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Two Comedies

Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles

Two Comedies

Dec 01 1941



CAST:

HOST and NARRATOR, Orson Welles

LADY ESTHER

ANNOUNCER (1 line)


Something's Going to Happen to Henry

MISS AMELIA WINTHROP

SALESMAN

OFFICER (2 lines)

ARTHUR, the elevator boy

MR. FAULKNER

CLERK (2 lines)


Wilbur Brown, Habitat: Brooklyn

WILBUR BROWN

JOHNSON (3 lines)

THE CHIMPANZEE




HOST: Good evening. This is Orson Welles, bringing you another radio program for Lady Esther. Tonight we've got two stories for you instead of one -- two comedies -- and a very special guest indeed: Miss Janet Gaynor. Our cast also includes Joseph Cotten, Ray Collins, and Glenn Anders. Our first story is called "Something's Going to Happen to Henry," and here it is.


MUSIC: GENTLE INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


NARRATOR: A lot of sayings are as well known to us as our own faces, but they're no less true for being familiar. Take this one: "Great oaks from little acorns grow." We all know how accurate it is. Sometime in the life of each of us, a little accident occurs. And from then on, there's a gradual change in us, a big change. Miss Winthrop's little accident happened when she was buying a tie for Billy Redmond. He was her assistant in the public library at Columbus, Ohio, and she wanted to give him a gift for his birthday. She wasn't at all sure of herself because she was one of those women whose contact with all things masculine -- including men -- is extremely slight. She didn't want it this way, certainly, but - she was shy. She didn't know how to act around men. Or in a man's shop. Matter of fact, she'd never been inside a man's shop before. She had an empty feeling when the salesman approached her.


SALESMAN: How do you do? May I help you?


MISS WINTHROP: (A LITTLE NERVOUS) What? Oh, yes. I - I want to buy a gentleman's necktie.


SALESMAN: Yes, ma'am. Here's our assortment right here. Anything special in mind?


MISS WINTHROP: No, nothing special. Just yellow, that's all. Uh, that one will do. And I'd like to have it sent, if it isn't too much trouble.


SALESMAN: Oh, no trouble at all, Mrs., uh-- Mrs., uh--? Mrs., uh--?


MUSIC: GENTLE ACCENT


NARRATOR: Now, that was the little accident. Of course, the clerk had no way of knowing that it was "Miss" Winthrop, not "Mrs." She was a lady buying a tie, so he automatically said "Mrs." He wrote it at the head of the sales check and waited, his pencil poised, for her to go on. She just stared at that unaccustomed prefix--


SALESMAN: Mrs., uh--?


NARRATOR: --somehow unable to make the necessary correction, until she noticed that the clerk was waiting.


SALESMAN: Mrs., uh--? Mrs., uh--?


MISS WINTHROP: (REALIZES) Oh! Uh-- Uh, Winthrop. (DISTINCTLY) "A. Winthrop."


SALESMAN: (WRITES IT DOWN) Mrs. A. Winthrop. And what's the address, Mrs. Winthrop? (NO ANSWER) What's the matter? Have you forgotten something?


MISS WINTHROP: Forgotten?


SALESMAN: Is there something else your husband needs? Shirts, socks, bathrobe? We have a sale on broadcloth shorts.


MISS WINTHROP: (TAKEN ABACK) Shorts?! Oh, no.


SALESMAN: Well, I'm sure your husband will like this tie, anyway.


SOUND: CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... AND MISS WINTHROP'S STEPS ON SIDEWALK, IN BG


NARRATOR: She went out into the street and started for the library. She walked more slowly than usual. Her lips were moving.


MISS WINTHROP: (TO HERSELF) "Mrs."? "Mrs."? "Mrs. Winthrop"?


NARRATOR: She didn't seem to notice where she was going and bumped head-on into several people.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, excuse me.


SOUND: HER FOOTSTEPS OUT WITH--


NARRATOR: When she came to the corner, she stopped, unaware of the people jostling by her.


OFFICER: (STERN, IMPATIENT) All right there, lady -- no blockin' the sidewalk now.


MISS WINTHROP: What?


OFFICER: You can't stand here. Ya comin' or goin'? Which is it?


MISS WINTHROP: (A SUDDEN DECISION) I'm going back!


MUSIC: GENTLE TRANSITION


SALESMAN: Ah, Mrs. Winthrop! Forgot something, eh?


