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Christmas Charity Racket

Big Town

Christmas Charity Racket 

Dec 21 1937



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

DOROTHY


STEVE WILSON, editor

MINNA, Scandinavian housekeeper

MISS GERSON (1 line)

PEABODY, publisher

LORELEI, society editor

JERRY, reporter

MAC, rewrite man

WOMAN, in crowd (2 lines)

MAN, in crowd (1 line)

MISS FOSTER (1 line)

VOICE, on public address (1 line)

MISS ANDREWS (2 lines)

AMOS, kindly, gentle, elderly, rural

SAMMY, a boy

ALICE, a girl

plus a drunken CROWD

and KIDS at a party




MUSIC: DRUM ROLL ... FANFARE ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: From Hollywood, California, the makers of Rinso, America's biggest selling packaged soap, present the dramatic exposé "Big Town," starring Edward G. Robinson, with Claire Trevor! 


MUSIC: UP FOR THEME ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: In the story of "Big Town," Edward G. Robinson plays the part of Steve Wilson, the managing editor of The Illustrated Press. Claire Trevor plays the part of Lorelei, the society editor. Regardless of how tough the opposition may be, nothing stops Steve Wilson and Lorelei.


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: The same thing is true about the new improved Rinso. Even in water that's hard as nails, Rinso gives mountains of suds. They're faster-working, longer-lasting suds that tackle even the toughest cleaning job with a vengeance. Rinso suds remove grease from dishes, pots, and pans before you can say Edward G. Robinson. They're simply marvelous for floors, walls, sinks, tubs, tiling-- In fact they're the tops for all household cleaning. Best of all, Rinso suds are just as safe as they are speedy. They will not make your hands red or work-worn. Prove it for yourself. Order a big economical box of the new improved Rinso tomorrow.


MUSIC: WARM TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: We take up our story on the day before Christmas in the home of Steve Wilson. With the aid of Minna, his housekeeper, Steve is trimming the Christmas tree with candy, popcorn, and tinseled ornaments. Now we find him admiring the tree after having placed upon it the crowning ornament.


WILSON: There it is, Minna -- the Star of Bethlehem. How many years since you and I placed it there at the top of our Christmas tree? 


MINNA: It's ten years almost, Mr. Wilson. 


WILSON: (THOUGHTFUL) Ten years. Let's look at that tree. Not long ago, Minna, it stood in the forest primeval looking at the sky, flirting with the stars. Who knows? Its great ancestors may have seen the real Star of Bethlehem moving toward the manger.


MINNA: Ja, Mr. Wilson. 


WILSON: Minna, your childlike faith is beautiful -- as beautiful as the story of the first Christmas. Yes, but there aren't enough Minnas in this world of ours to make faith in Christmas spirit practical. Just look at the headlines in today's Illustrated Press.


MINNA: I didn't look at the paper yet, Mr. Wilson. 


WILSON: (BITTER IRONY) Oh, fine, beautiful Christmas headlines! "Japanese Bomb Hankow." "Home Set on Fire; Women and Children Killed in Their Sleep." "Civil War in Spain." Brother fighting brother! Chaos, intolerance, hatred, persecution! (WITH CONTEMPT) Hm! Christmas! Peace on earth! Where?! Yes, in our own country, strikes, starvation, murders, rackets. No, Minna, the Christmas dream is for children, not for grown-ups. (CASUALLY) Here, give me those bulbs and I'll finish the tree.


MINNA: Here they are, Mr. Wilson. But I think on Christmas Day we must all be children again.


WILSON: (SKEPTICAL) Hmm.


MINNA: We must forget war and trouble.


WILSON: (IRONIC) Yes. 


MINNA: And, Mr. Wilson, we must never be too old to believe in Santa Claus. 


WILSON: No, there's no Santa Claus in my world of crooks and crime. (LIGHTLY) Oh, to be a child again on Christmas morn and hear Santa's voice as he shouts to his reindeers: "On, Donner! On, Blitzen! On, Vixen!" (CHUCKLES BEHIND--) 


MINNA: (LAUGHS) Oh, Mr. Wilson, now you are talking like a child again! 


WILSON: Yes, and so was Clement Moore when he wrote,"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house / not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."


SOUND: CRACK! OF SMALL BULB DROPPED AND SMASHED ON FLOOR 


WILSON: Oh, there I go! Broke another bulb! Oh, I'm all thumbs. 


SOUND: PHONE RINGS


WILSON: There goes the phone. Here, Minna, you better fix the bulbs.


SOUND: RECEIVER UP 


WILSON: (INTO PHONE) Hello? -- Yes, Miss Foster? -- Oh, put him on. -- Hello, Peabody. -- Yes, I'm coming in. -- Oh, about half an hour. -- Well, I'm leaving right now. -- Good news for me, hey? Oh, well, that's hard to believe. -- Yes, I'll - I'll come directly to your office. Goodbye.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN 


MINNA: You'll be back in time for the party tonight, Mr. Wilson? 


