Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 24, “Everybody Needs Somebody,” 3/13/1967

Welcome to this delayed edition of Family Affair Friday! I’ve emerged from my camping adventure unscathed, if unrested, and ready for another installment of Davis family fun.

Season 1, Episode 24, “Everybody Needs Somebody,” 3/13/1967

Written by: Ed James and Seaman Jacobs. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

As the show opens, the twins are getting on everyone’s nerves.

Jody makes one his anti-girl cracks, which Cissy doesn't appreciate. She orders him to get lost. Meanwhile, doesn't Mrs. Beasley look forlorn? Maybe she senses what's coming next.

Jody makes one his anti-girl cracks, which Cissy doesn’t appreciate. She orders him to get lost. Meanwhile, doesn’t Mrs. Beasley look forlorn? Maybe she senses what’s coming next.

Jody leaves the girls’ room, but not before swiping Mrs. Beasley. Much running and screaming ensues.

The chase is on.

The chase is on.

The caper comes to a halt when the kids reach Uncle Bill’s desk, where they knock down his plans for “the longest bridge in Venezuela.”

Oops.

Oops.

Mr. French has had it, so he lowers the boom: No TV for two nights.

And that includes Captain Hippopotamus. (The name of the twins' favorite show is clearly based on Captain Kangaroo, but the show itself, as Buffy describes it, sounds more like an adventure serial.)

And that includes Captain Hippopotamus. (The name of the twins’ favorite show is clearly based on Captain Kangaroo, but the show itself, as Buffy describes it, sounds more like an adventure serial.)

Almost immediately he begins to doubt his disciplinary actions–was he being too harsh? Nigel is definitely the sensitive French brother. Punishing Buffy and Jody was a favorite activity for Giles French.

The next day, French takes the twins with him as he purchases a wedding present for fellow butler Withers. In response to the kids’ questions, French explains why marriage is such a happy occasion. (French’s real feelings on the subject seem to be less positive, however–he fears Withers is giving up his career for “what may be a matrimonial disaster.”)

French picks out a sterling silver pickle fork for Withers!

French picks out the perfect present–a sterling silver pickle fork!

Could have been worse for Withers--French could have bought that hideous bird thing.

Could have been worse for Withers–French could have bought that hideous bird thing. (Note that the store walls are our favorite shade of green.)

The marriage conversation gives the twins a brainstorm–never a good thing. They are determined to find a Mrs. French!

Ah, here's a likely candidate.

Ah, here’s a likely candidate.

The twins try to play matchmaker between French and Miss Faversham. French, however, jumps to the conclusion that the twins want to replace him with Miss Faversham because he’s been too tough on them.

Suddenly, it’s liberty hall at the Davis apartment.

Play time before homework and cookies and punch before dinner--yes, Jody, this is shocking.

TV before homework and cookies and punch before dinner–yes, Jody, this is shocking.

Uncle Bill steps in and asks the kids why they don’t like French. Shocked, they reply that that they love him and that he’s their best friend besides Uncle Bill himself and Cissy. (Guess they’ve forgotten the other Mr. French–or the Frenches have merged in their childish brains.)

Soon, however, he catches them inspecting his room to see if Miss Faversham would like it.

Soon, however, French catches the kids inspecting his room to see if Miss Faversham would like it.

Luckily, Cissy gets wind of their ideas and fills in Uncle Bill, who gets the whole scheme out of them. French is touched to hear how concerned the kids were about his happiness.

final hug

The three have a sweet talk about marriage, and Uncle Bill explains that each person must find happiness in his or her own way.

Interestingly, Uncle Bill also expresses his own determination to marry one day. Jody, on the other hand, is a budding confirmed bachelor.

Commentary

The concluding talk is definitely the highlight of this episode. Structurally, the plot is unsatisfying, with an abrupt resolution.

Guest Cast

Withers: Richard Peel. Peter: Kevin Cooper. Clerk: Pitt Herbert. Miss Faversham: Heather Angel. Herbert was a frequent TV guest star who played a toy store owner in two Brady Bunch episodes. He also had small parts in such films as Hud, Dear Brigitte (John Williams also appeared) and The North Avenue Irregulars. He had a recurring role on Perry Mason as an autopsy surgeon.

