Spin Again Sunday: Patty Duke Game

Would a girl lose her mind playing this game about cousins who are two of a kind? Probably not, but she might have fun.

Today’s Game: Patty Duke Game (Tiny print on the box reads, “Inspired by the Patty Duke Show.” That’s pretty obvious—the game revolves around the show’s characters, Patty and Cathy. I wonder why they didn’t call it the Patty Duke Show Game?)

Copyright Date: 1964.

Recommended Ages: 7 to 15.

Game Box: Cute, with its pink-and-blue color scheme and floating Patty and Cathy heads.

Game Pieces: Instead of regular plastic pieces, this game uses red, blue, yellow, and green teenagers, two girls and two boys. Nice!

Game Board: Like the game box, the board features cartoon pictures of Patty and Cathy doing typical 1960s teenage activities—dancing, watching TV, dating, studying, helping with chores. Can you tell which girl is Patty and which one is Cathy? In case you forgot, their personalities are ever-so-slightly different.

Cathy hesitates. Patty wears a two-piece swimsuit and dives right in.

Cathy is actually studying. The radio is distracting Patty (who is wearing a leotard for no apparent reason).

Patty is “losing control.” Cathy is dancing like a girl who “adores a minuet.”

If you enjoyed this entry, please read my previous Spin Again Sunday posts.


Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 4, A Matter of School, 10/3/66

This is part of my weekly series about the classic CBS sitcom Family Affair

Season 1, Episode 4, “The Matter of School,” 10/3/66

Written by: Henry Garson. Directed by: William D. Russell.


It’s time to enroll the kids in school. While it’s a simple matter to enroll Buffy and Jody in first grade, Uncle Bill is less certain about what’s best for Cissy. He rejects immediately French’s suggestion of Miss Haycroft’s School in London but reluctantly considers sending her to Bryerfield, a boarding school in Connecticut. Cissy really wants to go to Lexie High, a public school in the city, especially after grocery delivery boy Freddy sings the school’s praises.

Freddy wants to share more than Sugar Pops with Cissy.

But she misinterprets Uncle Bill’s mention of Bryerfield as a hint it would ease a burden on him if she lived at school. She chooses Bryerfield, and Uncle Bill promises her a big evening her first weekend home–dinner at 21, a musical, and a visit to a nightclub. Business makes him forget his promise, though, reinforcing Cissy’s idea that she should be “out of his hair.”

Cute dress. This is a good fashion episode for Cissy.

When she mentions this to Buffy and Jody, they decide to get out of Mr. French’s hair and attempt to take a cab to Connecticut. Talking to the kids, Bill uncovers Cissy’s misconception, and French reminds him about the plans he forgot with Cissy. Uncle Bill rushes to Connecticut to bring Cissy home, and later he finally escorts a lovely Cissy on that special date.

Cissy dressed for her evening out

Random Thoughts

The bonding between Cissy and Uncle Bill is touching, and the ending is sweet. Buffy and Jody provide comedic counterpoint to main story, especially in the scene in which exasperated Mr. French registers the twins for school. (First grade is taught in morning and afternoon sessions, and French asks if the kids can attend both!)

Buffy tries to show her principal exactly where she got vaccinated

This episode introduces a pervasive Family Affair idea that the children will be interacting with peers from many different backgrounds. Freddy tells Cissy and Uncle Bill that kids from penthouses and kids from basements attend Lexie High, and Buffy and Jody quickly make friends with a cabdriver’s son. The principal also notes that the twins will hear a variety of languages spoken in their class.

Uncle Bill’s clients from Afghanistan. The Davis world is a cosmopolitan one.

Guest Cast

Ted Gaynor: John Hubbard. Mrs. Brown: Sarah Selby. Mrs. Hedgemot: Gertrude Graner. Mr. Kabul: Aly Wassil. Freddy: Eugene Martin. Mr. Razini: Naji Gabbay. Mr. Chill: Reginald Lal Singh. Barbara: Liza Garson. Murray: Tony Campo. Sarah Selby had a recurring role for many years as Ma Smalley on Gunsmoke, and she was Aunt Polly in a 1974 TV version of Huckleberry Finn. She would appear in four more Family Affair episodes. Campo, who would return as a different character in season five, was the third Scotty Baldwin on General Hospital; Johnny Whitaker was the first. Gabbay and Wassil would both reappear in season two’s “The Beasley Story,” and Martin would appear once more as Freddy. Hubbard, who would reappear in several episodes as Uncle Bill’s partner, starred in many largely unmemorable films of the 1940s. I strongly suspect Liza Garson is a relative of producer and sometimes writer Henry Garson. Her character struck me as oddly superfluous in her scene even before I noticed the familiar last name.

