Season 3 : 1943 – 1944
- Vacation at Grass Lake
Gildersleeve is on vacation at the Idlewild Hotel with Marjorie and Leroy, but he’s not having much fun. He’s still nursing his heartbreak from being left at the altar by Leila Ransom, and as the only man at the hotel he’s being pursued by various annoying woman. He meets one attractive and sympathetic woman, but then discovers that she has a pack of children. The surprise arrival of Judge Hooker does nothing to lift his mood, and the group heads home, looking forward to one of Birdie’s wonderful meals.
When they arrive at Gildersleeve’s house, however, there is no food, except for the chocolate cake that Birdie baked for the “Run Hitler Out of Town” raffle at her Victory Lodge. Leroy and Marjorie invite themselves to dinner at Piggy Banks’ house. Gildersleeve and Hooker end up having sandwiches at Peavey’s Drug Store, where Gildersleeve learns one interesting piece of news– Leila’s husband Beauregard has died (again) and the Widow Ransom is returning to Summerfield.
- The Bond Drive
- Preparing for Leila
- Leila Returns Home
Gildersleeve is elected to the School Committee, and he and Judge Hooker walk Eve Goodwin home. After many hints from Gildersleeve, Hooker leaves, reminding his friend as he does that Leila Ransom is expected to return to town the next day.Gildersleeve lingers a while, and Eve praises his career in public service and predicts that this is only the beginning.
After a sleepless night, Gildersleeve sees Leila arrive with Judge Hooker. He goes over to see her, and she tells him about her life with Beauregard– how much he had changed, how much he had needed her and how sweet he had been during the past few months. She also tells him about Beauregard’s tragic death– he was kicked in the head by a mule.
- The Halloween Party
The night before Halloween, Marjorie throws a party with her jive-talking boyfriend playing Boogie Woogie on the piano. The next night, Gildersleeve throws his own old-fashioned Halloween party, with Leila Ransom, Judge Hooker and Eve Goodwin as guests. Leila is jealous of Eve, especially when Leila worries that Gildersleeve will drown during apple-bobbing, and Eve says, “Don’t worry, he has wonderful breath control!”
The foursome decide to play Sardines. The lights are turned out and Eve hides. Gildy finds her first and hides with her– nice and close. Leila turns the lights on and throws a jealous fit.
Gildersleeve begin the day feeling romantic after his evening with Eve Goodwin. He splashed around happily in the bath, singing, “People will say we’re in love.” At breakfast, he asks Leroy to bring a note to Miss Goodwin and wait for a response. The note says that he’d like to come around that evening for another kiss, and it’s signed “Your naughty Throckmorton.”
Leila drops by, bringing some beautiful steak to pay Gildersleeve back for a borrowed pot roast. She pours our her feelings of remorse for having been so cruel to Gildersleeve, leaving him and hurting him so badly. Although, she romantically reminisces, they were so much in love, too much in young, too madly, impetuously in love, and too young to know their own feelings.” “Well,” Gildy notes reasonably, “I was forty-two…”
Leila tells him that when Beauregard died (again) she had vowed never to look at another man again– for three months. Three months was up yesterday. Gildersleeve wishes her happiness, with Judge Hooker, perhaps. Leila is upset, and says she supposes that there is someone else, someone better, smarter, and terribly handsome. Gildersleeve reluctantly acknowledges that there is. Leila goes to the piano, and says she’s sure that the other woman can play the classics, while poor silly Leila can only play songs like, “Speak to me of love,” which of course she plays, and sings, with the usual effect on Gildersleeve. He manages to beat a hasty retreat to the office before he gets carried away.
At work, he is short-tempered and upsets his secretary, Bessie, who cries. While he is apologizing to her, he asks if she’s ever been in love. She says she’s in love now, with an older man who barely knows she’s alive. When she mentions dusting his desk, Gildy gets alarmed and beats his second hasty retreat of the day.
After school, Leroy reports that Miss Goodwin will be happy to see Gildy that night, and that Judge Hooker will also be there to discuss the school committee. When Gildersleeve arrives at Eve’s, the Judge launches into a lengthy review of the tax rate for Summerfield over the past thirty years. Gildersleeve finally manages to get the Judge to go home, and at last he’s alone with Eve.
