Assorted Ephemera: My Three Sons Coloring Book (1971)

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for TV collectibles, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for TV collectibles, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

My Three Sons premiered on September 29, 1960, and ran for 12 years. The latter half of the show saw many changes for widower Steve Douglas and his family–the show changed networks, switched from black and white to color, and re-located its setting from the Midwest to Southern California (a change prompted by a real-life change in production facilities).

One son married and departed, a new son joined the family through adoption, grandfather Bub left, and salty Uncle Charley took over as caretaker. In its last few years, the all-male cast got an estrogen infusion: Second son Rob married Katie and moved her into the family home; third son Chip eloped with Polly; and Steve married widow Barbara, who had a young daughter.

my three sons coloring book cover

The coloring book barely mentions Polly, though she was part of the show by 1971. I can’t blame Saalfield. The Chip-Polly marriage was an unfortunate development, mainly because the actors playing the newlyweds looked like 12-year-olds.

It’s not hard to imagine what Executive Producer Don Fedderson was thinking when he introduced Barbara’s daughter, Dodie. Family Affair‘s Buffy and her doll Mrs. Beasley were a merchandising gold mine. Collectibles like this coloring book and Dodie paper dolls–both printed by Saalfield–represented attempts to recapture the Buffy magic. Producers even gave Dodie a companion doll, Myrtle.

Abnormally short girl with unlikely name + strange-looking doll = cha-ching!

Unusually short girl with unlikely name + strange-looking doll = cha-ching!

Dodie merchandising didn’t come close to matching the success of Buffy and Mrs. Beasley, though.

This coloring book features “Dodie’s Favorite Things to Do,” a theme that enabled Saalfield to use random toy and teddy bear pictures for about half the content.

The other pages feature the Douglas family. The illustrator does a pretty good job making Steve look recognizable.

The other pages feature the Douglas family. The illustrator does a decent job with the likenesses, especially Fred MacMurray’s.

Rob and Katie’s triplets are in almost as many pictures as Dodie.

Fun fact: The episode featuring the triplets' birth aired on the day I was born.

Fun fact: The episode featuring the triplets’ birth aired on the day I was born.

The coloring book includes paper dolls of the triplets and Dodie.

It also includes this creepiness--kids are supposed to transform it into a picture of what they want to be when they grow up.

It also includes this creepiness. Kids are supposed to transform it into a picture of what they want to be when they grow up.

One of Dodie's own career aspirations is stewardess.

One of Dodie’s own career aspirations is stewardess.

Uncle Charley gets some ink in the coloring book (although it spells his name wrong).

my three sons coloring book uncle charlie

What a fascinating revelation.

The image below is the only one that comes directly from the show.

I take back what I said about the decent likenesses. I think they borrowed this face from a Planet of the Apes coloring book.

I take back what I said about the decent likenesses. I think they borrowed this face from a Planet of the Apes coloring book.

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Embarrassing Treasures Field Trip: The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention 2013

They had me at Margaret O’Brien.

I don’t remember what made me browse the web site for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention earlier this year, but as soon as I saw Margaret O’Brien on the celebrity list, I ordered my tickets.

MANC takes place each fall in Baltimore. For three days, celebrities make themselves available for autograph signings and Q&A sessions; experts hold seminars on old-time radio, classic television, and classic movie topics; vendors sell movie posters, books, and other collectibles; and classic screen performances play in the Movie Room.

I’ve thought about attending before (and I really wish I’d attended in 2009, when Johnny Whitaker and one-time Family Affair guest star Lee Meriwether were guests). The chance to see my favorite child star in person stirred me into seizing the moment. It’s a sad reality that few golden-age stars remain with us, and we lose more every year.

This was the first nostalgia convention I’ve attended, and what follows is a brief, impressionistic review. Unfortunately, it lacks photos—I forgot to pack my camera, and my iPhone images didn’t turn out well.

Educational Sessions

Mornings at MANC are devoted to presentations on vintage entertainment topics. The presenters are people who’ve invested enormous time into learning about their subject. John C. Abbott, for instance, has produced an exhaustive three-volume work called The Who is Johnny Dollar? Matter about radio’s famous insurance investigator. He’s analyzed not only the remaining recorded episodes but those that exist only in script form. He can tell you everything from Johnny’s address to how many times he’s been shot.

Sally Stephens talked about Gracie Allen’s 1940 run for the presidency, a months-long joke that played out on several radio shows and in live appearances. Stephens effectively integrated radio clips into her presentation, which made her topic come alive.

Joanna Wilson gave a great presentation on TV adaptions of A Christmas Carol. I’d been eagerly anticipating this presentation for two reasons:

  • I love TV Christmas specials and episodes.
  • Wilson is a fellow Classic TV Blog Association member, and I hoped to meet her and to purchase her book, ‘Tis the Season TV.

Wilson’s presentation didn’t disappoint–her passion for her subject matter really came through, and the audience responded with similar enthusiasm. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of straight A Christmas Carol adaptations. (What does it say about me that my favorite theatrical version features the Muppets?) I still enjoyed learning about all the versions TV has produced, and I was glad that Wilson touched on many of my favorite Dickens-influenced TV episodes, including ones from The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, The Avengers, and Family Ties.

It was fun to meet another blogger, and I’m enjoying Wilson’s book, which I highly recommend to all Christmas TV fans.

(Be sure to read her convention recap, too–it has pictures!)

Author Gene Blottner did a presentation on film noir star Audrey Totter and made good use of clips from Totter’s career.

Garyn Roberts, a noted Ray Bradbury scholar, hosted a celebration of the author and gave another talk about Dick Tracy in popular culture.

Celebrity Appearances

As Ed Asner walked into his Q&A session, his cell phone rang. Nodding to the audience, he quipped, “It’s for you.”

This was the perfect introduction for Asner, who was as gruff, unfiltered, and entertaining as you would expect. He had high praise for many of his former co-stars, especially Ted Knight from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Nancy Marchand from Lou Grant. (He also had high praise for Marchand’s legs.) 

Johnny Crawford from The Rifleman appeared on a panel with Jeff Connors, real-life son of Rifleman star Chuck Connors. Both men recalled the elder Connors with affection. Crawford said that Connors was protective toward him on the set; no director who treated Crawford unkindly would continue working on the show.

Crawford reminisced about some of his favorite guest stars on the show, including John Anderson and Royal Dano. He especially enjoyed working with two-time guest star Sammy Davis Jr., who loved Westerns.

His favorite episodes from the show are “The Pet” and “The Sharpshooter.” (Sam Peckinpah wrote the latter’s script.)

All the talk about the show’s warm father-son dynamic inspired me to make The Rifleman a regular part of my Me-TV viewing.

Crawford also talked his experiences as a first-season Mouseketeer and joked about his crush on Karen, which Cubby thwarted.

Julie Newmar shared a Q&A session with Elizabeth Shepherd, a British actress best known for her role in 1964’s The Tomb of Ligeia, as well as her status as The Avengers‘ first Emma Peel. (Producers quickly replaced her with Diana Rigg, and the scenes that Shepherd shot for the show no longer exist.)

Newmar and Shepherd made an interesting study in contrasts. Newmar was expansive, dramatic, and occasionally random. (She sometimes interrupted Shepherd to ask her an off-the-wall question.) Shepherd was down-to-earth and good at telling stories, as when she described her perilous encounters with trained ravens during the filming of The Omen II.

Newmar said her ballet background gave her the cat-like physique that served her well in her famous Batman role. Her most challenging role was on the short-lived series My Living Doll because it was difficult to find the humanity in her robot character.

An experienced Shakespearean stage actress, Shepherd made an interesting point about theater being a burgeoning new field to the Elizabethans, as social media is to us today. She treated the MANC audience to an excellent dramatic recitation from Shakespeare.

(Note to the loud talker behind me who rarely shut his mouth throughout the Newmar and Shepherd Q&A: Not cool. Seriously. When everyone around you is glaring, it’s time to shut up.)

Margaret O’Brien exuded graciousness throughout her presentation.

She had good things to say about nearly everyone she worked with, from Charles Laughton (“He was wonderful”) to Lionel Barrymore (“He was almost like a grandfather”) to Judy Garland (“She loved children”).

She even had a good relationship with studio head Louis B. Mayer, who wanted to marry her mother, glamorous flamenco dancer Gladys Flores.

