One-Year Blog Anniversary

“Memory’s a freakish bank/

Where embarrassing treasures/

Still draw interest

Marge Piercy

When I published my first post on this blog one year ago, I talked about the sudden thrill a remembered moment can provide.

I’d hoped to inspire nostalgic recollections from my readers, and I have been so pleased and honored by your responses. To all my commenters, especially those who write regularly, I offer my deepest thanks. Reflecting on how thoughtful and encouraging you have been this year makes me as misty-eyed as Uncle Bill in a violin-drenched scene with Buffy and Jody.

Over the past year, I’ve learned many things:

  • If you write a blog post that involves a father spanking his grown daughter, you are sure to get at least one hit a day on that post, from someone who probably ends up quite disappointed.
  • Blogging is a continual learning experience. For instance, it took me about 50 weeks to figure out what “pingbacks” are.
  • Blogging is hard work. My appreciation for my favorite bloggers (like those on my Treasured Links page) has soared as I realized the effort they make, week after week.

You know the expression, “His eyes are bigger than his stomach”? Well, when it comes to blogging, my ideas far outpace my available time. There’s a positive side to that, though—it means I still have a lot that I’m bursting to share with you in the months ahead.

To make sure you don’t miss any upcoming goodness, you can connect with Embarrassing Treasures in several ways:

  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Like Embarrassing Treasures on Facebook. I’ve recently started to post some fun Facebook-specific content.
  • Follow my Pinterest boards, which are pretty darn awesome, especially Classic Television Images, Classic Movies, Vintage Toys, and Retro Fabulousness. I pin when I’m tired, bored, or stressed, so I pin a lot—enough that I’ve already attracted more than 2,000 followers.
  • Add me to your circle on Google+. (Disclaimer: I’m still learning my way around there.)
  • Get blog updates by e-mail, using the button at left.

If you have any suggestions for future blog content, or ideas for improving the reading experience, please let me know.

Thank you again for your support!

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Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 2, Episode 14, “Star Dust,” 12/18/1967

For once, being a day late with this feature actually serves a purpose–it allows us to celebrate the birthday of this week’s beautiful guest star, Martha Hyer.

She is 89 today!

She is 89 today!

So, yeah, I totally planned this week’s lateness. And, incidentally, I look just like Martha Hyer does in this episode. Trust me.

Written by: Roy Kammerman. Directed by: Charles Barton.

Synopsis

It’s bedtime, and the twins want to hear a story. Uncle Bill’s attending a party so the task falls to Mr. French.

The kids say it will be good practice for French, in case he ever becomes an uncle.

The kids say it will be good practice for French, in case he ever becomes an uncle.

Actually, he is an uncle. That was a Nigel French episode, though, and the twins might not realize that his nephew would be Giles French’s nephew, too.

He suggests a chapter of Winnie the Pooh.

French suggests a chapter of Winnie the Pooh. (The show’s frequent Pooh references are in-jokes, since Sebastian Cabot began narrating Pooh features in 1966.)

The kids ask for Jack and the Beanstalk instead, and French puts his unique stamp on the story. When Uncle Bill returns, the kids ask him to take over.

He tries, but Cissy keeps interrupting to hear details of the party he attended.

He tries, but Cissy keeps interrupting to hear details of the party he attended.

Bills says the guest list included several senators, a Nobel laureate, a famous explorer–and a movie star.

Guess which one Cissy wants to hear about.

Guess which one Cissy wants to hear about.

The movie star was Carol Haven, who happens to call at this moment to invite Bill to dinner the next evening.

Cissy can't believe Bill is so calm about this invitation from "the most beautiful woman in the whole world."

Cissy can’t believe Bill is so calm about this invitation from “the most beautiful woman in the whole world.”

For their part, the twins don’t know who Carol Haven is. They don’t know who Thomas Edison is either. (Buffy makes a good point–if Thomas Edison is so important, why isn’t his birthday a school holiday?)

At dinner the next evening, Carol says she wants to get to know Bill better.

At dinner the next evening, Carol makes it clear that she wants to get to know Bill.

