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Family Affair
Genre Sitcom
Directed by Charles Barton
William D. Russell
Starring Brian Keith
Sebastian Cabot
Kathy Garver
Johnny Whitaker
Anissa Jones
Theme music composer Frank De Vol
Composer(s) Jeff Alexander
Nathan Scott
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 138 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Don Fedderson
Producer(s) Edmund Beloin
Henry Garson
Edmund L. Hartmann
Editor(s) James H. King
Charles Van Enger
Richard L. Van Enger
Sam Vitale
Cinematography Stanley Cortez
Paul Ivano
Michael P. Joyce
Philip Tannura
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Don Fedderson Productions
Family Affair Company
Distributor Paramount Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 12, 1966 (1966-09-12) – September 9, 1971 (1971-09-09)
Status Ended
Chronology
Followed by Family Affair (2002)

Family Affair is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from September 12, 1966 to September 9, 1971. The series explored the trials of well-to-do civil engineer and bachelor Bill Davis (Brian Keith) as he attempted to raise his brother's orphaned children in his luxury New York City apartment. Davis's traditional English gentleman's gentleman, Mr. Giles French (Sebastian Cabot), also had adjustments to make as he became saddled with the responsibility of caring for 15-year-old Cissy (Kathy Garver) and the 6-year-old twins, Jody (Johnny Whitaker) and Buffy (Anissa Jones).

The show ran for 138 episodes. Family Affair was created and produced by Don Fedderson, also known for My Three Sons.

Contents

Premise

William "Bill" Davis, originally of Terre Haute, Indiana, is a successful civil engineer who develops major projects all over the world. A wealthy bachelor, often dating socialites, he lives in a large Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan, and has a quintessential gentleman's gentleman, Mr. Giles French. However, his quiet lifestyle is turned upside-down when his two nieces and nephew move in.

Bill's brother, Bob, and his wife Mary (née Patterson) had died in an automobile accident a year prior to the premiere episode. Their children, teen Cissy, and her young siblings, twins Buffy and Jody, had been dispersed among relatives in Terre Haute, but none wanted to continue raising the children, so they attempt to give the responsibility to Bill, who isn't keen on the idea at first, but becomes endeared by each of them. First Buffy comes along, followed by Jody, and finally Cissy.

The most mortified by the situation is Mr. French, who essentially becomes the children's nanny, in addition to his valet duties. However as time passes they all become a family, albeit an accidental one.

Due to Sebastian Cabot being ill, Giles French's brother, Nigel 'Niles' French (John Williams) works for the Davis family for nine episodes in 1967 while Giles is said to be in England visiting the Queen. In the last season, Mr. Davis hires a part time housekeeper, Emily Turner (Nancy Walker) to assist Mr. French. Various other characters were also seen regularly including several acquaintances of Mr. French who were in service (most notably Miss Faversham (Heather Angel), colleagues of Mr. Davis, and friends of Cissy.

Cast

Ratings

Season Year Rating
1 1966–67 #15
2 1967–68 #5
3 1968–69 #5
4 1969–70 #5
5 1970–71 Not in Top 30[1]

Production

Like Don Fedderson's other program, My Three Sons, Family Affair used a sixty-day production schedule for Brian Keith. All of his scenes for the season would be shot in two thirty-day blocks, while his co-stars would fill in after the actor's work was completed. This enabled Fedderson to harness actors like Keith and Fred MacMurray into television commitments, while still enabling each to make motion pictures. As a result, each season had a single director for each of the thirty-odd scripts.

The series was extremely popular. Buffy's doll, “Mrs. Beasley,” which she often carried with her, was marketed as a popular toy in the United States.

The series was canceled after the fifth season when CBS began leaning towards more adult-oriented sitcom fare. Family Affair was almost picked up by ABC, but the network instead decided to promote the similarly-themed The Brady Bunch.

Post Family Affair

As discussed by Kathy Garver on the final season’s DVD features, the show’s cast suffered several deaths. Anissa Jones died of a drug overdose in 1976 at age 18. Sebastian Cabot died of a stroke in 1977 at age 59. In 1997, two months after the suicide of his daughter, and having lived with cancer for some time, Brian Keith committed suicide by gunshot.[2] In 2002, Gregg Fedderson died of cancer at age 53.

DVD releases

MPI Home Video has released all 5 seasons of Family Affair on DVD in Region 1. CBS Paramount Television owns the domestic television distribution rights to the series, while the home video rights are owned by MPI Home Video (under license from the Don Fedderson estate). The DVD sets have the logo for Universal Television Distribution at the end of the closing credits (as successor NBC Universal holds the international television rights).

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Special Features / Notes
Season One 30 June 27, 2006
  • Family Affair: Behind the Scenes with Kathy Garver
  • Photo Gallery
Season Two 30 November 21, 2006
  • "An Affair to Remember" (interview with Kathy Garver)
  • "Memories" (5-minute piece with Garver showing Family Affair memorabilia)
Season Three 28 March 27, 2007
  • The Family Affair Reunion Special
Season Four 26 October 30, 2007
  • A Conversation with Johnny Whitaker
  • "The Child Stars"
Season Five 24 February 26, 2008
  • A visit by Kathy Garver to the CBS Studio City lot where the series was filmed
The Complete Series 138 November 25 , 2008
  • Repackaging of Seasons 1-5 in a slimmer case, with an extra interview by Johnny Whitaker

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1967 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy Edmund L. Hartmann
For episode "Buffy"
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy William D. Russell
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Brian Keith
1968 Nominated Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Brian Keith
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Sebastian Cabot
Outstanding Comedy Series Edmund L. Hartmann
1969 Nominated Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Brian Keith
Outstanding Comedy Series Edmund L. Hartmann
1971 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
2004 TV Land Award Won Best Broadcast Butler Sebastian Cabot
2008 Nominated Favorite Nanny Sebastian Cabot

Revival series

A revival of Family Affair by Sid and Marty Krofft aired on The WB Television Network from September 12, 2002 to March 13, 2003. This version was produced by Turner Television and Warner Bros. Television and lasted for 16 episodes (14 of the 16 were aired). It was filmed in the same CBS Studio City lot as the original series. Although the one-hour pilot had good ratings, the subsequent episodes declined against competition such as Friends. Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver appeared in the Christmas episode.

Revival cast

Appearance in other media

In 1970, Gold Key Comics, an imprint of Western Publishing, published a comic book adaptation of Family Affair.

References

External links








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