O’Brien talked again and again about the supportive, protective role her mother played in her life. Flores made sure that O’Brien got the salary she deserved for Meet Me in Saint Louis. She kept O’Brien in line during the perilous teenage years, once busting her at a nightclub after she sneaked out with Natalie Wood. She kept the child-hating Wallace Beery from stealing O’Brien’s hot lunch on the set of Bad Bascomb. (Beery seemed to be the only person in Hollywood to earn O’Brien’s ire.)

It’s apparent that her mother’s influence kept O’Brien from the pitfalls of child stardom and enabled her to simply enjoy the movie-making process.

O’Brien, who traveled to Japan in 1952 to make the movie Girls Hand in Hand, talked about the importance of travel and getting to know people from other cultures. Again, she praised the influence of her mother, who served as her role model as a strong, independent woman.

“I never feel that I can’t do something,” O’Brien said.

Autographs and Vendors

The welcoming letter in the convention program noted that some people attend only to collect autographs, while skipping all the sessions. I took the opposite approach. I’ve never been an autograph collector, and I feel awkward approaching celebrities–there’s nothing that I could say that they haven’t heard thousands of times. MANC attracts a knowledgeable crowd, so audience members covered most of the questions I would have asked during the Q&A sessions. (I did hope to ask Robert Loggia about his work with Brian Keith on Disney’s Elfego Baca, but Loggia is in frail health, and I couldn’t bring myself to bother him.)

For those who do want to collect autographs, MANC is ideal. Celebrities are available for long periods throughout the three-day conference, so lines stay short, and fans have time to chat with their favorite stars.

Vendor tables lined the main hallway leading to the seminar room. When I didn’t see anything I wanted there, I figured the spending money I brought with me was safe. On the second day, I realized that many more vendors were offering their wares on another floor. I picked up a few vintage books and magazines and a set of Dr. Doolittle paper dolls. I also bought several current books, including books about Peggy Ann Garner and 1950s live television by author Sandra Grabman, who attended the convention.

My only regret was that I didn’t find any good games for future Spin Again Sunday posts.

My overall experience at MANC was wonderful, and I would highly recommend it to all fans of vintage entertainment. The $15-a-day admission price is a small price to pay for seeing your favorite stars in person and hearing from experts on interesting topics. I hope to go again in coming years. (I definitely will if Kathy Garver appears–I’m not missing another Family Affair star!)

Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 21, “A House in the Country,” 2/5/1968

Written by: Ed James. Directed by: Charles Barton.

Bill’s date this week is cute, but he’s not paying any attention to her.

Eventually, she gets him to open up about his worries--he's suddenly decided that New York is no place to raise kids.

Eventually, she gets him to open up about his worries–he’s suddenly decided that New York is no place to raise kids.

Bill loves the city, but he thinks the “dirty air,” pushing and shoving, and three-block walk to the park make it a bad environment for his nieces and nephew.

His mood grows even darker on the way home.

Having had its one annual snowstorm last week, New York is now experiencing heavy rain.

Having had its one annual snowstorm last week, New York is now experiencing heavy rain.

Unable to get a taxi, Bill is a sodden mess by the time he walks back to the apartment.

French doesn't make things any better by calling the rain "invigorating." I guess that's the Englishman in him talking.

French doesn’t make things any better by calling the rain “invigorating.” I guess that’s the Englishman in him talking.

Observing her uncle’s reaction, Buffy says, “I think he’s getting another mood.”

Bill sends the kids off to do their homework.

Bill sends the kids off to do their homework.

Somehow, they end up in the kitchen bothering French instead.

Giles French Cooking Tip: Always tear lettuce with your hands instead of cutting it with a knife, which can give it a metallic flavor.

Giles French Cooking Tip: Always tear lettuce with your hands instead of cutting it with a knife, which can give it a metallic flavor.

Buffy and Jody wonder aloud why the metal bowl doesn’t have the same effect.

Then they wander off to bother Bill again, leaving French to ponder the metal bowl conundrum.

Then they wander off to find Bill, leaving French to ponder the metal bowl conundrum.

Buffy and Jody ask Bill if they can watch him make faces as he shaves. He obliges them, but he’s soon shocked to hear the foul language Jody has learned in the wicked city.

