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The Seeing Eye

The Cavalcade of America

The Seeing Eye

Dec 02 1936




MRS. DEAN, mother

DONALD DEAN, college-age son

NURSE (1 indecipherable line)

SAMMY, a boy (3 lines)



CONDUCTOR (2 lines)

HEAD WAITER (1 line)

GIRL (1 line)





NARRATOR: This evening, the DuPont Cavalcade brings you the story of The Seeing Eye, a school in Morristown, New Jersey, where German shepherd dogs are educated as guides for the blind, bringing new opportunities, independence and faith in life to those who walk in darkness. Our scene is Highland Hospital. In a room on the second floor, Donald Dean, college freshman, is recovering from the effects of an automobile accident. His mother meets the doctor just outside the door. 

DOCTOR: Well, you should be feeling very grateful this morning, Mrs. Dean. The young man's life is no longer in danger.

MRS. DEAN: Oh, that's wonderful news! And his eyes -- his eyes are all right, too?

DOCTOR: Be as brave as you can about it, Mrs. Dean. I thought it best to warn you. There is a possibility that the nerve is completely paralyzed.

MRS. DEAN: Oh! And if it is--

DOCTOR: He won't be able to see. I'm going in to take the bandages off right now. Be brave -- for his sake!

MRS. DEAN: I'll try!

DOCTOR: I know you will. (DOOR OPENS ... SOUND OF DON'S AND NURSE'S VOICES) Well, how are you today, young fellow?


DONALD: Fine, thanks! I've been waiting for you. Miss Wright says you are going to take the bandages off. I'm certainly glad. I'm so tired of not being able to see anything-- Who's with you?

MRS. DEAN: Hello, Don, dear!

DON: Oh, Mother! Hello, darling! Well, you're just in time for the unveiling. Doc is going to take this bale of gauze off my eyes and I'm going to stop impersonating justice and have a look at the world. How many bandages are there, Doctor?

DOCTOR: Three! Hold steady now.

DON: When can I use my eyes again -- a lot, I mean?

DOCTOR: Why? What do you want to do?

DON: I want to get back to college, of course. I've missed a lot but I'm going to try and make it up. Maybe I can go to summer school.

DOCTOR: I wouldn't -- count on it. (PAUSE) There! The first bandage is off.

DON: That's a relief. Hurry up and get the rest of it off, won't you? It'll certainly be swell to get out in the light again. (PAUSE) Where are you, Mom?

MRS. DEAN: Right here, dear!

DON: Come over here and sit on the bed, so that the first thing I see will be you, smiling at me. 


DOCTOR: Here, here. Steady now!

DON: Playing blindman's bluff like this isn't much fun. I'm glad it's over. (PAUSE) What's the matter, Doctor? (PAUSE) Mother!

MRS. DEAN: Yes, dear!

DON: (ALARMED) Mother, is anything wrong? What is it? What's happened? Oh, Doctor, I want to see. Please take off the last bandage!

DOCTOR: I have taken it off, Don!


NARRATOR: Weeks have passed. Don is at home again, strong again, physically, but helpless. His mother is at work all day, and he is alone. Mrs. Dean, about to leave for the office, is telling him goodbye.

MRS. DEAN: I've left your luncheon ready for you in the icebox, dear. Do you think you can manage? 

DON: Sure I can manage! I'll try not to break the plate again. I should be able to get around the house by now, but I seem to get more awkward all the time. 

MRS. DEAN: Donny, you don't. You get about wonderfully--

DON: Don't kid me, Mom. I know. I haven't -- adjusted myself. What am I? Just a burden. I was going to get out of college, and do big things, and take care of you. Now what can I do? Sit here, while you work to support me. I can't stand it, I tell you! I'd rather be dead! 

MRS. DEAN: Don, don't talk that way. Nothing else matters, as long as I have you. You know that. 

DON: Of course, I know it, Mother. I'm a rotter to talk this way. It's -- oh, nerves, I suppose. No exercise. Just sitting here. Hear that clock?

MRS. DEAN: What clock? 

DON: The grandfather's clock. Oh, you never notice it when someone's in the room. But you should hear how loud it sounds when you're here alone. Listen! (SOUND OF CLOCK, TICKING SLOWLY) Hear it? Tick-tock-tick-tock! Sometimes I think I'll go crazy!