When he tries to kiss her, she tells him that she never should have allowed him to kiss her the previous evening, that it didn’t mean anything. She wants him to forget that it ever happened, and to go off and become a hero worthy of her love. Gildersleeve leaves, confused and depressed, and finishes off the evening with a little chat with Mr. Peavey.
- Christmas Show
Script — Here’s the script for this episode, from the Generic Radio Workshop Vintage Radio Script Archive
Gildersleeve just wants to sleep late one morning. When the family starts bothering him to get up for breakfast, Marjorie asks him if he’s feeling well. This inspires him to pretend to be just unwell enough to have to stay in bed. Birdie agrees to bring him breakfast in bed, Marjorie calls Dr. Pettibone, and Leila comes for a visit. Leila asks which doctor he’s having, and praises the wonderful Dr. Hargreaves. When Dr. Pettibone comes, he is rude and unsympathetic to Gildersleeve, who decided to call in Dr. Hargreaves for a second opinion.
Gildersleeve, who felt fine to begin with, finds himself being taken to the hospital for tests and observation. He becomes worried about his condition. Dr. Hargreaves arranges for a special duty nurse, Miss Riley, to attend to Gildersleeve, who immediately pictures a beautiful young colleen, and begins to sing, "Sure a little bit of Ireland…" Nurse Riley, however, turns out to be not at all what he had imagined.
When the family gathers at his bedside the next morning, Gildersleeve fears the worst, but it turns out that his biggest problem is his overactive imagination.
- Income Tax Forms
Gildersleeve is struggling with his income tax forms, but can’t seem to get any peace and quiet around the house. Finally, he gives up and goes to the basement to help Leroy build a doghouse for his puppy (whose name is either Stinky or Rover depending on who you talk to.) Gildersleeve finds sawing all the boards needed to be tedious and tiring work, and when Leila calls and asks him to come by, he drops the doghouse project and runs right over.
Leila makes Gildersleeve jealous by talking on and on about the wonderful Dr. Hargreaves, and how scientific he is, and how much she herself loves science. She has just seen Greer Garson play Madame Curie at the movies, and seems to be casting herself in the same role. Dr. Hargreaves has even promised that she can attend a case with him sometime.
Just when Gildersleeve’s jealousy is fully aroused, she begins praising Gildersleeve as a businessman, someone who understands addition and subtraction and all those things. Finally, she reveals just why she wanted Gildersleeve to come by– to help her with her income tax forms. Reluctantly, Gildersleeve agrees, but after a bit he decides to call Judge Hooker over to help.
Once Hooker is there and working on the taxes, Gildersleeve talks Leila into dancing, singing softly into her ear for music. Hooker wants a turn, too, and the two men are more interested in having a little fun than they are in doing the taxes. Then Dr. Hargreaves drops by, invites Leila to go out to a farm to help set a broken leg, since it’s such a beautiful, moonlit night. Leila leaves both Gildersleeve and Hooker behind, and goes off with the doctor.
- Love Returns
Gildersleeve receives a phone call from Eve Goodwin, the Principal of Leroy’s school, who wants to come over to discuss Leroy’s report card. When Gildersleeve focuses his attention on Leroy, he notices how scruffy he looks and decides to buy him a new suit, shirt tie and shoes.
Eve comes to dinner, and later she and Gildersleeve have a private conversation. Eve suggests that there’s nothing really wrong with Leroy except that he needs a mother. Gildy mentions that he almost got married last year, and Eve tells him that one disappointment shouldn’t turn him off of the whole idea. Gildersleeve misunderstands her intentions and declares that she’s right– he’ll propose to Leila Ransom again! Eve leaves in a huff.
When he goes to see Leila, however, he doesn’t win her heart, since he makes the mistake of asking her to marry him because of Leroy, with no talk of love. Insulted, she asks him to leave. Gildersleeve goes home and has a conversation with Leroy.
- The Aspiring Actress
Marjorie tries out for a part in a play, and the Director remarks that she reminds him of Katharine Hepburn. This changes her whole personality, and she begins speaking in a dramatic and affected manner, and to find her home and family simply “too, too dreary.”
