Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 2, “By a Whisker,” 9/30/1968

VTS_01_2.VOB_000887295

This week at Chez Davis, Uncle Bill is yakking on the phone to someone named Charlie.

When the twins rush in, Jody is eager to show Bill his new regulation-sized basketball.

Soon the twins rush in, and Jody is eager to show Bill his new regulation-sized basketball.

Jody says smaller basketballs are baby stuff. Episode Theme Foreshadowing Alert!

This is pretty big talk from a boy who admits he doesn't know how to dribble.

This is pretty big talk from a boy who admits he doesn’t know how to dribble.

Meanwhile, Bill is craving cheese souffle, but French is all out of Gruyere–I hate when that happens.

French is about to leave for the Italian market when Jody asserts that he’s old enough to run the errand himself.

French disagrees, and Jody wanders off with one of his a-car-just-hit-my-dog faces.

French disagrees, and Jody wanders off with one of his a-car-just-hit-my-dog faces.

Now, Bill knows that it’s important to keep up a united front before the children.

After Jody leaves, though, he pulls French aside and suggests giving Jody more responsibility. (I bet he wouldn't suggest the same thing about Buffy.)

After Jody leaves, though, he pulls French aside and suggests giving Jody more responsibility. (I bet he wouldn’t suggest the same thing about Buffy.)

Bill gives a delighted Jody permission to run to the corner market.

He even agrees to let him stay out and play afterwards. I guess French isn't in any hurry to get that cheese.

He even agrees to let him stay out and play afterwards. I guess French isn’t in any hurry to get that cheese.

Of course, this whole dilemma is strange, since just last week we saw that Jody already has wandering-around privileges.

Amalfi's is the saddest little grocery story ever, but you can't beat their prices on candy and gum--three for a dime!

Amalfi’s is the saddest little grocery store ever, but you can’t beat their prices on candy bars and gum–three for a dime!

After completing his errand, Jody runs into an older boy he knows.

It's Eddie Munster!

You know him, too–it’s Eddie Munster!

This kid has a club called the Daredevils, and Jody is feeling so big for his britches that he requests membership.

Skinny has no interest in a seven-year-old member, but he is interested in Jody's new basketball.

Frankie has no interest in a seven-year-old member, but he is interested in Jody’s new basketball.

He takes Jody to meet the other club members and get their input.

They quickly see the wisdom of waiving age requirements for someone with a new basketball.

They quickly see the wisdom of waiving age requirements for someone with a new basketball.

They demand a proper initiation prank for Jody, though.

Uh-oh. Buddy Hinton's in this club. Things aren't going to end well.

Uh-oh. Buddy Hinton’s in this club. Things aren’t going to end well.

They decide that Jody should cut off a few of Mr. French’s whiskers and bring them back to the club for inspection. Yikes!

He also has to make an ungrammatical pledge to “not tell nobody” about the club’s secrets, under penalty of his teeth falling out and his toes dropping off.

At home, Jody starts scoping out French's face in a really subtle way.

At home, Jody starts scoping out French’s face in a really subtle way.

At one point, he even calls French “Mr. Whiskers” by mistake.

That goes over about as well as you might suspect

That goes over about as well as you might expect.

Meanwhile, Bill is leaving on another trip, and Buffy and Cissy are heading to the planetarium. They invite Jody, but he wants to stay home and carry out his plan. Buffy thinks he’s scared of the planetarium’s darkness–he takes umbrage, of course, at this slight to his new-found maturity.

Cissy sums up the situation quite well: "They should never have sent him for that cheese."

Cissy sums up the situation quite well: “They should never have sent him for that cheese.”

Cissy and Buffy barely make it out of the lobby before running into Sharon.

Sharon has tickets for a folk rock festival. Buffy says she doesn't want to go to the planetarium anyway, so Cissy gives her the apartment key and heads off with Sharon.

Sharon has tickets for a folk rock festival. Buffy says she doesn’t want to go to the planetarium anyway, so Cissy gives her the apartment key and heads off with Sharon.

