The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Family Affair Connections, Part 1

Source: IMDb.com

John Williams and Alfred Hitchcock. Source: IMDb.com

What connections can possibly exist between the sugary 1960s sitcom Family Affair and TV’s two creepiest anthology programs? Television actors made the rounds in the 1950s and 1960s, so perhaps its not surprising that both of Family Affair‘s lead actors and many of its recurring guest stars show up in these anthology shows. (It probably helped that both the Hitchcock show and Family Affair made good use of aging British actors.) It’s a treat, though, to see them in roles so different from the ones I spotlight each week in my Family Affair series.

I’d originally planned this post for October 2, the broadcast anniversary for both Alfred Hitchcock Presents (which debuted in 1955) and The Twilight Zone (which aired its first episode four years later). I found so many interesting connections, however, that this post took longer to prepare than I’d anticipated. Its length also required breaking it into two parts.

John Williams

John Williams is the strongest link between Family Affair and the world of Alfred Hitchcock. Williams played Nigel French in nine first-season Family Affair episodes, while Sebastian Cabot recovered from an illness. His most famous career role, however, was Chief Inspector Hubbard in Hitchcock’s film Dial M for Murder. (He originated the role on Broadway and earned a Tony award for his performance.) He also appeared in Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief.

Williams was obviously a Hitchcock favorite–he would appear in no fewer than 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The three-part episode “I Killed the Count” from Season 2 finds Williams in his most characteristic role as a stuffy Scotland Yard inspector. His character uncovers no shortage of suspects in a tangled murder case. The fun is in watching his exasperation build as “I killed the count” becomes an “I am Spartacus”-style refrain among people eager to confess.

(One of the suspects is played by Alan Napier, who appeared in a third-season Family Affair episode but is best known as Alfred from TV’s Batman. Nora Marlowe also has a small role in Part 3 of “I Killed the Count.” She appeared in four Family Affair episodes, as various nanny friends of Giles French. Her most memorable TV role was Flossie Brimmer on The Waltons.)

Parts two and three of “I Killed the Count” are also on Youtube and available through Netflix.

In another second-season episode, “Wet Saturday,” criminals get the best of Williams. If you’ve ever longed to see Nigel French get slapped around, this is the episode for you. Also interesting is the happy epilogue that Hitchcock tacked on in his closing comments, to counteract the downbeat on-screen ending.

Kathryn Givney, who plays the murderer's mother in this episode, was Mrs. Allenby in the memorable first-season Family Affair episode "The Thursday Man."

Kathryn Givney, who plays the murderer’s mother in this episode, was Mrs. Allenby in the memorable first-season Family Affair episode “The Thursday Man.”

Williams also made one appearance on The Twilight Zone, in an hour-long episode called “The Bard.” This isn’t a great episode; it strives too hard for hipness as it satirizes TV hackery. Williams’ turn as William Shakespeare is amusing, though. Who else could imbue the words Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with so much contempt merely by enunciating each consonant deliberately? The rest of the cast provides plenty of interest, too. It includes future movie star Burt Reynolds and future Dyna Girl Judy Strangis.

Brian Keith

Brian Keith never appeared on The Twilight Zone, but he did appear on five episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (including one after the show’s 1962 expansion and re-titling as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour). The most interesting for Family Affair fans is probably “Cell 227,” in which Keith portrays a condemned prisoner. The script is a bit preachy and lacks the typical Hitchcock atmosphere, though the ending provides a suitably grim “gotcha.” Keith gives his usual strong performance, and it’s a major departure from Uncle Bill.

Liam Sullivan, who appeared in one Season Three episode of Family Affair, plays a priest here. Frank Nelson, an annoying neighbor in two memorable Family Affair episodes (“Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?” and “Ballerina Buffy”), has a more sympathetic role as a lawyer fighting to save Keith’s character.

Keith himself plays a crusading lawyer in “The Test.” His courtroom tactics are questionable, but there’s a method to his madness. This one has a thought-provoking, ambiguous ending.

Sebastian Cabot

Sebastian Cabot appears in the first-season Twilight Zone episode “Nice Place to Visit.” As the spiritual guide of a recently deceased thug, he’s Giles-French-like throughout most of the episode. The ending twist, while predictable, shows him in a very different light.

Cabot also appeared in one Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, Season One’s “A Bullet for Baldwin.” He’s Baldwin, and the episode’s opening events suggest that Cabot’s appearance will be brief. As you might expect on this show, things are more complicated than they seem.

