Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 19, “Lost in Spain: Part 1,” 2/10/1969

Sorry for my recent hiatus from posting. To make up for it, I hereby promise to get all three “Lost in Spain” episode summaries posted by Christmas. Some of them might even be posted on Fridays!

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

We open this week in the Davis living room, where Cissy is dealing with a major problem.

 

She has lost her loose-leaf notebook.

She has lost her loose-leaf notebook.

Uncle Bill tells her not to worry about it since a new semester is starting. The kids have been on a long holiday break, during which they apparently visited Connecticut.

Jody wants to take this hornets nest that he found on vacation to school.

Jody wants to take this hornets’ nest from Connecticut to school.

Bill quickly puts the kibosh on that plan, and French leads the kids in what he describes as a post-holiday ritual.

He makes them line up and parade out the door. I don't blame Cissy for rolling her eyes.

He makes them line up and parade out the door. I don’t blame Cissy for rolling her eyes.

Bill heads to work, where some potential clients coax him to take on a challenging project.

They praise the work Bill's firm did on an aqueduct in Iran and a dam in Pakistan.

They praise the work Bill’s firm did on an aqueduct in Iran and a dam in Pakistan.

The new project would require going to Spain for at least three months, and Bill is reluctant to leave the kids.

The would-be clients seem taken aback that an unmarried man has kids.

The would-be clients seem taken aback that an unmarried man has kids, so Bill has to give a quick summary of the family back-story.

The Spanish businessmen ask if Bill would take the project if they could find a way to keep the family together while it’s under way. He agrees, and they seal the deal with a handshake.

At home that evening, the kids are bubbling with news about school.

Not surprisingly, Cissy is bubbling the most.

Not surprisingly, Cissy is bubbling the most.

She has been named to the school paper staff. There’s also a new boy named Ken Dawson in her class. “Alphabetically, he can’t ignore me,” Miss Davis enthuses.

The conversation's tone changes dramatically when Bill announces that a new project might require spending three months in Barcelona.

The conversation’s tone changes dramatically when Bill announces that a new project requires spending three months in Barcelona.

The kids are sad at the thought of Bill leaving, but they understand that he should take the job if it’s an important one.

“A man has to do his job,” Jody notes.

Bill surprises them with the news that they will be accompanying him to Spain.

French is pleased to be included in the trip, but the thought of closing up the apartment and preparing for everyone's departure in one week sends him into near-hysterics.

French is pleased to be included in the trip, but the thought of closing up the apartment and preparing for everyone’s departure in one week sends him into near-hysterics.

Bill doesn’t take this dither too seriously. “It will be a big adventure for you,” he tells French in an amusingly off-hand way.

 

We next see the family arriving at the swank digs Bill's clients have secured for the family.

We next see the family arriving at the swank digs Bill’s clients have secured for the family.

French praises the house as “attractive in the Spanish manner,” and Buffy and Jody like the courtyard.

When they see the fountain, they regret not bringing their fish to live in it.

When they see the fountain, they regret not bringing their fish to live in it.

I thought the Davis family had given up on fish.

While French scurries off to the kitchen to examine the “culinary devices,” the other family members meet the tutor Bill’s clients have engaged for the kids.

Oh, dear--she's pretty. I know how Bill will be spending his non-working hours in Spain.

Oh, dear–she’s pretty. I know how Bill will be spending his non-working hours in Spain.

Soon, Buffy and Jody are betraying signs of sleepiness.

They resist taking a nap, but Ana tells them that everyone in Spain takes an afternoon siesta.

They resist taking a nap, but Ana tells them that everyone in Spain takes an afternoon siesta.

The idea of a siesta appeals to them. “It’s naps we don’t like,” Jody explains.

After they rest, the kids accompany French to an outdoor food market.

After they rest, the kids accompany French to an outdoor food market.

French wants to purchase a standing rib of beef (lean, but not too lean). He soon makes a shocking discovery, however–people in Spain speak Spanish!

The saleslady can't understand a word he says.

