I had a teensy delay with this week’s edition of Doris
…and here’s the explanation.
Today’s episode, “The Relatives,” was the thirteenth show telecast…yet
for some odd reason, it’s presented as the last show on the first season DVD
set (something that was driving me nuts because I knew I had already watched it
but couldn’t remember where it was).
to the explanation for this—quien sabe?
But leave us draw the curtain back on today’s tableau, which
finds Buck Webb (Denver Pyle) helping his hopped-up-on-sugar grandsons Billy
(Philip Brown) and Toby Martin (Tod Starke) with their knapsacks.
Three episodes after “The
the men of the Double Bar W are going on another excursion
into the Great Outdoors…sans Buck’s Indian pal, Joe Whitecloud, though handyman
Simpson (James Hampton) has been asked along…
LEROY: We better get started if
we’re gonna make sure we find us a good
BUCK: Don’t you feel good?
LEROY: Well…no, sir—why?
BUCK: I never known you to start a
day before without a man-sized breakfast
LEROY: Well, I thought Mrs. Martin and
Juanita wouldn’t be up this early…
Because that’s really the only purpose Doris and Juanita
(Naomi Stevens) serve on this show—cooking for the menfolk. And why is it necessary for them to “find” a
campsite—they didn’t have that problem in “Camping Trip”…
BUCK: Don’t you think I can whip up
breakfast for the four of us?
LEROY: Oh…oh, yes sir! But…I thought it might be easier if we
stopped at a diner along the way…
BUCK: Leroy…if you don’t like my
cookin’ just come out and say so…don’t
whistle around the bush about it!
LEROY: It’s not that—you cook fine,
Mr. Webb! But I thought we might have us
a king-size belly whopper at the Pizza Pagoda…
The “Pizza Pagoda” was mentioned in last week’s episode, “Buck’s
and apparently is the ne plus
of fine cuisine in the sleepy little California town of Cotina.
Before the concept of twenty-four eating
establishments took hold across this great land of ours, every town had a joint
that was open all night.
for example, it was a restaurant called The Kettle—which was later torn down
and replaced by a Denny’s, the one next to the La Quinta where I once worked.)
The idea of having pizza for breakfast
appeals to the young Martin boys, who are no doubt weary of the usual items on
the menu: baklava, crème brûlée, etc.
Buck vetoes the idea of chomping down on pizza for the first
meal of the day (the man obviously never attended college) and his protests are
loud enough to wake the women in the household, who venture sleepily down the
DORIS: Well, we just thought we’d
come down and say goodbye and see you all off…
BUCK: Well, you’ve got another hour
of sleep yet!
JUANITA: Oh, not with you making
all that racket…
TOBY: Grandpa’s making breakfast
DORIS: Grandpa’s going to make
breakfast? Isn’t that nice!
BUCK: Well, I was…but since you’re here, I’ll have mine scrambled well…
BILLY: Me, too!
TOBY: Me, too!
LEROY: Well, as long as we’re…I’d
like to have mine…
DORIS (firmly): Scrambled…
As Doris and Juanita began breakfast preparations because female,
Leroy asks the Widow Martin if she’s still planning to “overhaul the house this
DORIS: You mean wallpapering and
painting? Yeah, we’re going to overhaul
BUCK: I don’t like it…I think the
two of you are in over your head…wallpaperin’ and paintin’ is man’s work…
DORIS (interrupting): We want to do it…now…we’re looking forward
to it, aren’t we, Juanita?
“Speak for yourself, Chiquita—I was perfectly happy sleeping in this morning.” Curiously, though the task of wallpapering
and painting has been designated as “man’s work” in the Webb household, slaving
over a hot stove is strictly for those with ladyparts. But because Buck has only been chipped out of
the ice for a short time, he’s unconvinced that fragile flowers like Doris and
Juanita can get the job done.
DORIS: Now, look…we discussed and
BUCK: The only we that agreed around here was you and Juanita…now…I said the place
could use a little touchin’ up here and there…but what you’ve got in mind is a major project! You ought to call in Ernie and Ben—they’re
DORIS: Ben and…oh—are you
kidding? Now that is really silly…we can do it just as good as Ben
and Ernie…or better…
BUCK: Thinkin’ you can do somethin’
and doin’ it is two different things now…
Wow, Buck…that’s just…wow… Buck can clearly see he’s on the losing end
of this argument (nothing new there), so he tells Doris to stay out of his room
because “I like it just the way it is.”
