- Gildy Arrives in Summerfield
The first episode of “The Great Gildersleeve” is a masterful transition between Gildersleeve’s role on “Fibber McGee and Molly” and the new show. The show opens on the train, with the conductor announcing the arrival at Wistful Vista. A woman asks the conductor if this is where Fibber McGee and Molly live, and whether she might see them, and the conductor says that the McGees are on vacation, but that their neighbor, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, is at the station. We then hear Gildersleeve on the platform, bidding farewell to his employees from the Gildersleeve Girdle Works, and exhorting them to remember their motto, “If you want the best in corsets, of course it’s Gildersleeve!” His plan, however, is to be away for just a few days, to assume control of his brother-in-law’s estate.
On the train, Gildersleeve quickly falls into an argument with a cantankerous gentleman that he shares a table with in the dining car. Later, he falls from the upper berth onto the same man and the fighting continues. Finally, Gildersleeve arrives in Summerfield and meets with his niece and nephew, whom he hasn’t seem in some time, and accompanies them and young lawyer Ted Wills to court for the estate hearing.
In court, the Judge turns out to be Judge Horace Hooker– the stranger from the train! Leroy’s impromptu remarks quoting his uncle are no help in court, and Judge Hooker rules that Gildersleeve can assume control of the estate, but must report to him weekly, accounting for every transaction, and that he must post a $50,000 cash bond. When Gildersleeve and Ted attempt to have this bond lowered, the Judge calls Gildersleeve’s old friend Fibber McGee as a reference, resulting in the bond amount being raised to $100,000!
This episode, beginning and ending with the Fibber McGee connection, sets the premise for the spin-off show and Gildersleeve’s new life in Summerfield, and establishes the major characters of the new show: Gildersleeve in his new role as “Uncle Mort,” Marjorie and Leroy, and friendly nemesis Judge Hooker.
- The Cake
Marjorie is planning a special tea party to impress Ted’s snooty mother, who, in Birdie’s words, “Holds her nose in the air like she ain’t been introduced to what she’s smelling!” Marjorie bakes a special cake, but Gildersleeve and Leroy find the cake in the pantry and, not knowing it’s for the tea party, they eat the whole thing!
When they discover their mistake, they decide to bake a replacement cake. Of course, they have no idea of what they’re doing, and they make a terrible mess of the project. They’re interrupted a few times by a flirtatious neighbor. And then a door to door salesman arrives, and, seeing Gildersleeve in Birdie’s apron, he mistakes him for a woman, and a prime candidate for what he’s selling– Gildersleeve girdles! The salesman brags about the great price he can offer, because of his close friendship with Gildersleeve, “the old fuddy-duddy himself.”
Judge Hooker arrives early for the tea party, sneaks a slice of the cake and gets sick. Gildersleeve throws the cake out the window, makes one last attempt to save the day, buying a wedding cake from the window of a bakery and removing the bride and groom. But that cake ihas been in the window for two years, and is made out of plaster!
- Leroy’s Paper Route
“Today’s broadcast is dedicated to the citizens of Gildersleeve, Connecticut, who are today celebrating their one hundredth anniversary.”
Leroy needs nineteen dollars to buy a model airplane engine from his friend Piggy Banks. He wants his uncle to give him the money, but Gildersleeve encourages him to earn the money. He tells Leroy about how as a boy he had raised the money to buy himself a Shetland pony named Dynamite by tending a string of lobster pots and selling the catch.
This inspires Leroy to get a job of his own. He gets an early morning paper route delivering the Summerfield Indicator Vindicator. The first morning, however, there is a terrible rainstorm, and Gildersleeve tries to drive Leroy around his route– with unfortunate results including an accident with the milk wagon, a drive into the lake, and a trip to Police court for breaking Judge Hooker’s window!
- The Girlfriend
Dora Lee, a flirtatious Southern belle who roomed with Marjorie at school, comes for a visit. When she tries to capture the heart of Marjorie’s boyfriend Ted Wills, Gildersleeve and Leroy try to divert her interest to Gildersleeve himself.
- The Hiccups
On his way to Court, Gildersleeve gets a terrible case of the hiccups. Everyone has a hiccups cure, and Gildersleeve even gets a Police escort to the Doctor’s office.
