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My Three Sons

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@Gemma Violet Old shows are designed to make you tune in again the following week, not to watch the next episode seconds later!

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They must have had a very limited wardrobe budget. I’ve seen the same clothes repeated multiple times. I know I’ve see Robbie wear one shirt at least a dozen times! 😉

Edited by Cara

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7 hours ago, Jacqs said:

@Gemma Violet Old shows are designed to make you tune in again the following week, not to watch the next episode seconds later!

Yep.  They never dreamed there'd be marathon showings of Law and Order, Roseanne, etc.  LOL

24 minutes ago, Cara said:

They must have had a very limited wardrobe budget. I’ve seen the same clothes repeated multiple times. I know I’ve see Robbie wear one shirt at least a dozen times! 😉

I've noticed that on I Love Lucy a lot as well.

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1 hour ago, Cara said:

They must have had a very limited wardrobe budget. I’ve seen the same clothes repeated multiple times. I know I’ve see Robbie wear one shirt at least a dozen times! 😉

I’ve noticed this as well, I think I’ve seen multiple appearances of Robbie’s striped shirt.  I wonder if the multiple appearances were due to shooting scenes for different episode on a particular day paired with Fred MacMurray’s availability at the time if he was in some of the scenes.  

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(sarcastic joke post)

They should have tried to compete with Norman Lear at the end... when Dodie tries to walk to Katie and Robbie's apartment, Reality Ensues and she is snatched off the street and bundled, screaming, into a strange man's car. The next scene is Steve and Barbara identifying Dodie's body at the morgue.

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Another "Mike mention" in the season 6 episode "Robbie the College Man":  It is mentioned several times in the episode that Robbie's room is Mike's old room.

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The 60's counterculture starts its relentless grind during season 6 of M3S with the episode "Whatever Happened to Baby Chip?", in which Chip grows "long hair", which is actually a ridiculous looking wig.  Chip does it as part of an initiation rite to join a school club, where all the hep cats are sporting long locks.  The hair gets even more goofy when the latest thing becomes bleaching it white, since by color contrast Stanley Livingston's actual short hair can be clearly seen underneath the ill-fitting wig.  By this point, Chip and all the club members are looking eerily similar to Oompa Loompas from the 70's version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  And of course there's the authority figure backlash, especially from (no big surprise here) Uncle Charley.  I do have to admit that Steve's patience and restraint with the whole enterprise is admirable, not to mention completely unlike what happened in my own childhood home when my older brother went through the hair length war with my parents in the 60's (a pretty sight it was not - "get a haircut, hippie").  One impossibly chipper member of the club Chip wants to join was giving me the "where have I seen this kid before?" vibe, and then it struck me like a cartload of bricks - Jay North, the original Dennis the Menace!  A very unmenacing counterculture, to say the least.

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Wow, talk about topically relevant - the season 6 episode "Call Her Max" features (of all things) gender-bending.  Chip and Ernie want to get back at a tomboy girl for joining the track team and showing up the guys, and so Chip (under the hapless direction of manager Ernie - the tomboy absolutely nails it:  "Ernie, you're a lousy manager") joins the girls field hockey team for revenge, which then includes wearing the team uniform.  From this point on, words cannot do justice - it has to be seen to be appreciated in the most mind-boggling sense of the term.  It could very well make one wonder how the bathroom situation was handled.  But, then again, bathrooms barely existed in the TV universe of that time.  A present-day educator could have a day chock full of teaching moments showing this episode and discussing.

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Why did they never do a Christmas episode? Would have been perfect for the Dodie era.

