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Series: The Screen Guild Theater
Show: Parent by Proxy
Date: Jan 13 1947

CAST
ANNOUNCER, Truman Bradley
LADY ESTHER, commercial spokeswoman

JIM SLOANE
MISS HUMPHREY, Jim's secretary
CLARA PALMER, young society lady
CLERK, slightly effeminate male
OFFICER, working class
MARCELLE, French; age 19
CHARLES, British butler
MADAME CLAUDETTE, French
COMMITTEE MEMBER
HORTENSE VAN MARTIN, older society lady
1ST WORKER (1 line)
2ND WORKER (1 line)
BUTLER
plus a COMMITTEE and WORKERS

NOTE:
Another version of this play aired on SCREEN GUILD in 1942, credited as
an adaptation by Keith Fowler, Frank Galen, and Sam Perrin of an
original story by Charles Beahan, Collier Young, and John McClain. This
transcript includes some alternate lines from the earlier broadcast in
brackets.

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight, Lady Esther presents the Screen Guild Players in that delightful comedy "Parent by Proxy" by Charles Beahan, Collier Young, and John McClain. It stars Jack Benny as Jim Sloane and Paulette Goddard as Marcelle Benda. The Lady Esther Screen Guild Players in "Parent by Proxy."

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION

ANNOUNCER:

[As our story opens, Jim Sloane, alias Jack Benny, who is a big splash in the American plumbing business, has just strolled into his office and taken his place at his desk.]

JIM:

Good morning, Miss Humphrey.

MISS H:

Good morning, Mr. Sloane. You're in early today.

JIM:

Well, a businessman has to be on his toes. Miss Humphrey, I expect this to be a busy day; a very busy day. In fact, I hardly know what to do first. What time is it now?

MISS H:

Twelve-thirty, sir.

JIM:

Oh. ... Well, in that case, open the files under L.

MISS H:

Under L?

JIM:

Yes, my lunch is in there. ... And by the way, is there a copy of the morning Times around?

MISS H:

On your desk, Mr. Sloane.

JIM:

Good, good. There's a little item I'd like to show you, Miss Humphrey. Your boss attended the charity ball last night.

MISS H:

(MOCK DISBELIEF) No!

JIM:

Oh, yes. Society is opening its doors to James Sloane -- even if I did make my money in plumbing fixtures.

SOUND:

NEWSPAPER OPENS

JIM:

Ah, here's the story right on the front page. I'll show you my name. (READS, HALF TO HIMSELF) "Among those present were Biddle, Boles, Niles, Thomas, Lawrence, Bradley-- Continued on page twelve.

SOUND:

NEWSPAPER RUSTLES

JIM:

(READS, HALF TO HIMSELF) Sharon, Burns, Hersholt, Jackson, Krohn, Goldberg-- Continued on page thirty-three.

SOUND:

NEWSPAPER RUSTLES

JIM:

Hm, can't seem to find the rest of the list.

MISS H:

There it is, Mr. Sloan, next to the obituary column. ...

JIM:

Oh, yes. I'm glad it wasn't under it. ... (READS) Anderson, Oliver-- (TRIUMPHANT) Aha! George Balzer, James Sloane, and Bert Morris. (LAUGHS) Poor old Bert! Imagine being last on the list! ... I'll bet he feels like a nobody.

MISS H:

(CHUCKLES, DRY) I'll bet he does.

JIM:

It was really a gala evening, Miss Humphrey. And there I was in the middle of it, drinking and dancing. Course I would have looked better if I had had a partner. ... Oh, yes, I - I took a chance on a raffle.

MISS H:

What kind of a raffle?

JIM:

Oh, I don't know. I never win anyway, but - but Miss Palmer said it was the thing to do.

MISS H:

(UNIMPRESSED) Oh, Miss Palmer, huh?

JIM:

Don't use that tone of voice, Miss Humphrey. Clara Palmer is a lovely girl. 'Course her hair is a little stringy. That's what gave me the idea for my new drizzle shower. ... Now, run along to your office and call the Edgemore stables. I want to find out how much a pono poly costs.

MISS H:

A what?

JIM:

A pono poly. I mean a poly pono. Or a polo pony! You know, one of those things you sit on when you play pono. I mean poly. Polo! ... (ASIDE) I'd've been better off if I'd taken up madbinton. Tennis! ... Now call the stables. Clara told me if I want to become socially prominent I should take up the game.