DORIS: Your room? Your room’s the worst one of all…those walls
are so drab and dull…
BUCK: That’s my two favorite
colors…drab and dull…so just stay away from them…
While this conversation has been taking place, Doris has
been cracking eggs into a blender—a rather novel way to make scrambled eggs, to
be sure…but she has to do it this way because otherwise what comedy that happens
next could not take place. Leroy
volunteers to make the toast, and in getting the toaster he unplugs Doris’
blender…so when Dodo turns on the blender, naturally nothing happens. She opens the blender at the same time Leroy
re-plugs in the appliance…
“You nincompoop!” hollers Buck,
as is his wont.
Leroy stammers out an
apology for being such a dumbass, but Doris takes it in stride.
“Well, at least now I know what to paint the
kitchen,” she says philosophically.
“Scrambled egg yellow.”
Dor…you are a doodle.)
There’s a brief scene of Doris giving her brood kisses
goodbye, and issuing the standard parental instructions—behave yourselves,
listen to Grandpa and Leroy, yadda yadda yadda.
Leroy is in the driver’s seat, punching various buttons…which is how
Buck gets momentarily stuck in the back window as he’s placing a carton of
items in with the kids.
BUCK (angrily): Do you know what
you are, boy?!!
LEROY: Does it start with “n”?
BUCK: You’re a nincompoop! That’s what you
are! Now don’t touch a thing until I
“I’m warning you, Dobbs!”
And the menfolk are off to go camping and eat with their hands and all
that other rites of passage stuff. A
scene shift finds domestic Juanita hovering over the Hoover as Doris carries in
a ladder, paint cans, paint rollers and several rolls of wallpaper so the Great
Redecorating Project can commence.
DORIS: I figured we could make up
for the time we’re going to need for eating and sleeping…mostly eating…
JUANITA: Oh, you know—just that
thought makes me very hungry…very tired…
DORIS: You want to rest?
“I wanted to do that this morning, before you decided to open up the freakin’
kitchen!” Doris is still not sure what
kind of paper she’s going to put on Billy and Toby’s walls—if she’s asking for
suggestions, I submit she should just pad the darn things. She puts two designs up against the window to
get Juanita’s opinion, and the housekeeper suggests Doris separate the two
patterns so she can get a better feel…
…and that’s when we get the first glimpse of one of this
week’s guest stars—“Alan Sues!” as we might exclaim if we were on radio.
Alan is playing the part of Edgar
at the time of the airing of this episode, he was just starting to make a name
for himself as a regular on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In
would finish the 1968-69 television season as the #1 program in the Nielsen
Sues portrayed kid show host
Uncle Al, the Kiddie’s Pal (“Uncle Al had to take a lot of medicine last night…”)
and a fey sportscaster named Big Al, who punctuated his reports with the
ringing of a bell (which he called his “tinkle”).
Though he never publicly disclosed his
homosexuality, Alan’s campy Laugh-In
characters—as well as his
later portrayal of Peter Pan in some memorable 70s commercials for the peanut
butter brand—were at that time one of the few instances when audiences saw a fearless
gay man on TV (outside of game-show panelists Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson
Sues also appeared in the
classic Twilight Zone
(where at age 38 he plays the world’s oldest college student) and
his film roles include the Doris Day-James Garner romp Move Over, Darling
(1963) and The
Americanization of Emily
DORIS: There’s a man outside!
JUANITA: What man?
DORIS: Look for yourself!
Dor pulls the wallpapers apart again…only to see a different
face in character great Robert Easton.
wizardry with dialects earned him the nickname of “the Henry Higgins of
Hollywood”; in the years before his death in 2011 he worked as a dialect coach
on such films as Scarface
(1983), Good Will Hunting
(1997) and The Last King of Scotland
demonstrated his versatility in both the 1961 film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
and a memorable Get
two-parter, “The Little Black Book” (he played Maestro, a German
Most of the time, however, Bob
was the go-to guy for hillbillies: among his most unforgettable portrayals were
the brother of Gunsmoke’s
Chester Goode in the episode “Magnus,” and a
hilarious bit in the Abbott & Costello vehicle Comin ‘Round the Mountain
(1951)—in which his character of Luke
McCoy (not to be confused with Dick Crenna on The Real McCoys
continually (and proudly) claims: “I’m tetched…I got kicked in the head by a
(I don’t think a day has gone by
at Rancho Yesteryear when my father hasn’t referenced that line—and he despises
Bud & Lou’s movies with every fiber of his reality show-loving being.)