(An extra treat for me in this episode is the presence of John Qualen, who played Earl Williams in my very favorite movie, His Girl Friday. Too bad he never appeared on Family Affair.)

Ida Lupino

Legendary actress and director Ida Lupino appeared as French’s old flame Maudie Marchwood in two Family Affair episodes. She appeared in one Twilight Zone episode, Season One’s “Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine.” The paranormal twist in this one comes too late to add much interest to the story of a fading actress living in the past. Lupino is always interesting, but this script doesn’t do her any favors; it reads like her character is 70, while Lupino was just over 40 when this aired!

(Lupino directed the much better Twilight Zone episode “The Masks.”)

Alice Frost, who appeared in the memorable Family Affair episode “The Candy Striper,” also appears here and gets to do some good screaming.

Paul Hartman

A first-season Family Affair guest star, Hartman appeared on three episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

You remember him--he sold Buffy and Jody a broken down horse.

You remember him–he sold Buffy and Jody a broken down horse.

On The Twilight Zone, he played a police sergeant in the second-season episode “Back There,” a time-travel yarn involving Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Nora Marlowe shows up again here. (Also of interest to classic TV fans: This episode stars Russell Johnson, the professor from Gilligan’s Island.)

The full episode doesn’t seem to be on Youtube, but you can watch it through Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Louise Latham

Louise Latham launched her screen career in Hitchcock’s Marnie as the title character’s mother.

On Family Affair, of course, she was Aunt Fran--a character who cast a longer shadow than her three appearances would suggest.

On Family Affair, of course, she was Aunt Fran–a character who cast a longer shadow than her three appearances would suggest.

She made one appearance on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and it was a good one. “An Unlocked Window” has everything–a spooky house, a violent storm, and a serial killer on the loose. Latham gives a showy performance as a housekeeper who progresses from merely annoying to drunken and deranged. The episode’s ending doesn’t completely surprise, but it does pack a punch. (Bonus for my fellow cat lovers: A nice-looking tabby gets plenty of screen time.)

Another connection involving this episode: Stanley Cortez served as director of photography here, as well as on the first two episodes of Family Affair. A veteran cinematographer, Cortez had worked on such movies as The Magnificent Ambersons and Night of the Hunter.

Heather Angel

Surprisingly, Heather Angel never appeared on the Hitchcock series. She would have been well suited for various British dowager parts, and she did have small parts in two Hitchcock films, Suspicion and Lifeboat.

On Family Affair, Angel played Miss Faversham in a whopping 18 episodes.

On Family Affair, Angel played Miss Faversham in a whopping 18 episodes–many more than any other recurring cast member.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Leave It to Beaver: A Father’s Journey

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

Assorted Ephemera: My Three Sons Coloring Book (1971)

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Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 16, “Family Reunion,” 1/1/1968

Since yesterday was Ray Bradbury’s birthday, I will introduce this week’s Family Affair episode thusly:

Something wicked this way comes.

Something wicked this way comes.

(You might want to review Aunt Fran’s history from the Pilot and Episode 1.22 before reading further.)

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

We begin with mail call at the Davis apartment. Even Buffy and Jody receive mail.

French gives them anything marked "Resident" or "Occupant."

French gives them anything marked “Resident” or “Occupant.”

Cissy reacts with alarm to a letter she receives.

It's from Aunt Fran! A faint whiff of sulfur coming from the envelope was probably the first hint.

It’s from Aunt Fran! A faint whiff of sulfur coming from the envelope was probably the first hint.

Fran has written that she’s looking forward to seeing the children again. (“Mwah-hah-hah” is implied at the end of the sentence). The kids are relieved when Uncle BIll explains that Fran is talking about a visit, not a permanent move. It seems she’s hosting a family reunion at her home in Terre Haute and wants Bill and the kids to attend. Bill had already decide to decline because he fears the trip will stir up traumatic memories for everyone.

The kids soon convince him that they want to see the old hometown, catch up with school friends, and re-visit landmarks like "the biggest slide in the whole world."

The kids soon convince him that they want to see the old hometown, catch up with school friends, and re-visit landmarks like “the biggest slide in the whole world.”

One can travel by air from New York to Terre Haute in about two hours–or five establishing shots.

Here's the plane.

We go from the plane…

...to bustling Terre Haute international...

…to bustling Terre Haute international…

...to this sign, whose appearance must have thrilled the Chamber of Commerce...

