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The House of the World

Let's Pretend

The House of the World

Dec 20 1941 or Dec 26 1942



CAST:

ANNOUNCER


LITTLE CHILD

GOOD WILL


MADGE SMITH, mother

HENRY SMITH, father

DOTTIE SMITH, daughter

TED, son

MARY, the maid


GEORGE BROWN, husband

ELEANOR BROWN, wife

GIRL

ANTOINE, French violinist


DOCTOR, patiently agreeable physician

LOUISE JONES, manipulative hypochondriac wife

TOM JONES, meek husband


SANTA CLAUS


and the PEOPLE of the House of the World


NOTE: A version of this play first aired on December 23, 1933.




MUSIC: LET'S PRETEND THEME ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Broadcasting System presents Nila Mack's "Let's Pretenders."


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: By popular demand, once more the Columbia Christmas caravan brings you Nila Mack's original story "The House of the World." The lights are lowered,--


MUSIC: BELLS RING, IN BG


ANNOUNCER: --the cathedral bells toll their evensong, and our story begins.


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... BELLS AND ORCHESTRA


SOUND: A HEAVY WIND BLOWS ... THEN IN BG, DIES OUT GENTLY AT [X]


CHILD: (TEARFUL) Oh! Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I - I'm so cold! Help me, somebody! Please take me in! (WEEPS)


WILL: Oh, hello, little fellow. Why are you crying?


CHILD: I'm so cold -- and lonely -- and no one will let me in! (WEEPS)


WILL: Oh, poor little youngster. Who are you? What's your name?


CHILD: I don't remember. I'm just a child.


WILL: Where did you come from?


CHILD: I don't know. [X]


WILL: Have you no home?


CHILD: No. Who are you?


WILL: Oh, I am Good Will.


CHILD: Good Will? Why are you out in the cold?


WILL: Why, it's Christmas Eve, and that's the most important time of the year for me to be out.


CHILD: But shouldn't Good Will be out every day?


WILL: (AMUSED, LIGHTLY) You're wise beyond your years, little fellow. You're right. (MORE SERIOUS) But, you see, people sometimes forget me. Or pass me by and wait until Christmas before they speak to me. I walk along the streets quite lonely for lack of people to talk to.


CHILD: May I walk with you, Good Will? I'm lonely, too.


WILL: Oh, of course you may. Here, keep close to me and perhaps I can keep you warm.


CHILD: Where are we, Good Will? What is this great big place we're standing in front of?


WILL: This is the House of the World, little friend.


CHILD: The House of the World?


WILL: Yes, it holds all the people.


CHILD: But it's built so strangely -- all different angles and levels.


WILL: It is indeed. Let me tell you why. It's because all the people who have built this house see things in different ways. All have different ideas of what a House of the World should be. So each one builds his own.


CHILD: But shouldn't it be all one big house?


WILL: It should indeed, child. Only people lose track of that fact sometimes.


CHILD: But how can they see out? The walls are so high. And the windows-- Where are they?


WILL: That's the trouble. You see, they've built the walls so high, there's no room for the windows.


CHILD: But tonight Santa Claus is due! How can he get in a place like this?


WILL: He can't. That's why I was waiting here. I want to tell him he might as well move on. There's no place for Santa here.


CHILD: Oh, but somewhere in there-- Well, these people'll be so disappointed. Can't you talk to them, Good Will? Can't you tell them to put in windows, so that there can be light?


WILL: Oh, I doubt if they will listen to me. Some of them will, of course. There are many, many people in there who know me and love me. But, again, the walls keep them from getting out to me.


CHILD: Oh, try! Try again! Tell them!


WILL: All right, Little Child. Come along. I'm afraid they won't listen to us, these people. But together we'll try!


CHILD: Oh, good! Where shall we go first?


WILL: We'll try to get over this wall first. It's very high, though.


CHILD: What wall is this?


WILL: This is the Wall of Selfishness. Built solidly and very high. But come. Who knows? Perhaps we may succeed.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN


TED: You give me that!


DOTTIE: (WEEPS) I will not! Make him stop, mama!


MADGE: (HARD AND SHRILL) Oh, Dottie! Hush, please!


DOTTIE: I wanted a China doll and an automobile I could ride in myself! I didn't want this old tin thing! (WEEPS BRIEFLY BEHIND--)


MADGE: Oh! For goodness sakes, Dottie! You've done nothing but cry all day! (CALLS) Mary?


MARY: Yes, Mrs. Smith?


MADGE: What time will you serve dinner?


MARY: Will seven be all right?


