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Eddy Blake Tries to Enlist

The Health Hunters

Eddy Blake Tries to Enlist

May 29 1935

NOTE: This script was published in the April 1936 issue of Journal of Social Hygiene. An accompanying article discusses the series, which was produced in Albany, New York: 

In August, 1933, the State Health Department, 

with the helpful cooperation of WGY, changed its 

type of weekly broadcast from a five-minute health 

talk to a fifteen-minute health play. ... It was 

decided to lay the scenes of the episodes in an 

imaginary New York State village, which was called 

Utopia so that there might be no danger of 

confusing it with any actual village name. The 

episodes were written around the Hunter family and 

their friends and neighbors ... In the Hunter 

family were Bob and Bess and their two children, 

Bobby and Helen. Also there was Bob's Aunt Augusta 

Martin, or Aunt Gusty, as everyone in the village 

calls her--rather inclined towards the "good old 

days and the good old ways." And then there was Dr. 

Mortimer Jones, village health officer and for a 

long time the only physician in town an old family 

doctor who has nevertheless kept very much in 

touch with modern trends and methods in his 

profession. ... This series is entirely the work of 

members of the staff of the State Health Department. 

The plays are written, acted (except, of course, for 

the children's parts) and produced by the staff, as 

a part of their regular work.

At the time of the article, the series was distributed by "electrical transcription records" for broadcast over seventeen in-state radio stations.


A Social Hygiene Radio Play Prepared and Presented by the Division of Public Health Education of the New York State Department of Health


THE HEALTH HUNTERS, in the 87th of a series of plays, written, acted and produced by members of the staff of the New York State Department of Health, through its Division of Public Health Education--concerning the doings of the Hunter family and their friends and neighbors in the imaginary village of Utopia--their adventures in personal and community health. 

Dr. Jones and Bess have been watching the Memorial Day parade and are walking toward the Hunter home where Dr. Jones has been invited for lunch. They meet Eddy Blake, whom many call the village "smart Alec." 

EDDY: Hyah, Doc. 

DR. JONES: How are you, Eddy. You seem to be in a rush to go places. 

EDDY: I'm going to enlist in the Navy, if you must know. That man that made the speech this morning is the recruiting officer. 

DR. JONES: I see. Did you hear his speech? 

EDDY: Oh, part of it. I want to see him personally, though. 

DR. JONES: Too bad you didn't hear it all. It was a cracking good address. 

EDDY: I slept late this morning--never woke up 'til I heard the buglers. 

DR. JONES: Among other things he said they needed a few young men to enter special training. He must have a scholarship or something to offer. I didn't quite get the plan. 

EDDY: That's me--I'd like to be first officer on a battleship--or whatever they call 'em. So long, Doc. 

BESS: Why, Dr. Jones--Eddy Blake couldn't ever be a first officer--he'd oversleep and miss the boat. And anyway----

DR. JONES: (Chuckling) I've been trying to teach that young whipper-snapper something ever since his father died--but---- 

BESS: His father was in the Army--he was decorated for bravery, wasn't he? They didn't live here then, of course. 

DR. JONES: Yes, his father was a good fellow, but his son isn't much like him. 

BESS: Here we are, come on in. Lunch will be ready in a few minutes. 

DR. JONES: Sounds good to me. 

BESS: Bob's already home, it seems. 

DR. JONES: Hello, Bob. How'd you get back ahead of us? 

BOB: Oh, I drove the speaker over to the hotel. He's also the recruiting officer for the Navy, you know. 

DR. JONES: Yes, so I heard from Eddy Blake. 

BOB: Eddy Blake! What's he got to do with it? 

DR. JONES: We met him up here--said he was going to enlist in the navy. 

BESS: Yes, Bob, he wants to be first officer on a battleship! 

BOB: Huh! He'd make a fine first officer on anything! 

GUSTY: (Comes in suddenly) Hello, Mortimer. My land! What a day. I'm dead tired. 

BESS: Aunt Gusty was chairman of the decorating committee, Dr. Jones, did you know that? 

DR. JONES: No, I didn't, but I did notice how nice things looked up there in the cemetery. 

AUNT GUSTY: Bess did as much of the work as I did. 

BESS: Oh, no, Aunt Gusty! 

DR. JONES: There was a wreath and a flag on every soldier's and sailor's grave, I do believe. 

BESS: Oh yes, there was, of course. By the way, did you see old Major Scott? 

DR. JONES: No, don't believe I did. He wasn't marching again this year, was he? 

BESS: No, he wasn't, Dr. Jones--he said to let you know he wasn't too old to learn a trick or two. 

DR. JONES: Well, he'd better, after collapsing the way he did last year. Gosh, I thought he was a goner that time, sure. 

BESS: He said to tell you he could still "follow the flag," even if he was in an automobile. 

DR. JONES: Fine! He's over ninety years old, and in better physical condition than Eddy Blake is today! 

BOB: Why Eddy can't be much more than twenty, can he? 

