Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 8, Who’s Afraid of Nural Shpeni?, 11/7/1966

I apologize for my lateness in bringing you this installment of my weekly Family Affair series.

Season 1, Episode 8, “Who’s Afraid of Nural Shpeni?”

Written by: Cynthia Lindsay. Directed by: William D. Russell.


A Middle Eastern theme pervades this episode, which begins with French reading to the twins about Sinbad the Sailor.

Jody seems pretty excited about this story.

With Uncle Bill soon to return from a project in Beirut, French decides to brush up on his Lebanese culinary skills. But a trip to Fuad’s Middle Eastern Delicacies leads to cooking lessons from Nural Shpeni and then to her family’s demands that French marry her.

The prospective bride. French could do a lot worse.

Dr. Sarkis, an associate of Uncle Bill, reminds Nural’s brothers that the traditions they are relying upon to force French into marriage also demand a large dowry from them.

When Buffy and Jody open the door and see this group, they scream and run. It’s kind of funny, if politically incorrect.

French is thrilled when Nural finally announces she’d rather marry Officer Chamas, the local cop on the beat.

Vic Tayback as the cop. Hmm, Mr. French or Mel Sharples? Tough call.

Random Thoughts

This is the episode the Cleveland Amory mocked in his TV Guide review of Family Affair. It is pretty bad, actually. It’s always fun to see Mr. French in a state of extreme discomfort, however. And it has some other compensations.

Compensation 1: French using a hookah!

Compensation 2: Uncle Bill buys Mrs. Beasley this cute outfit in Lebanon.

Here she is later wearing the outfit.

Guest Cast

Fuad: Nestor Paiva. Nural: Magda Harout. Alam: Henry Corden. Mohad: Peter Manahos. Policeman Chamas: Vic Tayback. Old woman: Kay Koury. Dr. Sarkis: Abraham Sofaer. Most familiar is Vic Tayback, who played Mel in the 1974 movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, as well as the subsequent TV series Alice. Nestor Paiva, who had a long career in movies, died before this episode aired. Magda Harout, on the other hand, is still alive and continued to act as recently as 2010, with an appearance on Fringe. Attention Seinfeld fans: she appeared as Stella in the 1991 episode “The Pen.” Henry Corden voiced many cartoon characters, including Fred Flintstone. He was Marcia’s boss, Mr. Haskell, in the ice cream parlor episode of The Brady Bunch.

Fun Facts

Mr. French speaks Arabic and once worked for the Shah of Morocco. Jody is five minutes older than Buffy.

Read my whole Family Affair series!

Today’s Bonus Feature

An article from TV Radio Mirror, July 1967. These fan magazine articles are not to be trusted completely, but the photos are nice. Here, you can see Johnny Whitaker’s real family.


Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 7, Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?, 10/24/1966

My 10-inch Buffy doll with her Mrs. Beasley. They’ve never been removed from the box, but Mrs. Beasley has plummeted to the ground–hey, just like in this episode.

This week, the latest installment of my Family Affair series features a classic Mrs. Beasley episode–and some dolly digressions.

Season 1, Episode 7, Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?, 10/24/1966

Teleplay by: Phil Davis and John McGreevey. Story by: Phil Davis. Directed by: William D. Russell.


A seeming tragedy occurs when Mr. French accidently knocks Mrs. Beasley off the terrace, and the doll is nowhere to be found below.

What could go wrong here?

Yeah. That.

Meanwhile, a related subplot finds Uncle Bill’s weekend plans to “sleep, play golf and do a little mild socializing” thwarted by conflict with a neighbor–a neighbor whose little girl suddenly owns a doll (Effie Boots) the spitting image of Mrs. Beasley.

Effie Boots’ owner is the spitting image of Pamelyn Ferdin.

A despondent Buffy, however, testifies that the doll isn’t hers.  The whole Davis family suffers along with Buffy.

See the clothes these two are wearing while Cissy makes the scrunched-face-of-concern at Uncle BIll? Well, keep them in mind. We’ll get back to them later.

Jody offers to let Buffy sleep with his turtle. Awww.

A sweet sisterly moment. Double Awww.

When all seems lost, Uncle Bill and his girlfriend du jour find Buffy’s doll in the apartment building’s garbage cans.

“Competition is the lifeblood of free enterprise,” the ragpicker notes approvingly when he sees Bill and his date rifling through the trash. Aren’t ragpickers amusing?

The happy reunion.

Random Thoughts

It would take a cold heart to remain unmoved by Buffy’s suffering. As a Barbie collector, though, I enjoy the toy store scene the most: drool-worthy Mattel dolls as far as the eye can see. I don’t know if Mattel had released the Mrs. Beasley doll yet, but obviously the show had forged its relationship with the toy company.

The mid-1960s was a golden era in Barbie history. In this scene, you can see several “American Girl” Barbie dolls. These were only made for two years and are highly sought after today. The long-haired doll in the background is Barbie’s cousin Francie. The Barbie clothes of that era were especially glamorous. The doll in the foreground is wearing Fabulous Fashion. You can spot other dolls wearing Fashion Luncheon and Pan American Airways Stewardess. One price guide I own values the latter at $900 if it’s still in the box! The little dolls on the shelf above the saleslady are Barbie’s brother and sister, Tutti and Todd, along with their friend Chris. Mattel made a Buffy and Mrs. Beasley doll in that same size.

Guest Cast: George Nelson: Frank Maxwell. Diane: Joan Vohs. Clara: Ann McCrea. Saleslady: Cathleen Cordell. Melissa: Pamelyn Ferdin. Scotty: Karl Lukas. Ragpicker: Andy Albin. Maid: Pauline Drake. Pamelyn Ferdin is a familiar face, and voice, from the 1960s and ’70s. Among other roles, she played Edna on The Odd Couple and voiced Lucy in A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Fern in Charlotte’s Web. She also appeared (with Johnnie Whitaker) on Sigmund and the Seamonsters and was in the ’70s version of Lassie. On The Brady Bunch, she appeared in the episode where Jan sports a wig. She also played Francie in a 1972 made-for-TV version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She would appear in three more episodes of Family Affair. Joan Vohs appeared in a second-season epidsode as Mrs. Scofield, then appeared in six third-season episodes as Miss Cummings. Andy Albin was a regular performer on Bob Newhart’s short-lived first series in 1961.

Continuity Notes: Cissy explains that after the death of her mother and father and separation from her siblings, Buffy had only Mrs. Beasley left as a friend.

Continuity error–Cissy and Uncle Bill are wearing the same clothes in this scene as they did in the “concerned conversation” scene above, but this scene takes place the next day.

Notable Quotes: “People you love always go away–I know.” Buffy

Well, that quote’s a bummer. So I will close instead with two random Buffy pictures. In Buffy’s happy scenes in this episode, Anissa Jones seems more animated than usual.

Anissa Jones cuteness.

I love that outfit, too. It reminds me of the Gymboree outfits I tried to get my daughter to wear when she was 4 and 5. (No dice.)

Today’s Bonus Feature

An article from Doll World, December 1996, about the small Buffy and Mrs. Beasley doll.

Read my whole Family Affair series!