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Family Affair - Season Three


TITLE: FAMILY AFFAIR - SEASON THREE


Info:

DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007 (MPI Home Video)
Color/1968-1969
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 28
Running Time: Aprrox. 11 hours, 40 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: Approx. 30 minutes, 37 seconds
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English Subtitles
Special Features: The Family Affair Reunion Special


Introduction:

Family Affair was a popular situation comedy and a regular top 20 hit show produced by Don Fedderson Productions for CBS-TV during its five-year run from 1966-71.

Brian Keith stars as bachelor Bill Davis, a highly-paid engineering consultant who lives in a posh Manhattan apartment with his proper English manservant, Mr. Giles French (Sebastian Cabot). Davis' carefree existence is turned upside down when his brother and sister-in-law die suddenly in a tragic automobile accident, leaving their three children orphaned. Davis becomes an instant father figure to six year-old twins, Buffy and Jody (Anissa Jones, Johnnie Whitaker) and their big sister, Cissy (Kathy Garver).

In Season 3, Jody accepts a dare to clip Mr. French's beard to get into an exclusive club, Buffy brings an early Christmas to a sick little girl, Cissy yearns to become a hippie, Mr. French is cast in a movie about Henry the VIII and Uncle Bill considers marriage to a beautiful (but child-hating) Italian girl.

Guest stars include Butch Patrick, Eve Plumb, Joe Flynn and Jamie Farr.

Family Affair Season 3 contains 28 episodes on 5 discs, including the three-part "Lost In Spain" and a never-before-seen bonus feature.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Family Affair's third season premiered on September 23, 1968 on CBS. It dropped one slot to 5th place in the ratings with a 25.2 rating. This was down slightly from season 2's 25.5 rating. It continued to air on Monday nights at 9:30-10:00PM during the third season. The series starred Brian Keith as Bill Davis, Sebastian Cabot as Mr. Giles French, Anissa Jones as Buffy, Johnnie Whitaker as Jody and Kathy Garver as Cissy. They lived in Apartment 27-A on 600 East 62nd near Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Buffy was often shown with her doll, Mrs. Beasley. Mrs. Beasley was a huge star in her own right. The talking Mrs. Beasley doll was first introduced in 1967 by Mattel. Coloring books, paper dolls, games and a Family Affair lunch box soon followed. A total of 138 episodes were produced over the show's 5-year run from 1966-1971. After being filmed at Desilu Studios for the first season, it moved to CBS Studio Center for Seasons 2-5. Brian Keith received his third consecutive nomination for "Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series." The series was also nominated for "Outstanding Comedy Series" for a second consecutive season.

Memorable episodes included "The Latch Key Kid," in which Buffy meets a girl named Lana who lives alone while her mother goes out all the time. In "By a Whisker," Jody must clip French's whiskers to get into a club. Jody is attracted to a new substitute teacher, but is sad when she leaves in "The Substitute Teacher." Buffy throws an early Christmas party for a sick little girl who might not live to see it in "Christmas Came a Little Early." French contemplates marriage to raise his professional esteem in "A Nanny For All Seasons." Bill is laid up with a broken leg from a ski accident, and the kids and his girlfriend both give him some horrendous care in "Family Plan." The twins learn how to eavesdrop with a tape recorder in "A Matter of Privacy." A young woman pursues Mr. French in "Speak For Yourself, Mr. French." Poison-pen letters implicate Mr. French in a scandal in "The Man of Dignity."

Some familiar child sitcom actors were among the guest appearances this season. Butch Patrick ("The Munsters") played Frankie in "By a Whisker." Boxer Archie Moore appeared as Ruby in "Your Friend, Jody." June Lockhart ("Lost in Space") was Miss Evans in "The Substitute Teacher." Richard Bull ("Little House on the Prairie") guest starred as Ross in "Oliver." Eve Plumb ("The Brady Bunch") played Eve Bowers in "Christmas Came a Little Early." Alan Napier ("Batman") appeared as Mr. Wilson in "Oh, To Be In England." Lisa Gerritsen ("My World and Welcome to It") was May in "A Diller, A Dollar" and Kathy in "The Young Man From Bolivia." Eddie Hodges guest starred Charlie Higgins in "The Flip Side." Warren Berlinger played McGregor in "The Flip Side." Jamie Farr was the Hippie in "Flower Power." Dick Patterson played Tony Brooks and Joe Flynn was Fred Wallace in "My Man, the Star."


