Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 24, “Speak for Yourself, Mr. French,” 3/17/1969

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Written by: Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson. Directed by: Charles Barton.

Before we dive into this week’s episode, I wanted to alert Family Affair fans that Kathy Garver has written a memoir called Surviving Cissy. It will be published in September and is available now for pre-order on Amazon. Check it out!

We open this week in the park, as Mr. French reminds Jody about an upcoming dental appointment.

Jody hopes he'll get his with a ball in the park so his loose tooth will come out. Then the dentist won't have to pull it.

Jody hopes he’ll get hit by a ball in the park so his loose tooth will come out. Then the dentist won’t have to pull it.

French assures Jody that the dentist won’t be pulling any teeth–he’ll only be checking Jody’s bite.

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“Bite him good,” Buffy urges.

(She has a bit of a biting fixation–remember her early encounter with French?)

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That night at dinner, Bill reproves Jody for not eating his meat.

Jody claims his mouth hurts too much from the dentist, but Cissy disputes this.

The dentist only made a wax impression of Jody's teeth, she says. Any pain Jody's in is purely psychosomatic.

The dentist only made a wax impression of Jody’s teeth, she says. Any pain is purely psychosomatic.

Someone’s been paying attention in psychology class again, I see.

The word "psychosomatic" leaves the twins predictable clueless.

The word “psychosomatic” leaves the twins predictable clueless.

"It's all in your head," Cissy explains.

“It’s all in your head,” Cissy explains.

Of course it’s all in his head, Jody agrees–that’s where his teeth are. Ba-dum-bump.

Somehow, the conversation shifts to Cissy’s intention to become a nurse. That surprises Bill, who notes that she wanted to be an actress the week before. (Cissy’s very practical plan is to become a nurse, then use her nursing salary to put herself through dramatic school.)

Buffy announces that she wants to be a secretary, which finally leads us into this week’s main story.

Buffy wants to be like Miss Travers, a pretty young secretary that French met in the park that day.

Buffy wants to be like Miss Travers, a pretty young secretary that French met in the park that day.

French explains to Bill that Miss Travers recognized the twins’ names when she heard French talking to them. She’s a secretary at a construction company, and her boss is an acquaintance of Bill’s.

Well, Buffy and Jody are rather odd names, so I guess that makes sense.

Bill's attempts to recall Miss Travers to mind are amusing. Is she the one that's very short  and a little too...?

Bill’s attempts to recall Miss Travers to mind are amusing. Is she the one that’s very short and a little too…?

He gestures with his hands, ever so briefly, in the way that conveys the ampleness of the female form.

Oh no, French replies, in a slightly salacious and un-French-like way. Emily Travers is not "too" anything--she's just right.

Oh no, French replies, in a slightly salacious and un-French-like way. Emily Travers is not “too” anything–she’s just right.

Bill finally remembers her as an attractive blond with blue eyes, but French says they are aquamarine–“the limip hue one associates with tropical reefs in the Caribbean.”

Picking up on French's infatuation with Miss Travers, Cissy says she wishes a boyfriend would describe her eyes so poetically.

Picking up on French’s infatuation with Miss Travers, Cissy says she wishes a boyfriend would describe her eyes so poetically.

Buffy adds to French’s embarrassment by observing that he and Emily shook hands for a long time before parting.

“I don’t know which one was holding on,” she says. “Maybe both.”

As usual, Bill finds some amusement in French's discomfort.

As usual, Bill takes some amusement in French’s discomfort.

Next, we find ourselves back in the park, this time with the British servant contingent.

French's encounter with Emily has already become gossip fodder for them.

French’s encounter with Emily has already become gossip fodder for them.

“He’s quite crackers about the young woman,” Mr. Tyburn burbles, noting that she is half French’s age.

"Let him chase her--he'll never catch her," a smug Hardcastle says.

“Let him chase her–he’ll never catch her,” a smug Hardcastle says.

Quick to defend her friend, Miss Faversham says she heard Miss Travers was doing the chasing. Tyburn and Hardcastle decide then that Miss Travers must be frumpy–“thick glasses and flat shoes.”

After Miss Faversham leaves, French comes along and endures some teasing from his frenemies.

After Miss Faversham leaves, French comes along and endures some teasing from his frenemies.

They aren’t laughing for long, though, because the woman in question soon makes an appearance.

Well, here she is--the long-awaited Emily.

Well, here she is–the long-awaited Emily.

French and Emily walk on, leaving behind two stunned butlers.

"They say that love is blind, but this is ridiculous," Hardcastle grumbles.

“They say that love is blind, but this is ridiculous,” Hardcastle grumbles.

Later, Bill comes home to wait for a long-distance business call and encounters Cissy.

He compliments her on cute outfit.

He compliments her on a cute outfit.

(I don’t think I share his opinion.)

She’s heading off to the library to study psychology with a cute boy, Freddie. She gets insulted, though, when Bill assumes that Freddie is her main focus, rather than studying.

"Freddie is incidental," she says, none to convincingly.

“Freddie is incidental,” she says, none to convincingly.

After she leaves, it’s not long before Bill hears a knock at the door.

It's Emily, ostensibly looking for French and bearing a present for Buffy and Jody.

It’s Emily, ostensibly looking for French and bearing a present for Buffy and Jody.

(The wardrobe in this scene makes it fitting that this episode first aired on St. Patrick’s Day.)

French and the kids are out, but Bill invites Emily in to talk for a few minutes.

She passes the present along to Bill and tells him how much she likes the children. Jody is "all boy," but so polite, and Buffy is adorable.

She passes the present along to Bill and tells him how much she likes the children. Jody is “all boy,” but so polite, and Buffy is adorable.

Bill deflects credit for their politeness, saying manners are French’s department.

Ignoring the reference to French, Emily gushes that she has admired Bill from a distance for years.

Ignoring the reference to French, Emily gushes that she has admired Bill from a distance for years.

He’s surprised, but she tells him how impressive it is that a busy professional like him with no parenting experience took on the job of raising three children.

Modestly, Bill says that he and French do all right with the kids.

Modestly, Bill says that he and French do all right with the kids.

(It’s nice how he considers French a co-parent.)

Sometimes, they probably need a woman’s touch around the house, Bill admits.

He's not flirting, although it may read that way on paper.

He’s not flirting, although it may read that way on paper.

“Maybe someday you’ll find just the right girl,” Emily replies.

Now, she's definitely flirting.

Now, she’s definitely flirting.

Oh, dear.

When French and the kids return, Emily is gone. The twins play with her gift, a game of quoits.

When French and the kids return, Emily is gone. The twins play with her gift, a game of quoits.

(That’s not a term I’m familiar with. I would have called it ring-toss, I guess.)

French takes a moment to talk to Bill about Emily. He asks whether Bill finds it odd that such a young and attractive girl is interested in him.

French takes a moment to talk to Bill about Emily. He asks whether Bill finds it odd that such a young and attractive girl is interested in him.

Bill assures French that many women prefer older men.

Relieved, French decided to ask Emily to accompany him to the theater for an outing with the British gang to see The Barretts of Wimpole Street.

Emily enjoys the play, finding that the traditional British reserve conceals a strong romantic streak.

Emily enjoys the play, finding that the traditional British reserve conceals a strong romantic streak.

(Tyburn, for his part, faults the play for “far too much display of sentiment.”)

When French leaves to get Emily some orangeade, Emily chats with Miss Faversham.

Miss F, who's feeling protective and perhaps a bit jealous, tries to suss out Emily's feelings for French.

Miss F tries to suss out Emily’s feelings for French.

Emily says she admires his style, which must have come from being around rich and sophisticated people so much.

Miss F notes that "working among them" would be a more accurate description.

Miss F notes that “working among them” would be a more accurate description.

Nevertheless, Emily responds, French has traveled the world. She herself has been nowhere.

She wants to see the world, but not as a tourist, she explains. She wants to be one of the beautiful people--like Mr. Davis' friends.

She wants to see the world, but not as a tourist, she explains. She wants to be one of the beautiful people–like Mr. Davis’ friends.

Of course it’s not possible on a secretary’s salary, she adds.

"Well, you're young yet," Miss F observes drily, and Emily replies that she plans to make the most of it.

“Well, you’re young yet,” Miss F observes drily. Emily agrees–and says she plans to make the most of it.

Returning from the theater, Miss F meets Bill in the apartment building lobby.

She asks Bill what he thinks of Emily. Typically taciturn, he only says that she seems nice and pretty.

She asks Bill what he thinks of Emily. Typically taciturn, he only says that she seems nice and pretty.

She says she thinks French is falling in love with the girl, and Bill admits that wouldn’t surprise him.

Miss F claims that her womanly intuition gives her a bad feeling about Emily's motives.

Miss F claims that her womanly intuition gives her a bad feeling about Emily’s motives.

She’s afraid Emily doesn’t care one bit about French. “Isn’t it possible,” she asks, “that she isn’t after the gentleman’s gentleman, but after the gentleman?”

Bill finds this conversation all kinds of awkward.

Bill finds this conversation all kinds of awkward.

He seems to take it to heart, however.

Later, French returns bubbling with enthusiasm about Emily and the passion they share for Browning and Keats.

Later, French returns bubbling with enthusiasm about Emily and the passion they share for Browning and Keats.

The next day, Bill pays a visit to Emily’s office.

He tells her he feels unsure about what he wants to say and hopes he doesn't come across as a "fathead."

He tells her he feels unsure about what he wants to say and hopes he doesn’t come across as a “fathead.”

You can feel Emily’s hopes rising that he’s about to make some kind of pass.

Instead, he begins to quiz her about her feelings for French.

Instead, he quizzes her about her feelings for French.

When she’s vague, he tells her how happy French has been since meeting her. Emily wonders why that’s a bad thing.

French is way up on a cloud, Bill says. If he falls off, it will be a long drop.

Emily says she considers French her friend, like Buffy and Jody and Cissy.

Emily says she considers French her friend, like Buffy and Jody and Cissy.

(Hey, when did she meet Cissy?)

Bill says French is much more serious. He wouldn’t be surprised if he starts shopping for a ring soon. How would that make Emily feel?

“Flattered,” is all she can come up with.

When Bill asks where that leaves French, a chastened Emily says, "Nowhere, Mr. Davis."

When Bill asks where that leaves French, a chastened Emily says, “Nowhere, Mr. Davis.”