The saleslady can’t understand a word he says.

“It’s incredible!” French gasps.

Those annoying foreigners, always speaking their own languages in their own countries.

These annoying foreigners, always speaking their own languages in their own countries.

She runs off to get her husband, who greets French in English.

"What a joy to hear English spoken again," French sighs.

“What a joy to hear English spoken again,” French sighs.

(I’m glad French is British, so we don’t have to claim him as an ugly American.)

As it turns out, “Good afternoon, sir,” is the limit of the male clerk’s English. Giving up on the beef, French points to the lobsters in front of him.

“Cuantas?” the clerk asks, leaving French at a total loss again.

(Good grief, French, it even sounds like quantity! And what would he be asking you at this point in the transaction?)

Even “uno, dos, tres,” doesn’t ring any bells for French, until the man repeats the words while holding up the appropriate number of fingers.

French manages to obtain four lobsters, but the prospect of going through this each day daunts him.

“One will go completely crackers,” he groans. (Maybe one should have picked up a Spanish phrase book before one left New York.)

Later, Bill requests coffee, but French hasn't managed to acquire any.

Later, Bill requests coffee, but French hasn’t managed to acquire any.

He has, however, brought tea from New York.

“One is entitled to a few creature comforts when stationed in an alien land,” French tells an amused Bill.

When French leaves, Cissy tries to find out if Bill finds Ana attractive.

When French leaves, Cissy tries to find out if Bill finds Ana attractive.

(As if there is any doubt.)

Bill’s not the only one turning on the irresistible Davis charm in Spain, though.

Just then, a delivery man arrives at the door with flowers for Senorita Davis.

Just then, a delivery man arrives at the door with flowers for Senorita Davis.

He says they are from a secret admirer, and he insists on handing them directly to Cissy.

She's delighted, of course, but Bill wonders why the delivery guy is hanging around for so long.

She’s delighted, of course, but Bill wonders why Ricardo is hanging around for so long.

Ricardo says that the Davis family should have a guide to show them around Barcelona.

“If I ever need one, I guess I can get one,” replies Bill, who is full of dismissive quips this week.

Ricardo offers his services, though he dodges a question about his experience. He’s lived in Barcelona his whole life, he says, and he can show them the Museum of Fine Art, the Archaeology Museum, the Picasso Gallery, the zoo, the aquarium, the Passeig de Gracia for shopping, Montserrat, and more.

(This is making me want to go to Barcelona.)

Bill, who has figured out that Ricardo is Cissy’s “secret admirer,” agrees that the pair can do some sight-seeing–as long as Bill goes with them.

Neither Bill nor Cissy seems to notice how much trouble Ricardo has supplying his last name when they ask.

Hmm...I think we've got a little mystery developing here.

Hmm…I think we’ve got a little mystery developing here.

After Ricardo leaves, Cissy gushes about how good looking her suitor is.

The scent of romance in the air apparently inspires Bill to make his move on the kids' tutor.

The scent of romance in the air soon inspires Bill to make his move on the kids’ tutor.

He asks if she can help him brush up on his Spanish.

This tutoring session will take place Sunday over dinner.

This tutoring session will take place Sunday over dinner.

As she is heading out the door, Ana runs into Ricardo.

She recognizes him and knows that the last name he gave the Davises is false.

She recognizes him and knows the last name he gave the Davises is false.

He assures her that he has a good reason for lying and secures her promise to keep his secret.

Soon, Cissy and Bill are off touring with Ricardo.

Soon, Cissy and Bill are off touring with Ricardo.

As they visit a museum and a cathedral, Ricardo recites facts that he’s obviously memorized.

A group with an official tour guide follows them from place to place, reciting the same language.

An official tour guide follows them from place to place, reciting the same language to her group.

It's all rather awkward.

It’s all rather awkward.

Over lunch, Cissy asks if all the guides learn from same tour book. Ricardo admits that it seems to be true.

Bill, in dismissive mode again, notes that the book was printed in New York.