Easton did a lot of old-time radio work; he
had roles on The Harold Peary Show
and Meet Millie
, but is best known as
Lester Nelson, neighbor to Fibber McGee & Molly
show shifted to a five-day-a-week quarter-hour format in 1953.
(Bob was also a one-time “Quiz Kid”!)
JUANITA: Do you know him?
DORIS: I didn’t know the first one!
JUANITA: What first one?!!
Well, let’s not keep the ladies in suspense any longer—it’s
time to explain their presence on the show.
(And no offense to Alan Sues…but Easton kind of walks away with this
episode as Albert
Semple Simpson—seriously, he’s the saving grace.)
EDGAR: Howdy! I hope I didn’t give you a start at the
DORIS: Well, you did a little…
EDGAR: Oh, I’m sorry…my name is
Edgar Simpson—and this here is my brother Albert…
(Edgar reaches out the front door
to pull Albert in)
ALBERT: Hi! (Chuckles goofily)
Both Doris and Juanita are a little flummoxed that the two
men know who they are—which Edgar is able to explain by relating that he’s
received many a letter from Cousin Leroy, who does a pretty good job describing
people in his dispatches to home. Edgar
and Albert are kin to Leroy, as is this man who’s introduced as an
…Cousin Herman—played by character great Dennis Fimple.
You know Dennis as Grandpa Hugo in the Rob
Zombie-directed opus, House of 1000
(2003)…and those of us a bit older have seen him as Kyle Murtry, a
member of the Hole in the Wall Gang that appeared occasionally on Alias
Smith and Jones
made Dennis’ acquaintance in a past installment of Twisted Television
the mechanic that Gomer Pyle briefly mistook for Cousin Goober in the Gomer
EDGAR (to Herman): This is Mrs.
Martin…one of Cousin Leroy’s bosses…
HERMAN: But you just seen me meet her, Edgar…
EDGAR: Just put out your hand and
do it proper!
(Herman vigorously shakes Doris’
EDGAR: Say, Mrs. Martin…you can’t
tell us where Cousin Leroy is, can you?
DORIS: Oh…you know, he’s going to
be so disappointed…he just left early this morning with my father and my two
sons on a weekend camping trip…
ALBERT (drawling): That’s too bad…
EDGAR: Well, I guess we might as
well be goin’ on…when you see Cousin Leroy, would you tell him we’ll come back
Now…you and I know that if these guys depart there’ll be no
episode this week (don’t think I can’t hear you cheering out there) so Doris
reminds them that she has a maid who’ll make coffee…and she also asks if they
might want to “freshen up a bit.” (Day
kind of gulps this last part, which is pretty funny.) She’ll even throw in a few stacks of
ALBERT: Oh…well, that’s mighty
hospitable of you, ma’am! We’d be
honored! (Another goofy laugh)
EDGAR (hitting him in the
shoulder): There you go again,
Albert! Stepping out of line! I’m
the oldest one—I get to make the
decisions! (After a pause) That’s mighty
hospitable of you, ma’am—we’d be honored…
The three cousins devour the batch of pancakes and are most
grateful to Juanita for the grub—Edgar tells her he’d like to have the recipe,
and a puzzled Juanita is told by Albert: “He does all our cookin’.” As Edgar and the group head back to the
living room, he hits Doris in the ass with the kitchen door (she bent down to
pick up one of the paint brushes) but she waves it off.
ALBERT: We’d sure like to repay you
for your kindness…
DORIS: Albert, it’s okay…
HERMAN: We could chop you up a cord
of wood in no time!
DORIS: Herman, I really don’t need
any wood! In fact, there just isn’t
anything you can do around here…just being Leroy’s cousins is enough for me…
EDGAR: Well, this room sure looks like it needs some help…
DORIS: Well…we’re just going to do
a little spring cleaning…you know, a little wallpapering here, a little
EDGAR: Albert! Herman!
You heard her…time’s a wastin’!
ALBERT: I’ll start vacuumin’ in
DORIS: Oh, Albert…
EDGAR: And I’ll paint the kitchen!
DORIS: Oh, listen…I appreciate
HERMAN (snapping his fingers): I
seen some rugs out on the porch that I can clean for ya…
HERMAN: I got it, got it, got it…
Albert heads to the vacuum cleaner…and in true sitcom
fashion, he puts the silly thing in reverse, spewing dust and dirt everywhere
(“Isn’t it supposed to suck the dirt in—not suck it out?”).
