Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: WHO: Books and Bananas
Date: May 15 1930

This is a published script from the Bulletin of the Iowa Library Commission. Their Publicity Committee broadcast a weekly series of fifteen-minute-long talks over Des Moines station WHO in the winter and spring. On at least a couple of occasions, specially-written plays were performed.

By Helen Harper Aten, Reference Librarian, Traveling Library

(The County Library play which follows is printed as it was given over W. H. O. by the staff of the Iowa Library Commission. With little adaptation it may be used for a Reading or an Acting Play.)

Time: 15 Minutes

ANNOUNCER:

Radio Friends -- We are about to present a short play entitled "Books and Bananas." Ours is a County Library play. This is the day of County Libraries, when groceries and books are becoming equally accessible to the modern farmer.

So we invite you, for a few moments, to go with us to a country general store, Puckins & Puckins, located in the little town of Advance, in our own Tall Corn State.

As you enter the Puckins store, glance, please, over its front door. You will see a brightly painted sign hanging there which reads, "This is a Branch of the Progress County Free Library."

Let me introduce you to two of the characters of our play. They are customer and clerk, standing on either side of the store counter, surrounded by a familiar and friendly aroma of harness leather, coffee, and bananas.

Mrs. Todd, a farmer's wife is our customer. As the play opens she is stuffing a box of corn flakes into a large oil-cloth bag. Glance to Mrs. Todd's right at the end of the counter, you will see a conspicuous case of bright colored books, under a poster which reads, "Take Home a Book."

The heroine of our play, Jane, eighteen year old daughter of the storekeeper, is waiting on Mrs. Todd. Jane is the store's librarian. Listen to her -- she is pouring freshly ground coffee into a paper bag for Mrs. Todd.

JANE:

(Humming) I'll have this coffee tied up in a jiffy, Mrs. Todd. Hope you'll like the new blend.

MRS. TODD :

Take your time tying that poke, Jane. I'm in no hurry. Mind if I pick myself a library book for over Sunday?

JANE :

No , Mrs. Todd. Make yourself right at home there at the book shelves, while I get the sugar for you.

MRS. TODD:

Land sakes, what would we do without this County Library?

JANE:

That's what everybody says, Mrs. Todd.

MRS. TODD:

Oh! that reminds me -- I brought up a letter about a book to
show you.

JANE:

Is it from John?

MRS. TODD:

Yes, from John. Where did I stick that envelope?

JANE:

Mrs. Todd, is John still a radio operator on the fruit boats?

MRS. TODD:

The United Fruit Line, yes. He's running from New Orleans to Jamaica and Porto Rico now. (proudly) Been made head operator for the boat line too. Here's that letter!

JANE:

Head operator! That's great!

MRS. TODD:

(rattles letter) You see John's been having shore leave in New Orleans for a week, and he read this book down there in the Public Library. Writes me to be sure and get it at the County Library. (Rattles letter again.) Here's the name of the book, Jane -- looks like "Record Flights" to me.

JANE:

That's it, Mrs. Todd -- "Record Flights." It's a book on flying by Clarence Chamberlin. Miss Clarke, the County Librarian, told me she'd bring that book out to our Branch some day.

MRS. TODD :

That's the book, Jane. Look here, John says "The boy that wrote the book, mom, is an Iowa boy. His name is Clarence Chamberlin."

JANE:

Well, I'll just ask Miss Clarke for it, Mrs. Todd. Oh! that makes me think -- I've a book right here under the counter now for you.

MRS. TODD:

For me?

JANE:

Yes, Miss Clarke brought it out from headquarters this afternoon in the Book Wagon, especially for your Donnie. Where did I put that now? I told her when she was here last week you had a twelve-year-old that surely did like to read about airplanes. Where is-- (Ting-ling Ting-ling) Oh there's the telephone -- excuse me a minute -- Hello, this is Puckins Store...Yes...Mary Stone? Yes, but she's just gone...Oh, is this Mrs. Stone?...Yes, I'll be glad to..two dozen bananas? All right we'll deliver them tomorrow morning...Do we have what?...Oh, in the library you mean...poetry? Well...Oh! poultry! chickens you mean. Yes, we have a book on chicken raising. Just a minute...Yes, it's in, Mrs. Stone -- "Practical Poultry Keeping" it's called..Well, Mr. Pickle that sells Dad eggs just brought it back, and he says there's some good pointers in the book...Oh we can send it to you. We'll put it right in with the bananas...Surely, we do that. You bet. Good
bye. My, I wish Dad would get back from the Post Office! I'm afraid that phone's started in for the afternoon. And you know, Mrs. Todd, the big District Debate's on up at the School House this afternoon. I think it may be over any minute; and I'm simply dying to know if our boys beat the Enterprise debate team.

