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The Wrong Way to Write

Campbell's Short Short Story

The Wrong Way to Write

Jun 07 1940



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

CHET PEEBLES

FRANK FEELEY

MARSHA FANNING

MAN, tough guy




MUSIC: THEME ... RODGERS AND HART'S "BLUE MOON" ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: [Campbell's Short Short Story,] brought to you by Campbell's Tomato Juice, the largest-selling tomato juice in America. Today we present "The Wrong Way to Write," the story of a practical joke that went slightly haywire. 


Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Campbell's Tomato Juice brings you Campbell's Short Short Story, complete in each broadcast. Today's story, "The Wrong Way to Write," stars Marjorie Anderson, Charles Carroll of "Valiant Lady," and Donald Cook.


MUSIC: THEME OUT


[COMMERCIAL OMITTED]


SOUND: SCENE FADES IN ... SINGLE TYPEWRITER KLICKETY-KLACKS, SLIGHTLY OFF, IN BG


CHET: (REALIZES, TO HIMSELF) April Fools' Day! Yes, this is April Fools' Day. April Fools' Day and I haven't played a joke on anybody. Oh, that's terrible! Now, let me see now, er-- (CALLS GENTLY, TO FRANK) Hey, Frank?


SOUND: TYPEWRITER STOPS


FRANK: (OFF) Yeah? 


CHET: Come here a minute, will ya?


FRANK: (OFF) What's the matter?


CHET: Come heeeeere. 


SOUND: FRANK RISES AND JOINS CHET BEHIND--


FRANK: Well, what's the matter, dope? 


CHET: You know what day this is? 


FRANK: Er-- (REALIZES) My goodness, it's April Fools' Day.


CHET: That's right, and we haven't done anything about it. 


FRANK: Well, let's find out what the number of the aquarium is and call up some people and leave messages for 'em to call Mr. Fish there. 


CHET: But we did that last year.


FRANK: Well, it's still a good idea.


CHET: Well, we could send out a few emergency calls.


FRANK: What for? Ambulances? Fire engines? Dog catchers? Or the riot squad? 


CHET: (THOUGHTFUL) Mmmm, trouble is, we wouldn't be there to see the people get fooled. 


FRANK: Mm, yeah, that's right. It's better when you can watch. 


CHET: I got an idea! 


FRANK: What? 


CHET: (CHANGES MIND) No. Maybe that's not so good.


FRANK: Ah. 


CHET: No, wait a minute--


FRANK: (INTERRUPTS, PLAYFUL) I like your first idea better.


CHET: Oh, cut it out. (BEAT, INSPIRED) I know! Marsha! 


FRANK: What about Marsha? 


CHET: Well, you know that Al she always talk about?


FRANK: The fella she's in love with? 


CHET: (SLY) Mm hm. Ya get it? 


FRANK: (INSPIRED) Uh-- Call her up and pretend to be him. Swell! We-- (CHANGES MIND) No. No, it isn't. She'd know it wasn't his voice. 


CHET: I didn't say anything about calling her up. Send her a telegram from him. 


FRANK: Say, that's fine!


CHET: Yeah, it isn't so bad, is it? 


FRANK: I wonder if they're engaged yet.


CHET: Oh, no, no, they can't be. She'd be wearing a ring; she's the type. 


FRANK: Well, I got it then.


CHET: What? 


FRANK: Lemme see. Er, "Say yes and make me the happiest man in the world" and sign it "Al." 


CHET: (AMUSED) Oh, that's swell, Frank.


FRANK: (CHUCKLES) It's terrific.


CHET: (CHUCKLES, THEN STOPS) Oh, look out, look out. Here she comes.


FRANK: (CLEARS THROAT NERVOUSLY)


MARSHA: (APPROACHES) For goodness' sake, what are you two laughing about? 


CHET: Oh, nothing. (SNIGGERS) 


MARSHA: (SKEPTICAL) Oh ho! Come on now. 


FRANK: I was just telling Chet a joke.


