Microphone Plays‎ > ‎

Names on the List

The Voice of the Army

Names on the List 

Jul 14 1945



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

SINGER, of theme song


MARGARET, the nurse (HELEN HAYES)

ALAN, the patient

COLONEL

DICK

CLERK (3 lines)




ANNOUNCER: The Voice of the Army!


MUSIC: MARCH THEME ... THEN BEHIND SINGER--


SINGER:

The Voice of the Army is on the air

Calling Americans everywhere!

Maybe you're just the one we are looking for

To volunteer and help win the war!

While our brave soldiers fight throughout the universe

Won't you serve as a U. S. Army nurse?

The Voice of the Army is calling you 

To get in step with the march to victory!


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


ANNOUNCER: Today, "The Voice of the Army" presents the distinguished American actress Miss Helen Hayes in a story of the U. S. Army Nurse Corps. It's with considerable pride that we present Miss Hayes as Lieutenant Margaret English in "Names on the List."


MUSIC: WARM INTRODUCTION ... STRINGS ... GENTLY OUT BEHIND--


MARGARET: Hello, soldier. (TO HERSELF) Let's see, Private Alan Wickes. (TO ALAN) Hello, Alan.


ALAN: (UNHAPPY) I suppose I gotta talk or you'll be sayin', "Cat got ya tongue?" That's what the other one always said. "Cat got ya tongue?" 


MARGARET: No. No, you don't have to talk if you don't want to.


ALAN: That's good. (BEAT) You the new nurse?


MARGARET: (YES) Mm hm.


ALAN: Oh.


MARGARET: Want a light?


ALAN: (QUICKLY, DEFENSIVELY) I can manage.


SOUND: MATCH STRIKES


MARGARET: That's an interesting-looking pipe.


ALAN: Yeah.


MARGARET: Get it over there?


ALAN: Yeah.


MARGARET: Collect pipes?


ALAN: (ANNOYED) Look ---- it's a pipe. I smoke pipes. I've always smoked pipes. It's interesting-looking and I got it over there. It was my best friend's. He was killed.


MARGARET: Oh. I'm sorry, Alan.


ALAN: Sure. You're sorry, I'm sorry, he's sorry. I lost an arm; maybe we're sorry about that, too. Let's let it go at that.


MARGARET: We're going to be able to do something for you.


ALAN: Here it comes. (EXHALES) Lesson Number One: Point out to the patient advances made in modern prosthetics. Tell him one of those grappling hook arms is just as good as the real thing; better even! All right, maybe it is! Only let's not talk about it. See?


MUSIC: SYMPATHETIC BRIDGE


COLONEL: Well, nurse? How's it going?


MARGARET: With the boy?


COLONEL: (YES) Mm hm.


MARGARET: Not too well, Colonel.


COLONEL: I told you it wouldn't be--


MARGARET: (COMPLETES THE SENTENCE) --exactly easy. No, it isn't.


COLONEL: (BEAT) And, uh, how's it going with you?


MARGARET: I'm all right. It's kind of hard at mail time. Dick used to write so regularly. I'd always know there'd be a letter from him.


COLONEL: Of course.


MARGARET: I got several letters -- even after the news that he was missing. That was the hardest of all. (BEAT) Then they stopped coming, too.


COLONEL: I know.


MARGARET: But I'm so sure he's safe. It couldn't happen to us. I read the poem and I know it couldn't happen to us.


COLONEL: (PUZZLED) You read the poem?


MARGARET: Oh, yes. "How do I love thee?"


COLONEL: Hm?


MARGARET: Elizabeth Barrett Browning.


COLONEL: (UNDERSTANDS) Oh. Oh, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Mm hm.


MARGARET: You see, that's how we happened to meet, Dick and I. I guess I never told you about that.


COLONEL: No.


MARGARET: It's really just one of those sentimental stories that sound silly to everybody except the people it happened to. For them, it's important.


COLONEL: Tell me about it.


MARGARET: Really?


COLONEL: (YES) Mm hm.


MARGARET: Well, it was way back when I was a student nurse in New York. That seems a hundred years ago now.


COLONEL: (CHUCKLES QUIETLY)


MARGARET: That day, I was looking over the ten-cent counter of a little secondhand bookstore down in Greenwich Village; you know the kind. And then I heard someone asking for Mrs. Browning's "Sonnets."


DICK: (SLIGHTLY OFF) It was a little blue book. It was here last week. Er, "Sonnets from the Portuguese."


