Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 8, Who’s Afraid of Nural Shpeni?, 11/7/1966

I apologize for my lateness in bringing you this installment of my weekly Family Affair series.

Season 1, Episode 8, “Who’s Afraid of Nural Shpeni?”

Written by: Cynthia Lindsay. Directed by: William D. Russell.


A Middle Eastern theme pervades this episode, which begins with French reading to the twins about Sinbad the Sailor.

Jody seems pretty excited about this story.

With Uncle Bill soon to return from a project in Beirut, French decides to brush up on his Lebanese culinary skills. But a trip to Fuad’s Middle Eastern Delicacies leads to cooking lessons from Nural Shpeni and then to her family’s demands that French marry her.

The prospective bride. French could do a lot worse.

Dr. Sarkis, an associate of Uncle Bill, reminds Nural’s brothers that the traditions they are relying upon to force French into marriage also demand a large dowry from them.

When Buffy and Jody open the door and see this group, they scream and run. It’s kind of funny, if politically incorrect.

French is thrilled when Nural finally announces she’d rather marry Officer Chamas, the local cop on the beat.

Vic Tayback as the cop. Hmm, Mr. French or Mel Sharples? Tough call.

Random Thoughts

This is the episode the Cleveland Amory mocked in his TV Guide review of Family Affair. It is pretty bad, actually. It’s always fun to see Mr. French in a state of extreme discomfort, however. And it has some other compensations.

Compensation 1: French using a hookah!

Compensation 2: Uncle Bill buys Mrs. Beasley this cute outfit in Lebanon.

Here she is later wearing the outfit.

Guest Cast

Fuad: Nestor Paiva. Nural: Magda Harout. Alam: Henry Corden. Mohad: Peter Manahos. Policeman Chamas: Vic Tayback. Old woman: Kay Koury. Dr. Sarkis: Abraham Sofaer. Most familiar is Vic Tayback, who played Mel in the 1974 movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, as well as the subsequent TV series Alice. Nestor Paiva, who had a long career in movies, died before this episode aired. Magda Harout, on the other hand, is still alive and continued to act as recently as 2010, with an appearance on Fringe. Attention Seinfeld fans: she appeared as Stella in the 1991 episode “The Pen.” Henry Corden voiced many cartoon characters, including Fred Flintstone. He was Marcia’s boss, Mr. Haskell, in the ice cream parlor episode of The Brady Bunch.

Fun Facts

Mr. French speaks Arabic and once worked for the Shah of Morocco. Jody is five minutes older than Buffy.

Read my whole Family Affair series!

Today’s Bonus Feature

An article from TV Radio Mirror, July 1967. These fan magazine articles are not to be trusted completely, but the photos are nice. Here, you can see Johnny Whitaker’s real family.


3 thoughts on “Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 8, Who’s Afraid of Nural Shpeni?, 11/7/1966

  1. Sixteen kids! I hope Brian Keith didn’t turn out to be a Joan Crawford type of parent… Also, what’s the deal with the Ben Gazzara article?

    • Amy says:

      The Brian Keith headline is very misleading. It counts the four kids he had then, plus his TV kids and, I think, the siblings of the TV kids. Nope, no Joan Crawford parenting…by all accounts, he loved kids and was a good parent.

      The Ben Gazzara story claims he stopped yelling at his wife when she started yelling back. It portrays him as a hot-headed Sicilian type and her as a quiet Waspy person who had to learn to be loud.

  2. […] a Many Splendored Thing, Around the World in 80 Days (the large cast also included Katy Koury from Episode 8) and The Man with the Golden Gun. He was Master Sun on TV’s Kung Fu and made guest […]

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