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A Well-Remembered Voice

The Chase and Sanborn Hour

A Well-Remembered Voice

Aug 28 1938



CAST:

HOST, Edward Arnold

NARRATOR

MRS. DON, fiftyish mother (PRONOUNCED "DUN")

LAURA, a young woman

MR. DON, fiftyish father 

DICK, a young man





MUSIC: ... TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: Anyone who saw "The Awful Truth" or "Boy Meets Girl" certainly has enjoyed Ralph Bellamy. He was the boy from Oklahoma in "The Awful Truth" and the motion picture producer in "Boy Meets Girl." He plays Ginger Rogers boyfriend in the latest Astaire-Rogers picture, "Carefree" and he is now at work on the picture "Trade Winds." It's a pleasure to have such a fine performer with us. Tonight, he appears with me in a play by Sir James Barrie, "A Well-Remembered Voice." Ralph Bellamy in "A Well-Remembered Voice."


MUSIC: UP, FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


NARRATOR: Nineteen Eighteen. In France, the war was taking place. At home, this scene might have taken place.


MRS. DON: (TO THE SPIRIT) Have you any message you want to send us? 


SOUND: A KNOCK ON THE WOODEN TABLE


MRS. DON: "Yes." (TO THE SPIRIT) I shall point to the letters of the alphabet and we shall spell it out in the usual way.


SOUND: A KNOCK


MRS. DON: "L." (CONTINUES IN BG, SPELLS OUT "O-V-E" BETWEEN KNOCKS, BEHIND NARRATOR--)


NARRATOR: The room is so dark we cannot see the speaker. All we know is that she is one of two shapes seated at a small table.


MRS. DON: "E." "Love" is the first word. Now the second word.


SOUND: A KNOCK


MRS. DON: "B." (CONTINUES IN BG, SPELLS OUT "A-D-E" BETWEEN KNOCKS, BEHIND NARRATOR--)


NARRATOR: Beyond the darkness, in a corner of the room, is a man of fifty. He is paying no attention to the séance at the table.


MRS. DON: "E." "Bade." Love bade--


LAURA: That's a quotation, isn't it? Is it "Love Bade Me Welcome"?


SOUND: A KNOCK


MRS. DON: "Yes." That's it. "Love Bade Me Welcome."


LAURA: The table is moving again.


MRS. DON: Yes, and so strangely. (TO THE SPIRIT) Is any one working against you? Someone antagonistic? I shall spell out the name. I shall point to the letters of the alphabet.


SOUND: A KNOCK


MRS. DON: "F."


SOUND: A KNOCK


MRS. DON: "A." (TO THE SPIRIT) Is it father?


SOUND: A KNOCK


MRS. DON: "Yes." 


MR. DON: (GENUINE) Oh, I'm - I'm sorry. I had no intention-- I was just sitting here--


MRS. DON: (RESIGNED) I think perhaps we'd better call the séance off.


LAURA: (SLIGHTLY AGITATED) May I go to my room, Mrs. Don? I - I feel I should like to be alone.


MRS. DON: Yes, Laura dear. Of course.


LAURA: Good-night.


MRS. DON: Good-night.


MR. DON: Good-night, Laura.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES, OFF


MR. DON: (SYMPATHETIC) I'm sorry I was in the way, Grace. I wasn't scouting you, or anything of the sort. It - it's just that I can't believe in it.


MRS. DON: Oh, Robert, you would believe if Dick had been to you what he was to me. I guess it's just that a son is so much more to a mother than a father.


MR. DON: I don't know.


MRS. DON: Good-night, Robert.


MR. DON: Good-night, dear.


MUSIC: QUIET, EERIE ... FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE SPIRIT ... THEN IN BG, GENTLY FADES OUT BY [X]


DICK: (CALLS GENTLY) Father? (NO ANSWER, MORE INSISTENT) Father? 


MR. DON: (STARTLED) Dick!