MARSHA: (GIVES UP) Oh, well. Look, boys, I'm just going out to lunch. Will you watch the phone?


CHET: Sure. Expecting a call? From Al? 


MARSHA: No. I wish I were. He's going to Chicago today.


FRANK: Oh, that's too bad, isn't it, Chet?


CHET: Oh, it's terrible. (SNIGGERS) 


MARSHA: Well, it isn't funny. I'll miss him like everything. 


FRANK: Well, if you get to missing him too much, you call us up. 


MARSHA: (AMUSED, IRONIC) Ho! Hate yourselves, don't you? (MOVING OFF, INSISTENT) You watch the phone now! 


CHET &

FRANK: Okay, Marsha.


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS, OFF, AS MARSHA EXITS


CHET: Say, that's made to order for us. 


FRANK: You couldn't ask for a better setup. Look now, you beat it over to Grand Central and send the telegram from there, so it'll look like he sent it before he got on the train.


CHET: Let's see now, what was it we were going to say?


FRANK: Er, "Say yes and make me the happiest man in the world. Al."


CHET: (AS HE WRITES IT DOWN) "Say yes and make me the happiest man in the world. Al." 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... FOUR ASCENDING XYLOPHONE GLISSANDOS


SOUND: RUSTLE OF TELEGRAM OPENED


MARSHA: (READS SLOWLY TO HERSELF, WITH MILD SURPRISE) "Say yes and make me the happiest man in the world. Al." (PUZZLED) Why-- Why, I--


SOUND: CHET'S GENTLE TAP ON MARSHA'S OPEN OFFICE DOOR AS HE ENTERS BEHIND--


CHET: (APPROACHES) Oh, did you get a telegram, Marsha? 


MARSHA: Well, Chet, I-- Well, I-- 


FRANK: I'll bet you got a telegram from Al. 


MARSHA: Well, Frank, I-- 


CHET: Aw, come on, let us see it, Marsha. 


FRANK: Sure; no secrets, Marsha. 


MARSHA: Well-- Well, I guess I couldn't keep it a secret very long anyway. Look! 


CHET &

FRANK: (READ SLOWLY, FEIGNING MILD SURPRISE) "Say yes and make me the happiest man in the world. Al."


CHET: Well, are you going to say yes, Marsha? 


MARSHA: Well, I should say so! I'm gonna wire him right away. Oh, isn't it thrilling? 


FRANK: Are you happy?


MARSHA: Oh, I'm so happy I can't see! (QUIET CONTEMPLATION) Just think -- we'll be married in September. Mrs. Albert R. LaFoschia. No -- Mrs. Albert Randolph LaFoschia. Won't that look wonderful on my calling card? 


FRANK: It sure will. Well, congratulations, Marsha. 


CHET: Sure. Congratulations, Marsha.


MARSHA: Oh, thanks. Oh, it was so cute of Al to send me a telegram this way, too. Oh, I'm so happy! Listen, will you watch the office for me again while I go downstairs and send him a wire? 


FRANK: Well, couldn't we send it for ya?


CHET: Why, sure, just write it out. 


MARSHA: No, no, I won't be a minute. Just keep an eye on the switchboard.


FRANK: You bet your life, Marsha.


CHET: Well, I should say so, Marsha. Don't you wait a minute. You wire him right away. 


MARSHA: Oh, you darlings -- both of you. (MOVING OFF) I'll be right back!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS, OFF, AS MARSHA EXITS


FRANK: (PLEASED) Ha. Hook, line, and sinker!


CHET: (CHUCKLES) Oh, boy, oh, boy! Wait till he gets that wire of hers. 


FRANK: (CHUCKLES) He won't know what it's all about!


CHET: What a letdown she's gonna have! It'll be a scream, Frank! Simply a scream! (CHUCKLES) 


FRANK: (CHUCKLES) 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... FOUR ASCENDING XYLOPHONE GLISSANDOS


CHET: (NARRATES) Well, it was a scream, all right. Marsha cried for two hours when she got Al's letter. "What are you trying to do, hook me?" That's what Al wrote to her. Frank and I had an awful time to keep from laughing right in Marsha's face. 