When the family hosts a war hero who has come to speak at a War Bond rally, Leroy wants to talk to him about aviation but Marjorie sees him as a sophisticated older man who has truly lived…until he ends her crush by pretending to want her to run off with him.
This episode is notable for two things– some excellent moments when Leroy imitates Marjorie imitating Katharine Hepburn, and a patriotic exchange at the end of the program, when Birdie tells Gildersleeve just what she’s planning to tell the members of her lodge to encourage them to buy War Bonds.
- The Big Sleigh Ride
Gildersleeve has managed to offend both Leila Ransom and Eve Goodwin, and is looking for something special to win back their favor. He and Judge Hooker come up with a wonderful idea, a good old-fashioned sleigh ride. The first problem is they need to bring along the barber, Floyd Munson, to get the sleigh, but he promises to refrain from his racy barbershop humor. Mr. Peavey comes along as well, taking a ride the long way home. The four men set off and stop to pick up Eve, who rebuffs the invitation. When they get to Leila’s, they try an irresistible approach– they serenade her “Jingle Bells,” but Leila find the singing, and the singers, easy to resist…especially since she has a gentleman caller.
The two bachelors, Gildersleeve and Hooker, and the two married men, Munson and Peavey, agree that women are the cause of most of the troubles in the world, and ride off, with Peavey leading a manly and spirited rendition of “There is a Tavern in the Town.”
- “Mayor” Gildersleeve
Gildersleeve is considering running for Mayor, and Judge Hooker is offering his help. Hooker tells Gildersleeve he’s made a big mistake by letting out the fact that he might run prematurely– Gildy protests that he hasn’t told a soul, except for Floyd the barber. Of course, telling Floyd is a more effective announcement than a full page ad in the Summerfield Indicator Vindicator. Since the word seems to be out, Gildersleeve tells Marjorie, Leroy and Birdie that he has an announcement to make. Once they learn that he’s running run for mayor, rather than getting himself engaged again, they are enthusiastically supportive.
Hooker tells Gildersleeve that he needs to start making the right political contacts, and says he’ll try to arrange for a meeting that evening with Senator Abernathy. But just after Hooker leaves, Leila drops by to invite Gildersleeve to a little birthday party she’s having for herself that evening, and to con Birdie into volunteering to bake a cake. At first, Gildersleeve says that he can’t come, but when he learns that Dr. Hargreaves and Eve Goodwin are coming, he changes his mind.
Before the party he goes to Peavey’s for a gift, and finds just the thing– expensive perfume called “Parlez-moi d’Amour” (Speak to me of Love), the name of the song that Gildersleeve always sings to put Leila in a romantic mood.
When he arrives at Leila’s, he finds that Dr. Hargeaves has already been there for hours, and the two are acting like a couple of teenagers in love. “Arthur calls me Dee-Dee and I call him Pooh Bear,” Leila gushes. Gildersleeve, of course, is jealous.
More jealousy breaks out when Eve Goodwin arrives. Leila and Eve have a few catty little exchanges over their dresses, and later over which woman should play the piano. Eve plays the classics while Leila only has popular music…as she pointedly says,
“I’m just a silly girl who likes to play for people’s enjoyment.” Eve decides to play several pieces by Bach, which the cultured Dr. Hargreaves enjoys, leaving Gildersleeve and Leila united first by jealousy and then by boredom
More jealousy for Gildersleeve follows when Dr. Hargreaves talk about his trip to Washington. He gets a break, however, when the doctor is called away on an emergency, leaving Gildersleeve with both of the ladies. He has a suggestion for an activity– a game of Post Office. But his fun is interrupted before it begins, when Judge Hooker shows up and drags the candidate away to meet Senator
Abernathy– a meeting which turns out to be a quick nod as the Senator
rushes for the train.
- Running for Mayor
Floyd Munson arranges for Gildersleeve to meet Clarence Magruder, a man of influence in Summerfield. Gildersleeve announces his intention to be a strong mayor, independent of any person or party, and Magruder approves…but then mentions some contracts that his construction company has with the city, all open and approved, but he wouldn’t want any new mayor coming in and disturbing things. Gildersleeve says that sounds fine to him.
When he recounts this conversation to Eve Goodwin, however, she is negative about the whole thing, and they have a falling out. The next day is Easter, and both Leila, who has had a misunderstanding with her doctor beau, and Eve, who has reconsidered, show up to accompany Gildersleeve to church.
The minister’s sermon is on “the servants of corruption” and it sends Gildersleeve into a daydream, in which he goes to the gate of Heaven to check on his status. The gatekeeper, he sounds just like Mr. Peavey, finds a black mark against his name for April, 1944, and Gildersleeve is determined to remove it. Outside the church, he sees Magruder and firmly rejects his support in the campaign. When Magruder asks, “Do you know where you’ll be the day after the Election?” Gildersleeve replies, “Yes, fishing with Wendell Wilkie!”
- Engaged– Again!
Everyone’s adjusting to Gildersleeve’s engagement to Eve Goodwin. Gildersleeve buys cigars for Judge Hooker, Floyd Munson and Mr. Peavey (who seldom uses tobacco, and so just rings one up to be a good fellow.) The men discuss the nature of love. Gildersleeve believes in love at first sight. Hooker, the old bachelor, believes that love is nothing more than habit. Munson believes that love is an accident, “and there ought to be a law against it.” Peavey believes that love is a miracle, and recounts the story of him meeting with Mrs. Peavey at a picnic many years before.
Back at home, the family is discussing the engagement. Leroy is especially unhappy, since Eve is the Principal of his school. Besides, he asks, “Do we have to go through this every spring?” Gildersleeve arrives and tries to get the family’s support for the upcoming marriage.
Leila drops by to congratulate Gildersleeve and to tell him that she has already called Eve and wants to have a party for the happy couple. The next evening, Eve and Gildersleeve go to spend the evening with Leila and Judge Hooker. Leila teases Gildersleeve relentlessly, telling little intimate things to Eve, and asking if Gildersleeve has told her this or that. When she asks Eve if he has ever sung her “Speak to me of love” Gildersleeve loses his patience and asks Leila, “Is nothing sacred?” Eve replies, “Apparently not, Throckmorton, since you’ve sung it to me.” Gildersleeve gets angry and leaves. Eve comes after him and explains that Leila was just trying to make her lose her patience. They make up, and spend the rest of the evening alone together.
- The Campaign Heats Up
The title of this episode says it all. As the show opens, Gildersleeve is sitting at his desk at the Water Department reading a love letter from Eve Goodwin when his peace is disturbed by a loud sound truck booming out a campaign message for Mayor Terwilliger. To make matters worse, he stops at Peavey’s drugstore and finds a Terwilliger poster in the window. But the final straw is going home to listen to “Teatime Melodies,” a radio program that Eve had mentioned in her letter, and finding it has been pre-empted by a political speech by Mayor Terwilliger. In his broadcast, the Mayor says that the biggest mistake of his term in office was appointing Gildersleeve as Water Commissioner, because “You can’t fill one vacancy with another one.”
Enraged, Gildersleeve tells his campaign manager, Judge Hooker, to arrange for a radio broadcast to rebut the Mayor’s speech. Unfortunately, things don’t get well when Gildersleeve learns that he can’t speak freely in any sense– he can’t call the Mayor a crook, and he has to pay to be on the air.
- Who’s Kissing Leila?
Leroy buys Eve a Mother’s Day present– a blue silk pincushion, with pins spelling out the word MOTHER. Gildersleeve thinks it may be a little too much for Leroy to give Eve a Mother’s Day present at this point, and suggests that Leroy should save it for a wedding present. This brings up a delicate point– when is the wedding? So far, Eve has only said she’ll set the date after Gildersleeve wins the primary election. What if he loses?
Gildersleeve discusses the wedding date with Judge Hooker, Floyd Munson and Mr. Peavey. Peavey tells of his engagement to Mrs. Peavey, who wouldn’t set the date until he quit his job with the wholesale drug firm and opened his own drugstore. Gildersleeve decides to visit Eve and ask her what will happen if he loses the election, but she simply refuses to consider such a thing.