DICK: I've come to talk with you for a while, father.


MR. DON: (ASTONISHED) It's you, Dick. It's you!


DICK: (FRIENDLY) It's me all right. Don't be so scared. We don't like that.


MR. DON: (QUIETLY EMOTIONAL) My boy--! My boy--!


DICK: (SOOTHING) Come on, come on. Don't fuss. Let's just try to be our ordinary selves.


MR. DON: Well, I'll try, I'll try. [X] (DISBELIEF) You didn't say you came to talk with me, Dick? Not with me


DICK: Sure!


MR. DON: But your mother----


DICK: We can only come to one, you see.


MR. DON: Only come to one? Then why to me?


DICK: That's the reason. (SEES SOMETHING, AMUSED) Hello, here's your old smoking jacket -- greasier than ever!


MR. DON: But, Dick, it's as though you'd forgotten. It was your-- It was your mother who was everything to you. I used to feel so out of it; but, of course, you didn't know.


DICK: Lots of things I didn't know are clear to me now. I didn't know that you were the one who would miss me most; but I know now.


MR. DON: Me miss you most, Dick? I try to work just as I did before. I go to the club. Dick, I've even been to a dinner-party. I said I wouldn't give in.


DICK: We like that.


MR. DON: (EMOTIONAL AGAIN) But, my boy----


DICK: Now then, behave! Smile, father, smile.


MR. DON: I try to, Dick; I try.


DICK: Got your pipe?


MR. DON: (RELUCTANT) I don't seem to care about smoking nowadays.


DICK: (LIGHTLY) What? Just because I'm dead? You that try not to give in? I won't have it. Come on, come on, get your pipe, and be quick about it.


MR. DON: Yes. Yes, yes, Dick.


DICK: And you'd better burn your thumb with the match. That's the way you always did.


SOUND: MATCH STRUCK ... PIPE SMOKED


MR. DON: (PLEASED) There. How's that? That's you. (BEAT) Like it?


MR. DON: Well, it's nice, Dick -- you and me by the fire.


DICK: Yes. Yes, but sit still. Sit still. How often we might have been like this, father -- and weren't.


MR. DON: Yes. How often.


DICK: Look. You've still got my fishing-rods here.


MR. DON: (A CHUCKLE) You loved fishing, Dick.


DICK: Why didn't you go with me oftener? You know, I'll tell you a funny thing. When I went a-soldiering I used to hope that I wouldn't lose my right arm, because it'd be so awkward for casting. (BEAT) Somehow I never thought I should be killed. Lots of fellows thought that about themselves, but I never did. It was quite a surprise to me.


MR. DON: (EMOTIONAL) Oh, Dick!


DICK: Haven't you gotten over it yet? 


MR. DON: No.


DICK: I got over it long ago. I wish you people'd understand what a little thing it is.


MR. DON: Tell me-- Tell me, Dick. What about the veil? I mean the veil that is drawn between the living and the----


DICK: (BEAT) The dead? 


MR. DON: Yes.


DICK: How funny you shy at that word.


MR. DON: Well, I - I suppose it's like a mist, huh?


DICK: The veil's a queer thing, father. Yes, it's like a mist. But when one has been at the Front for a bit, you can't think how thin the veil seems to get. I suppose it seems thin when you're out there because just one step takes you through it. 


MR. DON: Dick----


DICK: Come on, smile. Don't let that pipe go out.


MR. DON: Er, Dick, the day that you, er----?


DICK: That I died?


MR. DON: Yes.


DICK: I don't remember being hit. I don't remember anything until the quietness came. It suddenly becomes very quiet. Quieter than anything you've ever known. When I came to, the veil was so thin I couldn't see it at all; and my first thought was, Which side of it have I come out on? 


MR. DON: Let me look at you again, Dick. There's such a serenity about you.


DICK: Serenity? That's the word! None of us could remember what the word was. It's a swell thing to have; I wish you could get it, too.