MADGE: Yes, only be on time. We want to go to the Christmas Eve party at the Browns.


HENRY: Oh, Madge, I forgot to tell you. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds can't get here.


MADGE: What?!


TED: Oh, goody! I hate that Reynolds kid! He always wants to borrow my toys.


DOTTIE: I'm glad they can't come! I want all my toys to myself.


MADGE: But, Henry, with all the food we've cooked--! Oh, my goodness, we can't possibly eat it all!


HENRY: Oh, yes, we can. It'll keep.


MARY: (SADLY) I'm afraid it won't, Mr. Smith.


HENRY: (CARELESSLY) Well, all right. If it won't, throw it out. I don't want a lot of company! I'd just as soon be alone! 


MARY: (CAREFULLY) Mr. Smith, I know a family that probably won't have anything to eat--


HENRY: (INTERRUPTS, BRUSQUE) That will do, Mary! It's no time to hear that kind of story.


DOTTIE: I wanted a new muff and fur for Christmas and I didn't get it! (WEEPS BRIEFLY BEHIND--)


TED: Oh, pipe down, Sis! Gee whiz, ya got everything else!


MADGE: Dear, hasn't that dressmaker brought my new gown yet? I simply won't go to the party if I have to wear a dress I've worn before!


HENRY: Oh, good heavens, Madge! Your closet's filled with clothes now!


MADGE: Oh, Henry--


TED: Hey, Pop! Uncle John gave me an electric train and so did Aunt Ellen. Let's put 'em both down and have a wreck and bust one of 'em up! Will ya?


DOTTIE: (TEARFUL) Nobody gave me a baby carriage for my baby dolls and I wanted one! (WEEPS BRIEFLY BEHIND--)


SOUND: DOORBELL RINGS


HENRY: Oh, rats! Who's that? (CALLS, INSISTENT) Mary, if that's a beggar, shut the door in his face!


TED: If it's the Reynolds kids, they can't play with my toys!


MADGE: It may be the dressmaker. Let her in, Mary!


MARY: Yes, ma'am.


SOUND: FRONT DOOR OPENS ... WILL AND CHILD'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--


WILL: Good evening.


MADGE: Well! Who are you?


WILL: I am Good Will. Don't you remember me?


MADGE: Good Will? Well, why do you disturb us now?


TED: (SUSPICIOUS) Who's that with you?


WILL: Why, this is -- a little child. We thought you might let us warm ourselves for a moment. May we?


MADGE: Oh, the child's feet are dirty! Here, don't track the carpet, child! Stay where you are!


TED: Don't touch my toys!


DOTTIE: Stay away from my playthings!


CHILD: Oh! That food smells good, doesn't it, Good Will?


HENRY: (PUZZLED) Good Will, it seems to me I've met you before.


WILL: Oh, yes. You used to know me very well. That was before you were -- successful. I haven't seen much of you in the last few years.


MADGE: (SNOBBISH) I don't ever remember meeting you.


WILL: But you have! At college. I met you the day you helped a girl finish out the term by cutting your own allowance and giving her clothes and books.


MADGE: (CHANGE OF TONE, NO LONGER HARD AND SHRILL, SLOWLY) Oh, yes. Yes, I remember. But where were you, Good Will?


WILL: I was the recorder. I remember the girl's happy face. And yours, too.


CHILD: Oh, what a lovely drum! Is it yours?


TED: Yeah, and don't you touch it, either!


HENRY: (SOFTENING) You know, I can hardly remember, and yet it seems to me I must have known you very well. I'm glad to see you now.


MADGE: I feel that way, too. As if I'd met a very old and dear friend.


TED: Well, I don't! I think that child is funny-looking in those old clothes.


MADGE: Ted! Why don't you give him one of the three mufflers you got for Christmas? He's cold.


TED: I don't care if he is!


HENRY: Obey your mother, Ted. And, Dottie--? You have some mittens there. Give him one pair. Share with him!


DOTTIE: No, I don't wanna!


MADGE: Oh, come, dear. Both of you have more than enough. Good Will has just reminded me of one of the happiest moments of my life -- when I shared with someone who needed it. Oh, Dottie, make this little fellow happy -- and your own Christmas will be so much happier for doing it.


SOUND: CRACKLING OF PLASTER, RUMBLE OF WALL SHAKING ... THEN IN BG


MADGE: (STARTLED) Oh! What's that?


HENRY: Sounds like the wall is cracking!


MADGE: Wha - what's happening?


HENRY: Good heavens! The wall is falling down!