"It sure is a stinkin' day, ain't it?"

“It sure is a stinkin’ day, ain’t it?”

Before Bill’s delicate sensibilities can recover, Jody also mentions the “crummy rain.”

After Bill sends Jody off to fetch French, Buffy tells her uncle that she’s no longer taking Mrs. Beasley to the park. Buffy’s friend Pamela was nearly hit by a car the day before, and Pamela’s doll Gertrude suffered a smashed head. Buffy notes that Pamela is having a funeral for Gertrude when the weather improves.

“That should be fun,” Buffy notes brightly.

When French arrives, Bill sends Buffy to join her brother in the kitchen.

Bill interrogates French about where Jody learned such terrible language.

Bill interrogates French about where Jody learned such terrible language.

Of all the people he could blame–school friends, park ruffians–French chooses Scotty to throw under the bus. He does try to defend the doorman, though, by calling him “the salt of the earth” and adding that such language is “typical of city life.”

That was the wrong thing to say.

Just to make Bill’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day complete, Cissy barges in asking about the appropriate age to become engaged. Bill doesn’t care for her box-boy intended; he says the boy “looks like a refugee from the House of David.”

Cissy doesn't get it and neither do I, but it seems to have something to do with the length of his hair.

Cissy doesn’t get it and neither do I, but it seems to have something to do with the length of his hair.

After all this drama, Bill makes up his mind–he’s ready to chuck city life.

So, we're off to Connecticut, which is having a very, very late fall, apparently.

So, we’re off to Connecticut, which is having a very, very late fall, apparently.

“This is the only place to bring up kids,” Bill’s realtor assures him as they check out a lovely property.

The kids seem happy: Jody tortures water fowl while Buffy enjoys a tire swing. Is that cut-off tire style common? My old tire swing was a whole tire.

The kids seem happy: Jody tortures water fowl while Buffy enjoys a tire swing. (Is that cut-off style common? My old tire swing was a whole tire.)

French notes approvingly that the place resembles the Duke of Glenmore’s weekend estate in Kent–although he does emphasize the word “weekend.”

And countryside or no, Cissy doesn't let any grass grow under her feet. She's already got her hooks in the grandson of a neighbor.

And countryside or no, Cissy doesn’t let any grass grow under her feet. She’s already got her hooks in the grandson of a neighbor.

French, sensing that Bill has made up his mind, tells Buffy and Jody that “this bird sanctuary is about to be our new home.”

While the twins think the country is a nice place to visit, they don't want to live there.

While the twins think the country is a nice place to visit, they don’t want to live there.

Jody says he’ll miss blowing Scotty’s whistle, and Buffy worries that she’ll miss Gertrude’s funeral.

Cissy tells them they all need to go along with Uncle Bill's wishes. (They really must be getting ready to move--the desk has already disappeared from the girls' room.)

Cissy tells them they all need to go along with Uncle Bill’s wishes.

She reminds them that “no one has ever been as kind to them” as Uncle Bill, and that if he hadn’t intervened, they’d still be scattered. Actually, she’s going a bit overboard here. Surely their own parents were “kind” to them.

The twins agree to put on a happy face about the move, which becomes more difficult when Bill tells them they’ll be moving by the end of the week. How do you close on a house that quickly?!

Their "happy faces" look like this, but they still manage to fool Bill.

The kids “happy faces” look like this, but they manage to fool Bill.

Buffy returns some borrowed toys to Pamela, who’s upset that Buffy will miss the doll funeral.

She was supposed to serve as "all the pallbearers."

She was supposed to serve as “all the pallbearers.”

Jody says his goodbyes to Scotty, who leaves him with some words of wisdom.

"If you think life is tough now, just wait till you grow up."

“If you think life is tough now, just wait till you grow up.”

Cissy parts with her boyfriend, despite his pleas that they get married. She could get a job, too, and they could have “a real swinging time.”

Cissy manages to resist this offer. (Is his hair really any longer than Connecticut Guy's?)

Cissy manages to resist this offer. (Is his hair really any longer than Connecticut Guy’s?)

Meanwhile, French vents to Miss Faversham about the move.

She makes the mistake of suggesting that he could give notice if he doesn't want to leave the city.