MISS H:

But, Mr. Sloane, you fall out of a swivel chair. How will you stay on a horse?

JIM:

I'll hang a guitar around my neck and they'll think I'm Gene Autry. ... (PLEASED WITH HIS JOKE) I can go along with a quip. Now get out.

MISS H:

(MOVING OFF) Yes, sir.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AS CLARA ENTERS

CLARA:

Jim darling!

JIM:

Oh, hello, Clara.

CLARA:

Jim dear, I have the most fabulously wonderful news for you! You won the charity raffle!

JIM:

I did? How much?

CLARA:

Oh, the prize wasn't money.

JIM:

(BEAT, DISAPPOINTED) Oh. ...

CLARA:

But, darling, it was something money can't even buy!

JIM:

Soap chips? ... [ALTERNATE LINE: Razor blades?]

CLARA:

No, no, silly. You won the privilege of adopting a refugee orphan.

JIM:

Oh, well-- I did? (DOUBLE TAKE) I mean I did?

CLARA:

Yes, the child's name is Marcelle Benda. Isn't it too utterly thrilling?!

JIM:

Oh, it's the utterliest thing I've ever heard of. ... But, look, I can't take an orphan.

CLARA:

Oh, it arrives today -- homeless and hungry. And if you don't take it, your social prestige may suffer.

JIM:

It will, huh? Well, where's the kid from?

CLARA:

France. You do speak French, don't you?

JIM:

Oh, not fluently. I - I know a couple of words.

CLARA:

Good. Well, let me know what you decide, dear boy. Bonjour.

JIM:

(CONFUSED) What is that? ...

CLARA:

I said, bonjour.

JIM:

Oh, French! French, yeah. Well, the two words I happen to know are "Oui, oui." They go together. ... Well, I'll see you later, huh?

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES AS CLARA EXITS

JIM:

(MUSES, TO HIMSELF) Marcel, huh? Cute name for a kid. No home, hungry, nobody to love him. Gee, I could be both father and a mother to him. Then if he couldn't get along with his father, he could always come to the mother in me. ... It's a wonderful feeling at that.

MISS H:

(APPROACHES) Oh, Mr. Sloane, you can get a polo pony for three thousand dollars.

JIM:

(STILL MUSING TO HIMSELF) Poor little thing. I'll have him sleep in the same bed with me. ...

MISS H:

(PUZZLED) Sleep in the same bed with a--?

JIM:

(TO MISS H) He probably hasn't had anything to eat for days, you know.

MISS H:

Not even oats?

JIM:

Oats?! What he needs is hot soup, and lollipops. Y'know, and a warm bunny suit to sleep in.

MISS H:

A - a bunny suit?

JIM:

Miss Humphrey, will you do me a favor?

MISS H:

Wha--? What is it, Mr. Sloan?

JIM:

Will you pin those little three-cornered pants on him?

MISS H:

(SHRIEKS CARTOONISHLY IN HORROR)

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

JIM:

(TO HIMSELF) Now, what else do I need? (TO CLERK) Oh, yes, I want to look at a crib, please.

CLERK:

Yes, sir. For a little boy?

JIM:

What difference does it make? I mean, do little girl sleep side-saddle? ...

CLERK:

(CHUCKLES) No, sir. Now, here's a very popular model. We call it our Teepy Tot Beddy. Isn't it a tooty-wooty? ...

JIM:

Hmmm.

CLERK:

Just the thing for an itty kiddy-witty.

JIM:

Uh huh. How much is it?

CLERK:

Only eighteen fifty-whifty. ...

JIM:

Anything off for cashy-washee? ...

CLERK:

(GENTLY DISAPPROVING) Uh-uh, no chiselly-wizzily.

JIM:

All right, I'll takey-wakey. ... Let's see, er, what have I bought so far?

CLERK:

Ah, a crib, a velocipede, alphabet blocks, an Indian outfit, an electric train, [a Buck Rogers disintegrator gun,] and a Superman suit.

JIM:

Well! Well, I guess that's enough for my kid.

CLERK:

Oh, you must be a proud father. You know, I have twelve children of my own.

JIM:

Oh. Well, you'd better keep the Superman suit. ... [ALTERNATE LINE: Hey, you don't sound like it. As many as that? ...] By the way-- Look, if I-- If I don't like my kid, will you take back these toys?

