Thursday, June 4, 2009

"My Three Sons": "Soap-Box Derby"




On March 30, 1961, near the end of its first season, "My Three Sons" did an episode called "Soap-Box Derby." (Hat tip to Jeff Iula). The episode finds a friend of Robbie (Don Grady) impressing a girl with his plans to compete in the local derby, prompting Robbie to get involved as well.

Key line, from the other kid as he shows off a brochure: "Boy, you should see the prizes. Look at that! That's just for winning here. Then you go on to the All-American in Akron!"

As someone who remembers "My Three Sons" for a lot of bland comedy, especially in its later years, I have to add that this episode is quite good for the time. It has parallel stories, about Robbie's attempt to build a derby racer on his own, and Steve (Fred MacMurray) working on a rocket project for his company. Both struggle at their respective tasks, with the episode switching back and forth between their two stories, even overlapping lines of dialogue. In addition to that good structure, it offers realistic conclusions to both narratives -- although it still manages to end the show with a laugh. Solid work.

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