Written by: Fred S. Fox. and Seaman Davis. Directed by: Charles Barton.
As in last week’s episode, we open with romance in the air at Central Park.
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.
“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 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.
(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?
Yeah, they totally are.
Soon the twins are reading their own bedtime stories.
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.
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.)
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. As a “Fraversham” shipper, I’m okay with that.
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.
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.
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.