The Cowsills - Barbara Cowsill and six of her singing youngsters - star in "A Family Thing," half-hour musical special to be colorcast Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on WSYR-TV.
Buddy Ebsen guest-stars on the show, introducing the family in a home setting, chatting with father-founder Bud Cowsill and joining the youngest of the clan, 9-year-old Susan Cowsill, in a song-and-dance rendition of "The Old Soft Shoe."
Also appearing are the rest of the musical Cowsills: Bill, 20; Bob, 19; Paul, 17; Barry, 14, and Johnny, 12. The only member of the family not seen on the show is Bob's twin brother, Dick, who is in the Army.
Musical highlights include "Consider Yourself," "A Doodlin' Song" and "We Can Fly."
The Cowsills also sing and play "Indian Lake" while Barbara, who admits she was "drifted," weighs the pros and cons of being a performing mother instead of staying home with the ironing.
Barry, John and Susan sing "Happiness" and the five Cowsills boys present a barbershop medley including "Sweet Adeline," "You Are My Sunshine," "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," "Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" and a novelty number, "Leonard Nimoy," sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques."
Less than a year ago, the Cowsills were little known outside of their hometown, Newport, R.I. They were discovered by Leonard Stogel, their current manager, and made their network television debut on the Ed Sullivan show Oct. 27, 1967.
Last February, the clan was featured in a two-hour special on NBC-TV's Today show. Since then the Cowsills have toured the world, recorded several best selling albums, including their latest, "Captain Sad and His Ship of Fools"