She promises she won’t let things get that far, and a relieved Bill tells her he thinks she’s okay. She says she’s not so sure.

Later, French is waiting around the park for another chance to see Emily.

Later, French is waiting around the park for another chance to see Emily.

He’s been there so long that Buffy and Jody are bored and want to leave and do their homework.

When he's just about given up, he finally sees Emily coming.

When he’s just about given up, he finally sees Emily approaching.

(She loves that green suit, doesn’t she?)

She wastes no time in telling him that she won't be seeing him again. She doesn't want to give explanations and hopes he'll accept this as final.

She wastes no time in telling him that she won’t be seeing him again. She doesn’t want to give explanations and hopes he’ll accept this as final.

Heartbroken but ever-the-gentleman, French does so.

At home, French tells Bill what happened and conjectures that Emily found someone else.

At home, French tells Bill what happened and conjectures that Emily found someone else.

Bill comforts him by saying that while it hurts now, he will soon recover.

French surprises Bill by saying that, on the contrary, he feels wonderful--he's just had the best week of his life.

French surprises Bill by saying that, on the contrary, he feels wonderful–he’s just had the best week of his life.

Commentary

This isn’t the kind of episode that would have appealed to me as a child. The kids’ roles are incidental (like Freddie), and the script’s light on humor. Surprisingly, we don’t even get many good Frenchisms. But as an adult what I most appreciate is the episode’s restraint. Other shows might have gone for melodrama, making a Emily a conniving femme fatale and having French undergo the humiliation of discovering her true motives. Instead, Emily comes across as young and misguided. Leslie Parrish’s acting in the final scene with Uncle Bill, as Emily becomes ashamed of her actions, is nicely subtle. Heather Angel also does a good job of conveying Miss F’s concern about French, along with just a touch of jealousy. (I’m on Team Fraversham, all the way!)

We get a new spin on Uncle Bill's famous head rubs this week--the one-fingered version.

We get a new spin on Uncle Bill’s famous head rubs this week–the one-fingered version.

Inconsistency Alert

Miss Faversham mentions Peter as the child she’s watching. Didn’t his family let her go?

Guest Cast
Emily Travers: Leslie Parrish. Mr. Hardcastle: Noel Drayton. Mr. Tyburn: Leslie Randall. Miss Faversham: Heather Angel.

Leslie Parrish was one of those promising mid-century starlets who never quite broke through to full-fledged stardom. Her most memorable film appearance was as Jocelyn Jordan in The Manchurian Candidate. She also played Daisy Mae in the 1959 musical Lil Abner. Her TV roles included three Batman appearances and the Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” Later, she ended up in some B movies such as 1975’s The Giant Spider Invasion. She retired from acting in the late 1970s, around the time she married Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. (They divorced 20 years later.)

Let's end with some Uncle Bill eye candy, just because.

Let’s end with some Uncle Bill eye candy, just because.

Family Affair Friday: Season 3, Episode 23, “The Young Man from Bolivia,” 3/10/1969

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Written by: Austin and Irma Kalish. Directed by: Charles Barton.

French has just retrieved the Davis family mail and found a letter for Jody.

It's from Bolivia, so Jody assumes it's from Uncle Bill.

It’s from Bolivia, so Jody assumes it’s from Uncle Bill.

French thinks not, since it’s addressed to “Senor J. Davis.” Jody is excited to realize that it’s from his penpal Paco, the son of Bill’s Bolivian associate.

Jody tells French that the letter says Paco is having a nice time and the weather is good.

French wonders how the boys can communicate since Jody "has trouble enough reading English."

French wonders how the boys can communicate since Jody “has trouble enough reading English.”

Ouch!

It turns out that they express themselves through pictures.

It turns out that they express themselves through pictures.

Jody hurries off to his room and starts to answer Paco’s letter right away.

While he's drawing, Buffy comes in to borrow a red crayon. It seems Mrs. Beasley is going on a date and needs some lipstick.

While he’s drawing, Buffy comes in to borrow a red crayon. It seems Mrs. Beasley is going on a date and needs some lipstick.

Oooh, that’s a bad idea Buffy–Mr. Clean hasn’t invented the Magic Eraser yet! (I’m also rather surprised that Mrs. Beasley dates. Ourtime.com hasn’t been invented yet either.)

Jody can't spare the red crayon--it's a crucial part of his "reply" to Paco.

Jody can’t spare the red crayon–it’s a crucial part of his “reply” to Paco.

Like Paco’s picture, Jody’s is also meant to convey that he’s having a nice time and the weather is good.

In our next scene, an excited Paco has received Jody's letter and is showing it to his father and Bill.

In our next scene, an excited Paco has received Jody’s letter and is showing it to his father and Bill.

“That’s Jody all right,” Bill says, adding wistfully, “at least as far as I can remember.”

His Bolivian project has apparently been a long one, but he is preparing to go home the next day. Paco and his father are staying another day and then flying to Paris.

When Senor Mendez laments the fact that the two pen pals won’t get a chance to meet, Bill has a brainstorm: He can take Paco home with him, and Senor Mendez can pick him up in New York on the way to Paris.

(Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to make these complicated travel arrangements? Luckily, that’s never a problem in the Davis universe.)

Paco is thrilled by the opportunity to meet Jody and quickly agrees.

Paco is thrilled by the opportunity to meet Jody and quickly agrees.

Bill only tells the family that he’s bringing home a surprise, so they are indeed to surprised to find what Jody calls “a living surprise” at their door.

Bill explains introduces Paco to the kids and tells them that their guest doesn't speak any English.

Bill explains introduces Paco to the kids and tells them that their guest doesn’t speak any English.

Fortunately, Bill is fairly fluent in Spanish, as we remember from the “Lost in Spain” episodes.

The writers don’t seem to remember those episodes, though.

The writers don't seem to remember those episodes, though. The twins, who spent weeks studying the language in Spain, can't speak a single world of it.

The twins, who spent weeks studying the language in Spain, can’t speak a single world of it.

And Cissy credits her scant knowledge of Spanish to her school classes, without mentioning her experiences abroad.

Cissy credits her scant knowledge of Spanish to her school classes, without mentioning her experiences abroad.

And French can now speak at least a little Spanish, though the whole "Lost in Spain" plot hinged on his inability to do so.

And French can now speak at least a little Spanish, though the whole “Lost in Spain” plot hinged on his inability to do so.

Ay, caramba!

Things get off to a good start between Paco and Jody.

By bedtime, though, an awkward silence has settled in.

By bedtime, though, an awkward silence has settled in.

Bill looks in on the boys and asks Jody if they are having trouble communicating.

"No," Jody says. "We just don't know how to talk."

“No,” Jody says. “We just don’t know how to talk.”

At Bill’s suggestion, Jody tries to tell Paco about his turtle.

“Como?” Paco asks.

"No, his name is Dinky," a frustrated Jody replies.

“No, his name is Dinky,” a frustrated Jody replies.

They do manage to share a nice moment right before going to bed.

Paco says "Good night," and Jody says, "Buenos Noches."

Paco says “Good night,” and Jody says, “Buenas Noches.”

The next morning, Jody wants to make up for lost time and do some bonding with Uncle Bill.

They start to catch up, although Jody warns him that he probably doesn't want to hear about Jody's spelling grades.

They start to catch up, although Jody warns Bill that he probably doesn’t want to hear about Jody’s spelling grades.

When Paco comes in and starts talking with Bill in Spanish, Jody’s mood turns glum.

He feels left out as Bill laughs at Paco's amusing remarks.

He feels left out as Bill laughs at Paco’s amusing observations.

For example, Paco notes that Mr. French doesn’t shave. He also says that the bridges Bill builds, though not as tall as New York skyscrapers, would seem tall to a fish.

Jody gets tired of having the jokes translated for him and leaves the room.

Later, Cissy takes the three kids to the park.

Later, Cissy takes the three kids to the park.

Jody is still acting petulant and complains that Paco won’t know how to play their games.

“All kids play the same games,” Cissy asserts confidently–and, as we shall see, wrongly.

Paco's an interesting novelty to the twins' friends, who soon gather around.

Paco’s an interesting novelty to the twins’ friends, who soon gather around.

One girl is excited to learn that he’s from South America–“farther away than New Jersey, even.” Meanwhile, Jody and his friend Peter have this conversation.

Jody: He doesn’t speak English.
Peter: That’s neat!
Jody: What’s so neat about it?

I think Jody might have a future in Republican politics.

I think Jody might have a future in Republican politics.

The kids get even more interested when Paco displays a toy he brought from home.

Peter wants to play with it, though Jody tries to drag him away.

Peter wants to play with it, though Jody tries to drag him away.

Cissy says the toy was an invention of the Incas.

Cissy says the toy was an invention of the Incas, which Bess Lindstrom here interprets as "inkers."

Bess Lindstrom, here, interprets that as “inkers.” She was much smarter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Jody, refusing to even try it, says, “Who wants to play with an old toy from the inkers?”

With nothing else to do, he tries to interest Buffy and her friends in a game of baseball.

With nothing else to do, he tries to interest Buffy and her friends in a game of baseball.

When they say they have to take care of their dolls, Jody suggests using the dolls as bases.

Oh, no, he didn't!

Oh, no, he didn’t!

Sensing that her brother is stressed, Buffy pulls him aside and reminds him that Paco’s father is coming to get him that very evening.

"Good!" Jody exclaims.

“Good!” Jody exclaims.

Back at home, he is only too happy to help Paco pack.

Don't get too excited, Jody. Paco's dad has just called Bill to explain that he will be delayed.

Don’t get too excited, Jody. Paco’s dad has just called Bill to explain that he will be delayed.

Senor Mendez tells Bill to send Paco back to Bolivia, but Bill won’t hear of it–four children is no more trouble than three, so he will be happy to have Paco stay on.

Paco isn't happy about this news. Talking to his father, his face goes from this...

Paco isn’t happy about this news. Talking to his father, his face goes from this…

...to this.

…to this.

And, of course, Jody isn’t happy either when he hears Paco is staying.

"How long?" he asks his uncle.

“For how many days?” he asks his uncle.

That’s a good question and, strangely, one that Bill didn’t ask Paco’s father when they were talking on the phone. Nevertheless, Bill says it might be a week.

Later, while the twins are getting a snack, Buffy pledges her loyalty to Jody.