MISS WINTHROP: I changed my mind about the shirts. My husband is low on shirts.


SALESMAN: All right. What size does he wear?


MISS WINTHROP: Size?


SALESMAN: Yes.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, what size do you wear?


SALESMAN: Fourteen and a half.


MISS WINTHROP: He's a little bigger.


SALESMAN: Mm hm. How 'bout fifteen and a half?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes.


SALESMAN: And don't forget our sale on broadcloth shorts.


MISS WINTHROP: I didn't forget. I want some of those, too.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


NARRATOR: That night when Miss Winthrop got to her hotel, the packages were waiting for her, all addressed to "Mrs. A. Winthrop." She'd bought almost everything the clerk had suggested. Now she took the packages and stood waiting for the elevator. Mr. Faulkner, who lived in the hotel, was waiting, too. They nodded. They'd never been introduced, but they always nodded when they met in the lobby or the elevator.


SOUND: ELEVATOR DOOR SLIDES OPEN


ARTHUR: Going up! Evening, folks.


MISS WINTHROP: (CHEERFUL) Good evening.


MR. FAULKNER: (POLITE) Hello, Arthur.


SOUND: ELEVATOR DOOR SLIDES SHUT ... ELEVATOR ASCENDS, IN BG


MISS WINTHROP: 'Twas a lovely day, wasn't it?


MR. FAULKNER: Eh? You speak to me?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes, I said it was a lovely day.


MR. FAULKNER: (PLEASANTLY SURPRISED) Why, so it was. So it was.


SOUND: ELEVATOR STOPS ... DOOR SLIDES OPEN


MISS WINTHROP: This is my floor. Good night.


ARTHUR: Good night.


MR. FAULKNER: (BEAT, CALLS AFTER HER) Good night!


SOUND: ELEVATOR DOOR SLIDES SHUT ... ELEVATOR ASCENDS, IN BG


MR. FAULKNER: (QUIETLY) Well! That's mighty funny.


ARTHUR: What, Mr. Faulkner?


MR. FAULKNER: I've seen that woman almost every day for eight months and this is the first time she ever spoke to me.


ARTHUR: Yeah, she did seem kind of gay, didn't she?


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: When she got to her room, Miss Winthrop pulled off her hat and dropped the packages on the bed with the lighthearted abandon of a young girl.


MISS WINTHROP: (MUSES AMIABLY) What am I going to do with you? Oh, not you, Yellow Tie; you'll be taken care of. But what about the rest? Let's see. One pair of woolen socks. One wing-tipped collar. And three pairs of French-back broadcloth shorts! Oh, my!


NARRATOR: Miss Winthrop was in the habit of scrutinizing her thoughts as dispassionately as a housewife tests the breastbone of a chicken. But now her scrutiny didn't seem to get her anywhere, and after a while she gave it up. She found herself believing that there really was a Mr. Winthrop, her husband.


MISS WINTHROP: (TO HERSELF) Oh, it's so silly.


NARRATOR: Silly? Maybe. She wasn't sorry she'd bought the shirt, the shorts, and the other things; quite the contrary. She was glad. She wanted Mr. Winthrop to have them, but how? How could she possibly give these things to a person who didn't even exist? Miss Winthrop laid her thumb and forefinger over her eyes and thought.


MISS WINTHROP: (TO HERSELF) Of course, I couldn't give them to him. Of course. But if he were out of town-- Yes! If he were out of town, I could mail them to him.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


MR. FAULKNER: (PLEASED TO SEE HER) Good morning. You're down early this morning, aren't you?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes, I have a package to mail and I wanted to go to the post office.


MR. FAULKNER: Well! That's quite a coincidence. Uh, I have some letters and was on my way myself. Am I to go with you, do you suppose?


MISS WINTHROP: (CHUCKLES) Well--


MR. FAULKNER: If you'd rather go alone--


MISS WINTHROP: No.


MR. FAULKNER: Good. Here, I'll get that door for you.


MISS WINTHROP: (CHUCKLES)


SOUND: LOBBY DOOR OPENS


MR. FAULKNER: (CHUCKLES)


SOUND: CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... THEIR STEPS, IN BG


MR. FAULKNER: It's a strange thing, isn't it? We've been seeing each other around this hotel for months and this is practically the first time we've spoken.


MISS WINTHROP: (CHUCKLES) Yes, it is strange.