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Season 7 has begun on MeTV.  I just watched the second episode of the season, "Fly Away Home", which (according to Wikipedia) is notable for having the last "Mike mention" in the series.  Steve visits the town he grew up in (more on that in just a bit) with the entire family (Charley included), runs into someone he once knew, introduces his sons (Chip and Ernie are present, Robbie is off somewhere and never to be seen again in the episode), and says at the very last ". . . and my son Mike married and moved away".  Now about this town, Bedford Springs, that Steve supposedly grew up in.  It was established many times earlier in the series that he grew up in Bryant Park.  All of a sudden there's a seventh season alternate universe where he grew up in this other place.  Oh, I get it - the Douglas family works on a quantum principle, having an ability to branch out into alternate universes.  Kind of explains how Mike just completely winks out of existence after this episode, doesn't it?  Not to mention how Ernie eventually loses the adoption tag and becomes the third son, or how Robbie disappears in the final season.  These Douglases, I tell you, they were way, way ahead of the Marvel Universe for alternate realities, timelines, and what have you.  However, there is something in this episode that I have to give major credit to.  The family that Steve visits and has supper with (the one where his old flame is the housewife) is the first somewhat realistic family portrayed in the entire series.  Each kid is either loud, obnoxious, a total ball of laziness, or any combination of the aforementioned traits, and the husband is the kind of crude, loudmouthed suburbanite that I recall from my own 60's upbringing, full of bizarre opinions and not the least bit shy about broadcasting them to anyone in the area code.  In short - sweet, delirious 60's style dysfunctionality, and entirely unlike what's been seen so far in the series.

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On 6/9/2019 at 10:28 AM, Jacqs said:

Why did they never do a Christmas episode? Would have been perfect for the Dodie era.

Yeah, every other major TV series of the era seemed to have at least one (well, I'm pretty sure Dragnet didn't - can't see ol' Joe Friday working up much Christmas cheer, since there's all those lousy, no good hippies to be dealt with).  Maybe it's my alternate universe theory of My Three Sons coming into play (see my previous post).  Christmas just doesn't occur in any of the dimensions that the Douglas family inhabits.  Come to think of it, they did have a Thanksgiving episode during the first season, and a Halloween episode the third season.  But no Christmas episode that I can recall.

Edited by MushMarch

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On 5/26/2019 at 10:06 AM, Cara said:

They must have had a very limited wardrobe budget. I’ve seen the same clothes repeated multiple times. I know I’ve see Robbie wear one shirt at least a dozen times! 😉

Yeah, that striped shirt.  Maybe he was auditioning for the Kingston Trio.  After all, he was a pretty good guitar player.

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On 6/10/2019 at 9:57 PM, MushMarch said:

Yeah, every other major TV series of the era seemed to have at least one (well, I'm pretty sure Dragnet didn't - can't see ol' Joe Friday working up much Christmas cheer, 

Actually, Dragnet had one of my favorite ever Christmas episodes (along with The Twilight Zone's Art Carney episode and The Andy Griffith Show with the crotchety old man Ben who kept trying to get arrested).  The Dragnet episode was about a creche that was stolen from a church.  Joe Friday spent the episode looking for it and at the very end, as he's in the church, along comes a little boy pulling a wagon with the creche in it.  He had the creche all that time.  He had made a promise that if he got a red wagon for Christmas, he would give the baby Jesus a ride in it.  I get a lump in my throat just thinking about that episode. 

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I think with the "retconning", that if M3S had continued, Barbara would have been changed to  be the ONLY Mrs. Douglas, and Dodie would have become Steve's biological daughter.

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In response to Gemma Violet, I stand corrected on Dragnet.  And that does sound like a very touching and thoughtful Christmas episode, so kudos to Jack Webb on that one.  So I'll switch my example to a 60's TV series that I know didn't have a Christmas episode:  The original Star Trek series.  How do I know this?  Well, from repeated viewings over the years, I have all 79 episodes plus the original pilot "The Cage" completely memorized, and I know there's no mention of Christmas in the bunch.  There was a kind of, sort of, Halloween episode ("Catspaw", not one of my faves), but no Christmas episode.  

On 6/12/2019 at 5:08 AM, Jacqs said:

I think with the "retconning", that if M3S had continued, Barbara would have been changed to  be the ONLY Mrs. Douglas, and Dodie would have become Steve's biological daughter.

Funny!  How would they have handled that development in the title?

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Just a correction on my post above:  The child didn't take the whole creche--just the baby Jesus.  