CLERK:

(CONFUSED, SLOWLY) If you don't like your child?

JIM:

Yes. Yes, if I don't like him, I'll - I'll send him back.

CLERK:

(BEAT, QUIETLY) You can do that? ...

JIM:

Why, certainly.

CLERK:

Why doesn't somebody tell me these things?! ...

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CROWD MURMURS .. THEN IN BG

OFFICER:

Mister, will you kindly get back in line?

JIM:

But I'm I'm expecting a baby today. I mean, an orphan. He's arriving on this boat.

OFFICER:

Well, these other fellas are here for the same thing. Just wait till I call the name of your kid and then yell.

JIM:

Yell? Okay. (TO HIMSELF) Gee, I'm excited.

OFFICER:

(READS, SLIGHTLY OFF, TO ALL) Louis Carbon! Pierre Renoir! Cecile Degas! Marcelle Benda!

JIM:

(YELLS, OVERENTHUSIASTICALLY LOUD) ...

OFFICER:

Nice goin', brother. All right, take your orphan.

JIM:

But which one is it? I mean, which is Marcel Benda?

MARCELLE:

(SULTRY) I am Marcelle Benda.

JIM:

(SWEETLY) Oh, my little baby! ... (DOUBLE TAKE) I mean, "Oh, baby." ... (UNEASY) Look - look, there must be some mistake. I mean, you can't be Marcelle. I - I really expected a baby.

MARCELLE:

But I am Marcelle.

JIM:

My goodness, how long did that trip take? ...

MARCELLE:

Why? There is something wrong? You do not feel well?

JIM:

Oh, no. No, I feel fine; just fine.

MARCELLE:

Oh, but, monsieur, you are trembling.

JIM:

Well, it's just that I had a different picture of how you would look; the, er-- The construction, you know. ... I thought you'd be-- I thought you'd be a little younger.

MARCELLE:

Oh, but I am young. I'm only nineteen.

JIM:

But I expected a little baby, and you're a beautiful, gorgeous young lady. Must be that new Republican Congress. [ALTERNATE LINE: They can't do that to me. Or can they?] ...

MARCELLE:

(FRENCH) Comment?

JIM:

Oh, nothing, nothing. What about me, Marcelle? Do I look the way you expected me to look?

MARCELLE:

Oh, no, Monsieur. I thought you would be an old man with a beard.

JIM:

(LAUGHS) An old man with a beard? Fooled you that time, eh?

MARCELLE:

Yes! You have no beard at all. ...

JIM:

I have a swell one; I wear it on top of my head sometimes. ...

MARCELLE:

Oh, well, I am so glad you like me. I was so afraid you would be ashamed of me in this poor little dress I wear.

JIM:

The dress?

MARCELLE:

Yes. You see, it is all I have, and it is very small for me. Look, see how tight it fits me?

JIM:

(SLOWLY) Uh huh. Yes. Sure fits tight, doesn't it? ...

MARCELLE:

And the dress is very shabby, too, because I have worn it many years. See? Isn't it shabby? (NO ANSWER) Isn't it shabby?

JIM:

I'm still looking at how tight it fits you. ...

MARCELLE:

[And the dress is very short, too. See? It is above my knees.

JIM:

Uh huh. ...

MARCELLE:

But you're only looking at my feet.

JIM:

Er, don't rush me. ...]

MARCELLE:

Monsieur, if I am to live at your home, I cannot call you "monsieur." What shall I call you?

JIM:

Well, let's see. Would you mind holding my pulse for a minute?

MARCELLE:

Like, er, this?

JIM:

That's right. Now call me daddy.

MARCELLE:

(SLOW, SULTRY) Daddy--

JIM:

What about the pulse?

MARCELLE:

(BRISK) She jumps up and down very fast.

JIM:

She does? Well then, call me Uncle Jim.

MARCELLE:

(SLOW, SULTRY) Uncle Jim--

JIM:

The pulse?

MARCELLE:

(BRISK, SHRUGS) She still jumps.

JIM:

She does, eh? Um, you'd better call me Mr. Sloane.

MARCELLE:

(DISAPPOINTED) Mr. Sloane?