WILSON: Why, of course I will, and I'll be the spryest Santa Claus that ever wore snow-white whiskers. How many children have you invited to our party this year?


MINNA: Oh, I've invited the newsboy, and the janitor's girls, and the letter man's boy. 


WILSON: Ah, fine. Now look here, you didn't forget to invite little Sammy Johnson, the laundress's boy, huh? 


MINNA: Oh, nay, nay. 


WILSON: And of course there will be a present for each one of them? 


MINNA: Ja, Mr. Wilson. Mr. Santa Claus himself could do no better.


WILSON: Well, that's great. Now, Minna, my hat and coat!


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: BUSY NEWSROOM BACKGROUND


WILSON: Morning, Miss Gerson. Peabody in?


MISS GERSON: He's expecting you, Mr. Wilson. Go right in.


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS


WILSON: Hello, Peabody.


PEABODY: (PLEASED) Come in, Steve! 


WILSON: Well, thanks. 


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR CLOSES ... SHUTS OUT NEWSROOM


WILSON: I hope you're preparing yourself for a very merry Christmas. 


PEABODY: I am -- and I've got a Christmas present for you, Steve, that I think you'll like.


WILSON: Well, now you've got me wondering. 


PEABODY: I'll tell you, Steve. I'm thinking of resigning and retiring from the paper.


WILSON: (SURPRISED) What? What is this, a joke? 


PEABODY: No, Steve, I'm serious. I've come to realize that you can run the Press better than I can. You've done wonders with it.


WILSON: Thanks, but I haven't done it alone. 


PEABODY: Perhaps not, but you've had the courage to stand up for what you believe to be the right policy. 


WILSON: Well, I only thought that a newspaper should stand for a principle, an ideal. A newspaper is more than a business, it's the voice of a people.


PEABODY: You're right, Steve. And I feel that I'm too old to stand up against the march of youth and time.


WILSON: Peabody, it takes courage to say that.


PEABODY: Whether you call it courage or understanding, it doesn't matter, Steve. I'm retiring today from an active interest in the Press. 


WILSON: What? You really mean that? 


PEABODY: I do. And from now on you're in complete charge. 


WILSON: But, Peabody, I don't--


PEABODY: (INTERRUPTS) I built this paper from the time I had to borrow money to buy the pulp it was printed on. I've watched over it, and I saw it grow from a circulation that couldn't get a dime's worth of advertising to the biggest sheet in Big Town.


WILSON: Yes, but why do you want to retire now? 


PEABODY: Because the paper has grown beyond me. Because I think you can carry on now where I can't. Steve -- will you accept the responsibility of acting as publisher of The Illustrated Press as well as managing editor? 


WILSON: Well, I - I don't know what to say. 


PEABODY: "Yes" is the word, Steve.


WILSON: All right, it's yes. I'll accept your offer. And I am grateful for the chance to publish the paper. 


PEABODY: Thank you, Steve. We'll draw up new contracts to start the new year.


WILSON: Well, that's a mighty fine Christmas present, Peabody. 


PEABODY: I couldn't think of anyone better to give it to, Steve. Way down deep in my heart I've always admired you.


WILSON: Well, I've always thought that you were quite a fellow underneath, and I have to thank Santa Claus for proving it. Merry Christmas.


PEABODY: And a merry Christmas to you, Steve. 


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS ... NOISY NEWSROOM BACKGROUND FILLS A PAUSE AS WILSON WALKS TO HIS OWN OFFICE


LORELEI: (CALLS) Coming, Steve! I'll be right there! 


SOUND: PAUSE AS LORELEI HURRIES INTO WILSON'S OFFICE AND WILSON'S DOOR CLOSES ... SHUTS OUT NEWSROOM


WILSON: Lorelei, you're looking at the new publisher of The Illustrated Press.


LORELEI: Steve, what are you talking about? 


WILSON: Ah, never mind, I'll tell you all about it tonight. Right now, I want to extend to you a cordial invitation to attend the festivities to be held tonight, Christmas Eve, at my home. 


LORELEI: Oh, thank you, Steve. Who's going to be there?


WILSON: (LIGHTLY) Well, first we have the Christmas tree -- a thing of regal splendor! And then Minna's sumptuous feast, fit for a king.


LORELEI: Mmm. 


WILSON: And, as the distinguished guests, we have the postman's offspring, the beaming laundress's pride and joy, the freckle-faced paperboy, and the janitor's little girls with the golden curls.


LORELEI: (LAUGHS) And will you be Santa Claus?


WILSON: Haha, will I? Complete with beard and boots and bright red suit, stuffed with pillows! 