He’s made quite an impression on her–she says the last time she called a man she just met was in junior high. (According to the old teen advice books I review on this site, that means she was a hussy in junior high.)

Dinner is interrupted a few times by fans requesting autographs and sending champagne, as well as a photographer who takes a picture of Bill and Carol. Carol handles these people in a calm and gracious way.

Bill is uncomfortable, though--he'd apparently like her to go all Sean Penn on them.

Bill is uncomfortable, though–he’d apparently like her to go all Sean Penn on them.

He asks why she doesn’t disguise her appearance, and she replies that she’s worked hard to be recognized. He suggests that they have their next date at a place with gourmet food and absolute privacy–his apartment.

The next night finds Cissy in a tizzy--she can't do a thing with her hair.

The next night finds Cissy in a tizzy–she can’t do a thing with her hair. (Cissy is wearing one of those quilted robes that every ’60s and ’70s girl had.)

Even French is excited about their guest’s impending visit–he’s wearing white tie and tails!

Even French is excited--he's wearing tails! He looks cute, like an emperor penguin.

He looks cute, like an emperor penguin.

When Carol appears, she puts everyone at ease.

When Carol appears, she quickly puts everyone at ease--even Cissy, who's still standing around in her robe.

Even Cissy, who’s still standing around in her robe. Get dressed, girl!

How wonderfully well does Carol fit in with the Davis family? Let us count the ways:

She offers to help Cissy with her hair and ends up helping the teen feel good about her usual hairstyle.

She offers to help Cissy with her hair and ends up helping the teen feel good about her usual hairstyle.

She isn't afraid to embarrass herself while playing charades.

She isn’t afraid to embarrass herself while playing charades.

She tells the twins a bedtime story and includes Mrs. Beasley in the story as a friend, not a doll.

She tells the twins a bedtime story and includes Mrs. Beasley in the story as a friend, not a doll.

This earns her the first kiss Mrs. Beasley has bestowed upon a grown-up, excluding Bill and French.

By the end of the evening, Jody is asking Cissy if their mother looked like Carol. (Silly boy–we’ll find out later that she looked like June Lockhart.)

She didn't, Cissy replies--but she was just as nice.

She didn’t, Cissy replies–but she was just as nice.

If you notice anyone missing from these charming tableaux, you might have a clue about where this episode is heading.

Soon, word gets around that Carol and Bill are dating.

French's nanny friends grill him: What does she look like without makeup? And what are Bill's intentions toward her?

French’s nanny friends grill him: What does she look like without makeup? And what are Bill’s intentions toward her?

French is appalled: “The relationship of gentleman’s gentleman to master is as confidential as that of lawyer to client.”

A reporter also tries to pump him for information, promising him personal publicity.

A reporter also tries to pump him for information, promising him personal publicity.

French says that a gentleman’s name should only appear in the paper three times: When is born, when he marries, and when he dies. “I’ve already done the first and contemplate neither the second nor the third,” he says.

(I’ve always heard that old newspaper rule applied to women–men are allowed to have newsworthy accomplishments. Maybe gentlemen’s gentlemen aren’t, though.)

Back at home, we learn that Carol has taken Buffy and Jody to the zoo. Buffy asks Bill if he plans to marry Carol.

"Women do know about these things," Buffy says, when Bill expresses surprise at the question.

“Women do know about these things,” Buffy says, when Bill expresses surprise at the question.

Both twins say they would like him to marry her, even if it means moving to Hollywood. Bill assures them that no wife of his will have a career.

"The lady is not gonna live in Hollywood and not gonna be a star in the movies. She's gonna be a wife to me and a mother to you."

“The lady is not going to live in Hollywood and not going to be a star in the movies. She’s gonna be a wife to me and a mother to you.”

I think I got that quote right, but it was hard to hear over the sound of my own gagging. Apparently, having two working parents is much worse for children than having a single parent who works.

Soon, the kids have another fun outing with Carol. They celebrate "nobody's birthday" with a shopping trip.

Soon, the kids have another fun outing with Carol. They celebrate “nobody’s birthday” with a shopping trip.

Jody talks about riding the “alligators,” meaning escalators. (Sometimes I worry about Jody.)

Just when everyone is so happy, a dark cloud appears on the horizon. Carol’s been offered the plum role of St. Joan in a movie filming in Spain. If she takes it, she’ll be gone for a year. (It must be quite an epic.)

The next night, Carol tells her unhappy agent to turn the role down.

The next night, Carol tells her shocked agent to turn the role down.

She’s found something more important, she says–something she’s been looking for her whole life.

When Bill arrives and hears her plans, he wonders if she can adjust to normal life. Can she deal with life's "petty annoyances" without agents and handlers?

When Bill arrives and hears her plans, he wonders if she can adjust to non-stardom. Can she deal with life’s “petty annoyances” without agents and handlers?

Hmm, petty annoyances? Like packing your own suitcase, cooking your own dinners, taking your own children to school? Tell us how you deal with those petty annoyances, Bill.

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Taken aback, Carol suddenly realizes that she’s been doing all the pursuing in this relationship.

“The whole Davis family fell in love with you, that’s for sure,” Bill says, glossing over his own feelings.

He encourages a crestfallen Carol to go to Spain. The Davis family will wait for her and then–well, we’ll see…

Carol wishes she had a screenwriter to help her make this scene come out right.

“Maybe that’s because what you had in mind was a scene, not just two ordinary people talking,” Bill replies. Ouch.

We flash forward a bit, and the kids have received a package from Carol in Spain.

We flash forward a bit and see the kids have received a package from Carol in Spain.

Carol has included a clipping for Bill–it says she’s signed to a new three-year contract. Her next picture will be Mama Wore Spangles.

Everyone looks sad, and French expresses his condolences to Bill.

Buffy doesn't think it's entirely sad--at least Carol will have the chance to "play mama" again.

Buffy finds a bright spot–at least Carol will get the chance to “play mama” again.

“Sure, play acting is fun,” Bill agrees.

"As long as everybody knows you're play acting."

“As long as everybody knows you’re play acting.”

Commentary

This is a very good episode, with a lot at stake for all the characters.

It also leave more room for interpretation than most episodes.

Trying to figure out Bill's motivations made me as confused as Carol looks here.

Trying to figure out Bill’s motivations made me as confused as Carol looks here.

His comments about “scenes” and “play acting” suggest that he doubts Carol’s long-term intentions. Is her decision to keep acting supposed to make us think his suspicions have been confirmed? If so, it doesn’t work for me. She seemed sincere in her desire to quit acting until he hurt her with a lukewarm response.

Was he ever really serious about Carol? Keith’s laconic performance doesn’t provide many clues.

Was he just too traditional to handle a woman pursuing him? Would marriage to a woman with her own career interests be uncomfortable for him?

Or was Carol overly interested in the “instant family–just add love” aspect of their relationship? (Yes, she actually uses that phrase.)

I am very interested to hear what my readers have to say.

A few other random observations:

  • When Carol joins them for dinner, after Bill escorts her to the table, Jody does the same with Buffy.
When Carol joins them for dinner, after Bill escorts her to the table, Jody does the same with Buffy. This is a cute little moment.

This is a cute little moment.

  • French really seems to enjoy charades.
This might be another in-joke, based on Cabot's two-year Stump the Stars stint.

This might be another in-joke, based on Cabot’s two-year Stump the Stars stint.

  • Carol’s bedtime story features French as a friendly giant who considers the kids his masters. Buffy thinks this is appropriate, since French sometimes calls her brother “Master Jody.”

Guest Cast

Carol Haven: Martha Hyer. Photographer: Ray Ballard. Woman: Helen Eby-Rock. Myron Fox: John Howard. Reporter: Grace Lenard. First Nanny: Gwen Watts Jones. Second Nanny: Nora Marlowe. Hyer was quite a successful film actress with important roles in such films as Battle Hymn, Houseboat, The Best of Everything, and The Sons of Katie Elder. In 1958, She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Some Came Running and was considered for the role of Marion Crane in Psycho. During that period in her life, she lived in a drool-worthy Hollywood hills home. (Also check out this sumptuous Life 1959 spread.) At the time of her Family Affair appearance, she had recently married producer Hal B. Wallis; they would remain together until his death in 1986.