Couldn’t Buffy just knock on the door? Yes, but then she wouldn’t be able to walk in on a dozing French, as Jody prepares to do some snipping.

She has good reason to look shocked.

She has good reason to look shocked.

Jody realizes she’s there before he carries through with the crime.

They run off to discuss the situation. Although Jody keeps his club's secrets, he reveals enough for Buffy to figure out what's happening.

They run off to discuss the situation. Although Jody trues to keep his club’s secrets, he reveals enough for Buffy to figure out what’s happening.

Good sister that she is, she offers to help.

That night, the kids rush French through his bedtime story. It's almost as if they're eager for everyone to go to sleep!

That night, the kids rush French through his bedtime story. It’s almost as if they’re eager for everyone to go to sleep!

By the way, Cissy is spending the night with Sharon–that’s another contrivance that’s required for this plot to work.

Buffy sets an alarm for midnight.

Buffy sets an alarm for midnight.

When it goes off, she wakes Jody, and they head for French’s room.

We get some amusing scenes of them crawling around the floor.

We get some amusing scenes of them crawling around the floor.

They’re almost busted, though, when French’s phone rings.

It's a wrong number, and French is cranky. Even if someone named Gussie lived there, she wouldn't be taking calls in the middle of the night, he barks.

It’s a wrong number, and French is cranky. Even if someone named Gussie lived there, she wouldn’t be taking calls in the middle of the night, he barks.

(During my teenage years, I had a phone just like French’s in my room.)

The next day, a sheepish Jody tells the Daredevils that he's giving up.

The next day, a sheepish Jody tells the Daredevils that he’s giving up.

He still wants to join, but Buddy Hinton’s all, “We don’t allow babies in this club.”

With renewed determination, Jody goes home to do the deed. This time, he tells Buffy that he’ll handle it alone.

He manages to take several snips before French awakens.

He manages to take several snips before French awakens.

Then, unfortunately, he freezes like a deer in the headlights, allowing French to grab the envelope and figure out what’s happened.

He's really mad. He says "invasion of privacy" more than once, and the British pronunciation of privacy makes it sound even worse.

He’s really mad. He says “invasion of privacy” more than once, and the British pronunciation of privacy makes it sound even worse.

When Bill hears about it, he feels that Jody must have had some reason for his actions, beyond just a wild hair (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Bound to secrecy about the club, Jody won't confide anything.

Bound to secrecy about the club, Jody won’t confide anything.

Random Set Design Observation: I like Jody’s room a lot better than the girls’. That desk/table is a nice, functional piece.

Bill finds out what happened when the daredevils come to the door and express remorse for the way they treated Jody.

Bill finds out what happened when the daredevils come to the door and express remorse for the way they treated Jody.

Hmm. The bullies in my neighborhood weren’t real big on remorse and confession.

Now, Bill and French change their tunes–they’re glad that Jody is honoring the “gentleman’s code” by keeping his friends’ secrets.

Though Jody still faces punishment, Bill quickly sends him on another errand.

Though Jody still faces punishment, Bill quickly entrusts him with another errand.

So, now a second-grader is wandering the streets, and he’s learned that he shouldn’t confide in his parents if someone swears him to secrecy about something.

Great day's parenting there, guys.

Great day’s parenting there, guys.

Commentary

The beard-snipping scene generates about as much suspense as Family Affair can muster, and French outrage is always entertaining.

Random Set Design Observation #2: The girls have some dreary-looking books. And what is that yellow thing?!

Random Set Design Observation #2: The girls have some dreary-looking books. And what is that yellow thing?!

Guest Cast

Sharon James: Sherry Alberoni. Sparky: Lindy Davis. Merv: Gerald Edwards. Jose: Ric Natoli. Frankie: Butch Patrick. Skinny: Russell Schulman. Mr. Amalfi: A.G. Vitanza.

For Patrick, this episode fell between his stints on The Munsters and Lidsville. Shortly after it aired, he began a recurring role as Ernie’s friend Gordon on My Three Sons. Schulman also made one appearance as Gordon.

Gerald Edwards voiced the character Weird Harold on Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s