Family Affair (1966–1971)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
It taught family values and showed how tragedy (death of the siblings parents in a car accident) brings people together. The show did have moments of being cheesy but I would much rather see that then some of the current garbage being forced on everyone on network television. Anissa Jones, playing Buffy, specifically in the first episode, is the most underrated child actress of her time. She is so natural.
I guess what really bothers me is that whenever you turn on the television today, all you are forced to see are these reality shows with the dog eat dog mentality. Everyone will stomp on everyone else to get what they want no matter what the cost. It seems that a show like The Simple Life (Paris Hilton) or The Surreal Life with C list celebrities gets released on DVD five minutes after it comes out but these truly classic shows, like Family Affair; Alice and One Day At a Time are never shown and haven't been seen for years.
TV Land shows Leave it to Beaver all the time, why not change the lineup and show Family Affair; Alice & One Day at a Time so people can see something that hasn't been on for years?
enough cool. I wish I would have had a sister like her.
I hope the studio that has the rights to this show releases the DVD soon. And, I hope that someday, Hollywood and the Industry begins to put on more shows
like this. I not only hope this for the future of television, but with the patients running the asylum, we need to retake positive and fun television. Enough of the explicit sex, promotions of bad behavior and value bashing. I'm glad I don't ever listen to critics who these days despise anything with value, sweetness and fun. All they do is look to perpetuate the negative. It proves the statement, "those that can't do, teach and those that can't teach (or do anything), criticize." Need I say more?
"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.
The acting is marvellous, Brian Keith is great as Uncle Bill with a great sense of comic timing and a warm presence too. Kathy Garver shows herself as a promising young actress as Cissy and Johnny Wittaker is a cute Jody. The real stars though are Anissa Jones who is so heartfelt as Buffy and Sebastian Cabot whose Mr French is just brilliant.
Some might say Family Affair is quite syrupy or sugar coated. Maybe so, but I thought it was a great show and very warm and entertaining. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Note: When Sebastian Cabot was written off the show for a few episodes, John Williams stepped in and did an equally credible job of playing Mr. French's brother.
Note 2: It should be noted that two up-and-coming child performers made appearances on this show, Erin Moran and Eve Plumb, and nothing more need be said on the latter.
Brian Keith is wonderful as Uncle Bill, the playboy uncle turned surrogate father. The younger stars are also perfect in their roles, especially little Anissa Jones who plays Buffy. Sebastian Cabot is the real jewel of the series in his brilliant portrayal of the butler, Mr. French, who always appears so very proper and gruff but is actually quite charmed by these three kids.
Various amusing and touching scenarios would unfold weekly as the two adults and their three charges grew accustomed to life together. For me, the show was notable (apart from the butler) for Mrs. Beasley, Buffy's bespectacled granny doll. She was a prominent feature in most episodes, always getting lost or whatever, and naturally Buffy was VERY attached to her. All in all, it was a sweet, heartwarming show from nostalgic years of yore when kids were, happily, much less sophisticated than they are today. Pity there aren't more such family programs these days and a demand for them.
Thought "Uncle Bill" (the late Brian Keith) was the father of the three children he hosted, however, he was quite a great foster dad (the 3 children, Jody, Buffy and Cissy were orphaned) and his faithful valet and bodyguard, Mr.Giles (the late great Sebastian Cabot, who voiced Bagherra in Disney's animated Jungle Book) always watched the children by giving useful advice. However, Bill is a busy man and he tries desperately to get a new girlfriend though he must adapt to his new family life, in downtown New York...
It was well done for its times. If today, some of the context (the 60s mostly) seems out of time, the stories and the themes involved do not change.
In the French version, names were changed: Buffy became "Fanfan", Jody was "Jacky", Cissy was "Cecile" and Mr.Giles went into the more sympathetic name of "Mr.Felix"...
Still have this Frank DeVol's tune in my head... Watch it for old times sake...
What made the show a hit was the chemistry between Anissa Jones as Buffy and Johnny Whittaker as Jody. They got along so well and they were to of the cutest sitcom kids of the mid to late 60s. There was also Kathy Garver as older sister Cissy, who was like a mother to the two youngsters. Also part of the cast, though inanimate was Buffy's doll, Mrs. Beasley. The doll became a big seller throughout the show's five year run and even when it went into syndicated reruns.
The one episode I remember was the one where Whittaker sang the song "Every Little Boy Can Be President." Another one I remember focused on Jody having an invisible bear named Arthur.
It's a shame that the show hasn't been seen on any cable channel in the last few years, it's a show that appeals to the entire family. In the age of sitcoms with objectionable language, Family Affair is a throwback to the days of family friendly entertainment. Definitely a Family Affair.
So we watch this show weekly and it is such a paradise: Everyone has nice clothes, they live in a wonderful apartment, there is always food, and everyone gets along so well it makes you want to puke.
I remember thinking, "Is this what life is outside of this scary household?" I didn't find out till I was much older that Family Affair wasn't the norm, but the household I grew up in thankfully wasn't either.
You'd know a really mushy "heartfelt" part of the show was going to be coming up because this maudlin violin music would start playing. Uncle Bill and Mr. French never touched the kids but never hit them either - I thought this was a good trade off. But oh, the corn! All those "feelings"! It would make you want to puke now and then.
People who think that everything about TV nowadays is indeed a "vast wasteland" compared to the "good old days" of television should sit down and watch this tripe. Proof positive that worthless television was available even then to the undiscerning.
Better for me was "Courtship of Eddy's Father" if you want this theme .But then who could resist that woman from "Flower Drum Song" week after week after week after week after week? "Family Affair", did I mention I hated the title? I will try to think of a few other shows I found as annoying. This has to be one of the ickiest TV series.
Didn't anyone wonder about the "Confirmed bachelor" and his prissy "live-in butler"? Whereabouts in New York did they live- close to the Village? Hmmm.
A sneaky relative dumps three unruly rug-rats on the New York City doorstep of billionaire Bill Davis. Teen girl Cissy, red-headed step-child Jody, and annoying little girl Buffy will force 'Uncle Bill' to curtail his snuggling sessions with his 'man-servant', Giles French.
A goofy show to say the least, five years after this series concluded, Anissa Jones (Buffy) over-dosed and died with more different kinds of narcotics in her system than the coroner had ever seen.
The eccentric sitcom featured a trippy opening of kaleidoscopic credits and front doors on the apartment which had humongous knockers.... much bigger than Cissy's.