Gildersleeve goes home feeling very unsettled and depressed about the whole business. Leila drops by and they begin to reminisce about the good old days. Reminiscing leads to tickling, which leads to a kiss.
That evening, feeling guilty, Gildersleeve goes to Eve’s house, and when she’s being particularly warm and understanding, he confesses to her about the kiss, passing it off as insignificant, no more than a friendly gesture like a slap on the shoulder. Eve doesn’t see it that way, but more like a slap in the face, and she asks Gildersleeve to leave.
- The City Employees’ Picnic
Things aren’t going well for Gildersleeve. Eve still isn’t speaking to him, and he doesn’t know how to make things up. He goes to the town picnic in the park, and tries to talk to Eve there, but she rebuffs him. In order to impress her, he enters the pie-eating contest. After he wins, Mayor Terwilliger makes some very unkind remarks about Gildersleeve from the podium. When someone suggests that Gildersleeve sing a song, the Mayor makes nasty little cracks about Gildersleeve’s singing. Nevertheless, accompanied by the street-cleaner’s band, Gildersleeve sings, “Harvest Moon.” This proves so popular with the crowd that he sings several more songs to thunderous applause, and Mayor Terwilliger can’t get him off until he tells the band they’ll be fired if they don’t stop playing immediately.
Gildersleeve is much cheered by this success, and especially by the walk home with Eve. She admires the way he handled a difficult situation, and admits that she can’t stay mad at him, especially not when he sings like that.
- Eve’s Mother Arrives
As part of his campaign, Gildersleeve attends a baseball game, leads the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” throws out the first ball, and makes a little speech accusing Mayor Teriwlliger of stealing bases with the taxpayer’s money. While Leroy is rummaging around his pockets looking for money for a hot dog, he finds a note from Eve Goodwin that he had forgotten to deliver.
Gildy goes over to see Eve, who says she has good news to tell him. Before she does, the two take a pleasant and playful walk together, even skipping down the street holding hands. At Peavey’s drugstore, over strawberry sundaes, Eve tells Gildersleeve her news– her mother is coming to visit. Gildersleeve agrees to take Eve to the train station to meet her mother.
Gildersleeve tries to wash the car for the event, but keeps getting interrupted by his friends and their mother-in-law comments. Leila drops by and tells Gildersleeve that if he ever, ever needs someone to talk to, she’s right next door. Gildersleeve insists that his future mother-in-law is different.
The trip to pick her up at the train station doesn’t go well. First, Eve notices the unwashed car. Then, Gildersleeve stops the car to give Eve a little kiss, and can’t get it started again. He works on the car while Eve frets about her mother. Finally, Eve gets out and quickly discovers the loose wire that’s causing the problem. Eve is annoyed but when they get to the station, her mother is waiting patiently and is pleasant and friendly– friendlier to Gildersleeve than Eve is.
- Dinner for Eve’s Mother
Eve’s mother is coming to Gildersleeve’s house for dinner to meet the family. Birdie is making a pork roast, but it turns out Eve’s mother can’t eat pork, or practically anything else. Mrs. Goodwin treats Marjorie and Leroy as if they were much younger than they are, and then monopolizes the after-dinner conversation talking about her doctor. The evening breaks up early, and Gildersleeve finds himself on his own and at loose ends. He considers going down to Peavey’s or to his campaign headquarters…or over to Leila’s. But he wisely decides just to go to bed.
The next day, Gildersleeve and Eve are supposed to be going on a picnic together, but when Gildersleeve arrives to pick her up, Eve tells him that they need to run a few errands with her mother first. They take her to Hogan Brothers to buy a hat, where she rejects every one, except the one belonging to the saleswoman. When they decide to buy a dress, Gildersleeve goes off to Peavey’s to sulk.
Mr. Peavey comes up with a suggestion to get rid of Mrs. Goodwin for the evening– she can attend a bird-watching lecture with Mrs. Peavey. Gildersleeve and Eve have a quiet evening at home. When he can’t get Eve in a romantic mood, he decides to sing to her, choosing “Deep in My Heart, Dear.” Just when it’s starting to work, Mrs. Goodwin arrives back home, earlier than expected because the magic lantern broke down. This rather destroys the mood, and Mrs. Goodwin finishes it off by making Gildersleeve switch to her favorite song, “Polly-Wolly-Doodle”!