…to this sign, whose appearance must have pleased the Chamber of Commerce…

...to glamorous downtown Terre Haute...

…to glamorous downtown Terre Haute…

...to the suburbs...

…to the suburbs…

…before arriving at Aunt Fran’s rather grand house.

Buffy points out that this is a new house--not the one where she lived with Aunt Fran and spent her time getting locked in the closet by Uncle Harold.

Buffy points out that this is a new house–not the one where she lived with Aunt Fran.

The kids seem happy to see their aunt. The presence of Family Affair green in her house probably has a calming effect on them.

The kids seem happy to see their aunt. (The presence of Family Affair green in her house probably has a calming effect on them.)

Since it’s almost time for school to let out, Cissy heads off to the high school to surprise old friends, while the twins convince French to take them to their old kindergarten classroom.

Yes, Bill brought his man-servant along on this trip. His luggage isn't going to unpack itself, you know.

Yes, Bill brought his man-servant along on the trip. His luggage isn’t going to unpack itself, you know.

That leaves Bill alone with Aunt Fran, who promptly confesses that she’s sorry to see the kids looking so well-adjusted. Yep, that’s our Aunt Fran. It seems she has hopes of stealing them away. How has she progressed from ditching Buffy, to wanting the girls, to wanting all three kids? Beats me.

Uncle Bill looks uncomfortable, as anyone would in the presence of madness.

Uncle Bill just stands there looking uncomfortable.

When the kids return, they are bursting with excitement about their school visits. Cissy is anxious to get reacquainted with a boy named Harvey who has blossomed into a star athlete. Buffy and Jody saw their old kindergarten teacher, who gave them cookies.

(We get a good French-ism here: “I find it a matter of note that, in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal.”)

Out of the kids’ presence, Fran corners Bill and makes him promise that he will watch the kids over the next few days and consider whether they would be happier in Terre Haute.

VTS_01_5.VOB_000347046

The director seems to use some kind of soft-focus filter on Louise Latham’s close-ups, which are noticeably “blurrier” than any other shots.

The next day, Cissy heads off with Harvey to explore her old stomping grounds.

She acts surprised every time she remembers something, as if it is a feat for teenager to remember a place where she lived less than two years before.

She acts surprised every time she remembers something, as if it is a feat for teenager to remember a place where she lived less than two years before.

Harvey remarks on how she has changed since leaving Indiana–she’s now a sophisticated New York woman. He asks her to join him for the junior dance, but it’s more than two weeks away. Cissy says she can’t stay that long, and she doubts Uncle Bill will let her fly back alone for the dance.

He wants her to join him for the junior prom, but it's more than two weeks away.

Wearing his default expression of puzzlement, Harvey observes that Bill must be strict.

No, Cissy replies. He just cares about her and the twins.

Cut to the twins themselves, who are showing French their old playground and that huge slide they remembered.

Sometimes our memories play tricks on us.

“If you leave a slide out in the rain, can it shrink?” Jody asks, leaving French to explain that the slide just seems smaller since the twins have grown.

Back at home, the ever-gracious Uncle Harold is grumbling about grocery prices.

VTS_01_5.VOB_000626292

He says he can remember when he couldn’t carry all the bread that thirty cents could buy. Sure doesn’t sound like a guy who’d want to add three extra mouths to his household.

Cissy asks Bill about flying back for the dance. He says no, as she expected. Aunt Fran knows an opportunity when she sees one, though.

She suggests that all the kids stay with her until the dance.

She suggests that all the kids stay with her until the dance.

The kids can attend their old schools, she says, and French and Uncle Bill can have a break.

Uh-oh. You'd think by now Bill would know how that kind of talk affects the kids. He agrees to consider the plan, though.

Uh-oh. You’d think by now Bill would know how that kind of talk affects the kids. He agrees to consider the plan, though.

That night, fear of abandonment keeps all the kids up and drives Jody into the girls’ bed. The next morning, at the breakfast table, a breakthrough occurs: The kids tell Bill their worries, and he assuages them. (This is so much better than another round of misunderstandings about whether Bill wants to keep them and whether they want to stay with him.)

Random breakfast observations: Fran looks even creepier in an apron. Also, Bill is wearing the same shirt he wore the day before.

Random breakfast observations: Fran looks even creepier when she wears an apron. Also, Bill is wearing the same shirt he wore the day before.

Bill tells Fran that he and the kids will be leaving on Sunday after the family reunion. As it turns out, even that isn’t soon enough, as bad memories begin to plague the kids.

