Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 28, “What Did You Do in the West, Uncle?,” 4/25/1967

Welcome to Family Affair Friday–or, as I should probably call it,  Family Affair at Whatever Point During the Weekend That I Have Time to Complete It. That’s a little unwieldy, though. I do promise that I will try to avoid being so late with future installments.

Written by: Joseph Hoffman. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Our episode opens at the Davis breakfast table, as Bill tells French about his plans for the upcoming week–he’s taking a vacation from work to spend time doing fun stuff with the kids. They’re on vacation from school, apparently. Didn’t they just have spring break a few episodes ago?

Reading the paper, Bill notices that the rodeo is in town and decides that will be the first of the week's activities. (That's some cute mid-century dinnerware on the table.)

Reading the paper, Bill notices that the rodeo is in town and decides that will be the first of the week’s activities. (Isn’t that some cute mid-century dinnerware on the table?)

Cissy quickly bails on Bill’s Week o’ Fun–she’s going to spend the week with a friend on Long Island. The twins, though, are excited about attending the rodeo.

French declines to join them; watching someone ride a bull gives him “a touch of vertigo and a wave of sympathy.” I always enjoy a great French line.

They have fun watching the show, and Bill becomes excited when he realizes that his old friend Gabe Nelson is among the performers. (I found myself wondering about the three guys behind them. Did they all come together? They seem rather subdued.)

They have fun watching the show, and Bill becomes excited when he realizes that his old friend Gabe Nelson is among the performers. (I found myself wondering about the three guys behind them. Did they all come together? They seem rather subdued.)

Bill takes the kids backstage after the show to introduce them to his friend.

The kids are thrilled to meet a "real, live cowboy," and Uncle Bill invites his friend to stay at the Davis apartment.

The kids are thrilled to meet a “real, live cowboy,” and Uncle Bill invites his friend to stay at the Davis apartment.

French is less thrilled to welcome this house guest, especially when Gabe calls him “Jeeves.”

He doesn’t care for Gabe’s culinary ventures either.

Steak isn't French's idea of a breakfast food.

Steak isn’t French’s idea of a breakfast food.

I find myself sharing French's reaction to Gabe.

I find myself sharing French’s reaction to Gabe.

The kids love him, though, especially when he gives them a “bucking bronc” experience in the living room.

This scene is fun.

This scene is fun…

...so fun that I can't choose just one image to share.

…so fun that I can’t choose just one image to share.

Unfortunately, Gabe begins to monopolize the kids’ time. They spend the entire next day at the rodeo with him, and Gabe asks Bill if they can stay for the evening show, as well. Neither Gabe nor the kids know that Bill had planned to take the twins to a performance of Hansel and Gretel.

(Another Good Frenchism: “The twins will enjoy Hansel and Gretel. There’s a great deal of violence in it.”)

Bill is so bummed that he returns to the office the next day, which provides our first Ted Gaynor sighting in quite a while.

As usual, Ted's role is to make Bill feel even worse about whatever problem he's enduring.

As usual, Ted’s role is to make Bill feel even worse about whatever problem he’s enduring.

Bill is determined that he and the kids will follow through with the next day’s activity–a helicopter ride over Manhattan.

The kids return from their latest trip to the rodeo in adorable costumes.

The kids return from their latest trip to the rodeo in adorable costumes–and they’re excited about their plans to visit the railroad yard with “Uncle Gabe” the next day to watch more animals arrive.

Uncle Bill swallows disappointment about yet another change in plans. Fortunately, French takes the bull by the horns, so to speak–he simply explains the situation to Gabe. Straightforward communication? What a rarity on a sit com!

Gabe and French have this conversation while French rubs Gabe's aching muscles with linament. Is this really in French's job description?!

Gabe and French have this conversation while French rubs Gabe’s aching muscles with liniment. Is this really in French’s job description?!

Gabe tries to help by telling the twins an outlandish story about Uncle Bill fighting a grizzly bear.

When they later repeat the story to Bill, he's bemused, to say the least.

When they later repeat the story to Bill, he’s bemused, to say the least.

After talking to Gabe, Bill explains to the kids that Gabe exaggerated the story in order to make Bill seem like more a hero in the kids’ eyes.

The twins are amazed that Uncle Bill felt that Gabe was replacing him in their affections. “We like Uncle Gabe. We love you,” Buffy explains in a matter-of-fact way.

At episode’s end, Uncle Bill tells French to order three tickets for a rescheduled ride over Manhattan–and four tickets for Hansel and Gretel.

The fourth ticket is for French, who had already expressed a lack of interest in attending the play. This seems a little mean on Bill’s part. At the very least, he should’ve included French in the helicopter ride, too.

Commentary

Although Gabe gets on my nerves, this is a nice episode. We’ve seen the kids deal with their insecurities about their new family situation–it’s interesting to see that Bill has insecurities, too.

Buffy and Jody are just too cute in their Western garb.

Random fashion note: I like this cute Buffy suit--I don't think we've seen it before.

Random fashion note: I like this Buffy suit–I don’t think we’ve seen it before.

Guest Cast

Gabe Nelson: John Agar. Ted Gaynor: John Hubbard.

John Agar

John Agar

John Agar jumped into the spotlight when he married Shirley Temple in 1945. His first film was Fort Apache (1948), which starred John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Temple. His marriage to Temple was short-lived, but he went on to appear in many movies, particularly Western and sci-fi films.

Fun Facts

When he was young and broke, before he started college, Uncle Bill worked in Montana. He has ridden a buckin’ bronc.

Continuity Notes

Uncle Bill mentions his brother.

Notable Quotes

“Well, I can fight a girl bear.”–Buffy, responding to Jody’s assertion that she can’t fight a bear because she’s a girl

 

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