Packaging:

The packaging is very similar to the first two seasons. It comes in a thick, black Amaray case that MPI frequently uses for some of their other releases like The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. The cover art uses the exact same photo as the first two releases. This time it has a pink/purple flower background. There is something to be said for consistency and all these sets will look nice stacked together. The Family Affair logo is in white and orange at the top of the box. There is a pink/purple-tinted cast photo on the back of the box. A summary of the set, the special feature listing and the DVD specs are listed. They say, once again, in the summary that Bill's brother and sister-in-law died in a plane accident, but it was a car accident from what I've read online. The trend of white, plastic holders inside the case is continued from the second season. These holders are very sturdy and the discs seem to stay in their place. There are 2 over-lapping holders that you flip through like a book that hold the first 4 discs. Disc 5 is in a holder embedded on the back of the case. A single paper sheet is included inside the case that has the same cast photo as the cover art on one side and the episode titles on the other side. I would have liked to see them include the original airdates on the sheet, just to compare them with the airdates listed on various online episode guides. There seems to be 2 incorrect episode titles listed on the sheet. An older 30th Anniversary DVD Catalog List for MPI Home Video is included. It only lists the first season of Famly Affair. The discs have a purple-tinted cast photo on them. Each disc is numbered and has the show logo in white and orange at the top. Disc 1 has episodes 61-66, Disc 2 has 67-72, Disc 3 has 73-78, Disc 4 has 79-84 and Disc 5 has 85-88 and the special feature.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus look similar to what has been used on the first two season releases - with some slight changes. They are well designed and easy to navigate. Instead of video clips on the main menus, they use rotating still images from the episodes this time. On the left side, the Family Affair logo is in yellow. It sligthly overlaps the photos. I think they could have spaced it out a bit to make it look a little nicer. A blue background is used, and the borders have some beads/pebbles like you see in the kaleidoscope opening of the show. The ending theme (:50) can be heard in the background. It loops with the still images after it is finished. On the lower right side of the main menu, there are options for "Play All," "Episodes" and "Set-Up." There is a white star next to the option that you highlight that turns gray upon your selection. The Set-up menu lets you turn on/off the subtitles. Buffy and Jody are pictured on that menu. The Episodes sub-menus feature various photos of the cast on the right side and a vertical listing of the episode titles on the left side. Disc 1 has a photo of Jody. Disc 2 has Buffy. Disc 3 has Cissy. Disc 4 has Buffy, Bill and Jody. Disc 5 has Cissy, Buffy and Jody pictured. One downside of these sets has been the lack of chapter stops within the episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

I would say the video and audio quality is on par with the first two releases. Family Affair was one of CBS' first sitcoms to premiere in color in 1966. It last aired regularly in the U.S. on TV Land from 1998-2000. I don't remember seeing the show that often, so I don't have anything to compare the episodes on this DVD release. I don't think the episodes look quite as good as some other sitcoms of the era like Gilligan's Island, The Andy Griffith Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. The colors are not as vivid as they would be in later years when technology advanced. Sometimes the scenes look faded and washed out. There is some dust, debris, grain, occasional snow/static and other digital artifacts in some scenes. Overall, the episodes are certainly watchable and look as good as possible - given their age and original source material. All the episodes appear to be unedited, running over 25 minutes (with the exception of #63 which runs 24:40). I'm not sure if episode #63 just ran shorter originally or if a scene is missing. It is about a minute shorter than the other episodes. There is nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the music was replaced or any other edits. The episodes are presented in their original broadcast order. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is one for Don Fedderson Productions followed by the current Universal logo. Something I noticed on this set that may have also been on the first two releases: in the closing credits, it appears that the sponsor was cropped out and replaced with a solid, blue background.

