V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N

I will be away on vacation for the next two weeks, and during most of that time, I will not have internet access. (I’m not sure yet whether this will be bliss or torture.) Family Affair Friday will return on Friday, June 7.

I thought about rushing through the next couple of entries so they could post while I’m away, but I’d rather take the time to do the episodes justice.

When I return, I will be reviving some of this blog’s other features, including Spin Again Sunday and Weird Words of Wisdom.

Thank you for reading and for your patience!

And, to avoid leaving you empty-handed, I present this–a hint about how I’ll be spending my vacation. (Sadly, though, I don’t think Elke Sommer, Halston, or even Richard Gilliland are likely to make an appearance.)

Shoot me one of those drinks, Isaac.

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 2, Episode 4, “Arthur the Invisible Bear,” 10/2/1967

Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: Charles Barton.

Synopsis

Uh-oh! Jody’s delusional again!

Uncle Bill returns from a one-night trip out of town to learn that Jody has acquired an invisible companion–Arthur the bear. Bill figures Jody will forget about the bear by breakfast time the next morning.

Not exactly.

Not exactly. Arthur is a guest at the Davis table.

French is annoyed with this new addition to the family, but he hasn’t seen anything yet. Arthur is a rather disruptive bear.

Jody uses a whole bottle of Cissy's hair spray on Arthur's fur. She's rightfully annoyed--she probably goes through a bottle a day herself shellacking that flip into position.

Jody uses a whole bottle of Cissy’s hair spray on Arthur’s fur. She’s rightfully annoyed–she probably goes through a bottle a day herself shellacking that flip into position.

Buffy suffers, too. She feels left out when Jody is playing with Arthur.

Arthur even violates the sanctity of French’s bedroom.

I'm feeling his pain, here.

I’m feeling his pain here.

Most alarmingly, Arthur invades the twins’ classroom and causes a major disruption.

The teacher ends up sending the twins home early. (I understand her frustration, but that seems like a drastic solution.)

The teacher ends up sending the twins home early.

I understand her frustration, but that seems like a drastic solution.

Imagine how that would go over today–sending kids home early for misbehaving.

Bill, who initially saw Arthur as Jody’s equivalent to Mrs. Beasley, grows concerned. Jody ends up in a place where I suspect he’ll be spending a lot of time later in life–a psychologist’s office.

She says the well-behaved Jody is using Arthur to act out his hatreds and hostilities. She encourages the rest of the family to accept Arthur.

She says the well-behaved Jody is using Arthur to act out his hatreds and hostilities. She encourages the rest of the family to accept Arthur. (Her office is Family Affair green! Everyone take a drink!)

The family tries to follow her advice, but everyone finds it taxing. Eventually, Bill has a heart-to-heart talk with Jody and comes to the conclusion that the boy is well-adjusted.

Our first "awww..." moment of the Season 2.

Our first “‘Awww…” moment of the Season 2.

Bill drives the whole family out to a barren hellscape, where Arthur is released.

Arthur, we hardly knew ye.

Arthur, we hardly knew ye.

We end with one of those sitcom “Could it be?” moments, as French believes he sees a bear running away.

Commentary

On old radio and TV shows, child psychologists are buffoons who fail to realize that parenting just requires good old-fashioned common sense. I think I’m with the psychologist here, though. An imaginary friend carried to the point of disrupting the classroom would worry me.

Guest Cast

Dr. Dorothy Cramer: Adrienne Marden. Miss Ainsley: Mitzi Hoag. Sue Evelyn: Susan Marie Benjamin. Howard: Kevin Cooper. Hoag had regular roles on the series Hawaii Five-O and Here Come the Brides.

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 2, Episode 3, “Go Home, Mr. French,” 9/25/1967

Written by: Fred S. Fox. and Seaman Davis. Directed by: Charles Barton.

 Synopsis

As in last week’s episode, we open with romance in the air at Central Park.

pallid youth

While on an outing with Buffy and Jody, Mr. French is shocked to run into old flame Lorna Frazier, who is accompanied by two pallid products of the British aristocracy.