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The season 7 episode "Robbie's Underground Movie", shown recently on MeTV, has emerged as a candidate to be one of my favorite episodes.  Robbie is taking a film class at college (of course, he's once again doing it under the spell of his flavor-of-the-week girlfriend Gina, which Steve immediately susses out), and he's decided to make an "avant-garde" film with Gina.  Gina is supposed to be a countercultural beatnik type, but is a little too much cheerleader looks/peppy attitude to really pull this off (it would have been a lot better in this regard if they had brought back Tina Cole for this character, since she did such an ace job as a coffee shop beatnik in a previous season).  The making of the film is where the episode really shines - a number of good comedic moments, and the disaster of Robbie filming on a stepladder almost seems like a homage to Jerry Lewis.  Even Uncle Charley gets some good moments and lines in.  But the best line of all goes to Ernie:  "It's making us look like the bad guys!", in reference to how Robbie is approaching the film.  In the context of the episode, it really had me laughing.  The writers did a great job and the cast and crew must have had a lot of fun with this one - the final result certainly shows it.

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An interesting episode from season 7 aired today on MeTV, "Happy Birthday, World", in which Robbie starts a business called Birthdays Unlimited where parents can send their son or daughter at the college a birthday cake and message for "a nominal fee".  The business is a roaring success but quickly escalates out of hand, turning the Douglas household upside down (once again).  Robbie foreshadows the gig economy 50 years ahead of time, somewhat like Uber Eats only with birthday cake and landlines.

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I watched “Happy Birthday World” this morning and I was amazed at house fast Robbie was able to get this business started and running with so many employees and cake orders that Uncle Charlie barely keeps up.  Where do they find all of these people all of a sudden, a lot of them kids?  I assume Robbie’s customers were paying as that never came up - the Leave it to Beaver episode that followed had Wally getting a job selling ice cream only to be taken advantage of by friends and other kids in the neighborhood who don’t pay.  

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Dodie was never utilised as much as she could have been. and the "she" is meaningful as well, because there were storylines that were possible with a female child that would not have been possible with Ernie or Chip when they were small.

@Gemma Violet @MushMarch @Cobb Salad

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@Jacqs

Quite possibly however with the ever growing cast I’m sure it was a challenge for the writers to come up with stories featuring the different cast members over the course of a season to keep them relevant on the show.  Plus given the longevity of the series the last few seasons always seemed to have some draw like a new character to keep viewers interested.

During the last season (I think) Chip didn’t make a lot of appearances in comparison to prior seasons, if the series went on further I wonder if that would have continued, maybe there should have been a couple more Dodie featured episodes?

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There are things you can only really do with a young female child in a television script, particularly in the 1950s and 60s, when gender differences were more distinct.

I mean, for a start, if they had done a Christmas episode in 1965-66, they wouldn't have been able to do what they'd possibly do with Dodie and been able to put Ernie in a velvet dress, white stockings and Mary Janes.

@Cobb Salad @Gemma Violet @MushMarch @SanDiegoInExile

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19 hours ago, Cobb Salad said:

@Jacqs

Quite possibly however with the ever growing cast I’m sure it was a challenge for the writers to come up with stories featuring the different cast members over the course of a season to keep them relevant on the show.  Plus given the longevity of the series the last few seasons always seemed to have some draw like a new character to keep viewers interested.

During the last season (I think) Chip didn’t make a lot of appearances in comparison to prior seasons, if the series went on further I wonder if that would have continued, maybe there should have been a couple more Dodie featured episodes?

I had the same question about Chip earlier in this blog thread, about why he was absent for most of the last season.  I think it was Blergh who answered that Stanley Livingston had recently married and was dealing with his first child, and also that the marriage wasn't going well, and that was probably the best explanation for his lengthy stretches of absence from the show.  If there's a better explanation, I haven't found it.

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In the season 7 episode "The Awkward Age", Uncle Charley has a classic line:  "The way things have been going, the only member of this family getting any action lately is Ernie".  Pretty risque for a 60's sitcom.  Guest star Susan Oliver is well known to Star Trek fans for her portrayal of Vina in the first pilot for the original 60's series "The Cage".  She also went on to be a director, eventually directing several episodes of MASH.  Sadly, she succumbed to cancer in 1990 at the age of 58.