MR. FAULKNER: My name's Faulkner.


MISS WINTHROP: How do you do? I'm Amelia Winthrop.


MR. FAULKNER: Here, let me carry your package.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, thank you. (BEAT) It's for my husband.


MR. FAULKNER: (SURPRISED) Huh?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes, for my husband. He's out of town. As a matter of fact, my husband is a traveling salesman.


MR. FAULKNER: (DISAPPOINTED) Oh, he is, huh?


MISS WINTHROP: (CHUCKLES) My husband is away most of the time.


MR. FAULKNER: That's the way with traveling salesmen.


MISS WINTHROP: (LAUGHS) Yes, isn't it? My husband likes my taste so much that he insists I buy all his clothes and send them to him.


SOUND: THEIR STEPS OUT WITH--


MR. FAULKNER: Well, here we are.


MISS WINTHROP: What?


MR. FAULKNER: Here's the post office.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, I didn't notice. Well, I suppose I'll have to spend a small fortune for stamps now. I usually do.


MR. FAULKNER: Where do you have to send it?


MISS WINTHROP: The address is right there.


MR. FAULKNER: (READS) "Mr. Henry Winthrop--"


MISS WINTHROP: That's right.


MR. FAULKNER: (READS) "Nine Thirty-Four East Hemlock Street, San Francisco." (INTERESTED) Ah! Oh, San Francisco! (SEES SOMETHING) Here, wait a minute.


MISS WINTHROP: What's the matter?


MR. FAULKNER: You didn't put your return address on it.


MISS WINTHROP: No. No, I never do.


MR. FAULKNER: Isn't that foolish? Suppose he isn't there?


MISS WINTHROP: Well, my husband is a very thorough man. I never have to worry about that.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


NARRATOR: And that was how it started -- and that's where it should have ended. Miss Winthrop knew it should have ended, but she was far from sure she wanted it to. A week later when she was in Lazarus' Department Store buying herself some underwear, she wandered into the men's department -- just to look around -- and purchased two pair of socks and a pair of suspenders. Then on, she found she'd contracted a habit she couldn't break. She spent every Tuesday afternoon discussing with the clerks in various stores the relative merits of broadcloth and Madras, and other aspects of Mr. Winthrop's sartorial requirements, and she began to spend for his wardrobe that portion of her salary which she had heretofore deposited in her savings account. Every Tuesday evening she went to the post office and mailed -- to a nonexistent man at a nonexistent address -- approximately four dollars' worth of men's clothing. Surely a small price to pay for attainment of marital happiness. Invariably on these Tuesday evenings Mr. Faulkner was also intending to go to the post office and he always walked with her.


SOUND: CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... THEIR STEPS ON SIDEWALK, IN BG


MR. FAULKNER: You know, Mrs. Winthrop--?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes, Mr. Faulkner?


MR. FAULKNER: I - I've been wanting to ask you a personal question and I've never quite gotten up the nerve.


MISS WINTHROP: (CHUCKLES) What is it? You needn't be shy with me, you know.


MR. FAULKNER: I've - I've been wondering if your husband would mind my taking you to a movie picture.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh? No. No, I don't think Henry would mind.


MR. FAULKNER: There's a very nice picture at the RKO Palace with Rita Hayworth. Would you care to go with me?


MISS WINTHROP: I'd love to go with you.


MR. FAULKNER: Well then, look, why don't we have dinner together first?


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, Mr. Faulkner, that would be lovely.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT


NARRATOR: They had dinner together and they went to see Rita Hayworth, and later they had a soda. After that, they went to the Palace whenever there was a good picture. Sometimes they went to the park. Miss Winthrop bought herself a bottle of modestly red nail polish. And then one day she suddenly notices that the pages of her little bankbook had a bare and virginal look. She decided that Mr. Winthrop would have to be limited to two and a half dollars a week. That Tuesday she tried, but she couldn't do it. Cutting out a dollar and a half from a weekly offering seemed like a painful severing of a portion of herself. To ease her conscience, she determined to economize on postage, so that afternoon she addressed her package to Carson City, Nevada. Mr. Faulkner noticed it.


MR. FAULKNER: Carson City?! Is your husband moving east?


MISS WINTHROP: The office is routing him this way.


MR. FAULKNER: Oh, I - I see.