Random observation: Uncle Bill was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction wiht his tie here.

Random observation: Uncle Bill was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with his tie here.

Burning Question

What would Giles French think of the kids’ attempt to fix Miss Faversham up with his brother?

Random liberary observation

Random literary observation: Some of Jody’s books look like Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew volumes. Did boys read Nancy Drew in the ’60s?

Continuity Notes

This French has the same day off as his brother–Thursday. Nigel French mentions his brother in this episode. At least he remembers him.

Inconsistency Alert

Buffy, who could perform multiplication in the past, cannot subtract 6 from 15.

Notable Quotes

Jody: “How are we gonna get them married, Buffy? We can’t even get them to play checkers.”

Random ugliness: Nice hallway decor. Uncle Bill's lame interior decorator friend must have performed her magic on the whole building.

Random ugliness: Nice hallway decor. Uncle Bill’s lame interior decorator friend must have performed her magic on the whole building.

This Week’s Bonus Feature

Another silly Kathy Garver cover–TV Picture Life, September 1967

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Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 23, “The Mother Tongue,” 2/27/1967

Welcome to Family Affair Friday, appearing on an actual Friday this week! In this episode we learn the twins’ bedtime, the general location of Uncle Bill’s office, and the limits of Mr. French’s linguistic abilities. We also get to see the only Family Affair guest cast member who was also a stripper. At least, I think she was the only one.

Season 1, Episode 23, “The Mother Tongue”

Written by: George Tibbles. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

It’s 8 p.m. in the Davis household, which means it’s bedtime for Buffy and Jody.

The twins plead for a later bedtime, telling Uncle Bill that their new friend Marilyn gets to stay up to 8:30. Uncle Bill sends them off to bed anyway.

I don't blame him. I think I'd be tired of Buffy and Jody by 8 o'clock, too.

I don’t blame him. I think I’d be tired of Buffy and Jody by 8 o’clock, too.

The next day, the twins continue to rave about their new friend, who has inspired them to adopt higher standards of politeness and neatness.

They even give French a bow and curtsy as they leave the breakfast table. Naturally, he's baffled.

They even give French a bow and curtsy as they leave the breakfast table. Naturally, he’s baffled.

When French meets Marilyn, he quickly discovers that she doesn’t speak English.

Throughout

He finds himself in the first of several bowing standoffs with her. You know, that old TV trope–a non-Asian person meets an Asian person, and the Asian person bows, so the non-Asian person bows back, and then the Asian person bows again, and so on? Yes, it’s quite tedious.

French and Uncle Bill marvel at the ease with which Buffy, Jody, and Marilyn play, despite their language barrier.

Apparently Buffy owns a doll other than Mrs. Beasley. I don't know what kind of doll it is, but I'd bet Mattel made it.

Look, Buffy owns another doll besides Mrs. Beasley. I don’t know what kind of doll it is, but I’d bet Mattel made it.

Unfortunately, French decides to brush up on his own Cantonese so he can communicate with Marilyn.

The next time she comes over to play, he tries to tell her that she has the eyes of a fawn and the face of an angel.

The next time she comes over to play, he tries to tell her that she has the eyes of a fawn and the face of an angel.

He actually tells her that she has “the ears of a pig and the face of a horrifying demon.”

Marilyn, understandably, flees in horror.

Marilyn, understandably, flees in horror.

Marilyn’s father, a member of the Chinese delegation to the UN, pays Uncle Bill a visit at the office.

He explains French's mix-up and tells Bill how upset Marilyn's mother and grandmother are about the inadvertent insult.

He explains French’s mix-up and tells Bill how upset Marilyn’s mother and grandmother are about the inadvertent insult.

Uncle Bill promises that French will make amends, and French does try to do so when Marilyn returns to the Davis apartment. He hasn’t quite mastered the word “angel,” though–he tells her she has “the face of a serpent.”

Oh, no, he didn't!

Oh, no, he didn’t!

This prompts another visit from Marilyn’s father to Uncle Bill’s office.

Hmm. The UN is between 42nd and 48th streets, and Uncle Bill thanks Marilyn's father for coming "downtown." To solve such a small problem, Marilyn's father is really going out of his way.

Hmm. The UN is between 42nd and 48th streets, and Uncle Bill thanks Marilyn’s father for coming “downtown” to his office. To solve such a small problem, Marilyn’s father is really going out of his way.

Bowing to the wishes of his wife and mother-in-law, Mr. Chen bans Marilyn from playing with Buffy and Jody.

Marilyn, we hardly knew ye.

Marilyn, we hardly knew ye.

Facing the twins’ wrath, French decides to pay the Chens a visit.

Yes, Marilyn, I'd be wary, too.

Yes, Marilyn, I’d be wary, too.

Greeting Mrs. Chen and her mother, French gets off to a good start.

good start

Unfortunately, he doesn’t leave it at that.

bad finish

The ladies don't take this especially well, at least at first.

The ladies don’t take this especially well, at least at first. (Anyone know how to say “My walls are Family Affair green” in Cantonese?)

Marilyn, however, begins to see the humor in French’s well-meaning attempts.

amused

Soon, the whole Chen family realizes that French meant no harm. By the end of the episode, Buffy and Jody have picked up some Cantonese, and Marilyn is learning English (such as “color television”).

As French and Uncle Bill look on fondly, the three children indulge in some imaginary gun play.

Oh, Marilyn...You're going to fit in just fine here.

Oh, Marilyn…You’re going to fit in here just fine.

Commentary

A nice aspect of Family Affair is the cosmopolitan world the Davises inhabit. They interact with people across a wide range of ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I like the way the kids in this episode communicate across the cultural barrier with ease, while the adults struggle a bit. And the translations of French’s compliments are funny.

Random observation: John Williams is really tall, and Kathy Garver is really short.

Random observation: John Williams is really tall, and Kathy Garver is really short.

Guest Cast

Mr. Chen: Richard Loo. Marilyn: Lisa Fong. Mrs. Chen: Noel Toy. Grandmother: May Lee.

This capture is from the third visit Mr. Chen paid to Uncle Bill's office. He must have really liked getting away from the UN.

This capture is from the third visit Mr. Chen paid to Uncle Bill’s office. He must have really liked getting away from the UN.

Richard Loo had an active film career within the limits imposed on Asian-American actors of his time. He played Japanese characters in many World War II-era movies including Wake Island (Brian Donlevy from Episode 15 starred), Flying Tigers, and God is My Co-Pilot (with Andrea King from Episode 17). Later films included Love is 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 appearances on many shows.

Noel Toy started her career as an exotic dancer and earned the nickname “the Chinese Sally Rand.” In 1945, she married character actor Carleton Young, who also made several Family Affair guest appearances. (We saw him a few weeks ago in Episode 20.)

Lisa Fong’s father was actor Benson Fong, who will show up three times in later Family Affair seasons.

Today’s Bonus Feature

Coming soon!

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 22, “Ballerina Buffy,” 2/20/1967

Welcome to Family Affair Friday! You know, one of these days I might just change the title of this series to Family Affair Saturday. Hate to lose the alliteration, though.

Today’s episode gives us lots of Buffy cuteness and a look at a very lucky lady–Brian Keith’s real-life wife.

Written by: Edmund Beloin & Henry Garson. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

Our opening teaser finds Uncle Bill working high above a completely realistic Manhattan skyline.

Our opening teaser finds Uncle Bill working high above a completely realistic Manhattan skyline.

An underling conveys a message to him: His niece has torn her tutu. The worker thinks this means she suffered an injury–I wonder what body part he thinks a tutu is.

Now we know we’re in for a ballet-themed episode, so it’s no surprise that our next scene opens in typical ballet studio, complete with Russianish instructor.

Pretty big range of sizes represented in this class.

Pretty big range of sizes represented in this class.

After class, the instructor talks about an upcoming Little Red Riding Hood recital.