Barbara’s job is to stand awkwardly behind the principal

Fun Facts

Buffy and Jody attended kindergarten in Terre Haute. In his reluctance to progress to first grade, Jody shows the first sign of being less academically minded than Buffy. The Davis’ apartment building is at 600 E. 62nd Street.

Continuity Notes

Cissy’s desire not to be a burden to Uncle Bill stems from her fear that she was “dumped” on him. We have Terre Haute references. Miss Faversham is mentioned.

Notable Quotes

“She’s like Cinderella, but tomorrow she’ll be our sister again.” Buffy, on Cissy

Today’s Bonus Feature

A Family Affair parody from Mad Magazine, April 1969

If you enjoyed this post, read all my Family Affair entries!

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: Those Magnificent Cats in their Flying Machines

“Clipper Home,” An American in England
December 22, 1942

Norman Corwin was one of the most important creative forces in radio’s golden age. He wrote, produced, and directed several prestigious, poetic shows celebrating American values. In December 1942, TIME wrote, “CBS’s Norman Corwin, top-flight U.S. radio dramatist, went to England last summer to try something that U.S. radio had not done before. He wanted to explain England to Americans by short-waving his dramatized observations of the English.”

This was a huge technical challenge in 1942, and not all the broadcasts from England aired successfully in the United States. After Corwin returned home in the fall, he produced four more episodes, including this final one.

Pyro, of Helensburgh, Scotland, flew on experimental bombing test missions in World War II. Source: WIRRALNEWS.co.uk

Recently, while listening to it, I became fascinated by a short incident near the end. The narrator, slowly making his way home from Great Britain to the United States, meets a U.S. flier in Brazil. With him, the flier carries his “mascot,” a gray kitten name Tiger. The flier says he brought the kitten from his home in New Hampshire and carries him along on all his flying missions.

As a passionate cat lover, I wanted to find out more about Tiger. Unfortunately, my research didn’t unearth any information about him, but I did learn about a flying World War II cat named Pyro. British photographer Bob Bird was working at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment base in Helensburgh, Scotland, when he adopted a stray kitten. Pyro didn’t like it when his owner left to accompany flight crews on experimental bomb tests. Bird started taking Pyro along on the missions; together they survived a crash landing, and Pyro once helped protect Bird from frostbite. Last year, Pyro received a posthumous award for bravery from the United Kingdom’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals charity.

At the time of the award, Bob Bird’s son Robin said, “’We are really very proud of Pyro. He was the only flying cat in the Second World War—and any other war as far as we know.”

Even if “Tiger” didn’t really exist, Pyro wasn’t the only flying cat in World War II. The web site Purr ‘n’ Fur has fascinating and comprehensive pages about cats in wartime. You can read about a few flying cats (and even see a picture of a cat of in a military aircraft in flight). You can also learn about ships’ cats, which were much more numerous than flying cats.

To be honest, my first reaction to hearing about Tiger was annoyance that someone had put an animal in such a dangerous situation. I can’t begrudge soldiers and sailors for seeking comfort from a pet, though, and the cats I’ve read about took their “service” in stride. (Why do my cats fuss so much about a car ride to the vet’s?)

The entire series An American in England makes interesting listening for history buffs and Anglophiles, even though it is wordy and rather unsubtle in its propaganda. (This episode also has an uncomfortable segment in which the narrator wonders what’s going through “the simple tribal mind” of a West African native. That segment concludes, however, with hypothetical soldiers expressing sentiments like this: “Listen, I like bread. So does the next guy. I’d like to see everybody in the world get a piece of bread and a quart of milk a day. And that goes for Indians and Eskimos and Hottentots, too.”)

Joseph Julian plays the narrator, who represents Corwin’s viewpoint.

Final Fun Fact: Corwin, who died last fall at 101, once said, “Cats are designated friends.”

Other Old-Time Radio Entries:

Playlist: Till Death Do Us Part

Episode Spotlight: A Snapped-Worthy 1920s True Story

Episode Spotlight: CSI, 1940s Styl

Playlist: London Calling, Part 

Playlist: London Calling, Part 2

Weird Words of Wisdom: Big Splendid Manhood Edition

“There are many silly, flashy, worthless, and even evil girls who think the boys they desire are their legitimate prey. Often such girls appear to be superficially the most fascinating. They know the art and trick of making the most of their charms. Nothing will so definitely put a boy in a wrong light before a whole school or community, as friendships and associations with ‘fast’ girls. Give them all a wide berth.”