John Howard

John Howard

Howard also had a long film career that included roles in Lost Horizon and The Philadelphia Story. He had a recurring role as Dave Welch on Don Fedderson’s other show, My Three Sons. After retiring from acting, he taught English at Highland Hall Waldorf School for 20 years. (Famous alumni include Mackenzie Phillips. I bet she was a joy to have in class.)

Lenard had an uncredited role in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, in which Hyer appeared. Marlowe had small parts in films ranging from An Affair to Remember to Kitten with a Whip and a recurring role as Flossie on The Waltons. Gwen Watts Jones is a minor mystery, with no IMDb entry.

Continuity Notes

Jody’s sometimes-dead, sometimes-living turtle gets a mention. So does the kids’ mother (who’s always dead).

Notable Quotes

“Whenever you hear someone say, ‘They lived happily ever after,’ it’s the end.”–Buffy

Final Thought

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you check out the recent Family Affair post on Silver Scenes. It has some good comments about this episode.

Family Affair Friday Postponed Until Monday

I apologize for the delay in this week’s Family Affair Friday. I’ve spent the past few days working at my daughter’s Girl Scout day camp, and I haven’t had enough time or energy left over for other pursuits. On the bright side, when I post this week’s installment tomorrow, I will have a fun bonus to share with you!

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 2, Episode 10, “You Like Buffy Better,” 11/10/1967

403X403-SOCTVBLOGAttention classic TV fans: Don’t Miss Me-TV’s Summer of Classic TV Blogathon, starting July 15! All week long, a large collection of bloggers will be sharing their thoughts about great shows on Me-TV’s schedule, including That Girl, Bewitched, The Odd Couple, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and many more. (Of course, I’m particularly interested in the bloggers who will be turning their attention to Family Affair.) I’ll be posting my entry, a look at Leave it to Beaver from Ward Cleaver’s perspective, on July 19.

Many thanks to the Classic TV Blog Association for hosting this event and to Me-TV for making so many classic shows available to viewers.

Now, on to Family Affair

Written by: Hannibal Coons (Seriously? Apparently so, although his real first name was Stanley.) and Harry Winkler. Directed by: Charles Barton.

This week’s episode opens as Uncle Bill prepares for a date, blissfully unaware of all the trouble that’s about to rain down on him.

That trouble begins innocently enough, when Jody requests help with a bridge he’s designing for school. Revealing that he’s learned his lesson about such projects, Bill first seeks assurance that parents are allowed to help.

As Jody and Bill talk engineering, Buffy barges in with exciting news--her dance studio has picked her to try out for a television role.

As Jody and Bill talk engineering, Buffy barges in with exciting news–her dance studio has picked her to try out for a television role.

Jody resents Buffy’s intrusion, while Buffy finds Uncle Bill less than enthralled with her news. (In fairness to him, it’s been established that he hates ballet.)

Neither kids has to worry about it for long, as Bill soon shoos them from the room in preparation for his date.

Buffy and Jody introduce themselves to the lady in question, who has some kind of tumbleweed attached to her head.

Buffy and Jody introduce themselves to the lady in question, who has some kind of tumbleweed attached to her head.

“At Uncle Bill’s age,” the kids observe, “men are just more interested in pretty ladies than in little kids.” Ouch.

Later that night, Buffy confides her troubles to Mrs. Beasley.

Later that night, Buffy confides her troubles to Mrs. Beasley.

“I’m glad you’re not a man,” she tells the doll. “At least I have one friend.” Ouch again.

Cissy overhears Buffy’s comments and gets that concerned look on her face–that look usually bodes ill for Uncle Bill.

She waits up for him to return from his date and tells him that he needs to spend more time with Buffy.

She waits up for him to return from his date and tells him that he needs to spend more time with Buffy.

Uncle Bill agrees to do so, but when Cissy changes the subject to her latest boyfriend, Bill pleads exhaustion and heads for bed. Great–now all the kids are frustrated.

