Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 1, “Birds, Bees and Buffy,” 9/11/1967

Written by: Phil Davis. Directed by: Charles Barton.

We’ve reached Season 2 of Family Affair! Let’s take a quick look around and see if anything has changed.

Well, after 30 episodes with William D. Russell, we have a new director.

Well, after 30 episodes with William D. Russell, we have a new director. Don’t expect any art-house innovations, though.

Cissy's looking prettier, I think. Her hair is flufflier or something.

Cissy’s looking prettier, I think. Her hair is fluffier.

truth

Buffy’s front teeth have finally come in. I think Uncle Bill had better set aside some money for future orthodontia.

curious

Jody’s gotten taller, sprouting past his sister’s height. It’s hard to believe that Anissa Jones was 9 at this time, while Johnnie Whitaker was not yet 8.

One thing hasn’t changed since Season 1: Buffy and Jody are still 6. They are old enough, though, to start asking some questions after they see French and his nanny friends admiring a baby in the park.

Meet Anthony Bartlow III.

Meet Anthony Bartlow III.

When Buffy and Jody ask French where babies come from, he gives them a quick brush-off. Then he and the nannies marinate silently in their embarrassment.

No sex education, please. We're British.

No sex education, please. We’re British.

Meanwhile, the twins’ friend Wendy tells them that she knows where babies come from, but she’s not allowed to repeat it. It doesn’t take her long to overcome her scruples.

The stork brings babies, Wendy announces with authority.

The stork brings babies, Wendy announces with authority.

Upon arriving at home with the twins, French informs Uncle Bill about the twins’ curiosity.

French has a very reasonable plan for handling the situation--he proposes that Bill refuse to discuss the subject with the kids, ever.

French has a very reasonable plan for handling the situation–he proposes that Bill refuse to discuss the subject with the kids, ever. Or at least until the twins are leaving for college.

Uncle Bill is no more comfortable with the subject than French. So when Buffy and Jody float Wendy’s stork theory at the dinner table, both men latch onto it.

Seriously, Uncle Bill?

Seriously, Uncle Bill?

Now, let’s face it: Buffy and Jody are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, if Season 1 is anything to go by.

But even these Einsteins can look at an encyclopedia entry about storks and doubt the story they've been told.

But even these Einsteins can look at an encyclopedia entry about storks and doubt the story they’ve been told.

Their persistent questioning drives French to consult Miss Faversham, who has more experience than he does–experience with children, I mean.

She recommends the cabbage patch story as a delightful fantasy that is "not nearly as vulnerable to logic."

She recommends the cabbage patch story as a delightful fantasy that is “not nearly as vulnerable to logic.”

The twins accept the cabbage patch story, more or less.

Unfortunately, they are also eager to share their newfound knowledge with their friend Richie.

Unfortunately, they are eager to share their newfound knowledge with their friend Richard

Eavesdropping on their conversation, Uncle Bill cringes at the twins’ avowals that the story must be true–Uncle Bill would never lie to them, they say.

Later, he gets an earful from Riche's mother, who has made the radical decision to raise her

Later, he gets an earful from Richard’s mother, who believes in giving her son–gasp!–actual facts about reproduction.

Cissy is exasperated with what she calls “plain cowardice” on Uncle Bill’s part. She gets some advice and literature from her biology teacher, and tries to persuade her uncle to have a straightforward talk with the twins.

She's fighting a losing battle. Bill can't even handle a straightforward conversation with her on this topic.

She’s fighting a losing battle. Bill can’t even handle a straightforward conversation with her on this topic.

That evening at bedtime, Bill announces that he will tell the kids the truth.

Babies come from love, he says, reminding the twins about the love their parents had for them and for each other.

Babies come from love, he says, reminding the twins about the love their parents had for them and for each other.

Cissy and the twins are moved by his comments.

Even French approves.

Even French approves.

Later, though, French has a question: Is “love” also the proper explanation to give the children about a friend’s rapidly increasing pet rabbit population?

Commentary

A sweet and funny treatment of an always awkward situation. I like the rabbit question at the end–it hints that Uncle Bill’s oblique explanation will only satisfy the kids for so long. He needs to get himself a copy of Dr. Spock, fast.

Guest Cast

Miss Pringle: Viola Harris. Miss Livingstone: Athena Lorde. Miss Graham: Pauline Drake. Richard: Randy Whipple. Wendy: Pamelyn Ferdin. Miss Faversham: Heather Angel. Drake, Whipple, Ferdin, and Angel all appear in multiple Family Affair episodes.

Continuity Notes

The kids’ mother and father are mentioned.

Inconsistency Alert

A visual one:

This is supposed to be Cissy's mid-town Manhattan high school!

This is supposed to be Cissy’s mid-town Manhattan high school!

Fun Facts

Infants terrify Mr. French.

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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.

Synopsis

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!