LORELEI: Oh, it sounds marvelous. You can count on me.


WILSON: Well, fine. Be in my office at seven tonight and I'll escort you to the party.


LORELEI: I'll be there on the dot, Steve. So long.


WILSON: So long. 


SOUND: WILSON'S OFFICE DOOR OPENS ... NEWSROOM BACKGROUND IN


LORELEI: Oh, hello, Jerry. Merry Christmas.


JERRY: Merry Christmas, Lorelei. (TO WILSON) Can I come in, boss?


WILSON: Well, sure -- come on in! I'll see you later, Lorelei.


LORELEI: (MOVING OFF) Bye! 


SOUND: WILSON'S OFFICE DOOR CLOSES ... SHUTS OUT NEWSROOM


JERRY: Boss, I got a story that'll knock you off your feet.


WILSON: Well, sit down, Jerry. 


JERRY: Thanks. (SITS) 


WILSON: Shoot.


JERRY: Well, boss, you know that sanctimonious guy James Brenton who came around here last week and nicked the guys for some dough for his charity and a lot of free publicity?


WILSON: Sure, I know Jim Brenton. He's the head of the Big Town Association for the Industrial Blind.


JERRY: Yeah.


WILSON: Does a lot of good.


JERRY: Yeah, that's what he told me when he was in here. I gave him five dollars. 


WILSON: Well, what of it? I gave him a hundred.


JERRY: Well, I caught up with him in a nightclub the next night, makin' merry with the cutest Marie you ever seen. 


WILSON: What? 


JERRY: Yeah. My dough, says I! My dough, buyin' hooch for the Industrial Blind! 


WILSON: (AMUSED) Well, you didn't see my crisp hundred dollar bill, did you? 


JERRY: No, boss, but I saw a guy going blind industriously. Here, says I to myself, is a story -- a Christmas story right off the Christmas tree! 


WILSON: Well, what'd you find?


JERRY: I found that Jim Brenton of the Big Town Association for the Industrial Blind is a phony! 


WILSON: What? 


JERRY: I'm tellin' ya. He's been gettin' drunk at the casino every night for a month. The blind people that work for him labor the year 'round makin' cheap toys. 


WILSON: Yeah? 


JERRY: Brenton solicits dough to keep up his association, sells the toys at a nice profit, and pockets all of the dough! 


WILSON: Aw, I don't believe it. He wouldn't take blind people, put them out to work, to make a living for himself. 


JERRY: Well, that's just what he does! He makes the money and his blind labor gets board and room in flophouses! 


WILSON: Oh, I still don't believe it, Jerry. You've got your wires crossed someplace. Anyway, you haven't any proof.


JERRY: No? Listen. Jim Brenton pays two hundred and fifty dollars a month rent for an apartment at the Big Town Arms.


WILSON: Big Town Arms?


JERRY: Yeah. He drives a four-thousand-dollar car. 


WILSON: (IMPRESSED, WHISTLES)


JERRY: He paid income tax last year on a thirty-five-thousand-dollar income and he admits he doesn't have any business except charity. 


WILSON: Now, look, Jerry, have you checked those facts? 


JERRY: Sure, I have. Here's a rent receipt on his apartment, a picture of him and his car, and I checked the income tax return.


WILSON: Well, you certainly have dug up enough. Where do you suppose that guy is now? 


JERRY: Aw, he's throwin' a party for a bunch of his leeches at the casino. 


WILSON: Jerry, that's a great story. Get all your proof together and leave it here on my desk. I'll be back in a half an hour.


JERRY: Where are you goin', boss? 


WILSON: The casino.


JERRY: Can I go with you?


WILSON: No, I've got a personal and private Christmas present for my pal Jim Brenton and I'm going to deliver it right now


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: MURMUR OF DRUNKEN CROWD ... WHICH GROWS QUIET BEHIND--


BRENTON: (VERY DRUNK) Quiet! Quiet! Quiet, everybody! Quiet! Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby announce the formation of a new society -- the Jim Brenton Foundation for Permanent Parties!


SOUND: CROWD REACTS FAVORABLY ... THEN GROWS QUIET BEHIND--


BRENTON: Wait a minute, wait a minute! Haven't finished yet. (TOO DRUNK TO PRONOUNCE "AUSPICIOUS") And I think that on this auspish-- Aw-- (GIVES UP) At this time-- 


SOUND: CROWD LAUGHS


BRENTON: We brethren and sisteren in this great society should now elect a president.


WOMAN: I nominate Jim Brenton!


MAN: Second the motion! 


BRENTON: All in favor say, "aye"! 


SOUND: CROWD SAYS "AYE!" 


BRENTON: Carried! Carried unanimously. Ladies and gentlemen, your new president offers a toast! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS FAVORABLY


BRENTON: Oh, hiya, Steve Wilson!


