TV classics: Family Affair
USA 1966-71, 5 seasons, 138 episodes, 25 minutes each, CBS, color. Producer: Don Fedderson. Cast: Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot, Kathy Garver, Johnny Whitaker, Anissa Jones and Mrs Beasley
Plot summary: After the sudden death of his brother, bachelor Bill Davis “inherits” three children (including doll Mrs Beasley) and tries to raise them in his chic New York City apartment with a little help from his English original butler Mr. French.
In the beginning, Bill Davis, a bachelor to boot, has a hard time adapting his life to the needs of a teenage daughter and her six-year-old twin siblings. And his butler Mr. French is not much of a help in respect to children. They are quite at odds with their “inheritance”, but of course, as the show progresses, the two men learn to dry tears, find solutions to school problems and understand that there may be many dolls out in the world, but there’s only one Mrs Beasley. As the children grow up in this turbulent, funny but harmless show, so do the adults, and with them the audience.
For an entire generation, Brian Keith was a darling uncle Bill and he is, indeed, a real treat to watch on his journey from a 1960s bachelor (with all the cliches attached) to a loving father of three. The children supporting him were beautifully cast and know how to bounce off Brian Keith’s charm and Sebastian Cabot’s equally entertaining talent and lines. The episodes are easy to follow for children and endearing to adults as one of those classic gems that comes without explicit language, violence or sexual references. That’s what family entertainment in the 1960s looked like and it is a lot of fun to lean back and revisit this bygone era.
Available on DVD. Family Affair opening credits