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.
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.
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 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.
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.
One of Dodie’s own career aspirations is stewardess.
Uncle Charley gets some ink in the coloring book (although it spells his name wrong).
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.
When it comes to collecting, I’ve always admired people who have a laser-like focus. I’ve been a collector all my adult life, but the resulting collection is eclectic, to say the least. Today, I present one of the more interesting pieces of ephemera I own—a call sheet from the sitcom Room 222, which ran on ABC from 1969 to 1974.
The call sheet is interesting to me, anyway. (The fact that I was the only one to bid on it when it appeared on Ebay 10 or so years ago suggests the interest might not be widespread. That worked to my advantage though—I only paid $2 for it.) It provides a fascinating window into television production in the 1970s.
A call sheet, as Webster’s defines it, is simply “a daily schedule of filming for a movie or television show.” This call sheet dates from August 7, 1970, when filming was under way for two season two episodes. “Adam’s Lib,” a feminist story about a girl trying out for the boys’ basketball team, would air October 14, 1970; “What Would We Do Without Bobbie?,” an ugly duckling story, wouldn’t air until December 23, 1970.
The “Adam’s Lib” scene featured three day players—Tracy Carver as the basketball player, Terri Messina as the feminist activist, and “Darrell Carson” as the boy who helps them advance their plan to infiltrate the boys’ team. According to the Imdb, the actor’s name is Darrell Larson, and he’s the only one of the three who has acted steadily since then.
Larson, Messina, and Carver
This basketball court scene was shot at a playground in Los Angeles’ Rancho Park neighborhood. The female actors had to arrive at 7 a.m. for makeup that day, with Larson arriving 30 minutes later. It looks like they met up at 8 a.m. on Stage 10, Room 222’s usual filming location on the Twentieth Century Fox lot.
The “Bobbie” scenes, filmed on Stage 10, required the presence of series star Denise Nicholas as Liz McIntyre, recurring actor Howard Rice as Richie, and day player Nicole Jaffe as Bobbie. Once again, the women reported for makeup 30 minutes earlier than the male actor. This group got a more leisurely start to their day; filming didn’t start until 10 a.m.
Jaffe and Nicholas in one of the office scenes. You might not recognize Jaffe’s face, but you would know her voice. She was the original Velma on Scooby-Doo.
At the bottom of the call sheet, we get a glimpse at what the cast would be doing the following week—reading and rehearsing on Monday, shooting a Walt Whitman exterior scene at Los Angeles High on Tuesday, and shooting more studio scenes on Wednesday (including a scene outside the “Berman Bungalow,” which would represent Bobbie’s house.)
William Wiard directed the filming on this day. Mike Salamunovich was the unit production manager. Both had long and prolific careers in television.
Room 222 call sheet, 1970, reverse side
The call sheet’s reverse side details the day’s production requirements. Those requirement were modest on August 7, 1970. They didn’t need any birds, livestock, wranglers, registered nurses, or firemen—not even any coffee or doughnuts. They did need one Los Angeles policeman, a stretch-out bus, a crab dolly and grip, and a “dialogue man.” (The call sheet almost consistently uses “man” in its crew terminology—mechanical effects men, camera men, prop men, makeup men. The only exception is “body makeup woman.”)
This little piece of TV history delights me so much that it might have launched me on a whole new field of collecting. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any luck finding similar items.
To close, I present the Room 222 opening, just because I love the music and the fashions.
Carole Lombard was born on this date in 1908. I’ve always felt that, though she certainly had Golden-Age-Hollywood glamor, she also had a strangely modern quality–I can envision her as a 21st century movie star. Dell published this special magazine in 1942 after her death.