Written by: Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson. Directed by: Charles Barton.
Before I begin, I must apologize profusely for my delay in bringing you this installment of my Family Affair series. It resulted from a combination of issues–technical, medical, and practical–that are too boring to describe in detail. I think things are back on track now, and I will be able to blog about Family Affair at least every other week.
Not so surprisingly, they think it looks so small that Bill could hit a golf ball all the way across it.
Jody waxes sentimental about the trips he and Bill have taken together.
After Jody runs downstairs to talk to his stickball teammates, Buffy asks outright if she can go with him on fishing trip someday.
Oh, Uncle Bill.
He compounds his jerkiness by saying that little girls shouldn’t do rugged things. They should play with dolls instead.
Cissy stalks off to her room, and a resigned Buffy takes Mrs. Beasley out on the terrace for a tea party.
It’s about a trip to Lake Placid with Uncle Bill. She tells the story from her point of view, even though she wasn’t really on the trip.
“That is the best time I ever had, when Uncle Bill and I went away together just the two of us,” the essay concludes.
Bill quickly comes to the conclusion that he should take Buffy with him to Puerto Rico for a long weekend. Good thing airplane reservations are so flexible in the Davises’ world.
French and Bill wonder if Jody will be jealous that Buffy gets to go and he doesn’t.
Well, everyone is happy. What could possibly go wrong?
We get a slight hint when French announces that he’s packed Bill’s white and plaid (yikes!) dinner jackets. He wants Bill to be prepared for “tropical moonlight.”
Bill and Buffy take a late flight, and Buffy is sleeping when they get to Puerto Rico.
Gail is a writer for Corporation Magazine, which sounds like a scintillating read. She’s there to cover Bill’s speech, and she can’t wait to “interview him,” if you know what I mean.
Showing some sensitivity, Bill decides that wouldn’t make for a good start to Buffy’s special trip.
Random fashion note: Buffy’s coat and gloves are adorable in this scene.
Cissy has a date lined up for the next night with the “suave..sophisticated” Marvin Bradbury. That’s a problem because, at the same time, Mr. French is going out with Miss Faversham. (Yay!)
Cissy either has to cancel her date or take Jody along. I wonder which option she would prefer?
On their way to breakfast the next morning, Bill and Buffy meet the director of the hotel kids’ program.
(I thought such kids’ programs were a more recent development. I guess my family just didn’t stay at classy enough hotels back in the day. No child-care services at HoJos!)
Bill mystifies the lady by preferring to eat breakfast alone with Buffy. He also wants to arrange a special activity for just the two of them. Mrs. Robinson suggests a burro trip to the old silver mines.
Random fashion note: Isn’t Buffy’s outfit a little strange for a tropical climate?
Buffy tells Gail that she’s pretty and then launches into a completely guileless recitation on all the pretty girls Bill knows–so many that he sometimes gets them mixed up. Bill’s discomfort is amusing to behold.
Gail wants Bill to join her for golf, but he keeps his commitment to Buffy.
He’s arranged for a gypsy violinist and “wine”–actually, grape juice in a wine decanter.
Cissy has neglected to warn him ahead of time that it will be a dinner for three, not two.
Things go downhill from there, when Jody asks the violinist to play “Turkey in the Straw.”
Jody also ruins Marvin’s attempt to look cool while tasting the “wine.”
Jody points out that it’s fruity because it’s grape juice.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, Buffy and Bill are going to dinner together.
When Buffy says she’d like to play, Bill says he’ll come along, too. Again, Mrs. Robinson is mystified by a parent who wants to spend time with their child.
(By the way, if you are wondering how Bill is able to achieve Buffy’s signature hairstyle on his own, the writers have anticipated this nitpick. They have him say it took “trial and error.”)
Letting Bill off the hook, she tells him that she wants to go play bingo without him.
“Sometimes kids should be with kids, and grown-ups should be with grown-ups,” she says.
Back at home, Marvin has taken Cissy and Jody home–apparently, he barely slowed down the car long enough to let them out.
Bill doesn’t come off well in this episode, from his casual sexism to his inability to leave one skirt unchased. (It’s only a long weekend, for God’s sake!) “Sometimes kids should be with kids and grownups should be with grownups” is a sensible observation, but I wish Buffy had come to that conclusion on her own. She might have become tired of dressing up and being quiet, for instance. Instead, it’s obvious that she’s just trying make the obviously-checked out Uncle Bill happy.
The performances are good, however. Brian Keith has some nice non-verbal business, which I’m sure he improvised.
Anissa Jones just beams in her scenes with Keith.
The Cissy-Jody subplot is mildly amusing, and I enjoy their laughter at the end.
Hotel Clerk: Aladdin. Frank: Barry Cahill. Gail Ryder: Sue Casey. Mrs. Robinson: Patience Cleveland. Marvin: Gregg Fedderson. Mrs. Rodriguez: Carmen D’Antonio. Waiter: Pepe Hern. Maitre d’: Lou Krugman. Steve Jackson: Kenneth Tobey.
Aladdin played the violin on The Lawrence Welk Show. The same year this episode aired, he appeared in a memorable run of My Three Sons episodes leading up to Steve and Barbara’s wedding.
Cahill was married to Rachel Ames (who played Audrey on General Hospital for 50 years). He died in 2012.
Casey was mostly a Hollywood bit player, but she achieved some cult fame in the 1965 film The Beach Girls and The Monster.
This is Fedderson’s second appearance as a Cissy love interest. The next time we see him, he’ll be starting a string of 11 episodes as her steady boyfriend Gregg.
Tobey was a prolific and well regarded character actor. He appeared in The Thing from Another World and many other science fiction films. Other films in which he appeared include Angel Eyes, Billy Jack, and Airplane! In the 1950s, he had his own television adventure series, The Whirlybirds. He had recurring roles in I, Spy and Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett series. Tobey died in 2002.