When he returns home, however, Gildersleeve finds burglars…but he thinks they’re friends of Leroy’s who are trying to frighten him out of his hiccups!
- Investigating City Government
Judge Hooker and Ted want Gildersleeve to go undercover to investigate the high number of escapes from the City Jail. He does manage to get arrested– not as easy as it sounds– but finds himself stuck in jail much longer than he’d planned to be!
- School Pranks
Gildersleeve and Judge Hooker reminisce about their boyhood school pranks in front of Leroy. When someone releases a skunk in the air-conditioning system at the Junior High, Leroy gets his wish and is free to go to the circus. The next prank at the school involves Birdie’s Sunday dress, stolen from the clothesline, and Gildersleeve suspects that Leroy is following his bad example. When he hears that a statue at the school has been dressed in corsets and a red union suit, Gildersleeve and Judge Hooker make a midnight visit to the school to keep Leroy out of trouble– but it’s Gildersleeve who gets called to the Principal’s office!
- A Visit from Oliver
Marjorie’s hypochondriac friend Oliver Honeywell spends the night with the family because he forgot his overcoat and doesn’t want to catch a chill on the streetcar. When the family hear a fire engine in the neighborhood, they all rush out to see commotion– which turns out to be a cat stuck on a telephone pole. Gildersleeve ends up in an argument with both the firemen and the woman who summoned them– which is embarrassing when he finds the whole family locked out of the house, with the hapless Oliver stuck on the roof.
- Gildy Minds the Baby
Gildersleeve brings Leroy with him for a surprise visit to his old friend Charlie, who moved to Summerfield several years before. Charlie is not home, and his wife leaves Gildersleeve and Leroy to babysit for baby Gertrude while she runs a quick errand. Everything goes wrong. Gildersleeve was supposed to take the roast out of the oven and put the soup on the fire, but instead he has to put the soup in the oven because the roast is on fire. He calls Marjorie and Birdie to come help.
When they discover no food in the cupboards, men coming to repossess the piano, and the gas about to be turned off, Gildersleeve tries to help his old friend out, but the whole day turns out to be one long series of misunderstandings!
- Birdie Quits
This is one of the few episodes in which Birdie plays a central role, and one which focuses on her dual role, as independent paid employee, and as an unofficial member of the family.
The episode begins with an invitation for Judge Hooker to come for a special birthday dinner. After some of the usual insult jokes about Hooker– “He’s got a Lincoln penny that he got from Lincoln,” and “He’ll be dumbfounded– he’s got a good start, he’s been dumb ever since he was founded”– discussion centers on Birdie’s excellent cooking, which, Gildersleeve notes, is giving him a case of “Second Helping Spread…my laps are beginning to overlap.”
The dinner, with Marjorie’s friend Oliver Honeywell also in attendance, is a success. A telegram is delivered, which Gildersleeve assumes is the singing birthday greeting that he has ordered. When he forces the deliverer to sing the message, the message is the following, sung to the tune of “Happy Birthday:”
“Mr. Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve
I’m in an awful big jam!
Can you send $50 to bail me out?
Signed, Your Brother-in-law Sam.
After dinner, Hooker sneaks into the kitchen and tries to convince Birdie to come work for him. The next morning he calls her and offers her a higher salary. Torn between his offer and her loyalty to the family, she is overly sensitive to real and imagined criticism as she serves breakfast:
Gildersleeve: [Choking cough] Darn this toast.
Birdie: What’s the matter with it?
Gildersleeve: “It just went down the wrong way.
Birdie: Oh, you don’t like it and after I worked my fingers to the bone scraping it off for you!
Gildersleeve: But all I said was…[cough]…wrong way.
Birdie: Oh, now I’m doing things the wrong way! Teaching me my business! I’m tired of not being appreciated around here! I’m resigning! There’s other people appreciate my cookery!
Gildersleeve soon learns the truth: “That crook of a Hooker hooked our cook!” He confronts Hooker, and ends up invited to dinner at the Judge’s house. Gildersleeve, Marjorie and Leroy arrive in old clothes, dejected and generally pathetic, hoping that Birdie will come home if she knows how much they need her.