French is sitting with the ballet moms, one of whom confides that she expects her daughter Melissa to get the lead role in the upcoming Little Red Riding Hood recital.

French is sitting with the ballet moms, one of whom confides that she expects her daughter Melissa to get the lead role.

(Melissa’s family lives in the Davis building–we’ve seen them before in Episode 7.)

The ballet teacher introduces a famous ballerina, Margo Dunbar, who will direct the recital and who has cast the roles.

Margo is played by Judith Landon, Brian Keith's wife. They married in 1954 and would divorce in 1969. I'm sure she had a lot going for her, despite whatever is going on with her eyebrows here.

Margo is played by Judith Landon, Brian Keith’s wife. They married in 1954 and would divorce in 1969. I’m sure she had a lot going for her, despite whatever is going on with her eyebrows here.

She cast Buffy as Little Red Riding Hood and Melissa as the wolf.

Melissa's mother takes this well.

Melissa’s mother takes this well.

French talks to Miss Dunbar after class, and she discovers that Buffy’s Uncle Bill is the same Bill Davis she once dated in Venice (he tipped over the gondola they were riding in, which somehow kept her from performing Swan Lake that night).

Uncle Bill must have enjoyed that Venice escapade. When he hears Margo's in town he take the bold step of accompanying Buffy to ballet class himself the next day.

Uncle Bill must have enjoyed that Venice escapade. When he hears Margo’s in town he take the bold step of accompanying Buffy to ballet class himself the next day.

They are quickly on “honey” and “dear” terms, a situation not lost on Melissa’s mother.

She jumps to the conclusion that the casting was rigged, of course. (Ironically, Buffy didn't even want to play Little Ridiing Hood. She wanted to play the wolf.)

She jumps to the conclusion that the casting was rigged, of course. (Ironically, Buffy didn’t even want to play Little Riding Hood. She wanted to play the wolf.)

Margo visits the Davis home and tells Buffy how much potential she has as a dancer.

Bill and Margo tell Buffy she might become a ballet star, touring the world.

Bill and Margo tell Buffy she might become a ballet star, touring the world.

Buffy assumes they mean that she’ll have to start touring right away, which triggers her well-founded separation anxiety. Commiserating with Jody, she suddenly realizes the answer to her dilemma.

She'll just perform really, really badly in the recital!s

She’ll just perform really, really badly in the recital! 

And she does.

She starts by spilling her basket of goddies across the stage.

She starts by spilling her basket of goodies across the stage.

And after many other mishaps…

...she closes with a backwards bow.

…she closes with a backwards bow.

Here are the Davis family reactions:

jody reaction

cissy and french reaction

uncle bill reaction

At home, the family commiserates, while an exultant Buffy confides in Mrs. Beasley.

confiding in mrs beasley

“Some of the kids said I was awful, and some said I was clumsy, and Melissa tried to bite me with her wolf teeth. It was perfect!”

It’s time for a sweet one-on-one talk with Uncle Bill, who assures her that she is home to stay. (After last week, you can’t blame her for needing reassurance.)

Commentary

This is a cute episode. Buffy’s separation anxiety makes sense, and her bad ballet performance is fun.

Another plus: A chance to see Anissa Jones in something other than her signature hair style.

Another plus: A chance to see Anissa Jones in something other than her signature hair style.

Guest Cast

Margo: Judith Landon. Mr. Nelson: Frank Maxwell. Clara: Ann McCrea. Madam Leonton: Lili Valenty. Melissa Nelson: Cindy Eilbacher. Seegar: John Lawrence. Judith Landon appeared as a background dancer in several 1950s movies. She would play a ballet teacher in a 1973 Brady Bunch episode–the one where Jan tries desperately to find a talent. Okay, one of the ones where Jan tries desperately to find a talent.

While Melissa's parents haven't changed since Episode 7, she has morphed from Pamelyn Ferdin to Cindy Eilbacher.

While Melissa’s parents haven’t changed since Episode 7, she has morphed from Pamelyn Ferdin to Cindy Eilbacher.