Later, while the twins are getting a snack, Buffy pledges her loyalty to a downhearted Jody.

They have to stick together, Jody agrees, adding “Brother and sister can’t come apart.”

But when Buffy takes cookies in to Paco and finds him crying, she can't help trying to cheer him up.

But when Buffy takes cookies to Paco and finds him crying, she can’t help trying to cheer him up.

She introduces him to baseball–or at least playing catch.

She introduces him to the game of baseball--or at least playing catch.

Paco catches on quickly and begins to enjoy himself.

But when Jody sees this happy scene, he feels betrayed.

Et tu, Buffy?

Et tu, Buffy?

She explains that she had to be nice to Paco because he was crying. Jody is unsympathetic.

Jody: Mr. French says boys don’t cry.
Buffy: Maybe they do in Bolivia.
Jody: I wouldn’t.

(It’s too bad Free to Be You and Me won’t come out for another three years. Both Jody and French need to hear this Rosey Grier song.)

Later, Jody is on the terrace feeding Dinky (or Senor Dinky, as Paco calls him–I love that!)

Uncle Bill stops by with Paco and offers to take both boys out for ice cream.

Uncle Bill stops by with Paco and offers to take both boys out for ice cream.

This is how upset Jody is: He turns down ice cream…because he needs to practice his spelling.

As Bill and Paco walk away and Paco calls, "Adios," Jody mutters, "Adios, yourself."

As Bill and Paco walk away and Paco calls, “Adios,” Jody mutters, “Adios, yourself.”

Strong words for Jody.

Then, he nuzzles Dinky. Eww!

Then, he nuzzles Dinky. Eww!

The next morning, Bill is exulting about the way the kids are getting along.

There's an international language of children, French agrees. They understand each other instinctively.

There’s an international language of children, French agrees. They understand each other instinctively.

At that moment, though, Paco and Jody are actually coming to blows.

Hearing the noise, Bill rushes in to break up the fight.

Hearing the noise, Bill rushes in to break up the fight.

He speaks privately with Jody, who vents about how Paco has been getting all the attention. Having another boy around means no one cares about him, he pouts.

Bill chides him for feeling sorry for himself and asks him what he would do if he was in Bolivia with Paco's family.

Bill chides him for feeling sorry for himself and asks him what he would do if he was in Bolivia with Paco’s family.

Based on his recent experiences, Jody says that he’d tell Paco’s family to pay lots of attention to Paco.

Using what I hope is reverse psychology, Bill offers to send Paco home right away.

Using what I hope is reverse psychology, Bill offers to send Paco home right away.

If it was reverse psychology, it works beautifully. “I don’t want him to feel not wanted. It’s a terrible feeling,” Jody says in a nice, subtle callback to the Davis kids’ traumatic experiences.

Bill orders Jody to say he’s sorry about their fight. Jody says he really is sorry about it…Paco was winning.

Cue bemused laughter.

Cue bemused laughter.

By the time Paco’s father does come to collect his son, the boys are getting along fine.

Jody calls Paco his amigo, and Paco calls Jody his friend. They even exchange gifts.

Jody calls Paco his amigo, and Paco calls Jody his friend. They even exchange gifts.

Jody doesn’t want Paco to leave. Senor Mendez encourages the Davises to visit them in Bolivia someday. (When Buffy asks Bill if they really can go to Bolivia, he gives one of those “Oh, maybe,” responses that are parent speak for “Don’t hold your breath.”)

Even after Paco leaves, his influence lingers–Jody ends the episode by calling his uncle “Tio Bill.”

Commentary

They really should have aired this episode before the “Lost in Spain” three-parter to avoid inconsistencies about the family’s Spanish fluency.

Jody’s behavior is terrible in this episode, but it’s kind of fun to watch since it is so different from his usual unselfish demeanor. He always has taken a special pride in his father-son connection with Bill, so it makes sense that having another boy around would make him feel threatened.

Guest Cast

Senor Mendez: Carlos Romero. Paco: Miguel Monsalve. Kathy: Lisa True Gerritsen. Peter: Randy Whipple.
All the kids are Family Affair veterans. Romero’s many TV appearance included recurring roles on Zorro, Adam-12, and Falcon Crest.

Family Affair Friday: Season 3, Episode 22, “A Diller, a Dollar,” 3/3/1969

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Written by: Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson. Directed by: Charles Barton.

Welcome to a new year, Family Affair fans. In the real world, the weather may be brutal and the news may be grim, but we can always escape for a few minutes into the Davis family’s sunny environs. After an epic Spanish adventure, the family has settled back into its routine and must only deal with a small domestic crisis (or, as French puts it, “one of life’s little tragedies”).

When we first look in, Bill is talking about bid and estimates with an associate named Miss Saunders.

When we first look in, Bill is talking about bids and estimates with an associate named Miss Saunders.

Why are they meeting in Bill’s den instead of in his office? Probably so that the twins can interrupt them when they return from school with their report cards.

Jody is so excited to show Bill his grades that he drops his books to the floor--an error that French quickly makes him rectify.

Jody is so excited to show Bill his grades that he drops his books to the floor–an error that French quickly makes him rectify.

Why Jody’s so eager to show off his mediocre grades is not clear. “Buffy’s the smart one,” Bill bluntly informs Miss Saunders out of the twins’ hearing. He and French make a big fuss over Jody’s grades, he adds, so that they boy doesn’t feel bad.

Sure enough, Buffy's received all A's, except for an A- in arithmetic.

Sure enough, Buffy’s received all A’s, except for an A- in arithmetic.

Random question: When did schools stop using the term arithmetic? I started school around 1973, and we always referred to that subject as math. (Although I didn’t know it before researching for this post, arithmetic refers to the branch of mathematics dealing with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.)

Jody's got sttraight C's, which French hails as an improvement over his previous performance.

Jody earned straight C’s, which French hails as an improvement over his previous performance.

Passing over Buffy’s grades quickly, Bill finds something to praise on Jody’s report card.

Jody's teacher says he is cheerful and attentive and quick to volunteer for classroom chores.

Jody’s teacher says he is cheerful and attentive and quick to volunteer for classroom chores.

That ought to take him far.

After Bill showers Jody with praise, French prepares to take the kids to the park.

Jody is hoping that his friend Peter Dunigan will be there so they can play marbles together.

Jody is hoping that his friend Peter Dunigan will be there so they can play marbles together.

Buffy is hoping Peter will be there, too, although Jody tells her she can’t play marbles with them.

In the rigidly gender-segregated world of the park, Buffy has to play hopscotch instead.

In the rigidly gender-segregated world of the park, Buffy has to play hopscotch instead.

(Random fashion observation: It’s about time for the wardrobe department to retire Buffy’s plaid pants, which are rapidly approaching high-water territory. And the girl currently hopping must have bought her dress from the rummage sale in “Fat, Fat the Water Rat.”)

Buffy’s mind isn’t on the game, however. She’s too busy mooning over Peter. When one of her friends teases her about her “boyfriend,” Buffy doesn’t deny her interest.

Buffy's mind isn't on the game, however. She's too busy mooning over Peter.

“He’s neat,” she sighs.

The feeling isn’t mutual. When Peter passes the hopscotch group on his way to the marble game, Buffy’s friends ask him if he wants to hear a secret.

"Nah," he says.

“Nah,” he says.

Then Buffy asks him if he wants to join the hopscotch game.

"Nah," he replies, even more dismissively.

“Nah,” he replies, even more dismissively.

This, it seems, is his catchphrase–“Nah,” pronounced in an obnoxiously flat, nasal manner. I’m not sure what Buffy sees in him (but he will look pretty good in his teenage years.)

A dejected Buffy turns to French for advice.

A dejected Buffy turns to French for romantic advice, which seems like a risky move.

She wonders whether a boy saying only “Hi” and “Nah” to her is a sign that the boy hates her. French responds to her question with unexpected sensitivity, telling her that a young man might not wish to speak to a young lady with other young ladies about. He suggests that Peter might be friendlier when he is in Jody’s company.

She heads over to the marble game, but doesn't make any progress with Peter.

She heads over to the marble game, but doesn’t make any progress with Peter.

Jody takes a surprisingly strong stand against girls playing marbles, arguing that “girls are only good at arithmetic and junk.” (That’s a novel form of gender stereotyping.)

Buffy offers to help Peter with his math, but it only earns her another “Nah.”

Back at home, she turns to Cissy for advice.

Back at home, she turns to Cissy for advice.

Cissy’s got weightier matters on her mind, though–or at least on her head. She’s drying her hair in preparation for a night out with Sharon and some guy named Doug.

Buffy then makes a fatal error--she asks Sharon for advice.

Buffy then makes a fatal error–she asks Sharon for guidance.

“Boys don’t like girls who are smarter than they are,” Sharon pronounces.

"Wat'chu talkin' about, Sharon?"

“What you talkin’ ’bout, Sharon?”

Sharon adds that she lost a football player boyfriend for that very reason. (He must have really been dumb.)

Sharon tells Buffy not to worry--there are other boys out there, lots of them.

Sharon tells Buffy not to worry–there are other boys out there, lots of them.

(They really caked on Sharon’s pancake makeup this week, didn’t they?)

Buffy’s strictly a one-boy girl, however. All she can do is try to dumb herself down, and she’s successful enough to earn a note home from Miss Cummings the next day.

It seems that she and Peter scored lowest in the class on this week's spelling test.

It seems that she and Peter scored lowest in the class on this week’s spelling test.

“So what if we’re dumb–we’re happy,” she chirps to an unresponsive Peter.

At home, Bill’s puzzled by Buffy’s D- and even more puzzled when he sees she missed simple words like walk, jump, and nose.

"There's no word in the English language that has three P's in a row," he sputters about her misspelling of apple.

“There’s no word in the English language that has three P’s in a row!” he sputters in reaction to her misspelling of apple.

He and French agree that Buffy could spell those and harder words before she even started school. French suggests contacting the teacher, but Bill puts his parental instincts to work instead: He decides that Buffy lacks motivation because he praises Jody so much and ignores her outstanding work.

Meanwhile, Buffy is hanging out with the boys and trying to wangle an invitation to Peter's birthday party.

Meanwhile, Buffy is hanging out with the boys and trying to wangle an invitation to Peter’s birthday party.

It doesn’t work–Peter says the party is for boys only.

Bill pulls Buffy aside for a talk and explains that he has been wrong to ignore her achievements.

