Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 29, “The Baby Sitters,” 4/1/1968

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This week in Davis-land, Uncle Bill is dealing with a bridge collapse. No, it’s not an engineering emergency–it’s a dental emergency.

This episode is a gold mine for fans of Brian Keith head rubs.

This episode is a gold mine for fans of Brian Keith head rubs.

Bill also has an evening meeting to attend and a plane to catch for Hong Kong soon after. He refuses to see any dentist but his regular one, who has gone out for the evening.

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To add insult to injury, his suitcase handle breaks, which means French has to scurry out to get it repaired.

Luckily, Cissy is at home to watch the twins, since Bill must leave for his meeting.

All Cissy has to do is tuck the kids in bed. As she says, "What could possibly happen in an hour?"

All Cissy has to do is tuck the kids in bed. As she says, “What could possibly happen in an hour?”

Oh, dear.

Cissy's bedtime story--involving Mrs. Beasley's adventures on the subway--is soon interrupted by a knock at the door.

Cissy’s bedtime story–in which Mrs. Beasley navigates “the wilds of New York City” on the subway–is soon interrupted by a knock at the door.

It’s Cissy’s boyfriend Danny with tickets for a concert that’s about to start.

Who's playing? The Velvet Vultures, of course.

Who’s playing? The Velvet Vultures, of course.

But Cissy can’t leave the twins.

"Sometimes, we're a problem," Jody observes.

“Sometimes, we’re a problem,” Jody observes.

Cissy quickly decides that she just needs to find a responsible babysitter.

It's unclear whether Sharon is responsible, but at least she's nearby.

It’s debatable whether Sharon is responsible, but at least she’s nearby.

When Sharon arrives, Jody convinces her to give the twins milk and cookies with their bedtime story.

She starts to tell them a story about Mrs. Beasley getting a new mini-skirt. When Jody objects, she sends the doll on a more exciting African safari adventure.

She starts to tell them a story about Mrs. Beasley getting a new mini-skirt. When Jody objects, she sends the doll on a more exciting African safari adventure.

Meanwhile, Bill is still suffering and unable to reach his dentist, Dr. Perry.

I can only imagine how thrilled most dentists would be to get called at home to perform emergency work.

I can only imagine how thrilled most dentists would be to get called at home to perform emergency evening work.

Soon, the twins notice that Sharon’s not looking well, either.

In fact, it looks like someone attacked her face with a bingo dauber.

In fact, it looks like someone attacked her face with a bingo dauber.

Alarmed, Sharon calls her mother, who insists that Sharon come home right away. Mrs. James hurries to the Davis apartment to take over babysitting.

You might recall that when we first met Sharon, she was "between mothers." If this is a new stepmother, it's a very caring and conscientious one.

You might recall that when we first met Sharon, she was “between mothers.” If Mrs. James is a new stepmother, she’s a caring and conscientious one.

With a new babysitter on hand, the twins are ready for a new bedtime story–and, at Jody’s urging, more milk and cookies.

Mrs. James' story is pretty lame. It has something to do with Mrs. Beasley wanting to visit her grandchildren in Florida.

Mrs. James’ story is pretty lame, though. It has something to do with Mrs. Beasley wanting to visit her grandchildren in Florida.

Apparently, her worry about Sharon is distracting her. She decides that she needs to be with her daughter, so she tracks her husband down at his poker game–which he promptly relocates to the Davis apartment.

The guy on the left is Sharon's dad, who's attracted so many wives. He must have a really well paying job.

The guy on the left is Sharon’s dad, who’s attracted so many wives. He must have a really well paying job.

In a disappointing turn, we don’t get to hear what these guys would come up with for a Mrs. Beasley bedtime story. Jody does prevail on them to break out some snacks, though. While he’s in the kitchen with one of the poker players, Bill returns home.

He's a wee bit surprised to find a houseful of strangers.

He’s a wee bit surprised to find a houseful of strangers.

As it turns out, though, one of them is not a stranger. The one helping Jody gather snacks is none other than Bill’s dentist.

The guy helping Jody find snacks is none other than Bill's dentist, Dr. Perry.

Oh, there you are, Dr. Perry.

When French returns, the poker players are leaving, and Bill and Dr. Perry are headed for the dental clinic.

Cissy shows up just in time to get a stern look from her uncle.

Cissy shows up just in time to get a stern look from her uncle.

When Bill returns from his appointment, Cissy successfully talks her way out of trouble.

After all, if she hadn't abandoned her post, she wouldn't have launched the chain of events that led Bill to Dr. Perry.

After all, if she hadn’t abandoned her post, she wouldn’t have launched the chain of events that led Bill to Dr. Perry.

So all’s well that ends well–except for Jody.

The little glutton has a well deserved stomachache.

The little glutton has a well deserved stomachache.

Commentary

This episode executes its circular plot pretty well. I like the various Mrs. Beasley stories, especially Cissy’s, which reveals the twins’ familiarity with little details of urban life. (The story takes place on the Woodlawn-Jerome line.)

Because Jody is usually so good, I enjoy seeing his manipulative side emerge here, as he tricks each successive babysitter into providing treats.

Random amusing screen capture. Can anyone think of a good caption for this?

Random amusing screen capture. Can anyone think of a good caption for this?

Guest Cast

Sharon: Sherry Alberoni. Mrs. James: Doris Singleton. Mr. James: Walter Sande. Dr. Perry: Carleton Young. Danny: Dennis Olivieri. Tom: Barry Brooks. Jim: Bert D. Whaley. Bob: Dick Winslow. Mr. Chung: James Hong. Mr. Lin: Allen Jung.

Doris Singleton was a busy actress during the radio era. Lucille Ball, with whom she’d worked in radio, chose her for a recurring role as Caroline Appleby on I Love Lucy. Singleton also made appearances on Ball’s subsequent series.  On Don Fedderson’s My Three Sons, she played Polly’s mother during the Chip-and-Polly-elopement arc.

Hong still has an active career, which has recently included voicing Mr. Ping in both Kung Fu Panda movies and the TV series. Interestingly, in light of his role in this episode, he studied civil engineering in college and worked briefly as an engineer before taking up acting.

Sande had a recurring role as Papa Holstrum on the TV series The Farmer’s Daughter.

This is the second of three Family Affair appearances for Young, and the third and final one for Olivieri.

Continuity Notes

In addition to the Velvet Vultures reference, we get a Scotty shout-out.

Inconsistency Alert

Sharon’s previously revealed apartment number was 12B, but she now seems to live upstairs from the Davis family. Maybe Mr. James moved when he re-married.

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4 thoughts on “Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 29, “The Baby Sitters,” 4/1/1968

  1. Orschel52 says:

    Smart how Buffy phrased her answer to Jody’s question about what he had to eat, which he placed in the hope of getting her support. Without blurting out what happened, of which she obviously did not approve, she made French guess the situation nevertheless.

    Surprise, surprise: The hotel room in which Bill had his “beefing” features the familiar Family Affair green!

    • Amy says:

      You’re right–Buffy did handle that inquiry with unusual deftness.

      I’ve been watching My Three Sons for the first time in years, and I’ve noticed it features even more Family Affair green than Family Affair.

  2. I really enjoyed the fact that a poker game ended up in their apartment. Those rascally television writers!

    I don’t have an amusing caption for that terrific Cissy/Mrs. Beasley photo, but Cissy almost looks like Mrs. Beasley just wet her pants.

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