Welcome to the latest installment of my weekly Family Affair series!
Season 1, Episode 12, “Love Me, Love Me Not,” 12/5/1966
Written by: Peggy Chantler Dick. Directed by: William D. Russell.
In the opening scene, Jody accidentally breaks a vase with Uncle Bill’s golf club. Bill reacts with typical restraint, noting that accidents happen.
Later, Jody accompanies French to an Italian grocery and witnesses his friend Pepino being spanked for breaking a window.
When Jody expresses his confusion, Papa Umberto explains that he punishes his son out of love.
Suddenly, Uncle Bill’s patience begins to seem like indifference, and Jody tries to provoke a spanking.
Jody’s second transgression is disturbing the chess game Mr. French is playing by mail. But what finally sets Uncle Bill off is his worry when Jody runs away at night (though Jody never actually leaves the building).
Uncle Bill delivers a stern–though not physical–punishment but promptly begins to doubt himself and relent. Finally, he realizes where Jody’s coming from and gives the boy a punishment and a gentle spank (“for thinking for one minute that I don’t love you”).
This episode shows why Brian Keith’s Uncle Bill is such an ideal father figure–affectionate, playful, understanding. In these early episodes, Uncle Bill is warm and demonstrative with Jody in a way that seems unusual and refreshing for a 1960s TV father and son.
Johnny Whitaker is also adorable in this episode, especially in the scene at the end when he’s waiting for his spanking with closed eyes and gritted teeth.
Uncle Bill’s self-doubt with regard to parenting is realistic and continues the theme of adjustment which has been building all season.
Pepino: Ricky Cordell. Umberto: Romo Vincent. Scotty: Karl Lukas.
The kids’ favorite TV show, Captain Hippopotamus, is mentioned twice. Uncle Bill’s partner, Ted Gaynor, is mentioned, though not seen.
“I wish I could get Uncle Bill to love me enough to sock me.”–Jody
“When he socks me, half of it will be yours.”–Jody to Buffy
“An apology is the act of a real man when he knows he’s wrong.”–Uncle Bill
Today’s Bonus Feature
This might be a little hard to follow. TV Radio Mirror April 1969 featured two articles that both had a split focus on Brian Keith and Diahann Carroll. The “TV Kids” article is worth reading, especially for the description of interaction between Keith and Johnny Whitaker.
(The other headlines on this magazine cover are ridiculous, and why did they use a cover photo that showed Anissa Jones at such a disadvantage?)
That’s exactly why I’m so very much taken with Family Affair: Brian Keith’s genuine love and affection for these kids, his being so warm and gentle, caring and understanding with them, and indeed also with his own kids and evidently all kids he encounters, as has been pointed out in numerous articles.
Ha – I liked the “Life with Luigi” reference.
Those two kids were just so darn cute.
Thanks so much for your website. “Family Affair” has always had a special, special place in my heart. I have a feeling that you must feel the same way, because your website is the best that I have seen.
Thanks for your comment–I’m so glad to hear that people are enjoying my Family Affair posts. You’re right that the show has always had a special place in my heart. I make fun of it a little now and then, but I do so with love. : )
Thank you so much for your website!!!!! I’ve always loved “Family Affair” and I really enjoy reading all your weekly posts: so sweet and fun… 🙂
It’s a pity your bonus articles can’t be enlarged and read anymore.
Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you enjoy the Family Affair posts. I haven’t mastered WordPress’ new media system yet, but I’ll try to find a way to make the articles more readable.
Thanks Amy for the enlargement of your bonus articles. I really enjoyed reading the last two you had posted about Brian Keith and Sebastian Cabot. I’ll keep visiting your blog to read all your weekly updates. Thanks again!!!
Thanks again for reading and commenting!
I remember this episode having an impact on me as a child. The idea that a child would crave a spanking to demonstrate love was so foreign to me. Watching it as an adult, I was able to make more sense out of it. Thanks again for your blog.