Season 5 : 1945 – 1946
- Preparing for Grass Lake
It’s Labor Day weekend, and everyone is going away except for Gildersleeve and his family. Gildy plans to spend the weekend resting in the porch swing, but Marjorie and Leroy are trying to persuade him to take them to Grass Lake.
Marjorie’s problems are solved when she is invited to go there with the Bullards. Judge Hooker comes along and talks Gildersleeve into going to the lake with him. The two men and Leroy head off on a long, hot and unpleasant car trip. When they finally arrive, Gildersleeve learns that Hooker has booked the only vacancy available at the last minute, the Honeymoon Cottage. Leroy has his sleeping bag and Hooker and Gildersleeve share the bed. Nobody gets much sleep, and early in the morning, they head back to Summerfield. Gildersleeve makes up Leroy’s loss of a vacation with banana splits and other treats.
- The New Teacher
It’s time to go back to school, and neither Marjorie nor Leroy are looking forward to the new school year. Marjorie is unhappy because Marshall Bullard has gone away to prep school in the East, to prepare to go to a good Eastern college. She suggests to her uncle that she could attend a nice girls’ school in the East, but he won’t hear of such a thing. Leroy, meanwhile, is upset because this year he’s to have Miss McCann, a fearsome teacher who supposedly plays favorites and beats troublemakers.
When Leroy comes home from school, he is a much better mood, however. Instead of Miss McCann, he had a new, young teacher, who is much nicer, and named Leroy to be the Classroom Monitor. His whole attitude toward school changes, and he even starts being nice to little Craig Bullard.
Gildersleeve is delighted at the change in Leroy, and decides that Leroy has the makings of a true scholar. He begins to plan for Leroy’s college education, and even buys an expensive set of encyclopedias. Peavey is unenthusiastic about the sample volume that Gildersleeve tries to show him, so he brings it to show Eve Goodwin, his intellectual advisor. Eve, however, is disappointed that he didn’t buy the Britannica. Nevertheless, he has a good time sitting close to her on the couch showing her pictures of Abyssinian vases and enjoying her cologne.
When the full set of encyclopedias arrives, Gildersleeve is delighted and inscribes the first volume. Just as he is calling Leroy downstairs for his surprise, Eve comes to the door with a surprise of her own. Miss McCann is back, and Leroy has been suspended for defiance.
- Leroy is Expelled
Leroy has been suspended from school for being rude to Miss McCann. He expects this to be a little vacation, but he soon learns that his uncle has different plans. At breakfast, Gildersleeve gives Leroy a full day of work assignments, including cleaning out the basement and the garage.
Leroy is allowed to go off and play after school gets out. When Gildersleeve comes home from work, he find Leroy in the basement, banging things around and clearly upset. Leroy bursts into tears and tells Gildy that nobody likes him. None of his friends will play with him because he has been suspended.
They go upstairs, and Craig Bullard comes to the door. Leroy thinks he has come to play, but he has really come to tell Leroy that he’s not allowed to play with him because his father says that he’s a bad influence– “Just like your uncle.” Gildy blows up and sends Craig home, and also gets into a fight with Marshall Bullard, who was visiting Marjorie, and throws him off the property.
The next day, Gildersleeve takes Leroy out for milkshakes at Peavey’s to make him feel better. Gildersleeve feels sorry for Leroy, but then he starts feeling embarrassed, especially when Judge Hooker suggests that Gildy not make a report to the School Committee. Gildersleeve talks Leroy into going back to school and apologizing to Miss McCann. She forgives Leroy, but gives Gildersleeve a hard time.
- Leila Returns
- Peavey’s Wife is Ill
- Leroy is a Problem
- The Homemaking Class
The episode begins with a family dinner, with Judge Hooker as a guest. The Judge lavishly praises Birdie’s fine cooking. Leroy talks about the upcoming appearance of Famous Jones, who turns out to be an old classmate of Birdie’s from Chicago.
Marjorie is only interested in her career in dance, and her understanding with Marshall Bullard. They plan to be married when they are both 35, after she has her chance for a career in ballet. Gildersleeve tries to convince Marjorie of the importance of learning the household arts, and enlists Leila Ransom for support. Since she always had a cook during her marriage to the late lamented Beauregard, she turns out to be less than helpful. Nevertheless, Gildersleeve managed to convince Marjorie that she should learn to cook, and to get her to promise to assist Birdie with supper the next evening. Things don’t quite work out as planned, however, and when Gildersleeve returns home, Marjorie is back to her dancing.
- Fall Out with the Jolly Boys
- The Opera Committee
Marjorie reads in the newspaper that the opera is coming to Summerfield. There is to be one benefit performance, sponsored by the Women’s Club and a select committee. Gildersleeve says he has no interest in attending such an event, since it can’t possibly be any good. He is offended that he wasn’t included on the committee– he’s not “la-di-da” enough.
Then Mrs. Pettibone calls and invites him to join the city, and his whole attitude changes. Mrs. Pettibone and Mrs. Bullard come over to meet with him, and tell him that each sponsor is expected to sell fifteen tickets at five dollars each, payment in advance.