- Servicemen for Thanksgiving
Marjorie reads in the newspaper that there will be a large group of servicemen in Summerfield over Thanksgiving, and that local residents may invite them to spend the holiday. The whole family gets excited about this, and they decide to make several turkeys, invite a group of servicemen and to have Marjorie invite some of her friends.
Then Gildersleeve goes on the radio and makes a speech encouraging the families of Summerfield to participate. His speech is so successful that when he goes to pick up the servicemen, the only man in uniform available is a Boy Scout.
- Leroy Smokes a Cigar
The title pretty much says it all. A tricky door-to-door salesman talks Gildersleeve into taking some boxes of cigars to sell. When Gildersleeve and Marjorie are out, Piggy drops by and the two boys talk each other into smoking a cigar. They quickly start feeling dizzy, seeing double and feeling awful.
While they are rolling around outside feeling sick and complaining, they notice smoke coming out of the house. Apparently a cigar thrown in the fern box has caused a fire. Leroy puts the fire out, and Birdie proclaims him a hero. Leroy’s obvious illness is blamed on smoke inhalation. Gildersleeve who considers himself “something of a Thin Man,” quickly pieces together the evidence and figures out how the fire started. He calls the doctor, and plans to trick Leroy with a false diagnosis…only it turns out that Leroy really has the measles.
- The Canary Won’t Sing
Gildersleeve’s wins a canary named Napoleon in a raffle sponsored by Birdie’s lodge, the Mysterious and Bewildering Order of the Daughters of Cleopatra. The canary is guaranteed to sing– but it won’t, and the guarantee was from the seller of the bird whose only business address is “the Canary Islands.”
Gildersleeve and Leroy go to the library to look for information on canaries, and get locked in at closing time. Trying to escape from the darkened building, they knock over many books. The next morning, Marjorie reads them an account of the mess from the morning newspaper, and they pretend to know nothing about it.
They continue to try to get the canary to sing. An attempt to give the bird a bath results in the canary escaping out an open window, and Gildy has a confusing conversation with a Police officer when he has to explain why he’s looking for Napoleon under bushes in the park. They do succeed in capturing Napoleon, and try special food recommended at the pet shop, and also try singing to Napoleon for inspiration.
The mystery of why Napoleon won’t sing is solved when they bring the canary to a veterinarian, who explains that only male canaries sing, and that Napoleon is really a Josephine.
- Cousin Octavia’s Visit
Cousin Octavia Gildersleeve, the famous author and authority on childrearing, is on a lecture tour, and she leaves her daughter Barbara Ann with Throckmorton and the children. Barbara Ann turns out to be a little terror, a liar and a sneak. She bosses Birdie around, tricks Leroy into a homemade haircut, causes trouble between Marjorie and her boyfriends, and sweetly tells Judge Hooker that she expected him to have a white beard, since her uncle described him as an old goat. Gildersleeve and the children plot to return Barbara Ann to her mother, but she keeps managing to outsmart the family.
This is the episode that was broadcast on Pearl Harbor Day, and is interrupted several times with war bulletins, like this one:
We interupt this program to bring you a report from Panama Radio: A Jap aircraft carrier was sunk off Honolulu…we repeat, a Jap aircraft carrier was sunk off Honolulu…and now back to our program.
It’s a mediocre episode, but it’s safe to say that nobody’s mind was really on the Great Gildersleeve that dark night.
- Selling the Iron Deer
As episode opens, everyone’s complaining about money troubles. Marjorie’s looking for an extra $50 for Christmas presents and Birdie’s looking for another advance on her salary. Meanwhile, Gildersleeve is broke, having put all available funds into defense bonds. All agree that this is a worthy cause, but the family is shocked when Birdie announces that she’s “all riled up” herself, and wants to join the Japanese army! When they ask what she means, she replies, “Well, I’d like to cook for them people for just one day, that’s all!”
The family decides to sell unwanted items from the storeroom to raise money. They look in the storeroom and see Buck, the iron deer that used to stand out on the lawn until the Christmas that Grandpa thought he was Santa Claus and tried to ride the deer home. Selling the iron deer will not only raise money, but help the war effort.