DR. JONES: No--no--Eddy is young enough in years, but old in experience. 

BOB: Yes--I guess he is. He's made sort of a nuisance of himself on one or two occasions I know of. 

GUSTY: Scrubbing decks every morning at six o'clock, might do him good. I'd just like to see him at it. 

DR. JONES: Why, Gusty, do you know Eddy Blake?

GUSTY: I should say I do! Don't I teach a class of Girl Scouts every year? 

DR. JONES: He isn't a member of your class, I hope, Gusty! (Laugh) 

GUSTY: Apparently he'd like to be. 

DR. JONES: What you gettin' at, Gusty? 

GUSTY: Well, every time I take the girls out for a study-hike, as they call it, we run into Eddy Blake. 

BOB: He goes hunting a lot, Aunt Gusty--had his dog with him, didn't he? 

GUSTY: Yes, he did, but there isn't anything to hunt up there on the hill, except wild flowers, which is what we were hunting--but he wasn't invited. 

DR. JONES: I see what you mean, Gusty, but I'd trust you to handle him, any time! 

BESS: Lunch is ready, whenever you are, Dr. Jones---- 

DR. JONES: Me? Cricky--I'm always ready---- (Quick insistent knocking at the door) 

BESS: Oh there's someone at the side door--excuse me a minute--it's probably the laundry---- 

EDDY BLAKE: How--do--Mrs. Hunter--I'm looking for Doc Jones--is he here? 

BESS: Why yes--he is. 

EDDY: Well, I want to see him right away. 

BESS: All right, come in--he's in the living room---- 

DR. JONES: Hello, Eddy, want to see me, do you? 

EDDY: Yes, I do. 

DR. JONES: Well, here I am--what's up, did you see the recruiting officer? 

EDDY: That's just what I want to see you about. They won't take me, and I want to know if you told that recruiting officer anything about me--if you did---- 

BOB: Sit down, Eddy. Take it easy. What's the excitement anyway? 

DR. JONES: I haven't told the recruiting officer anything. 

EDDY: Well, then--how did he know so much? 

DR. JONES: He happens to be a doctor, as well as a Navy officer, Eddy, and he's had plenty of experience with young fellows that want to be admirals. 

EDDY: Somebody's been telling him a lot of hooey----

DR. JONES: He didn't have to be told, Eddy. 

EDDY: My father was in the Army, wasn't he, and an officer--and he got the War Cross besides. 

DR. JONES: Yes, Eddy, your father was a real soldier but you can't ride in on your father's horse. 

EDDY: Who said I could? 

DR. JONES: You can't gather figs off thistles, you know, and----

EDDY: Oh, yes, I know. Go on, tell me about reaping what I sow--wild oats, and all that bunk--I'm sick of hearing it. 

DR. JONES: You can't get into the Navy, or the Army either, Eddy, not at present anyway. 

EDDY: I'm going to enlist just the same and you can't stop me! 

DR. JONES: No, Eddy, I can't stop you--you've stopped yourself. 

EDDY: Oh no, I haven't, I've just started--so long. (Screen door slams) 

GUSTY: Nice polite fellow, Mortimer. 

BESS: Do come to lunch--should I have asked Eddy Blake to have lunch with us, Dr. Jones? 

DR. JONES: Cripes--no--he had no business coming here at all. 

BOB: Looks to me as if he was trying to run away from something. 

DR. JONES: Probably is, but the U. S. Army and Navy want men with clean bills of health, Bob. I was on the medical examining board for the last war---- 

BOB: Oh, were you, Doc? I didn't know that. 

DR. JONES: No, I don't talk about it much. I've always felt kind of ashamed of some of the reports I was obliged to make. One young chap after another--physically unfit to serve the flag--physically unfit. 

GUSTY: Looks as if you doctors have a war on your hands all the time, Mortimer. 

DR. JONES: That's what I've been thinking, Gusty. 

BESS: Well, Dr. Jones, it always comes back to my old theory, health education for everybody, young and old. 

GUSTY: Who could educate Eddy Blake?--he's bad all through---- 

BESS: Oh, no, Aunt Gusty, nobody is bad all through---- 

BOB: Well, he's had an awful jolt today--mebbe he'll wake up---- 

DR. JONES: Mebbe--but I have my doubts--and anyway, I'm not particularly interested in making a soldier or a sailor out of him--I'm interested in making a healthy citizen out of him---- 

GUSTY: Well, you haven't got much to work on, if you ask me. 

BESS: He's so young--I don't believe he's hopeless. 

DR. JONES: You always were an optimist, Bess--even when you had the measles on circus day you said at least the parade went right by the house---- 

BESS: My, that was a long time ago, Dr. Jones. 

ANNOUNCER: Well, lunch progressed leisurely and quietly--perhaps a bit more quietly than usual since both of the children, Bobby and Helen, were at a special children's party in honor of the Civil War veterans. Echoes of the Memorial Day celebration of the morning occasionally drifted into the house through the open windows--the marching steps of some detachment of soldiers, a bugle call sounding from the cemetery as the exercises there neared an end, a fife and drum corps returning home. 

(Fade in end of fife and drum parade record, continuing softly in background to end of play) 

DR. JONES: There go some of them home. (Pause) Sounds nice, doesn't it? 

BOB: It sure does, Doc. (Pause) 

DR. JONES: Well, I'm sorry to have to run away so soon, but I've got a call or two to make over on the hill--I certainly enjoyed that ginger bread, Bess. See you tomorrow. 

BOB: O.K., Doc. (Door) (Whistles, or hums a bar of America

EDDY: (Sotto voce) Doc.--Dr. Jones----

DR. JONES: What? Somebody speak to me? 

EDDY: Yes, it's Eddy Blake. 

DR. JONES: Oh yes, yes--I didn't see you there under that tree. 

EDDY: I've been waiting for you---- 

DR. JONES: Oh---- 

EDDY: I've been thinking things over, Doc. I've got to get into the Navy--I want to. 

DR. JONES: You can't--not now anyway, it's impossible. 

EDDY: I know it, Doc--but I've been listening to that drum corps--the bugles--I've been seeing my father's uniform--and his medal of honor--(bugle plays Assembly). Listen (after call) that bugle, Dr. Jones--it's calling me--I must--I've got to serve some way---- 

DR. JONES: There--there Eddy--you're excited and disappointed and possibly remembering a few things. 

EDDY: Yes I am--but tell me--can't I qualify? Isn't there some way? 

DR. JONES: Why certainly, Eddy--I've told you that. Haven't I tried to get you to take a different road? Gosh--if you're really in earnest--and will do what I tell you---- 

EDDY: Can you--will you, Doc? 

DR. JONES: Come on with me--I'm going to my office now--most things can be cured 'specially if we have the help of a drum corps, or something. 


We invite you to go with us for just a few moments today on a short flight of the imagination. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Won't you imagine for a few moments that a tremendous Memorial Day has been set for observance by all of the nations which so comparatively few years ago engaged in the great World War? 

All the countries are to unite, if only for one day, held together by a common bond--reverent respect for the memories of the nine million persons who died from the ravages of the great war. Suddenly throughout the length and breadth of every one of these lands, there arises a new and unexpected outcry--an insistent warning against a common enemy whose toll of lives goes far beyond even that of the World War. 

"What of the Great Killer?" the nations' spokesmen cry. "The Great Killer--which slew twelve million of our people while those other nine million were giving their lives on [a] World War battlefield? The great war is long since ended, but the Great Killer still kills--he is here--now--today! His insatiable appetite is still unwhetted. But you could make short work of him if you would! What about the Great Killer?" 

Surely a challenge like that, if we may imagine such a situation among the once warring nations, would cause something like consternation among the people. A Great Killer among them now--a Great Killer that took a toll of twelve million lives while the World War was demanding nine! 

But it seems the world is strangely unconcerned--or at least apathetic over this constant loss of life. It is true, this was a purely fanciful picture of a great International Memorial Day. But there is nothing fanciful about the Great Killer and the toll it takes in human life. 

What is this foe of mankind--this Great Killer? A disease, of course. Tuberculosis? No, nor heart disease, nor even cancer. It is one of the so-called social or venereal diseases. 

The control of these venereal diseases, then, must be a matter of major moment. Indeed, Dr. Thomas Parran, Jr., says he is convinced their control offers the next greatest opportunity for an advance in general health. 

"It is the most important unsolved problem facing us," he says. 

Before the World War these diseases were generally regarded as something that should not be spoken of publicly. The necessity, however, for recruiting millions of men for the army quickly tore away the veil of prudishness which had long surrounded the subject; and from that time on these diseases have come to be pretty commonly recognized as being on the same plane as all other contagious diseases. 

This is the way, of course, Dr. Jones was looking at Eddy Blake's trouble in our play today and that is the way the State Department of Health wants everyone to look at this. Eddy Blake might have been helped very much if he had read some time ago the pamphlet on "Healthy Manhood," issued by the State Department of Health, cooperating with the United States Public Health Service. We should be glad to send copies of this pamphlet, or its common pamphlet "Healthy, Happy Womanhood," as long as the supply lasts. If you wish either of these publications, write on a postal card the words "Healthy Manhood" or "Healthy Womanhood" as the case may be. Send the card to the Division of Public Health Education, State Department of Health, Albany, New York, and we shall be glad to send copies free. 

The play to which you have listened was one in THE HEALTH HUNTERS series, written, acted and produced by members of the staff of the New York State Department of Health, through its Division of Public Health Education. The author is Isabel Beardsley. Members in the cast were: 

Dr. Jones ... Dr. Paul B. Brooks 

Bess Hunter ... Dorothy Krebs 

Bob Hunter ... Donald Treanor 

Aunt Gusty ... Marion L. Peters 

Eddy Blake ... Thomas C. Stowell 

         Who directed and announced this program