She makes the mistake of suggesting that he could give notice if he doesn’t want to leave the city.

French goes all, "My Dear Miss Faversham" on her.

French goes all “My Dear Miss Faversham” on her and says he owes Bill “a full measure of loyalty.”

Back at home, the Davis apartment is emptying rapidly.

This is the first African-American actor we've seen on the show for weeks.

This is the first African-American actor we’ve seen on the show for weeks. Too bad he doesn’t get any lines.

The kids are looking so miserable that even Bill starts to pick up on it.

The kids look so miserable that even Bill picks up on it.

Cissy explains that they are sad about leaving “the first real home we’ve had as a family,” a place where they’ve felt “warm and safe and loved.”

Once again, she’s forgetting their actual “first real home,” but she gets through to Bill.

He announces that the family is staying put.

He announces that the family is staying put.

Good thing that reversing a house purchase is not at all difficult.

Bill must be wondering, though, what to do with all the Family Affair green paint he'd undoubtedly ordered to spruce up the country house.

Bill must be wondering, though, what to do with all the Family Affair green paint he’d undoubtedly ordered to spruce up the country house.

Soon, it's raining again in the city, and Bill is searching in vain for a cab. (He should really think about buying an umbrella.)

Soon, it’s raining again in the city, and Bill is searching in vain for a cab. (He should really think about buying an umbrella.)

But when he returns home to a happy family, and the Violins of Emotional Resonance ring out, he decides city life isn’t so bad.

Commentary

This script has lots of cute dialogue, but it also has room for improvement. If, for example, Bill overheard the kids talking about some Terre Haute experiences they missed, his desire to leave the city would seem less like a wild hair. If he reminisced a bit about his own Indiana boyhood, his motivation would be more clear. And his change of heart at the end would be more plausible if the house sale hadn’t already gone through.

Random wardrobe observation: Buffy looks like a xylophone in this dress...

Random wardrobe observation: Buffy looks like a xylophone in this dress…

...and like a drum in this matching one.

…and like a drum in this matching one.

Guest Cast

Mr. Pendergast: Mauritz Hugo. Scotty: Karl Lukas. Jerry: Patrick Moore. Mr. Burgess: Walter Reed. Pamela: Debi Storm. Marcia: Lynn Borden. Danny: Dennis Olivieri. Miss Faversham: Heather Angel.
Most of our guest actors are familiar faces. Lukas and Angel, of course, are frequent guests. Borden and Olivieri are both making their second of three Family Affair appearances, and Storm and Moore are making their second and final ones. Hugo made a career out playing bit parts in TV and movie Westerns. Reed quit acting a few years after this episode aired and became a real estate broker.

I like this rainy Times Square establishing shot.

I like this rainy Times Square establishing shot, with the Braniff sign and all. This interesting page about Braniff says the sign went up in 1964 and was the largest moving display billboard in the world at the time.

Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 20, “The Day Nothing Happened,” 1/29/1968

Written by: Henry Garson and Edmund Beloin. Directed by: Charles S. Barton.

This week’s adventure begins with Buffy and Jody greeting Scotty the doorman. Clutching Bill’s boots, the twins inform Scotty that their uncle is traveling to Maine for moose-hunting.

Aren't their coats and hats cute?

Aren’t their coats and hats cute?

Upstairs, Bill is haranguing poor Miss Lee by phone. He doesn’t want to be disturbed while he’s away.

"Don't mess up my vacation and I'll bring you back an antler," he says. I wonder what she mutters under her breath as she hangs up the phone.

“Don’t mess up my vacation and I’ll bring you back an antler,” he says. I wonder what she mutters under her breath as she hangs up the phone.

Meanwhile, Cissy has a new male obsession–Norton Webberly.

She asks Bill if she was wrong to accept two dates with Norton for the upcoming weekend--one for a movie and one for brunch.

She asks Bill if she was wrong to accept two dates with Norton for the upcoming weekend–one for a movie and one for brunch.

Bill doesn’t see any problem with it.

He's mostly just excited to get his plaid on and kill some animals.

He’s mostly just excited to get his plaid on and start killing some animals.

He even volunteers to finish his own packing because French has plans to spend the evening visiting his brother on Long Island.

