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Family Affair - Season Two



DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006 (MPI Home Video)
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 30
Running Time: Aprrox. 12 hours, 30 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: Approx. 20 minutes, 36 seconds
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English Subtitles
Special Features: An Affair to Remember - a featurette with Kathy Garver; Family Affair Memories (Kathy Garver displays memorabilia)


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 car accident, leaving their three children orphaned. Davis becomes an instant father figure to six-year-old twins, Buffy and Jody (Anissa Jones, Johnnie Whittaker) and their big sister, Cissy (Kathy Garver).

In Season 2, Uncle Bill and Mr. French tell the twins tall tales about where babies come from, until Cissy steps in as the voice of reason; a famous actress wants to settle down with Uncle Bill; and Jody's new imaginary friend causes him a great deal of trouble.

Guest stars include Anna Lee, Jackie Coogan and Ann Sothern.

Family Affair Season 2 contains 30 episodes on 5 discs and includes never-before-seen bonus features.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Family Affair's second season premiered on September 11, 1967 on CBS. It continued to surge in the ratings. It finished in a tie for 4th place, with an impresive 25.6 rating. 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. Brian Keith and Sebastian Cabot received Emmy nominations this season for "Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series." This was Brian Keith's second consecutive nomination. The series was also nominated for "Outstanding Comedy Series." After being filmed at Desilu Studios for the first season, it moved to CBS Studio Center for Seasons 2-5.

Season 2 began to focus on more family themes and provided some background information on the characters. Memorable episodes included "First Love," in which Bill and Buffy both fall in love with people they cannot have. Mr. French's romance with an old flame puts his job in jeopardy when he thinks about working with his old love in another house in "Go Home, Mr. French." A girl picks on Jody, who doesn't dare hit her back in "The Other Cheek." Jody tries his hardest to be on a local stickball team, only to be beaten out by Buffy, who happens to be a great player as well in "Take Me Out of the Ball Game." A new romance that Mr. French has puts him in the position to make him think that his current life as a butler is not good enough for his date in "A Man's Place." Bill wants to move to a house in the suburbs, but the kids persuade him to stay where he is in "A House in the Country." Mr. French thinks he is left out of Cissy's drawings for school in "Member of the Family." Mr. French has a nice vacation planned for himself, but the kids come along and makes his vacation more enjoyable, whether he likes it or not in "Mr. French's Holiday."

Notable guest stars included Pamelyn Ferdin as Wendy in "Birds, Bees and Buffy." Lee Meriwether appeared as Lise Lowell in "First Love." Anna Lee played Lorna Frasier in "Go Home, Mr. French." Jackie Coogan guest starred as Tim Callahan and Marcia Mae Jones was Mrs. Callahan in "Fat, Fat The Water Rat." Diane Brewster (Miss Canfield on "Leave it to Beaver") appeared as Freddie in "Freddie." Joan Blondell played Broadway star Laura London in "Somebody Upstairs." Richard Moll (yes, Bull from "Night Court") guest starred as Lewis in "Best of the Breed." Louise Latham appeared as Fran Higer in "Family Reunion." Ann Sothern played Florence Cahill in "A Man's Place." Keye Luke guest starred as Grandfather Chang in "The Great Kow-Tow." Betty Lynn appeared as Miss Lee in "Mr. French's Holiday" and "Family Portrait." James Hong played Mr. Chung in "The Baby Sitters."


The packaging is very similar to Season 1. 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 Season 1 release. The only difference is that it has a light blue tiled background instead of orange. It would have been nice to see them use season specific photos for each set. The Family Affair logo is in white and orange at the top of the box. There is a blue-tinted photo of Buffy and Jody under the bed on the back of the box. A summary of the set, a listing of the special features, 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. One difference between the sets is the holders here are white instead of black and a bit sturdier. The discs seem to stay in place better than the first set. 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 is no MPI Home Video Catalog list included this time. The discs have a blue-tinted photo of the cast (minus Cissy) and an unidentified guest star. Each disc is numbered and has the show logo in white and orange at the top. Disc 1 has episodes 31-36, Disc 2 has 37-42, Disc 3 has 43-48, Disc 4 has 49-54, and Disc 5 has 55-60 and the special features.