The next day, Bill makes time to talk with Buffy and to watch her "buttercup dance." But now Cissy, who was so concerned about her sister the night before, tries to monopolize Bill's attention for their delayed boyfriend discussion.

The next day, Bill makes time to talk with Buffy and to watch her “buttercup dance.” But now Cissy, who was so concerned about her sister the night before, tries to monopolize Bill’s attention for their delayed boyfriend discussion.

By the way, doesn’t the girls’ room look much more spacious than usual?

Soon, Jody enters with a request for more bridge assistance, but Bill keeps his focus on Buffy, especially when he learns that the TV producer she’ll be auditioning for is a friend of his.

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Bill calls his friend to put in a good word for Buffy. (Oh, that’s why the room looked so spacious–the desk had temporarily disappeared, as desks are wont to do.)

At school the next day, Ronny Bartlett questions why he hasn’t been able to meet Uncle Bill yet.

Teenage boys are always so anxious to meet their girlfriends' parents.

Teenage boys are always so anxious to meet their girlfriends’ parents.

Cissy promises that she’ll make the introduction after school, but it turns out to be a chaotic afternoon at the Davis apartment.

In Bill’s absence, French has tried to help Jody with the bridge and made a royal mess of it.

Bill finds Jody sulking and refusing to work on the project at all.

Bill finds Jody sulking and refusing to work on the project at all.

Before he can offer much help, Bill has another obligation–taking Buffy to her audition.

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Buffy gives an underwhelming performance for the TV producer, who has to explain to Bill that she’s not ready for prime time.

Bill takes a dejected Buffy home, where he finds an equally dejected Jody, as well as Cissy waiting with a nervous Ronny.

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Random mystery: Buffy both leaves the apartment and returns to it in her leotard, so what’s in that awesome flowered suitcase?

Cissy springs upon Bill the news that she and Ronny are going steady and planning marriage in a few years. Now, from my study of old teen advice books, I know that parents considered “going steady” a fast train to nookie-ville, which explains Bill’s harsh reaction.

By the time Bill finishes his man-to-man talk with Ronny, fruit punch is spilling, the boy's voice is cracking, and the "going steady" is over.

By the time Bill finishes his man-to-man talk with Ronny, fruit punch is spilling, the boy’s voice is cracking, and the “going steady” is over.

Cissy takes this development in the calm fashion that any teenage girl would.

"You've ruined my life!" she screeches. "I love Ronny!"

“You’ve ruined my life!” she screeches. “I love Ronny!”

By this time, Uncle Bill feels like the challenges of parenting have defeated him (and I’m feeling glad that I have only one child).

French, however, raises an interesting possibility--maybe parenting isn't the problem. Maybe the kids are acting like little jerks.

French, however, raises an interesting possibility–maybe parenting isn’t the problem. Maybe the kids are acting like little jerks.

Bill seizes on this theory with enthusiasm and calls all the kids into the living for for a talking-to.

Unlike real kids, the Davis kids accept that they've been making unreasonable demands on Bill's attention, and everyone ends up happy.

Unlike real kids, the Davis kids accept that they’ve been making unreasonable demands on Bill’s attention, and everyone ends up happy.

Commentary

These conflicts would arise in a real family situation, especially when the time Uncle Bill spends at home is so limited. I began the episode feeling sorry for the kids and ended it feeling sorry for Bill. It’s nice to see the kids have to take responsibility for their own behavior at the end.

Guest Cast

Ronny Bartlett: Gregg Fedderson. Miss Peterson: Olga Kaya. Ballet Mother: Katey Barrett. Alicia: Kellie Flanagan. Secretary: Charlotte Askins. Eric Langley: Del Moore.

This is the second appearance by Flanagan, best known for the TV version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Oh, Me-TV--any chance you could resurrect that show?

This is the second appearance by Flanagan, best known for the TV version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Oh, Me-TV–any chance you could resurrect that show?

Moore’s career included a regular role on Bachelor Father–a show with a premise similar to Family Affair‘s–and a part in 1963’s The Nutty Professor.

Fedderson, the son of executive producer Don Fedderson, would make many more appearances as Cissy's date, usually named Gregg. He was the brother of Petticoat Junction's Mike Minor.