FRANK: (NARRATES) But after a while it wasn't so funny. Marsha kind of got on our nerves sitting there at her desk with a long face that way.


CHET: Now look, Marsha. Somebody just pulled an April Fools' joke on you, that's all.


FRANK: Sure, Marsha. Forget it. You can explain it to Al when he comes back. 


MARSHA: Oh, he'll never believe me. He never will. 


CHET: Oh, sure he will, Marsha.


FRANK: Sure, he will.


MARSHA: No, he won't.


CHET: Oh, yes, he will.


MARSHA: No, he won't!


FRANK: Oh, yes, he will!


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS SHARPLY


MAN: (GRIM, OMINOUS, APPROACHES) I'm lookin' for Chet Peebles and Frank Feeley.


CHET: (NERVOUS) Oh. Well, I - I'm Mr. Pleebles.


FRANK: (THE SAME) I'm Mr. Meely, I mean Mr. Feeley.


MAN: I'm a detective. 


CHET &

FRANK: (DISMAYED) Ohhh. 


MAN: Telegraph company sent me up here to see you guys. 


MARSHA: The telegraph company?


FRANK: Oh, yes. Well, we, er-- We didn't get a telegram. 


CHET: Sure, it wasn't, er, didn't. I mean, er--


MAN: This is about a telegram that was sent.


MARSHA: (SURPRISED) Ohhh? 


FRANK: (TO MAN) Well, er-- Let's go talk, er, out in the hall, huh?


CHET: (STAMMERS) Yeah, it's private-er


MARSHA: Well, there's nobody here but just me. 


FRANK: (HELPLESSLY) Well, the hall's bigger. Come on, Chet. 


CHET: Yeah, come on, Chet. Oh! (CHUCKLES) I'm Chet.


MAN: All right, all right, let's get goin'. 


FRANK: (MEEKLY) Yes, sir - officer. 


SOUND: THEIR STEPS MARCH IN UNISON INTO HALL ... OFFICE DOOR CLOSES


FRANK: (STAMMERS) Well--? 


MAN: Young fellas, I've been able to trace a telegram that was sent to a Miss Marsha Fanning on yesterday. 


CHET: You - you were? I mean, you have? 


MAN: This telegram was supposed to be signed by a Mr. Albert LaFoschia. But he disclaims that. 


CHET: (STAMMERS) He does? 


MAN: Yeah. And our clerk remembers the person that handed it in. 


CHET: Er-- Does he? 


MAN: Now -- this Miss Fanning has a perfect case against you two. Which one of ya sent it? 


FRANK: Uh-- We - we both did. 


CHET: (CHUCKLES) It was just an April Fools joke. 


MAN: (NOT AMUSED) Very funny indeed.


FRANK: Well, everybody plays jokes on April Fools' Day. 


MAN: Do they? 


FRANK: Well, nearly everybody. 


MAN: I don't.


FRANK: Don't you? 


MAN: No. 


FRANK: Oh. 


MAN: Well, I gotta get on with this here investigation. So you both confess you sent this telegram? 


FRANK: Yes, but--


MAN: Answer yes or no.


CHET &

FRANK: (MEEK, QUIET) Yes, sir.


MAN: Young fellas, you're in a very tough spot. 


CHET &

FRANK: (EVEN QUIETER) Yes, sir.


MAN: If Miss Fanning wants to prosecute, she can send you two to jail for a long term. 


CHET: But-but-but can't we talk to her?


FRANK: Well, sure. We'll talk to her and we can make her understand.


MAN: Do you think so?


CHET: Oh, yeah -- we can smooth it over, sir.


FRANK: She's our friend. 


MAN: Maybe. But the telegraph company ain't your friend, I mean. 


FRANK: Oh. 