MARGARET: I looked around. It was a young man. (SLOWLY) A very nice-looking young man, I thought, with curly brown hair, and a nose that turned up just a little at the end, and a lovely smile.


DICK: (CLOSER) It was, uh, right on this shelf somewhere.


CLERK: (MUSES) "Sonnets from the Portuguese." Er-- Ah, yes. There - there it is. The young lady has it.


MARGARET: (SURPRISED) Oh.


CLERK: Did you wish to buy it, miss?


MARGARET: Well, I--


DICK: (TO CLERK) Oh, that's all right. Please. I - I wouldn't think of--


MARGARET: But it's quite all right. If you'd like it, why--


DICK: No, I, er, wouldn't dream of--


MARGARET: But really, I--


DICK: No, I assure you. I-- (CHUCKLES)


MARGARET: (CHUCKLES)


CLERK: Well, if either of you wants it, it's ten cents.


MARGARET: (CHUCKLES)


DICK: Look, I, er, have a wonderful idea. Let's buy it together. We'll each put up five cents and we'll each own a fifty percent interest. Fifty-fifty, what do you say? (FADES OUT)


MARGARET: (TO COLONEL) We each put up our five cents, Colonel, just as crazily as that.


COLONEL: (CHUCKLES)


MARGARET: And Dick decided we'd have to go to lunch together to discuss the details of our partnership. And then-- Well, three months later we were married. (LIGHTLY) And I always teased Dick by saying, the only reason we were - was to put an end to the eternal problem of the custody of Mrs. Browning.


COLONEL: (CHUCKLES) That's wonderful.


MARGARET: Well, I like this little book. (DEEPLY) Especially now.


COLONEL: That's the same one?


MARGARET: The same. Faded blue cover -- faded a little more. I always like to have it with me. (BEAT, LIGHTLY) Well, guess I'd better go on up to our problem child.


COLONEL: (LIGHTLY) Not going to try poetry on him, now? 


MARGARET: (MERRILY) I might.


MUSIC: ROMANTIC BRIDGE


MARGARET: Hello, Alan.


ALAN: Hello.


MARGARET: You don't have to talk. I'm just going to sit here for a while and read, if you don't mind.


ALAN: I don't mind. (BEAT) What are you reading?


MARGARET: (BEAT) A book.


ALAN: What book?


MARGARET: I don't think you'd like it.


ALAN: How do you know I wouldn't like it?


MARGARET: It's poetry.


ALAN: What makes you think I wouldn't like a book of poetry?


MARGARET: I don't know. I just didn't think so.


ALAN: (BEAT) Why don't--? Why don't ya--? (DISMISSIVE, "NEVER MIND") Ahhhh, no.


MARGARET: What? Go ahead.


ALAN: Well-- Why don't you read out loud? (BEAT) Would you mind?


MARGARET: (PAUSE, THEN READS) 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.


SOUND: TURNS PAGE OF BOOK


MARGARET: (READS) 

I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as men turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

(BEAT, TO ALAN) 

Well?


ALAN: Well?


MARGARET: (DREAMILY) It just kinda does something to ya, doesn't it?


ALAN: (BITTERLY) Yeah, it does something to ya, all right. It turns your stomach; all that phony sentimentality!


MARGARET: (SHOCKED) Alan, I thought you wanted me to read it.


ALAN: Sure. I went for that sort of thing once, but I forgot. Anyway, who do you think you're kidding? (MOCKINGLY) "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." (DISGUSTED) Sure, I love thee -- with one arm!


MARGARET: (REPRESSED ANGER) I'm sorry it doesn't mean anything to you, because it means a great deal to me.


ALAN: (EXPLODES, QUICKLY) Well, why don't you do something?! Why don't you slam the book down and stalk out and report me to the colonel?! Why don'tcha?!


MARGARET: (SUDDENLY SYMPATHETIC) I don't want to. (BEAT) Alan, why do you keep fighting inside yourself? Why don't you let us try?


ALAN: Why don't you--?! (TEARFUL) Why don't you leave me alone?


MUSIC: STORMY BRIDGE


COLONEL: Private Wickes?


ALAN: Yes, Colonel?


COLONEL: There's something I must speak to you about.


ALAN: Oh. I suppose she told you I was rude to her yesterday.


COLONEL: No. No, Lieutenant English didn't say anything. She wouldn't.


ALAN: Huh?