Bill's packing style is similar to mine.

Bill’s haphazard packing style matches my own.

He awakes to bad news the next morning, though. A blizzard has struck New York and trapped French on Long Island.

French seems upset about the situation, but I suspect he's secretly pleased to have his version of a "snow day."

French seems upset about the situation, but I suspect he’s pleased to have his version of a “snow day.”

While he waits to hear if his flight is cancelled, Bill sends the twins off to make breakfast–an inexplicable lapse in judgment.

This scene is cute, especially when Buffy attempts to strain shell fragments out of the eggs. Johnny Whitaker's giggle appears to be genuine.

This scene is cute, especially when Buffy attempts to strain shell fragments out of the eggs. Johnny Whitaker’s giggle is genuine. (Also, I like those Pyrex mixing bowls.)

Cissy comes along in time to rescue breakfast, but her weekend soon takes a turn for the worse.

Ah-choo!

Ah-choo!

Cissy is smart enough to know that, as a TV character, she will only sneeze when a raging cold is descending upon her. She’s horrified that Norton Webberly might see her with a red nose. Bill tells her she won’t be going out at all, unless the family doctor approves. (Really–consulting a doctor over a simple cold?)

Bill’s upset, too, because all flights out of JFK are grounded. He doesn’t feel any better after phoning one of the colleagues waiting for him in Maine.

This guy's all, "Oooh, you're having a blizzard? The weather up here is perfect."

Charlie’s all, “Oooh, you’re having a blizzard? The weather up here is perfect.”

Since Buffy and Jody are snowbound, Bill allows them to invite a few friends over.

He regrets this decision pretty quickly.

He regrets this decision right away.

French, reached by phone, proves that he’s earned his parenting stripes over the past year.

He suggests that Bill employ "the modern-day pacifier"--television.

He suggests that Bill employ “the modern-day pacifier”–television. (Note that French’s brother likes Family Affair green as much as everyone else on this show.)

Bill sets the kids up in the den with Captain Hippopotamus.

As soon as he leaves, they switch the channel to a horror movie. I like that touch--these kids seem a little too old for Captain Hippopotamus.

As soon as he leaves, they switch the channel to a horror movie. I like that touch–these kids seem a little too old for Captain Hippopotamus.

Meanwhile, the doctor has ordered Cissy to bed. (Why can’t I find a doctor who will order me to bed when I get a cold?) She has to cancel her first of two dates with Norton, but she refuses to phone him herself. Norton has praised her “sexy voice,” and she doesn’t want him to hear the congested version. She enlists Sharon to do the dirty deed, instead.

To pass the time, she washes and sets her hair, only to find that her hair dryer is on the fritz.

To pass the time, she washes and sets her hair, only to find that her hair dryer is on the fritz.

My mom had a hair dryer like that when I was very little. I loved playing with it.

I never enjoyed hard plastic curlers, though. These huge ones look especially uncomfortable.

I never enjoyed hard plastic curlers, though. These huge ones look especially uncomfortable.

Bill, trying to fix the hairdryer, plugs it into the same outlet as the TV set. The kids think it’s cool when smoke starts billowing out of Dracula’s mouth–until the TV shorts out completely.

Bill also has to deal with Sharon, who never misses a chance to stir the you-know-what.

She's let Cissy know that Norton is taking another girl to Radio City.

She’s let Cissy know that Norton is taking another girl to Radio City.

Bill practices some tough love on Cissy. He gets her to admit that she’s only just met Norton and is already hoping for “something they write great novels about.” He tells her that the relationship could be all in her mind, and that she’s not going to “be a great sensation” with every guy she meets. Surprisingly, this conversation improves Cissy’s mood.

While Cissy occupies Bill, the twins and their friends amuse themselves. Bill has already told them they can’t build a snowman on the terrace.

Seizing on a loophole, they haul snow inside and build their snowman in the living room.

Seizing on a loophole, they haul snow inside and build their snowman in the living room.

Their snowman is actually a snow Mr. French. They are wondering what to use for his beard when Bill enters the room. Personally, I would have lost it right here. Buffy and Jody are old enough to know better. Bill reacts calmly, though he does order the twins to remove the snow and sends their friends home.