NARRATOR: The following Tuesday Henry Winthrop jumped to Salt Lake City. And from there he leapt to Laramie, Wyoming. Miss Winthrop, for the first time in her life, felt glad she'd been an honor student in geography. Then Henry made a hop to Lincoln, Nebraska.


MR. FAULKNER: My! Lincoln already.


MISS WINTHROP: He's going very fast these days. Business is so slow.


MR. FAULKNER: (UNHAPPY) Oh, of course. Of course, he's going very fast.


NARRATOR: Mr. Faulkner seemed very morose -- and that night he went to bed at half past nine. Worried Miss Winthrop, but she put it down to a possible spot of indigestion. He didn't get any better all week, so next Tuesday he didn't want to go with her to the post office.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, come along, Mr. Faulkner. The air will do you good.


MR. FAULKNER: (MISERABLE) I don't know that it will. I - I don't know at all. (HOPEFUL) Uh, uh, where - where are you sending your husband's package this time?


MISS WINTHROP: Chicago. Chicago, Illinois. Henry's staying at the Blackstone.


MR. FAULKNER: (MISERABLE AGAIN) Chicago? Chicago. I - I see.


MISS WINTHROP: What's the matter, Mr. Faulkner? You look so strange.


MR. FAULKNER: I haven't been feeling very well. Not well at all.


MISS WINTHROP: What a shame.


MR. FAULKNER: Matter of fact, my doctor advised me to stop walking so much. I - I'm really afraid I can't go with you to the post office.


MISS WINTHROP: It's not your heart, is it?


MR. FAULKNER: (A LITTLE OFFENDED) I should say not. (BEAT, INSISTENT) I should say not!


NARRATOR: Miss Winthrop felt bewildered and sad, and didn't ask any more questions. She didn't meet Mr. Faulkner around the hotel. A whole week went by without her seeing him once. Miss Winthrop found that she was very lonely. When almost two weeks had passed -- two very long weeks -- she met him in the lobby. He had big circles under his eyes and her heart went out to him.


MISS WINTHROP: Well, Mr. Faulkner, fancy meeting you. You're quite a stranger.


MR. FAULKNER: I hope you'll excuse me, Mrs. Winthrop.


MISS WINTHROP: Why, of course I'll excuse you. If you've been ill--


MR. FAULKNER: The truth is, I - I've been thinking I ought to go on a little trip -- a cruise or something -- for my health.


MISS WINTHROP: A trip?


MR. FAULKNER: Yes. I have to go upstairs and finish packing now.


MISS WINTHROP: You're really going away?


MR. FAULKNER: Yes. Tomorrow.


MISS WINTHROP: (EMOTIONAL) Oh, I'll miss our walks very-- (RECOVERS, PRIMLY) A great deal, Mr. Faulkner.


MR. FAULKNER: (QUIETLY PLEASED) Will you really?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes. It'll be lonely. Will you be gone long?


MR. FAULKNER: He'll be back soon.


MISS WINTHROP: How long will you--? (DOUBLE TAKE) What?


MR. FAULKNER: I say, he'll be back soon. Your husband, I mean.


MISS WINTHROP: My husband?


MR. FAULKNER: At the rate he's going, he should be back sometime next week.


MISS WINTHROP: (DEFLATED) Yes. I suppose so.


MR. FAULKNER: I'd like to meet him, but I'll be gone before he gets back. He must be a fine man. Only a fine man could have a wife like you.


MISS WINTHROP: (SURPRISED) Mr. Faulkner!


MR. FAULKNER: Such a charming, sweet, lovely-- (BEAT, INSISTENT) Tell him I think he's a very lucky man! (BEAT) Goodbye, Mrs. Winthrop.


MUSIC: SAD ... THEN IN BG


CLERK: Good evening, Miss Winthrop.


MISS WINTHROP: May I have some writing paper, please?


CLERK: Yes, ma'am.


MISS WINTHROP: Thank you.


SOUND: RUSTLE OF PAPER ... THEN SCRIBBLE OF WRITING, IN BG


MISS WINTHROP: (AS SHE WRITES) "Dear Mr. Faulkner. I want to try to tell you the truth. It's hard to explain--" (EXHALES HEAVILY WITH FRUSTRATION)


SOUND: PAPER CRUMPLED


MISS WINTHROP: (TO HERSELF) No, that's not it.


SOUND: SCRIBBLING RESUMES, IN BG


MISS WINTHROP: (AS SHE WRITES) "Dear Mr. Faulkner. Before you go away, there's something you must know. I'm not really--" (EXHALES HEAVILY)


SOUND: PAPER CRUMPLED


MISS WINTHROP: (TO HERSELF) No, I can't write it. I'll have to tell him. I'll just have to tell him!


MUSIC: OUT


SOUND: KNOCKING ON DOOR ... PAUSE ... DOOR OPENS


MISS WINTHROP: (AGITATED) Mr. Faulkner?


MR. FAULKNER: (SURPRISED) Mrs. Winthrop? What's the matter? Well, come in. Sit down.


MISS WINTHROP: It's horrible!


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--


MR. FAULKNER: What? What's happened?


MISS WINTHROP: It just came over me. It was so strong!


MR. FAULKNER: Mrs. Winthrop, please -- what is it?


MISS WINTHROP: I don't know how to explain. It's a premonition. (BIG) Mr. Faulkner, something's going to happen to Henry.


MR. FAULKNER: Your husband? What? What's gonna happen?


MISS WINTHROP: He's not coming back on the train. He's flying. He has a friend who has a plane -- a rickety old thing just about to fall to pieces -- and this friend is going to fly him back. I pleaded with Henry not to do it, but he wouldn't listen to me. And somehow I know--


MR. FAULKNER: (SYMPATHETIC) Oh, Mrs. Winthrop.


MISS WINTHROP: (A DEEP BREATH, NO LONGER AGITATED) No, I can't go on with it.


MR. FAULKNER: Oh, poor Mrs.-- (DOUBLE TAKE) What? Can't go on with what?


MISS WINTHROP: Make-believe. Listen, Mr. Faulkner. Listen carefully. I know you won't have anything to do with me when I've told you, but listen anyway. I work at the public library. I have an assistant, a nice boy named Redmond. It was his birthday. He wanted a yellow tie and so I bought him a yellow tie. And the clerk made a mistake and put "Mrs." instead of "Miss" in front of my name and I didn't correct him. I don't know why, but I didn't. And then--


MR. FAULKNER: Wait. Wait. Wait. Then you--? Then there isn't any--? Then you just--?


MISS WINTHROP: Yes, Mr. Faulkner. I'm just plain Miss Amelia Winthrop.


MR. FAULKNER: (REALIZES) Well-- (BEAT, QUIETLY ASTONISHED) What do you know? (BEAT, WARMLY) Amelia.


SOUND: KNOCKING AT DOOR ... DOOR OPENS


ARTHUR: I've come for your bags, Mr. Faulkner.


MR. FAULKNER: Huh? (EXCITED) Oh, never mind, Arthur. I think I'm staying!


ARTHUR: Okay.


MR. FAULKNER: I know I'm staying!


ARTHUR: All right, all right.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


MISS WINTHROP: Then you're not going?


MR. FAULKNER: No. No reason to now.


MISS WINTHROP: Oh, I'm so glad! (EXHALES HAPPILY) So glad.


NARRATOR: And so it is that the great oaks grew from little acorns. Miss Winthrop's particular accident, as we have seen, changed the entire lives of, at the very least, two people.


MR. FAULKNER: Amelia?


MISS WINTHROP: Louis?


MR. FAULKNER: I love you very much, Amelia.


MISS WINTHROP: And I love you.


MUSIC: TRIUMPHANT, ROMANTIC CURTAIN


HOST: You've just heard a story by Wilma Shore and Louis Solomon called "Something's Going to Happen to Henry," starring Janet Gaynor and Joseph Cotten. Second part of our program features another short story and I don't think you've ever heard anything quite like it before. I hope you won't hold that against it. Right now, here's a word from Lady Esther.


LADY ESTHER: One of the greatest dancers this world has ever seen was Anna Pavlova. But at one time, a tragic experience almost ruined her career. She was giving two concerts in a faraway city. The first night, she looked gloriously young and vibrant. But the next night, she seemed old and haggard. Here's what happened. By mistake, the wrong colored spot light was thrown on her. Instantly, she looked twenty years older. The audience whispered, "My, how old Pavlova looks." The right light was immediately switched on, but the damage was done. Everyone in that audience believed Pavlova had grown old. And, you know, certain shades of face powder, like certain colored spotlights, can make a woman look older. I just hope that you aren't innocently using an unflattering shade of face powder. Color specialists say that the wrong shade of powder can put years on your face. And the right shade can make you look years younger. I'd like to tell you, if I could, which is the right shade for you. But I can't. Nobody can do that. There's only one way to find out. You must try the nine basic shades of face powder on your own skin. You must look in your mirror and let your own eyes select the shade which is most flattering to you. Of course, it would be very costly for you to buy nine different boxes of face powder. But you don't have to. Write me tonight -- a penny postcard will do -- and by return mail you'll receive, free, all nine shades of my face powder and a tube of Lady Esther Four-Purpose Face Cream. All the address you need is Lady Esther, Chicago.


MUSIC: LIVELY COMICAL BRIDGE


NARRATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, maybe you won't believe what I'm going to tell you, but I ask you to believe it because it's the truth, the absolute truth. This happened to Wilbur Brown. Wilbur was in his early forties, married, and had no children. His wife was a rather attractive woman, in a frilly sort of way, and she never looked at Wilbur. She preferred going to the movies and looking at Clark Cable and Tyrone Power and Cary Grant. Wilbur worked in a bank near Central Park in Manhattan, a borough of New York City. He was a teller. All day long he stood in a cage looking out of a little wire grill and taking in and handing out money. To give you an idea how long people had been associating Wilbur with the cage and the little wire grill, once Wilbur walked into Mr. Johnson's office to see about an overdrawn account. Mr. Johnson was the manager of the bank. Wilbur entered and said--


WILBUR: Excuse me, Mr. Johnson.


NARRATOR: Mr. Johnson looked up and said--


JOHNSON: Who are you?


WILBUR: Brown. 


NARRATOR: --answered Wilbur. 


JOHNSON: Who?


NARRATOR: --asked Mr. Johnson. 


WILBUR: Brown.


NARRATOR: --repeated Wilbur. 


WILBUR: Brown, the teller.


NARRATOR: Mr. Johnson still looked befuddled so Wilbur took the little spare wire grill he always carried for such emergencies and held it in front of his face. Then Mr. Johnson's face lit up and he said--


JOHNSON: (RECOGNITION) Oh, yes! Brown!


NARRATOR: Every weekday at twelve o'clock, Wilbur ate his lunch very quickly so he could spend most of his lunch time walking around Central Park. He loved Central Park, especially the zoo. One particular day, the day my story begins, Wilbur stopped in front of a cage that bore the sign, "Chimpanzee, Habitat: Africa." Well, to Wilbur, the animal looked like any old, big monkey he'd ever seen, but the sign said, "Chimpanzee--" 


WILBUR: (READS, TO HIMSELF) "Habitat: Africa." 


NARRATOR: And, like most other people, he wasn't going to argue with it. Instead, he simply looked at the chimpanzee behind the bars and the chimpanzee looked back at Wilbur. Chimpanzee smiled kindly at him and spoke in a voice that was soft with sympathy--


CHIMP: Oh, my, it's really a pity that you should have to spend most of your life in a cage.


WILBUR: What? Why, how did you know that I've spent most of my life in a cage?


CHIMP: My good man, that's very simple. I can see the bars in front of your face.


WILBUR: You--? You can see the bars in front of--? (LAUGHS) Oh, that's very funny. (LAUGHS) He can see the bars in front of my face. (LAUGHS) 


CHIMP: Well, what's so funny about that? Really!


WILBUR: (LAUGHS) Those bars aren't in front of my face.


CHIMP: They aren't?


WILBUR: No! They're in front of your face.


CHIMP: No!


WILBUR: Yes, you're the chimpanzee. It's not I who's in the cage, it's you.


CHIMP: You mean I'm the one who's in a cage?


WILBUR: Certainly.


CHIMP: (MISERABLE) I'm in a cage just because I'm a chimpanzee. I used to feel so sorry for those poor people. I always thought it was they who were in a cage and all along it's been-- (SOBS) It's been me.


WILBUR: (SYMPATHETIC) Ohhh. Don't take it so hard. It's really not that bad.


CHIMP: Oh, "Don't take it so hard," the man says. Sure, it's all right for you to talk. You're free, you are. You can go where you want, do what you want, but me, I'm - I'm trapped. Already I have a caged feeling.


WILBUR: But - but how come you didn't discover it before? Didn't you try to go anywhere, for a walk or anything?


CHIMP: Well, frankly, I'm-- Well, I'm - I'm lazy.


WILBUR: Well then, why let it make a difference now?


CHIMP: But it does.


WILBUR: Well-- Don't see what you're kicking about. Take me. How much freedom have I got? Eight hours a day I'm in a cage at the bank. Then I rush home, dinner, I dry the dishes. Then I go to whichever movie my "keeper" has decided on.


CHIMP: Your keeper?


WILBUR: Yes, my wife, Angela.


CHIMP: So! Married.


WILBUR: Yeah.


CHIMP: Yes, I had a girl once. In Africa it was. The Congo. Now I can never go back.


WILBUR: You're lucky.


CHIMP: Why? I was crazy about her.


WILBUR: Yes, I was once crazy about Angela, too.


CHIMP: No more?


WILBUR: Oh, sometimes. Very seldom though. Now and then when she does something that reminds me of twenty years ago.


CHIMP: Oh, memories; they get you.


WILBUR: Yes, but you're lucky. You've got security. Why, look at you, sitting there, basking in the sun, a bunch of bananas at arm's reach from you, nice tree to swing from.


CHIMP: No, no, it'll never be the same. It's not like freedom. Look at you. You - you've just been complaining of your lot and envying mine. Still, you - you'd never change places with me. 


WILBUR: I'd never what?


CHIMP: Well-- Oh, change places with me.


WILBUR: Oh, gosh, you - you wouldn't want to, would you?


CHIMP: Want to what?


WILBUR: Change places with me.


CHIMP: Well, that's odd. Here we've both been talking about the same thing, and neither one of us has even been considering it.


WILBUR: Well, then there's only one thing to do.


CHIMP: What?


WILBUR: Consider it.


CHIMP: All right, I will.


WILBUR: Then I will, too. (BEAT) Well, what do you say?


CHIMP: Well, what do you say?


WILBUR: I like the idea.


CHIMP: Well, I like it, too.


WILBUR: You'll be sorry.


CHIMP: No, you will.


WILBUR: I doubt it.


CHIMP: Well, if - if you'll just contrive to open this cage, we'll both find out.


NARRATOR: Well, Wilbur did contrive to open the cage and after equipping the chimpanzee with the necessary information about his routine at the bank, how to take the subway to Brooklyn, and how to get along with his wife, they parted ways, the chimpanzee embarking upon Wilbur's life of freedom and Wilbur, the chimp's life of captivity. Now many of you people are probably snickering and saying, "He expects us to believe this stuff?" Well, I do expect you to believe it, because it's all quite true. After all, when does a chimpanzee go walking nonchalantly down the street, enter a bank, take his place in the teller's cage, and start conducting the day's transactions? Never. Everybody knows it's never. Therefore, which is a person going to believe: his reason or what habit tells him? Certainly no man in his right mind will go home to his family and say, "I saw a chimpanzee holding down a bank teller's job at the First National." Not only would the man's family think he was crazy, but the man would think he was crazy, too. So -- habit won over reason and the chimpanzee went unnoticed. Now, what about Wilbur? Certainly the sight of a man lying on his back in a cage, scratching his midriff, and eating bananas should be enough to send people screeching for the zoo authorities. But the sign on the cage read, "Chimpanzee, Habitat: Africa." Which shall the people believe -- their reason or cold black print? The sign says "Chimpanzee," so that thing eating bananas and scratching himself must be a chimpanzee, so Wilbur, too, went unnoticed. "But wait, wait," you might say, "What about Wilbur's wife? What about Angela? Certainly she suspected something." But again, does a wife expect a chimpanzee to walk in, sit down at dinner, help her with the dishes, and go to the movies with her? Which is Angela to believe, reason or habit? Besides, we must remember that for years, Angela hadn't bothered even looking at Wilbur. She'd grown completely away from him, so nobody troubled his head about that part of it. Anyway, it wasn't more than a week before the chimpanzee came back to the zoo to see Wilbur. He brought him some nice roasted peanuts.


CHIMP: Oh, Mr. Brown?!


WILBUR: Oh, hello there. Glad to see you.


CHIMP: And am I glad to see you.


WILBUR: Really?


CHIMP: You can't imagine. In fact, I'm - I'm ready to call it quits.


WILBUR: Why? What's wrong?


CHIMP: Well, for one thing, I - I don't like your wife.


WILBUR: So what? Neither do I. Besides, I warned you about her.


CHIMP: What a woman! She never looks at me, never notices me. All she does is make me dry the dishes, take her to the movies, give her money for clothes. At the rate she's going, I won't even have enough left to pay my income tax.


WILBUR: (YAWNS) Oh, yeah, income tax. My, my, my, my, my. Income tax. (EXHALES CONTENTEDLY) I think I'll have another banana.


CHIMP: Another thing, the phone bill came this morning.


WILBUR: It did?


CHIMP: Yes! Eight seventy-five, with two toll calls to Yonkers and a telegram to my mother-in-law. I mean, your mother-in-law.


WILBUR: (EXHALES HEAVILY) Pass me one of those roasted peanuts.


CHIMP: Oh, I can't do it, Brown -- on your salary, with these expenses! I can't possibly keep up my standard of living.


WILBUR: Oh! So now you've discovered standard of living.


CHIMP: Discovered it! I couldn't avoid the darn thing.


WILBUR: Yes, that's how it works.


CHIMP: Well, let's stop toying around Brown. I want to call it quits.


WILBUR: Sorry.


CHIMP: You mean you won't?!


WILBUR: Right! Definitely, absolutely, and finally, I won't.


CHIMP: (DEJECTED) All right. I - I guess that's that.


WILBUR: Yes, I guess it is. But, you know, it's a funny thing.


CHIMP: What is?


WILBUR: You remember that day you thought those bars were in front of my face instead of yours?


CHIMP: Mmm?


WILBUR: And how brokenhearted you were to discover it was the other way around?


CHIMP: Yes?


WILBUR: Well, just like you that day, from where I'm sitting, I could swear that you and all those people walking around are behind the bars instead of me. (LAUGHS) Only I'm not going to make the mistake you made.


CHIMP: What's that?


WILBUR: I'm never going to argue the point.


NARRATOR: That ends the story. Chimpanzee went back to the bank and to Angela, paid the phone bill, borrowed from a fellow with whom he played pinochle to meet his income tax, and struggled to maintain his standard of living. And Wilbur? He swung from a tree branch for occasional exercise, but mostly he just reclined in the sun, scratching his midriff and eating bananas. And if anyone still doubts the truth of this story, I'll tell you what you do. Take your reason out of the mothballs, prop it up in its leaning places, and go to New York, firmly resolved that this habit of believing isn't going to triumph over reason. Then, drop over to the First National Bank near Fifty-Ninth Street and afterwards the cage in the Central Park Zoo, which reads "Chimpanzee, Habitat: Africa." What you will see will not only convince you, it will astound you. 


MUSIC: LIVELY COMICAL CURTAIN


HOST: Arthur Stander wrote that story. Ray Collins played Wilbur, and Glenn Anders was the chimpanzee. Now before I tell you about next week's show, here's a word from Lady Esther.


LADY ESTHER: Did you hear the unusual offer I made a few minutes ago? I offered to send you, absolutely free, a tube of my Four-Purpose Face Cream. Also, all nine shades of Lady Esther Face Powder. I'd like you to see with your own eyes the thrilling difference in your skin when you use the right shade of face powder. No guesswork, no gambling with results, and no cost to you. First, cleanse your skin with my Four-Purpose Cream. Then when your skin is fresh and clean and smooth, try the "Rachel" [pronounced rah-SHELL] color of Lady Esther Face Powder. Let it stay on for a few minutes while you look at yourself critically. Put each shade on, one after the other, until you've tried all nine shades. Then compare the results. You'll see that one of these shades will be most flattering. One of them will bring out all the hidden glamour of your skin. You may be surprised to discover that you've been using the wrong color face powder for years and the shade that is really perfect for you may be just the one you never thought of using. That's why I make this startling offer. Yes, I will send you, free, a tube of Lady Esther Four-Purpose Face Cream and all nine shades of Lady Esther Face Powder. Just send me your name and address on a penny postcard and you'll receive this generous gift package by return mail. All the address you need is Lady Esther, Chicago.


MUSIC: THEME (FROM TCHAIKOVSKY'S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1) ... IN BG


HOST: Well, our time's run a little short, so I'll just have to tell you the title of next week's story and let it go at that. Maybe that's enough, after all -- enough for you to want to hear it, anyway; let's hope. Next week we're doing "Rip Van Winkle"! Till then, speaking for Lady Esther and for all of us in the Mercury Theatre, I remain as always, obediently yours.


MUSIC: THEME ... UP GRANDLY, THEN IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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