Harvey and Cissy visit a local lake and she remarks on its beauty.

Harvey scrunches up his face in confusion once again and wonders what's so beautiful about it.

Harvey scrunches up his face in confusion once again and wonders what’s so beautiful about it.

Cissy grows wistful as she remembers picnics at the lake with her parents in the years before Buffy and Jody were born.

Kathy Garver does a good job expressing genuine emotion in this scene.

Kathy Garver does a good job expressing genuine emotion in this scene.

Meanwhile, French is taking the kids for a walk down memory lane. (You’d think Uncle Bill, who anticipated that the kids might find their visit to Terre Haute traumatic, would spend time with them himself. Hell, you’d think he’d do it just to avoid being alone with Fran.)

First they stop outside a drug store and remember going there for ice cream with their parents.

First they stop outside a drug store and remember going there for ice cream with their parents.

Then they stop outside the very toy store where Buffy got Mrs. Beasley. (As French jokes, it should be marked with a plaque.) She remembers walking down the street with her mother, who spied the doll and thought it was the cutest thing she’d ever seen. She took Buffy into the store and bought her the doll on the spot.

"It was the last thing..." Buffy says. "The very last thing..."

“It was the last thing…” Buffy says. “The very last thing…”

Outside the barber shop, Jody remembers getting his hair cut side-by-side with his dad, who would joke that Jody might need a shave in a few weeks.

More acting props: Sebastian Cabot reactions to the kids are perfect here--tender, but maintaining French's normal restraint.

More acting props: Sebastian Cabot’s reactions to the kids are perfect here–tender, while maintaining French’s characteristic restraint.

The twins decide they’ve seen enough of Terre Haute and ask French to take them back to the house.

Later, the kids beg Bill to take them home right away, and he agrees.

Later, the kids beg Bill to take them home right away, and he agrees.

Sadly, we don’t get to see Aunt Fran’s reaction to their departure. Or that of Head-Wrinkle Harvey.

Back at home, the twins are happy that their respective pets are still alive.

Back at home, the twins are happy that their respective pets are still alive.

And Bill, relieved that the whole ordeal is over, is eager for the drink that French promises to fix him.

Commentary

This episode exudes the underlying sadness that makes Family Affair so unusual. Many shows of that era featured kids who had lost a parent and then promptly forgotten that parent ever existed. I love the fact that Family Affair revisited the kids’ grief every so often. The twins’ walk with French is especially moving and well scripted, with a realistic amount of detail surrounding each memory.

Guest Cast

Fran Higer: Louise Latham. Harold Higer: Bill Zuckert. Harvey: Jim Henaghan.

Sadly, this was Latham’s last appearance as the aunt we love to hate. They should have brought her back once a year. By season five, she could have escalated to building a bunker prison for the kids in her basement.

Fun Facts

The kids’ mother had a beautiful singing voice. Buffy has a goldfish.

Continuity Notes

The entire episode refers back to the show’s origin. Also, Jody’s turtle gets another shout-out–Scotty fed it while the family was out of town.

Notable Quotes

“When you come back, you remember all the little things you thought you’d forgotten, but you haven’t…you really haven’t.”–Cissy

 A Pronunciation Digression: Terre What?

Terre Haute is pronounced Terre Hote–except on Family Affair. In early episodes, most of the actors pronounce it correctly, but Brian Keith calls it Terre Hut. By the episode, everyone was using that pronunciation. In his memoir, Family Affair Production Supervisor John G. Stephens relates a conversation he had with Brian Keith about this issue:

During the filming, Brian keeps pronouncing the town’s name “Terre Hut.” We try to get him to pronounce the name correctly. He’ll have nothing to do with that. “I’ll call it Terre Hut whether you like it or not.”

After the show airs, we receive a number of letters from Terre Haute, complaining about Brian’s pronunciation. We show him the letters, and he just says, “What the fuck do they know?”

“They live there!”

“Ah, screw ’em.”

 

 

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 22, “Once in Love with Buffy,” 2/13/1967

Welcome to another installment of Family Affair Friday! Sorry it’s late–I’m blogging from the depths of migraine hell this weekend.

This week’s episode is an important one in the Family Affair canon. A good alternate title for it would be “Aunt Fran 2: The Nightmare Continues.”

Written by: Austin and Irma Kalish. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

Mr. French and Cissy are out, so Uncle Bill sacrifices a bowling game to stay home with Buffy and Jody.