I guess he realizes that this special dry kind of snow will be easy to clean up.

I guess he realizes that this special dry kind of snow will be easy to clean up.

Soon, Bill’s colleague in Maine calls with news. After buttering up a client all day, he’s landed their firm a big tunnel contract. He and the client are flying to White Sulphur Springs to finalize the paperwork, and he encourages Bill to meet them there with his golf clubs.

(Woo–a shout-out to my home state! Surely, they are referencing  The Greenbrier. Golf is not a four-season sport in West Virginia, though.)

Bill, who was anticipating a real vacation rather than a working one, finds Charlie’s news underwhelming. He decides to spend his time off at home.

A knock at the door brings Cissy flowers and a nice note from Norton, so she's happy.

A delivery man shows up with flowers and a nice note from Norton, so Cissy ends the episode happy.

When French finally returns, he finds that Bill is happy, too.

He says he's experienced "the best change of scenery anyone's ever had with a couple of kids and a moonstruck teenager."

He says he’s experienced “the best change of scenery someone’s ever had with a couple of kids and a moonstruck teenager.”

Commentary

It’s funny how infrequently it snows in the Davis version of New York.

This is a cute episode, and it’s nice that Bill ends up enjoying the little aggravations of home life. If he spent more time at home, however, I’m not sure he’d be so sanguine. Indoor snowmen and cranky teens are probably more bearable as a novelty than as an everyday reality.

Continuity Notes

Scotty, Miss Lee, Sharon, Captain Hippopotamus–this episode is a continuity-palooza!

Random twin cuteness

Random twin cuteness

Guest Cast

Charley: Ray Kellogg. Scotty: Karl Lukas. Sharon: Sherry Alberoni. Delivery Man: James Victor.

I’ve mentioned before that bit-part actors seem to find a niche. Kellogg usually played guards or policemen. This is Victor’s second Family Affair appearance; Alberoni and Lukas, of course, are mainstays.

My Five Favorite…Classic TV Show Openings

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for episode recaps, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for episode recaps, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

When I was a kid, I made a TV theme song compilation with my cassette recorder. In my teens, after we acquired our first VCR, I committed a long string of show openings to video. In my 20s, I purchases more than one theme-song compilation CD.

From these facts, you can deduce two things:

  • I’ve always been kind of a loser.
  • I’ve always really loved theme songs.

Recently, I started thinking about my favorite TV show openings. The perfect opening combines music and visuals to tell a story, set a mood, and prepare the viewer for their imminent TV experience. These five openings do their job well.

(The first two shows on this list are celebrating anniversaries today. The Addams Family debuted September 18, 1964, and The Patty Duke Show premiered on that same date the previous year.)

The Addams Family
Composer: Vic Mizzy. Vocal Performer: Ted Cassidy.
Who can resist that finger-snapping rhythm? Recently, I saw a touring production of The Addams Family musical, and the crowd came to life as soon those familiar notes rang out. No wonder the tune is a favorite at sporting events. The lyrics are fun, too, with words like “kooky” and “ooky” to contrast with the deadpan visuals.

The Patty Duke Show
Composers: Sid Ramin and Robert Wells. Vocal Performers: The Skip-Jacks.
In classic television, the stranger a show’s premise was, the heavier a burden its theme song bore. For a premise like “this is a family with three kids,” you don’t need words at all. But if your show’s about a group of passengers on a three-hour cruise who get shipwrecked, you have some explaining to do. Few premises are as unlikely as “identical cousins,” but The Patty Duke Show theme does a good job laying out the situation and distinguishing between the girls. This opening also gives us fun lyrics like “Our Patty loves to rock and roll/A hot dog makes her lose control” over images of teenage life.

The Dick Van Dyke Show
Composer: Earle Hagen.
The tune is as jaunty as Van Dyke himself, and the producers’ clever ploy of filming two opening sequences (used during seasons two through five) kept viewers guessing from week to week–would Rob Petrie trip over the ottoman or deftly sidestep it?

Room 222
Composer: Jerry Goldsmith.
I have a soft spot for this one. The recorder-laced melody captures the mingled excitement and ennui of a new school day. Besides, the mini-skirt-and-knee-socks fashions are adorable.