Fedderson, the son of executive producer Don Fedderson, would make many more appearances as Cissy’s date, usually named Gregg. He was the brother of Petticoat Junction‘s Mike Minor.

Fun Facts

Uncle Bill once built a bridge over the Amazon.

Notable Quotes

“I do it better with my costume on–all fluffy and buttercuppy.”–Buffy, practicing her buttercup dance.

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 2, Episode 9, “Take Me Out of the Ballgame,” 11/13/1967

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.

Actually, it appears to be an alley, which backs up to a huge, windowless wall.

Actually, it appears to be an alley, which backs up to a huge, windowless wall. Only in New York!

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.

To Sam's credit, he doesn't say, "Get your hands off me, kid." Instead, he invites Jody to try out for the 63rd Street Tigers.

To Sam’s credit, he doesn’t say, “Get your hands off me, kid.” Instead, he invites Jody to try out for the 63rd Street Tigers.

French gives Jody’s plan to try out a ringing endorsement:

"If your uncle wishes Jody to play with ? amid sewer covers and garbage can lids, I shall abide by his wishes, however reluctantly.

“If your uncle wishes Jody to play with broomsticks amid sewage covers and garbage can lids, I shall abide by his wishes, however reluctantly.”

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.

Cissy observes that, when it comes to fashion, "Paris is out. London is in." This is a surprisingly accurate assessment from someone whose magazine apparently dates from the 1940s.

Cissy observes that, when it comes to fashion, “Paris is out. London is in.” This is a surprisingly accurate assessment from someone whose magazine apparently dates from the 1940s.

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.

It helps that Jody is trying out for second base, a position that Bill desperately sought throughout his youth, to no avail. (He couldn't go to his left.)

It helps that Jody is trying out for second base, a position that Bill desperately sought throughout his youth, to no avail. (He couldn’t go to his left.)

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.

See? This is why we can't have nice things. Or even things like that.

See? This is why we can’t have nice things. Or even things like that.

Jody’s initial try-out doesn’t go any better than the living room practice session.

As French describes it later to Bill: "If the expression 'not so hot' means not hitting the ball on 14 consecutive occasions then he was indeed, sir, not so hot."

As French describes it later to Bill: “If the expression ‘not so hot’ means not hitting the ball on 14 consecutive occasions then he was indeed, sir, not so hot.”

Bill takes Jody to the park for more intensive practice.

This picture doesn't serve any purpose, but I'm liking the way Bill looks in that shirt. Rowr.

This picture doesn’t serve any purpose, but I’m liking the way Bill looks in that shirt. Rowr.

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.

Then she goes back to cutting out fabric for doll clothes--because she's a GIRL. Are you starting to sense the comical contrast here?

Then she goes back to cutting out fabric for doll clothes–because she’s a GIRL. Are you starting to sense the comical contrast here?

Jody’s second try-out goes no better than his first.

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Buffy surprises the Tigers, though, by catching a ball that comes her way.

They insist on giving her an immediate try-out and observe that she’s a powerful hitter, too.

"That's my sister," Jody says proudly. What a good-natured kid.

“That’s my sister,” Jody says proudly. What a good-natured kid.

Both twins return to the Davis apartment wearing Tigers sweatshirts.

Cissy assumes that Buffy is a team mascot and Jody is a player, but she soon learns that Buffy is an outfielder and Jody has been given jobs like bat boy and water boy.

Cissy assumes that Buffy is a team mascot and Jody is a player, but she soon learns that Buffy is an outfielder and Jody has been given jobs like bat boy and water boy.

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.

These stickball games attract a fairly large crowd of nattily dressed city folk.

Random aside: These stickball games attract a large crowd of nattily dressed city folk.

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.”

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Talking to Jody later, he realizes that the boy is happy with the role he is playing and considers himself important to the team.

From the beginning, Jody only seemed to want a team sweatshirt, anyway.

Meanwhile, Buffy asks if she can skip ball practice the next day.

She's attending a tea party later in the day and can't take the risk of mussing her hair.

