Season 2 : 1942 – 1943
- The Vacation
Gildersleeve has been tired lately, and he goes to see Dr. Pettibone. The doctor tells Gildersleeve that he has high blood pressure, and he prescribes a vacation. Judge Hooker suggests a fishing trip to Lake Hacmatac, and offers to look after the house.
Gildersleeve, Marjorie, Leroy and Birdie set off for the lake. They hear what they think is a blow-out, followed by four more bangs. The four tires and the spare? No, it’s Leroy’s homemade root beer.
At the lake, they fish for days and don’t catch a thing. Finally, though, their luck changes. Marjorie’s pilot boyfriend Doug buzzes them, and they all end up in the lake, where Gildersleeve accidentally grabs hold of a fish. The fish turns out to be a big problem on the way home, though– it smells too bad to keep in the car, and when they hang it out the window, they are chased by seagulls.
When they arrive at home, they find mysterious signs of life– dirty dishes, lights left on, and someone in the shower! But it’s not a burglar, it’s Judge Hooker, who had used the idea of a vacation so that he could get a key and use Gildersleeve’s house while his own was being painted.
- The Golf Tournament
Gildersleeve is preparing for the annual Labor Day tournament at the Summerfield Country Club, and Marjorie is preparing for the Country Club dance. She has a glamorous new dress, but she broke up with boyfriend Doug, so she’s planning to go to the dance with Leroy. But the real excitement for Marjorie is that the club is having bandleader and trumpet-player Bill Farris for the dance, and Marjorie has offered to put him up for the weekend.
Gildersleeve is annoyed that he has to give up his room for the guest, and sleep on a folding cot in the sewing room, but when he meets the obnoxious musician, things don’t go well. Returning home from the dance at 2 AM, Farris gives Leroy an impromptu trumpet lesson on the porch, waking Gildersleeve, who sends Leroy to bed. This leaves the lascivious Farris alone with Marjorie, but Gildersleeve calls down and sends her off to bed just as Farris is making his move.
In the morning, Gildersleeve is feeling tired and worried about the golf tournament. He feels better, however, when Judge Hooker arrives and announces that he can’t play Gildersleeve due to an attack of gout. Gildersleeve thinks Hooker will have to forfeit, but just then the obnoxious Farris comes into the room and offers to take Hooker’s place.
The throroughly awful Farris almost beats Gildersleeve, but when Leroy realizes that Farris is cheating, he steps in to help. He knows the egotistical bandleader’s weak point– he can’t bear hearing a certain song made famous by a rival. Leroy sings this just at the right time to throw Farris off his game, and Gildersleeve wins.
- Planting a Tree
It’s a beautiful, crisp October day, and Gildersleeve is enjoying the weather and planning to improve his property. He has ordered a Giant Ponderosa Cherry Tree from a traveling salesman, and prepares for its arrival by digging a deep hole. Actually, Leroy and Birdie who do just about all the work, and Gildy only takes the shovel when Leila Ransom appears. But when the tree is delivered, it’s a lot smaller than expected.
Things get interesting, however, when Gildersleeve tries to nurture his tiny tree with water. He finds the water pressure inadequate, a chronic problem in Summerfield. Gildersleeve declares that the water situation in Summerfield is a disgrace and a fire hazard, and that he’s going to do something about it. According to Gildersleeve, it’s all the fault of Clanahan, the Water Commissioner, who “just sits down there at the Waterworks on his fat salary playing pinochle while the town goes dry.”
Gildersleeve has written a letter to the Summerfield Indicator Vindicator, but Judge Hooker tells Gildersleeve that if he really wants action from a politician like Clanahan, he should get up a petition. Gildersleeve writes one, and brings it to the barbershop to get Floyd Munson’s signature, but unfortunately Clanahan turns out to be there himself, under a towel. Gildersleeve brings the petition to the drugstore for Mr. Peavey’s signature, and has better luck there. Judge Hooker doesn’t want to sign the petition himself, until Gildersleeve threatens to tell Leila Ransom of his cowardice.
He brings the petition to Leila, but she doesn’t want to sign it without talking to a lawyer first, on the advice of her late husband Beauregard, who was a lawyer himself. Leila doesn’t want to talk about business, but wants to spend a little time in her parlor with Gildersleeve. She agrees to sign, however, when he tells her it’s to benefit their own little cherry tree. She signs it “To Throckmorton with Love from Leila.”
At six o’clock the following morning, Gildersleeve is awakened by Clanahan and the men from the Waterworks digging up the yard. When he sees the hole and asks what happened to the tree, the response is “What tree?” and the battle for the water department is on!
At the end of the program, Leroy asks Gildersleeve if he can go see that great new movie at the Majestic, “Here We Go Again” starring Fibber McGee and Molly, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and the Great Gildersleeve.
- The First Cold Snap
Summerfield gets an early taste of winter when it snows in October. Gildersleeve has converted the family furnace from oil to coal, due to homefront shortages. Birdie balks at Gildersleeve’s insistence that the house be kept at 68 degrees, but Gildersleeve explains that anyone who offers her a warmer household temperature this winter is a traitor.
Gildersleeve brings Leila Ransom wood for her fire, and finds Judge Hooker there with blackberry cordial. The three go out to play in the snow, and Leila flirtatiously hopes the men won’t wash her face with snow. Rising to the challenge, the two bachelors pursue her, and Judge Hooker falls into the hole in Gildersleeve’s yard left by Summerfield’s negligent Water Commissioner Clanahan.
That night, Gildersleeve suffers the final indignity when he goes to the basement to investigate a noise, and Clanahan finally delivers the promised load of coal on top of him.
- The Water Commissioner
Gildersleeve has been active in campaigning against Clanahan, Summerfield’s incumbent Water Commissioner. Judge Hooker suggests that Gildersleeve may be offered the job himself, but is this true, or just a rumor? With the help of his niece Marjorie and Editor Powers of the Summerfield Indicator/Vindicator, Gildersleeve triumphs.
- First Day on the Job
Gildersleeve is now the Water Commissioner of Summerfield, and he faces many challenges on his first day. His name is misspelled on the office door, his secretary is formidable, Leila Ransom and Marjorie want to redecorate the office, and Leroy is caught swimming in the reservoir. To make matter more complicated, Judge Hooker has had his water service turned off for nonpayment.
A Pal to Leroy
Leroy brings home a bad report card and Gildersleeve loses his temper and tells Marjorie he should send the boy to a military academy. Marjorie calms him down and he decides that he should spend more time with Leroy. He surprises Leroy by telling him they can spend the whole weekend together, and Leroy plans an ambitious schedule, starting with a Saturday duckhunting expedition at 4 AM.
Gildersleeve returns from duckhunting miserable and wants to escape from the rest of the planned activities, so he feigns illness. When Leila drops by and talks about the Halloween party at the country club that night, Gildersleeve decides to sneak out. But he’s not fooling Leroy or anyone else.
- Quiet Evening at Home
Alarmed by wartime inflation, Gildersleeve decides that the family should stop going out so much and should learn to enjoy a nice, quiet, evening at home. Marjorie and Leroy agree to try this the following night. Gildersleeve spends the whole day telling all of his friends about the plan, and preparing for an evening of simple pleasures– buying a parcheesi set, a popcorn popper and even a piano.
The evening begins quietly enough, with Gildy reading aloud from “Ivanhoe,” not much appreciated by Leroy and Marjorie. Things get livelier, however, when Leila Ransom, Judge Hooker and Gildy’s other friends drop by.
At the end of the program, Gildersleeve makes a little speech to the folks at home, urging them not to contribute to inflation by running out and buying things, the way that he just did.
- College Chum’s Son
Gildy’s old college chum, Brinkerhoff, sends his son to with a letter of introduction. The son has just graduated from “the old alma mater” and has moved to Summerfield and Brink hopes that Gildersleeve will introduce him around. “Good Old Brink” was an All-American football player and a great hero of Gildersleeve’s back in college, and so he invites young Brink to the house for dinner, along with guest Judge Hooker and Leila Ransom.
After dinner, the obnoxious young Brink convinces Marjorie to go out with him. They return home at 2 AM, with the aggressive young man putting his foot in the door and generally harassing Marjorie– something that Gildersleeve unaccountably ignores. When he’s leaving, the lout tells Gildy he wants to see him at the office the next day, and Gildy assumes he wants to marry Marjorie…but it turns out he only wants to sell him insurance.
This episode is notable for two things: Gildersleeve’s hero worship of his old college classmate and how it completely blinds him to Marjorie’s interests, and a long, flashback sequence, in which the young college boy, “Tubby” Gildersleeve, invites a blind date to campus for the weekend of the big game, and loses her to young Brink, without ever realizing that he’s being manipulated. Peary does an interesting job of creating the young Gildersleeve’s voice, higher and more insecure, and with an early edition of the famous laugh.
- Thanksgiving Dinner
As Thanksgiving approaches, Leroy is preparing to play John Alden in the school Thanksgiving program,and Gildersleeve is working on his application for a B-ration book that would allow him to get more gas. He gets the signature of Judge Hooker as his “Share-a-Rider,” but he’s worried about his chances appearing before Judge Hooker to see if he’s entitled to get the B rations. To soften him up, he invites him to Thanksgiving dinner, and the Judge accepts. When Gildersleeve gets to the Ration Board, however, his application is denied. Gildersleeve, of course, loses his temper, and the two men argue, putting an end to their Thanksgiving plans. Plans get even more tangled when he discovers that they have inadvertently failed to invite Leila Ransom to Thanksgiving dinner. Marjorie thought her uncle had invited her, and he thought she did. Fortunately, Gildersleeve is able to sweet talk Leila into coming.
Back at home, Birdie has more bad news. Gildersleeve didn’t win the turkey her church was raffling off, and now there are none to be found. They need a turkey, especially since Marjorie has arranged for four servicemen to come to dinner. Then Gildersleeve finds out that it’s Judge Hooker who won the turkey, but he hasn’t been told yet. Gildersleeve hurries over to the Judge’s house to make up with him, and to invite the Judge to come to dinner…at 9 AM, with the turkey. All ends well, and after dinner, Judge Hooker tells Gildersleeve that he’s probably entitled to a B ration book since he uses his car for work. Gildersleeve, however, decides to forgo the privilege.
- Attending the Theatre
A revival of "The Student Prince" is coming to Summerfield, and as the episode opens, Gildersleeve is reminiscing about seeing the show years ago, and the beautiful star, Vera Laval, who is in the revival. He’s hearing the song "I Had a Dream of You" when this reverie is rudely interrupted by Leroy singing Mr. Five by Five. Gildersleeve dislikes this song, for obvious reasons, and bans it from his home. He tells Marjorie and Leroy about the wholesome, artistic entertainment of his day, things like "The Student Prince". He decides to bring the reluctant Leroy and Marjorie to the performance the next night.
Gildersleeve tells his family and friends about meeting Vera Laval many years ago. The more he tells the story, the more the story of their relationship grows. Mr. Peavey asks if he ever drank champagne from her slipper. He speaks of seeing her after the show, and Leila decides to have everyone back to her house after the theatre.
At the theatre, Gildersleeve is so excited that he can hardly contain himself. He has sent a note backstage, and Vera Laval sends one back before the performance begins, and he goes backstage to see her.
After the show, Leila and Hooker at at her house discussing the performance. Vera Laval was dreadful, and she’ll never see fifty again. Gildersleeve arrives with the actress. He has to carefully direct the conversation, since Vera Laval is confused by Leila’s pointed references to her past romance with Gildersleeve. They ask Vera Laval to sing for them, and she consents. Gildersleeve wants her to sing "their" song, but she wants to sing something new, a song that will always remind her of him: "Mr. Five by Five"!
- The Toothache
Gildersleeve has a terrible toothache, and he doesn’t want to go to the dentist.
- The Christmas Program
Gildersleeve has been so busy preparing the Annual Report for the Water Department, that he falls asleep at his desk and wakes up to discover that it’s the day before Christmas and he hasn’t done any Christmas shopping. Then he discovers that Leila Ransom is heading for Savannah at noon to visit her brother for the holidays, and that Judge Hooker is taking her to the airport. He buys her a present and arrives at her house before Hooker, and accompanies them to the airport. Leila makes her rival lovers promise to be good friends while she is gone.
Grudgingly, Gildy buys Hooker and inexpensive gift at Peavey’s Drug Store– where equally grudgingly, Hooker has also bought him one.
- Leroy’s Chemistry Set
It’s a few days after Christmas and Gildersleeve is on his way to the office when the mail arrives with a letter from Leila Ransom in Savannah. The letter has an upside-down stamp and is marked S.W.A.K., Sealed With A Kiss. His spirits are high until he learns that Judge Hooker also got a letter marked the same way.
There’s no time to brood over romance, though, because Brody, an important ordnance expert from Washington, is in Summerfield to help turn the rat trap company into a war munitions plant. Gildersleeve is trying to meet with Brody to discuss the plant, but must go home when he gets a frantic phone call from Birdie. It seems that Leroy has used his chemistry set to make nitroglycerine. Gildersleeve calls Peavey for advice, and then the Chief of Police. Chief Gates suggests bringing the nitroglycerine to expert Brody for advice. Brody pronounces it harmless– until it blows a hole in Gildy’s trousers!
- A Visit from the McGees
Fibber McGee and Molly are coming for a visit, and Gildersleeve wants to make sure everything is perfect. He makes Leroy hide the lawnmower (which Fibber claims is the one Gildy borrowed from him) and he makes Leroy and Marjorie promise not to mention his engagement to Leila Ransom.
When the McGees arrive, they ask about Gildersleeve’s neighbors, and Gildy pretends to barely know the widow next door. But when McGee takes a stroll down to Peavey’s drugstore, he soon learns the truth, and comes back to tease Gildy unmercifully.
Gildersleeve invites Leila and Judge Hooker over for tea. Hooker makes a private sale to Gildersleeve– the ring he had bought for Leila, which is engraved “To Leila From Cuddles.” Leila regales the McGees with the story of how Gildy proposed, which McGee finds hysterically funny, and Molly tells how Fibber proposed to her, in a leaky canoe which he had to paddle with his mandolin because he lost the paddles.
- The Women’s Club Speech
Gildersleeve is flattered to be asked to speak at the Women’s Club, but he has trouble preparing his speech. He tells Marjorie and Leroy that this speech could be the beginning of something big– after all, William McKinley was once a Water Commissioner and he ended up in the White House. He feels confident that he can speak on his topic, “Water and the War,” but he needs a funny story as an opener. He finally selects one, but Judge Hooker gives the speech before Gildy, and closes with the same story that Gildy had planned to use.
- Sabotage in Summerfield
When Marjorie tells Gildersleeve about a small fire at the defense plant, he immediately suspects sabotage, and as he tells a few people about it, the story grows, with derailed streetcars and missing newspapers added to the tale. Chief Gates convinces Gildersleeve to stop getting people worried, but soon Gildersleeve has a new cause for suspicion, a broken snifter valve at the waterworks that leaves the city with no water, and causes Gildersleeve and Peavey to spend a long night on guard duty at the waterworks. When they see a suspicious figure, they open fire– on Leila Ransom.
- The New Fire Engine
Gildersleeve, Marjorie, Leila, Peavey and Judge Hooker are all on a committee to raise money for a new fire engine, along with Dr. Pettibone and his bossy wife. They agree to put on an entertainment to raise money, but they differ as to what type. Mrs. Pettibone names herself chairman and insists they perform a play that she has written, one with no singing role for Gildersleeve. When he suggests himself for the romantic lead, the others make fun of his girth, except for Marjorie, who says she would rather be big like her uncle than small and mean like the rest of them. Gildersleeve and Marjorie leave the meeting.
Eventually, the committee members reconcile their differences and Mrs. Pettibone writes a singing part into the play for Gildersleeve. Unfortunately, they learn that there will be no fire engines available until after the War is over.
At the end of this show, Harold Peary talks about the plan for rationing food, and how it is the only fair and democratic way to distribute the food that will be available. He also notes that there has been a lot of talk about how much of our food was going overseas to help the Allies, and says that it was only seven and one half per cent, and that if that contributed to what the Russians were doing to the Nazis, “Brother, it was a bargain!”
- Leila’s Sister
Leila’s sister Winfield comes to visit, bringing along her obnoxiously polite son Michael. While Leila and Winnie have a wonderful time reminiscing about former beaux, Gildersleeve gets stuck taking care of Michael. He delegates this job to Leroy, who brings Michael to Peavey’s drugstore, where he overindulges in strawberry sodas.
That evening, Gildersleeve and Leila send Winnie off to the movies with Judge Hooker, hoping for a chance to have a little privacy.
- Income Tax Time
Gildersleeve is just checking over his income tax form, when he realizes he left something out– interest from a savings account. A little voice tells him to just forget it, there are men in this town who earn four or five times the salary that Gildersleeve does, let them pay a little more.
This sets off a moral crisis as Gildersleeve struggles to decide what to do, without confiding in family or friends. Judge Hooker and Floyd Munson talk about how the government is cracking down on tax violators this year, which worries him. While he is trying to make a decision, he’s difficult to live with. When he catches Leroy copying a few sentences from a letter from the bank into his school essay about why we pay taxes, he punishes the boy. When Birdie needs some help with her taxes, he’s short-tempered.
On Sunday, he attends church with Leila and takes the sermon to heart. Afterward, he is so distracted that Leila goes off in a huff. Back at home, Marjorie has invited her boyfriend, Bashful Ben, to dinner. Ben is taking a new job at the plant, working for the Army for less pay. He’s happy to take less pay to be helping more in the war effort. Gildersleeve sees the light and makes his decision– he will do the right thing and report the interest.
- Springtime in Summerfield
It’s spring, and romance is in the air. Gildersleeve goes out early in the morning to walk barefoot through the grass. He picks the first crocus of the season, and brings it over to Leila Ransom’s house. He is disappointed at her reaction, and they quarrel. She says she doesn’t even know if they are really engaged or not.
Later, she comes to the office and apologizes for her behavior. When he asks her what she meant, she says that he takes her for granted. She also tells him that he thinks that all engagement means it "sittin’ around holdin’ hands and kissin’ and such" to which he respond, "You mean there’s
more?" She says they should be preparing for their life together, finding common interests and talking about worthwhile things like current events.
That afternoon, Gildersleeve goes off to the reservoir. He runs into Mr. Peavey, who has left his wife in charge of the store for the afternoon. They are joined by Charlie Anderson, the crusty old supervisor of the reservoir. The three men discuss women: the happily married Mr. Peavey, the romantic bachelor Gildersleeve, and the misogynist Charlie.
That evening, Gildersleeve goes over to visit Leila, and talks about world affairs. But, as Marjorie has predicted, he doesn’t have to talk about them long. A session at the piano that begins with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata turns romantic when Gildersleeve sings "Moonlight Becomes You".
- Auto Repairs
Gildersleeve is having car troubles, and his usual mechanic has been drafted. He decided to ask Marjorie’s boyfriend Ben for help, but when the two arrive at the house they are in the middle of a fight. Later, when Ben phones, Gildersleeve invites him over for dinner the next evening, and suggests that he come early, around 2 PM, wearing old clothes.
The next day, however, Ben arrives in a new suit. Gildersleeve manages to talk him into slipping on some overalls and getting under the car anyway. Marjorie gets angry and leaves. It seems that what they have been fighting about is Ben’s inability to stand up for himself, which causes him to be overlooked at the defense plant, and to lose a promotion to smooth-talking Chet.
Ben stays to assist Gildersleeve in working on the car. Gildersleeve leaves for just a minute to run down to Peavey’s for cigars, and ends up staying for a game of Chinese Checkers. When he comes home, Ben has just finished fixing the car, and Marjorie is still not home. She returns a few minutes later, accompanied by the obnoxious Chet. Bashful Ben finally manages to stand up for himself to both Chet and Marjorie.
- Auto Accident with Hooker
It’s a hectic morning at Gildersleeve’s house. He’s riding downtown with Judge Hooker, and he’s worried about being late for a meeting with the Mayor. He can’t get the correct time on the phone or the radio. He’s short-tempered with everyone, and finally decides he can’t wait for the Judge, and decides to take his own car.
Backing out of the driveway, he has a collision with Judge Hooker’s car. Gildersleeve’s fender is dented, as is Hooker’s bumper. The two men argue about who is at fault. They try to get Leroy involved, but he says he didn’t see a thing. When Birdie comes rushing out, Hooker tries to get her to agree with his version of the story.
Gildersleeve goes to his insurance agent, who tells him he isn’t covered for this type of accident. He is angry about the whole situation, and gets even angrier when he sees the Judge walk by his house on crutches! He visits Peavey’s drugstore, and tries to get Peavey to testify that the Judge was fine when he rented the crutches, but Peavey doesn’t want to get involved.
Leila invites Gildersleeve to a Red Cross committee meeting, and asks him to come over a little early. He does, expecting a little private time with her. Just after he arrives, however, Hooker comes to the door. The two men argue some more about the accident until Leila bursts into tears. They both apologize to her, and agree not to fight any more. As soon as she’s out of the room, however, they resume hostilities. Judge Hooker plans to sue, and Gildersleeve vows to fight the case to the Supreme Court.
- The Spring Hike
Leroy is in trouble again– this time breaking a window. Gildersleeve decides that he should spend more time with Leroy, and suggests a hike. Leroy takes him up on the offer, and invites his pal Piggy to come along. On the way, they see Leila, who cajoles them into inviting her impossibly prissy nephew Michael along.
This Easter episode doesn’t have a strong plot, but a few things are happening. Leroy buys a pair of rabbits, who eat the lettuce from Judge Hooker’s Victory Garden. Hooker and Gildersleeve are still feuding over the automobile accident. Gildersleeve decides Leroy needs a mother, and presses Leila to set a wedding date, but she decides they should wait until the War is over. After church, they meet Peavey, who presents such a picture of marital bliss that Leila reconsiders.
There are two unusual features to this broadcast. In the middle of the show, there is a break for an emotional appeal by actress Kay Francis for the Second War Loan. At the end of the show, J.L. Kraft, president of the Kraft Cheese Company, delivers an Easter sermon on the Resurrection.
- The Wedding Suit
Gildersleeve is going to work on a Saturday morning, but Leila waylays him to discuss the guest list for their wedding. Gildersleeve wants to invite Fibber McGee and Molly, a suggestion that Leila doesn’t veto but ignores. Meanwhile, she reminisces about her wedding to Beauregard and wants to invite some of his relatives to the wedding. Gildersleeve finally says, “Beauregard had his wedding” and goes off to work, promising to deal with the list that afternoon.
However, Judge Hooker and Dr. Pettibone talk him into going golfing with them and Editor Powers instead, and then tease him into agreeing to play poker that night. This makes Leila very unhappy.
After observing how Marjorie’s boyfriend Ben gets back in her good graces with a gift, Gildersleeve goes to the drugstore and buys candy for Leila– although the gift doesn’t work quite as well as he had planned.
- The Spooky Burton Home
Leila is thinking about making a few changes in preparation for the marriage. First she talks about buying new furniture, and then talks about buying the old Burton house, a larger home on the edge of town. Leila and Judge Hooker, who just happens to be the executor of the Burton estate, think it would be more suitable to a man with political aspirations. However, Gildersleeve doesn’t really want to move, Leroy doesn’t want to leave Piggy and the gang, Marjorie is very attached to the family home, and Birdie believes that the Burton home is haunted. After all, Mr. Burton murdered his wife there.
Gildersleeve and Leila go on a picnic, and end up paying a visit to the Burton home. Inside they hear a spooky noise…is it a ghost, or just Leroy playing a prank?
- Leroy’s Job
Gildersleeve decides that Leroy should get a part-time job so he can learn the value of a dollar. Leroy agrees, and gets himself a job at Mr. Peavey’s drugstore. When his friend Piggy Banks comes in, Leroy get carried away with his authority.
Leroy’s job leaves Gildersleeve to mow his own lawn. He complains a lot, drinks lemonade, chats with Leila, and makes little progress. He attempts to trick Ben into helping, but Marjorie puts a stop to that.
When Leroy finishes his first full week of work, he brings home presents for his uncle, Marjorie and Birdie. Although they are all appreciative, Gildersleeve explains to Leroy that everyone is making money right now, but not many consumer goods are being manufactured due to the war effort. In order to support the war effort and fight inflation, everyone should be investing in war bonds rather than buying things they don’t really need.