French and Lorna worked together on the staff of the Duke and Duchess of Glenmore. She’s visiting New York with the Duke and Duchess and their children.

Returning home, Buffy and Jody waste no time telling Uncle Bill about French’s old friend and how pretty she is.

knowing

“You sly dog,” Uncle Bill appears to be thinking here.

Bill is less amused when the Duke tracks him down at a construction site and says he wants to hire French back. He’s offering French an executive position on the staff, and urges Bill to let French feel as if he can take it.

While reminiscing and pondering whether to leave the Davis family, French thumbs through some old photo albums.

This is a beardless French.

This is a beardless French.

This is French and Lorna at Brighton--a place where, I gather, chimps are freely available for fondling.

This is French and Lorna at Brighton–a place where, I gather, chimps are freely available for fondling.

This is the Glenmore estate, where French was born and where three previous generations of French men served.

This is the Glenmore estate, where French was born and where three previous generations of French men served.

(French says he left the estate and Lorna behind because he was eager to come to America. I’m baffled why someone as uber-British as French would want to make that move, especially since being a one-man staff to an engineer seems like a big step down. I’d love to hear my readers’ theories–especially if they’re salacious.)

Bill calls a hasty family meeting and tells the kids that they cant stand in French's way. Oh, no, they're not going to do that old sitcom thing where they try to make French feel like they don't need him, are they?

Bill calls a hasty family meeting and tells the kids that they cant stand in French’s way. Oh, no, they’re not going to do that old sitcom thing where they try to make French feel like they don’t need him, are they?

Yeah, they totally are.

Soon the twins are reading their own bedtime stories.

Soon the twins are reading their own bedtime stories.

Uncle Bill even starts dressing himself!

Uncle Bill even starts dressing himself!

To French’s credit, he sees through the family’s new-found independence. But torn between wanting to stay and wanting to be near Lorna again, he decides to accept the Duke’s offer.

No sooner has he decided, however, than he’s waffling again. Bill observes that French has a hard time saying goodbye to the kids.

As a going-away gift, they give him "military brushes." That's a thing, apparently.

As a going-away gift, they give him “military brushes.” That’s a thing, apparently.

Soon Uncle Bill’s off to see the Duke, requesting that he give French a chance to change his mind. (Convincing French to leave, helping French to stay–Bill has his hands full in this episode.)

glum

Just when the glum kids think they are about to meet French’s replacement, they get the news that he’s staying.

Though he professes to have stayed for practical reasons, the kids realize he would have missed them, and he finally admits it.

“Yay, Mr. French is giving up the chance for professional advancement and personal fulfillment to attend to our needs!”

Actually, I think French is just not that into Lorna. During their wistful farewell scene, they acknowledge that they can’t re-create the past.

French doesn't even kiss her goodbye.

French doesn’t even kiss her goodbye. As a “Fraversham” shipper, I’m okay with that.

Commentary

This episode would have bored me as a kid, and it still bores me now. French’s shifts between wanting to go and wanting to stay are too sudden to inspire any emotion.

Guest Cast

Lorna Frasier: Anna Lee. Duchess of Glenmore: Cathleen Cordell. Jonathan: Riley Mills. Elizabeth: Nicci-Ann Frank. Miss Turner: Merri Wood Taylor. Duke of Glenmore: Patric Knowles.

Anna Lee

Anna Lee

Patric Knowles’ long motion picture career included substantive roles in such movies as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Of Human Bondage, Three Came Home and Auntie Mame. He once appeared on TV’s The Rogues, in which the other Mr. French–John Williams–was a regular cast member. Anna Lee had a similarly long and distinguished career, which included playing Bronwyn in How Green Was My Valley, in which Knowles also appeared. Other movies in which she had significant roles include King Solomon’s Mines, Flying Tigers, Bedlam, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Fort Apache, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Sound of Music (she was Sister Margaretta, the nun most sympathetic to Maria). She may be best known today for her long-running role as Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital.