I know, I know, it’s not even close to Friday this time. My attention is currently a bit divided when it comes to classic TV, for an exciting reason that I will share with you later this week!
Written by: Henry Garson and Edmund Beloin. Directed by: Charles Barton.
This week’s episode opens with Buffy, Jody, and Mr. French walking down a typical mid-town Manhattan street.
Stickball practice is in progress, and an errant ball knocks off Mr. French’s bowler. When a kid named Sam comes to retrieve the ball, Jody becomes enraptured with Sam’s team sweatshirt.
French gives Jody’s plan to try out a ringing endorsement:
Meanwhile, at home, Bill is talking business on the phone while Cissy reviews a teen magazine. When the twins return, Jody prepares to secure Uncle Bill’s permission for a stickball try-out, while Cissy and Buffy discuss fashion ideas for Mrs. Beasley.
This brief exchange serves to remind us that Buffy is a GIRL. You’ll need to keep this fact in mind to appreciate the full “hilarity” of what’s to come.
Jody finds that Uncle Bill is enthusiastic about his stickball plan.
Bill’s eager to give Jody some tips, so Jody grabs a broomstick from the kitchen. Oh, dear. If classic TV has taught me anything, its that you shouldn’t play ball in the house.
Jody’s initial try-out doesn’t go any better than the living room practice session.
Bill takes Jody to the park for more intensive practice.
Jody’s skills don’t improve, but one interesting thing does happen in the park. Buffy retrieves an errant pitch from Jody and throws the ball back with startling accuracy.
Jody’s second try-out goes no better than his first.
They insist on giving her an immediate try-out and observe that she’s a powerful hitter, too.
Both twins return to the Davis apartment wearing Tigers sweatshirts.
French is just confused by all the baseball terminology, and Bill is out of town, so he can’t weigh in on the latest developments. He returns in the midst of the Tigers’ next game and suffers a series of bitter shocks about the twins’ respective team roles.
Bill assumes that Jody feels humiliated about his position with the team. He sneaks off, hoping Jody won’t realize he was there to witness this “disgrace.”
From the beginning, Jody only seemed to want a team sweatshirt, anyway.
Meanwhile, Buffy asks if she can skip ball practice the next day.
See, she’s a GIRL! A GIRL has a talent for sports! I hope you’re not hurting yourself by laughing too hard.
Buffy needn’t worry anyway–a category 5 hurricane couldn’t dislodge those pigtails.
I love the way Jody has no problem with Buffy’s success. Buffy is equally supportive of Jody throughout the episode.
Uncle Bill acts like a tool here, but at least he realizes quickly that he’s projecting his own feelings onto Jody. It would have been nice if he’d spared a word of praise for Buffy’s ability. At least the cab driver and the police officer appreciated her talent.
One random comment: I just love when Jody calls his sister “Buff.”
If you want to learn more about stickball, here is an interesting article about its decline.
Sam: David Brandon. Officer Wilson: Bob DoQui. Cab Driver: Johnny Silver. Randy: Stephen Liss. Roberto: Miguel Monsalve. Jose: Rudy Battaglia.
This is Brandon’s second appearance and the first of several by Monsalve. DoQui, who died in 2008, worked steadily in TV into the 1990s. He also appeared in many films, including Nashville and the Robocop movies. Silver appeared in the movie Guys and Dolls and in many episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. He was also Dr. Blinkey on H.R. Pufnstuf. His last TV appearance was on a Seinfeld episode. He died in 2003.
Buffy is an outfielder. Uncle Bill was a good hitter, but when he threw, he couldn’t go to his left.
“Oh, for the playing fields of Eton!”–French
(French doesn’t really have a high enough social standing to have attended Eton, does he?)
Love your posts! Any plans to do the same for other oldies?? The Partridge Family???
Thanks for commenting! I’m always glad to hear that people are enjoying these posts.
Actually, I have been thinking about spotlighting individual episodes of other classic TV series. The Partridge Family definitely provides a lot of good, silly episodes to pick from! Do you have any suggestions for particular episodes I should feature?
Used to watch this show as a child. It may be corny today (it was corny then, too), but my twin brother and I especially enjoyed it and identified with the twins because they had, as you point out, a mutually supportive relationship. They loved and worried about each other. Almost all stories on TV and movies about twins has to do with bitter rivalry, or with the clichéd “evil twin” scenario. I’ll take Buffy and Jody over that any day.
I’m glad to hear of real-life twins who had a supportive relationship. I think that’s one reason I enjoy Family Affair, despite all the corn–the warmth conveyed in the family relationships.
Ironically, the episode I blog about tomorrow actually shows some rare rivalry between the twins. Spoiler alert–it all works out okay in the end. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
I, too, missed a word of praise for Buffy from Uncle Bill. Maybe men are – or at least were in those days when women had to fight hard for acceptance in “male” sports – just unable to bring themselves to this kind of acknowledgement. As girls and women in Germany were not officially allowed to play soccer until 1970 (!!!), I used to play street soccer in the 60s with my brother and his friends, and sometimes beach soccer with my dad. I dare to admit that I was pretty good and so wanted to trigger praise from my dad: “I did quite well, didn’t I?” All I got was a shrug. Maybe my dad wasn’t as convinced as I was, or he didn’t like my fishing for compliments – or he was simply unable to provide a word of praise since female soccer was not recognized by German society then and was nothing but a real laughing stock (!!!). (Yet I know my dad was proud of me as I sometimes caught him secretly watching me play Olympic handball – a game not banned for women).
That’s an interesting perspective. The timeline for organized sports opening up to women and girls in the US was similar. For instance, a 1973 court decision allowed girls to participate in Little League baseball.
I was never athletic, so I can’t say how my dad would have responded. Uncle Bill’s response was discouraging, since he usually seems slightly more enlightened than a typical 1960s male.
You’re right about Uncle Bill being more enlightened than the average 1960s male. His response is all the more disappointing as he tells the kids how proud he is of them on numerous other occasions.
I just watched the ‘Take Me Out of the Ball Game’ episode & found it particularly interesting because I have lived on E. 64th St. in NYC for 30 yrs. now. In regard to the comment here about the “alley way backing up to a huge windowless wall as being only in NY” – I just thought I would remind you that the entire show was filmed in CA with just painted murals in the backgrounds & stock footage of NYC thrown if from time to time. (Another ‘NYC’ show of the same time period that did the same thing was ‘That Girl’ which would at least film whole season outdoor shots with Marlo in NYC in one or two days to help authenticate it a little more – but it’s still rather disillusioning.) I’ve been enjoying gritty “Naked City” episodes to get my authentic NYC location shoots – & Kojak.