JIM:

Yes, until we get home. Then I'll take a vitamin pill and you can try "daddy" again. ... Let's go.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

CHARLES:

Er, beg pardon, Mr. Sloane.

JIM:

What is it, Charles?

CHARLES:

You're wanted on the telephone. Miss Clara Palmer.

JIM:

Oh, thanks.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP

JIM:

(INTO PHONE) Hello? --- Oh, hello, Clara. --- Well, I've been busy the last two weeks. --- Tonight? Oh, no, no, I can't. --- Well, I'm taking Marcelle to the ball tonight. --- What? I had a date with you? Oh, yes, but-- I'm sorry, but-- But I'll see you there anyway. I want you to meet Marcelle. Goodbye, Clara.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

MARCELLE:

(APPROACHES) Oh, Uncle Jim, are you busy?

JIM:

No; no, no. Come in, Marcelle.

MARCELLE:

Oh, Uncle Jim, I'm so happy here. Your house is so lovely -- the big rooms, the beautiful paintings on the walls.

JIM:

Well, I'm glad you're happy. Marcelle, you know I'm in the plumbing fixture business, don't you?

MARCELLE:

Yes, Uncle Jim, you told me.

JIM:

Well, I have a big surprise for you. I sat up all night last night designing a new bathtub just for you.

MARCELLE:

For me?!

JIM:

Uh huh. It's going to be built in the shape of a kangaroo, y'see, and then when you take a bath, you sit in the pouch. ... Oh, it'll be a knockout.

MARCELLE:

(CHUCKLES) Oh, how wonderful! (CHANGES SUBJECT) Oh, Uncle Jim, you haven't said anything about my new dress.

JIM:

Well--

MARCELLE:

Do you like it or does it leave too much of me outside?

JIM:

No, you brought it in with you. ... It's beautiful, Marcelle.

MARCELLE:

Oh, how happy that makes me. I want so much to please you at the ball tonight. I bought other things too, Uncle Jim -- the perfume I'm wearing, and these gloves, and a beautiful pair of garters. (SULTRY) Would you, er, like to see them?

JIM:

No. No, no, Marcelle. Now, you mustn't bother.

MARCELLE:

Oh, but they are lovely! (SULTRY) Please let me show you my garters.

JIM:

No, no, no. Now, you mustn't bother.

MARCELLE:

But there is no bother. They are in my room in a little package.

JIM:

Oh, then you certainly mustn't bother. ...

MARCELLE:

I found them in a little French lingerie shop -- the Maison Claudette. And would you believe it? (RAPIDLY) Madame Claudette is a fifth cousin by marriage of Pierre LaTour who is the nephew of the wife of my fourth cousin Anatol Rochambeau.

JIM:

(BEAT) That sounds like the tobacco auctioneer piped in from Paris. ... [ALTERNATE LINE: Well, one divorce in the family and you'll have to arrange that all over again. ...] Come on, Marcelle. We mustn't be late for the dance.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

JIM:

Er, Clara, this is my orphan, Marcelle Benda. Marcelle, this is Clara Palmer.

MARCELLE:

How do you do?

CLARA:

My dear Marcelle, what a sweet, quaint child you are! I've been simply dying to meet you.

MARCELLE:

How kind.

CLARA:

Er, Jim, you go on into the ballroom. I want to be alone with Marcelle.

JIM:

Are you unarmed?

CLARA:

(AMUSED) You silly boy!

JIM:

Well, I'll be back, Marcelle.

CLARA:

Oh, Jim is so charming, isn't he? Such a gentleman.

MARCELLE:

(SUGGESTIVELY) Yes, and he's been so good to me.

CLARA:

Ahem. He probably hasn't told you that this whole thing is a hideous mistake.

MARCELLE:

I don't understand.

CLARA:

Well, you know he wanted a little boy. You were quite a shock to him. Of course he doesn't want to hurt you.

MARCELLE:

Miss Palmer--?

CLARA:

Yes?

MARCELLE:

(TEARFUL) Please! You have said enough! I understand now, and I will go away!

CLARA:

(WITH HOPE) Are you going without saying goodbye to Jim?

MARCELLE:

Yes! Yes, I will leave now!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

JIM:

Now, pull yourself together, Charles! What did she do? What did she say?

CHARLES:

Well, she took her bags, sir, and said goodbye, sir. To be exact, sir, she said "Goodbye, Charles," sir.

