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.
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.
Bill quickly puts the kibosh on that plan, and French leads the kids in what he describes as a post-holiday ritual.
Bill heads to work, where some potential clients coax him to take on a challenging project.
The new project would require going to Spain for at least three months, and Bill is reluctant to leave the kids.
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.
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 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.
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.
French praises the house as “attractive in the Spanish manner,” and Buffy and Jody like the courtyard.
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.
Soon, Buffy and Jody are betraying signs of sleepiness.
The idea of a siesta appeals to them. “It’s naps we don’t like,” Jody explains.
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!
“It’s incredible!” French gasps.
She runs off to get her husband, who greets French in English.
(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.)
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.
(As if there is any doubt.)
Bill’s not the only one turning on the irresistible Davis charm in Spain, though.
He says they are from a secret admirer, and he insists on handing them directly to Cissy.
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.
After Ricardo leaves, Cissy gushes about how good looking her suitor is.
He asks if she can help him brush up on his Spanish.
As she is heading out the door, Ana runs into Ricardo.
He assures her that he has a good reason for lying and secures her promise to keep his secret.
As they visit a museum and a cathedral, Ricardo recites facts that he’s obviously memorized.
Over lunch, Cissy asks if all the guides learn from same tour book. Ricardo admits that it seems to be true.
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.
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.)
As Bill and Ana prepare to leave, he notes that the twins are in capable hands with French.
The trip to Sitges requires a bus change, and Buffy forgets Mrs. Beasley on the first bus.
His inability to speak any Spanish makes it hard for him to explain his problem to anyone at the bus station.
We end this episode in suspense about the twins’ fate.
Bill mentions his brother. Jody mentions his friend Pete. We also get several references to Jody’s penchant for pet turtles.
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.
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.