SOUND: RUMBLE AND CRASH OF FALLING WALL! ... THEN NOISE SUBSIDES


MADGE: Oh! Why, look!


TED: We can see out. For the first time.


DOTTIE: Let me see, Ted.


WILL: What do you see? Look carefully!


TED: I see people like us -- out there in the cold.


MADGE: That woman looks so hungry.


HENRY: My heavens! That man looks positively ill! Madge? Let's ask them in! Feed them!


MADGE: Why not? We have plenty of food. (CALLS) Hello, out there!


PEOPLE: (REACT ... THEN MURMUR WITH INCREASING EXCITEMENT IN BG)


MADGE: Come in! Yes, you out there! Come in and eat with us!


HENRY: Come out to the dining room and help yourselves!


TED: Come with me! 


DOTTIE: I know where there's a turkey leg!


PEOPLE: (MURMURING UP AND THEN FADES OUT AS THEY EXIT)


WILL: Come, Little Child. The Wall of Selfishness has crumbled. Our work here is done. Let's visit another apartment in this House of the World.


CHILD: Oh, yes, let's! They did listen, Good Will! They did!


WILL: Now let's try this wall.


CHILD: Oh, it's very high. What wall is this?


WILL: This is the Wall of Greed.


CHILD: Greed?


WILL: Shall we try to climb it?


CHILD: Oh, yes. It is very high, but let's try.


WILL: Come along, then. I'll help you.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN


GEORGE: I tell you, Eleanor, I can't afford another town car this year!


ELEANOR: George, you make me sick! What do you make money for? I'm sick of that town car! We've had it a whole year! It's positively shabby!


GEORGE: Now, I want to invest five hundred thousand dollars the first of the year in the new scheme I have, and I cannot buy another car. The garage is crowded now.


ELEANOR: It didn't stop you from getting a whole new lot of polo ponies I noticed! You've got millions of dollars, George! You're just stingy.


GEORGE: Eleanor, there's no use arguing about this. You know my ambition. I intend to be the wealthiest man in this town, and to have all the power that goes with it. And nothing -- not even you -- can stop me.


SOUND: DOORBELL RINGS


GEORGE: Are you expecting someone?


ELEANOR: No. Probably some late gifts. The butler will answer it.


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR


ELEANOR: (PUZZLED, CALLS) Come in?!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


ELEANOR: Well--? Who are you?


WILL: Good evening. I am Good Will. I've come to call on you. I've brought a little child with me. May we come in?


CHILD: Oh, it's very cold tonight. May I stand by that lovely fire for a while?


ELEANOR: Well, now, really! (GIVES IN) Oh, I suppose you may. But only for a moment! We can't be bothered.


GEORGE: Did you say your name was, er, Good Will?


WILL: Yes. Do you know me?


GEORGE: I never saw you before.


WILL: I pass your house every day.


GEORGE: Our walls are high here, and we have no windows. I don't know you.


WILL: Don't you think it's time you did?


GEORGE: Well, why should I? What can you do for me?


WILL: Bring you happiness.


GEORGE: Wha--? But I - I am happy.


WILL: Look in your mirror. You're not happy.


ELEANOR: He ought to be. He has more money and more property than anyone else. Stingy old thing.


WILL: And you, Mrs. Brown -- are you happy?


ELEANOR: I would be if I had a new town car!


WILL: You said that last year when you wanted one, and got it -- and still you weren't happy.


ELEANOR: How do you know?


WILL: I was there. And I wondered at the time why you looked so discontented, how you could want more in the midst of all this luxury. Even the new motor car didn't satisfy something that you thought it would.


GEORGE: You're quite right, whoever you are.


ELEANOR: I don't know why you should say all this to me. Are you a doctor?


WILL: I - might be a doctor. At least, I can prescribe for you.


ELEANOR: Don't be ridiculous. I don't need prescriptions. I know perfectly well what I want! A new town car and another bracelet of rubies and diamonds.


CHILD: Why, you're wearing five of them now.


ELEANOR: Well, what if I am? And you're very impudent! The idea of a child saying a thing like that.


GEORGE: (CHUCKLES) Just the same, it's the truth! What do you want more and more and more for, all the time?


ELEANOR: Well, what about yourself? All you think of is how to get money, money, and still more money! But I have to argue for everything that I want!


GEORGE: You bet you do. And even you won't stop me. Soon the whole world will know me as the richest man of our time!


ELEANOR: And I suppose even then I won't get that new mink coat!


