Saturday, June 8, 2013

Out Of Context Family Affair Moment

So the other day I'm watching Family Affair and I see this scene.

This entire teaser sequence is an absolute goldmine of bone-headed awesomeness.

First of all, take a close look at the incredibly realistic New York skyline in the background (complete with what appears to be brush strokes in the "sky" on the left hand side). I have a feeling those buildings didn't look real even on 1960s era televisions with their 250 scan lines. It also looks suspiciously identical to the skyline outside Uncle Bill's luxury Manhattan apartment.

And where's the horizon? No matter how high up you go you can still see the horizon line, especially with the camera pointing down as it is. The only explanation is that Uncle Bill's constructing a five thousand foot tall building and the curvature of the earth is hiding the horizon..

In the teaser the man in the blue shirt climbs all the way to the top of the building to deliver an important message to Uncle Bill. No convenient cell phones or even walkie-talkies back in 1967!

Uncle Bill can't hear the messenger over the din of the riveters in the background, so he throws his pen at them to get their attention and tell them to knock it off. His pen hits one of the men in the head and bounces off into the void, where I'm sure it couldn't possibly have shattered a windshield or embedded itself into someone's skull several thousand feet below.

Once it's quiet, Blue Shirt delivers his important message: It seems that Uncle Bill's niece Buffy has "torn her tutu." Blue Shirt seems genuinely concerned by this dire news and asks if that's "real bad." Uncle Bill chuckles at his underling's naivete. He tells him that a tutu is a short skirt girls wear in the ballet. Blue Shirt then gives him the uncomprehending look you see above. You can practically see the computer tape reels spinning fitfully inside his meaty head as he desperately searches his inadequate memory banks. 

Yes folks, Blue Shirt here has never before encountered the word "ballet." Never gone to one, sure. Couldn't name the title of one, who could? But to not even know what the word means? Apparently Uncle Bill found out he could get government grant money if he hired the "differently abled" on his construction crew.

The message delivered, Blue Shirt climbs the thousands of feet back to the ground and Uncle Bill and the riveters return to work. 

Apparently they didn't have OSHA back in the 1960s. Take a closer look at this amazing scene. The riveters in the background are both squatting on a sheet of plywood that stradles two girders with nothing between them and the ground but several thousand feet of empty space.

Not to be outdone, Uncle Bill laughs in the face of death as well. Look where he's standing. He's on some kind of makeshift platform made from several planks. With that table in front of him he's got about six inches of space in which to stand. If his mind wanders for a second and he takes even one step backward, Mr. French is gonna be raising the kids alone.

And how the hell are those blueprints lying flat instead of being blown to New Jersey by the strong high-altitude winds?

I told you it's the most awesome teaser in the history of television!


  1. There's also some forced perspective trickery. That first picture looks like instead of a ladder, there's a three-legged table, and the guy is holding on to two of the legs from below. He has to hold it up because it only has three legs. Then on top of this table there are two tiny Hobbits.

  2. Haw! I see that now! I told you it was awesome!


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