Bill, in dismissive mode again, notes that the book was printed in New York.

Ricardo wants them to give him another chance as a tour guide on Sunday. Bill will be busy with Ana, but he gives Cissy permission to go without him.

On Sunday morning, as Bill and Cissy lounge around before their dates, French prepares to take the twins on an outing.

On Sunday morning, as Bill and Cissy lounge around before their dates, French prepares to take the twins on an outing.

They are going to the beach at Sitges, which is about an hour’s bus ride away.

(I guess a plaid suit is French’s version of cabana-wear.)

Ana and Ricardo show up at the same time.

Ana and Ricardo show up at the same time, and Ricardo makes sure that he and Cissy will be heading in the opposite direction from the older couple.

As Bill and Ana prepare to leave, he notes that the twins are in capable hands with French.

He wouldn't be so calm if he knew what was really happening.

He wouldn’t be so calm if he knew what was really happening.

The trip to Sitges requires a bus change, and Buffy forgets Mrs. Beasley on the first bus.

French tells the kids to get on the Sitges bus while he runs back to get the doll.

French tells the kids to get on the Sitges bus while he runs back to get the doll.

Uh-oh.

Before he can get back to the Sitges bus, it takes off with the kids inside.

Before he can get back to the Sitges bus, it takes off with the kids inside.

His inability to speak any Spanish makes it hard for him to explain his problem to anyone at the bus station.

I wonder what this lady makes of a portly English gentleman waving a creepy-looking doll around.

I wonder what this lady makes of a portly English gentleman waving a creepy-looking doll around.

We end this episode in suspense about the twins’ fate.

And we see the episode title on screen--that's a rarity.

Continuity Notes

Bill mentions his brother. Jody mentions his friend Pete. We also get several references to Jody’s penchant for pet turtles.

Guest Cast

Tio Dichoso: Jay Novello. Senor Cabra: Roberto Iglesias. Ana Vicente Cassona: Anna Navarro. Senor Valgo: Alberto Morin. Clerk: Tina Menard. Girl Guide: Maria Grimm. Bus Driver: Saverio LoMedico. Ricardo: Johnny Aladdin.

Anna Navarro gets special billing here, but her career of TV appearances and small film roles (including one in Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz) is similar to that of many other Family Affair guest actors. One of her more notable TV distinctions is that she played Ponch’s mother on CHIPs. Navarro’s real-life daughter has written a nice remembrance about her.

Jay Novello’s long television career included a recurring role as Mayor Lugatto on McHale’s Navy, as well as several appearances on I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show.

Maria Grimm really got around the Don Fedderson shows. In addition to this Family Affair appearance, she showed up on My Three Sons, To Rome, With Love, and The Smith Family. In the 1970s, she appeared on Villa Alegre, a bilingual kids show on PBS.

Johnny Aladdin--as mysterious as the character he plays in this episode.

Johnny Aladdin–as mysterious as the character he plays in this episode.

I haven’t been able to find out anything about the Johnny Aladdin who appeared in this episode. Online sources seem to mix him up with either a musician born in 1914 or a magician born in 1919. Neither identity seems likely, unless he was very well preserved in 1969. Johnny Aladdin, actor, did appear in the memorable Dragnet episode “The LSD Story”–he played the artist eating paint off his paintbrush.

Saverio LoMedico’s previous Family Affair appearance came in another episode about the twins getting lost.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 3, Episode 19, “Lost in Spain: Part 1,” 2/10/1969

  1. These Spain episodes had a dramatic impact on me. Jody, lost!
    (I could have cared less about Buffy.)

  2. I want to go to Barcelona, too!

    I love CIssy’s observation, “Alphabetically, he can’t ignore me.” I was exactly like that in high school.

    • Amy says:

      That is a funny line. Cissy shouldn’t really worry about any boys ignoring her–she has obviously inherited Uncle Bill’s mojo with the opposite sex.