WILSON: (CURT GREETING) Brenton. Brenton, just a minute now. I hate to interrupt, but I've got a Christmas message for you. Never mind drinking that toast.


SOUND: CRASH! OF GLASS SHATTERED ON FLOOR ... CROWD MURMURS DISAPPROVAL BEHIND--


BRENTON: Hey! Hey, what's the idea of knockin' that glass out of my hand, Wilson? What's the idea? 


WOMAN: Hey, who is this palooka? Throw him out of here!


SOUND: CROWD SAYS, "YEAH," AND MURMURS THREATENINGLY BEHIND--


WILSON: Now, wait a minute! Just pipe down, will you?


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS


WILSON: Now here's your message, Brenton. I've been sitting here listening to you bragging to your friends, and I learned a lot. I've been a sucker for your rotten racket for several years, and I just found out where the dough that I gave for the blind went! I'm going to blast you and your racket clear out of Big Town in the next edition of The Illustrated Press, but first I've got a gift for you, and here it is right on the jaw! 


SOUND: PUNCH! TO THE JAW


BRENTON: (GROANS)


SOUND: BODY THUDS TO FLOOR


WILSON: Merry Christmas!


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: That brings down the curtain on the first part of tonight's episode of "Big Town," starring Edward G. Robinson, with Claire Trevor. (CONVERSATIONAL) To my mind, one of the most interesting features in The Illustrated Press is the poetry column. Here, budding geniuses may find an outlet for their early efforts, thanks to the sympathetic attitude of our poetry editor Dorothy Smith. 


DOROTHY: (LIGHTLY) Thanks for them kind words, Mr. KaDell. I'm going to pay you right back by giving you a contribution I just received. I think it fits in with your views. 


ANNOUNCER: Who's it from, Dorothy? 


DOROTHY: From Mrs. A. Stratiff of Roanoke, Virginia. 


ANNOUNCER: A lot of good poetry comes from the south. Let's hear it.


DOROTHY: (CHUCKLES) All right. 

(READS)

I used to dread each Monday morn', 

That session with the tub.

For hours I'd stand behind the board 

And rub and rub and rub.

And still my clothes weren't really clean;

Believe me, it was no joke 

To scrub up on that board all day

Until my back near broke. 

But Mondays now find me serene;

My wash days are just play.

My clothes are always white and clean. 

I wash the Rinso way.

So three cheers for that big green box

And for the no-scrub plan. 

I sign my name, "Sincerely yours,

A happy Rinso fan."


ANNOUNCER: Well, thank you, Dorothy, and congratulations, Mrs. Stratiff. You've certainly expressed in excellent rhyme the sentiments of millions of American women. They all agree with you that the new improved Rinso takes the hard work out of wash day, and that only Rinso gives that famous Rinso whiteness. 


MUSIC: TAG ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: We return now to "Big Town." After giving vent to his feelings by knocking down Jim Brenton, Steve Wilson dashed back to The Illustrated Press and summoned Bob McNeil, his star rewrite man. We find the two men now in Steve's private office. 


WILSON: (QUIETLY FURIOUS) McNeil, I've got a big job for you. I want you to get at your typewriter and unmask one of the meanest, vilest crooks in Big Town. 


MAC: Well, what's up, boss? I've never seen you this mad. 


WILSON: You know Jim Brenton of the Big Town Association for the Industrial Blind? 


MAC: Sure, I know him. I gave him ten bucks for the blind when he was up here the other day.


WILSON: Oh, you, too, huh?


MAC: Yeah.


WILSON: Well, swell. Now I know you'll do a good job on this story. McNeil, you and I and thousands of others have been suckers for Brenton and his racket. 


MAC: What do you mean, boss? 


WILSON: I suppose you thought that money was actually going to the blind--


MAC: Sure. 


WILSON: --to get them some comforts of life like books or radios or even good food. Well, sucker, it didn't. Your ten bucks was used to buy champagne for chorus girls. Now, how does that strike you? 


MAC: Hey, wait a minute, boss, I thought he was a friend of yours.


WILSON: Yes, he was, up to ten minutes ago when I saw him in the Big Town Grill with a stupefied blonde drinking champagne and bragging how he made suckers out of all of us, flashing a big roll of bills -- our money! -- yes, and telling the blonde that he was going to buy her a new twelve-cylinder car for Christmas! 


MAC: Well, did you take a poke at him?


WILSON: What do you think? I'm only sorry that I didn't wait for him to get up so I could knock him down again -- the hypocrite.


SOUND: BUZZ! OF INTERCOM ... CLICK!


WILSON: What is it, Miss Foster?


MISS FOSTER: (FILTER) Minna's on the wire, Mr. Wilson. 


WILSON: (ANNOYED) Oh, what does she want? Put her on! 


SOUND: RECEIVER UP


WILSON: Well, what is it, Minna? 