Cindy Eilbacher was a fairly prolific child and young adult actress. She was the daughter in My Mother the Car (Randy Whipple, who played her brother in that series, is a Family Affair standby) and appeared in many TV movies. She played April, Paul Williams’ first wife, on The Young and the Restless in the early 1980s and again in the early 1990s. Her sister, Lisa Eilbacher, was also an actress.

Inconsistency Alert

French says he enrolled Buffy in ballet as part of an “anti-clomping about the house campaign.” But Buffy began ballet in Episode 9, before Nigel French’s arrival.

Random fashion note: I like Cissy's suit and white gloves here.

Random fashion note: I like Cissy’s suit and white gloves here.

Notable Quotes

Uncle Bill: “Can you name me one other uncle who’s got a Little Red Riding Hood who always falls down?”

Today’s Bonus Feature

Movie Mirror, January 1968

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 22, “Once in Love with Buffy,” 2/13/1967

Welcome to another installment of Family Affair Friday! Sorry it’s late–I’m blogging from the depths of migraine hell this weekend.

This week’s episode is an important one in the Family Affair canon. A good alternate title for it would be “Aunt Fran 2: The Nightmare Continues.”

Written by: Austin and Irma Kalish. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

Mr. French and Cissy are out, so Uncle Bill sacrifices a bowling game to stay home with Buffy and Jody.

Here he is canceling his bowling plans, explaining to his friend that he's "stuck with the kids." Ouch. Well, he didn't know Buffy was behind him.

Here he is canceling his bowling plans, explaining to his friend that he’s “stuck with the kids.” Ouch. Well, he didn’t know Buffy was behind him.

After he hangs up and begins talking to Buffy, the phone rings again.This time it’s one of his many lady friends, and he uses the expression “stuck with the kids” again.

Way to go, Uncle Bill. This time you knew she was nearby.

Way to go, Uncle Bill. This time you knew she was nearby.

(Note to Uncle Bill: You can’t really be “stuck with” your own kids. They’re kind of your responsibility.)

Uncle Bill and the twins go on to have a pleasant evening, but Uncle Bill’s words are still worrying Buffy at bedtime. Unfortunately, her insecurities make her easy prey from the evil force that blows in the next day from the mid-west.

Look, kids! It's Aunt Fran! The one who brought Buffy here and lft her because her husband couldn't get along with a 6-year-old orphan.

Look, kids! It’s Aunt Fran! The nice lady who brought Buffy here and left her because her husband couldn’t get along with a 6-year-old orphan.

Buffy's overjoyd to see her agin.

Buffy’s overjoyed to see her aunt again.

Aunt Fran tells Uncle Bill that Uncle Harold’s feelings have changed, and they both want Buffy back. Harold’s gotten a new job, they have a bigger house now, and they’ve hired “the Indiana version of Mr. French.” They’re even willing to take Cissy–isn’t that big of them? And Fran’s sister in Terre Haute will take Jody.

Of course, Uncle Bill wants the kids to stay with him, but Fran the Manipulator starts him doubting whether that’s what’s best for them. Everyday, he admits, people tell him how much better off kids are with a mother. (He must have some really rude friends.) Finally, he decides to leave it up to the kids.

Fran’s quick to work her magic on them, too.

Don't eat it, Buffy, Aunt Fran's probably put a spell on it.

Don’t eat it, Buffy, Aunt Fran’s probably put a spell on it.

She treats Buffy and Cissy to an afternoon of shopping, forbidden desserts, and mind games, convincing them that Uncle Bill would be happier without them.

The kids reluctantly agree, and Uncle Bill tries to conceal his heartbreak at their decision.

Uncle Bill and French share a sad conversation about the kids' impending departure. It would be more moving if this was the real Mr. French.

Uncle Bill and French share a sad conversation about the kids’ impending departure. It would be more moving if this was the real Mr. French.

(Note to Uncle Bill: You can often gauge kids’ attitudes through their demeanor as well as their words. If they say they want to return to Indiana, but they’re wearing expressions like those below, you may want to question them a little more.)

buffy upsetcissy upset

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