Gildersleeve decides that whoever sells the deer can keep the money, and the whole family goes to work selling the deer. Of course, trouble ensues when they all sell it.
- McGee’s Christmas Gift
This episode is a classic series of comic mix-ups. Gildersleeve is planning to send Fibber McGee a thirty-nine cent pants-presser, although he knows “it won’t make much of an impression on those gunny sacks that McGee wears.” Then a large crate is arrives, and the delivery men sing the following, to the tune of “O Tannenbaum”:
O Gildersleeve, O Gildersleeve
A Merry Christmas to-oo You!
O Gildersleeve, O Gildersleeve
A Yuletide Hallel-oo-you!
We’ve brung a great big gift you see
From Wistful Vista’s Fibber McGee
O Gildersleeve, O Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve
Please sign here on the dotted line!
Seeing the big gift from Fibber McGee, Gildersleeve decides he can’t send the pants presser, and he buys a lavish gift, the option-laden Snore-o-matic reclining chair. Then Judge Hooker thinks that Gildersleeve is buying the chair for him, and goes out and gets a better present for Gildersleeve.
There’s a great scene in the department store where Gildersleeve agrees to model a bathrobe for a woman whose husband shares Gildersleeve’s girth. When the husband sees his wife with her arms around Gildersleeve, he has to pretend to be her cousin.
- The Big Dog
Leroy’s pal Piggy Banks gives him an extra Christmas present– a dog that he can’t keep because of his father’s allergies. Gildersleeve agrees that Leroy can keep the dog, Tiny, who turns out to be a lot larger than his name, and who goes crazy when he hears the word “meat” or anything related to it.
After an exhausting day with their new pet, Gildersleeve and Leroy have the following exchange:
Gildersleeve: I’ve had a hard day trying to cope with that baby buffalo and now I’m ready for bed. I’ll probably have a nightmare in which Tiny take me for a walk, dragging me along on the end of a leash!
Leroy: Oh, that would be awful.
Gildersleeve: I know it; that’s what he did earlier this evening!
When Tiny becomes too much to handle, Gildersleeve tries to give the dog to Judge Hooker, who is all set to take him until he says the word “steak” and sees Tiny’s reaction. Finally, the egg man takes him to live on his farm in the country. All seems well until Gildersleeve sees Tiny’s picture in the newspaper and learns that the dog is a valuable Saskatchewan Moosehound owned by Cecil P. Upshaw, the President of the Summerfield National Bank.
Gildersleeve and Leroy drive through the countryside trying to find the egg man, but when they finally do, they learn that Tiny has run away…right back to Gildersleeve’s house. He is returned to Mr. Upshaw, who tries to give Gildersleeve the reward– Tiny’s sister.
- The Diet
Gildersleeve stuffs himself at the game, and then explains away his lack of appetite by pretending to be on a diet as a New Year’s Resolution. The diet turns real when he makes a bet with Judge Hooker that he lose ten pounds. Followed by Hooker’s brother-in-law Irwin, Gildersleeve visits a gym, and finally ends up locked in a steam cabinet.
- Arrested for Auto Theft
Leroy has been chosen to bring his four rabbits, Eenie, Meenie, Minie and Moe, to Fairview to represent his school the Junior Rabbit Breeders’ Show. Gildy and Leroy were planning to take the train, but unfortunately Gildy accidentally mixed up two envelopes, and the train tickets got sent in the mail. There’s no time to get reservations and the next train won’t get there on time, so the two set off in the car instead.
When they make a quick stop for sandwiches, Gildy gets into an argument with a man who turns out to be responsible for road maintenance. When Gildersleeve and Leroy leave, they accidentally take the wrong car– the one belonging to the State Highway Commissioner. Unfortunately, the car has a trunk full of dynamite! When the Commissioner discovers the error, he reports the car stolen, and soon Gildersleeve and Leroy are arrested. Gildy has the Police call Birdy to confirm his identity, but when they do, Birdy tells the Police that Gildersleeve is on his way to Fairview by train, and car is safe in the garage, which she believes to be true.
