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Season 1, Episode 6: Little Pitchers Have Big Fears

Episode originally broadcast on 10-22-1964. See the TV.com episode guide.

Early morning, Darrin's-late-for-the-train, would-be kitchen sex is interrupted by the Stevens' doorbell: a certain Marshall Burns is at the door, a little boy played by Jimmy Mathers (younger brother of Leave It To Beaver's Jerry Mathers). Marshall is ready for his morning tryst with Samantha. It seems she's his only friend in the neighborhood, and he regularly stops by for breakfast. He's fatherless and the victim of a "nervous, overprotective mother." Said mother--played by June Lockhart with a Southern accent--soon hunts Marshall down and a cat-fight nearly erupts in the Stevens' kitchen. Mrs. Burns does not appreciate Samantha's interference in her son's life, and Samantha is very judgmental about the woman's parenting.

Cm Capture 1 The disagreement is soon played out on a baseball diamond. Sam takes Marshall to the local baseball tryouts because his mother won't allow him to play, baseball being a dangerous sport. (Gladys is in the stands at the tryouts, fawning over her "beautiful" nephew Floyd, who's the star of the team. Witchcraft naturally ensues as Sam gives Marshall a wicked curveball, with which he strikes out Floyd.) Marshall, of course, makes the team. He later runs off without his mother's consent to play in the first game of the season in which, naturally if unrealistically, he plays extremely well--sans witchcraft. All ends happily: Marshall's mother sees the ilght and winds up encouraging her son; the baseball coach takes a shine to Mrs. Burns once he finds out she's a widow; and Marshall wins the game for his team.

Cm Capture 2This isn't a particularly good episode. The series' plot is not furthered. Only the Kravitzes, among regular guest stars, show up. It's interesting, as usual, because it's dated: the  episode opens with Sam being pestered by a door-to-door salesman--a figure thankfully long gone from our suburban streets. And Darrin, driving to the baseball game, goes the speed limit--15 miles per hour, we're told.

Also of interest is the characterization of overprotectiveness. Marshall's mother is certainly...careful: she's constantly afraid that Marshall will get sick and she won't allow him to eat strawberries or play ball. On the other hand, he finds his way into the Stevens' house regularly and tries out for the baseball team without his mother's knowledge or consent--driving off in a car with an unrelated adult. How does that happen when his mother is allegedly watching him like a hawk?

Join a conversation among parents of youngish kids these days and the talk will eventually get around to how much more carefully watched our kids are than we were; how we roamed our neighborhoods alone at a young age and did things we'd never allow our kids to do. Marshall's childhood falls somewhere between the two experiences: he's allowed to do risky things like fraternize with strange adults, but he can't play with kids his own age. Odd.

Comments

gracie

Great recap! June Lockhart as Marshall's mother bugged me for some reason and I could never pinpoint why. She seemed to be using a strange, almost countrified accent that would fade in and out.

Anyway, love your site and can't wait to read more.

Debra Hamel

Thanks, Gracie! She was an annoying character, wasn't she. Your note makes me want to watch the next episode soon! I'll try to get to it.

Meanwhile, I just visited your site and am going to blog about it...now.

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