Bill pulls Buffy aside for a talk and explains that he has been wrong to ignore her achievements.

Sure that he has gotten to the heart of the problem, he misses Buffy’s cues that his praising Jody doesn’t bother her.

He assures her that he is very, very, very proud of her.

Bill assures Buffy that he is very, very, very proud of her.

The next day, however, finds Buffy purposely messing up her multiplication problems.

She even manages to miss problems so easy that Peter can solve them.

She manages to miss problems so easy that even Peter can solve them.

This allows her to ask Peter if he will help her with arithmetic. (You can guess his answer.)

At home, Bill is basking in Miss Saunders' admiration for his keen parental intuition.

At home, Bill is basking in Miss Saunders’ admiration for his keen parental intuition.

She’s also thanking him for a lovely time at dinner the night before. (You didn’t think Bill could have a purely professional relationship with an attractive woman, did you?)

His bubble bursts when French arrives to tell him that Buffy has failed her day’s arithmetic assignment.

This really throws him for a loop.

“What you talkin’ ’bout, French?”

When Cissy passes through, he seeks her advice on the situation.

She's shocked at Buffy's failure. Buffy's the smartest kid in the class, she notes.

She’s shocked at Buffy’s failure. Buffy’s the smartest kid in the class, she notes.

Miss Cummings even told her that Buffy was due to be skipped ahead a grade.

Applying his psychology skills again, Bill latches onto another explanation for Buffy's behavior.

Applying his psychology skills again, Bill latches onto another explanation for Buffy’s behavior.

Clearly, she doesn’t want to advance a grade and leave Jody behind.

Meanwhile, Buffy's in the park with treats she's prepared as a birthday present for Peter.

Meanwhile, Buffy’s in the park with treats she’s prepared as a birthday present for Peter.

When she tries to present them, though, Peter won’t accept.

If he takes them, he says, he'll feel obligated to get her a present on her birthday.

If he takes them, he says, he’ll feel obligated to get her a present on her birthday.

(Peter’s extremely rude, but you have to admit he’s scrupulous about reciprocal gift-giving.)

 

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Jody, all “bitches be crazy,” prevails on Peter to take one cookie so his sister doesn’t get mad.

Peter will deign to accept a cookie if Buffy agrees it’s not a birthday gift.

Buffy, to her credit, comes up with the perfect response: "Nah!"

Buffy, to her credit, comes up with the only fitting response: “Nah!”

Back at home, Buffy informs French that she has homework to do–and that she can’t stand Peter anymore.

Soon Bill corners her for a talk about skipping a grade.

Soon Bill corners her for a talk about skipping a grade.

She will still see Jody at recess and lunch, so she shouldn’t try to get bad grades on purpose, he says.

Buffy keeps turning the conversation to Peter and how much she doesn't like him.

He doesn’t understand why Buffy keeps turning the conversation to Peter and how much she dislikes him.

Bill’s fog finally clears when Buffy blurts out, “Even when I’m dumb like he is, he doesn’t like me.”

Bill learns about the advice Buffy got from Sharon and points out to her that it turned out to be bad advice.

Bill learns about the advice Buffy got from Sharon and points out that it didn’t work very well for her.

Why, his colleague Miss Saunders is actually Dr. Saunders, an accomplished engineer, and he still found her worthy of his amorous attentions.

Buffy promises that she will always do her best from now on.

She doesn't care if Peter doesn't love her. She just wants to be loved by Bill, Cissy, Jody, Mr. French--and Victor Simmons, a new boy who lives upstairs.

She doesn’t care whether Peter loves her. She just wants to be loved by Bill, Cissy, Jody, and Mr. French.

Oh–and Victor Simmons, a new boy who just moved in upstairs.

Cue some episode-ending rueful laughter for Bill.

Cue some episode-ending rueful laughter for Bill.

Commentary

I’m always prepared to do a lot of cringing when gender issues crop up on classic sitcoms. This episode’s message is pleasantly surprising, though. Only Sharon comes off looking silly, and we’ve come to expect that from her.

I’m also glad that Bill told Buffy he was proud of her grades, even if she didn’t seem to need his reassurance. Maybe I’m oversensitive about this issue because I grew up with a brother whose C’s were cause for a party, while my A’s were taken for granted.

It’s interesting how blase Bill is about Jody’s average grades–these days, a parent from Bill’s social strata would probably be getting his straight-C child evaluated for learning disorders.

An added plus for this episode: The fun of seeing familiar faces such as Sharon and Miss Cummings.

Notable Quotes

“We do not say ‘Nah'”–Mr. French

Guest Cast

Sharon James: Sherry Alberoni. Miss Cummings: Joan Vohs. Peter: Gary Tubin. Joyce: Elaine Devry. Linda: Emma Tyson. May: Lisa Gerritsen.

Lisa Gerritsen was one of the most familiar child actors on television in the 1960s and 1970s. She’s best remembered, of course, for her recurring role as Bess on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Phyllis. Her grandfather was screenwriter True Boardman. This is the first of three Family Affair appearances for Gerritsen–the second one comes in the very next episode.

Gary Dubin, making his second Family Affair appearance here, also stayed busy. He was Punky Lazaar on The Partridge Family, voiced Toulouse in Disney’s The Aristocats, and became shark food in Jaws 2.

From certain angles, Devry looks slightly Diana Rigg-ish.

From certain angles, Devry looks slightly Diana Rigg-ish.

Elaine Devry made guest appearances on such shows as Perry Mason, Dragnet 1967, and Marcus Welby, M.D. She had a small role in the 1968 Brian Keith-Doris Day movie With Six You Get Eggroll. She was also once married to Mickey Rooney…but then again, who wasn’t?

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 21, “Lost in Spain: Part 3,” 2/24/1969

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Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: Charles Barton.

Happy holidays, everyone! This week we come to the end of Family Affair‘s classic three-parter, “Lost in Spain.” It’s not a Christmas episode, but its climactic scenes would have been perfect for one.

We begin with about four minutes of backtracking to remind us where we left off.

As you will recall, it was sorrow in the straw for Buffy and Jody.

As you will recall, it was sorrow in the straw for Buffy and Jody.

They are starting to wonder if Bill will ever find them.

In the morning, they emerge from their hiding place and peer out the barn door for signs of life.

In the morning, they emerge from their hiding place and peer out the barn door for signs of life.

They watch the farmer’s wife as she deposits a bowl of vegetables on a table and returns into the house.

Starving, they run over, grab some food, and haul butt back to the barn before the woman returns.

Starving, they run over, grab some food, and haul butt back to the barn before the woman returns.

Buffy and Jody feel bad about swiping food, but they figure that Uncle Bill can give the farmer some money later.

Their hunger has given them a new appreciation for vegetables, even raw string beans.

Their hunger has given them a new appreciation for vegetables, even raw string beans.

When the farmer enters the barn, they duck behind the haystack again.

He finds a carrot on the ground and gives one of those exaggerated TV shrugs.

He finds a carrot on the ground and gives one of those exaggerated TV shrugs.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Davis clan is standing vigil at the Sitges police station, much to the annoyance of the Sitges police.

The police aren't happy to have them there.

A frustrated Bill can’t even get in to see the captain.

The desk sergeant says they are working on many other equally important cases.

"Dammit, Jim, we're policemen, not miracle-workers!" he says (more or less).

“Dammit, Jim, we’re policemen, not miracle-workers!” he says. (More or less.)

The Civil Guard is making he thorough farm-to-farm search for the kids, he adds.

He's right about that. In fact, they are just pulling up to the Vega farm now.

He’s right about that. In fact, they are just pulling up to the Vega farm now.

Buffy and Jody have been contemplating leaving the farm to search the woods for berries like Hansel and Gretel. Hearing the approaching hoofbeats, they peek outside.

Buffy and Jody may not be the sharpest tools in this shed, but they seem to sense that Generalissimo Franco's Civil Guard is not an entirely benign force.

Buffy and Jody may not be the sharpest tools in this shed, but they seem to sense that Generalissimo Franco’s Guardia Civil is not an entirely benign force.

Maybe what tips them off is the creepy bullfighting music that accompanies the guards’ approach. In any case, they decide to stay hidden.

The guards show the Vegas a picture of the kids and ask if they've seen them.

The guards show the Vegas a picture of the kids and ask if they’ve seen them.

After the guards leave, the Vegas are shaken by the encounter.

Methinks the Guardia Civil have a bit of a PR problem with the local farm-dwellers.

Methinks the Guardia Civil have a bit of a PR problem with the local farm-dwellers.

Carlos reassures his wife that everything is fine–after all, they answered honestly when they denied seeing the children.

Things are about to get more complicated for the Vegas, though.

This is the disturbing sight that confronts Carlos when he goes back into the barn.

This is the disturbing sight that confronts Carlos when he goes back into the barn.

Carlos quickly hauls the kids out of the hay.

After that, he isn't sure what to do with them.

After that, he isn’t sure what to do with them.

Later the kids eat while the adults look on in concern.

Buffy and Jody sense that their presence makes the Vegas uncomfortable.

Buffy and Jody sense that their presence makes the Vegas uncomfortable.

Understandably, however, they are most just happy to be eating.

When Jody asks what kind of soup Mrs. Vega gave them, Buffy replies that it's good soup.

When Jody asks what kind of soup Mrs. Vega gave them, Buffy replies that it’s good soup.

Meanwhile, the Vegas are whispering about what to do.

Carlos has an idea--he wants to send the kids packing.

Carlos has an idea–he wants to send the kids packing.

His wife is more soft-hearted.

His wife is more soft-hearted, however.

Showing that his gruffness is only skin-deep, Carlos gives in and allows his wife to bring the kids back.

Back in Sitges, everyone is still sitting around the police station.

Back in Sitges, everyone is still sitting around the police station when Ricardo enters with a distinguished-looking gentleman.

They are surprised when Ricardo enters with a distinguished-looking gentleman.

They are even more surprised when Ricardo tells them the man is his father, Francisco Torres y Fiero, Spain’s soon-to-be special envoy to the United States.

Ricardo confesses that he lied about his identity because he will be moving with his father to the U.S. soon and wanted to get to know some Americans without them knowing his father is a person of importance.

Ricardo confesses that he lied about his identity because he will be moving with his father to the U.S. soon and wanted to get to know some Americans without them knowing his father is a person of importance.

