Why isn’t William Frawley’s face on currency? Cause the man is money every time he takes the screen. He’s the true glue of the Douglas family that consists of the widowed Steve (Fred MacMurray) and his sons Mike (Tim Considine), Robbie (Don Grady) and Chip (Stanley Livingstone). Frawley’s Bub went from the vaudeville circuit to being a nanny to his grandsons. Even with the smallest crowd of his career, Bub keep them (and us) entertained. My Three Sons: The Second Season, Volume One has 18 episodes that remind us that Frawley’s a national treasure and Fred MacMurray wasn’t he world’s greatest dad.
“Birds And the Bees” reminds us that sitcom sex talk wasn’t always like an episode of Two and a Half Men. Tramp, the family dog, has knocked up a neighborhood mutt with six puppies. Steve has to delicately explain to Chip where babies come from. Not getting the straight talk about sex makes Chip think dad and his teacher will be married. “Instant Hate” reminds us how quick it is to rub people wrong. New folks move into the neighborhood and it’s a family feud. Steve and the new father smash their cars up. Even Bub and the wife can’t be civil. “The Crush” reminds people who it’s best to avoid bringing girls home to meet your hunky dad. Mike’s girl wants a slice of MacMurray.
“Bub’s Lodge” illustrates how dorky people will look to be accepted by others. In this case Bub wants to move up in his Shriner-like club that dress up like the Musketeers. Mike doesn’t want Bub to look like a fool in front of the members of the frat he wants to join. Naturally his cool factor gets blown during his idiot initiation tasks. “Chip’s Composition” really shows how emotionally distant dad was to his kids. Chip has to write an essay about “What My Mother Means to Me.” But he can’t since the youngest child has zero memories of his dad mom. When he asks dad about the woman, he gets zero real help. It’s rather chilling instead of heartwarming. He decides to spy on his friends’ mothers to get an idea what his mom would be like. Finally he realizes who mom is in his life: Bub. “Bub Goes to School” has plenty of night school action. Bub uses his charm to get tight with a classmate played by Harriet MacGibbon (Mrs. Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies). She’s a wealthy widow with a chauffeur. Bub fears she’s out of his league. Doesn’t help that she thinks he’s a Broadway producer. Can he allow her to perceive him as a lie? It’s a mistaken identity plot that works best thanks to the magic of Frawley. “The Girls Next Door” has airline stewardesses move into the neighborhood. The wild youthful women prove to be a noisy distraction for dad since he’s under deadline. Naturally the boys like the hip new neighbors. The stewardesses can’t keep their hands off Bub. There’s a feeling that this might have been a backdoor pilot. But nothing else came of these airborne characters.
Outside of the theme song, the score for My Three Sons consisted of borrowed music. Because of a licensing mess involving the disbanding of a music library, the “original music” isn’t on the DVDs. New composers created a replacement score. The biggest problem I have with the replacement music is that most of it is completely unnecessary. There’s way too much mickey mousing score that’s been cloned by the new guys. There are plenty of moments that could have worked with silence. The producers in charge of the new music might want to look into a less is best policy for replacement music. Restraining the notes can class up the episodes.
My Three Sons: The Second Season, Volume One once more allows us to realize that Bub was the true dad to these boys. Dad always seemed so busy with work or smoking his pipe and reading the paper to be more than a father figure to his sons. If it wasn’t for William Frawley, this would be such a cold show.
“Birds And Bees,” “Instant Hate,” “The Crush,” “Tramp the Hero,” “A Perfect Memory,” “Bub’s Lodge,” “A Lesson in Any Language,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Chip’s Composition,” “Mike in Charge,” “Bub Goes to School,” “Robbie’s Band,” “Damon and Pythias,” “Chip Leaves Home,” “The Romance of Silver Pines,” “Blind Date,” “Second Time Around” and “The Girls Next Door.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers look sharp. You shall be dazzled by the face of William Frawley. The audio is Dolby Digital mono.
Sponsor Spots (0:55) has Fred MacMurray welcome you to the show from Chevrolet. The logo appears over the legs in the credits. The ending credits has the kids, dog, Bub and Dad doing a totem pole pose in the doorway. Dad thanks the Chevrolet dealers.
My Three Sons: The Second Season, Volume One allows us a chance to bask once more in the glory that is William Frawley. If it wasn’t for his warmth, charm and wit, this show would have been really dry and brittle. These boys probably would have grown up to be criminal cases if not for the affection of Bub. He wasn’t nearly as emotionally detached as his son-in-law. When he’s flirting with the next door stewardesses, you know he’s going to score. Bub wasn’t a grandfather, he was a force of nature. The only bad part of this collection is the music replacement. If you don’t get bothered or rarely notice music on a show, you’ll have no problem with these episodes.
CBS DVD presents My Three Sons: The Second Season, Volume One. Starring: William Frawley, Fred MacMurray Tim Considine, Don Grady and Stanley Livingstone. Boxset Contents: 18 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: February 23, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.