COLONEL: (POINTEDLY) It so happens that Lieutenant English -- who's husband has been missing for six weeks -- got word late last night that he had been killed in action. (BEAT, CRISPLY) If you can't feel any consideration for her, I hope at least you can be civil. (MORE CASUAL) That's all I wanted to say. Of course, um, you won't mention this to her. You understand? You don't know about it.


ALAN: (MOVED, CHASTENED) No, sir. I don't know - a thing about it.


MUSIC: SYMPATHETIC BRIDGE


MARGARET: Hello, Alan.


ALAN: (SURPRISED, FRIENDLY) Oh. I wondered if you'd come in.


MARGARET: Did you?


ALAN: Yeah. (BEAT) I'm a pretty tough patient.


MARGARET: (NO KIDDING) No. (BEAT) Can I puff your pillows up a bit?


ALAN: Don't bother.


MARGARET: Oh, I'm sorry, I keep forgetting.


ALAN: No, I didn't mean that; I just meant-- I didn't want ya to bother.


MARGARET: No bother. Here.


ALAN: (BEAT, EXHALES) Thanks.


MARGARET: (SURPRISED) Hm?


ALAN: (EXHALES SELF-CONSCIOUSLY) Thanks. (BEAT) Would you hand me my pipe?


MARGARET: Here you are. Oh, it's a different one.


ALAN: Uh, I - I'm still so clumsy; spilling matches on the floor. Would you--?


MARGARET: Of course.


SOUND: MATCHBOX OPENS ... MATCH STRIKES ... PIPE LIT


ALAN: (PUFFS, EXHALES) That's good. I like a pipe. I got whole collection back home.


MARGARET: Have you a meerschaum?


ALAN: You know about pipes?


MARGARET: My husband-- (BEAT) My husband was very fond of pipes, too.


ALAN: Yeah, I've got a meerschaum. (BEAT) Nurse?


MARGARET: Yes, Alan?


ALAN: Would you read to me?


MARGARET: (SURPRISED) Read to you?


ALAN: Yes.


MARGARET: I've nothing to read here.


ALAN: (UNDERSTANDS) Oh. You don't want to.


MARGARET: (INSISTS) I've nothing to read.


ALAN: You've got a book in your pocket.


MARGARET: That's--


ALAN: "Sonnets from the Portuguese."


MARGARET: I'll go get something else.


ALAN: No, read from that.


MARGARET: Well--


ALAN: Read - "How do I love thee?"


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... QUIETLY STIRRING


MARGARET: I'll get something else.


ALAN: Please read it to me.


MARGARET: No, I - I--


ALAN: Please. (BEAT) Please?


MARGARET: (PAUSE, THEN READS, INCREASINGLY EMOTIONAL)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need--

(FALTERS, REPEATS THE LINE)

--to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light--

(BREAKS DOWN AND WEEPS ... CONTINUES BRIEFLY BEHIND ALAN--)


ALAN: 

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as men turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose--

(TO MARGARET)

--and, if God choose?


MARGARET: (WITH A NEW STRENGTH) 

--and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


ANNOUNCER: (SOLEMNLY) Two names on a list. Two men, two soldiers. A Major English, a Private Wickes, unknown to each other. And yet -- as you heard -- their stories were not wholly unrelated.


MUSIC: BOISTEROUS MARCH THEME ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: You've just listened to "Names on the List," and now we'd like you to listen to our star, Miss Helen Hayes, who has a personal message for you about the Army Nurse Corps.


HAYES: No American mother can be unmindful of the debt of gratitude we all owe to the women of the Army Nurse Corps. Now, as the good news continues to roll in in ever-increasing proportions, we must not forget the bad news that inevitably must accompany it -- our casualties. As for these wounded men, the war will still be with them for a long, long time to come. This is a need only registered nurses can fill, but there are other ways of helping. Senior cadet nurses may take their final six-months' training in army hospitals and graduates of Red Cross training courses may serve as nurse's aides in both civilian and military hospitals. The need for army nurses is urgent today. The men of our army, and their wives and mothers, ask you to think this over most carefully. You're needed now. Won't you help? 


ANNOUNCER: If you will accept an appointment as a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps, write the Surgeon General, U. S. Army, Washington Twenty-Five, D. C. or apply at any Red Cross procurement office.


MUSIC: BOISTEROUS MARCH THEME ... UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: This closes another program in the series "The Voice of the Army"!


Comments