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Bill Davis is a highly paid and successful engineer living in a large apartment in New York with his valet, Mr. Giles French . His life is suddenly changed when his niece, Buffy shows up. In the midst of deciding what to do, Buffy's twin brother, Jody shows up, and Bill has to leave for Peru. Once he leaves, Buffy and Jody's older sister, Cissy shows up. Bill and French's life is suddenly changed as they become surrogate parents for the 3 children. Written by
Good Wholesome Values and Morals...Remembering the classic "Family Affair" television series on its 50th anniversary
The television series "Family Affair" was the created brainchild of powerhouse producers Don Fedderson and Edmund L. Hartmann(who also served as executive producers of this series) who were also known for "My Three Sons",and "The Millionaire" television series along with producers Fred Henry, Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson that made "Family Affair" one of the most heartwarming comedy-drama series of the mid- 1960's. The series was one of CBS' most popular shows spanning five seasons and producing 138 episodes in color that premiered on CBS' Monday night prime-time schedule on September 12,1966 where it preceded "The Andy Griffith Show" and went opposite "Peyton Place",and "The Danny Thomas Comedy Hour". During its first three seasons the series aired on Monday nights at the 9:30 eastern/8:30 central time slot from 1966 to 1969. By the show's fourth season CBS moved the series from Monday nights to Thursday nights in an earlier time slot for its final two seasons(1969-1971) at the 7:30 eastern/6:30 central time slot until its cancellation on March 4,1971. "Family Affair" became so successful that CBS put the series on its daytime lineup schedule also known as "The Family Affair Morning Show" aka "The Brian Keith Show" which consisted of repeated episodes from various seasons airing from September 7,1970 until January 12,1973. Repeated episodes from the best of the series aired from March 11,1971 until September 10,1971.
"Family Affair" basically was a good series that had a "Disney" type theme to it that had a basic story-line, great actors, and impressive guest stars that made it not only fun to watch but made it one of the most popular heartwarming sitcoms of its era. The series chronicles the trials of a successful civil engineer and bachelor Bill Davis(Brian Keith)who life has suddenly changed when he learns that he is given custody of his brother's orphaned children in his luxury Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City. Davis' English Butler and counterpart Giles French(Sebastian Cabot) also had adjustments to make as well as he became the guardian and the second parent of caring for teenage daughter Cissy(Kathy Garver),and his brother's 6-year-old twins Jody(Johnny Whitaker),and Buffy(Anissa Jones) not to mention Buffy's treasure possession Mrs. Beasley her doll that was the heart of the show. This was a series that had basic "family values" and "morals" that was still on the airwaves that were successful during that era. Out of all the actors associated with the series only actors Brian Keith, Kathy Garver, Anissa Jones and Johnny Whitaker were the only cast members that stayed with the series throughout its entire run. Sebastian Cabot appeared in 130 episodes of the series. When Sebastian Cabot left the series for medical reasons, his brother Nigel French(John Williams) was introduced for nine episodes in 1967. In the show's final season Nancy Walker was added as a part-time housekeeper Mrs. Turner for six episodes for the 1970-1971 season.
Creators Don Fedderson along with Edmund L. Hartmann were writers for all 138 episodes of the series. Other outstanding writers that contribute were Henry Garson, Edmund Beloin, Austin and Irma Kalish, Elroy Schwartz, George Tibbles, Seaman Jacobs, Peggy Chantler Dick, Fred Fox, Joesph Hoffman, Phil Davis, and Phil Leslie among others. Charles Barton directed 106 episodes of the series while William D. Russell directed 31 episodes of the series. James Sheldon directed one episode. Notable guest stars consisted of child actors Eve Plumb, Erin Moran, Veronica Cartwright, Butch Patrick, Kym Karath and Pamelyn Ferdin. Other guest stars were June Lockhart, Robert Reed, Ida Lupino, Jamie Farr, Jackie Coogan, Joan Blondell, Sterling Holloway, James Hong, Brian Donlevy, Martha Hyer, Ann Sothern, Doris Singleton, Vic Tayback, Dana Andrews, Paul Fix and Lee Meriwether among the many who made guest appearances on the show.
As for some of the best episodes of "Family Affair" there were several that were very good if not downright dramatic with a hint of comedy. But I start with the show's pilot episode "Buffy" from Season 1. Other great episodes included "The Joiners"(Season 5,Episode 20), "The Substitute Teacher"(Season 3,Episode 5),"A Member of the Family"(Season 2,Episode 23), "Christmas Came a Little Early"(Season 3,Episode 7), "A Matter of Tonsils"(Season 2,Episode 22), "Oliver"(Season 3, Episode 6), "Mrs. Beasley,Where Are You?(Season 1, Episode 7), "Mr. French's Holiday" (Season 2,Episode 27), "Fat,Fat,The Water Rat"(Season 2, Episode 7),and "The Baby Sitters"(Season 2, Episode 29),and the two-part episode "Lost in Spain"(Season 3, Episodes 18 and 19) to name a few. During its five season run "Family Affair" was nominated for eight Prime-Time Emmys between 1967-1969 for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series,Outstanding Directorial Achievement and Outstanding Writing Achievement. Nominated in 1971 for the Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Series and nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedic Role(Brian Keith).
When the series was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1971 after five seasons and 138 episodes,audiences started turning to more "realistic" and irreverent television shows that were more of a urban and gritter appeal and by that time it was "harder" to find a wholesome family oriented program that was not only family friendly but successful and "Family Affair" exceeding all expectations as a television series. The 2002 remake of this was not successful nor did it do right to the original show. Happy 50th anniversary.
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