She’s attending a tea party later in the day and can’t take the risk of mussing her hair.

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.

Commentary

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.

This officer is a Family Affair rarity--an African American who speaks! And more than one line!

This officer is a Family Affair rarity–an African American who speaks! And more than one line!

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.

Guest Cast

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.

Fun Facts

Buffy is an outfielder. Uncle Bill was a good hitter, but when he threw, he couldn’t go to his left.

Notable Quotes

“Oh, for the playing fields of Eton!”–French

(French doesn’t really have a high enough social standing to have attended Eton, does he?)

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One other question: Is a “Play Street” really a thing? (Note the sign.)

Spin Again Sunday: The All in the Family Game (1972)

af boxHonesty, I have mixed feelings about the TV series All in the Family, probably because my family let me watch it at much too young an age. On a regular basis, the show assaulted my sensibilities with such concepts as cross burning and attempted rape. I can’t imagine letting my 10-year-old listen as a stream of racial epithets pour forth from the TV–but, thankfully, she doesn’t live in a world where she hears those words on a regular basis from relatives, as I did. Along with my parents’ guidance, All in the Family did reinforce to me how ridiculous racism was, and for that, I’m grateful.

Though most of the show’s characters creeped me out to varying degrees, I always loved Edith. She reminded me a lot of my beloved maternal grandmother–naive, confused, but kind-hearted. As a child, I was shocked when I first heard Jean Stapleton interviewed and realized she didn’t talk like Edith. It produced an early epiphany about how convincing acting can be.

I’m featuring this game in Jean Stapleton’s honor.

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This Week’s Game: The All in the Family Game, Milton Bradley

Copyright Date: 1972

Recommended Ages: 10 to Adult

Object: “Guess Archie’s Answers”

Game Play: One person acts as “the MC” and asks questions from the game booklet. Players write their answers down on slips of paper and pass them to the MC. When the responses are read aloud, players earn points by guessing which player gave each answer. The MC also reads Archie’s answer to each question (or, in some cases, Edith’s answer). Players who matched that answer get an extra point.

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“Clever or unexpected responses often throw the party into peals of laughter,” the game box assures us. I can imagine that might be true, but the “official” answers from Archie and Edith aren’t exactly uproarious. Some examples:

How do you feel about being a sex symbol?

Archie: If the shoe fits–why take it off?

With my background, I should be a…

Archie: Boss over something.

What’s with hips?

Archie: They should be watched.

What do you think of Bangladesh?

Edith: I never played that game.

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 29, “The Award,” 5/2/1969

Welcome to this Easter weekend edition of Family Affair Friday! Best wishes to everyone who is celebrating the holiday.

Written by: Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

This week’s Davis family adventure opens upon a gushing Cissy.

Her facial expression in this capture just cracks me up.

Her facial expression in this capture just cracks me up.

She’s telling a friend about a brilliant and successful male of her acquaintance. Uncle Bill assumes she’s talking about a boyfriend, but when she hangs up, she tells him that he was the subject of her conversation. She’s impressed by the huge, gaudy trophy he’s received for “best achievement in construction engineering.”

Bill is irritated to learn that Buffy and Jody are attending a Punch and Judy show with Mr. French. It’s Thursday, Mr. French’s day off.

When they return, Bill gives French a talking to about letting the twins cajole him into giving up his day off.

When they return, Bill gives French a talking to about letting the twins cajole him into giving up his day off.

French shows an unusually soft side here. “They’re nice kids,” he says.

Bill agrees, but he adds that the kids shouldn't run everyone's lives. To make his point, he informs the twins that he will be too busy to read to them after dinner.

Bill agrees, but he adds that the kids shouldn’t run everyone’s lives. To make his point, he informs the twins that he will be too busy to read to them after dinner.

“You kids have got to stop thinking about yourselves all the time,” he tells them. Making himself unavailable on a day when French has already assumed extra child-care duties seems like a strange way of getting this point across. (After this conversation, French heads off to make dinner. Maybe “day off” meant something different in the ’60s than it does now.)

admiring the award

The twins take Uncle Bill’s comments in stride and head to the den to watch Captain Hippopotamus. Cissy is already in there, trying to find a home for Uncle Bill’s trophy. (The den is a good idea. The trophy won’t make the room look any worse.)