- Eve’s Mother Stays On
While the campaign heats up in the days before the primary, Gildersleeve’s mind is elsewhere– on getting his future mother-in-law out of town, and back to her son Fred’s house. It’s hard to get reservations, but Floyd Munson manages to finagle tickets from a friend who works for the railroad, after reminding him of a certain great evening out on the town.
At home, Marjorie, Leroy and Birdie discuss Gildersleeve’s good mood and upcoming marriage. Marjorie likes Eve, and Leroy is looking forward to being the nephew of the school principal. Birdie says that if Eve is right for Gildersleeve, that’s fine with her, and adds, “One good thing about her, she don’t know nothing about cooking, and that’ll save a lot of wear and tear on my personality!”
Gildersleeve is so happy to see Mrs. Goodwin leave that he showers her with gifts and even arranges to have a corsage sent to her at the train station. Just before it’s time for her to leave, Eve gets a telegram from her brother Fred. He’s joining the SeaBees and leaving right away, so their mother will have to stay in Summerfield and live with Eve for the duration.
- Election Day
The night before the election, Gildersleeve has a vivid dream about marrying Eve. Marjorie, Leroy and Birdie are sad to see him go, and the bossy Mrs. Goodwin is rushing him through the ceremony so that she and Eve and Gildersleeve can go off on their honeymoon together. When Leroy wakes him, he’s happy to discover it was only a dream, and warmly greets his family at the breakfast table :
Birdie : “What kind of nourishment you hankering for this morning, Mr. Gildersleeve?”
Gildersleeve : “I need only the nourishment of your presence, Birdie, the nourishment of your warm friendly smile.”
Birdie : “Yes, sir, and a few scrambled eggs on the side.”
He also give Marjorie money for a new hat, and Leroy money for a catcher’s mitt. Eve and her mother arrive to take Marjorie out shopping, and Mrs. Goodwin begins making comments about Gildersleeve’s late breakfast. She then outlines a complete plan for the wedding the very next day, with her minister, her choice for a honeymoon, etc., not listening to anything that either Gildersleeve or Eve have to say. When they leave, Gildersleeve remembers that Eve has only agreed to marry her if he wins the election, and he begins calling voters and encouraging them to vote for Terwilliger.
On Election Day, it looks like a landslide for Gildersleeve, and Terwilliger concedes the election early. Leila drops by to congratulate him, and hears from Leroy that Gildersleeve and Eve plan to get married the next day. Leila and Gildersleeve have a few tender moments together. Then comes news over the radio– the final vote is in and Gildersleeve has lost by three votes!
Gildersleeve goes over to Eve’s house to talk. Eve tells him that she is very proud of him, and that she only told him that she’d only marry him if he won the election to make him try harder. Gildersleeve keeps saying that they made a bargain…and he’s a man of his word. Finally, Eve tells him that she’s been thinking a lot lately, and that she realizes that they are very different, not suited to each other at all, and they agree that neither one of them really wants to get married, and they amicably end their engagement.
Gildersleeve returns from vacation only to find an unflattering editorial in the Summerfield Indicator about a bad taste in the water supply. When the Mayor announces a new drive to sell War Bonds, Gildersleeve refuses to serve on the committee with the newspaper editor without a retraction. These troubles, and the beginning of a flirtation with Leroy’s principal Eve Goodwin, distract Gildersleeve from the Bond Drive.
The program ends, however, with Gildersleeve appearing at the War Bond Rally. He makes a moving speech with flashbacks to a visit when he was out selling war bonds, where he met a woman whose son was in the service, and whose daughter-in-law and grandchild were living with her for the duration. At her request, he reviews her monthly budget and sees that even with her limited means, 25% of her income each month was going toward on War Bonds. This lesson in sacrifice rekindles Gildersleeve’s patriotic spirit and causes him to lay aside petty bickering and help unite Summerfield in supporting the War effort.
Announcement at the End of Program: “The Great Gildersleeve” program this week was contributed to the Treasury’s 3rd War Loan Drive by the Kraft Cheese Company.”