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Gossip's Martyr

The True Story Court of Human Relations

Gossip's Martyr?

Dec 03 1937








WOMAN, who disapproves of Isabelle





FRIEND, of Isabelle's; male



GIRL FRIEND, of Isabelle's


BOY FRIEND, of Isabelle's





NOTE: Opening and closing announcements transcribed from a recording of the Dec 17 1937 episode.

ANNOUNCER: "The True Story Court of Human Relations," conducted by A. L. Alexander.


ANNOUNCER: Mr. A. L. Alexander's voice, bearing comfort and encouragement, is known to millions of radio listeners all over the United States. His sincere and wholehearted concern with the problems they have brought him has won him national renown. [...] 

In the January TRUE STORY MAGAZINE, now on sale at more than one hundred thousand magazine stands the country over, you will find the real-life experience which is dramatized in the Court of Human Relations tonight. Listen to the problem as it is presented here, consider the opinions of Mr. Alexander and the jury, then buy a copy of TRUE STORY, read this story -- [...] -- and write us a letter telling us what you think is the best solution to this young woman's problem. And now, in beginning our dramatization, we present Mr. Alexander as he listens sympathetically to the young woman who has come to the True Story Court.


ALEXANDER: Miss Hallin, you were until recently teaching in the High School at Saugus, Massachusetts? 

ISABELLE: I was, Mr. Alexander. 

ALEXANDER: And were you not dismissed from that school because you were alleged among other things to have served cocktails to your pupils, and as we understand it, you were charged as well with filling their minds with erotic ideas? 

ISABELLE: Those were the reasons they gave for my dismissal. 

ALEXANDER: Miss Hallin, I am going to ask that you tell us something about your early life. You were born in Saugus and attended school in that town? 

ISABELLE: Yes, I graduated from High School in Saugus. 

ALEXANDER: I understand that you are a college graduate? 

ISABELLE: Yes, I got my degree at Tufts College. 

ALEXANDER: We understand that one of your avocations has always been dramatics? 

ISABELLE: Dramatics and stage dancing. I'd studied dancing when I was a little girl. Later on in both High School and College I became interested in acting and in the writing and production of plays. 

ALEXANDER: All right, suppose you go right on from there telling us your story in your own way . . . at least that part of it which you consider important in the light of your problem. 

ISABELLE: Suppose I begin with an evening on the Campus at Tufts at the end of my senior year. A friend of mine . . . a boy . . . and I were talking. 


ISABELLE: Not much longer now, is it? 

BOY: Where do we go from here, huh? 

ISABELLE: Where do you go? 

BOY: I dunno. I've got a half-way promise of a job in Boston. Maybe it'll come through. Maybe not. You'll be getting married, I suppose? 

ISABELLE: For instance . . . to whom? 

BOY: Oh, any one of about fifty, I should say. It's not exactly an accident when a girl's selected the "biggest heartbreaker" in the class . . . the best dancer and the girl with the most "it." 

ISABELLE: All of which is really very silly, isn't it? 

BOY: Oh, I dunno. Don't you get a kick out of it? Out of being the most popular girl around? 

ISABELLE: I like friends, sure. I like to know I have friends. But it's a funny thing . . . it was the boys who voted me those titles . . . not the girls. 

BOY: Meaning?


ISABELLE: Just that I haven't many girl friends. I didn't have when I was in High School. 

BOY: Maybe they're just jealous. 

ISABELLE: Of what? You know, I don't think girls ever make as good friends as boys. 

BOY: Cats, huh?


ISABELLE: Sort of. I've heard some of the remarks they've made about me. Even when I was in grade school, there was one girl who never lost a single opportunity to say something mean about me and all because I went to dancing school. Well, I just learned not to pay any attention to what they said. 

BOY: Take it all as publicity, huh? It doesn't matter what they say . . . just as long as they talk. 

ISABELLE: No, I wouldn't say that. It's just . . . that I've got my own ideas about a lot of things. Of what's right and what's wrong. And as long as I do what I think is right . . . whose business is it but mine? 

BOY: So what is it you're planning to do that you think's right? 

ISABELLE: Well, I don't say I won't get married some day. I want to. Only not yet. 

BOY: Want a career? In the theatre, maybe? 

ISABELLE: No, I don't think so. 

BOY: You probably could have one. That was a swell play you wrote and a swell performance you gave. And anybody who can dance the way you can . . .


ISABELLE: You'll probably laugh at me, but what I'd really like to do is teach. 

BOY: Dancing, you mean? 

ISABELLE: No, high school . . . or a private school . . . I might have a dancing class on the side because I think all kids ought to be taught to dance. And I'd like to organize a dramatic class. Among kids. I don't think youngsters in school get nearly enough of that sort of thing. And schools are waking up to that fact nowadays. Public schools as well as private schools. 

BOY: And where'd you get a teaching job?

ISABELLE: I dunno. Maybe back home in Saugus. Of course, I didn't set the world on fire with my grades here . . . but they were good enough. And when you consider how many extra-curricula activities I was mixed up in, I think I did pretty well. 

BOY: Well, you get a job teaching . . . and then try to sell the board of trustees on hiring a good janitor . . . I've got a hunch that Boston thing's not coming through. How's for going down and having a soda? 

ISABELLE: All right. I'd like one. 


ISABELLE: (COMING TO MIKE) Mother . . . mother. I've got it. They've given me the position in the High School. Isn't it marvelous? 



1ST CHILD, BOY--16: Boy, have we got a swell teacher. She knows how to smile. 

2ND CHILD, GIRL--15: Isn't she marvelous and doesn't she wear the loveliest clothes? 


WOMAN: Imagine them giving that Isabelle Hallin a position teaching in the High School. She's just an empty-headed blonde. 

HUSBAND: She graduated from college. That's more than you did. 

WOMAN: Huh . . . I wouldn't have to spend a day at college to know more than she does. 


3RD CHILD, GIRL--15: Are you going to join Miss Hallin's dancing class? 

4TH CHILD, GIRL: I wish I could. But mother won't let me. 


5TH CHILD, BOY: Hey, fella, Miss Hallin's gonna let us give a play. And she's gonna direct it. And she says maybe she'll give me a part. I bet I could play Hamlet. "To be or not to be. That is the question." 


WOMAN: And now, what do you think that Isabelle Hallin's up to? I just heard today that she's joined up with those Tavern Players over in Lynn. Going to act on the stage, mind you. Is that any way for the teacher of our children to be behaving herself? 



FRIEND: Want to stop somewhere for a sandwich, Isabelle? 

ISABELLE: No, thanks. I'd better get on home, I think. It's rather late. 

FRIEND: All right. You're the boss. You know, after that performance you gave tonight, Isabelle . . . you really ought to go into this thing seriously . . . as a profession. 

ISABELLE: No, not yet. If ever. I do like playing with you people though . . . working, studying with you. 

FRIEND: But you must be working, studying towards some goal, surely? 

ISABELLE: Perhaps. 

FRIEND: There isn't any particular future to your teaching job, is there? 

ISABELLE: Well, you may think it's curious, but I like it. I like it better all the time. It becomes more interesting all the time. Every day, in fact. 

FRIEND: Schools must have changed since I went to them then. 

ISABELLE: They have changed. They're changing all the time. And for the better. They're much franker, for one thing. And more honest. 

FRIEND: Show me one school that's frank or honest and I'll show you a purple cow. 

ISABELLE: I didn't say completely frank or completely honest. But they are improving. 

FRIEND: For instance? 

ISABELLE: Well, perhaps parents don't have as much time to check up on what their children are learning as they once did. 

FRIEND: That sounds like treason. 

ISABELLE: Not really it isn't though, is it? It used to be that parents sent their children to school and expected the teachers to teach them all the prejudices and curious ideas that they were being taught at home. And they took darn good care that the teachers in the schools were a lot of meek and mild old fogies who held those same prejudices and curious ideas. Nowadays, thanks to the heads of most of the schools, who are younger and more interested in the bigger vision of education, teachers aren't chosen so much by the parents. 

FRIEND: Oh, no? What about all these parent-teacher organizations everywhere? 

ISABELLE: Well, I've found that most of the parents who are active in the P.T.A. are parents of the younger children. Once the children get as far as high school . . . the parents drop out of the organizational activities and go back to their bridge clubs . . . or . . . to whatever else they find amusing. 

FRIEND: And you come in and teach a lot of radical ideas. 

ISABELLE: That all depends on what you mean by radical. I certainly don't teach them the way I was taught . . . or all the things I was taught. And I try to make their learning, of what I do try to teach them, interesting. And worth while . . . and helpful. I mean, I try to make them want to learn. To make them curious about things. And I also try to develop their personalities. Even if I do say it myself, I think I've been fairly successful. You're laughing at me?

FRIEND: On the contrary. 

ISABELLE: Well, I only meant that I try to make them want to come to classes. And I try to get them interested in other things besides books . . . like dancing . . . and acting. 

FRIEND: Have you by any chance got any room in your classes for another pupil? 

ISABELLE: Now you are laughing at me. 

FRIEND: I most certainly am not. When I think of all the sourpuss teachers and professors that tried to drill a mess of unimportant, and stupid, so-called facts, in my head, I . . . I . . . well I get sore. And most of those "facts" they tried to teach me I've learned since were a pack of lies. We turn at the next corner, don't we? 

ISABELLE: That's right. 

(PAUSE . . . HONK) 

FRIEND: Who was that man, a friend of yours? 

ISABELLE: I didn't notice. Where? 

FRIEND: He certainly was giving us the once over. 

ISABELLE: Well, do you mind? 

FRIEND: Me? Why should I mind? 

ISABELLE: Then I'm sure I don't. Now, you turn left at the next corner. 


MAN: Sure, I saw her. Boy, we didn't have teachers like that when I went to school. Comin' home with an actor at one-thirty in the mornin'.

2ND MAN: Well, I dunno that human nature's changed any. Mebbe none of your teachers ever got caught . . . comin' home with an actor at one-thirty in the mornin'. 


WOMAN: Now, don't argue with me any more. You're not going to act in any play that Miss Hallin is getting up. 

5TH CHILD, BOY: But, why not, mom? She's gonna give me a good part in it. 

WOMAN: She's not gonna give you any part in it. She can teach you in the classroom. But that's all. 

BOY: But, Mom . . .


WOMAN: Not another word. Do you hear . . . not another word. You go to school to learn things . . . not to waste time with a lot of foolishness. 




GIRL FRIEND: For heaven's sake, Isabelle. What have you done to yourself? 



ISABELLE: If you must know, I'm trying to look like a teacher. (GOING AWAY) Come on in the living room. 

GIRL FRIEND: (GOING AWAY) Well, for a minute you scared me. I thought somebody had died. 

ISABELLE: (COMING TO MIKE) I suppose next they'll want me to wear glasses. And maybe corsets for all I know. 

GIRL FRIEND: They? You mean . . . 

ISABELLE: Yes, the School Board. They called me in and told me they'd appreciate it if I dressed a little more professional. The teaching profession, that is. 

GIRL FRIEND: Well, for heaven's sake, what caused that? 

ISABELLE: Oh, somebody, I suppose, complained because of that low back evening gown I wore to the dance last week. Why shouldn't I wear a low back gown? Anybody else can wear them and people say what a lovely back she has. But just because I'm a teacher, I'm not supposed to have a back. 


ISABELLE: It's no laughing matter, either. Really, there are a lot of people around this town who'd like for me to dress as dowdy as I could . . . and let my finger nails get grubby and my hair get stringy. Then I'd be a good influence on their children's minds. 

GIRL FRIEND: Don't be silly, Isabelle. 

ISABELLE: It's true. For over two years now, I've felt them disliking me more and more. Well, the children don't dislike me. And they come to me for advice and help. And I give it to them. The kind of help and advice I'd have liked to have had from my teachers. (DOOR BELL) Excuse me, that's probably some of the children now. They're coming over to rehearse a new play. It's too cold over in the schoolroom. 


ISABELLE: (A LITTLE AWAY) No, no, no . . . not like that. Read the magazine as though you were interested in it. You're reading a story that's exciting. Now . . . that's better. 


ISABELLE: But don't you understand, dear? [He] is very much in love with you. And you're very much in love with him.


GIRL: Yes, Miss Hallin. 

ISABELLE. Well, if anything [he]'s much more bashful than you are. That's the way Booth Tarkington wrote it. Now, come on, kids . . . let's see you act. Let yourselves go. 


BOY FRIEND: Well, what brings you over to Lynn today, Isabelle? 

ISABELLE: I came over to ask you for some advice. 

BOY FRIEND: Sure. About what? 

ISABELLE: Well, I got a letter this morning from the school board saying that a hearing on my election to a permanent job would be held next week . . . and asking me to attend. 

BOY FRIEND: Well, isn't that a regular procedure? 

ISABELLE: It certain[ly] is not. They've never done that before. A teacher teaches there for three years and it's always been the rule that if she's taught that long satisfactorily . . . she was appointed permanently . . . or they call it "on tenure." 


ISABELLE: So what do they mean . . . telling me there's to be a hearing . . . and asking me to attend? What should I do about it . . . go to them and ask them what it means? 

BOY FRIEND: Frankly, Isabelle. I wouldn't do that. After all, you don't know what the intentions of the board are. It may be a new procedure they've adopted. If I were you, I'd just forget about it . . . and go ahead to the hearing as though it were nothing unusual. Really, I mean that. 


BOY FRIEND: Well, what'd the Board say?

ISABELLE: They didn't say anything. They sent me away. Kept me waiting there for I don't know how long . . . and then the Superintendent came out and told me the Board didn't want to see me. 


ISABELLE: I asked him why . . . and he said he couldn't tell me just then . . . asked me to go on home and call him this evening.


BOY FRIEND: Hm . . . doesn't look so good, does it? 

ISABELLE: I'm frightened . . . really I am. I don't know what they're saying about me behind those closed doors. 

BOY FRIEND: Well, here, here . . . don't worry about it now. After all, he said for you to call him this evening. Maybe he'll tell you everything's all right. 


ISABELLE: Please try again. There must be somebody there. He told me to call him. (PAUSE) All right. 



ISABELLE: But its eleven-thirty, operator, there must be somebody there. (DOOR BELL) No, never mind . . . there's the door bell. He's probably come over here. 



1ST REPORTER: Miss Hallin? 

ISABELLE: Yes. What do you men want? 

1ST REPORTER: We're reporters, Miss Hallin. 

ISABELLE: Well, what are you doing here? 

2ND REPORTER: Haven't you heard the news? 

ISABELLE: What . . . news? 

1ST REPORTER: The action of the School Board? 

ISABELLE: No . . . what action? 

2ND REPORTER: They voted to ask you to resign . . .for the good of the service. 

ISABELLE: No . . . 

1ST REPORTER: We're awfully sorry, Miss Hallin. But what we're interested in is, are you going to resign? 

ISABELLE: No, I'm not going to resign. Of course, I'm not. Why should I? I don't even know why they want me to resign. 



ISABELLE: Now look here, you're my friend, and you must know why they did this. Now you've got to tell me. 

GIRL FRIEND: Well, Isabelle, I do know. 

ISABELLE: Then tell me. 

GIRL FRIEND: All right, I don't believe it myself . . . but people say you served cocktails to your pupils. 

ISABELLE: I served cocktails? 

GIRL FRIEND: When they were over here rehearsing. 

ISABELLE: It's a lie. A malicious lie. 

GIRL FRIEND: They say you took them down in your basement where there was a bar . . . and that you gave them drinks. 

ISABELLE: Oh, I did not. We did rehearse downstairs in the recreation room. 

GIRL FRIEND: Is there a bar down there? 

ISABELLE: Yes, there's a little bar down there that father built some time ago . . . but it's never been used. There wasn't any liquor in that bar or near it. I didn't even give the kids any ginger ale. We just rehearsed. 

GIRL FRIEND: Well, that's another thing, they say you were corrupting the morals of the kids by making them rehearse hot love scenes. 

ISABELLE: That's ridiculous. There is a love scene . . . a kid love scene in "Seventeen." Everybody knows that. Oh, of all the malicious gossip. 

GIRL FRIEND: There's more even than that, Isabelle. They say you've been seen driving home from Lynn in the early hours of the morning with "undesirable" men and that you've been under the influence of liquor yourself. 

ISABELLE: No, no . . . they can't do this to me. They've got to give me a chance to defend myself. To prove that this is all lies. They are all lies. They are. They can't pin any of their Puritan Scarlet Letters on me like that. I won't let them. 


WOMAN: Just a blonde hussy, that's all she is. 


VOICE: Here's a hot story from Saugus, Massachusetts. Girl teacher fired for serving cocktails to her pupils. Put it on page one. 


REPORTER: Get a follow-up on that cocktail teacher. It's the best feature we've got. 


MAN: Well, I see Miss Hallin's lawyer's formed a citizens' committee . . . to arrange a public hearing in the town hall. You going? 

2ND MAN: I hope to tell you I am. The way they're treatin' that girl's a disgrace. 


REPORTER: Here's some more news on the Hallin case, chief. The police department's given her the town hall free of charge. And two members of the School Board and the girl's pastor among others are gonna defend her. 


2ND REPORTER: Boy, she packed 'em in. 

1ST REPORTER: Fourteen hundred's capacity. And this is sure capacity. 


WOMAN: Well, now let's hear what she's got to say for herself. 


ISABELLE: (ADDRESSING MEETING AND CONCLUDING). That's all I've got to say, ladies and gentlemen. These charges which I've answered have never been made directly to me. However, you all know what some people are saying. Well, they're all lies. Don't you realize what this action means to me? What it will do to my reputation? Please . . . please . . . make the board reconsider the action and reinstate me. 


BOY FRIEND: Well, what was the verdict, Isabelle? 

ISABELLE: They refused to reinstate me. (SOBS) 



ISABELLE: That's the story, Mr. Alexander. 

ALEXANDER: Well, I'm glad that you've had the opportunity of telling your side of it . . . and we can understand, of course, just how you feel, but before turning to the members of our jury, the jurors in the studio, as well as those listening in, I would appreciate your bringing your story up-to-date . . . It was how long ago that you were refused reinstatement? 

ISABELLE: (Mentions a date). 

ALEXANDER: And what have you done since that time? 

ISABELLE: After what happened, I couldn't get a teaching job. I had to earn a living somehow. I came to New York and decided to try to get work on the stage. 

ALEXANDER: And have you succeeded in that regard? 

ISABELLE: No, Mr. Alexander, I've worked on a few radio programs and have written and sold my story to TRUE STORY MAGAZINE, but more important than anything else . . . a cloud has been cast on my reputation. I felt that I should like to submit my case to an impartial jury so that my name might be cleared and perhaps I might be able to get some advice as to whether or not I should drop the matter or continue to fight for reinstatement. 

ALEXANDER: I believe, Miss Hallin, that there are two or three questions which will serve to definitely establish for the jury the real issues to be considered. 

ISABELLE: I'm only too glad to answer anything. 

ALEXANDER: If you were a member of a School Board vested with responsibility for the character of teachers entrusted with the care of children, would you be in favor of a teacher who served cocktails to students of adolescent age? 

ISABELLE: I would not be in favor of such a teacher, Mr. Alexander. 

ALEXANDER: You agree, then, that serving drinks in such a situation is wrong? 

ISABELLE: I most emphatically do, but I repeat that the charges were trumped up. I didn't serve any drinks. I say that it was all a trick to get rid of me because I was too modern for them. 

ALEXANDER: Now, Miss Hallin, you were accused, as well, of rehearsing love scenes in a play. How old were the children? 

ISABELLE: I didn't do the things that they said! 

ALEXANDER: Well, now, I didn't say that you did. We can understand that this is a matter that has caused you pain and great discomfort . . . How old were the children that you were supposed to have rehearsed in love scenes? 

ISABELLE: About sixteen. 

ALEXANDER: If you were a member of the Board, would you have approved of children of that age engaging in such rehearsals? 

ISABELLE: Why, the play was called, "Seventeen," a sweet story by Booth Tarkington. It was no more offensive than Louisa Alcott's "Little Women." 




ANNOUNCER: And thus A. L. Alexander and his jury sum up the case ... Read the story ... in [the] January TRUE STORY MAGAZINE ... After you've read this story, sit down and write us your opinion. Give us your advice. And for the best letter containing the most helpful advice, TRUE STORY MAGAZINE will award a cash prize of fifty dollars. And that's not all. For each of ten other letters which in the judges' opinion are next best, TRUE STORY will give prizes of five dollars. That makes eleven chances to win a cash prize. Remember, letters will be judged solely on the basis of helpfulness and the opinion of the judges is final. Send your letter to A. L. Alexander, in care of True Story Court, Two-Oh-Five East Forty-Second Street, New York City. Two-Oh-Five East Forty-Second Street, New York City. Winners will be announced two weeks from tonight. ...

... Has it ever occurred to you why more than one hundred thousand magazine dealers carry TRUE STORY on their stands? It's because they know that over two million, two hundred thousand families demand TRUE STORY's vivid, fascinating, helpful articles and stories every month. Because they know that millions of readers like the intimate, candid camera illustrations in TRUE STORY's pages. It's because they know that people everywhere want to read a magazine which gives them the true-life stories of people just like themselves and their neighbors and friends. And that's why TRUE STORY is one of the most popular magazines and is the largest seller on the magazine stands of the world. TRUE STORY is a magazine you can't afford to miss. Go to your magazine dealer now and say, "A copy of the January TRUE STORY, please." And remember, TRUE STORY is not only great entertainment, but a guide to personal happiness as well. This is Nelson Case bidding you good night and good reading with your TRUE STORY MAGAZINE. This is the National Broadcasting Company.