Marjorie asks Leroy if it would help him remember the war if he knew someone who was in it. Leroy says it would, but that he doesn’t. Marjorie shares Ben’s news– he’s leaving to join the Navy.
- The Memorial Day Parade
Gildersleeve is working on will, when Marjorie comes in and asks him to come outside and see how the house looks for Memorial Day. Leroy has climbed out the attic window and hung the flag from the roof, and scares everyone by doing a tightrope performance on the railing. Ben and Leila have been invited to watch the parade and have lunch.
Judge Hooker drops by and reads the beginning of Gildersleeve’s will. His response is, “What makes you think you’re of sound mind? And look at that body!” He’s on his way to the parade. He’s the Grand Marshall, and he persuades Gildy to leave the will for later, and to come join the parade, since all the younger men are away this year.
Gildersleeve reminisces a bit to Ben about his military experiences. To have a private, man-to-man moment, he sends Leroy off to get a picture of Gildersleeve in his World War I uniform. He tells Ben that if he gets to Paris, he should look up a certain woman he knew during his soldier days. A blonde, just 28 years old in 1918– which he is depressed to realize means she’s now 53. Poor Mimi! Leila arrives, and is thrilled that Gildersleeve will be marching in the parade. She sees the picture of him in uniform and wants him to wear the uniform in the parade. He and Leroy go to the attic and find it in a trunk, and he just manages to squeeze into the jacket. Bending over to kiss Leila’s hands, he hears a loud rip and is glad he didn’t try to get into the pants.
After the parade, Gildersleeve talks to Birdie about his wish to be remembered after he’s gone. He thinks about endowing a statue, but Birdie tells him she doesn’t like those statues in the park. She feels sorry for Abraham Lincoln, because he’s been standing there so long, and feels angry at General Fremont, because he has a horse and she’s walking. What she really likes is the fountain. Gildersleeve decides a fountain would be an ideal monument for a Water Commissioner.
Working on his will with Judge Hooker, he realizes there won’t be money for a fountain, but only enough for a birdbath. He decides that would be nice, anyway, since Leila loves birds so much. But when he tells her about the idea, she reveals her less-sentimental side.
- The Wedding Shower
Marjorie is giving a wedding shower for Leila, and Gildersleeve is feeling left out and in the way. He hints around that he might be available as entertainment, a few songs, perhaps, but Marjorie won’t hear of it.
Ben and Leroy arrive, running in from the torrential downpour, because, as Ben repeatedly notes, it’s “kinda wet.” Leroy has been sent home from the drugstore in tears because another boy gave him a black eye. Gildersleeve and Ben go over to Mrs. Pettibone’s to borrow bridge tables and a punch bowl, and Gildersleeve falls in the mud.
During the shower, Gildersleeve decides to instruct Leroy in the manly art of self-defense down in the basement, and ends up disturbing the party.
- Honeymoon Preparations
As the wedding day approaches, Gildersleeve prepares for the honeymoon by calling a meeting of his ebthomsen at the Water Department and setting up a trial period where they run everything just as though he wasn’t there. Back at home, he sits down with Leroy and tells him that he’ll be the head of the household while the happy couple is away. To prepare, he wants Leroy to practice being in charge– which Leroy does by deciding to go to have a cigar and go to the fights.
But what Gildersleeve really wants to do is to sit down with Leila and work out a budget. Leila manages to avoid this, but a talk with Mr. Peavey gives her a change of heart.
- The Big Day
Gildersleeve and Leila are about to be married, and the family doesn’t seem to be happy. Marjorie is sulking, Leroy is bellowing out “Oh, Promise Me” and getting on his Uncle’s nerves, and Birdie’s in the kitchen mournfully singing “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” Gildersleeve himself has cold feet, if not second thoughts.
A conversation with Mr. Peavey gives him a glimmer of hope– maybe if he argues with Leila, she’ll decide to call off the wedding. No such luck. The night before, Gildersleeve has a nightmare of attempting to escape from the wedding, but when he wakes up, Hooker is there and it’s time to get ready for the wedding.
The wedding begins, but just in the nick of time, who should arrive but the late lamented Beauregard, Leila’s supposedly dead husband!