WILL: You know, it's a strange thing. But we've been here fifteen minutes and neither one of you has said a nice thing to each other. Or smiled at the little child. (BEAT) You're most unhappy, both of you. Why not try to get more and more happiness instead of dollars and diamonds?


GEORGE: There is no happiness. Except in bank books.


ELEANOR: You make me furious, Good Will -- or whoever you say you are. (CHANGES TONE) But perhaps it's because you've dared to tell us the truth. We're not happy, George. We're miserable and discontented in spite of the money. And you know it.


GEORGE: Well, suppose we are?


CHILD: But there's no need to be. You two can be very happy. You needn't be miserable.


ELEANOR: How, child?


CHILD: Why, you two are in a position to help so many people. To bring joy to your fellow men.


GEORGE: Well, what fellow men?


CHILD: On the other side of the wall.


ELEANOR: But we don't know of them. We can't see out. George, who's next door to us? Perhaps they might be interesting.


GEORGE: Yes. Maybe they'd have something we'd like to have.


WILL: Oh, stupid man, how thick you've built this Wall of Greed! No wonder you have no friends or neighbors.


ELEANOR: That's the truth, George.


GEORGE: Oh, is that so? Listen, I built this wall to suit myself and it's good and solid, see?


SOUND: GEORGE POUNDS ON WALL A FEW TIMES WITH HIS OPEN HAND ... THEN CRACKLING OF PLASTER ... IN BG


ELEANOR: Oh! Look, George! The wall is cracking! 


SOUND: RUMBLE! ... IN BG


ELEANOR: Oh! It's falling down!


SOUND: CRASH OF FALLING WALL! ... THEN NOISE SUBSIDES


GEORGE: Well, I'll be hanged! The - the whole wall has fallen!


CHILD: (PUZZLED) But there's still another wall there. Why doesn't that one fall, Good Will? What is it?


WILL: That is the Wall of Poverty. Greed built it -- and while Greed lasts, so will Poverty.


MUSIC: LONE VIOLIN PLAYS A HAUNTING STRAIN ... THEN IN BG


GIRL: (WEEPS, IN BG)


ELEANOR: Listen. I hear music. A violin.


GEORGE: I hear a child crying. That's darned annoying. (CALLS) Hey, you noisy brat!


SOUND: GEORGE BANGS ON WALL A FEW TIMES ... THEN BRIEFLY BEHIND--


GEORGE: (CALLS) Stop that racket! You're disturbing us! Stop it, I say!


SOUND: QUIET CRACKLING OF PLASTER AS HOLE OPENS IN WALL AND VIOLIN GROWS A LITTLE LOUDER, IN BG


GIRL: (WEEPING OUT BEHIND--)


ELEANOR: Look. There's a crack in the wall.


GEORGE: (UNHAPPY) Oh, that's a fine thing. Big enough for a man to go through! Oh, thunder. Now we'll have to send for a carpenter.


MUSIC: VIOLIN STOPS


CHILD: When I grow up, I'm gonna be a carpenter.


GEORGE: A carpenter, eh? Well, I daresay, it's a good enough trade.


WILL: Suppose you two people go through and see what's on the other side.


ELEANOR: Come on, George. Let's see. Help me over.


GEORGE: All right.


ELEANOR: (WITH EFFORT AS SHE CLIMBS THROUGH) Mmph.


SOUND: WIND BLOWS ... THEN IN BG, OUT GENTLY AT [X]


ELEANOR: (DISMAYED) Well--? Well, what on earth is this? How cold it is. How barren.


GEORGE: May we come in, please?


ANTOINE: Why, certainly. My apologies, madame. You see, we were not expecting guests.


GEORGE: Wha--? Why, this is terrible. Who lives here? Who are you? [X]


ANTOINE: My name is Antoine, monsieur.


WILL: You didn't know there was a Wall of Poverty, did you, Mrs. Brown? You've never realized how it could keep people from doing all the things you take for granted, did you?


ELEANOR: No. I didn't realize poverty meant all this. You say your name is Antoine? You play beautifully.


ANTOINE: Thank you, madame.


GIRL: (WEEPS QUIETLY, IN BG)


GEORGE: Why in Heaven's name do you keep it so cold in here? What's this child crying for and why don't you ask us to sit down?


ANTOINE: Pardon, monsieur, but we have no chairs. No coal, either. I have burned the chairs, trying to keep the little girl there warm. She is crying because she is in great pain.


ELEANOR: That poor little baby. Well, what is it? What's wrong with her?