After Cissy leaves, the twins decide they will make Uncle Bill an award for being the world’s best uncle. Jody borrows some modeling clay from his friend Peter, and they get to work on the award that night.

Buffy's job is making the card, while Jody is sculpting a model of the earth. Since this is basically a big ball, it takes them a surprisingly long time to complete this project.

Buffy’s job is making the card, while Jody is sculpting a model of the earth. Since this is basically a big ball, it’s surprisingly how long it takes them to complete this project.

Of course, they have to deal with many interruptions. For example, Uncle Bill comes in to continue his lesson on consideration for others. He informs the twins that he will not be taking them to the zoo over the weekend.

Buffy and Jody are not impressed.

Buffy and Jody are not impressed.

Actually, they don’t really care. They’re just eager for him to leave so they can get back to working on their project.

The next morning, Jody is doing a lot of scratching at the breakfast table. A concerned French mentions the issue to Uncle Bill, who agrees that a trip to the pediatrician is in order. Bill’s not worried enough to take Jody himself, of course–that’s French’s job.

Their doctor's lobby is cute, but surprisingly empty. They don't even have to sit down and wait--they walk right in.

Their doctor’s lobby is cute, but surprisingly empty. They don’t even have to sit down and wait–they walk right in.

The doctor says he will have to run allergy tests on Jody. Unfortunately, he also causes a lot of trouble by suggesting that itching is frequently caused by trauma or frustration.(I can see now why his office is so empty.)

I don't think I've ever seen a doctor's office lined with old, musty books.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a doctor’s office lined with old, musty books. I’m surprised that his walls aren’t Family Affair green. They’re Jody’s room blue.

French passes along the doctor’s suggestion to Uncle Bill, who immediately decides that his refusal to take the kids to the zoo caused the rash. He reverses his decision about the outing, which dismays the twins–they want more time to work on their project.

At the zoo, Bill is perplexed--Jody is still scratching, and Buffy starts doing it, too. (I know thing were formal in 1960s, especially in big cities, but isn't Jody's suit a little much for the zoo? Even Uncle Bill ditches his tie for the occasion.)

At the zoo, Bill is perplexed–Jody is still scratching, and Buffy starts doing it, too. (I know thing were formal in 1960s, especially in big cities, but isn’t Jody’s suit a little much for the zoo? Even Uncle Bill ditches his tie for the occasion.)

Later, at the apartment, the pediatrician drops by with a likely explanation for the problem–an allergy to modeling clay. It seems he’s been treating the Davises’ neighbor Peter for the same problem. (What the heck was in that clay?)

When Uncle Bill asks the twins if they’ve been playing with Peter’s modeling clay, they make an earnest denial. The doctor, however, notices something.

They're caught clay-handed.

They’re caught clay-handed.

Uncle Bill is angry and sad that the twins have lied to him for the first time. Soon, however, the twins present him with their finished award.

Uncle Bill grows misty reading the card: "To the bestest, nicest, terrificest uncle in the world."

Uncle Bill grows misty reading the card: “To the bestest, nicest, terrificest uncle in the world.”

They didn’t lie to him; they were working with the clay, not playing with it, the twins explain innocently.

Awww.

Commentary

I always enjoy shows in which parents punish kids for something that turns out to be selfless behavior–this is just like the “Father of the Year” episode of The Brady Bunch. I guess it’s my inner child that still likes to see authority figures have to eat their words.

Guest Cast

Dr. Felsom: Oliver McGowan. Miss Dana: Templeton Fox. Here’s a coincidence: McGowan was in the “Father of the Year” episode of The Brady Bunch. He’ll appear again as a doctor on Family Affair. Templeton Fox was the mother of Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch.

Notable Quotes

“Young ladies of breeding do not say ‘bopped.'”–French

This Week’s Bonus Feature

Photoplay, August 1969 (Normally, I crop out the ads, but the one atop the fourth page intrigues me so. “Delayed menstruation”? Hmm.)