MINNA: (FILTER) Mr. Wilson, the letter man's boy would like to bring his cousin to the party tonight. Will it be all right? 


WILSON: (EXPLODES) No! Cancel the whole party! I'm not coming home tonight! 


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


MAC: Say, boss, you're so mad you're shooting sparks. 


WILSON: Now, never mind that. You hurry along to your typewriter now and hammer out the story of your life! I want you to cut Brenton to ribbons!


MAC: Boss, it's gonna be a pleasure to write this story, and by the time I get through with it, the typewriter will just go up in smoke. Ooh, I hate those chiselers.


SOUND: WILSON'S OFFICE DOOR OPENS ... NEWSROOM BACKGROUND


LORELEI: (ENTERS) Hello, Steve.


WILSON: Hello, Lorelei. 


SOUND: WILSON'S OFFICE DOOR CLOSES ... SHUTS OUT NEWSROOM BACKGROUND


WILSON: And listen, McNeil, don't you spare the adjectives! 


MAC: I won't, boss.


WILSON: Make them boil! And here, just a minute! Uh, here's your head: "None so blind as the great American heart on Christmas" -- and sign it, "Santa Claus's sucker." 


MAC: Okay, boss, it's practically on your desk. 


LORELEI: Wait a minute, McNeil -- don't go yet. I want to talk this over with Steve first. Jerry told me all about it.


WILSON: There's nothing to talk about. Go on, Mac.


LORELEI: You're not going, Mac. I've got my back to this door and the only way you can get through is by knocking me down. 


MAC: What? 


LORELEI: I'm not going to let you out of this room.


WILSON: Here, cut the dramatics, Lorelei. I'm boss here and I want McNeil to write that story! Now, get away from that door.


LORELEI: No, Steve, I'm staying where I am. I've got to make you listen to reason. Did you stop to think what that Brenton story will do at this time of the year? At Christmastime? 


WILSON: Why, certainly. It'll show up Brenton and his slimy racket of living on the sweat of the blind, and it'll save a lot of softhearted suckers from giving till it hurts to fake charities.


LORELEI: But that's not all, Steve. It's going to hurt all charities at a time when people are most charitable. The fakes wouldn't get hurt much. They'd go into some other racket. But the real, honest charities would suffer a lot--


WILSON: (SCOFFS) 


LORELEI: --the worthwhile institutions like hospitals, orphanages, and old-age homes.


WILSON: Oh, you're wrong, Lorelei. If we show up the crooks, we'll be doing the worthy charitable institutions a good turn. 


LORELEI: I'll tell you what kind of a good turn you'll do them: you'll throw them into bankruptcy! And you'll turn out those dependent on those places for shelter.


WILSON: Oh, you don't know what you're talking about. 


LORELEI: Steve, people are only too willing to find some excuse for not giving -- and you'll be giving it to them. "None so blind as the great American heart"? You mean none so blind as Steve Wilson, who can't see beyond today's headline, who deafens his ears to the voice that cries "peace on earth, good will toward men." 


WILSON: (UNCONVINCED) Hmm, "good will toward men." Yes, with men like Brenton making suckers out of us. Oh, what's the use of arguing? Go on, get away from that door, Lorelei.


LORELEI: Not until you promise to kill that story. 


WILSON: Lorelei, I'm not accustomed to taking orders.


LORELEI: But, Steve, I'm only trying to keep you from doing something you'll regret. I don't know what my friendship means to you, but this is as good a time as any to find out. Do you value that friendship enough to do me a favor?


WILSON: What do you want? 


LORELEI: I want you to come with me for just one half hour and let me show you something. Then the decision will rest with you. You can kill the story or print it. Now, that's fair enough, isn't it? 


WILSON: Well, I'm too busy to leave the office right now.


LORELEI: Oh, I don't often ask favors, Steve.


WILSON: (RELUCTANT) Well-- All right, I'll go with you. 


LORELEI: Oh, thanks, Steve. 


WILSON: But you go ahead and write the story, McNeil. 


MAC: All right, boss. 


WILSON: I'll call you up in half an hour. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE


VOICE: (FILTER) Calling Dr. Lang, emergency. Calling Dr. Lang, emergency. Calling Dr. Lang-- (FADES OUT BEHIND--)


WILSON: Now, wait a minute, Lorelei. Did they take Brenton to this hospital? 


LORELEI: No, no, forget about Brenton. There's someone else I want you to see. Oh! Here we are. 


MISS ANDREWS: Hello, Miss Kilbourne. 


LORELEI: Oh, how do you do, Miss Andrews? May we go in?


MISS ANDREWS: Of course. I'm sure Mr. Amos will be glad to see you.


LORELEI: Thank you. Come in, Steve. 


WILSON: Yeah.