As secrets go, it’s pretty tame–and convenient–so Cissy and Bill don’t hold a grudge.

Senor Torres y Fiero pledges to help find the twins, and he is influential enough to get Col. Klink off his butt.

Senor Torres y Fiero pledges to help find the twins, and he is influential enough to get Col. Klink off his butt.

Soon, Bill is meeting with an apologetic captain.

The captain fills in on the search and says that civil guard will soon begin re-checking some areas.

The captain fills Bill in on the search and says that civil guard will soon begin re-checking some areas.

Apparently, that includes the Vega farm, where Buffy has been put to work.

Soon hoofbeats and creepy music interrupt the household chores.

Soon hoofbeats and creepy music interrupt the household chores.

The Vegas send the kids back to their hiding place.

After getting rid of the civil guard again, the Vegas ponder their next move.

After getting rid of the civil guard again, they ponder their next move.

In Sitges, a quiet moment finds French remarking that most employers would have fired him by now.

Bill reassures him that the kids could have as easily disappeared under his watch, or Cissy's.

Bill reassures him that the kids could have as easily disappeared under his watch, or Cissy’s.

Ana tries to get Bill to eat some fish and chips.

The Spanish have a saying, she tells him: "Sorrows are better with bread."

The Spanish have a saying, she tells him: “Sorrows are easier with bread.”

That seems a little glib under the circumstances, but she soon redeems herself by having an amazing brainstorm.

What if, instead of sitting around the police station, they actually went out looking for the children?

What if, instead of sitting around the police station, they actually went out looking for the children?

This being a sitcom, Uncle Bill is clearly thinking, "It's kind of crazy, but it just might work."

This being a sitcom, Uncle Bill is clearly thinking, “It’s kind of crazy, but it just might work.”

As Anna and Bill take off to re-trace the bus route, night is falling and the Vegas are realizing that Buffy and Jody have to go.

Maria thinks they can trust the priest, but Carlos won't trust anyone.

Maria thinks they can trust the local priest, but Carlos won’t trust anyone.

Thinking of the priest does give Carlos an idea, though.

Each carrying a twin, they head off into the night.

Each carrying a twin, they head off into the night.

They deposit the still-sleeping kids on pews at the church.

Fortunately, Bill and Anna soon arrive at that church.

Fortunately, Bill and Ana soon arrive at that church.

When they come upon the sacristan, Ana asks him if he’s seen the kids.

I like the authentically Catholic touches in these scenes, such as the way the Vegas genuflect when entering and leaving the church and the way Ana covers her head before entering it.

I like the authentically Catholic touches in these scenes, such as the way the Vegas genuflect when entering and leaving the church and the way Ana covers her head before entering it.

The sacristan hasn’t seen the twins, so a dejected Bill and Ana turn to leave.

Fortunately, Bill glances to his right and sees the children's sleeping forms.

Fortunately, Bill glances to his right and sees the children’s sleeping forms.

When they awaken, the kids are thrilled to see their uncle.

It's a Christmas miracle! Or at least a February sweeps miracle!

It’s a Christmas miracle! Or at least a February sweeps miracle!

The kids say they knew that Uncle Bill would find them.

Jody does wonder why it took so long, though.

Jody does wonder why it took so long, though.

You can tell the kids have had a rough time because Buffy's pigtails are mussed. I wonder how long she would have to be lost before she actually took the barrettes out.

You can tell the kids have had a rough time because Buffy’s pigtails are mussed. I wonder how long she would have to be lost before she actually took the barrettes out.

Anna Novarro shows some nice emotion in this reunion scene. It almost makes me wish Ana could join the Davis family permanently.

It’s not to be, however–when we next see the Davis family, they are back in New York, and French is fielding calls from Bill’s female admirers.

"A little bit of ??? in my life, a little bit of ??? by my side..."

“A little Miss Atwater in my life, a little Miss Ellis by my side…”

The kids are back in school, telling their teacher and peers what they learned in Spain. Jody learned what is probably the best lesson–not to get on a bus ahead of Mr. French. The kids also learned that while people in other countries may talk differently, they are not that different deep down.

And that’s a nice message to carry us through the holiday season.

French's horizons have been broadened, too--the dinner he has prepared for the family includes churros.

French’s horizons have been broadened, too–the dinner he has prepared for the family includes churros.

See you in 2015!

Commentary

From a kid’s perspective, this three-parter was gripping and memorable. Getting lost and having to get by on your own is both a terrifying and rather exciting idea when you’re young. It’s appropriate that Buffy and Jody talk about Hansel and Gretel because this story taps into some of the same primal emotions as fairy tales.

Watching now, I do find the adults’ reactions to the situation a bit flat. Separation and loss have always been big issues on this show, so I would expect to see Bill and Cissy looking more frantic. From the director’s perspective, I’m sure it was preferable to confine everyone to a single set as much as possible, but such inaction doesn’t ring true from a man like Bill. (Contrast it, for example, with Mike and Carol Brady searching the Grand Canyon for their missing offspring: “Bobby! Cindy!”)

Too much restraint is better than over-acting, though, and I doubt the adults’ reactions detracted from the suspense young audience members felt watching these episodes or that satisfaction they took in the final reunion.

Continuity Notes

The twins mention their teacher, Miss Cummings.

Guest Cast

Francisco Torres y Fiero: George J. Lewis. Ana Vicente Casona: Anna Navarro. Carlos Vega: Nacho Galindo. Tio Dichoso: Jay Novello. Maria Vega: Rosa Turich. Lt. Playa: Valentin de Vargas. Sacristan: Julian Rivero. Ricardo: Johnny Aladdin. Captain: Tom Hernandez. Sergeant: Jose Haas.

Valentin de Vargas, who died last year, had roles in some well known movies, including Touch of Evil, Hatari, and The Magnificent Seven.

George J. Lewis’ most memorable role was probably his appearance as Don Alejandro in Walt Disney’s Zorro series. His work in films as a bit player, often uncredited, was prodigious–in 1944 alone, he appeared in approximately 20 films.

Family Affair Friday: Season 3, Episode 20, “Lost in Spain, Part 2,” 2/17/1969

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Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: Charles Barton.

We start this episode with a brief review of previous events, which culminate with Buffy and Jody alone on a bus in Spain.

Yikes.

Yikes.

Mr. French is desperately trying to explain the situation to a woman at the bus station, but the language barrier interferes.

He's relieved to see a familiar face, Tio Dichoso, but he soon learns once again that Tio Dichoso's grasp of English is quite limited.

He’s relieved to see a familiar face, Tio Dichoso, but he realizes once again that Tio Dichoso’s grasp of English is quite limited.

Sensing French’s alarm, Dichoso hurries off to find an English-speaking friend.

Meanwhile, when the bus stops to admit a passenger, Buffy and Jody try to get assistance from the bus driver.

Meanwhile, when the bus stops to admit a passenger, Buffy and Jody try to get assistance from the driver.

He can’t speak their language, but his irritation comes through loud and clear.

The dejected twins return to their seat.

The dejected twins return to their seat.

This shot features some nice shaky camera work, which conveys both the motion of the bus and helplessness the kids feel.

Blissfully unaware of all that is happening, Bill is enjoying a Sunday afternoon with his Spanish senorita, Ana.

Blissfully unaware of all that is happening, Bill is enjoying a Sunday afternoon with his Spanish senorita, Ana.

She’s taken him to her favorite place in Barcelona, a market area where gypsies recite sappy love poetry.

Bill's Spanish comprehension is impressive--he can correctly translate such words as "murmur" and "flame" in the poem.

Bill’s Spanish comprehension is impressive–he can correctly translate such words as “murmur” and “flame.”

He says the poem–which ends with, “Love is a tear”–is very said.

Ana laughs, saying it's "very Spanish."

Laughing, Ana replies that it’s “very Spanish.”

Cissy’s also off having fun with a new love interest.

She's excited to see that this youth hangout is just like ones at home.

She’s excited to see that this youth hangout is just like ones at home.

Ricardo sees some friends but declines to join them, even though Cissy says talking with his friends would help her improve her Spanish.

Talking with his friends would also probably reveal the secret Ricardo has been keeping.

Of course, talking with his friends would also probably reveal the secret Ricardo has been keeping.

When the twins’ bus reaches Sitges, they disembark.

The driver demands their tickets and can't understand their explanation that Mr. French has the tickets.

The driver demands their tickets and can’t understand their explanation that Mr. French has them.

Instead of showing any concern for these kids, who are alone and clearly out of place, the angry driver stalks off.

Back in the marketplace, Bill is buying flowers for the "senorita hermosa."

Back in the marketplace, Bill is buying flowers for the “senorita hermosa.”

The flower seller wishes him good luck. When Ana translates the sentiment, Bill says he understood it.

Come on, Ana, he knows “murmur” and “flame”–don’t patronize him!

In the cafe, Ricardo is introducing Cissy to churros, which she soon realizes are similar to doughnuts.

Ricardo says dunking them is mandatory--"a king set the fashion."

Ricardo says dunking them is mandatory–“a king set the fashion.”

I’ve read several articles on the history of churros and haven’t come upon a reference to this. Can anyone shed any light?

Meanwhile, Buffy and Jody come upon a nun with a friendly face and hope that she can help them.

Meanwhile, Buffy and Jody see a nun with a friendly face and hope that she can help them.

She’s apparently supervising a school trip, and Buffy and Jody get swept up with the other children. Soon they are on another bus.

Realizing that the nun doesn’t speak English, Buffy says they’d better get off the before it takes them someplace else.

“It looks like we’re already someplace else,” Jody sighs.

When the bus stops, they try to get off, but this driver can't communicate with them, either.

When they try to get off, the uncomprehending bus driver orders them to their seats.

Back in San Juan, French is relieved when Tio Dichoso’s bilingual friend arrives.

French is relieved when Tio Dichoso arrives with his bilingual friend, who calls the Sitges station and learns the bus just arrived.

The interpreter calls the Sitges station and learns the twins’ bus is there.

The driver remembers the kids, but when he and the station manager look for them, they come up empty-handed.

The driver remembers the kids, but when he and the station manager look for them, they come up empty-handed--except for the twins' picnic basket.

The belongings they left on the bus are the only trace of Buffy and Jody.

The translator breaks this alarming news to French, who insists on going to search for them himself.

“Don’t you understand?” he cries. “The children were in my charge. Mr. Davis entrusted me with their care.”