Doris looks helplessly at Juanita and
remarks: “We’re being repaid for our kindness.”
Because this episode relies a lot on slapstick and physical
humor, this write-up is going to be a bit shorter than our usual Dodo
presentations. Back from commercial
break, Juanita is in a state because “that crazy Edgar is going to paint the
kitchen red!” Doris doesn’t understand
how this can be so (“I only bought off-white”) until her housekeeper informs
her that he’s added a few cans of tomato soup to the mix. Doris races into the kitchen to head off the
DORIS: Well, I really don’t want to
hold up your trip because…you know, I know that you have a whole trip planned…
EDGAR: Oh nonsense, ma’am! I wasn’t really wanting to go anyway…
EDGAR: No! We were just going over to see cousin Jesse
Higgins ‘cause Mama wanted us to…I really didn’t want to go…
DORIS: Leroy mentioned a cousin
EDGAR: Well, then you know what
kind of people they are!
DORIS: Well, no…he didn’t say much…
EDGAR: Well, ma’am…I’m not one to
gossip…but that whole family’s really crude…as
a matter of fact, I know cousin Jesse only shaves three times a week…
DORIS: Well, a lot of men don’t
like to shave, you know…
EDGAR: Cousin Jesse’s a woman…
An obvious joke, yes…but I like the way Sues sells it. Doris is able to talk Edgar out of painting
the kitchen red even though he’s not particularly wild about her choice
(white), so while he heads out for a new can of paint Dor watches Herman out in
the backyard, beating rugs. She sees her
electric blanket on the “to be beaten” pile and runs out to explain that he can
skip that particular one.
Back in the kitchen, Juanita asks Edgar if he’s received
Doris’ instructions that the kitchen is to be painted white. He answers in the affirmative, but explains
that it’s a pity he has to throw out all that red paint. As he talks to Juanita, he shakes the paint
brush outside the window…
tells Doris he’ll go get something to take off those spots, and the hapless
Doris—after briefly conversing with Juanita that there’s nothing she can do
about the Family Simpson without hurting their feelings—heads upstairs to rid
herself of her “measles” when she’s stopped by Albert, who’s finishing his
living room vacuuming…
ALBERT: Are you feelin’ okay, Mrs.
Martin? You sure look like you’re comin’
down with somethin’…
DORIS: Oh, I’m fine, Albert…
ALBERT: But them spots on your
DORIS: Albert…when I’m happy, my
freckles change color…
Albert wants to know what else he can do once the living
room is finished…and though Doris tells him everything is jake he offers to go
upstairs and help her with her project…so she suggests he go outside and chop
Doris heads up to the boys’ room, where she hopes to be able
to put up the wallpaper in peace. She
slaps a little glue on the back of the paper, and then goes over to the wall to
apply the paper. But she’s right behind
the door to the room, and any student of sitcoms will tell you…
…that’s just asking for trouble.
Cousin Edgar—helpful Cousin Edgar—brought up
some turpentine to clean the spots off her face.
“Well, that’s the darndest thing,” he declares,
pulling the wallpaper off Doris.
stuff works better than turpentine do!”
Doris Day or Lucille Ball?
It’s hard to tell, isn’t it?
The rugs are finished, the kitchen is finished (“It’s
okay…if you like off-white…”) and the firewood is chopped and stacked. Doris had to go into town for more wallpaper
(“She used a whole roll takin’ the spots off her face!”), so rather than wait
until she returns to find out if there’s anything else she wants done, the Simpson
clan decide to take the initiative and paint the living room.
ALBERT: What color do you figger we
ought to paint it?
HERMAN: Green! Like the bus depot over t’Higgins Point!
ALBERT: No…I like orange…like the lobby of the Bijou
Theater back home…
“I can’t believe you’re my brothers!” screeches Edgar.
You don’t have no taste at
He explains to his brothers that
this is not a depot or a theater but a house—and I can’t do it justice, but the
way Easton deadpans “Yes…this is a house” literally sent me to the floor laughing.
HERMAN: What color are you hankerin’ for, Edgar?
Yeah, that’s not a tell.
HERMAN: That might be nice, Albert!
ALBERT: I ain’t so sure…
EDGAR (upset): No one’s askin’ you to be sure! I’m
the one with the color sense!
ALBERT: Just ‘cause you got one blue eye and one green eye…that don’t mean you got color sense…
“You ain’t got one single drop of couth!” Edgar informs his
brother, and Albert leaves the house to go sit in the truck by himself.