Here he is canceling his bowling plans, explaining to his friend that he's "stuck with the kids." Ouch. Well, he didn't know Buffy was behind him.

Here he is canceling his bowling plans, explaining to his friend that he’s “stuck with the kids.” Ouch. Well, he didn’t know Buffy was behind him.

After he hangs up and begins talking to Buffy, the phone rings again.This time it’s one of his many lady friends, and he uses the expression “stuck with the kids” again.

Way to go, Uncle Bill. This time you knew she was nearby.

Way to go, Uncle Bill. This time you knew she was nearby.

(Note to Uncle Bill: You can’t really be “stuck with” your own kids. They’re kind of your responsibility.)

Uncle Bill and the twins go on to have a pleasant evening, but Uncle Bill’s words are still worrying Buffy at bedtime. Unfortunately, her insecurities make her easy prey from the evil force that blows in the next day from the mid-west.

Look, kids! It's Aunt Fran! The one who brought Buffy here and lft her because her husband couldn't get along with a 6-year-old orphan.

Look, kids! It’s Aunt Fran! The nice lady who brought Buffy here and left her because her husband couldn’t get along with a 6-year-old orphan.

Buffy's overjoyd to see her agin.

Buffy’s overjoyed to see her aunt again.

Aunt Fran tells Uncle Bill that Uncle Harold’s feelings have changed, and they both want Buffy back. Harold’s gotten a new job, they have a bigger house now, and they’ve hired “the Indiana version of Mr. French.” They’re even willing to take Cissy–isn’t that big of them? And Fran’s sister in Terre Haute will take Jody.

Of course, Uncle Bill wants the kids to stay with him, but Fran the Manipulator starts him doubting whether that’s what’s best for them. Everyday, he admits, people tell him how much better off kids are with a mother. (He must have some really rude friends.) Finally, he decides to leave it up to the kids.

Fran’s quick to work her magic on them, too.

Don't eat it, Buffy, Aunt Fran's probably put a spell on it.

Don’t eat it, Buffy, Aunt Fran’s probably put a spell on it.

She treats Buffy and Cissy to an afternoon of shopping, forbidden desserts, and mind games, convincing them that Uncle Bill would be happier without them.

The kids reluctantly agree, and Uncle Bill tries to conceal his heartbreak at their decision.

Uncle Bill and French share a sad conversation about the kids' impending departure. It would be more moving if this was the real Mr. French.

Uncle Bill and French share a sad conversation about the kids’ impending departure. It would be more moving if this was the real Mr. French.

(Note to Uncle Bill: You can often gauge kids’ attitudes through their demeanor as well as their words. If they say they want to return to Indiana, but they’re wearing expressions like those below, you may want to question them a little more.)

buffy upsetcissy upset

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Family Affair Friday: Episode 1, Buffy (Pilot), 9/12/66

This is the first in a weekly series reviewing episodes of the classic CBS sitcom Family Affair

Episode 1, Buffy (Pilot), 9/12/66
Written by: Edmund Hartmann. Directed by: James Sheldon.

Synopsis

Successful construction engineer Bill Davis resides in what his gentleman’s gentleman French refers to as “the quiet, monastic atmosphere of the bachelor apartment.” (“Monastic” is a bit ironic–Bill’s calendar shows him dating four women in less than a week.) As we meet him, he is returning from work in India that was successful enough to land him on the cover of World magazine.

Slowest. News week. Ever.

Without warning, Fran Higer arrives from Terre Haute, Ind., with Bill’s young niece, Buffy. Buffy’s parents were killed in an “accident,” presumably a car accident, about a year before. Bill was in Turkey at the time, and Buffy and her siblings were separated and placed with various relatives in Terre Haute. Fran wants Buffy to live with Bill because the child–defiant and unemotional–can’t get along with Mr. Higer. Believing that his bachelor status and frequent travels make him unsuitable as a father figure, Bill resists.

Buffy arrives.

Meanwhile, French is appalled at having to perform such duties as serving milk and cookies and escorting Buffy to the bathroom. He calls her “a little clot,” and she responds by biting his leg.

French, bitten. Well, he sort of had it coming.

Bill gently reprimands Buffy and tries to make her see that living with him would not be ideal for her. “Why don’t you want me to live with you?” she asks flatly. During this conversation, Fran slips out and leaves Buffy behind. The next morning, Buffy overhears Bill telling French that he is sending her back to Terre Haute. Buffy spends the day with French in the park, where French faces teasing from a group of nannies who believe he has joined their ranks.

