A Family Thing

A Family Thing aired on Saturday, November 23, 1968 at 8:30 PM.
The other shows airing in the same time slot were Lawrence Welk and My Three Sons.
A Family Thing bumped The Ghost and Mrs. Muir for the night.

Brian C. found the ratings for the special. A Family Thing got an 18.5 share
and was the 43rd most popular special of the year.

Brian also found this article telling us more about the St. Bernard used in the 'Happiness Is' skit.

See if you noticed some of the things I did.

Buddy: Thank You. Tonight, I'm going to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I'm going to bring together two families that I really like. Your family and a kind of a special family you're about to meet. The little lady you're looking at is a typical American housewife and mother. Her name is Barbara Cowsill and like a lot of housewives she keeps pretty busy. You see the Cowsills live in a very large house. They need one. They've got seven kids. Healthy strapping typical American kids.


"Where's my loafers?"


"I am NOT a baby!"


Motherly Love

Barry & Paul

Barry, who hates wearing ties.

Bill: Hey Mom, where's my loafers?

Barbara: In the hall where you left them.

Buddy: That's Bill. He's the oldest and that's Bob. He's next in line.

Bob: Mom, have you seen my belt?

Barbara: Have you looked around your waist?

Buddy: That's Susan. She's the baby of the family.

Susan: I am NOT a baby !!

Buddy: And that's young Barry who hates wearing ties and Paul who is always growing out of his clothes. And of course, we mustn't forget the youngest son, John, even if he forgets now and then.

(John walks out without his pants on.)


Oh My Gosh!

John: Oh My Gosh!!

Buddy: So you can see why I'm so fond of the Cowsill family. They're a nice healthy typical American family, just like your family except for one thing.

We Can Fly

We Can Fly!

We Can Fly

Play that trumpet Paul!

We Can Fly

Dance on, Susan!

Song: We Can Fly

Opening credits: A Family Thing
Starring The Cowsills
Special Guest Buddy Ebsen
Sponsor Timex

Buddy: Well, that's the Cowsill family. Once you get to know 'em, you're bound to like 'em. Cuz as a family, you just can't beat 'em. And, if you can't beat 'em, you may as well join 'em.

Consider Yourself

One of us!

Song: Consider Yourself

Buddy: They're great, aren't they? You hear a lot of talk about the generation gap, but I can honestly say that Cowsills don't have one. Let's face it, how many kids today can say their mother sings with a pop music group? And, how many groups can say their father thought the whole thing up? Bud Cowsill believes in his kids and he's worked behind the scenes to make them one of the top pop music groups in the world.

Bud: Coffee?

Buddy: Thanks Bud

Bud: Anything for another Buddy.

Buddy: What I like most about them is, they like each other.

Susan: You know something Bill? I like you. You know something Bill? I said I like you.

Bill: What do you want Sue?

Susan: Oh, nothing. I just like you that's all.

Bill: You want to borrow my albums?

Susan: No, no, nothing like that.

Bill: You want something!

Susan: No

Bill: You did something wrong and you don't want me to tell Mom.

Susan: No No No

Bill. Then, what do you want Susan?

Susan: Oh nothing, I just came over to say I like you . I mean ...

Bill: Alright. You like me and I like you too.

Susan: Oh really

Bill: Well, sure Sue. You know I like you a lot.

Susan: Then how come you forgot my birthday yesterday?


It's better than being a party-poop!

Song: A Doodlin' Song

Buddy: If you live in a big house with a lot of kids like the Cowsills do, it's kind of hard to keep track of things. A fellow could lose his garden tools, his library books, and sometimes even something more valuable.

Barry: Oh hi Paul. Hey have you seen my hamster?

Paul: You didn't lose it did ya?

Barry: Yeah and he was here this morning.

Paul: Hey Susan, have you seen Barry's hamster?

Susan: He was in the kitchen about an hour ago.

Paul: Hey Barry hamster is missing.

Bill: I bet he's in the attic.

Bob: He was in the playroom.

John: When was the last time you saw him?

Everyone talks

Susan: Wait a minute, wait a minute. The last time I saw him he was playing with the dog. (fade to dog)

Buddy: A man's best friend is his dog and a kid's best friend is his Mom. The Cowsill kids call Barbara their Mini-Mom. But you and I know that a mother is a mother and no matter where she is, or what she's doing, she's always thinking of her family.

Consider Yourself

Indian Lake !

Song: Indian Lake
(During Indian Lake you hear Barbara thinking "What am I doing here singing with the kids. I should be home finishing the laundry and the dishes and cooking. On second thought, singing isn't so bad." "Oh my gosh !! Barry's got a cavity." "Susan is so cute. She's my 9-year-old teenager. Pretty soon she'll be dating. That's all I need, more boys around the house." "Amazing how quickly Paul has grown up. He's become such a gentleman, so polished and mature. If I could only get him to wear underwear." "Bud and I have enjoyed bringing up our kids. They've given us pride and pleasure, love and laughter, and oh so many gray hairs.")

Buddy: One thing about the Cowsill family is they really help each other, especially the boys, when they're not fighting that is.

Paul: Alright now, easy around the sideburns.

Barry: OK

Paul: Yeah good. Now your aftershave. Yeah sir. Not too much of that stuff though. It hurts.

Barry: Ah Ahhh Ahhh

Paul: And that's all there is to it. Let's have a look now.