The translator breaks this alarming news to French, who insists on going to search for them himself.

It will be three hours before another bus leaves for Sitges, so the translator offers to drive French.

When we next see Buffy and Jody, some time has passed.

It's growing dark, and they have fallen asleep.

It’s growing dark, and they have fallen asleep.

When they wake up, the driver has stepped away from the bus and left them alone.

Having no idea where they are, the twins get off the bus and look for help.

Having no idea where they are, the twins get off the bus and look for help.

They try knocking on the door of a nearby building but don’t get an answer.

"I don't like this place," a nervous Buffy tells her brother. "It's too, too...you know?"

“I don’t like this place,” a nervous Buffy tells her brother. “It’s too, too…you know?”

Too much like a studio lot, maybe?

The twins decided to walk on.

The twins decide to walk on.

I guess no one ever told them that when you’re lost it’s better to stay in one place.

Back in Barcelona, Bill and Ana return from their date to find Cissy and French looking grim.

Back in Barcelona, Bill and Ana return from their date to find Cissy and French looking grim.

Cissy breaks the news that the twins are lost, and Bill is alarmed to learn that it’s been nine hours since the Sitges bus took them away.

A fearful and remorseful French says they have been the worst nine hours of his life.

A fearful and remorseful French says these have been the worst nine hours of his life.

He adds that the area around the Sitges station has been searched thoroughly.

(This scene is confusing. French does not mention that he went to Sitges himself to look for the kids. He must have done so, though, because he now has the picnic basket they left on the bus.)

A shaken Bill decides that they should notify the Barcelona police, and Ana makes the call for him.

A shaken Bill decides that they should notify the Barcelona police, and Ana makes the call for him.

As night falls, Buffy and Jody are getting tired, hungry, and even more scared.

As night falls, Buffy and Jody are getting tired, hungry, and even more scared.

When they come upon a church, they hope that perhaps a minister is inside.

“Ministers help people,” Buffy notes.

Jody rings a bell, but no one answers.

Jody rings a bell, but no one answers.

The twins decide to enter the church anyway.

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Looking around, they see no one at first.

Then they see something that terrifies them…

It seems that nothing in their church-going experiences has prepared them for the sight of this hooded figure approaching.

…a hooded figure approaching.

I don’t blame them–I’d be scared, too.

I'd be scared, too.

As the figure comes closer, their eyes grow wider.

They they take off running at quite a clip.

Then they take off running at quite a clip.

Eventually, they stop and determine that “it” isn’t following them. When Buffy asks what “it” is, Jody says he thinks it’s “something there aren’t any of.”

Unfortunately, they miss seeing that the apparition is just a man, who might have been able to help them.

Unfortunately, they miss seeing that the apparition is just a man, who might have been able to help them.

Buffy and Jody keep walking, inadvertently making their trail harder and harder for would-be rescuers to follow.

Meanwhile, an officer from the Barcelona police has shown up at Bill's place.

Meanwhile, an officer from the Barcelona police has shown up at Bill’s place.

On the plus side, this guy can speak English. On the minus side, he’s really annoying.

He discourages Bill from going to look for the kids, saying that he should leave the matter to professionals.

He discourages Bill from going to look for the kids, saying that he should leave the matter to professionals.

He cheerfully notes that lost children are not uncommon, and that a family in the countryside is probably caring for the kids and keeping them safe.

Bill tries to emphasize the situation’s urgency–these kids are only seven years old and can’t speak the language.

Geez, they’re still seven? They were six two and half years ago!

Never has one of Bill's head rubs signaled such worry and frustration.

Never has Bill had better cause for one of his head rubs.

In the countryside, Buffy and Jody’s travels bring them to a farm.

Buffy and Jody's travels bring them to a farm.

In an awkward bit of dialog, Jody recognizes a structure as a barn because he has seen a picture of one in his geography book.

Looking inside, they discover that the barn has an occupant.

Buffy wonders if cows hurt people, but Jody tells her she is thinking of bulls.

Buffy wonders if cows hurt people, but Jody tells her she is thinking of bulls.

Jody finds a place for them to sleep and tries to reassure that the barn probably only seems spooky at night.

Jody finds a place for them to sleep and tries to reassure his sister that the barn probably only seems spooky at night.

They are both sure that Uncle Bill will find them in the morning.

They day's events have left them wary enough that they hide themselves under the hay before going to sleep.

They day’s events have left them wary enough that they hide themselves under the hay before going to sleep.

When dawn breaks, the farmer’s wife enters the barn to milk the cow.

She doesn't notice the kids, who get up as soon as she leaves.

She doesn’t notice the kids, who get up as soon as she leaves.

Hungry and thirsty, they hope to get milk from the cow, but Jody doesn't know 'how to turn it on."

Hungry and thirsty, they hope to get milk from the cow, but Jody doesn’t know ‘how to turn it on.”

When they hear someone coming, the twins scurry back to their hiding place.

It's the farmer, who only stays for a minute.

It’s the farmer, who only stays for a minute.

When he leaves, it becomes clear that Buffy is at the end of her rope.

Sobbing, she wonders what will happen if Bill never finds them.

Sobbing, she wonders what will happen if Bill never finds them.

As the episode closes, Jody tries to comfort his sister.

Awww...

Awww…

I’ll offer commentary on this whole three-parter when I blog about Part 3. Look for that installment on Tuesday!

Guest Cast

Bus Driver: Rico Alaniz. Reader: Socrates Ballis. Carlos Vega: Nacho Galindo. Bus Driver: Gilberto Galvani. Senor Las Casas: Ruben Moreno. Ana Vicente Cassona: Anna Navarro. Tio Dichoso: Jay Novello. Sacristan: Julian Rivero. Station Manager: Ben Romer. Nun: Lenore Stevens. Maria Vega: Rosa Turich. Ricardo: Johnny Aladdin.

Whew–that’s a big cast. Most of these performers made their livings playing Hispanic bit parts in movies and television, especially in Westerns.

Ruben Moreno’s most visible film role was as Dustin Hoffman’s father in Little Big Man. He worked as a director and screenwriter as well an actor and is especially well remembered as an acting coach. A former student has set up a Facebook tribute page. Some sources say Moreno was a two-time Academy Award nominee, but I am unable to verify that in the official Academy Award database.

Lenore Stevens was once married to actor Richard Mulligan.

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 19, “Lost in Spain: Part 1,” 2/10/1969

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Sorry for my recent hiatus from posting. To make up for it, I hereby promise to get all three “Lost in Spain” episode summaries posted by Christmas. Some of them might even be posted on Fridays!

Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: Charles Barton.

We open this week in the Davis living room, where Cissy is dealing with a major problem.

 

She has lost her loose-leaf notebook.

She has lost her loose-leaf notebook.

Uncle Bill tells her not to worry about it since a new semester is starting. The kids have been on a long holiday break, during which they apparently visited Connecticut.

Jody wants to take this hornets nest that he found on vacation to school.

Jody wants to take this hornets’ nest from Connecticut to school.

Bill quickly puts the kibosh on that plan, and French leads the kids in what he describes as a post-holiday ritual.

He makes them line up and parade out the door. I don't blame Cissy for rolling her eyes.

He makes them line up and parade out the door. I don’t blame Cissy for rolling her eyes.

Bill heads to work, where some potential clients coax him to take on a challenging project.

They praise the work Bill's firm did on an aqueduct in Iran and a dam in Pakistan.

They praise the work Bill’s firm did on an aqueduct in Iran and a dam in Pakistan.

The new project would require going to Spain for at least three months, and Bill is reluctant to leave the kids.

The would-be clients seem taken aback that an unmarried man has kids.

The would-be clients seem taken aback that an unmarried man has kids, so Bill has to give a quick summary of the family back-story.

The Spanish businessmen ask if Bill would take the project if they could find a way to keep the family together while it’s under way. He agrees, and they seal the deal with a handshake.

At home that evening, the kids are bubbling with news about school.

Not surprisingly, Cissy is bubbling the most.

Not surprisingly, Cissy is bubbling the most.

She has been named to the school paper staff. There’s also a new boy named Ken Dawson in her class. “Alphabetically, he can’t ignore me,” Miss Davis enthuses.

The conversation's tone changes dramatically when Bill announces that a new project might require spending three months in Barcelona.

The conversation’s tone changes dramatically when Bill announces that a new project requires spending three months in Barcelona.

The kids are sad at the thought of Bill leaving, but they understand that he should take the job if it’s an important one.

“A man has to do his job,” Jody notes.

Bill surprises them with the news that they will be accompanying him to Spain.

French is pleased to be included in the trip, but the thought of closing up the apartment and preparing for everyone's departure in one week sends him into near-hysterics.

French is pleased to be included in the trip, but the thought of closing up the apartment and preparing for everyone’s departure in one week sends him into near-hysterics.

Bill doesn’t take this dither too seriously. “It will be a big adventure for you,” he tells French in an amusingly off-hand way.

 

We next see the family arriving at the swank digs Bill's clients have secured for the family.

We next see the family arriving at the swank digs Bill’s clients have secured for the family.

French praises the house as “attractive in the Spanish manner,” and Buffy and Jody like the courtyard.

When they see the fountain, they regret not bringing their fish to live in it.

When they see the fountain, they regret not bringing their fish to live in it.

I thought the Davis family had given up on fish.

While French scurries off to the kitchen to examine the “culinary devices,” the other family members meet the tutor Bill’s clients have engaged for the kids.

Oh, dear--she's pretty. I know how Bill will be spending his non-working hours in Spain.

Oh, dear–she’s pretty. I know how Bill will be spending his non-working hours in Spain.

Soon, Buffy and Jody are betraying signs of sleepiness.

They resist taking a nap, but Ana tells them that everyone in Spain takes an afternoon siesta.

They resist taking a nap, but Ana tells them that everyone in Spain takes an afternoon siesta.

The idea of a siesta appeals to them. “It’s naps we don’t like,” Jody explains.

After they rest, the kids accompany French to an outdoor food market.

After they rest, the kids accompany French to an outdoor food market.

French wants to purchase a standing rib of beef (lean, but not too lean). He soon makes a shocking discovery, however–people in Spain speak Spanish!

The saleslady can't understand a word he says.

The saleslady can’t understand a word he says.

“It’s incredible!” French gasps.