ANTOINE: It is a sad story, madame. She play in the street; a big automobile, it come; she not see it; a scream; and -- my little baby lies in the street. Her back, it will not get well, ever. And she cries from the pain.


GIRL: (TEARFUL) Oh, father! I can't stand it, it hurts me so!


GEORGE: What do the doctors say? Can't they fix it up?


ANTOINE: Oui, monsieur, but it will cost many, many dollars. We have no money. So the poor little back, it is not fixed.


ELEANOR: That's ridiculous! I just know this child can be well and strong! (BEAT, GENUINELY, TO GIRL) I'm really sorry, little one.


GIRL: Thank you, lady. Your smile is sweet and the pain is less now, but-- Oh, dear! (WEEPS)


ELEANOR: Why do you cry?


GIRL: (TEARFUL) I did so want to see Santa as he passed the House of the World and I wanted to have the Christmas carolers sing for me, and I can't. (SOBS)


ELEANOR: (SOOTHING) Oh, never mind, dear little baby. (BEAT, IMPLORING) George? I'll make a bargain with you. I'll not mention a town car again -- if you'll let me send this baby to the best specialist in New York and get her well. Will you?


ANTOINE: Oh, madame! Madame, you are an angel.


ELEANOR: I'm not. I'm ashamed of myself. Will you, George?


GEORGE: (RELUCTANT) Well, that'll, uh, cost quite a bit. Where's her mother? Why isn't she taking care of her?


ANTOINE: Please, monsieur -- I have been unable to find work. My wife, she scrubs in a big office building downtown. She does not get [home until] five in the morning.


GEORGE: I see. What is your work?


ANTOINE: Just now -- anything. I am a violinist. I have played all over the world. I was playing my last music on this, my beloved violin. Then I am taking it to sell.


GEORGE: Only you can't get much for it. It looks pretty weather-beaten to me.


ANTOINE: It is old and very precious, monsieur. 'Twas presented to me by the king himself. See? His name and mine on the back.


GEORGE: Yes.


ELEANOR: Oh, you mustn't have to sell it. George dear, let's think of somebody else for once in our lives. Let's bring some joy and happiness to this family. Oh, won't you, dear? Come on, say you will.


GEORGE: Well, I-- (ASTONISHED) Why, Eleanor! What's happened to you? You're beautiful! You look so young, like-- Well, like the day we were married! What's happened to you?!


ELEANOR: I've just realized it's Christmas Eve and we can bring such great happiness to these poor people. I feel young and happy -- for the first time in years!


GEORGE: Good Will, I think you must be a doctor! At least, a beauty doctor. I never saw my wife looking prettier than right now.


WILL: Look in this mirror yourself, George Brown.


ELEANOR: George, look!


GEORGE: Well, the only face I see is a laughing one. Who is that fellow?


WILL: (AMUSED) It's you, my friend. In your pursuit of material gains, you'd forgotten how to play and laugh.


GEORGE: By Jove! This is a miracle! (LAUGHS)


ELEANOR: Oh, you are going to help, aren't you, George?


GEORGE: Help? I'm going to do it all! (TO ANTOINE) Look here, neighbor, don't you think of selling that violin! I expect you to come over and play for us. Heh! I may even take some lessons myself.


ELEANOR: (CHUCKLES WITH DELIGHT)


GEORGE: And this little girl here. Tomorrow, the best specialists in town will come to see her and we'll get her all fixed up! (TO GIRL) Why, bless my soul, baby! We won't let you suffer another minute! No-sir-ree!


GIRL: And - and can I see Santa and hear the Christmas carols? And my mama won't have to scrub floors any more?


ELEANOR: All that and more, baby dear. And your mother and your daddy will be taken care of as long as they need it. Won't they, George?


GEORGE: You bet your life! We've got enough for all of us! My gosh! I never felt so good in all my life!


SOUND: CRACKLING OF PLASTER ... THEN RUMBLE IN BG


ELEANOR: (URGENT) Oh! That wall! It's breaking, too! Quick, George! Lift the baby!


GEORGE: All right.


ELEANOR: Hurry, Antoine! We'll take her over to our house! Hurry!


GEORGE: I've got her. Come on!


SOUND: RUMBLE AND CRASH OF FALLING WALL! ... THEN NOISE SUBSIDES


CHILD: Look! The Wall of Poverty has fallen.


WILL: Little Child, three walls have fallen. First Selfishness, then Greed, and now Poverty. But there is still one more we must try to conquer.


CHILD: What is the fourth wall of this House of the World?


WILL: The Wall of Intolerance.