JIM:

(THOUGHTFUL) Hmm, sir. I mean, hmm. ... This is terrible! I've got to find her.

CHARLES:

I beg your pardon, sir, but are you in love the young lady, sir?

JIM:

In - in love? Certainly not. I just happen to like orphans. Some of my best friends are orphans. ... I read Orphan Annie all the time. ... Anyway, I'm a lot older than Marcelle.

CHARLES:

Very good, sir.

JIM:

It is not! ... I can't understand it, Charles. I simply can't understand why she left. (MUSES) Gee, maybe - maybe she didn't like me. Oh, that's impossible! Isn't it, Charles? (NO ANSWER) Isn't it, Charles?

CHARLES:

(BEAT, DIPLOMATIC) Good night, sir. ...

JIM:

You coward!

MUSIC:

FIRST ACT CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

The second act of the Lady Esther Screen Guild play will follow in a moment. Now a word from Lady Esther.

LADY ESTHER:

When you walk along the street, with a high wind blowing and soot swirling through the air, some of that dust clings to your skin. You see and feel it. But did you know that every woman's skin has on it a stubborn film which you can't see or feel?

Here's what causes this film, and how it robs your skin of beauty. This stubborn film is caused by natural skin oils mixed with cosmetics and dirt. Ordinary cleansing fails to remove this stubborn, invisible film. Day after day, it clings; hides the true freshness and beauty of your skin. Day after day, it encourages blackheads and blemishes.

But here is one safe, sure way to get rid of this stubborn film. Smooth on my unique Lady Esther Four-Purpose Face Cream and wipe it off. Immediately -- and this is so important -- apply Lady Esther Cream again, and wipe it off. It's this second cleansing with Lady Esther that really rids your skin of that stubborn clogging film. And instantly you'll see the difference -- the clearer, fresher, younger look. Even the texture of my unique Lady Esther Cream is different. It's so soft, so effective. That's one reason why my cream cleanses so thoroughly.

And remember, my Lady Esther Four-Purpose Face Cream gives your skin a complete beauty treatment. It needs no help from any other cream.

MUSIC:

THEME

ANNOUNCER:

And now the second act of "Parent by Proxy," starring Jack Benny and Paulette Goddard [... adapted for us by Keith Fowler, Frank Galen, and Sam Perrin from an original by Charles Beahan, Collier Young, and John McClain]. It is the following evening and Jim Sloane is returning from a fruitless all-day search for his ward Marcelle.

SOUND:

FRONT DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS

CHARLES:

Well, good evening, sir! Any news, sir?

JIM:

No, Charles. I spent the entire day walking the streets of New York; didn't even get a glimpse of her. Just think of it, Charles. A beautiful little French girl of nineteen, all alone in this great big city. Who will look after her? Who will try and be her friend?

CHARLES:

I beg pardon, sir, but are you kidding, sir? ...

JIM:

Look, Charles, I've got to find her. (MUSES) Now let's see. Where would I go if I were a gorgeous young French girl? Hmm, where wouldn't I go? ...

CHARLES:

Er, you might be at one of the better caf├ęs -- the Stork Club or the El Morocco.

JIM:

Oh, they're too expensive for a young French girl like me. No. No, they're not either. The man who takes me would naturally pay the check. (CHUCKLES) I keep forgetting I'm beautiful. ...

CHARLES:

Yes, sir. It is quite easy, sir. ...

JIM:

Oh, I don't know. With a close shave and the right sweater-- Oh, but this isn't getting us anywhere. Where would I go if I were a French refugee in this city? Wait! The Maison Claudette! It's a lingerie shop. I've gotta get right over there.

CHARLES:

Oh, sir, aren't you taking this game about being a girl too seriously?

JIM:

The lingerie isn't for me. I'm gonna try and find Marcelle in it. I mean-- Well, you know what I mean. ...

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... WITH A FRENCH CAN-CAN FLAVOR

SOUND:

SHOP DOOR (WITH LITTLE TINKLING BELL) OPENS ... DOOR SHUTS

JIM:

Er, pardon me. Are you Madame Claudette?

CLAUDETTE:

Yes, monsieur. Can I help you?

JIM:

I hope so. You see, er, I'm interested in a girl, and I thought--

CLAUDETTE:

(INTERRUPTS, AMUSED) I understand, monsieur.

JIM:

Well, do you think you can help me?