MRS. DEAN: I'll stop it right away. 

DON: No! Don't. What's the use? I'll get used to it. (PAUSE) Is Sammy coming to take me for a walk today? 

MRS. DEAN: Yes, he is. He'll be over at one o'clock. Why don't you walk through the park? That will be a change for you. 

DON: Yes. Big event of the week -- shuffling through the park holding onto the little neighbor boy. But it's better than sitting here. You're sure he'll come? 

MRS. DEAN: He promised. I must hurry now. I'm late as it is. Goodbye, dear. Have you everything you need? 

DON: Everything's perfect. Run along. And -- I'm sorry I was -- bad! 

MRS. DEAN: You weren't -- bad. (KISS) Be a good boy. (BOTH LAUGH) 


SAMMY: (AWAY) Whoo-oo! Hello -- Don! 

DON: Hello, Sammy! Where are you? 

SAMMY: Here under the window. I came over to tell you I can't take you for a walk this afternoon. I'm going to the ball game with my father. I'm sorry! 

DON: That's all right, Sammy. Maybe some other time--

SAMMY: Sure! So long! 

DON: So long! (SOUND OF CLOCK TICKING UP AGAIN) That's right! Now you start again! (PAUSE ... SOUND OF TICKING) Every tick's a second. (PAUSE) When you tick thirty-six hundred times, there's an hour gone. (PAUSE) An hour -- one hour, out of a lifetime. (PAUSE) I might live to be eighty. (RISING HYSTERIA) I might sit here, all that time, listening to you ticking -- ticking away the years -- the empty -- empty years! (VOICE BREAKS INTO SOBS) What am I going to do? What am I going to do? 


NARRATOR: Months pass, and Don sinks into despondency. He no longer makes any effort to help himself. It is evening, and his mother and he are talking together. 

MRS. DEAN: Don, I saw Miss Arnold from the Society for the Blind, today. What do you think? Morris Frank from The Seeing Eye is in town, and he is coming up here to see you tonight! 

DON: What's he want to see me for? 

MRS. DEAN: Oh, I wanted him to, Don. Miss Arnold told you about The Seeing Eye last summer, don't you remember? It's the place where they train dogs to guide people who can't see. Miss Arnold says it is like a miracle, the way they work.

DON: What's the idea, to get me a dog and a tin cup? Or do I sell lead pencils? 

MRS. DEAN: (HURT) Donny! 

DON: Oh, Mother, I'm sorry, but what's the use. I'd never trust a dog to take me around. And I don't want to see Morris Frank, whoever he is. I'm sick of visitors who pity me! 

MRS. DEAN: I don't think he'll be that way. He's not much older than you are. He's blind, too, you know! 

DON: He is? 

MRS. DEAN: Yes. But he doesn't let it interfere with the things he wants to do -- (DOOR BUZZER) That's probably Mr. Frank now. I'll see. (FOOTSTEPS ... DOOR ... OFF MIKE) Good evening! You are Morris Frank, I am sure. I am Mrs. Dean. Please come in! 

MORRIS: (OFF MIKE) Good evening, Mrs. Dean. I came up to meet your son, Don. 

MRS. DEAN: Please come in. May I help you? 

MORRIS: No need. Buddy, forward! Which way?

MRS. DEAN: (FADING IN) Straight ahead! Don, this is Morris Frank! 

DON: How do you do! 

MORRIS: (FADING IN) How do you do! This is Buddy, my dog. 

DON: Who brought you over? Miss Arnold? 

MORRIS: Why, no -- Buddy did! She and I came over alone. 

DON: But -- how could Buddy find her way up here? Don't tell me she's that smart! 

MORRIS: (LAUGHS) Well, she is, in a way. Miss Arnold said go straight for three blocks, then two blocks to your right, and three to the left. Second house from the corner. All I had to do was count. Buddy did the rest. 

DON: (RELUCTANTLY) You must have a lot of faith in a dog, to follow her around that way. How do you hold on to her? 

MORRIS: She has a harness with a handle on it -- not too rigid, and you can feel every move she makes through it. So when she pulls you go ahead, and when she stops you feel for a step or a curb. 

DON: But how does she know where you want to go? 

MORRIS: I tell her -- forward -- or right -- or left. But if it isn't safe to go at that particular time, she won't move until it is. 