Those annoying foreigners, always speaking their own languages in their own countries.

These annoying foreigners, always speaking their own languages in their own countries.

She runs off to get her husband, who greets French in English.

"What a joy to hear English spoken again," French sighs.

“What a joy to hear English spoken again,” French sighs.

(I’m glad French is British, so we don’t have to claim him as an ugly American.)

As it turns out, “Good afternoon, sir,” is the limit of the male clerk’s English. Giving up on the beef, French points to the lobsters in front of him.

“Cuantas?” the clerk asks, leaving French at a total loss again.

(Good grief, French, it even sounds like quantity! And what would he be asking you at this point in the transaction?)

Even “uno, dos, tres,” doesn’t ring any bells for French, until the man repeats the words while holding up the appropriate number of fingers.

French manages to obtain four lobsters, but the prospect of going through this each day daunts him.

“One will go completely crackers,” he groans. (Maybe one should have picked up a Spanish phrase book before one left New York.)

Later, Bill requests coffee, but French hasn't managed to acquire any.

Later, Bill requests coffee, but French hasn’t managed to acquire any.

He has, however, brought tea from New York.

“One is entitled to a few creature comforts when stationed in an alien land,” French tells an amused Bill.

When French leaves, Cissy tries to find out if Bill finds Ana attractive.

When French leaves, Cissy tries to find out if Bill finds Ana attractive.

(As if there is any doubt.)

Bill’s not the only one turning on the irresistible Davis charm in Spain, though.

Just then, a delivery man arrives at the door with flowers for Senorita Davis.

Just then, a delivery man arrives at the door with flowers for Senorita Davis.

He says they are from a secret admirer, and he insists on handing them directly to Cissy.

She's delighted, of course, but Bill wonders why the delivery guy is hanging around for so long.

She’s delighted, of course, but Bill wonders why Ricardo is hanging around for so long.

Ricardo says that the Davis family should have a guide to show them around Barcelona.

“If I ever need one, I guess I can get one,” replies Bill, who is full of dismissive quips this week.

Ricardo offers his services, though he dodges a question about his experience. He’s lived in Barcelona his whole life, he says, and he can show them the Museum of Fine Art, the Archaeology Museum, the Picasso Gallery, the zoo, the aquarium, the Passeig de Gracia for shopping, Montserrat, and more.

(This is making me want to go to Barcelona.)

Bill, who has figured out that Ricardo is Cissy’s “secret admirer,” agrees that the pair can do some sight-seeing–as long as Bill goes with them.

Neither Bill nor Cissy seems to notice how much trouble Ricardo has supplying his last name when they ask.

Hmm...I think we've got a little mystery developing here.

Hmm…I think we’ve got a little mystery developing here.

After Ricardo leaves, Cissy gushes about how good looking her suitor is.

The scent of romance in the air apparently inspires Bill to make his move on the kids' tutor.

The scent of romance in the air soon inspires Bill to make his move on the kids’ tutor.

He asks if she can help him brush up on his Spanish.

This tutoring session will take place Sunday over dinner.

This tutoring session will take place Sunday over dinner.

As she is heading out the door, Ana runs into Ricardo.

She recognizes him and knows that the last name he gave the Davises is false.

She recognizes him and knows the last name he gave the Davises is false.

He assures her that he has a good reason for lying and secures her promise to keep his secret.

Soon, Cissy and Bill are off touring with Ricardo.

Soon, Cissy and Bill are off touring with Ricardo.

As they visit a museum and a cathedral, Ricardo recites facts that he’s obviously memorized.

A group with an official tour guide follows them from place to place, reciting the same language.

An official tour guide follows them from place to place, reciting the same language to her group.

It's all rather awkward.

It’s all rather awkward.

Over lunch, Cissy asks if all the guides learn from same tour book. Ricardo admits that it seems to be true.

Bill, in dismissive mode again, notes that the book was printed in New York.

Bill, in dismissive mode again, notes that the book was printed in New York.

Ricardo wants them to give him another chance as a tour guide on Sunday. Bill will be busy with Ana, but he gives Cissy permission to go without him.

On Sunday morning, as Bill and Cissy lounge around before their dates, French prepares to take the twins on an outing.

On Sunday morning, as Bill and Cissy lounge around before their dates, French prepares to take the twins on an outing.

They are going to the beach at Sitges, which is about an hour’s bus ride away.

(I guess a plaid suit is French’s version of cabana-wear.)

Ana and Ricardo show up at the same time.

Ana and Ricardo show up at the same time, and Ricardo makes sure that he and Cissy will be heading in the opposite direction from the older couple.

As Bill and Ana prepare to leave, he notes that the twins are in capable hands with French.

He wouldn't be so calm if he knew what was really happening.

He wouldn’t be so calm if he knew what was really happening.

The trip to Sitges requires a bus change, and Buffy forgets Mrs. Beasley on the first bus.

French tells the kids to get on the Sitges bus while he runs back to get the doll.

French tells the kids to get on the Sitges bus while he runs back to get the doll.

Uh-oh.

Before he can get back to the Sitges bus, it takes off with the kids inside.

Before he can get back to the Sitges bus, it takes off with the kids inside.

His inability to speak any Spanish makes it hard for him to explain his problem to anyone at the bus station.

I wonder what this lady makes of a portly English gentleman waving a creepy-looking doll around.

I wonder what this lady makes of a portly English gentleman waving a creepy-looking doll around.

We end this episode in suspense about the twins’ fate.

And we see the episode title on screen--that's a rarity.

Continuity Notes

Bill mentions his brother. Jody mentions his friend Pete. We also get several references to Jody’s penchant for pet turtles.

Guest Cast

Tio Dichoso: Jay Novello. Senor Cabra: Roberto Iglesias. Ana Vicente Cassona: Anna Navarro. Senor Valgo: Alberto Morin. Clerk: Tina Menard. Girl Guide: Maria Grimm. Bus Driver: Saverio LoMedico. Ricardo: Johnny Aladdin.

Anna Navarro gets special billing here, but her career of TV appearances and small film roles (including one in Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz) is similar to that of many other Family Affair guest actors. One of her more notable TV distinctions is that she played Ponch’s mother on CHIPs. Navarro’s real-life daughter has written a nice remembrance about her.

Jay Novello’s long television career included a recurring role as Mayor Lugatto on McHale’s Navy, as well as several appearances on I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show.

Maria Grimm really got around the Don Fedderson shows. In addition to this Family Affair appearance, she showed up on My Three Sons, To Rome, With Love, and The Smith Family. In the 1970s, she appeared on Villa Alegre, a bilingual kids show on PBS.

Johnny Aladdin--as mysterious as the character he plays in this episode.

Johnny Aladdin–as mysterious as the character he plays in this episode.

I haven’t been able to find out anything about the Johnny Aladdin who appeared in this episode. Online sources seem to mix him up with either a musician born in 1914 or a magician born in 1919. Neither identity seems likely, unless he was very well preserved in 1969. Johnny Aladdin, actor, did appear in the memorable Dragnet episode “The LSD Story”–he played the artist eating paint off his paintbrush.

Saverio LoMedico’s previous Family Affair appearance came in another episode about the twins getting lost.

 

 

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 18, “A Matter of Privacy,” 2/3/1969

For an agonizingly long time, we listen as he describes his problem--waking up with his beard in "classic disarray." He's looking for something like a woman's hairnet to keep his "hirsute adornments" in order.

Written by: Burt Styler. Directed by: Charles Barton.

This episode opens in an unusual setting–a boardroom.

A very white, male, cigarette-smoke-infused boardroom.

A very white, male, cigarette-smoke-infused boardroom.

Apparently, the guys around the table have bid on a construction project, and now they are finding out who gets it.

Bill's company bid $13,220,000, which would be the low bid...

Bill’s company bid $13,220,000, which would be the low bid…

Except Henry & Associates bid $13,218,000. We learn that this is the third time in a row that Henry has underbid Bill by a very small amount.

An associate suggests to Bill that Henry might be bugging the Davis offices.

An associate suggests to Bill that Henry might be bugging the Davis offices.

Bill has known Henry for 15 years and doesn’t want to believe he would do such a thing. Always a good sport, he heads over to congratulate Henry on getting the contract.

Meanwhile, at home, the twins are playing with their friend Norman and his new toy.

A tape recorder. Hmm...I think I might see a theme developing here.

A tape recorder. Hmm…I think I might see a theme developing here.

Norman plays back a recording of Jody talking.

Buffy wants to try singing on tape, but she can't think of a song.

Buffy wants to try singing on tape, but she can’t think of a song.

The ever-patriotic Jody doesn’t have that problem.

He happily warbles the first few lines of "My Country 'Tis of Thee"

He happily warbles the first few lines of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”

Buffy overcomes her mike fright to do a pig imitation on tape, and then Jody does a bunny imitation.

He's apparently forgotten that audio tape is not a visual medium. Oh, Jody.

He’s apparently forgotten that audio tape is not a visual medium. Oh, Jody.

The entry of French into the room gives the kids a better idea: They want to get him on tape. As Buffy says, “He has a beautiful voice…just like in a commercial.”

(I’m not sure if that’s an in-joke, but Sebastian Cabot did do some commercials.)

"Would you like to say a few words for our radio audience?" Buffy asks, and Jody helpfully explains that his voice goes in the microphone and gets recorded on tape.

“Would you like to say a few words for our radio audience?” Buffy asks, and Jody helpfully explains that French’s voice would go in the microphone and get recorded on tape.

“Jody, I understand the principles of electromagnetic recording,” French replies.

Buffy suggests that they record him reading Winnie the Pooh, so they can listen to it at bedtime if French isn’t around.

Now, that I'm pretty sure is an in-joke.

Now, THAT I’m pretty sure is an in-joke.

French reminds them that a tape recorder can’t tuck in a blanket or fluff up a pillow.

That's his way of saying, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

That’s his way of saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Fortunately for the kids, another victim soon breezes into the room.

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Answering a phone call from Sharon, Cissy informs her friend that she has big news…so big and private that she needs to take the call in her bedroom.

After Buffy hangs up the extension, Norman has a brainstorm.

After Buffy hangs up the extension, Norman has a brainstorm.

He thinks they should sneak the recorder into Cissy’s room and capture her conversation.

Buffy and Jody know Cissy wouldn’t like the idea, but they don’t need much convincing to go along with it.