MRS. TODD:

Is somebody all set to bring you the news, Jane?

JANE:

Well, Miss Clarke promised to drive past here in the Book Wagon, on her way out of town. She stayed to hear the boys debate this afternoon.

MRS. TODD:

I read by the Progress Chronicle the Book Wagon Lady would attend the Debate.

JANE:

Oh, the team invited her especially. Why, Ted Schweitzer's on the team, and he told me our boys wouldn't stand a chance in today's debate if it weren't for all the debate books Miss Clarke's been sending from the County Library.

MRS. TODD:

Ted Schweitzer did you say?

JANE:

Yes.

MRS. TODD:

His father must be the one they call ol' man Schweitzer -- has the farm out toward Jake Cutter's place, with the new silo.

JANE:

(in scornful tone) That's him.

MRS. TODD:

Why I heard my husband say Gus Schweitzer voted against the County Library appropriation last fall. Said farmers hadn't time to read.

JANE:

Yes, he did vote against it!

MRS. TODD:

(consolingly) We-ll maybe now that his son's turning out to be such a good arguer, and using so many books from the County Library, Mr. Schweitzer'll kind of make over his mind, Jane.

JANE:

(doubtfully) I hope so.

MRS. TODD:

Now here we stand, talkin' politics -- and I haven't seen that airplane book yet.

JANE:

I'll get it right now for you. Here it is.

MRS. TODD:

(pleased and excited) Land alive! "An Alphabet of Aviation!" Donnie never will get his chores done now! I wonder has this book a glider picture in it?...First it's airplanes, then it's gliders Donnie's tryin' to build. I'll have to tell that young gentlemen though, it's no gliders till he's milked the cow first. My! he will enjoy this Jane.

JANE:

Miss Clarke'll want to know how he likes it.

MRS. TODD:

You know, there is one book I'd like to get today. It's for my neighbor on the farm south, -- little Mrs. Harper, -- a book on the care of bees. Mrs. Harper talks of starting a few hives this spring.

JANE:

Mrs. Harper? Is she that pretty little woman from England?

MRS. TODD:

Yes, -- bright little thing. Came over from the Old Country just two years ago -- planned to spend a summer vacation with her married sister -- fell right in love with an Iowa farmer, and here she is, settled down and about to start bees.

JANE:

Oh dear! Mrs. Todd, I see somebody has our "ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture" out right now. But (confidently) I'll get Miss Clarke to mail out a bee book from the Main Library to us tomorrow.

MRS. TODD:

Oh dear me suz, Jane. I wouldn't want to cause all that trouble.

JANE:

It's no trouble. She mails out books often between visits. She mails them out for 4-H club work and women's club papers.

MRS. TODD:

Well, I'm sure those three books I've picked out here'll be plenty for over this Sunday. Would you wrap them, Jane?

JANE:

You bet I will.

MRS. TODD:

(apologetically) The back of our car's a mite dirty for books. Now I must be getting over to the Creamery. They owe me some milk money. I see you're getting another customer anyway.

JANE:

Another? Oh, you mean the old man just getting out of the wagon in front? That's just Mr. Woodman. You know him, Mrs. Todd.

MRS. TODD:

Don't believe I do.

JANE:

The man that always wears an old red stocking cap on his head, and carries his groceries in a potato sack over his shoulder? He's often in here, (lowers voice a little) He's a little deaf, but he and Mrs. Woodman are two of our best readers. (loudly) Howd'do, Mr. Woodman.

MR. WOODMAN:

Howdy, Jane. Your Dad here?

JANE:

I'm expecting him any minute, Mr. Woodman.

MR. WOODMAN:

Well, I'll get my books picked out and then I'll mosey 'round t' the drug store and come back when your Dad's here. I 'low to talk to him about some harness today. Dang't where 'd I stick them Ingersoll books!

JANE:

Here, Mr. Woodman, let me get them out of the sack for you.

MRS. TODD:

Jane tells me you're a great reader.

MR. WOODMAN:

What's that ma'am?

MRS. TODD:

(louder) I say, you read a good deal, do you?

MR. WOODMAN:

Wa'al I like a book if it's got punch, ma'am. Findin' the books all right, Jane?

JANE:

Yes, I'm just getting the last one out of bottom of the sack. This one on the Civil War -- seems to be all mixed up here with your packages.

MR. WOODMAN:

That "Prison Escapes of the Civil War?" Say, that book's a pippin, Jane! Got any more as good's that? I'd kind of like another pirate story today too.

JANE:

I wonder if you've read this one, Mr. Woodman -- "Treasure Island."

MR. WOODMAN:

What's the name?

