With this episode, we reach the end of Family Affair‘s first season! Thanks to all of you who have followed along so far. The second season includes some of my favorite episodes, so I’m excited to get it under way next week.
Written by: George Tibbles. Directed by: William D. Russell.
Two threads run through this episode and come together by the end–almost.
First, a well known actor friend of Uncle Bill’s is observing French to prepare for a theatrical role.
Second, Cissy is indecisive about her choice for a Sadie Hawkins-type dance.
Cissy hesitates too long in finding a date and misses out on the desirable boys. Wanda, who acts more quickly, lands a good catch.
Uncle Bill reminisces to his house guest about his own Sadie Hawkins experiences. Even back then, it seams, he had to fight the girls off with a stick. Sometimes he would go as far as claiming a broken leg to avoid “dancing with a giraffe.” Real nice, Bill!
When Cissy finally stoops so low as calling her last-resort boy, Virgil, he has to decline: It seems he has a broken leg.
Believing that Virgil is lying, Cissy takes to moping around the apartment.
French thinks that Uncle Bill should offer to escort Cissy to the dance, and Bill does so.
Eventually, another answer to the problem dawns on Uncle Bill–he asks his celebrity friend to escort her.
Just then, Virgil appears at the Davis door with a very real broken leg and a doctor’s permission to attend the dance anyway.
As you can see, the twins don’t figure much in this episode’s plot. They do have a cute running gag, however.
At the beginning of the episode, they leave their school books on the hall table.
Later, Cissy and Wanda leave their books on the table, and French fails to react.
Near the end of the episode, they let themselves in after school and observe that French is nowhere to be seen.
French is amusing when he describes his efforts to keep the twins happy while Wanda sleeps over with Cissy for two nights. He manages to convince an exiled Buffy to play “hotel” in Jody’s room the first night, but by the second night his game of “castle” fails to keep the peace.
This episode seems to head in a very predictable direction.The “date-with-a-middle-aged celebrity” idea is the kind of thing that usually makes sense to everyone in old sitcoms, even though it would be make for a very strange occurrence in real life. Cissy’s refusal to go out with the movie star saves this episode.
Orson: Christopher Dark. Virgil: Patrick Moore. Wanda: Lynette Winter. Patrick Moore would appear one more time on Family Affair, and then vanish from the world of screen acting forever. Christopher Dark’s TV appearances include many westerns and two episodes of The Rogues, in which John Williams–the other Mr. French–had a regular role. Winter is familiar from her role as best friend LaRue in the series Gidget and as Henrietta Plout on Petticoat Junction. She also had a small part in The Parent Trap, but she didn’t share any screen time with Brian Keith.
French isn’t a movie buff. He only likes to watch Sir Laurence Olivier in Hamlet and color footage of the coronation. Oh, French.
Isn’t a fake broken leg a particularly lame excuse? You would have to keep the ruse up at school for a fairly long time.
Also, if Bill was so popular, why did he once have to take his aunt as his date to a track meet?
Thank you very much for all these brilliant season 1 posts. I enjoyed them immensely indeed and do look forward to your season 2 coverage.
What about some more babble on the German Family Affair now at the end of the first season? For me, watching the show on national public German TV in the late 60s had two major benefits, though I wasn’t aware of them at the time. Firstly, that silly laugh track which I find most annoying was not part of the German-dubbed version, and, secondly, there were no commercial breaks! On fee-funded national German TV, commercials are/were allowed only until 8:00 pm, only after the end of a program, and not at all on Sundays and public holidays. I don’t know the exact rules and regulations, so maybe they are no longer that strict today, particularly as regards daytime and early evening shows. I think one spot in a half-hour show is now permitted, as may be the interruption of longer movies, but, in any case, the after 8pm and Sunday/public holiday rule still applies. So I can hardly believe a show of just 25 or so minutes had two (!!!) commercial breaks in the USA! After the launch of cable and satellite TV in the late 80s, Family Affair was rerun on one of the new commercial stations which, of course, depended on commercial breaks and thus sort of forced Germans to get used to them (I never did!). But even then and there, the short FA episodes were broadcast “non-stop”! I don’t know whether half-hour shows have commercial breaks today – I still avoid watching commercial channels whenever possible because I hate the sudden intrusion of commercials just when things get interesting. It sucks.
Anyway, the rerun had another surprise in store. If you like, I’ll write more about it some other time.
P.S.: After some unrequested update, I seem to have some difficulties with this site. I had to fill in my details again to log in (did not pop up automatically, as before) and am obviously unable to format text in any way (e.g. bold or italic fonts). Will try to solve this problem.
Yay! I love hearing more about your experiences watching Family Affair in Germany!
That’s interesting about the lack of commercials. It makes me envy German television viewers. The bad thing about commercial television in the US is that the amount of time devoted to commercials has continued to expand through the years. Any station that rebroadcasts older shows like Family Affair will therefore cut out scenes to fit in more ads. They don’t cut with much care, either, so the resulting episodes tend to be choppy and confusing.
When I had my Family Affair web site in the late 1990s, I was working from episodes that a cable channel was re-broadcasting. Sometimes I would get to the credits and find a character listed who didn’t even appear in edited episode. I’m so glad the full episodes are available on DVD now!
Thanks for writing, and I’m sorry you had difficulty with the site. Every time WordPress makes “improvements,” it gives me headaches.
I look forward to hearing more from you soon!
And I thought that matters on commercial TV in Germany were awful! However, what you describe seems a lot worse. At least, they don’t cut out scenes here – as far as I know. They leave out the credits, though (which wouldn’t have been any help to your earlier web site either), and have commercial breaks lasting for at least 10 minutes. So when I really want to see something on commercial TV, I record it so that I can fast-forward the commercials.
I cannot wait for season 2!
Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!