CHILD: Then come! The others have listened to us, Good Will. Let's try the people who've built Intolerance.


GEORGE: (CALLS, JOVIAL, FROM OFF) Good Will! You're going to join our party, aren't you?!


WILL: (CALLS) Oh, yes, thank you -- in just a little while! I must meet someone outside the walls of this house! We'll stop on our return!


GEORGE: (OFF) See that you do!


CHILD: Come, Good Will! Here's our wall! Over we go.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN


DOCTOR: There, there now, Mrs. Jones. I'm quite sure you're better.


LOUISE: (WEAK, ANXIOUS) Oh, I don't think so, Dr. Rosenstein. I'm still so weak.


DOCTOR: But you won't even try to walk, my dear Mrs. Jones. Now, how long have you been in that wheelchair?


LOUISE: It's two years this next spring, isn't it, Tom?


TOM: That's right, dear. (TO DOCTOR) Do you think she's any stronger, Dr. Rosenstein?


DOCTOR: I think so. (TO LOUISE) Have you tried to walk?


LOUISE: Oh, no, doctor. Why, I don't dare. Is my pulse stronger, do you think? It seems so faint to me.


TOM: Oh, forget your pulse, dear. Try to think of getting well instead.


LOUISE: Oh, Tom, you don't understand. Does he, doctor?


TOM: (GROANS QUIETLY)


DOCTOR: (DIPLOMATIC) Well, maybe your husband puts it bluntly -- but, my dear, let me do the worrying about your pulse. Now, you keep your mind on cheerful things.


LOUISE: Hmph! That's so easy to say.


DOCTOR: Yes, I know, I know, but-- Dear little lady, you - you must help us to help you. And that's a good way to start.


LOUISE: Dr. Rosenstein, yesterday my heart acted so queerly. And it pains me, too! You don't think I have any heart ailment, do you? My grandfather died of heart trouble.


DOCTOR: (LIGHTLY) Yes, and so did mine, but my heart is fit as a fiddle and so is yours.


LOUISE: And you don't think this headache is from my stomach? It's been terribly upset for days, you know.


DOCTOR: No, no, my dear. You said yourself you read a whole book through yesterday. Your eyes are just tired, that's all. Now, you forget all those unhealthy thoughts and, just to please me, try to walk. Take one step today, two tomorrow -- but only try. And don't worry so much. Relax and rest. (TAKING LEAVE) I'll drop in tomorrow. Good night and a merry Christmas to you.


TOM: Merry Christmas to you, doctor. Good night.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES AS DOCTOR EXITS


LOUISE: (DROPS HER ANXIOUS TONE; SUDDENLY STRONG & SHARP) Tom? I think I'll change doctors. Rosenstein doesn't understand my case.


TOM: Oh, I think he does, dear.


LOUISE: Tom, put down that paper and listen to me!


TOM: (SIGHS)


LOUISE: He doesn't understand. And besides-- Well, I don't like him.


TOM: Why? Because he worships differently?


LOUISE: Well, that's one thing. After all, we've spent a great deal of time and money on our church, and I think everybody in this community should attend it.


TOM: Even if they've found comfort in their own idea of spiritual health in some other way?


LOUISE: Certainly. If we find it here, Rosenstein should, too.


TOM: We're traveling different roads, Louise. Since the goal is the same, what difference does it make on what highway we reach it?


LOUISE: I don't agree with you. And another thing! Mrs. Thompson was telling me the other day that he sends out most everything he makes to his people in Europe.


TOM: Well, good grief, what's wrong with that? Certainly we'd be the first to try to look after our own people -- or should be!


LOUISE: Now, Tom, don't get me excited! You know I can't stand it!


TOM: All right, Louise, all right -- but you started it.


SOUND: RATTLE OF NEWSPAPER PICKED UP, THEN QUICKLY PUT DOWN


TOM: (DEJECTED) Oh, rats!


LOUISE: Tom, what's wrong with you? You're as nervous as a cat!


TOM: Oh, I'm tired. What's it all about?


LOUISE: Tired of your job?


TOM: Oh, of everything. Year in and year out, the same drab, dull existence.


LOUISE: Why, Tom, you talk like an old man.


TOM: (EXHALES) Well, I feel like one.


LOUISE: Oh! And that reminds me!


TOM: Hm?


LOUISE: When Mrs. Porter called on me yesterday, she was shocked at my appearance. I could tell by the way she acted. Do you think I look old, Tom?


TOM: Oh, of course not, dear.