Gildersleeve tries selling his tickets by phone, without much success. He gives some to Mr. Peavey to sell at the drugstore, but no luck there, either. He can’t even sell one to Judge Hooker, because he’s selling them, too.
Gildersleeve meets Mr. Peavey, Chief Gates and Floyd Munson for a Jolly Boys meeting and tries to sell them all tickets. They are reluctant to buy any both because of the money and because they aren’t interested in the opera. Gildersleeve tells them how thrilling the opera can be, giving them a mangled but hilarious recap of Carmen, throwing in bits of Pagliacci and Aida, and leading them in a spirited rendition of “Funiculi, Funicula.” Everyone is sold but Floyd Munson, but then Gildersleeve “remembers” the best part of the opera, the part where Carmen and her friend Aida get into a terrible fight and beginning tearing each other’s clothes off, until they are interrupted by hundreds of dancing girls. That settles it– they are all going to the opera.
- Night of the Opera
- Ben Returns from the Navy
It’s a Saturday morning, Gildersleeve is trying to relax and Marjorie is waiting for the mail, mooning over Marshall Bullard, and sitting dreamily at the piano trying to learn "It Might As Well Be Spring." When Marjorie and Leroy begin arguing over the piano, Gildy escapes downtown for a little peace and quiet.
Later, Gildersleeve returns with some interesting news. Marjorie’s old boyfriend, Bashful Ben Waterford, is home from the Navy, and is coming to dinner the next day. Marjorie expresses an extreme lack of interest in seeing Ben again. She reminds her uncle that she and Marshall Bullard have "an understanding" and that Ben got engaged to a girl back East — "It was practically the first thing he did in the Navy."
When Ben arrives, Leroy is happy to see him, but Marjorie greets him coolly. After dinner, Gildersleeve sends Marjorie and Ben into the living room to have a nice private chat in front of the fire. The conversation starts off slowly, but eventually Ben and Marjorie resolve some old issues. Ben tells Marjorie that she was "just a kid" when Ben left, but now, "Gosh!".
At the end of the show, Marjorie is once again sitting at the piano, dreamily playing "It Might As Well Be Spring". When Gildy makes a remark about Marshall Bullard, Marjorie says she wasn’t even thinking of Marshall. As Leroy chimes in, "It Might As Well Be Ben!".
- Life Insurance Salesman
Gildersleeve thinks he has discovered a good job for Ben– selling life insurance. He gets Ben set up with an agency and encourages him, even bringing him over to Judge Hooker’s to make a sale. However, it doesn’t seem like Bashful Ben has the right personality for a career in sales. The only sale he makes is to Gildersleeve himself.
- The Diplomat
- Need for a New Car
Gildersleeve’s car is getting old, and keeps breaking down. One day when it won’t start, he asks Ben to fix it. Meanwhile, Leila drops by looking for a ride downtown. Because his car is being fixed, she decides to get a ride from Rumson Bullard instead, in his beautiful new car. Before she does, she makes a few comments about Gildy’s embarrassing old car, and talks about how much she loves to ride in a convertible, with the wind rushing through her hair. Gildy tells Leila that he’s thinking of buying a new car himself.
Later, Gildersleeve and Leroy go off to look at the used car that Gildy has had his eye on. The car salesman shows off the car, and flatters Gildersleeve. He asks Gildy is he is a bachelor, and then tells him confidentially that a man can have a lot of fun in a car like this. Gildy is sold, but the price is more that he can really afford.
He and Leroy go off to the bank to look in Gildy’s safe deposit box. He counts his treasury bonds, and is happy to see that he has enough to cash in and buy the car. But then he sees something else in the box– his college diploma. He reads the inscription in Latin, and reminisces about his college commencement. He decides to put the bonds away, and save them for what is really important: Leroy’s college education.
- The Hobby
A banging shutter keeps Gildersleeve awake all night, and he comes down to breakfast in a foul mood. He speaks harshly to Birdie, blaming her for not having the broken shutter fixed. She retreats to the kitchen, very upset, and tells Leroy that she’s never heard his uncle speak to her like that, not in all the time she’s been there. Gildy is duly chagrined.
He talks to Judge Hooker, who suggests that a hobby might help Gildersleeve relax more, which would improve his disposition. He suggests his own hobby, stamp collecting. An evening spent listening to the Judge talk about his stamps convinces Gildy that this is not the hobby for him. When he comes home, he finds a note on his pillow from Birdie. For a minute he fears that she has decided to quit, but instead he reads that she has found someone to fix the shutter and that she hopes he will sleep well.
Gildy finally decides on a hobby– building a ship in a bottle. He goes to the drugstore to get a bottle, and discusses the hobby with Mr. Peavey, who says this could be a dangerous hobby. You build ships in whiskey bottles, and a man could become more interested in getting the whiskey out than in getting the ship in!
Gildy begins building his ship, and Leila Ransom drops by. She is just fascinated with the hobby, and wants to help. After she spends several minutes flattering Gildy, telling him he’s just like an engineer (his modest reply– “Well, the directions help”) the two end up at the piano, with Leila playing and Gildy singing. This, of course, results in the inevitable embrace, when Gildy decides that he already has the perfect hobby, music (and romance.)