Magical nannies have been the secret wish of many kids ever since Mary Poppins floated down from the sky dispensing discipline and whisking her charges off to have wonderful adventures. Another offbeat, quirky governess appeared in Nanny and the Professor, a 1970 sitcom starring Juliet Mills and Richard Long in the title roles.
Nanny Phoebe Figalilly arrived at Professor Everett’s home to watch over his three children and it became clear very quickly that she was not a run of the mill au pair. She knew when phones were about to ring, who was at the door before they knocked and had a way of getting things done that was quasi-miraculous. The three little Everetts–Hal, Butch and Prudence–marveled at their new nanny and her mysterious ways until they learned it was better just to go with the flow.
A constant stream of Nanny’s strange relatives and acquaintances paraded through the Everett household. Uncle Alfred was an eccentric aerialist; Aunts Justine and Agatha went everywhere in a hot air balloon; Uncle Horace was a rainmaker; and Aunt Henrietta had her own circus. These odd characters delighted the kids but flummoxed the neighbors, especially nosy Mrs. Fowler who kept trying to discover the cause of all the strange happenings next door.
Was Nanny a magician who had lived for hundreds of years? Was she a witch (a good one)? The audience was left to draw their own conclusions along with the Professor and his children. The series only lasted for three seasons but it was much loved by its loyal fans and has returned in syndication a number of times over the years.
If you were a faithful viewer of Nanny and the Professor back in the day, we welcome all of your thoughts in our comments section, as we pay tribute to this beloved blast-from-the-past, here at Retroland.