JANE:

"Treasure Island."

MR. WOODMAN:

No, don't think I hev. There's lots of books I've missed in my time. This one sounds good. (chuckles) This picture here looks as though 't had some action in it all right. Say now -- just happened t' think. Got any book around here by the name of "Uncle Tom's Cabin?"

JANE:

(proudly) Yes, right here on this shelf.

MR. WOODMAN:

Wa'al now, there's a book I hev read -- 'bout thirty years ago, Jane. Guess readin' it now'd be about like readin' a new one. You can give me that too.

MRS. TODD:

(speaks loudly this time) Does your wife read the books with you?

MR. WOODMAN:

Ye-es, me an' the old woman don't do much but read, especially these long winter evenings, since we got the County Library. 'Bout the size of it, ma'am, we been just kinda tryin' to wear the winter out. But I don't hardly know this spring whether the winter's wore me out or I've wore it. (chuckles) Well, I'm much obliged to you, Jane. (meditatively) You know, ma'am, these books bein' right here in the store -- they're all right, I say, for the grown folks and the children. I'm willing t' pay my part the tax for this County Library.

MRS. TODD:

I too, Mr. Woodman.

MR. WOODMAN:

Yes'm and a great help these books is to the one-room schools in this neck the woods. But I 'se a-talkin' to a feller down the pike here t' other day you ought to get converted to this County Library!

JANE:

Who's that, Mr. Woodman? (in disgusted tone) Mr. Schweitzer, I suppose.

MR. WOODMAN:

Yep, ol' man Schweitzer, I been a-telling him. "Schweitzer" I sez to him the other day, "You ought to go into Puckins Store and look over the County Library books one these days." "Not me" sez he. "No" he sez "I suppose I'll have t' acknowledge the books are provin' all right for the schools an' like that. But what use is books to a farmer?" "Why, Schweitzer" sez I "You 'aven't tried 'em out hev you? Now take fer instance" I sez: "You was complainin' last summer your alfalfa crop warn't lookin' so very good. Now I just happened to notice the other day they got a book down at Puckins Store on alfalfa growing. "Shucks" sez he "I ain't never planted by a book yet, and I don't cal-late to begin!" "Wa'al" sez I: "just thought you might like to know the book was there. Might give you some pleasure to look it over and see where you don't agree with the feller that wrote it." (chuckles)

JANE:

Oh, Mr. Woodman, that was good!

MR. WOODMAN:

Ho, Hum! Well, I'll be gettin' along. Mark my words, though, Jane. One these days Gus Schweitzer'll be a-visitin' you, like the rest of us, and a-borrowin' a book. Good day.

JANE:

Goodbye, Mr. Woodman (Door Bangs -- Horn Sounds) Oh, Mrs. Todd, stay just a minute longer. There's the Book Wagon horn. And here's Miss Clarke right now.

MISS CLARKE:

Well, Jane! I've brought you good news. Progress won the Debate.

JANE:

(very much excited) Miss Clarke! Oh, Mrs. Todd! isn't that great! we won! Miss Clarke, you remember Mrs. Todd.

MISS CLARKE:

Indeed I remember Mrs. Todd. And how's that boy of yours that used to borrow all the radio books?

MRS. TODD:

(proudly) My son John, you mean? He's operator on the fruit boats now, Miss Clarke. He just wrote me about a book he wants me to read -- "Record Flights."

MISS CLARKE:

Jane, just make a note of that for me, will you. I don't have that book in the Book Wagon today. I'll have to send it out to you next week, Miss Todd.

JANE:

Oh, Miss Clarke, I got the book on farm buildings you sent out for Mr. Savinski.

MISS CLARKE:

Good. Now I can't stay a minute longer. I'm due at our new Branch Library in Rock Creek. Ted Schweitzer was splendid in the Debate, Jane (voice dies away during this speech) Well -- goodbye till next week.

JANE:

Goodbye.

MISS CLARKE:

(voice comes back gradually, as though from the door) Oh Jane!

JANE:

Yes, Miss Clarke.

MISS CLARKE:

(closer -- loud as usual) I almost forgot a message I have for you.

JANE:

For me?

MISS CLARKE:

Yes, I got a new patron for you over at the Debate this afternoon. He shook hands with me and told me to tell you he's coming in for a book -- a book on alfalfa.

JANE:

Miss Clarke! Not -- not -- it surely can't be Mr. Sch--

MISS CLARKE:

(laughing as she talks) Mr. Schweitzer. That's who it is! (laughs again) Well, (voice dies away again ) goodbye, Mrs. Todd. Goodbye, Jane. See you next week.

JANE and MRS. TODD:

(in chorus) Goodbye.