CLAUDETTE:

I will try, monsieur. (SOUND: DRAWER OPENS) Now, if the young lady prefers panties of black lace, these--

JIM:

(INTERRUPTS, STARTLED EXCLAMATION) YIPE! ... Panties?

CLAUDETTE:

Monsieur does not like them?

JIM:

Oh, yes. Yes, of course. It was just the shock of seeing them.

CLAUDETTE:

What did you expect to see in a lingerie shop? Bicycles? ...

JIM:

Ladies', yes. ... But you don't understand. I came in here for something else entirely.

CLAUDETTE:

(INDIGNANT) Indeed, monsieur? Unfortunately I happen to be a very busy woman. Perhaps my clerk will be able to help you. I'll send her right out.

JIM:

But, Madame Claudette, all I--

SOUND:

INNER DOOR SLAMS AS CLAUDETTE EXITS

JIM:

Hmm. (MUSES SLOWLY) Say, these are kind of cute at that. Black lace. So soft and fluffy. I wonder if-- No, they probably only make them for women. ... Gee, black lace--

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS DURING ABOVE

MARCELLE:

(PLEASED) Uncle Jim!

JIM:

(HAPPY) Panties! I mean, Marcelle! ...

MARCELLE:

Oh, Uncle Jim -- Mr. Sloane. How did you know I was here?

JIM:

Never mind that. Huh! Imagine going away without leaving a note. That isn't nice you know. Why, once when I suddenly went away, I left a note for the milkman; I don't even like him.

MARCELLE:

Oh, please, Mr. Sloane. Miss Palmer has explained everything to me. I cannot live at your house any more.

JIM:

Oh, Miss Palmer, eh?

MARCELLE:

(YES) Mm hm.

JIM:

So that's it. Look, Marcelle, I want you to come back. Please, won't you come back?

MARCELLE:

Welllllll, all right.

JIM:

That was quick. ... Oh, by the way, Marcelle, what's the biggest size they have in those black - lace--? Oh, never mind; forget it.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

FRONT DOOR OPENS ... CLOSES BEHIND--

JIM:

Hello, Charles! Look what I've got!

CHARLES:

(PLEASED) Why, you found her, sir! Welcome home, Miss Benda!

MARCELLE:

Why, thank you, Charles.

CHARLES:

Er, beg pardon, sir, but the Refugee Committee is waiting for you in the drawing room.

JIM:

To see me?

CHARLES:

Yes, sir.

JIM:

You wait right here, Marcelle.

MARCELLE:

All right.

SOUND:

DRAWING ROOM DOOR OPENS ... SMALL CROWD MURMURS BRIEFLY, THEN QUIETS BEHIND--

JIM:

Oh, good evening, gentlemen. Did you wish to see me?

COMMITTEE:

Yes, Mr. Sloane. We're from the Refugee Committee. It's come to our attention that you, a single man, have accepted as your ward a nineteen-year-old girl. We cannot permit it.

JIM:

Now, wait a minute. I'm only one of thousands who offer a helping hand to refugees. Someone gets a freckle-faced boy, someone gets a pug-nosed kid, someone else gets a little girl in pigtails. Can I help it if I hit the jackpot? ...

COMMITTEE:

I'm - I'm sorry, Mr. Sloane.

JIM:

All right, give her to someone else. I only did what any generous man would have done. I pitied that poor homeless refugee. I felt sorry for her. I didn't want--

MARCELLE:

(INTERRUPTS, TEARFUL) I do not want you to pity me, Mr. Sloane!

JIM:

Marcelle, you shouldn't have listened. I mean, I didn't mean that.

MARCELLE:

(UPSET, RAPIDLY) I know what you meant! I'm sorry I came here in the first place, but I'm glad I went away! Only I shouldn't have come back because now I am going again! ...

JIM:

Look, was your mother frightened by a Studebaker? ... [ALTERNATE LINE: a commutation ticket?]

COMMITTEE:

Miss Benda, we've arranged for you to be taken to another home -- Mrs. Hortense van Martins'.

JIM:

Marcelle, you don't want to stay with Mrs. Van Martins. She's an eccentric old-- I mean, she's an old eccentric.

MARCELLE:

I will pack my things!

JIM:

But, Marcelle--!

