
Williams/San Diego Open," he said.
The actor has appeared in numerous motion picture and television roles, most
recently as Jarrod Barkley in "The Big Valley" on ABC. He also did some directing
on the series.
Long passed along a couple of survival techniques he's developing for coping with
the two shifts of juveniles.
"I leave home early in the morning, when no one is stirring. It is my peaceful
time of day." And at the studio, he finds becoming absorbed in a cross word puzzle
or a book when off-camera is a good escape.
"I've had good experience at this sort of thing--I was the fifth of six children in
my own family," he said with a grin.