All in the Family
Composers: Lee Adams and Charles Strouse. Vocal Performers: Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton.
As a kid, I didn’t know who Glenn Miller or Herbert Hoover were, and “Gee our old La Salle ran great” was a undecipherable string of syllables. Still, I understood where these characters were coming from. Maybe it was the line “Girls were girls and men were men” that gave it away. Like my own blue-collar grandparents, the Bunkers were pining for a simpler world that was slipping away. Even the visuals of Queens reminded me a bit of my grandparents’ neighborhood outside Pittsburgh. And Jean Stapleton’s tortured high note sums up her character beautifully.

What are your favorites?

Other posts you might enjoy:

Spin Again Sunday: Addams Family Card Game

Spin Again Sunday: Patty Duke Game

Room 222 Call Sheet: A Day in the Life of a 1970s Sitcom

Spin Again Sunday: All in the Family Game

Spin Again Sunday Extra: Bewitched (1965)

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for episode recaps, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

This month, I am honoring the premiere anniversaries of many classic TV shows. Check back frequently for episode recaps, fan magazine articles, special editions of Spin Again Sunday, and more. I will also be posting unique content on Facebook and Instagram.

(Note: I meant to post this yesterday because Bewitched was celebrating an anniversary–it premiered September 17, 1964. Alas, I was too busy packing for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. I’ll be tweeting from there over the next few days.)

Today’s Game: Bewitched

bewitched game boxCopyright Date: 1965.

Manufacturer: T. Cohn, Inc.

Recommended Ages: 6-12.

Subtitle: The Samantha and Endora Game. Don’t worry, though–the manufacturers certainly didn’t forget about Darrin.

As in the show, however, Darrin doesn't escape with much dignity intact.

As in the show, Darrin doesn’t escape with much dignity intact.

Oddities: Besides the obscure manufacturer and the unusual subtitle, the strangest thing about this game is a blurb on the inner box lid that describes the show’s premise. This description varies significantly from the premise of Bewitched as it appeared on screen:

Samantha and Darrin loved each other very much. So they married and thought they would live happily ever after. But one day Samantha disclosed that she was really a WITCH. Although that confession created some minor problems, they still were confident that everything would turn out just fine especially since Samantha would become a human after one year of marriage to a mortal. However, during that year Darrin Stevens finds himself somehow subjected to witchcraft.

If the show had used that premise, seasons 2 through 8 sure would have been boring!

Object: Be the first to enter Vacation Land.

bewitched game board

Game Board: Darrin is everywhere. Little Darrin heads line the path players navigate, and each Bewitched Space displays Darrin in an awkward Endora-spawned situation.

bewitched game spinner 1bewitched spinner 2

Game Pieces: The game has two spinners. The regular spinner features a cartoony Samantha figure in witch garb. The Witchcraft spinner intersperses Samantha and Endora heads with those Darrin pictures from the game board. The game also includes 4 witch cards–two of Endora and two of Samantha–and five Bewitched cards featuring those Darrin scenes again.

Game Pieces: You get to play as your favorite character, as long as your favorite character is Darrin.

The four Darrin game pawns, plus two witch cards.

The four Darrin game pawns, plus two witch cards.

Game Play: On his turn, a player can spin the numbered spinner and move as indicated. His other choice is to take a witch card. He then takes a Bewitched card and sends the opponent of his choice to the matching Bewitched space on the board. The opponent can accept this or draw her own witch card. The two players then reveal their witch cards. If one person has Endora and one has Samantha, the person with Samantha has to retreat to the next matching Bewitched space. If they have the same witch, the original player moves back six spaces. Once on a Bewitched space, a player cannot leave it until he spins either Endora, Samantha, or the picture matching the Bewitched space on the witchcraft spinner.

Strategy: The idea is to use witchcraft to slow opponents who are approaching Vacation Land.

My Thoughts: This has been one of my “holy grail” games for a while because Bewitched has always been one of my favorite classic TV shows. It’s not especially hard to find, but it’s hard to find at a reasonable price. Box wear made this one fairly affordable, and box condition is not my highest priority when buying vintage games. I look for completeness and a colorful, aesthetically pleasing board.

Other Spin Again Sunday posts you might enjoy:

The Bride Game

What Shall I Be?

Happy Days Game