LOUISE: (ANXIOUS AND SELF-PITYING AGAIN) You do, too! You're trying to make me feel good! I look all thin and haggard and wrinkled! I think I must be anemic!


TOM: (EXPLODES) Oh, Louise, can't you think of something besides your make-believe aches and pains for a while?!


LOUISE: (TAKEN ABACK) Why, Tom Jones! You never spoke to me like that before! (TEARFUL) You don't love me any more!


TOM: (QUIETLY REASSURING) Oh, I do, Louise; of course I do, but--


LOUISE: (TEARFUL) No, you don't! Here I am, sick and helpless in a wheelchair and -- (SOBS) -- and now you've turned on me! Oh, I think you're absolutely heartless! (SOBS) Oh, I wish I were dead! (SOBS) Oh, my heart! (SOBS) I think I'm going to faint!


SOUND: KNOCKING AT DOOR


LOUISE: (ABRUPTLY DROPS HER SELF-PITYING TONE; VERY ANNOYED) Who's that?!


TOM: (TAKEN ABACK) Er-- (CLEARS THROAT) Uh-- Now, quiet down, Louise, and I'll see.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


TOM: Good evening.


WILL: Good evening. May we come in?


TOM: Well, who do you want to see? I, er, think you've made a mistake.


WILL: No, I don't think we've made a mistake. I'm Good Will. And this is -- just a little wandering child.


CHILD: It's very cold outside and - and we haven't any home, you see--


LOUISE: (INTERRUPTS, IRRITATED, FROM OFF) Well, don't stand there talking with the door open! There's a terrible draft! (INHALES, THEN SNEEZES) 'Choo! There now! I'll probably have pneumonia!


TOM: (WEARILY) Ohhhh, I'm sorry, darling. (TO WILL) Come in, please.


WILL: Thank you.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


TOM: You say you're Good Will. I've seen you before, haven't I?


WILL: Yes, we usually speak on the street as we pass. Sometimes you don't see me.


CHILD: Oh, this fire feels good.


LOUISE: Well, you should have warm clothes. Tom, isn't he a sweet little fellow? Such a spiritual face.


TOM: (CHUCKLES) Yes.


LOUISE: And, uh, you say your name is Good Will? I've heard of you. Now, who was it that was telling me--?


WILL: (INTERRUPTS) If you'll let me, we can be very good friends I'm sure. Shall we?


TOM: Well, sit down. We need a good friend. They're all too rare in this day and age.


WILL: Oh? What's the matter with this day and age? It's all right. It's only the people in this big House of the World that are wrong.


TOM: Much you know about what they have to face!


WILL: Oh, but I do. Take yourself, for instance.


TOM: What about me?


WILL: Well, you wanted to be a portrait painter, didn't you?


TOM: (BEAT) Well, I don't know how you know, but I did. (BITTER) And look at me -- second-rate lawyer. Because my father and my grandfather were lawyers. Oh, it makes me sick.


WILL: If you went to painting in the same spirit, you wouldn't even be a second-rate artist.


TOM: Why not?


WILL: Because you spend your time grumbling over what you wanted to be instead of making good at the job you have.


TOM: (MILDLY INDIGNANT) Now, just a minute, you--


WILL: You think you're the only one who didn't get the job he wanted?


TOM: Well, I--


WILL: Do you think people want to be blind or deaf or crippled?


TOM: Well--


WILL: No. But look at what some of them have done: blind Milton, deaf Beethoven, Helen Keller.


LOUISE: How dare you speak to my husband like that?


TOM: Yes! I--


WILL: Good Will speaks to every race and creed and color.


LOUISE: (BEAT, HAUGHTILY) I don't like you.


WILL: And that, my dear lady, is your great trouble. You're narrow, prejudiced. A tyrant in your home who rules with tears. You plan to dismiss your doctor because he is of a different creed. You are cruel and inconsiderate to your servant because she is of a different color.


LOUISE: Well, what do you expect me to do, invite her to dinner?!


WILL: No. Just remember she's human. And but for the grace of God and accident of birth, she might be the mistress and you the maid.


LOUISE: (WILDLY INDIGNANT) Why, I've never been so--!


TOM: Hey, listen, you! You've got a nerve to talk like that! Good Will, huh? There isn't any good will these days!


WILL: Oh, yes, there is. And it's your job, and everyone hearing my voice, to see that I survive.


TOM: You mean that I should get into this war?


WILL: I do. This isn't the time for personal interests. This isn't a fight for your individual wishes. No, my friend. This fight goes far, far back to your ancestors, who pointed the way. It stretches far into the future, so that this little child by my side -- and millions of others like him -- may carry the shining banner of honor, integrity, and decency in their heritage of freedom.