MR. DON: Oh, I'll try.


DICK: Say, I've been gabbing here all night. Now, you tell me some things.


MR. DON: Er, what about, Dick? About the war?


DICK: No. We - we have a fine for speaking about the war. I just want to know little things like-- Has the bathroom tap been mended yet?


MR. DON: Huh? Well, I'm - I'm afraid it's just tied up with a string still, Dick. But it works all right.


DICK: It only needs a washer, you know.


MR. DON: Yeah, I'll see to it.


DICK: Who's the president of the student body at school?


MR. DON: The president of the stu--? Well, I'm sorry, Dick, but I - I don't know.


DICK: I suppose not. Is mother all right?


MR. DON: Yes, but very sad about you, Dick.


DICK: Ah, that's not fair. Why doesn't she cheer up?


MR. DON: Ah, it isn't so easy, my boy.


DICK: Pretty hard on me, you know.


MR. DON: How's that?


DICK: If you're sad, I have to be sad. That's how we have to work it off. 


MR. DON: I'll always remember that. And I'll tell your mother. Oh, but she won't believe me, Dick. You'll - you'll have to tell her yourself.


DICK: Can't do that, father. I can only come to one.


MR. DON: She should have been the one; she loved you best, Dick.


DICK: Oh, I don't know about that. (BEAT, LOW) Do you ever see Laura now?


MR. DON: Why, yes. She's staying with us at present.


DICK: Is she? I think I should like to see her.


MR. DON: If Laura were to see you----


DICK: Oh, she wouldn't see me. (BEAT) She's not dressed in black, is she?


MR. DON: Oh, no, no, in white.


DICK: Good girl! I suppose mother's in black.


MR. DON: Of course, Dick.


DICK: That's too bad.


MR. DON: Dick, er, were you, uh--? Were you engaged to Laura? I never really knew.


DICK: No. I sometimes thought of it, but-- (CHUCKLES) It rather scared me! I guess that's how it was with her, too. (BEAT, CHANGES SUBJECT) Say, here's something new, father; this table. It never used to be in this room.


MR. DON: No, your mother had it put there.


DICK: I used to play backgammon on it. What game does mother play?


MR. DON: I - I don't know that it's a game, Dick.


DICK: Who plays it with her? Laura?


MR. DON: Well, she helps her.


DICK: Good for Laura. What are all these letters of the alphabet for?


MR. DON: (SURPRISED) Do they convey no meaning to you, Dick?


DICK: No; why should they?


MR. DON: Oh, no reason. No reason at all. Er, let's go back and sit by the fire.


DICK: I never knew much about indoor games anyway.


MRS. DON: (OFF) Robert?


DICK: Was that mother calling, father?


MR. DON: Yes. You will speak to her, Dick? Let her hear your voice.


DICK: Only one may hear me.


MRS. DON: (APPROACHES) Robert? Robert, I--? Oh. Oh, never mind now. I - I wanted you to bring this alphabet up to me, but I'll take it myself.


MR. DON: (BEAT, UNEASILY) Grace--


MRS. DON: What's the matter? What is it?


DICK: (GLAD TO SEE HER, QUIETLY) Mother--


MR. DON: Didn't you hear anything, Grace?


MRS. DON: Well, no. Perhaps Laura was calling.


MR. DON: Yes, perhaps she was. I - I - I wish Laura would come back and say good-night to me.


MRS. DON: Well, maybe she will. (MOVING OFF) I'll ask her.


DICK: (BEAT) Father, that was wonderful of you.


MR. DON: Oh, you should have gone to her, Dick.


DICK: Mother's a darling, but she doesn't need me as much as you.


MR. DON: Oh, I don't know.


DICK: I'm glad she's so keen about that alphabet game, though.


LAURA: (APPROACHES) Mr. Don? I came to say good-night.


MR. DON: Oh, that's nice of you, Laura.


