Though it never garnered much critical acclaim during its network run (1966-71), the TV comedy-drama Family Affair
has been a viewer favorite for decades thanks to its gentle tone, adorable cast, and simple but sweet storylines; the charm of the show has been well preserved on this debut season set. The appeal of Family Affair
came from the relationship between wealthy bachelor engineer (gruff character actor Brian Keith), his manservant Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot), and the three children (Johnny Whitaker, Kathy Garver, and Anissa Jones) of his late brother, who have come to live with them. The stories in the first season may have been lightweight--Cissy (Garver) doesn't want to go to boarding school ("The Matter of School"); Buffy (Jones) loses her Mrs. Beasley doll ("Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?"), Bill and Jody (Whitaker) try to go on a trip ("One for the Little Boy")--but there's no denying that Keith, Cabot, and the young cast approach the material with honesty and genuine emotion, which undoubtedly provides some of the reason for the program's enduring appeal. The set's five discs include all 29 episodes of the 1966-67 season, a gallery of production stills, and a featurette starring the now grown-up Garver, who provides some tidbits of information about the show's genesis, as well as her own reminiscences about the series. --Paul Gaita
Family Affair was a popular situation comedy and a regular top 20 hit show 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 plane accident, leaving their three children orphaned. Davis becomes an instant father figure to six year-old twins, Buffy and Jody (Annisa Jones, Johnnie Whitaker) and their big sister, Cissy (Kathy Garver). Despite their reservations, Davis and French grow attached to the children. Through humorous trial and error, coupled with big doses of love and patience, the five become a real family. Not only was the series a household favorite, but Buffys best friend and confidante, Mrs. Beasley was a huge star in her own right. The talking Mrs. Beasley doll was first introduced in 1967. Coloring books, paper dolls, games and a Family Affair lunch box soon followed. Just like Buffy, the highly collectible Mrs. Beasley was a source of friendship and comfort to little girls everywhere. Family Affair Season 1 contains 30 episodes on 5 discs.