Cast: Kathy Garver (Cissy), Anissa Jones (Buffy), Johnny Whitaker (Jody), Brian Keith (Bill Davis), and Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French)
|Created by||Don Fedderson|
|Directed by||Charles Barton
William D. Russell
|Theme music composer||Frank De Vol|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||138 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Don Fedderson|
Edmund L. Hartmann
|Editor(s)||James H. King
Charles Van Enger
Richard L. Van Enger
Michael P. Joyce
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Don Fedderson Productions
Family Affair Company
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (domestic)
NBC Universal Television Distribution (internationally)
|Original release||September 12, 1966– September 9, 1971|
|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' 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).
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 apartment on east 62nd Street off of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and has a quintessential gentleman's gentleman, Giles French. His quiet lifestyle is turned upside-down when his two nieces and nephew move in.
Bill's brother Bob and sister-in-law Mary had died in an automobile accident a year prior to the premiere episode. Their children, teen Cissy and her young twin siblings 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. "Uncle Bill" is not keen on the idea at first, but the children endear themselves to him. First Buffy comes along, followed by Jody, and finally Cissy. Initially mortified by the situation is Mr. French, who effectively becomes the children's nanny, on top of his valet duties. As time passes they all become a family, albeit an accidental one.
When Sebastian Cabot became ill, Giles's brother, Nigel "Niles" French (John Williams) was introduced, working for the Davis family for nine episodes in 1967 while Giles is said to be in England visiting the Queen. In the last season, Bill 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 are in service (most notably Miss Faversham, played by Heather Angel), colleagues of Bill, and friends of Cissy.
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.
Due to the popularity of the series with girls, Buffy's doll, "Mrs. Beasley" (which she often carried with her) was marketed as a Mattel talking toy in the United States. Mattel also went on to produce two other dolls, patterned after Buffy: the "Tutti"-sized Buffy and larger "Small Talk Buffy" (talking doll), both of which featured accompanying miniature Mrs. Beasley dolls.
- Brian Keith as William "Uncle Bill" Sean Davis
- Sebastian Cabot as Giles French
- Kathy Garver as Catherine “Cissy” Patterson Davis
- Johnny Whitaker as Jonathan “Jody” Patterson Davis
- Anissa Jones as Elizabeth “Buffy” Patterson Davis
- Heather Angel as Miss Faversham, Mr. French’s friend (seasons 1–5)
- John Williams as Nigel “Niles” French (season 1)
- Nancy Walker as Emily Turner (season 5)
- John Hubbard as Ted Gaynor, Bill’s business partner (season 1)
- Betty Lynn as Miss Lee, Bill’s secretary (seasons 1 & 2)
- Sherry Alberoni as Sharon James, Cissy’s friend (seasons 1–3)
- Gregg Fedderson as Gregg Bartlett, Cissy’s boyfriend (seasons 2–5)
- Karl Lukas as Scott "Scotty" Parker, the doorman (seasons 1–3)
Notable guest stars
- John Agar (episode 1.28)
- Herbert Anderson (episode 4.1)
- Dana Andrews (episode 4.2)
- Joan Blondell (episode 2.13)
- Lynn Borden (2 episodes)
- Richard Bull (3 episodes)
- Veronica Cartwright (episode 3.27)
- Jackie Coogan (episode 2.7)
- Henry Corden (episode 1.8)
- Brian Donlevy (episode 1.15)
- Jamie Farr (episode 3.27)
- Paul Fix (episode 4.15)
- Leif Garrett (episode 5.15)
- Linda Kaye Henning (episode 5.9)
- Kathy Hilton (episode 5.20)
- Sterling Holloway (episode 1.19)
- James Hong (2 episodes)
- Clint Howard (episode 5.10)
- Martha Hyer (episode 2.14)
- Kym Karath (3 episodes)
- Andrea King (episode 1.17)
- Patric Knowles (episode 2.3)
- Anna Lee (episode 2.3)
- June Lockhart (episode 3.5)
- Myrna Loy (episode 1.20)
- Keye Luke (episode 1.18)
- Ida Lupino (2 episodes)
- Ann McCrea (3 episodes)
- Lee Meriwether (2 episodes)
- Erin Moran (3 episodes)
- Butch Patrick (episode 3.2)
- Eve Plumb (episode 3.7)
- Robert Reed (episode 1.14)
- Pippa Scott (episode 2.30)
- Doris Singleton (episode 2.29)
- Ann Sothern (episode 2.17)
- Vic Tayback (2 episodes)
- Joyce Van Patten (episode 5.11)
|5||1970–1971||Not in Top 30|
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 at age 75.
|DVD name||Ep No.||Release date||Special features / notes|
|Season One||30||June 27, 2006||
|Season Two||30||November 21, 2006||
|Season Three||28||March 27, 2007||
|Season Four||26||October 30, 2007||
|Season Five||24||February 26, 2008||
|The Complete Series||138||November 25, 2008||
Awards and nominations
A revival of Family Affair by Sid and Marty Krofft aired on The WB from September 12, 2002 to March 13, 2003. This version was produced by Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, Pariah Films, and Turner Television and lasted for 16 episodes (14 of the 16 were aired). It was filmed in the same CBS Studio City lot as was 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.
- Bill Davis – Gary Cole
- Mr. Giles French – Tim Curry
- Sigourney "Sissy" Davis – Caitlin Wachs
- Jody Davis – Jimmy "Jax" Pinchak
- Buffy Davis – Sasha Pieterse
- Jody Davis (pilot) – Luke Benward
Appearances in other media
In the pilot of the television show The Critic, film critic Jay Sherman reviews the (fictional) movie adaption of the show. In the starring role was Marlon Brando, who was "paid 8 million dollars" for the film.
Merchandising efforts centered on Anissa Jones' "Buffy" character. Several books were published, including the 1970 hardback Family Affair: Buffy Finds A Star by Gladys Baker Bond and Buffy's Cookbook. There were dolls (Mattel's "Small Talk Buffy" and Mrs. Beasley, Buffy's doll on the show) and various other toys.
A Mrs. Beasley doll, with her glasses missing, appears in the music video for the song California Tuffy by the Geraldine Fibbers.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1995). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present Sixth Edition. Ballantine Books. p. 336. ISBN 9780345397362.
- Brooks and Marsh, p. 1263
- Brooks and Marsh, p. 1264
- Brooks and Marsh, p. 1265
- Benoit, Tod (2009). Where Are They Buried?: How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy. Black Dog Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 1-57912-822-X.
- Eder, Bruce (2010). "Sebastian Cabot". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014.
- Simon, Stephanie (June 25, 1997). "Actor Brian Keith Found Dead in Apparent Suicide". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013.
- Rice, Rice (August 15, 2002). "An Affair to Remember". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 27, 2013.
- "31st Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. April 11, 2010. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- 'Family Affair' at the Grand Comics Database
- Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 251. ISBN 0-7407-5118-2. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Family Affair.|
- Family Affair (1966) at the Internet Movie Database
- Family Affair (2002) at the Internet Movie Database
- Family Affair (1966) at TV.com
- Family Affair (2002) at TV.com
- Family Affair – Classic TV website with Episode Guide, Theme and Gallery
- Apartment 27A – Family Affair Fan Page – Cast bios, collectibles, links and more on the 1960s television series Family Affair