SOUND: HOSPITAL ROOM DOOR OPENS ... THEN CLOSES BEHIND--


AMOS: (CHEERFUL) Well, hello, Miss Lorelei Kilbourne.


LORELEI: Hello, Mr. Amos. 


AMOS: I'm right glad to see you. I'm much obliged for those flowers you sent me.


LORELEI: Oh, it was a pleasure. Mr. Amos, I want you to meet a friend of mine, Mr. Steve Wilson.


AMOS: Well, right glad to meet you, Mr. Wilson. 


WILSON: Thank you.


AMOS: If you're a friend of Miss Kilbourne's, you're a lucky man. 


WILSON: Well, thank you, Mr. Amos. Are you a friend of Miss Kilbourne's, too?


AMOS: Well, no, not exactly. I only met the lady here in hospital. 


LORELEI: Mr. Amos, I could have told Mr. Wilson about your case, but I wanted him to see you and to hear the story from your own lips. Would you mind, please?


AMOS: Well, it really isn't much to tell. I guess anybody would have done the same thing. 


LORELEI: (DISAGREES) It took courage and bravery to do what you did.


AMOS: Oh, I don't know. I just figured things out and I did it. 


LORELEI: Please tell Mr. Wilson. 


WILSON: Yes, do. 


AMOS: If it'll please you, ma'am, I will. Well, it was like this, Mr. Wilson. You see, I work down on the docks.


WILSON: Yeah? 


AMOS: I'm a checker. Been at that job for thirty years.


WILSON: Thirty--? Well, that's a long time.


AMOS: Yes, sir. I'm sixty now, and in the house where I live there's a young fellow named George Gifford, twenty-one years old and just as fine a boy as you ever set eyes on: hard-workin' boy who supports his mother and two kid sisters. Well, over in the factory where George works, there was an accident, and George's eyes were burnt. Well, sir, they rushed him to this hospital and the doctors said that the only chance he had to recover his eyesight was by removin' the damaged tissue and transplantin' new live cornea on his eyes.


WILSON: Yes? 


AMOS: Doctors gave it some fancy name, but never could remember it.


LORELEI: Maybe you'd better rest for a minute, Mr. Amos. 


AMOS: No-no-no, I'm all right. (CHUCKLES) Well, I figured it out to myself. I was an old man and George was young and just startin' out in life. And besides, he had his mother and two kid sisters to support. So I went to the hospital and told the doctors that-- Well, that I'd be willin' to give one of my eyes to save George's sight.


WILSON: (STUNNED) What? You offered one of your eyes? 


AMOS: Sure, it had to be live cornea. That's what the doctors call it. Well, they operated on me and transplanted parts of my eye onto George.


WILSON: Was the operation successful? 


AMOS: Oh, yes, sir. The doctor was in this mornin' and told me that George would be able to see.


WILSON: (QUIETLY IMPRESSED) Well. 


AMOS: Ah, those doctors sure are wonderful today.


WILSON: Yes, but you-- You've lost the sight in one eye completely. 


AMOS: Yes, but I've given George a new lease on life, do you see? And do you know, Mr. Wilson? Every time I think of it, it gives me a warm feelin' around the heart. Makes me feel bigger than anybody in the world. Why, I won't be ashamed of that eye that can't see. I'll be proud of it. You see, I - I never had much money. I couldn't help folks by givin' charity. But now -- I feel as if I did my bit in the world. Ah, it's awful nice when you can help your fellow man. 


LORELEI: I'll fix that pillow for you, Mr. Amos, and many thanks for telling the story to Mr. Wilson. I'll come in and see you again tomorrow. 


AMOS: Thank you, Miss Kilbourne. You know, that's another nice thing that happened to me in this hospital: meetin' a person like you.


LORELEI: Oh, thank you. Our time's up, Steve. Let's go.


WILSON: No, wait a minute, Lorelei. (BEAT) You know, Mr. Amos, they talk of courage on the battlefield. But yours is greater courage than that. I'm glad I came here. I'm proud to know you. May I shake hands with you?


AMOS: Well, I'm right glad to shake hands with you, too, Mr. Wilson, and thanks for visitin' me.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: SPEEDING AUTO INTERIOR BACKGROUND


WILSON: You're driving too fast, Lorelei. Take it easy.


LORELEI: All right, Steve. 


SOUND: AUTO SLOWS A LITTLE ... CONTINUES IN BG


WILSON: Now tell me, how did you come to know Mr. Amos?


LORELEI: From The Illustrated Press. 


WILSON: Illustrate--? I don't understand.


LORELEI: Well, I don't mean to be sarcastic, Steve, but if you paid a little more attention to the inside of your paper instead of to the headlines, you would have known about this story. It was printed on page seven.


WILSON: Page seven? 


LORELEI: Yes. 


WILSON: Why, that's a remarkable story. Should have been played up! 


LORELEI: That's what I thought. When I read it, I went down to see Mr. Amos to verify the story. Steve, that hospital, as you know, lives through public contributions.


WILSON: Yes, I know. 


LORELEI: Those doctors in there who performed that remarkable operation won't get one penny, but they're happy to give their skill and knowledge to help their fellow men. That hospital and others like it would suffer, Steve, if you exposed Brenton and his fake charity racket.


WILSON: All right, don't you worry, Lorelei. I'll tell McNeil to kill the story -- and I'm going to take care of Jim Brenton and his racket in my own way. Thanks for taking me to see Mr. Amos. I'm going to do something for him. Now let's hurry to the office. 


LORELEI: Oh, but we're not going to the office, Steve. We're going home -- to your home. You can telephone McNeil from there. 


WILSON: (UNEASY) My home? Oh, no, no, we can't. Just drop me off somewhere, any place at all. 


LORELEI: Oh, but, Steve, it's Christmas Eve! You promised to take me to your Christmas party!


WILSON: Oh, but I can't go home, Lorelei. I just couldn't face Minna. 


LORELEI: Why not? 


WILSON: I don't know if I'll ever be able to face her. Lorelei, after I tell you what I did, I won't blame you if you wash your hands of me forever. I did something mean, terribly mean. You know I always have a Christmas party at home for the poor kids that Minna gets together?


LORELEI: Yes. 


WILSON: Well, this afternoon when Minna called up, I was so furious about Brenton, in the heat of anger I told her to cancel the party, that I wouldn't be home. 


LORELEI: (DISAPPOINTED IN HIM) Oh, Steve.


WILSON: I don't know what got into me, taking it out on the poor kids. Oh, I feel so ashamed now. 


LORELEI: Well, you should be. 


WILSON: Lorelei, I'm sure you've got yourself mixed up with the wrong man. 


LORELEI: Well, I admit you're not perfect, but, er, what man is? 


WILSON: Huh.


LORELEI: Now I'll tell you something. 


WILSON: Yeah?


LORELEI: It's all right for us to go to your home. Minna called me at the office as soon as you hung up on her--


WILSON: What?


LORELEI: --and I told her not to mind what you said. I told her to go right ahead with the party and invite the extra children! 


WILSON: Lorelei, you know, I think my mother would have liked you an awful lot.


LORELEI: (CHUCKLES)


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... CHANGES TO A LIVELY "JINGLE BELLS" ... THEN SLOWS DOWN AND OUT FOR--


SOUND: PARTY BACKGROUND ... KIDS CHATTER HAPPILY ... THEN GROW QUIET BEHIND--


WILSON: All right, all right now! Let's get organized! Attention! Attention, everybody, now! Here, I'll play the piano and everybody will sing.


SOUND: KIDS REACT FAVORABLY


WILSON: Oh, that means you, too, Minna.


MINNA: Ja. (CHUCKLES)


WILSON: And, Lorelei, you lead the singing.


LORELEI: Oh, what'll I use for a baton?


WILSON: Baton? (LOOKS AROUND) Let me see now-- What will--? Here, here. There's a licorice stick.


SOUND: KIDS LAUGH


WILSON: (CHUCKLES)


LORELEI: Very well, professor. (TO KIDS) You all set?


SOUND: KIDS MURMUR AGREEMENT


LORELEI: One, two, three!


MUSIC: PIANO ACCOMPANIES EVERYONE IN TWO STANZAS OF "SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN" WHILE WILSON AD LIBS ENCOURAGEMENT ("Come on, Minna, lemme hear ya! Sing it out!" "Come on, Sammy!" ET CETERA)


SOUND: KIDS FINISH SINGING AND CHEER ... THEN CHATTER QUIETLY IN BG--


WILSON: Well, well! That was great. That was wonderful! (CHUCKLES) But, you know, I think I heard a sour note. Too bad Minna can't sing as well as she cooks. 


MINNA: Well, maybe not, but I think when you come home tired, you'd much rather have me give you a porterhouse steak than an aria from grand opera. 


WILSON: You're right there, Minna. Music may charm the savage beast, but food satisfies him.


SAMMY: Mr. Wilson?! 


WILSON: Yes? 


SAMMY: Can I recite a poem I learned by heart?


WILSON: Why, of course, Sammy! 


LORELEI: Now, everybody quiet! Sammy's going to recite. 


WILSON: Quiet.


SOUND: KIDS GROW QUIET BEHIND--


SAMMY: Well, it isn't much of a poem. It's only four lines. It goes like this. 

(RECITES)

'Tain't the tree and the presents 

That make our Christmas day. 'Tain't what we get that counts, 

But what we gives away.


SOUND: KIDS CHEER


LORELEI: Oh, that's wonderful.


WILSON: Bravo. Bravo, Sammy! And I wish all you children would remember that. "'Tain't what we get, but what we give that counts," and I hope that when you grow up you'll all be able to give, because there's real pleasure in giving. 


ALICE: Is that why you gave us all those nice toys, Mr. Wilson? 


WILSON: Well, I gave you those toys because I like you.


ALICE: But you didn't give Miss Lorelei anything. 


SOUND: KIDS MURMUR AGREEMENT


WILSON: (LAUGHS)


LORELEI: Uh, please, Alice, I'm much too big to play with toys. 


WILSON: Yes.


ALICE: Well, then he ought to give you something else.


SOUND: KIDS MURMUR AGREEMENT


WILSON: Well, very well now. What would you suggest?


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... "SILENT NIGHT," IN BG


ALICE: Ohhhhh, now let me see. Oh! Oh, I know. A kiss.


SOUND: KIDS MURMUR AGREEMENT AND ENCOURAGEMENT, IN BG


WILSON: Wha--? Well-- (CHUCKLES)


ALICE: Go on, Mr. Wilson. I don't think she'd mind.


SAMMY: (TO KIDS) Come on, let's get them together! Come on!


SOUND: KIDS MURMUR EXCITEDLY AS THEY PUSH WILSON AND LORELEI TOGETHER AND ACROSS THE ROOM, IN BG


WILSON: (BEING PUSHED) Here-- Now-now, stop it, will ya? Now, don't push me. Say, what are you kids up to?


LORELEI: (AMUSED) Careful! You'll throw me off my feet! Children!


WILSON: Stop it now. Say, will you--? Will you kids behave? 


LORELEI: Oh, Alice -- don't, darling.


SAMMY: Now we've got them together right under the mistletoe! 


ALICE: (PLAYFUL) Are you afraid, Mr. Wilson? 


SAMMY: Go on, kiss her! 


SOUND: KIDS FALL SILENT


WILSON: (HESITANT) Would you be, er, very angry, Lorelei, if I did? 


LORELEI: (WITH A SMILE) Well, under the circumstances, I'd be very angry if you didn't.


SOUND: PAUSE AS WILSON KISSES LORELEI


SOUND: KIDS CHEER AND SHOUT HAPPILY ("He kissed her! He kissed her!" ET CETERA), THEN GROW QUIET FOR--


WILSON: (WARMLY) Merry Christmas, Lorelei. 


LORELEI: (THE SAME) Merry Christmas, Steve.


MUSIC: "SILENT NIGHT" UP FOR A WARM, STATELY CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: LILTING, IN BG


ANNOUNCER: That brings down the curtain on another thrilling episode of "Big Town," starring Edward G. Robinson, with Claire Trevor, and presented by the makers of Rinso, with the orchestra under the direction of Phil Ohman. In just a moment Edward G. Robinson will return with a message for our listeners, but first I have a message for the men only -- married men in particular. When you surprise your wife on Christmas morning with that brand new washing machine, don't forget to include several boxes of the new improved Rinso. Why? Because a washer without Rinso is like "Big Town" without Edward G. Robinson. In fact, Rinso and only Rinso is recommended by the makers of thirty-three famous washing machines. And just wait till you see how grand your shirts look after a Rinso washing. No more gray, dingy collar and cuff band -- no, sir! Shirts washed in Rinso come out immaculately from collar to hem. They're at least five shades whiter and brighter than ordinary soaps could ever get them. So remember, ask for the new improved Rinso -- all grocers have it. And now, I take pleasure in presenting Edward G. Robinson. 


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: OUT


ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. KaDell. Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to have this opportunity of making a last-minute appeal for Christmas Seals. If there ever was a worthy cause, it's the cause that sponsors those Christmas Seals. Every cent derived from their sale is used to fight tuberculosis, to save human lives. So why not help them in this great work? Paste a Christmas Seal on every card and package you send out, and you'll be the happier for it. And now on behalf of Miss Claire Trevor, our associate players, and myself, I wish you all a very merry Christmas.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: CLOSING THEME ... THEN IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: Next week at this same time, Edward G. Robinson, with Claire Trevor, bring us the next episode of the dramatic exposé "Big Town," presenting another vital human interest story of modern times. Attention, listeners in Eastern and Central time zones: keep your dials tuned to the Al Jolson show to follow immediately in these zones, and you'll be in for a grand half-hour of fun and music with Al Jolson, Martha Raye, Parkyakarkus, Victor Young and His Orchestra, and Al's special guest, Leo Carillo. For the benefit of our listeners in the Mountain and Coast time zones, the Al Jolson program will be broadcast at the usual time: 9:30 Mountain time and 8:30 Pacific Coast time. All the characters and places named in tonight's episode of "Big Town" are fictitious. Any similarity to living persons or places is purely accidental. Carlton KaDell speaking. 


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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