MAN: However, if you can get Miss Fanning to drop the matter, we might also consider droppin' it.


FRANK: Oh, thanks. We can get her to drop it.


CHET: Oh, sure -- we'll plead with her.


FRANK: We'll apologize.


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS


MARSHA: (QUIETLY FURIOUS) And it won't do you a bit of good, either one of you. I heard every word -- and I think the whole business is unpardonable. I intend to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.


CHET: Oh, no, Marsha--


FRANK: Oh, Marsha, please--


MARSHA: The fullest extent of the law!


SOUND: DOOR SLAMS AS MARSHA EXITS


MAN: Young fellas, you better think fast.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... FOUR ASCENDING XYLOPHONE GLISSANDOS


CHET: Marsha--? Please, Marsha--


MARSHA: No! 


FRANK: Marsha, listen, we're sorry. Marsha, we're licked. We'll do anything you say. 


MARSHA: No! 


CHET: We'll go and confess to Al. There, that'll fix everything up.


MARSHA: No! 


FRANK: Marsha, please. We'll never play a joke on anybody again.


CHET: No, we swear it -- never, never, never, Marsha. 


MARSHA: No. 


FRANK: Marsha, you can't do this to us.


CHET: No, Marsha, you've been holding out for three whole days. That's long enough. Don't make us suffer any more.


MARSHA: Well, you made me suffer. 


CHET: And we're sorry, Marsha. Please forgive us, Marsha. Marsha, look -- we brought you a present.


MARSHA: A present? What is it?


FRANK: Here, Marsha -- open it.


MARSHA: (SURPRISED) It's such a little box.


CHET: We - we hope you like it, Marsha. 


FRANK: It's a real one, Marsha.


MARSHA: Well, let me see. (BEAT) My goodness! A ring!


CHET: Yes, Marsha.


MARSHA: A diamond ring!


CHET: For you and Al to get engaged with.


FRANK: It's a present from us -- both of us.


CHET: Marsha, will ya--? 


MARSHA: (CONSIDERS) Well-- 


FRANK: Will ya?


CHET: Won't ya?


MARSHA: Well, if you'll promise never to do it again.


FRANK: Oh, we promise, Marsha. 


CHET: Anything, Marsha.


MARSHA: Oh, then I guess I'll have to forgive you. This is such a pretty ring. 


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS, OFF 


FRANK: (NERVOUS) Oh - oh--


CHET: (THE SAME) Oh, it's the detective!


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR CLOSES


FRANK: Marsha, please tell him you won't prosecute us.


MAN: Well, how about it? Do we prosecute? 


MARSHA: (POINTEDLY) No, I think they're forgiven, Al.


CHET: (TRIUMPHANT) There! You see--?  


FRANK: What--? Did you call him Al?


MARSHA: (CHEERFUL) Why, certainly! Boys, shake hands with Al.


MAN: (NO LONGER TOUGH, VERY FRIENDLY) In person. Hiya, boys.


FRANK: (STUNNED) Well, but-- Well, but-- But you can't be Al.


MAN: Why can't I?


CHET: What--? You mean -- you're Al? 


MARSHA: You see, I knew the telegram was a fake all the time. 


CHET &

FRANK: You - you did?


MARSHA: Why, of course. Al always signs his telegrams to me "Popsie."


MAN: (EMBARRASSED) Aw, now, Marsha, you don't have to tell everything. 


MARSHA: And besides we got engaged the night before Al left for Chicago. So I decided to get even with the two of you, and got him to play detective. And just look at the beautiful engagement ring the boys gave me for you, Al.


MAN: (IMPRESSED) Why, that's beautiful. Say, I don't know how to thank you boys for it. I never saw such a--


CHET: Oh, that's all right, Al. Just, er-- Just say "April Fool." That's plenty.


MUSIC: CURTAIN ... BROWN AND FREED'S "THE WEDDING OF THE PAINTED DOLL" 


[CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENTS OMITTED]

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