Menu Design and Navigation:

Like the packaging, the menus appear to be the same as the ones they used on the first season set. They are well designed and easy to navigate. The main menus feature a montage of season 2 video clips playing in 2 boxes. On the left side, the Family Affair logo is in yellow. It sligthly overlaps the video clips. 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 video clips after it is finished. On the lower right side of the main menu, there are options for "Play All," "Episodes," "Set-Up," and "Special Features" (only on Disc 5). There is a white star next to the option that you highlight that turns gray upon your selection. The Set-Up menu has a photo of Buffy, Mrs. Beasley and Jody. You can turn English subitles on or off on this screen. The Episodes sub-menu features 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 Buffy and Mrs. Beasley, Disc 2 has Jody, Disc 3 has Bill, Disc 4 has Mr. French and Mrs. Beasley, and Disc 5 has Cissy pictured. The special features menu has a photo of Jody. There are no chapter stops or scene selection menus included.

Video and Audio Quality:

I would say the video and audio quality is on par with the first season release. 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. 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.

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
31. Birds, Bees and Buffy (25:26)
32. First Love (25:28)
33. Go Home, Mr. French (25:25)
34. Arthur, the Invisible Bear (25:28)
35. The Other Cheek (25:26)
36. The Candy Striper (25:40

Disc 2
37. Fat, Fat, The Water Rat (25:25)
38. The Toy Box (25:26)
39. Take Me Out of the Ball Game (25:25)
40. You Like Buffy Better (25:26)
41. Freddie (25:26)
42. Our Friend Stanley (25:50)

Disc 3
43. Somebody Upstairs (25:28)
44. Star Dust (25:26)
45. Best of the Breed (25:16)
46. Family Reunion (25:25)
47. A Man's Place (25:27)
48. The Great Kow-Tow (25:50)

Disc 4
49. The Fish Watchers (25:27)
50. The Day Nothing Happened (25:29)
51. A House in the Century (25:26)
52. A Matter of Tonsils (25:27)
53. Member of the Family (25:27)
54. His and Hers (25:50)

Disc 5
55. The New Cissy (25:25)
56. The Family Outing (25:27)
57. Mr. French's Holiday (25:28)
58. The Mrs. Beasley Story (25:27)
59. The Baby Sitters (25:24)
60. Family Portrait (25:51)

Special Features:

MPI Home Video is known for having great special features for many of their releases. The extras on this set are pretty decent, but not as nearly impressive as some of their other sitcom sets like The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and The Doris Day Show.

Once again, there are two special features included on the fifth disc. One of the special features is on the many Family Affair memorabilia items, which I had suggested in my Season 1 Review. It is nice that MPI listens to fans' ideas. For seasons 3-5, I'd like to see a question and answer section with Kathy Garver. Fans could send their questions to MPI or through Kathy Garver's official site, and she could answer them on the DVD. It would also be nice to see Johnny Whitaker participate in a future set and see Jody and Cissy reunite.

"An Affair to Remember" (15:44) - A new interview with Kathy Garver filmed at The Hollywood Heritage Museum. She covers many topics on the second season including: how they went up in the ratings; how the episodes had more family themes; the characters relationships with the family and their backgrounds; Johnnie and Anissa growing up; the talents of the characters; the changes of Cissy this season; the candy striper episode; the guest stars; child actors; Directors William D. Russell and Charles T. Barton; Composer Frank DeVol; and the Emmy nominations the show received for this season. The interview is mixed with clips from the episodes. Any old or new fan will enjoy and learn some interesting information from this featurette. Once again, she is very enthusiastic and bubbly during the interview reminiscing about the show.

Family Affair Memories (4:52) - Kathy Garver talks about some Family Affair memorabilia items that are laid out on a table. She shows coloring books, paper dolls, watches and clocks, Mrs. Beasley ornaments, the lunchbox, Mrs. Beasley talking doll, TV Guide covers, magazine covers and articles, comic books, and toy organ. I learned an interesting fact on which Hollywood actress provided the voice of Mrs. Beasley. Of course, if you are fan of the show and you lost your Mrs. Beasley doll you can find all kinds of memorabilia on eBay.

Final Comments:

Fans will be very pleased with the short wait between seasons 1 and 2. It has only been a little under 5 months. We could see the remaining 3 seasons released in 2007 at that pace. Kathy Garver has already recorded a round table panel special feature for the season 3 set according to her website. This is a show that hasn't often been in syndication in recent years, so it is perfect for the DVD format. This set follows the same format as the first season set, as far as packaging and the menus. I guess if it works, why change it? The two featurettes are entertaining and well produced. I still have hope that we'll see Johnny Whittaker on a future release. He seemed to have enjoyed his time on the show and has talked about it often over the years. I'd love to see MPI release some other family sitcoms from the 60's and 70's like Please Don't Eat the Daisies and The Courtship of Eddie's Father, which might be overlooked by the major studios.

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

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