Entering her room under the presence of retrieving Mrs. Beasley, Buffy plants the recorder.

Entering the room under the presence of retrieving Mrs. Beasley, Buffy plants the recorder.

(The image above is so classically “teenage girl”–her posture, the pink phone. I like Cissy’s side-ponytails better than the side-bow look she’s been sporting frequently this season.)

While Buffy’s there, Cissy peppers a mystified Sharon with questions about a math problem, but once Buffy leaves we get the real scoop.

It involves a boy named Roger Lund and Cissy’s attempts to attract his attention. She’d tried getting her sweater caught in his notebook (?) and even wearing “sexy stockings” (!), but nothing worked–until today. Her winning move? Dropping her tuna salad in his lap.

(It’s a good thing for the whole family that Cissy is so wholesome. Imagine the eye-opening secrets a real teenager might have been keeping in 1969.)

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That night at dinner, Bill asks Buffy and Jody how their day was, and they tell him they’ve been playing a “secret game.”

Bill says that if it’s secret, they can’t tell him about it. As a parent, I think I would pry into their “secret game,” but Bill is clearly distracted.

When Bill asks Cissy about her day, she gushes that it was "practically perfect."

When Bill asks Cissy about her day, she gushes that it was “practically perfect.”

The twins agree that it was and start filling him in on all the deets–the new boyfriend named Roger, the tuna salad caper, and all.

They sure are sly about their secret game, aren't they?

They sure are sly about their secret game, aren’t they?

Cissy’s annoyed, but she can’t pin down exactly what they did. They have French as a witness that they didn’t listen outside Cissy’s door or eavesdrop on the phone extension.

"Maybe it's ESP," Bill says, dismissing the subject.

“Maybe it’s ESP,” Bill says, dismissing the subject.

Cissy's still pissed, and I don't blame her.

Cissy’s still pissed, and I don’t blame her.

The next day, Norman and his tape recorder make another appearance.

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Norman suggests that they spy on French this time.

The twins are game. As Buffy says, “It’s fun hearing what you’re not supposed to hear.”

Unfortunately for French, they catch him in the middle of an delicate conversation.

Unfortunately for French, they catch him in the middle of a delicate conversation.

He’s telling someone about a matter that is “not easily described without embarrassment.”

Yikes.

When Bill comes home a bit later, he hears French’s voice and calls to him.

He's actually hearing French's voice on tape, coming from Jody's room. Both he and French follow the sound.

He’s actually hearing French’s voice on tape, and both he and French head toward the sound’s source.

The kids are playing back the recording they made–a recording of French attempting to order a “beard snood.”

For an agonizingly long time, we listen as he describes his problem--waking up with his beard in "classic disarray." He's looking for something like a woman's hairnet to keep his "hirsute adornments" in order.

For an agonizingly long time, we listen as he describes his problem–waking up with his beard in “classic disarray.” He’s looking for something like a woman’s hairnet to keep his “hirsute adornments” in order.

I know Bill can’t barge in and shut the tape off before it’s over because then WE wouldn’t hear it…

I think he is also, perhaps, enjoying himself a little.

…but he also seems to be enjoying this a little.

Poor French.

Poor French.

(The interplay of facial expressions between Keith and Cabot is wonderful.)

When Bill finally enters the room, he makes his feelings known.

When Bill finally enters the room, he makes his feelings known.

“He’s mad,” Buffy says.

Bill uses the old I’m-not-mad-I’m-disappointed-in-you line, and points out that they have invaded Mr. French’s privacy.

“Privacy,” Jody corrects him, pronouncing it with a short “i,” as French would.

(A cumbersome joke to explain in writing, but amusing on the screen.)

Buffy and Jody are properly abashed, but Norman is unrepentant.

He tapes his family all the time, and they think it's funny. "You people just can't take a joke," he says.

He tapes his parents all the time, and they think it’s funny. “You people just can’t take a joke,” he says.

Sassy little brat, isn’t he?

The next day, we find ourselves in Bill’s office. He has reluctantly brought in an expert to look for bugs, though he still doesn’t believe he’s being recorded.

Harris, the expert, calls this his "radio frequency indicator," which is better known in layman's terms as "a train case with it's lid removed and mounted on a stick."

Harris, the expert, calls this his “radio frequency indicator, although it appears to be a train case, with it’s lid removed and mounted on a stick.

Hilarity ensues.

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As Harris walks around the office, “detecting,” the train case lid rotates.

Props to you, prop guy!

Pretty soon, Harris hits on something.

Pretty soon, Harris hits on something.

The bug is hidden in a desk drawer’s handle.

Before they remove it, Bill sends his nemesis Henry a message.

Before they remove it, Bill sends his nemesis a message.

Saying that he must not be much of an engineering if he has to resort to such a tactic, Bill expresses pity for Henry.

He delivers that line in his usual laconic style, but he shows some fire when he rips the handle off his drawer.

He delivers that line in his usual laconic style, but he shows some fire when he rips the handle off his drawer.

That recording device is out of commission, but Norman’s is still active.

Meanwhile, at school, Norman is still toting around his tape recorder.

At school, he tries to interest Buffy and Jody in playing with it again, but they say they’re not allowed.

Norman accuses Bill of having no sense of humor, and he still denies that bugging is wrong.

“I say it’s okay with anyone as long as they don’t catch you,” Norman says, quoting his father.

(Hmm…I didn’t realize J. Edgar Hoover had a son.)

After school, in the park, Norman sees another chance to use his favorite toy.

After school, in the park, Norman sees another chance to use his favorite toy.

The victims this time are Cissy and that dreamy Roger Lund.

They have a mushy conversation, and Norman gets it all on tape.

They have a mushy conversation, and Norman gets it all on tape.

When Norman comes over later, Buffy and Jody reiterate that they can’t play spy with him anymore.

When Norman comes over later, Buffy and Jody reiterate that they can't record things with him anymore.

Norman says he just wants to play a recording for them, and they figure that would be okay.

Soon, Cissy arrives home and hears her own voice emanating from the bedroom.

Busted!

Busted!

Soon, it's a double busting...

Soon, it’s a double busting…

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…and then a rare triple busting.

We hear some embarrassing sweet talk. When the subject turns to kissing, Bill finally prepares to intervene.

Before he busts in, Buffy and Jody start reprimanding Norman themselves.

Before he busts in, Buffy and Jody start reprimanding Norman themselves.

(Thank goodness–that spares us a tedious sitcom misunderstanding, in which Buffy and Jody get punished for something they didn’t do.)

Bill, Cissy, and French continue to listen as Norman calls the twins “goody-goods” and again denies that bugging is wrong.

“If Uncle Bill says it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” the twins counter.

(That does sound rather goody-goodish.)

Norman rushes out, past his hallway audience, and calls back, “How come it’s all right for you to listen to us?”

That's a pretty good deflection in the heat of the moment, but Norman is still a sassy brat.

That’s a pretty good deflection in the heat of the moment, but Norman is still a sassy brat.

Back in Bill’s office, Harris returns to try to sell Bill some spy equipment of his own.

He claims this thing can pick up a conversation half a mile away.

He claims this thing can pick up a conversation half a mile away.

I have a feeling Harris got his training working for CONTROL. He should just install a cone of silence over Bill’s desk for sensitive conversations.

Harris says everyone is spying, but Bill refuses to join in.

Harris says everyone is spying, but Bill refuses to join in.

If spying is the price of success, he’d rather quit and return to working as a first-class welder.

That evening, Bill is still brooding about the encounter and whether he made the right decision.

That evening, Bill is still brooding about the encounter and whether he made the right decision.

It’s so obvious he did make the right decision that I can only assume he is fishing for head-pats from French. French, of course, obliges: “Integrity, sir, is never out of date.”

To Bill’s chagrin, Norman drops by again, tape-recorder in tow.

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“Enough of that,” Bill says, but Norman says he goes by his father’s rules.

Bill says that in the Davis home, the kids have to follow his rules.

Norman still tries to convince Bill that bugging is harmless and fun. He made a tape of his parents talking before he left his apartment, and he insists on playing it for everyone.

It starts out with his dad saying, “Norman’s not really such a bad kid,” and goes downhill from there. When the possibility of consulting a psychologist comes up, Bill tries to cut off the tape, but Norman prevents him.

He listens to his parents deciding how to break the news of their impending divorce to him.

He listens as his parents decide how to break the news of their impending divorce to him.

Awkward!

Awkward!

Norman rushes off, leaving his tape recorder behind.

At bedtime that night, the kids are still feeling sorry for Norman.

At bedtime that night, the kids are still feeling sorry for Norman.

The twins ask Bill how he knew that Norman would get hurt. Bill says he didn’t know, but when people do things that are wrong, someone often gets hurt.

After Bill and Jody leave the room, a comic exchange between Buffy and Cissy lightens the mood.

Buffy asks a bemused Cissy if she really dropped her tuna salad on Roger.

Buffy asks a bemused Cissy if she really dropped her tuna salad on Roger.

(Norman, meanwhile, went on to have a rich and fulfilling career with the NSA.)

Commentary

Electronic espionage was a hot-button topic in the 1960s (as it is today), but people wouldn’t know the full extent of domestic spying for a few years. The FBI’s awful COINTELPRO program came to light in 1971, and President Nixon’s White House taping system became public knowledge in 1973. (Norman’s father and Nixon were kindred spirits–Norman says his dad records every conversation in his office with the consent of the other parties.)

Wonderful Frenchisms (“hirsute adornments!”) and the train-case technology are highlights of this episode. The ending is heavy-handed, but Norman is such a jerk that his comeuppance  is satisfying.

Why did Bill even let Harris in the door for his spy-gear pitch? And why doesn’t anyone mention that bugging is illegal?

Bill's bedtime sweetness for this week--a kiss on Buffy's hand.

Bill’s bedtime sweetness for this week–a kiss on Buffy’s hand.

Notable Quotes

“You’ve just stumbled into a whole nest of squares.”–Bill

Guest Cast

Norman: Bobby Riha. Harris: Richard O’Brien. Fred: William Boyett. Mr. McGraw: Larry Thor. Roger: Russ Caldwell.

Bobby Riha had a regular role in the short-lived Debbie Reynolds Show.

Richard O’Brien’s character acting included many police officer roles, including a recurring one on S.W.A.T.

Russ Caldwell’s screen career was very brief–he has only four IMDB.com credits.