SOUND:

DRAWING ROOM DOOR SLAMS SHUT AS MARCELLE EXITS

JIM:

(QUIETLY, TO HIMSELF) That's the thanks I get for being a nice guy. I wanted a boy in the first place. I'd've been better off that way.

COMMITTEE:

We can still get you a boy.

JIM:

(QUIETER, TO HIMSELF) Why these things happen to me, I don't know. All the trouble I went through with that girl.

COMMITTEE:

(A LITTLE LOUDER) We can still get you a boy.

JIM:

(MUMBLES, TO HIMSELF) A boy would have been much simpler, believe me.

COMMITTEE:

(LOUDEST) We can still get--!

JIM:

(INTERRUPTS, UP BIG) Oh, stop mumbling! ... For heaven's sake.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

JIM:

Hortense, Marcelle will be here any minute. I came over to tell you I think the poor little thing'll be better off in your care.

HORTENSE:

James, what do you mean "poor little thing"?

JIM:

Excuse me a moment. (CALLS) All right, boys! You can bring 'em in!

SOUND:

MURMUR AND CLATTER OF WORKERS WHO ENTER WITH ITEMS AND PLACE THEM ON THE FLOOR, IN BG

1ST WORKER:

Okay, here we go.

2ND WORKER:

Hey, where do you want this sandbox, bud?

JIM:

Anywhere'll do. And put the kiddie car over there.

HORTENSE:

James, what is the meaning of this?

JIM:

Marcelle's toys. I thought you might as well have them.

HORTENSE:

(INCREASINGLY DISTRESSED) Toys? But I thought she was a grown girl.

JIM:

Oh, she is -- physically. I'll set up her choo-choo train before she gets here.

HORTENSE:

James, do you mean that she--?

JIM:

Now - now, don't forget when she runs the trains you stand right here and go "Beep beep!" ...

HORTENSE:

"Beep beep"?

JIM:

Yes. Yeah, you see, you're supposed to be a station wagon at the railroad crossing. It's not hard. As a matter of fact, in that dress you look a little like a station wagon. ...

HORTENSE:

Oh, James, I thought she was a perfectly normal girl.

JIM:

Well, she's practically normal, Hortense. Look, this is her little Indian suit. You see, sometimes she thinks she's Pocahontas. If you want to keep her quiet, just give her a telephone directory. She loves to call all the John Smiths in it. ...

HORTENSE:

Oh, I tell you, I don't feel well, James. I need rest and quiet.

JIM:

Oh, and here's her little bow and arrow.

HORTENSE:

Bow and arrow?

JIM:

Oh, she's quite harmless. But don't bend over in front of her. ... [ALTERNATE LINE: But don't ever eat an apple in front of her.]

HORTENSE:

I - I think I'd better lie down. I'm ill.

SOUND:

INNER DOOR OPENS

BUTLER:

Mrs. Van Martin, the young lady has arrived.

JIM:

Oh, ask her to come in. (TO HORTENSE) You just run along, Hortense. I'll take care of everything.

HORTENSE:

(RELIEVED) Oh, thank you, James. You're a very sympathetic boy, even if you are a plumber. (MOVES OFF, LAUGHING NERVOUSLY)

JIM:

Oh, think nothing of it. (TO BUTLER) All right, Hawkins.

BUTLER:

Yes, sir. (TO MARCELLE) Right this way, miss.

SOUND:

BEAT ... THEN INNER DOOR CLOSES

MARCELLE:

(SURPRISED) Well, what are you doing here?

JIM:

Oh, just making sure you'd be comfortable, Marcelle. Mrs. Van Martin's upstairs whipping the maid. She'll be right down.

MARCELLE:

(DISMAYED) She's whipping the maid?

JIM:

Oh, it won't take a minute -- only thirty lashes. ...

MARCELLE:

What did the maid do?

JIM:

She put noodles in the chicken soup.

MARCELLE:

But there's nothing wrong with that.

JIM:

I know, but don't ever say that in front of Mrs. Van Martin. Why, she'd probably jump right off the shelf.

MARCELLE:

What shelf?

JIM:

The shelf she, er, sits on when she thinks she's a teapot. ...

MARCELLE:

(WORRIED) She - she sounds crazy.

JIM:

Oh, she's not so bad now. Why, when she cooks a roast beef, she doesn't even crawl into the oven to watch it any more. ...

