This week at Chez Davis, Uncle Bill is yakking on the phone to someone named Charlie.
Jody says smaller basketballs are baby stuff. Episode Theme Foreshadowing Alert!
Meanwhile, Bill is craving cheese souffle, but French is all out of Gruyere–I hate when that happens.
French is about to leave for the Italian market when Jody asserts that he’s old enough to run the errand himself.
Now, Bill knows that it’s important to keep up a united front before the children.
Bill gives a delighted Jody permission to run to the corner market.
Of course, this whole dilemma is strange, since just last week we saw that Jody already has wandering-around privileges.
After completing his errand, Jody runs into an older boy he knows.
This kid has a club called the Daredevils, and Jody is feeling so big for his britches that he requests membership.
He takes Jody to meet the other club members and get their input.
They demand a proper initiation prank for Jody, though.
They decide that Jody should cut off a few of Mr. French’s whiskers and bring them back to the club for inspection. Yikes!
He also has to make an ungrammatical pledge to “not tell nobody” about the club’s secrets, under penalty of his teeth falling out and his toes dropping off.
At one point, he even calls French “Mr. Whiskers” by mistake.
Meanwhile, Bill is leaving on another trip, and Buffy and Cissy are heading to the planetarium. They invite Jody, but he wants to stay home and carry out his plan. Buffy thinks he’s scared of the planetarium’s darkness–he takes umbrage, of course, at this slight to his new-found maturity.
Cissy and Buffy barely make it out of the lobby before running into Sharon.
Couldn’t Buffy just knock on the door? Yes, but then she wouldn’t be able to walk in on a dozing French, as Jody prepares to do some snipping.
Jody realizes she’s there before he carries through with the crime.
Good sister that she is, she offers to help.
By the way, Cissy is spending the night with Sharon–that’s another contrivance that’s required for this plot to work.
When it goes off, she wakes Jody, and they head for French’s room.
They’re almost busted, though, when French’s phone rings.
(During my teenage years, I had a phone just like French’s in my room.)
He still wants to join, but Buddy Hinton’s all, “We don’t allow babies in this club.”
With renewed determination, Jody goes home to do the deed. This time, he tells Buffy that he’ll handle it alone.
Then, unfortunately, he freezes like a deer in the headlights, allowing French to grab the envelope and figure out what’s happened.
When Bill hears about it, he feels that Jody must have had some reason for his actions, beyond just a wild hair (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Random Set Design Observation: I like Jody’s room a lot better than the girls’. That desk/table is a nice, functional piece.
Hmm. The bullies in my neighborhood weren’t real big on remorse and confession.
Now, Bill and French change their tunes–they’re glad that Jody is honoring the “gentleman’s code” by keeping his friends’ secrets.
So, now a second-grader is wandering the streets, and he’s learned that he shouldn’t confide in his parents if someone swears him to secrecy about something.
The beard-snipping scene generates about as much suspense as Family Affair can muster, and French outrage is always entertaining.
Sharon James: Sherry Alberoni. Sparky: Lindy Davis. Merv: Gerald Edwards. Jose: Ric Natoli. Frankie: Butch Patrick. Skinny: Russell Schulman. Mr. Amalfi: A.G. Vitanza.
For Patrick, this episode fell between his stints on The Munsters and Lidsville. Shortly after it aired, he began a recurring role as Ernie’s friend Gordon on My Three Sons. Schulman also made one appearance as Gordon.
Gerald Edwards voiced the character Weird Harold on Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids.