Season 4 : 1944 – 1945
One very hot day, Gildersleeve reads a disturbing story in the newspaper. It seems that the Mayor has had an accident out near the reservoir, caused by eels crossing the road. This makes Gildy worry about whether it’s true that eels leave a body of water when it’s about to go dry.
He heads to the office and has a meeting with old Charlie the engineer. Not only is the reservoir nearly dry, Charlie has been sending Gildersleeve reports about it that have somehow become lost in Gildersleeve’s in-basket. The Mayor calls Gildersleeve to his office and demands a full report on the situation.
Professor Luther Teaberry arrives, promising that he has an electronic device that can make it rain. In desperation, Gildersleeve agrees to pay him five hundred dollars to make it rain. The machine makes a lot of noise, but produces no rain, and when the Mayor finds the bill for five hundred dollars, he makes an
even bigger noise and fires Gildersleeve.
Gildersleeve sadly cleans out his office, and says goodbye to a sad Charlie and Bessie. Just as he leaves the office, he hears a cloudburst…too late. He goes home, where his little family rallies around him and tries unsuccessfully to cheer him up. Then he receives a phone call from Fibber McGee. We only hear Gildersleeve’s
end of the conversation, but it’s clear that Fibber has some new scheme, and Gildersleeve volunteers to “give up his job” and join in. He hangs up the phone and tells Leroy and Marjorie that he and McGee are going to make a million dollars.
As the episode opens, Gildersleeve is excited about the prospect of becoming a millionaire through his partnership in Fibber McGee’s latest invention. He promises Marjorie a party dress, Leroy a bicycle, and both of them raises in their allowance. He promises Birdie a new washing machine. He consults Judge Hooker and has him draw up a partnership agreement for Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve and Associates, and even looks into real estate for their new offices.
Gildersleeve is engaged in a flirtatious little scene with Leila when a letter from Fibber McGee arrives with more information about the invention. Gildersleeve had been envisioning some type of weaponry, and counting on Defense Department contracts. Instead, it turns out that McGee’s invention is a plastic mousetrap. His hopes of riches are dashed, and he finally has to face the fact that he’s not going to become rich, and, in fact, is unemployed. He faces the disappointment of Marjorie, Leroy and Birdie, who have been anticipating Gildersleeve’s newfound riches. He goes to see the manager of the hardware store about a job Judge Hooker had mentioned to him, and it depressed to discover that it was a position for a fertilizer salesman, and it’s already been filled.
Gildersleeve stops by the drugstore and begins to tell his troubles to Mr. Peavey. He refers to a plastic mousetrap as the most useless thing in the world, but Mr. Peavey “wouldn’t say that.” He tells Gildersleeve that there’s a serious mouse problem in the country, and that there are no mousetraps available because of the wartime shortage of wood and metal. Gildersleeve’s excitement in the new business venture is renewed.
The program ends with an announcement by Harold Peary that the postwar world of deep freezes and plastic mousetraps is not yet here, and that inflation is still a danger.
The Banker’s Son
Everett Todd, the banker’s son, has been off at military school, but it back at home. He wants to visit Marjorie, but she declares that he’s a mole, a drip. Judge Hooker points out that Everett is the son of Ainsworth Todd, the banker, and that Gildersleeve might need to borrow money from the bank for his new business. When Everett comes to see Marjorie, Gildersleeve tries to be as charming as possible to him, and makes Marjorie be polite, too. Everett plays a few lines from his favorite record over and over, the trumpet solo from “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” a song that Gildersleeve finds very annoying, not to mention ungrammatical.
When Gildersleeve goes to the bank to ask Mr. Ainsworth for a loan, he refuses to tell the banker what the loan is for, accuses him of trying to steal the idea, and generally antagonizes the man. Gildersleeve threatens to withdraw his funds from the bank, only to hear that his account is overdrawn. Gildersleeve storms out, telling Mr. Todd that he can “withdraw” his son from Gildersleeve’s parlor.
When he arrives home, however, he discovers Marjorie in young Todd’s arms. He takes her off to the study and tells her that a girl’s first kiss should be something special. She informs him that hers was, two years ago. She manages to talk her uncle into letting her continue to see Everett.
The House is Sold
The grocer needs to be paid, and Gildersleeve is behind with Birdie’s salary. A good-looking real estate agent named Miss Wheeler comes to the door and offers Gildersleeve $12,000 for his house, which originally cost $7,000. Gildersleeve, Marjorie and Leroy are all excited at the prospect of moving, and all have ideas about the kind of house they would like to live in. Gildersleeve flirts a bit with the real estate agent, and signs a contract to sell the house, thinking he’s made a great deal. Right after he signs the contract, however, he discovers that there are no houses available in town for less than twenty or twenty-five thousand dollars!
Gildersleeve talks to Floyd Munson and Mr. Peavey about his problem, hoping to find a house that might be available. He even tries to think of couples that might be divorcing, or someone who might be dying. He finally goes to see Judge Hooker, and tries to buy his house. Judge Hooker’s not selling, and when he hears what Gildersleeve has done, he tells him he has no right to sell the house, which belongs to the children, even with their consent. He takes over the case, promising to get the contract declared invalid, and charges Gildersleeve $100.
The Jolly Boys Club is Formed
The show opens with Birdie making breakfast in an excellent mood, singing “Swinging on a Star.” Birdie, Marjorie and Gildersleeve all spent the previous evening at the movies, seeing Bing Crosby in “Going My Way.” Leroy feels left out as the only one who doesn’t get to go to the movies in the evening..
As breakfast ends, Leroy produces a note from his pocket. It’s from Eve Goodwin, the principal of his school, informing Gildersleeve that Leroy’s been hanging around the school after hours and getting into trouble. Leroy blames everything on his friend Tony. Gildersleeve decides he needs to spend more time with Leroy. After Leroy leaves for school, Gildersleeve discusses the situation with Birdie. She says that maybe boys need the help of older men to keep out of trouble, like Bing Crosby teaching the boys in the movie to sing like a choir.
Gildersleeve, who loves to sing, decides that teaching Leroy and his friends to sing is a great idea. When he tries it, however, the boys are unenthusiastic, and they all leave to play football. Gildersleeve decides that the boys need a real boys club to keep them off the streets. He goes to the drugstore to enlist Mr. Peavey’s help. Mr. Peavey, who has just been dealing with Leroy and his friends arguing over comic books and betting on sodas, is happy to help keep the boys occupied elsewhere, and promises to bring over some Cokes to the opening of the club. Floyd Munson, the barber, has volunteered the room over his shop, and Police Chief Gates has lent his support.
They have everything they need to run a successful boys club, except for the boys. Gildersleeve brings an unenthusiastic Leroy, and Chief Gates brings Piggy. The boys don’t want to play Parcheesi, and take off to go play basketball at the Y. The men are disappointed, and break open the Cokes. Eventually they start singing, with Mr. Peavey spontaneously breaking into “There is a tavern in the town.” They have such a good time singing that they decide to form their own club, the Jolly Boys, and meet once a week.
At the end of the program, Harold Peary steps out of role to talk about the need for more services for young people, many of whom are “knocking around the streets with no one to take care of them or supervise them” with fathers in the service and mothers busy helping in the war effort. The way to help these young people is to support the organizations that know how to handle the problem, and he urges his listeners to do this by supporting the National War Fund.
The model of Fibber McGee’s new mousetrap arrives special delivery, and Gildersleeve wants to test it out. Unfortunately, the family can’t find anything appropriate to bait it with. Gildy is still convinced that the mousetrap is going to make millions, but in the meantime he’s concerned about money. Marjorie and Leroy want to know when he’s going to get a job. Marjorie tells him there’s an opening for a floorwalker at Hogan Brothers, but that’s not at all the sort of job he had in mind. Then Marjorie suggests that her uncle become a diplomat so they can live abroad. Gildersleeve likes this idea, and lets his imagination run away with him. When Judge Hooker drops by, Gildersleeve tells him that he’s considering a career as a diplomat, and the Judge points out that Gildersleeve’s not known for being diplomatic. Judge Hooker suggests that Gildersleeve goes to see Nelson Humpstone at the war plant to look for a job, and the two men end up in an argument.
A reporter from the Summerfield Indicator comes to interview Gildersleeve, who tells her about his plans to manufacture Fibber McGee’s plastic mousetrap, using revolutionary new plastic made of soybeans and rhubarb. He tells her that the mousetrap factory is just the beginning, and soon they will be making plastic dishes, radios, clocks, pianos and even houses. Just after the reporter leaves, however, Leroy reports a problem with the new mousetrap. A mouse came along, are half the trap and ran away.
The newspaper prints a glowing article about Gildersleeve’s plans, but Gildersleeve himself know has his doubts about the success of the new venture, and thinks perhaps he should take Judge Hooker’s advice and see Humpstone at the war plant. He sees the Judge at the barbershop and apologizes, but the Judge is still angry and won’t help him. Gildersleeve looks for anyone else who might be able to introduce him to Humpstone. Floyd the barber is no help. He met Humpstone once, giving him a shave, but only once, perhaps because he cut him shaving. He suggests that Gildersleeve try Mr. Peavey, since he sent Humpstone there for the cut on his chin, but Peavey doesn’t remember meeting him, since so many of Floyd’s customers come to the drugstore with shaving injuries.
Just then, a miracle happens. Leila Ransom comes into the drugstore and invites Gildersleeve to come to dinner to meet a friend of hers– Nelson Humpstone. That evening, the two men try to impress each other with their accomplishments, while Leila flirts with both. When Leila withdraws to let the men have a business discussion and enjoy some fine cigars, they talk about the job situation. While Gildersleeve is looking for a job right now at the war plant, Humpstone is concerned about the future since the war plant is winding down its business, and had hoped to secure a future position in Gildersleeve’s manufacturing empire.
A Job Contact
Gildersleeve is still unemployed, but is happy to get a note from Nelson Humpstone telling him that he’s on his way to Detroit to the headquarters of International Bolt and Screw, which may be converting Summerfield’s war plant to postwar manufacturing instead of closing down. Humpstone tells Gildersleeve not to make any commitments, and that he’ll call him from Detroit. Gildersleeve immediately starts preparing for a quick trip to Detroit, and is sure that Humpstone wants to hire him as an Assistant Manager or “a sort of an Associate Manager.”
Just then, Birdie comes in and tells Gildersleeve and the Judge that there’s no water. Gildersleeve thinks this is just what the Mayor deserves for having made his cousin the new Water Commissioner. Then the phone starts ringing, not with the important long-distance call from Humpstone, that he’s waiting for, but with complaints from irate citizens of Summerfield complaining about the lack of water. He get so mad that he pulls the phone right out of the wall.
Gildersleeve decides to go use the phone at Leila’s, but when Leila gets a call from a new beau, he realizes she’s likely to be tying up the phone for quite some time. He tells Leila to call the phone company and have his long distance call transferred to the drugstore. He goes there, but before his important call comes in, he gets a call from Leroy telling him that he’s fixed the phone. He calls the phone company to tell them to transfer the phone back to his own house. When he gets off the phone, he finds that he’s stuck in the phone booth, although, as Mr. Peavey keeps saying, “It’s a standard phone booth.” Finally he frees himself, and heads home.
But before he gets there, Marjorie answers the phone and it’s the long distance call. She doesn’t know what to do, but before she has a chance to do anything, Birdie takes the phone saying Mr. Gildersleeve told her just what to say. Unfortunately, the message that she delivers is the one he’d intended for people complaining about their water– that he wasn’t there, hadn’t been there in weeks, and was probably dead!
The New Water Commissioner
An editorial appears in the Summerfield Indicator attacking Mayor Terwilliger for firing Gildersleeve and giving the job to his cousin. It says that although Gildersleeve wasn’t perfect, at least he kept the water running. The family, who has been feeling the pinch of unemployment, is elated, but Gildersleeve isn’t sure he wants to take the job back, even if it’s offered to him. He’s also unhappy at the being called “not perfect.”
Then Humpstone comes through with a possible job. Gildersleeve goes for an interview, but it turns out that there are several candidates. Humpstone tells Gildersleeve he has an edge because of his knowledge of hydraulics. Actually, of course, Gildersleeve knows nothing about hydraulics, even the meaning of the word. He goes to the library to find a book on the topic, but what he finds instead is Eve Goodwin.
Gildersleeve ultimately does accept the post of Water Commissioner, and goes back to his old office. There he meets the mayor’s cousin, who, it turns out, has been offered the lucrative job with Humpstone’s company.
Election Day Bet
Election Day is coming, and it seems that it’s all anyone can talk about. Gildersleeve is voting for his old rival, Mayor Terwilliger, but everyone else he knows is voting for the contender, Welsh. Gildersleeve bets Judge Hooker that if Welsh wins, he’ll push a peanut up State Street with his nose.
When Election Day arrives, it’s pouring outside and Gildersleeve stands by the window, waiting for the rain to subside. Finally, he calls Judge Hooker and suggests that since they are only going to cancel out each other’s votes, they should both stay home. The Judge agrees, and Gildersleeve is satisfied that this is a satisfactory arrangement. He faces the disappointment of Marjorie and Leroy, and is somewhat ashamed when Birdie braves the weather and goes off to do her patriotic duty. Then the laundry deliveryman comes to the door, a new American who speaks enthusiastically about what a wonderful day it is, his first Election Day as a citizen. He describes the whole process with such appreciation that Gildersleeve is overcome. He not only goes out to vote, but also picks up Floyd Munson and Mr. Peavey and gives them a ride, despite the fact that they are voting for Welsh. (When he talks to a woman working at the polls, he learns that Judge Hooker voted first thing in the morning.
At the end of the program, Harold Peary gives a spirited pitch for exercising the right to vote in the upcoming elections. He says that Americans tend to take the right to vote for granted, but “now that the Japs and the Germans are trying to take that right away from us, look at how this country is willing to fight for it. Well, if it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth going to the polls for. Get out and vote on Tuesday, and don’t let anything stop you.”
Spanish Dancing Teacher
Judge Hooker has fallen in love with Dolores Del Rey, the Spanish beauty who has opened a dance studio in Summerfield. He confesses to Gildersleeve, and shares a love letter he’s working on that sounds more like a legal brief. First Gildersleeve promises to help with the letter, but then decides it would be a better idea if he helped the Judge by paying a visit to Miss Del Rey and singing the judge’s praises. Judge Hooker reluctantly agrees.
When Gildersleeve visits Miss Del Rey, he finds her to be beautiful and vivacious. They flirt outrageously, including the following exchange:
Miss Del Rey: “You are a man with fire”
Gildersleeve: “I’ll bet you’re no Frigidaire yourself.”
When the Judge arrives, Gildersleeve sends him away, telling him to come back in an hour, this will take longer than he thought…
A Reception for Miss Del Rey
Gildersleeve and Judge Hooker decide to have a reception for Miss Del Rey, hoping that it will help her new business. They are each supposed to invite several friends, representing the cream of society. Gildersleeve invites Leila Ransom and Eve Goodwin, but both of them refuse to come. Then he visits Mr. Peavey at home to invite him and his wife. Peavey goes upstairs to check with his wife, and then comes down and says they unfortunately have an engagement. Gildersleeve leaves in a huff.
The only guests that Gildersleeve can get are the Munsons, who Judge Hooker points out are not quite the cream of society. Judge Hooker is only able to get one guest, but it’s one of the town’s leading citizens, Mrs. Vanderbert. When the Munsons arrive, they prove to be quite an embarrassment, despite the fact that Floyd tells Gildersleeve that “he wasn’t brung up in no barn.”
Miss Del Rey sings, and then Gildersleeve and Miss Del Rey sing a duet of “Besa Me Mucho.” Floyd is appreciative of Miss Del Rey and her singing, so much so that that his wife objects and they have a stormy argument. His wife storms out, followed by all the other guests except Floyd, who Gildersleeve throws out.
It’s been several days since the reception for Miss Del Rey. Gildersleeve goes to the barbershop to see Floyd Munson, who was mad about being thrown out of Gildersleeve’s house. Floyd’s wife had locked him out of the house, and he had to break in and sleep on the couch. He says his wife is always jealous, even when he doesn’t do or say anything wrong, the only thing he can figure is that she must be able to read his mind. The two men make up. Next, Gildersleeve goes to Mr. Peavey’s drugstore. Mr. Peavey is sorry that he missed the party, but Gildersleeve tells him he didn’t miss much. Gildersleeve is buying a thermometer for Marjorie, who is recovering from strep throat.
Back at home, Marjorie and Leroy are having a quiet discussion. Marjorie is feeling better, and Leroy tells her how much they’ve missed her at the dinner table. Leroy is worried about Gildersleeve’s possible relationship with Miss Del Rey. When Gildersleeve comes home, he takes Marjorie’s temperature and everyone is happy that it’s back to normal. Leroy brings out his report card, and it’s a real surprise, all A’s. While everyone is in a good mood, Leroy asks his uncle about Miss Del Rey, but Gildersleeve assures him that Miss Del Rey is just a friend, and maybe not even that after the disastrous reception. The family plans a celebration lunch at the Downtown Businessmen’s Club the next day. The next day at the club, the family is having a pleasant time until Judge Hooker comes in with Miss Del Rey. Judge Hooker comes over to the table and the men get into an argument.
Gildersleeve is alone in his office working late when Miss Del Rey drops by. She asks Gildersleeve why he hasn’t come to see her. She tells him that Judge Hooker is very sweet, but very old, like Santa Claus or her grandfather, but she wants to spend time with someone with a little sparkle in his eyes, youth and strength and a little “zoomph,” someone like our friend Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve.
A Date with Miss Del Rey
Breach of Promise
Dodging a Process Server
Christmas Eve Program
New Year’s Eve
The Hockey Player
A Visit by Aunt Hattie
Aunt Hattie Stays On
Hattie and Hooker
Chairman of Women’s Committee
Laughing Coyote Ranch
Old Flame Violet
Leroy’s Pet Pig
New Neighbor Rumson Bullard
Marjorie’s Boy Troubles
Meet Craig Bullard
Investing a Windfall
The New Secretary
An Evening with a Good Book
Marshall Bullard’s Party