  3. Orschel52 says:

    I have a hunch that French thinks foreign languages are spoken only by foreigners in America and England. In these safe familiar surroundings, he feels comfortable enough to try communicating in a foreign language. In “Who’s Afraid of Nural Shpeni”, for example, he admits to speaking Arabic to a limited extent – though his skills seem to be restricted to the Arabic greeting – and in “Love Me, Love Me Not”, he speaks Italian “so wonderfully for a foreigner”! And didn’t he speak even Spanish in some later episodes? If so, he obviously did not pick it up during his stay there with the Davis family. In an entirely foreign-language world, he seems to feel completely lost.
    In his defense, however, it is only fair to say that English native speakers visiting foreign countries are usually spoiled by locals always eager to talk to them in English. (I’m not sure, however, whether this is true for Franco’s Spain in the 1960s. Come to think of it, I’m not sure whether this is true for Germany in the 1960s either. The German prewar generation hardly spoke any English then, while the postwar generation was hungry for everything American – at least until the student movement of 1968. Starting with the 60s, the popularity of British and American pop music, TV shows and movies gave English great impetus, which was further enhanced later by the need to meet globalization requirements – of course, not only in Germany). It might be an absurd theory, but maybe Americans and Brits eventually took it for granted that they are spoken to in English anyway so that they did not consider it necessary to communicate, or at least try to communicate, in a country’s own language.

    • Amy says:

      I know the writers made French entirely ignorant of Spanish for the humor value and—more importantly—to set up how helpless he was when the twins disappeared. It does seem ridiculous that such a worldly man wouldn’t know at least a few Spanish words. Just living in New York City would bring you into contact with it frequently.

      The one time I visited Europe, with a tour group of other people in their early 20s, we always tried to offer a few key phrases in the native languages. In response, people would look amused or annoyed and start talking to us in English, but we felt good about making the attempt. : )

      My most French-like encounter occurred in England, of all places. I went into a McDonald’s (pathetic, I know), and after my placed my order, the cashier asked me a question in such a thick accent that I couldn’t make it out. The conversation went like this:

      Cashier: Incomprehensible question.
      Me: “Excuse me?”
      Cashier: Repeats incomprehensible question.
      I stare ahead blankly while the cashier grows impatient. I think, “What would they be asking me at this point at home? ‘For here or to go?’ Oh! She’s saying “Take away or eat in?”
      Me: “Eat in! Eat in!”

      • Orschel52 says:

        With a large number of not only accents but also broad local dialects being spoken in Germany, what happened to you in England (I like that story you told!) is something that occurs quite frequently here. For example, it is almost impossible for someone from North Germany to understand a Bavarian, especially since Bavarians are known to be unwilling to at least try to speak more understandably (seems your English cashier did the same thing). This is most annoying and frustrating particularly for foreigners who have learned German for years and then come to Germany, full of confidence in their linguistic potential, and then can’t understand a word. Such language differences are not limited to North / South Germany, but also exist in regions quite close to each other. For example, I come from the westernmost part of Germany, called the Palatinate, and moved to the neighboring federal state Baden-Württemberg about 30 years ago – and still find it difficult sometimes to understand the locals. I must admit, though, that I do love my Palatinate dialect and refuse to take on the Swabian that is spoken where I now live – on the contrary, I always use some Palatinate expressions and try to propagate a bit of Palatinate life style!!!!!!! By the way, the Ramstein Air Base is located in Palatinate, near Kaiserslautern, home of my favorite soccer team. Unable to pronounce the name Kaiserslautern, the military personnel therefore simply call the city K-Town!
        I also hate to barge in somewhere in a foreign country and start speaking German (of all languages!), so I also use the tactic of throwing in some key phrases. That went a bit wrong when I was in Belgium and The Netherlands this summer: I spoke French even in Flanders – and in Holland I was surprised to find out all of a sudden that I was unable to say even hello, good bye and thank you in Dutch!!! Our two languages are so related to each other that I considered it unnecessary to gear up for the journey, thinking that conversation would be child’s play. How wrong I was!!!

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