The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. I noticed a slight hiss in most of the episodes, but it wasn't that bad and I could adjust to it. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. Brian Keith sure had a big, booming voice. I loved Frank DeVol's theme and music used in the episodes. He also did the music for Don Fedderson's My Three Sons, as well as numerous other tv series. English subtitles are available for the episodes.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
61. The Latch Key Kid (25:35)
62. By a Whisker (25:36) *
63. A Waltz From Vienna (24:40)
64. Your Friend, Jody (25:36)
65. The Substitute Teacher (25:39)
66. Oliver (25:27)

* Listed incorrectly as "By a Whisper" on the episode sheet - an obvious typo.

Disc 2
---------
67. Christmas Came a Little Early (25:35)
68. The Unsound of Music (25:33)
69. Albertine (25:36)
70. A Matter of Choice (25:38)
71. Ciao, Uncle Bill (25:38)
72. A Nanny For All Seasons (25:34)

Disc 3
---------
73. Family Plan (25:37)
74. To Love With Buffy (25:38)
75. A Family Group (25:37)
76. A Lesson For Grown-Ups (25:36)
77. Oh, To Be In England (25:38)
78. A Matter of Privacy (25:37)

Disc 4
---------
79. Lost In Spain (1) (25:36)
80. Lost In Spain (2) (25:37)
81. Lost In Spain (3) (25:36)
82. A Diller, A Dollar (25:40)
83. The Young Man From Bolivia (25:38)
84. Speak For Yourself, Mr. French (25:36)

Disc 5
---------
85. The Flip Side (25:40)
86. The Matter of Dignity (25:36)
87. Flower Power (25:37)
88. My Man, The Star (25:36) *

* Listed incorrectly as "By Man, The Star" on the episode sheet - an obvious typo.


Special Features:

MPI Home Video hasn't put as many special features on their Family Affair sets as they have on their The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and The Doris Day Show sets. There is only special feature included this time, but it is another good one that new and old fans are sure to enjoy.

The Family Affair Cast & Crew Reunion Show can be found on Disc 5. It runs 30 minutes, 37 seconds. It was recorded last year at the Hollywood Heritage Museum with John Stephens (Producer), Kathy Garver (Cissy), the husband and wife team of Austin "Rocky" Kalish (Writer) and Irma Kalish (Writer and Co-Story Editor), and Sherry Alberoni (Sharon - Cissy's girlfriend and the upstairs babysitter). They sit in a semi-circle and discuss many different subjects. A variety of video clips from the episodes are also shown.

While they discuss some season three specific subjects, this is more of a chat about all five seasons and the show in general. They give many interesting behind-the-scenes stories and bits of trivia that probably even the most-die hard fans never knew about. Here is a quick rundown of some of the topics they cover: the message of the show and how they were more of a dramedy than a traditional sitcom, how Rocky and Irma got their story ideas, some stories about Anissa Jones and how she was cast, the guest stars (and how some were related to the crew), the publicity of the show, some funny Sebastian Cabot and Brian Keith stories, how they shot the show to accomodate Brian Keith's movie schedule, director Charlie Barton, producer Ed Hartman, where they shot the 3-part "Lost In Spain" episode, how they got the stock shots of New York, why Sherry Alberoni loved being on the show, and their final comments and the show's legacy.

The only thing lacking in the special feature was any individual mention of Johnny Whitaker. It would have been nice to hear some stories about him. Of course, it would been great to have him there as part of the reunion to reminisce about his time on the show.

For seasons 4-5, I'd like to see some behind-the-scenes photos or home movies. It would be interesting to see original network promos. Another thing I'd like to see is maybe a clip or two of one of the cast members on another series or a vintage interview from a talk show appearance.


Final Comments:

MPI has done an excellent job with these sets by releasing them at such a rapid rate and including some interesting special features. Besides chapter stops, the only thing these sets have lacked is the involvement of Johnny Whitaker. If they continue at the current release schedule of every 4-5 months, we could have the complete series by the end of the year. What color background will Season 4 have? I will guess green.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/08/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000LPR6AG/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=196684


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