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I'm currently watching S1 on DVD. I have three young nephews (oddly enough, who have the exact same age differences that TC, DG and SL had), and the show did a great job of showing how chaotic a household of growing boys can really be. They came across as real kids and not overly cute and saccharine. 

Edited by catlover79

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Relevancy alert:  Season 7 of M3S, currently showing on MeTV, has Ernie tossing the word "dig" around with noticeable frequency.  I'm not sure what the writers were thinking.  Yeah, the word was hip and au courant for 1967, but it seems out of character for nebbish and nerdy Ernie.

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Some pretty good moments in the episode "TV or not TV" (ISWYDT!) recently show on MeTV.  Uncle Charley cuts off the tube for a week due to Chip and Ernie squabbling over the very big and boxy remote.  Some of the best moments of the episode come from watching the cast watch fictional TV shows in the M3S universe.  One show in particular is weirdly self-referential, basically M3S set in an alternate reality.  Ernie likes the show, but Chip's critique is "it's just a bunch of clunky kids".  And Robbie's (what else?) latest girlfriend claims she is going to bring "reality" (more than 30 years ahead of schedule?) to the programming on the Bryant Park College TV station, referring to TV in Newton Minow-esque terms as "the wasteland".  The resulting show is . . . really, really bad.  A nice antidote to the previous episode shown, "My Pal Dad", about the annual father-son Steve-Robbie fishing expedition.  It never gets going and just ends with a thud, as if the screenwriter ran out of things for the characters to do or say.  So if we're considering worst-ever episodes, "My Pal Dad" is a contender.

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2 hours ago, MushMarch said:

A nice antidote to the previous episode shown, "My Pal Dad", about the annual father-son Steve-Robbie fishing expedition.  It never gets going and just ends with a thud, as if the screenwriter ran out of things for the characters to do or say.  So if we're considering worst-ever episodes, "My Pal Dad" is a contender.

I was disappointed in the ending of the episode.  I wish Ernie did get to go as he was the son most interested in going.   So I agree with you as far as rating episodes, this one is a dud.  

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Continuity slip-up part (lost count):  In the season 7 episode "My Dad, the Athlete", Ernie gets into one-upmanship over family athletic trophies with some friends of his, and so just to show them runs into the house to retrieve a family trophy from the attic.  His plan falls flat when the dusty old trunk in the attic only coughs up one meager trophy, and to compound the insult it's a debating team award.  The whole premise flatly contradicts the season 6 episode "A Hunk of Hardware", where newcomer-to-the-family Ernie feels bad that he doesn't have anything of his own to compete with the overflowing display case collection of the rest of the family.  What happened to all those trophies? 

Other than the continuity issue, there is the spectacle of watching Steve Douglas run a 2-mile cross-country race against three other Bryant Park fathers.  I have to say, for being 58 years old and a lifelong smoker, Fred MacMurray did surprisingly well with the jogging - this Dad came off as a fairly plausible athlete.  But I'm guessing that he may not have been too pleased at the time to find out what was required of him in the script!  SPOILER ALERT:  Steve Douglas finishes second in the race to the actor who played the father of Dennis the Menace.

Edited by MushMarch

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In the season 7 episode "The Best Man", Robbie has a great line - well, at least great for me since I'm a math professor.  Chip asks him something along the lines of how his math class is going, and Robbie replies "forget math - it'll just lead you to trouble!"  He's steamed at his math lecturer for stealing the girl he wanted to propose marriage to (you know us math types, the ladies just can't resist our left-brain ways, they're so notoriously seductive), and now the class has gone from his most favorite to his least favorite, and he's even thinking of dropping it.  The math portrayed on the chalkboard in the classroom scene is all correct - on the left half is a quadratic equation solved by the method of completing the square and the right half shows completing the square on a general quadratic leading to the quadratic formula.  The only strange part is both problems are solved from about mid-sequence on, leading me to wonder what happened to the initial steps in each.

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