DICK: (TO MR. DON, LOW) I want her to come nearer the fire; I can't see her very well there.


MR. DON: Your hands are cold, my dear; go over by the fire. I want to look at you.


LAURA: (CHUCKLES SHYLY) There. Am I all right?


DICK: (OVERCOME) All right? You're beautiful, Laura. Even prettier than I thought. I remember I used to wonder if you really were as pretty as I thought you were. And then you'd come, and you'd be just a little prettier.


LAURA: Why don't you say anything, Mr. Don?


MR. DON: (BEAT) Oh, er-- Huh? Oh, I was just thinking of you and Dick, Laura. If Dick had lived, do you think that you and he, er----?


LAURA: (THOUGHTFUL) I - I think so. (QUICKLY) Mr. Don----?


MR. DON: Yes, Laura?


LAURA: There must be something wicked about me. I sometimes feel quite light-hearted even though Dick has gone.


MR. DON: Well, perhaps the trees have the same sort of shame when they blossom, but they can't help doing it. I hope you are yet to be a happy woman and a happy wife.


LAURA: Seems so heartless to Dick.


DICK: Not a bit; it's what I'd like.


MR. DON: It's what he would like, Laura.


DICK: Do you remember, Laura, I kissed you once? It was under a lilac tree in Loudon Woods. I knew at the time you were angry, and I should have apologised. I'm sorry, Laura.


LAURA: (A QUIET GASP)


MR. DON: What's the matter, Laura?


LAURA: (SLOWLY) Somehow, I - I don't know, but -- for a moment I seemed to feel the smell of lilac. Dick was once nice to me under a lilac tree. (A SOB) Oh, Mr. Don--


MR. DON: (SOOTHING) There, there, there now. You'd better to go to bed. Good-night.


LAURA: Good-night, Mr. Don.


DICK: Good-night, Laura.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES, OFF


DICK: Pretty awful things, partings, aren't they? Father, don't feel hurt if I skip the good-byes when I go, will you?


MR. DON: (AFFECTIONATELY) Ah, that's so like you, Dick.


DICK: I've got to go soon. (BEAT) Oh, smile, father; smile. You see, if you're bright, I get a good mark for it.


MR. DON: I'll smile.


DICK: Remember your pipe.


MR. DON: Yes, Dick.


DICK: And your hair's awful.


MR. DON: Yes, yes, I'll have it cut in the morning. (SERIOUS) Dick? Would you rather be here - than there?


DICK: (BEAT, QUIETLY) Not always.


MR. DON: What's the great difference, Dick?


DICK: Well, down here one knows he has risks to run.


MR. DON: Do you miss that?


DICK: Must be fun.


MR. DON: And your gaiety, Dick; is it all real, or is it just put on to help me?


DICK: It's-- Half and half, father.


MR. DON: And when will you come again?


DICK: I can't tell. I can't always get through. They keep changing the password. It's awfully difficult to get the password.


MR. DON: Well, what was it to-night?


DICK: "Love Bade Me Welcome."


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... SYMPATHETIC ... IN BG


MR. DON: Well, how did you get that, Dick?


DICK: I - I'm not sure. There are lots of things I don't understand yet.


MR. DON: Yes, and there are lots of things I don't understand either. Dick, did you ever try sending messages from there to us?


DICK: Me? No.


MR. DON: Or did you ever get messages from us?


DICK: No. How could I?


MR. DON: (TO HIMSELF) Oh, is there anything in it? (EXCITED) Dick, this table-- Your mother-- (BEAT, TO HIMSELF) It was not a game! It-- Dick? (BEAT, DISTRESSED) Dick, where have you gone?! (NO ANSWER) Dick? Dick?!


DICK: (FADING AWAY, GENTLY) Smile, father. Don't forget to smile.


MUSIC: UP, FOR A MAJESTIC CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: NBC CHIMES ...


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