French: “I am no one’s nanny.”

At the suggestion of his partner, Ted Gaynor, Bill decides to send Buffy to school in Switzerland rather than back to Terre Haute. When he tells Buffy, she is characteristically unresponsive, but in her room she cries and writes a farewell note.

Awww.

Years of nanny experience help French’s friend Miss Faversham lead French to Buffy’s hiding place in the basement. When Uncle Bill realizes how upset she is, he tells her she can stay. “Grown-ups always tell you things like that at night to make you go to sleep. It’s all different in the morning,” she replies. Uncle Bill assures her that he’s telling the truth and tells her that he loves her. For the first time, Buffy smiles and stops her curt “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” answers.

Awww times 10.

Soon Uncle Bill must leave for Peru. Just as he’s leaving, Buffy’s twin Jody arrives with another relative, who thought the twins should be together. After Bill departs, the twins’ teenage sister Cissy shows up, leaving an exasperated French to remark, “Good heavens, I am a nanny.”

Awww to the infinite power.

Random Thoughts

This is a good pilot that sets up the show’s situation with equal parts comedy and pathos. Tiny Anissa Jones and Johnnie Whitaker are at their most adorable. Jones’ portrayal is mostly deadpan, but that’s appropriate for Buffy’s mental state.

Buffy’s apparently suffered some harsh treatment in her prior home, considering her remark about being stuck in a closet as punishment and her cynicism about adults’ sincerity. Fran’s behavior here–dumping Buffy at the apartment and sneaking out–is pretty disgusting. I guess a charitable interpretation is that she knew Buffy and Uncle Bill would be better off together, and that Bill would come around in time. Mr. Higer sounds like a real jerk–what kind of person can’t be patient with a recently orphaned child?

The oh-so-sensitive Aunt Fran. By the way, the books in Uncle Bill’s den seem to be of the Reader’s Digest condensed variety. I know he’s a busy man, but really.

The pilot version of Mrs. Beasley lacks glasses and has a creepier face than the one used throughout the series.

Mrs. Beasley 1.0

Brian Keith and Sebastian Cabot are both wonderful in this episode. Keith exudes warmth in his emotional scene with Buffy, and Cabot conveys  wonderful disgust with the whole idea of child care.

Notable Quotes

French: “May I ask, madam, what is a Buffy?”

Buffy: “Mrs. Beasley is not a doll. Mrs. Beasley is my friend.”

French, shortly after Buffy arrives, regarding Uncle Bill’s date: “Miss  Larrabee fled, sir.”

French: “Back home, in civilization, we have infancy and manhood–nothing in between.”

An exchange between Buffy and Jody about Mr. French:

Jody: Who’s he?

Buffy: He’s the maid.

Jody: Does he like kids?

Buffy: I don’t think so.

Jody: Could he run fast?

Buffy: No.

Jody: (After a thoughtful pause) Okay, I’ll stay.

Guest Cast

Ted Gaynor: Philip Ober. Among Ober’s many guest appearances were two on I Love Lucy–not surprising since he was once married to Vivian Vance. He appeared twice on Sebastian Cabot’s early 1960s series Checkmate (which is available on DVD–wow). He also appeared in many movies, including North by Northwest and From Here to Eternity.

Fran Higer: Louise Latham, who would return twice as Aunt Fran. Latham’s career spanned from Perry Mason and Gunsmoke in the ’50s to CHiPs and The Waltons in the ’70s, Designing Women and Hunter in the ’80s; E.R. in the ’90s; and The X-Files in 2000. Her first movie role was as the title character’s mother in Hitchcock’s Marnie.

Miss Faversham: Heather Angel. She appeared in many movies, including That Hamilton Woman and Suspicion. She also did voices in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Her Family Affair role would be a recurring one.

Miss Larrabee: Lisa Seagram.

Miss Hodges: Sandra Wirth.

Bess Melville: Barbara Perry.

Miss Ponsonby: Nora Marlowe.

Mrs. Grayson: Shirley O’Hara.

Critical Reaction

Critics didn’t exactly embrace Family Affair. Though I like the show, I find this snarky Cleveland Amory review from the December 24, 1966 TV Guide pretty amusing.

Final Fun Facts

Uncle Bill is not fond of ballet. Bill’s business partner is Ted Gaynor.

Where to Watch

The whole pilot episode is available on Youtube. Here is part one: