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Miss Pringle Gets a Ticket

The Rudy Vallee Hour

Miss Pringle Gets a Ticket

Aug 18 1938


HOST, Rudy Vallee

MISS PRINGLE, dim spinster; Midwestern drawl

JUDGE, unbelievably stern and pompous

OFFICER, working class Irish policeman

HOST: ... Mid-August has brought to New York one of the most welcome of visitors, Miss Zasu Pitts, the delightful comedienne whose popularity is so great that people are having contests for the best imitation of Miss Pitts. (ATTEMPTS AN IMITATION) O-o-o-oh, dear! (CLEARS THROAT SELF-CONSCIOUSLY) ... But we have the pleasure of presenting the original and, I believe, practically inimitable Zasu Pitts, who began a series of personal appearances at the Paramount Theatre today. For Zasu Pitts' personal appearance here this evening, we invited Keith Fowler to write a comedy. The result is called "Miss Pringle Gets a Ticket." Presenting Miss Zasu Pitts with the assistance of Harold Vermilyea and Walter Scanlon in "Miss Pringle Gets a Ticket." 



HOST: Miss Martha Pringle, schoolteacher, celebrates her vacation by purchasing an automobile. On her first day at the wheel, she runs afoul of the law and is told by an officer to appear in court the following morning. As the scene opens, the judge calls her name and--


JUDGE: Next case! Miss Martha Pringle? Miss Martha Pringle!

PRINGLE: Were you calling me, judge? ...

JUDGE: I was, if your name is Miss Martha Pringle.

PRINGLE: Yes, that's my name. I suppose it always will be my name. ...

JUDGE: Will you come forward please?

PRINGLE: Oh, that's awfully sweet of you, but you mustn't bother. I can see everything from where I'm sitting. ...

JUDGE: Are you under the impression, Miss Pringle, that you're in this court merely as a spectator?

PRINGLE: Why, I really don't know. Does my ticket entitle me to anything else? ... Do I get a set of dishes if it's the lucky number?

JUDGE: Are you referring to the ticket given you yesterday by Officer Downey?

PRINGLE: Yes, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. You see, I get around so little since our Little Theater group disbanded.

JUDGE: You are here to answer a charge of reckless and improper driving. Please step forward.

PRINGLE: There must be some mistake, judge. I've never done anything improper. I'm sure I'd remember it if I had. ...

JUDGE: I'm afraid there's been no mistake. You can settle the whole thing, Miss Pringle, by answering one question. Are you guilty?

PRINGLE: Well, none of us is perfect. ...

JUDGE: Are you guilty of the charges preferred against you by Traffic Officer Downey?

PRINGLE: (PUZZLED) The charges? Officer Downey just gave me a ticket and told me to come here this morning and I said I'd be delighted and here I am now and it's all very confusing to me. Aren't you confused? ...

JUDGE: (HARRUMPHS) Suppose we approach this problem by easy steps. First, you are Miss Martha Pringle.

PRINGLE: Well, that's fine. You have a wonderful memory for names. I have a memory for faces, but no memory at all for names.

JUDGE: Yes. Well, never mind. Second, you are the owner of, uh--

PRINGLE: What is your name, judge?

JUDGE: I am Judge Henry Vesey.

PRINGLE: (THINKS) Vesey, Vesey. Oh! Do you have a son named Claude Vesey?

JUDGE: Yes, I have. But that has no bearing on this case.

PRINGLE: Dear little Claude. He's one of my pupils. A sweet boy, but so dull at arithmetic. ...

JUDGE: My son, Miss Pringle, has an excellent mind!

PRINGLE: Oh, dear, now I've hurt your feelings. But, really, when it comes to arithmetic, Claude is stupid -- in a well-bred way. ...

JUDGE: Perhaps we can continue that discussion at some other time. At present, your case must be settled. Will Officer Downey please step forward?

OFFICER: Here I am, Your Honor.

PRINGLE: Why, Officer Downey! How nice to see you again! Remember me?

OFFICER: Eh, I sure do, lady.

PRINGLE: Oh, you old flatterer.

JUDGE: Now-now-now-now, Miss Pringle. Let's get down to business. Officer Downey will present the evidence and, if you wish, you may defend yourself.

PRINGLE: Against him?!

JUDGE: Exactly.

PRINGLE: Well, I'll try. Of course, it's been quite a while since I defended myself against a man. ...

OFFICER: (CHUCKLES) She thinks we're gonna wrestle, judge.


JUDGE: Quiet, Downey. (BEAT) You, Miss Pringle, will present your side of the case. Officer Downey will present his. I will hear both sides and render a fair and impartial decision.

PRINGLE: Are you always impartial, judge?

JUDGE: I pride myself on that fact.

PRINGLE: Even when you say your son Claude isn't dull at arithmetic? ...

JUDGE: My son Claude is not on trial.

PRINGLE: Of course, it may be "like father, like son." Are you dull at arithmetic?

JUDGE: (ANNOYED) My dear woman--

PRINGLE: Now -- if one man can mow a field in three days and another man can mow it in two, how long would it take both together to mow it?

JUDGE: I refuse--! (ABRUPTLY THOUGHTFUL) Well, let me see. ... One man, three days. (CHUCKLES) That's quite simple. The answer is two and a half days.

PRINGLE: Oh, no, it isn't.

OFFICER: Oh, sure it ain't. You add 'em up and get five days. Yeah, that's right -- five days.

PRINGLE: Your children must be dull at arithmetic, too, Officer Downey. ...

OFFICER: I ain't got any kids. I ain't married.

PRINGLE: (SADLY) Neither am I.

OFFICER: So what?!

PRINGLE: Oh, dear. Now he thinks I'm a scheming woman. ...


JUDGE: Must this issue be forever sidetracked? Get on with it, Officer Downey. What was Miss Pringle doing when you gave her the ticket?

OFFICER: She was parked on the wrong side of the street.

PRINGLE: But I wasn't. I'd gone downtown to buy a piece of dotted Swiss for a shirtwaist, and I stopped in front of the Bon-Ton shop. If I'd stopped on the other side of the street, then the Bon-Ton shop would[n't] have been there, so I must have been on the right side of the street. ...

OFFICER: She told me the same thing, judge. I ain't figured it out yet! ...

JUDGE: The location of the Bon-Ton shop, Miss Pringle, has nothing to do with traffic regulations. What if all drivers always stayed on the same side of the street? Can't you see what would happen?

PRINGLE: I suppose it would get awfully monotonous. ...

JUDGE: I can only point out that you endangered the lives of other people simply because you wanted to buy a piece of-- Well, whatever it was you wanted to buy.

PRINGLE: Dotted Swiss.

JUDGE: Yes, dotted Swiss. I assure you, madam, that I would never place dotted Swiss above the public welfare.

PRINGLE: But dotted Swiss wouldn't be right for you, judge. ... You're more the blue serge type.

JUDGE: Your guilt is obvious, Miss Pringle, but since this is your first offense, I am inclined to be lenient. And so--

OFFICER: Hey! Hey, that ain't all, Your Honor.

JUDGE: What? There's more?

OFFICER: Plenty! You got no idea what this lady can do once she gets started.

PRINGLE: Why, Officer Downey, you make me sound quite fascinating.

JUDGE: Proceed, Downey. What else have you to report?

OFFICER: Well, half an hour after I give her the first ticket, I run into her again and give her another ticket. Fifteen minutes later, I run into her again and give her another ticket. An hour later, I--

JUDGE: Wait a minute! Miss Pringle, how many tickets in all did Officer Downey give you?

PRINGLE: Six, but you mustn't blame me. I told him he shouldn't be so generous, but he kept insisting. I couldn't do a thing with him.

JUDGE: Where are the other tickets?

PRINGLE: I tucked them away in my hope chest. ...

JUDGE: Downey, maybe you can straighten this out. Her first ticket was for parking on the wrong side of the street. How about the second one?

OFFICER: Well, three times she held out her hand and didn't make no turn. Then she made a quick turn and didn't hold out her hand!

JUDGE: Is that true, Miss Pringle?

PRINGLE: Oh, yes. It was getting cloudy and I put out my hand to see if it was raining. ...

JUDGE: Well, why didn't you put out your hand when you did turn? 

PRINGLE: Well, it wasn't raining. ...

JUDGE: My dear Miss Pringle, don't you realize that you might have caused an accident? That someone might have collided with you?

OFFICER: Yeah, maybe you think somebody didn't!

JUDGE: Ohhh? There was an accident?

PRINGLE: Not exactly. A man and his car just happened to be where I went. ...

JUDGE: Was he hurt?

PRINGLE: I don't think so. After a while he got out and picked up his fender and said, "Oh, you women."

JUDGE: And you, Miss Pringle?

PRINGLE: I just said, "Oh, you men." I hope it didn't sound flirtatious. ...

JUDGE: Proceed, Downey. What was the third instance?

OFFICER: (SIGHS) Well, I just started to hope I'd seen the last of this lady when -- bing! -- there she was again. She was goin' through a bunch of red lights like they weren't even there.

JUDGE: Well, Miss Pringle? Didn't you see those red lights?

PRINGLE: Oh, yes, I saw them. They're a very pretty shade of red. Did you pick them out? ...

JUDGE: It might interest you to know that when you see a red light, it means stop!

PRINGLE: In what language?

JUDGE: In any language.

PRINGLE: Oh, that reminds me. Your son Claude is not only dull at arithmetic, but he's the weeniest bit backward at languages.

JUDGE: Must we drag my son into this again?

OFFICER: (HAPPY) Say! Heh! I just got it!

JUDGE: Yes, Downey?

OFFICER: It would take both of them guys six days to mow that field! ...


JUDGE: Quiet! I refuse to have this court turned into a kindergarten. In the future, Miss Pringle, please abide by this slogan: "When lights are green, / the coast is clean. / When lights are red, / always stop dead."

PRINGLE: Why, what a lovely little jingle. ...

JUDGE: Now, then, "When--"

PRINGLE: No, don't prompt me. "When lights are green, / the coast is clean."

JUDGE: (PLEASED) Go on, go on. "When lights are red--"

PRINGLE: "Go straight ahead!" ... There! I'm sure I'll never forget it.

JUDGE: Oh, what's the use? Proceed, Officer Downey. What happened next?

OFFICER: Well, I caught her speeding, Your Honor. Sixty miles an hour!

PRINGLE: Sixty miles an hour? Oh, dear me, you're all mixed up. I've only gone thirty-seven miles since I bought my car. ...

JUDGE: He didn't say you went sixty miles! He said you were going sixty miles an hour.

PRINGLE: But that's all wrong, too. When he stopped me, it was exactly two forty-five and I left my house at ten after two and that certainly doesn't make an hour, judge.

JUDGE: Hour or no hour, were you going fast?

PRINGLE: Well, at one time, I was traveling at a pretty smart clip. ...

JUDGE: Why, Miss Pringle?

PRINGLE: I think I must have stepped on the jigger when I meant to step on the doohickey. ...

JUDGE: (CONFUSED) You stepped on the doohickey when you--? (GIVES UP) Miss Pringle, may I see your license?

PRINGLE: License?

JUDGE: Yes. When you get a car, you're also supposed to get a license.

PRINGLE: Ohhh? Is that so? ...

JUDGE: Miss Pringle, you've broken every law in the book and you have no license. I offer you a choice of thirty days or fifty dollars. I presume you'll take the fifty dollars.

PRINGLE: No, I couldn't, judge; I simply couldn't.

JUDGE: What?

PRINGLE: Oh, please don't think I'm ungrateful. After all, I did take your free tickets, but I couldn't possibly accept a sum of money from a comparative stranger. ...

JUDGE: Accept--? Listen, Miss Pringle--

PRINGLE: Suppose my friends asked me what I did to earn those fifty dollars. What could I say? No, judge, I've never been a gold digger and I'm afraid it's too late to learn now.

JUDGE: I give up! I know when I'm licked!


JUDGE: Court dismissed! And I'm going home!

PRINGLE: Oh, judge! Must you go, judge?

JUDGE: I must!

PRINGLE: (CALLS AFTER HIM) Well, I'll be glad to drive you home! I have my automobile outside! It's parked right next to the fire hydrant! ...