(Barry turns with all the cuts from shaving.)

John: Hey Barry, you know what?

Barry: Hum?

John: A guy shouldn't have to do things that he doesn't want to.

Barry: Yeah, well usually we don't.

Susan: Right cuz us girls do it for ya!

Barry: No, what I mean is every person should have the right to look for his own kind of happiness.

John: I think happiness is when you own your own hot dog stand!!

Susan: I know what happiness is.

John and Barry: What?

Susan: It's when your chocolate Easter bunny has babies!

Barry: Oh Susan, give us a break.

John: Oh please !. What's happiness to you Barry?

Barry: Hummm Let me think. I know, it's when you have a lot of homework to do and you catch the measles!

Susan and John: Yeah!!

Consider Yourself

Happiness is knowing a secret!

Consider Yourself

Happiness is those who sing with you!

Song: Happiness

Buddy: The Cowsills sound is modern. It's lyrical. It's distinctive. That's Bud Cowsill, father of seven. He's proud of his family and showers them with love. Bud also helped to father their recording sound. Another reason for the Cowsills success is the songs that brothers Bill and Bob compose. The song you're listening to now is one of their best. (In Need Of A Friend is playing in background)

Bill: We wrote that about a year ago and actually it didn't start off to be a serious song.

Bob: Things were pretty tough at the time. There were nine of us living in a 3-room apartment. That can get tough.

Bill: (laugh) And it was 3 o'clock in the morning and we did - needed something to laugh at - at that hour.

Bob: That's when you had that idea about a friend of a friend of a friend.

Bill: Well it was part his idea too and it went .

Bob and Bill: I had a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend one day.

Bill: You can imagine what it turned out to be.

Bob: That's when we woke Mom up.

Bill: Yeah, and she said that if we did have to write a song at that hour to please make it a quiet one.

Bob: That's when you got philosophical.

Bill: Well I always do at 3 in the morning.

Bob: Well then we started talking about what friendship really meant to us and we did get serious.

Bill: And just how it would be for someone not to have a friend. How it would feel you know.

Bob: And the rest just sort of came easy.

Song: In Need Of A Friend

Buddy: And that's what makes the Cowsills such a wonderful group. Underneath their showmanship, there's a lot of honesty and dedication from the father and mother, right on down to the little one.

Susan: Can I tell you something Mr. Ebsen?

Buddy: Sure Susan what?

Susan: I think you're the greatest star in the whole world.

Buddy Well thank you. Say why don't you call me Buddy.

Susan: Oh sure Mr. Ebsen and you know what I like best?

Buddy: What?

Susan: When you do those song and dance routines.

Buddy: Would you like to do one with me?

Susan: Gee, I don't know if I can.

Buddy: That's alright. I'll show you the steps.

Susan: Oh, it's not that. It's just that my brothers think you're too old for me.


Old Soft Shoe

Song: The Old Soft Shoe

John: What do I say to her?

Bob: Just say you love her. That always works.

John: Gee, that sounds aweful corny. Do men really say those kinds of things?

Bob: Sure they do. But if you really made her mad, flowers.

John: Flowers?!!

Bob: It works every time. So does candy. Or even better still, write her a poem.

John: A Poem?!

Bob. You know how romantic women are.

John: I'll go along with you cuz you know more about women than I do.

Bob: That's right.

John: But I'm sure going to feel dumb bringing flowers and candies to my own mother.

Buddy: This is Saturday night at the Cowsills. That's about the only night of the week that Bud and Barbara get to go out.

Guys: Bye Mom. Bye Dad See Ya Mom See ya Dad

Barbara: Have a good time.

Buddy: So the boys stay home and babysit. Sound unusual? Well, they have their reasons. (girls enter) Those are the reasons. I guess there's nothing wrong with having a few friends over and singing some of the old songs. Heck, I did that when I was a kid.


Leonard Nimoy

Sweet Adeline'

Zipadee Do Da

Song: Medley - Sweet Adeline, You Are My Sunshine, Zipadee Doo Da, Leonard Nimoy We Love You, Rockabye Baby Old Time Melody

Susan: We Cowsills have had a marvelous evening. It was lovely getting your family together with our family. We're only sorry that our brother Dick couldn't make it tonight. He's with the armed forces in Viet Nam and we sure miss him. So, we'd like to dedicate this next number to him.


What The World Needs Now Is Love!


What The World Needs Now Is Love!

Song: What The World Needs Now Is Love

Susan: Goodnight from all of us, to all of you. (Susan turns and hugs Buddy Ebsen.)


Executive Producer: Greg Garrison
Produced By: Don Van Atta
Directed by: Jonathan Lucas
Written by: Bernard Rothman
                    Rich Eustis
                    Al Rogers
Associate Producer: Craig Martin
Musical Conductor Van Alexander
Sets and Costume designed by: Robert Fletcher
Talent Coordinator: Leonard Stogel
Unit Manager: P. Dean Reed
Associate Director: Clay B. Daniel
Assistant to the Producer: Peggy Daniels
Production Assistant: Gail Liberti
Make up - Claude Thompson
State Managers - Robert Graner
                           Erik Poppke
Technical Director - Karl Messerschmidt
Lighting Director : Lon Stucky
Audio: Bill Levitsky
Video: Jerry Smith
Video Tape Editor: Steven Orland
The St. Benard: Champion Domino's Fuzz

Song: The Rain, The Park, and Other Things

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