Marked Trails for Boys by Frank H. Cheley, 1931

About the Book: We’ve looked at several books for girls in my weekly series on advice manuals for teenagers, and we’ve seen the double standards and mixed messages girls have received about growing up. Well, this book proves that boys sometimes traveled a confusing path as well. Author Frank H. Cheley doesn’t want his young readers to be wishy-washy, namby-pamby, weak-willed sissy boys, but he does want them to be perfect gentlemen at all times.

About the Author: Frank H. Cheley was an outdoors enthusiast who believed that camping, hiking, and other outdoor experiences helped young people develop good character. After working with boys through the YMCA, he founded his own boys’ summer camp in the Colorado mountains in 1921. He added camp activities for girls in 1926. His many books for young people often used hiking and exploring as metaphors for life’s struggles. More than 90 years later, the Cheley family still runs Cheley Colorado Camps. Frank H. Cheley left behind a wonderful legacy.

(Of course, I’m still going to cherry-pick the most dated and silly-sounding quotes in his book for cheap laughs. Maybe if I’d gone to a better summer camp, I’d be above this sort of thing.)

Most unintentionally dirty-sounding passage this book: When a boy waits for true love, he will find himself “ready with a big splendid manhood to offer in return for the devotion and companionship of a splendid girl.”

Second most unintentionally dirty-sounding tidbit: “Then there is Sister…Some other boy will be discovering, almost before you know it, that ‘she is one girl in a thousand.’ Why not beat him to it? A fellow who is half alive can learn many, many things from his sister, if they are on right terms.”

Something you wouldn’t want to hear from a summer camp director nowadays: “One of the very finest things in all the world is a fresh, clean-cut, upstanding, eager-eyed boy, filled to overflowing with physical power and nervous energy, seeking a suitable world to conquer.”

Some of Cheley’s favorite adjectives for describing the ideal boy: Vigorous, lithe, red-blooded, clean (morally, although he does make the usual advice-book pitch for deodorant and shampoo), splendid, pure, fine-spirited.

Cheley’s favorite names for a less-than-ideal boy: Molly-coddle, jelly bean, lounge lizard, coward, do-nothing.

Most depressing way to urge kindness toward friends: Be generous in your praise…Your friends will be a long time dead.

Cheley’s favorite role model for boys: Teddy Roosevelt.

The two kinds of boys (or maybe dogs—this part is kind of confusing): “The thoroughbred leads the party to the top; head high, eyes shining, teeth set, muscles quivering from giving their best; a true fighter who loves the battle. The house pet snuggles into an overstuffed davenport by the radiator and asks mildly for toast and tea.”

Cheley’s recommendations for good health:

•             Simple, plain food

•             Vigorous outdoor work and play

•             “Keeping digestion active”

•             Sleeping regularly in the open air

•             Avoiding patent medicines

Other quotes from Marked Trails for Boys

“A loud, noisy, boisterous boy who is inclined to be a bit smart is very tiresome. No one likes a ‘cutie.’”

“Of course, a worthy person never tells a ‘dirty story.’ It simply cannot be done without the loss of your self-respect…The boy that tells such is advertising that he is rotten at the heart, the boy who listens to one is yellow; he has no convictions worthy of a gentleman.”

“There is no finer little thoughtfulness that a boy can show for his mother than to early form the habit of taking her often, even one flower.”

“A boy, to enjoy fine girl friendships, must always and at all times be a gentleman, courteous, chivalrous, not a long-faced,  pious goody-good. Girls admire real vigorous, masculine men, but gentlemen. To forget for a moment the fine properties is to coarsen and spoil a beautiful relationship.”

“Real folks have nothing but scorn for a spooney boy, and fine girls invariably resent being pawed over. Only cheap, undesirable girls tolerate it.”

“Have always a grand, good, glorious time; be a regular boy. Everyone despises a sissy.”

“Fine boys everywhere have a real responsibility for influencing girls in their crowds to fine, womanly conduct.”

“Take a good disposition to the study table. Say, ‘Come now, Mr. Algebra and Madame Latin, I’m ready to lick the tar out of both of you.’”

Spin Again Sunday: The Muppet Show (Le Jeu des Vedettes)

Because tomorrow is Jim Henson’s birthday, my weekly series on vintage board games has a Muppety flavor this week.