TOM: Well, I - I hadn't thought of it in just that way.


CHILD: (SCARED) Oh! Oh, my clothes! 


TOM: Wha--?


CHILD: They're on fire! Help me, somebody! I'm burning up! (WEEPS AND MOANS IN BG)


LOUISE: (URGENT, ENERGETIC) Oh, Tom, you fool! 


TOM: Wha--?


LOUISE: You, over there! He's on fire! Help me! Oh, never mind water. Get me that blanket on the couch.


TOM: Here you are.


LOUISE: Here, roll him in this. Press it down tight! Smother it! 


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, CHILD WRAPPED IN BLANKET ... HEAVY PATTING, WHICH CONTINUES BEHIND--


LOUISE: Oh, not that way! Get away! I'll do it myself!


SOUND: LOUISE PATS THE CHILD BRISKLY ... THEN PATTING SLOWS TO A STOP


CHILD: (WHIMPERS QUIETLY, IN BG)


LOUISE: (EXHALES, WITH RELIEF) Oh, there. (LOVINGLY) Oh, you poor little fellow. You're all right, darling. Louise will hold you close, dear. Look, we'll sit down here in this great big chair and I'll rock you. 


CHILD: (STOPS WHIMPERING)


LOUISE: (SOOTHING) See, baby? You're all right. Now we're cozy. (EXHALES, THEN BRISK AND CASUAL, TO TOM) It didn't burn him, Tom; only his clothes and then, of course, the scare he had.


TOM: (EXHALES WITH WONDERMENT AND RELIEF)


LOUISE: (SOOTHING AGAIN) There, dear. But he's all right now, bless his heart. Aren't you, darling?


CHILD: Oh, your arms are warm and - and feel so good around me.


TOM: (ASTONISHED) Louise? Do you realize what's happened? Well, you've walked! Well, you ran! You lifted that boy in your arms and carried him to the chair. Oh, Louise--


LOUISE: (REALIZES) Why, Tom -- I did! And I feel strong and well. (EXHALES SHARPLY) Why, it's a miracle.


WILL: Yes, it is. You forgot yourself in your service to the child. You wanted to give instead of receive. And strength was given you to do it. Why, it's the miracle of love.


CHILD: (SUDDENLY REALIZES) Why--! That's my name. I just remembered it.


TOM: Your name is -- Love?


CHILD: Yes.


WILL: And so now, as always, Love leads the way.


LOUISE: Whose boy is this?


WILL: Oh, he has no home.


LOUISE: Well, he has now. Hasn't he, Tom? Oh, darling, let's adopt him and care for him and make him happy. Won't you?


TOM: I should say we will! Youngster, from now on, you're ours and we're yours. And I'll make the best daddy I know how!


SOUND: CRACKLING OF PLASTER ... THEN IN BG


TOM: Hey! What's that noise?


LOUISE: What's that?


SOUND: RUMBLE AND CRASH OF FALLING WALL!


LOUISE: Why, it's the wall! It's crumbled to the ground! 


CHILD: The fourth wall! Look, Good Will!


WILL: The Wall of Intolerance has crumbled.


SOUND: JINGLE OF SLEIGH BELLS AND CLIP-CLOP OF REINDEER HOOVES APPROACH ... GROWING CLOSER IN BG


CHILD: And what's that sound? Listen!


WILL: (CHUCKLES) Oh, it's Santa!


CHILD: But the walls of the house--! Can he get in?


WILL: All the walls are down, Love! Listen!


SANTA CLAUS: Hey, Dancer! Come, Prancer! Hey, Donder and Blitzen! Whoa! (LAUGHS HEARTILY) 


SOUND: SLEIGH BELLS AND REINDEER HOOVES STOP


SANTA CLAUS: Hello, there, everybody! Come on!


PEOPLE: CHEERS AND HOLLERS OF GREETING


SANTA CLAUS: Well, my goodness! It's the first time I've ever been able to get in this House of the World! And now I can ride right through! Come on, you folks in the House of the World, join in a song! Good Will! Bring them all together! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!


MUSIC: BELLS, THEN IN BG ... FIRST A FEW VOICES AND THEN THE ENTIRE CAST JOINS IN TO SING A CHORUS OF "SILENT NIGHT" ... ORCHESTRA JOINS THEM HALFWAY THROUGH ... SINGERS AND ORCHESTRA FINISH, BUT BELLS CONTINUE UNTIL END--


ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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