MARCELLE:

(TEARFUL) Oh! I don't want to stay here. I wish I'd never come here and I wish I'd never seen you!

JIM:

Oh, Marcelle, let's not go through that.

MARCELLE:

Go away. You never wanted me! And now I am trying to forget your face!

JIM:

You can't, Marcelle. It's on half the bathtubs in this country. ... People have to look at me or go dirty. ...

MARCELLE:

(QUIETLY MISERABLE) Oh, please go away. You only took me in out of pity.

JIM:

(SLOW, SERIOUS) No, no.

MARCELLE:

I heard you say it yourself.

JIM:

I only said that so those men wouldn't take you away. I didn't want you to go.

MARCELLE:

But I do not understand. (PLEASED) What are you trying to, er, tell me?

JIM:

Look, it's as simple as A-B-C on these toy blocks. I'll show you. We'll start with the letter "I." (SOUND: TOY BLOCKS MANIPULATED IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--) Here's an "I." No, no, it's a "J." ... Well, here-- Here's an "I." No, that's an "L." ... This must be an "I." Hmm, a "K." Must be an easier way to do this.

MARCELLE:

(IMPATIENTLY AMUSED) Here's an "I."

JIM:

Oh, yes, thanks, thanks. Now, "I" stands for I.

MARCELLE:

Yes?

JIM:

Now, where's that "L" we just had? Oh, here. Do you know what the "L" stands for?

MARCELLE:

(IMPATIENT) Love!

JIM:

Look, I'm trying to be cute about this thing! ... Must you be so direct? (NO ANSWER) Well, shall I go on?

MARCELLE:

(AFFECTIONATE) No, you don't have to.

JIM:

Good.

SOUND:

KNOCKS OVER TOY BLOCKS

MARCELLE:

Why, Jim, what are you doing?

JIM:

I'm throwin' away these blocks. From now on we're going to play house! ...

MUSIC:

CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

Thank you. Thank you, Jack Benny and Paulette Goddard for a delightful performance.

PAULETTE:

Well, it was a pleasure to be here, Mr. Bradley. We know how much this radio program contributes to the Motion Picture Relief Fund and its Country House, and we all feel that it's a great privilege to share in that work. And now, before we tell you about next week's show, here's a word from one of America's best-known beauty authorities, Lady Esther.

LADY ESTHER:

Thank you, Miss Goddard. Ladies, before I leave, I want to remind you. Your skin -- every woman's skin -- has a dangerous enemy. That insidious enemy is a stubborn film caused by your natural skin oils mixed with dirt and cosmetics. You can't see or feel this stubborn film. That's the danger -- you think your skin is clean when it isn't. Ordinary cleansing fails to remove this stubborn film. It clings to your skin, dulling the true freshness and beauty, encouraging blackheads and blemishes.

Here's the safe, sure way to get rid of that stubborn, clogging film. First, smooth on my unique Lady Esther Four-Purpose Face Cream and wipe it off. Then immediately apply Lady Esther Cream again, and wipe it off. This second cleansing is the important one to remove that stubborn invisible film. And instantly your skin looks clearer, fresher, younger.

Remember, too, my unique Lady Esther Four-Purpose Face Cream does four of the things your skin needs most. It cleanses thoroughly. It softens skin. Helps nature refine your pores. And leaves a perfect powder base. Every jar of Lady Esther Cream brings you this complete, four-way beauty promise. Lady Esther needs no help from any other cream.

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN IN BG UNTIL END--

ANNOUNCER:

Next week, the Lady Esther Screen Guild Players will present "Dragonwyck." It will star Teresa Wright and Vincent Price. Be sure to listen.

"Parent by Proxy" was produced and directed for Lady Esther by Bill Lawrence. Paulette Goddard can soon be seen in the Paramount picture "Suddenly It's Spring." Jack Benny appeared through the courtesy of Mary Livingstone. ...

You save enough on the largest jar of Lady Esther Face Cream to buy a box of Lady Esther Face Powder, so remember, ask for the largest size.

Music on tonight's program was arranged and conducted by Wilbur Hatch.

Tonight's Lady Esther Screen Guild show is being heard by our servicemen and women overseas through the worldwide short wave and network facilities of the Armed Forces Radio Service.

This is Truman Bradley speaking for Lady Esther. Thank you and good night. This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

SOUND:

APPLAUSE