Today’s Game: The Muppet Show (Parker Brothers Board Game of the Stars, AKA Le Jeu des Vedettes, par Parker Brothers)

Copyright Date: 1979

Game Box: A colorful cartoon rendering of every Muppet imaginable. That’s why I bought this game for my daughter. She loves Janice, the Electric Mayhem’s female member, and it’s rare to find merchandise that includes Janice’s picture. Not only does this box feature Janice, but the game board does as well!

Most Interesting Feature: What I didn’t realize when I bought this game is that it was made in Canada and has a bilingual board–one side in French, one side in English. I actually felt a little peeved when I opened the box and found a French board. I only speak un peu de French and didn’t know how I would manage to play this with my daughter. When I flipped the board over and found the English side, I no longer felt peeved—just stupid for not noticing the French writing on the box.

French game instructions.

Game Pieces: Rather lame. You know how some game pieces have a plastic base, into which you slide a cardboard picture? Well, that’s what this game has, but the cardboard pieces don’t display characters—just colors. There’s a yellow one, a red one, a green one, and a blue one. Why not just use regular colored-plastic markers?

Janice, yay!

Recommended Ages: 7 to 14.

Game Play: The game designers came up with a concept relates well to The Muppet Show and its characters. Players move around the board and try to collect cards representing three judges—Miss Piggy, Sweetums, and Fozzie. Once you have all three, you can “perform” for the judges. That involves picking one of six Sam the Eagle cards and hoping that it doesn’t match the number your opponent rolls on the die. If you don’t match Sam, you receive a star; seven stars win the game. The rules have a few wrinkles—such as allowing players to “upstage” each other—that keep it from getting too repetitive. Sam is one of my favorite Muppets, so I enjoy his role as censor here.

My Thoughts: I owned a different Muppet Show game when I was little, one that dated from 1977. I don’t remember much about that game, but I can endorse this one as fun for young Muppet fans.

Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 3, A Gift Horse, 9/26/66

This is part of my weekly series about the classic CBS sitcom Family Affair

Season 1, Episode 3, A Gift Horse, 9/26/66.
Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: William D. Russell.


Uncle Bill returns from East Africa with gifts for the kids, and Cissy gives him a hand-knit tie. With $1.07 between them, Buffy and Jody decide to find the perfect gift for Uncle Bill. Baffled by French’s suggestion of a gift certificate, they search in vain for something Bill needs. Soon they learn that their friend Mr. McGovern, who operates a hansom cab with a broken-down horse named Rosie, is giving up his cab and parting with Rosie. Of course, they decide a horse is the one thing Uncle Bill needs.

Rosie. She really does look broken down.

When French learns that McGovern sold the children the horse, he bawls the man out for taking advantage of children. Realizing what the gift means to the twins, however, Uncle Bill accepts it and makes arrangements to send “the Rose of Killarney” to live with friends near Danbury, Connecticut.

Mr. French sees the horse. I love Sebastian Cabot’s reactions!

Random Thoughts: Kids, horses–Uncle Bill’s apartment is becoming a real dumping ground. A cute episode. At first, I did think Mr. McGovern was unethical for allowing the kids to “buy” the horse, but he obviously wanted to make sure his friend had a good home.

One big happy family

Not a “Helicopter Butler,” Apparently: When French leaves to confront Mr. McGovern about the horse, no one is at home to supervise 6-year-old Buffy and Jody.

Gratuitous twin cuteness

Guest Cast: Emmet Parnell McGovern: Paul Hartman. Scotty: Karl Lukas. Hartman’s film career included Inherit the Wind and The Thrill of it All. He had a regular role as Bert Smedley, the barber, on Petticoat Junction, and as Emmet Clark in the 1967-68 season of The Andy Griffith Show and on its spin-off Mayberry R.F.D. Lukas would return as Scotty in quite a few Family Affair episodes.

A thaw in Anglo-Irish relations

Fun Facts: Scotty, the doorman, makes his first appearance.

Scotty. Gee, do you think that big sign will figure into the upcoming scene?

Notable Quotes: “It’s just what I wanted, if I knew there was stuff like this.” Jody, receiving an ant farm

Gratuitous Uncle Bill smile

“Mr. Davis is not running a home for superannuated horses.”—French

In the episode’s tag, the twins give Mr. French a gift–kittens!

Of course, he takes this turn of events in stride.

Another kitten shot because…well, I love kittens. And it’s my blog.

Today’s Bonus Feature

TV Guide, December 16, 1967, with a first-person Sebastian Cabot feature. Some things we learn:

* He thinks Michael Redgrave is a better actor than Laurence Olivier.

* Walt Disney doesn’t pay well.

* Brian Keith loves kids but doesn’t suffer foolish reporters gladly.