HERMAN: You shouldn’t have said
that, Edgar…about the couth…
EDGAR: Well, he’s just an old poop…
You watch your phraseology!
HERMAN: But you know what’s gonna
happen now…and if Ma finds out…she’s gonna be awful mad! Remember the
whuppin’ you got last time?
Sues’ reaction to this is hysterical, and so are his efforts
to get Easton’s character out of the truck by simultaneously threatening and
Finally, he gives up.
“You have more couth…than anybody in Chautau
County,” he admits.
Albert agrees to come out of the truck, and Sues scores
another comic bulls-eye by plaintively asking him: “You ain’t gonna tell Ma,
are ya?” But even though Albert has left
the confines of the Simpson lorry, he’s still insistent that the Martin living
room be bathed in orange paint, setting Edgar off again…and Albert back to the
After a short scene where Edgar finally gives in and agrees
to paint the room orange, there is a dissolve to Doris bidding the Simpson clan
a fond fare-thee-well…
DORIS: …and I’ll be sure and tell
Leroy you were here…
EDGAR: Sorry to have missed him,
ma’am…but was mighty glad to help
ALBERT: I just wished we could’ve
stayed longer and done more…
HERMAN: Things worked out real well, didn’t they, ma’am?
DORIS: Real well…
Doris is, of course, just being polite…because once company
is down the road, she collapses on a bench in the front yard.
JUANITA: Come on, Doris…you can’t
just sit there…you’ve got to come in and face
DORIS: Do I have to?
JUANITA: You got a better idea?
JUANITA: Come on—we haven’t got
much time…they’re going to be here in a little while and there’s so much to do!
DORIS: Okay, Juanita…okay, I’ll be
JUANITA: Oh, boy—it’s a lucky thing
your dad locked his room…
DORIS: He should have locked this house!
The implication here is that the Simpsons Three did paint
the living room to look like a Howard Johnson’s…but alas, there wasn’t enough
money in the budget to convey this and a potentially hilarious gag falls
flat. So let’s get to the ending on
this, and believe me—there’s not much of one.
Buck and the boys return home to see the house in fine
shape; the boys run up to their room to check out the new wallpaper, and Buck
is dumbfounded. “I didn’t think you and
Juanita had it in you,” he beams. “This
is real professional—Ernie and Ben couldn’t have done it this good…”
Well, you should have seen that coming a mile away.
Ernie and Ben emerge from the kitchen,
apologizing to Doris that they weren’t able to finish everything at one
The guy on the left playing Ben,
actor Bard Stevens, didn’t do anything too noteworthy (though he will return
for two additional Doris
outings) but the guy on the right (Ernie) is Pat Cranshaw
(billed here as J.P. Cranshaw), who you’ll recognize as Joseph “Blue” Pulaski
from Old School
Cranshaw also had
recurring roles on Alice
(as Andy) and After MASH
(as Bob Scannell), and
will also turn up in later Doris Day
As for the coda…Doris and Buck have settled in for the
evening; she’s doing some mending and he asks about getting some coffee. She stabs herself with a needle, and makes a
statement that she’s accident-prone.
DORIS: I really am, I’m accident-prone…you
know, that happens to a lot of people…
BUCK: You’re not accident-prone…
DORIS: Oh yes, I am…
BUCK: No, just people like Leroy
and his cousins make people think
DORIS: Well, what are you supposed
to do when you’re around Leroy—run out of the room?
Not a bad idea, come to think of it.
BUCK: Just be on your guard
and…stand perfectly still…
And so Doris takes Buck’s advice when Leroy enters the
living room—Doris waits until Leroy stops prattling on about hearing from his
cousins, and then she asks him to take care of a ladder in the kitchen. Leroy goes back into the kitchen to take the
ladder to the basement…and while he’s doing that, Buck asks again about that
coffee—but Doris is staying put until she’s sure Leroy is in the basement.
“I’m not afraid of him—I’ll get it myself,” declares
Buck. Wait for it…
After being hit in the nose with the door, Buck then calls Leroy a nincompoop for the third time in
this episode as he chases him into the kitchen, prompting Doris to give out
with a girlish laugh and me to breathe a sigh of relief that we’re done for the
Next time on Doris Day(s)
…well, anytime a show
like this features a guest star it might signal that there’ll be a few laughs
to be had.
But even an old pro like Strother Martin
can’t help The
Doris Day Show
…and in “Love a Duck,” he’ll learn that what we have here
is a failure to anticipate.