DON: She must be a dog in a million! 

MORRIS: Well, she is to me, but there are scores like her who do the same thing for their masters, and we are educating more every day at Morristown. 

DON: Where did the idea come from? 

MORRIS: The first time I ever heard of it was in 1928 when someone read me an article Mrs. Harrison Eustis had written for The Saturday Evening Post. 

DON: How did she find out about them? 

MORRIS: She was at her home "Fortunate Fields" in Switzerland, experimenting in breeding German shepherd dogs for intelligence. She and Elliot Humphrey had been to Potsdam to visit the school where these dog guides were trained. I was so excited over the article that I wrote and asked her how such a school could be established here. She invited me to come to "Fortunate Fields" and learn to work with Buddy. 

DON: And you did? 

MORRIS: Did I? I spent five weeks learning to use Buddy, but I didn't realize all it was going to mean until one morning when she took me to the village and I went to the barber shop, alone. 

MRS. DEAN: The barber shop--? 

MORRIS: Do you know what that did for me, Mrs. Dean? Of course, you don't -- you don't know what it means to be blind, never to be able to do the simplest thing for yourself. But to me it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened. I went home and sat down and laughed out loud just from happiness. For years I'd worn a smile on my face because I had to. At last I could laugh because I wanted to. 

DON: You didn't need anyone-- 

MORRIS: I didn't need anyone but Buddy. The minute I realized that, I wanted every blind person in this country to have a dog. Mrs. Eustis and Mr. Humphrey were both enthusiastic about starting a school in America as soon as it could be proved practical. We decided I must try going everywhere with my dog, in all kinds of traffic and under all sorts of conditions. When I was perfectly satisfied with the results I was to cable them, and they would begin plans for the school. So Buddy and I came over to make the test.

DON: You came home from Europe alone?

MORRIS: Sure! I was shipped over American express -- blind baggage, I guess. But I came back on my own -- with Buddy!

DON: Weren't you afraid?

MORRIS: Well, it was pretty exciting. I'll never forget the morning we landed. We left the dock and started across West Street.



MORRIS: (ON MIKE) Here we go, Buddy. It's our big chance. Don't let me down, will you, girl? We've got to show them! What's this, the curb? All right, I'm ready. From the sounds I'd say if we could cross this street we could cross anything. Let's find out -- Buddy, forward!




MORRIS: Does this bus go to 26th Street?

DRIVER: Yes, but you can't bring that dog on the bus!

MORRIS: But -- I must --

DRIVER: But you mustn't! No dogs allowed.

MORRIS: Buddy isn't a dog. She's a guide. I must have her to lead me.


MORRIS: Yes, you see, I'm blind! She takes me about.

DRIVER: I -- I thought you was leadin' her--



MORRIS: Is there a diner on this train?

CONDUCTOR: Car ahead, sir. Everything comfortable?

MORRIS: Splendid!

CONDUCTOR: We got special orders about your dog. She's a beauty -- must be mighty intelligent.


HEAD WAITER: Will you sit here, sir? May I help you?

MORRIS: My dog will take care of me, thank you!



MORRIS: I want to send a cable.

GIRL: Here's a blank, sir.

MORRIS: Would you write it for me, please? Mrs. Harrison Eustis, "Fortunate Fields," Switzerland. Just cable the one word -- "Success." And sign it "Morris and Buddy."


MORRIS: And that, Mrs. Dean, is how the American school was started. At first the dogs were trained in Europe and shipped over here, but now they are educated at the school in Morristown.

DON: Why, you -- you can go places all by yourself, can't you?

MORRIS: Any place in the world. (PAUSE) Well, Buddy and I must run along. Just thought you might be interested in knowing about this kind of a dog--

DON: I am! How do you get one?

MORRIS: Write to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, and apply for admission to a class. You'd have to go there to live for a month, you know.

DON: What for?

MORRIS: To learn to use your dog properly.

DON: But I thought they were already trained!

MORRIS: They are. You're not. You have to know what to do, as well as the dog.

DON: Mother, I want you to do something for me right away! I want you to write a letter to The Seeing Eye!


NARRATOR: Eventually, Don goes to Morristown, spurred on by a new hope. He arrives on the same day with seven other men. Elliot S. Humphrey, Director of Training, known affectionately as "Jack," greets them, and talks to them about the purpose of the school.

