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  • Sam Darling

Daniel Crouet & ma sorcière bien-aimée

Many nations have rules around how much broadcast television must be in the native language. This was of particular concern in France during the popularizing of television as their airwaves were inundated with English-speaking programs.

The way around the problem of expensive production is to do a doublage, that is, a voice over work in the native language that loosely matches the lip movements of the original show.

My father, known as Daniel Crouet, started out as an actor and transitioned into directing and producing. As the sort of person who stood by the mission of L’Académie française, he was the perfect choice to adapt American television shows for a French audience. It turns out that he was gifted. His scripts match the lip work closely and keep the original humor while adding new French-style puns. His biggest success is for the TV show Bewitched. In France, this show is called Ma sorcière bien-aimée.

My father did the voice over for Darrin, in France known as Jean-Pierre.

If I wish to hear my father speak to me I need only watch a re-run.

It is thanks to his theatrical life that I have images of him from long before I existed. The first time I saw this clip of him as a young man in the film Rendez-vous de juillet I was amazed. At about 1:12 it is apparent that I am related to the young thespian just trying to get through his lines. Although, in real life, his character may have been more akin to the theatrical director lambasting the hapless ingénue.

I’ve also mentioned previously how I think he resembled a contemporary blond actor.

Daniel Crouet 1940s publicity

Such a serious young man with damn fine hair.

Daniel Chardin 1960s Montreal?

I like it when there’s a smile in the photo. He was, by all accounts, a complicated and serious person with an acerbic sense of humor. It’s nice when the camera captures a touch of his legendary wit.

I’m working on my memoir and there will be plenty more about the story of my family in those pages, but I will tell you this: When my uncle first met me he took this candid photo of me at his house because watching me read made him feel as though his brother was back among the living. He was one of many who said the same when they saw me, the unexpected daughter.

2001 Vichy Sam reading

Such a serious young woman with damn fine hair.

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