JACK: So you see, men, it's pretty much up to you. You'll make progress in proportion as you throw your fears aside and try. You may all go to your rooms now. Someone will guide you over the house, and show you where everything is. After that you will be expected to take care of yourselves.


JACK: (CONTINUING) You'll find you can do it -- and that you like it -- once you've tried.

GUIDE: You're Don, aren't you?

DON: Yes!

GUIDE: I'm a guide here. I'll show you to your room.

DON: Thanks!


GUIDE: Steps here. Be careful. Turn right. Now, more steps. Your room is down this hall. (SOUND OF DOOR) Here it is. The bed's here -- and the chair is over here. There's a bureau on this side -- three drawers. Your suitcase is on the bed. You'll have time to unpack before lunch.

DON: (HORRIFIED) Unpack? I can't unpack for myself. I haven't done a thing like that for a year.

GUIDE: Why not? There's nothing the matter with your arms, is there? 

DON: Haven't you any consideration for me? I can't see -- I'm blind! 

GUIDE: Why should I have? I'm blind, too! 


DON: Wow! That's telling me! (PAUSE) Well, let's have a try. 


JACK: Don! 

DON: Oh, Mr. Humphrey! 

JACK: Here's your dog, Don. His name is Lad. Let him know you like him. If you're to depend on him, he's got to love you, you know! -- He's your own dog, from now on. He'll sleep here beside your bed, and lie at your feet when you're at table-- 

DON: Where is he? 

JACK: Right here by the door. I'm taking off his leash. Call him! 

DON: Come here, Lad! Here, boy! (PATTER OF DOG'S FEET) Come closer. That's a good fellow. Nice dog! Look, Mr. Humphrey, he's licking my hand! He does like me, he does! (VOICE BREAKS) Oh, Lad, I've got you at last. Just touching you, and knowing what you can do for me, makes the whole world seem different. (PAUSE ... SUDDEN DETERMINATION) Do you know what I'm going to do, Mr. Humphrey? I've been thinking about it for weeks. Now I've made up my mind. As soon as I learn to go about with Lad, I'm going back to college


NARRATOR: It is Commencement Day at Cromwell College, more than four years later. The exercises are almost over, and members of the class of 1936 in historic Hathaway Chapel are about to receive their diplomas. Bob Norton, Don's roommate, standing next to him in the first row, speaks under his breath. 


BOB: Are you nervous? 

DON: A little! 

BOB: Relax! Lad's behaving better than you are. 

DON: He should. Hasn't missed a lecture in four years! 

BOB: Or a game or a dance. You've given him a busy life. Well, here comes the big moment!

DR. HOLMES: (OFF) Be seated, gentlemen, please. 

BOB: Sh -- Dr. Holmes is going to begin. 


DR. HOLMES: This morning I feel that I have a special privilege. We are graduating a young man who in his four years has not only made an enviable record for himself as a student and as president of his class, but in so doing has overcome one of the greatest of physical handicaps -- total blindness! In the devotion of his magnificent dog guide he has found a substitute for his own eyes, and has gone forward with unfaltering courage. Together they have shown us here at Cromwell that while there can be no sight without eyes, vision is a thing of the spirit. Donald Dean, will you come forward! 

DON: Lad, he's calling us. Come on, boy. We've got to go and get our diploma! 


NARRATOR: We are happy to have with us in the studio this evening two of the personalities whose experiences have been dramatized on this evening's program -- the man who proved the feasibility of The Seeing Eye dogs in this country and the dog that has been his constant companion since that first experiment. We take great pleasure in presenting Mr. Morris Frank and his faithful friend, Buddy. 


MR. FRANK: The Seeing Eye deeply appreciates the interest the Cavalcade of America has shown in thus dramatizing its work for the radio audience. More, especially, we appreciate the painstaking effort to make every detail of the story accurate. Throughout the country, there are thousands of people who probably are taking particular pleasure in this broadcast. They are the members of The Seeing Eye, the people who really make possible the adventures into freedom such as Donald Dean, in tonight's story, experienced. If you want to know more about our work, or about membership, write The Seeing Eye, Morristown, New Jersey. Thank you, and thank you, Cavalcade of America. 

NARRATOR: Thank you, Mr. Frank, and thank you, Buddy! It has been a pleasure to welcome you to the Cavalcade of America.