The Commissioner arrives and explains how the cars were mixed up, and shows Gildersleeve the dynamite in the trunk. He releases Gildy and Leroy, and they get back on the road again. Later, Birdy finds herself bothered by the phone call and she goes out to check the garage, only to discover that the car really is missing. She calls the Police, and soon Gildy is pulled over and arrested again. A quick call to Birdy straightens out the problem, and soon the two are back on the road, arriving in Fairview just in time to register for the rabbit show. They discover, however, that they have the train tickets instead of the rabbit show tickets, and while trying to straighten out that problem, they discover a worse mix-up…apparently they took the wrong car back at the Police station, and they’ve arrived with the Commissioner’s car, and a trunk full of dynamite instead of the rabbits.
- The New Bed
Marjorie is away, and Gildersleeve wants to surprise her by redecorating her bedroom. He and Leroy go to Slepperman’s Furniture Store to buy a new bed. After much looking, they choose a Bed of Rose’s– designed by Slepperman’s daughter Rose. They trade in Marjorie’s old bed, an antique four poster.
The redecoration doesn’t work out quite the way they planned, and then there’s the problem of retrieving Marjorie’s pearls, which she hid in one of the hollow bedposts.
- The Matchmaker
Judge Hooker enjoys spending an evening in the family atmosphere of Gildersleeve’s home. He declines a game of cards, though, because he tells Gildersleeve, “No, thanks, Gildy, you play Rummy like an old maid and Old Maid like a rummy!”
Everyone knows that the Judge is lonely at home, despite the fact that he’s “as crusty as a carload of peanut brittle.” Judge Hooker says, “I’ll have you know that I’m still considered one of Summerfield’s most eligible bachelors!” to which Gildersleeve retorts, “Oh, yeah? Eligible for what, Social Security?”
Although all agree that the Judge needs a woman to take care of him, what the Judge has in mind is a housekeeper, while the family is thinking he needs a wife. Gildersleeve decides to play matchmaker, and courts Henrietta Banks, the aunt of Leroy’s friend Piggy, on the Judge’s behalf. Of course, Henrietta gets the wrong idea, and falls for Gildersleeve himself. Gildersleeve gets into trouble when Henrietta hires a lawyer, and more when he tries a little deception to convince the lawyer that Henrietta is better off without him!
- Leroy Runs Away
One morning, Gildersleeve goes to wake Leroy and discover that he is gone, and that he left a not saying that Leroy “can’t stand it anymore.” They call the Police, and when they get a lead that Leroy is headed toward Watertown, Gildersleeve and Marjorie jump in the car to go find him themselves. A tire blows out and they discover that they have no spare, and that none can be found for at least a day.
Gildersleeve calls Birdie to come pick them up in her old jalopy, which she agrees to do because it appeals to her “sporting instinct.” But the going is slow, and when they see an automobile accident, with the wrecked car’s tires being just what Gildersleeve needs for his car, they stop and make a quick deal with someone who they wrongly assume is the owner of the car. Gildersleeve is arrested and put into a cell with a young man, who turns out to be Leroy, who the Police picked up from the Summerfield Police’s runaway report.
The two are happy to see each other, and Leroy explains his note.
Leroy: It’s just that I can’t stand around doing nothing while our country’s at war. I want to do my share!”
Gildersleeve: Well, that’s a wonderful spirit, my boy. It makes me proud of you.
Gildersleeve tells Leroy that he understands the feeling, and that it’s hard for him to stay at home watching younger men go off into battle.
Gildersleeve: But we each have a job to do, every one of us, from the President to the boy in the school, Leroy.
Leroy: But, gee, Uncle Mort, it’s just that school seems awful trivial.
Gildersleeve: Leroy, it’s the millions of trivial things, well done, that’s going to win this war for us. Like the farmer who grows more food, and the factory hand who produces more equipment, and the housewife who makes everything go a little farther. Even the children who gather waste paper and scrap iron. And all of us who buy bonds and contribute our time and money and prayers and inspiration.
- Auto Class
The episode is a classic comedy of errors. Gildersleeve repairs Birdie’s sewing machine, and talks about how he kept all the machines running at the Gildersleeve Girdle Works. Leroy, overhearing only part of this conversation, misunderstands, and thinks that Uncle Mort is a great mechanic who repaired all the trucks at the factory. When Marjorie needs a mechanic to instruct the Red Cross volunteers on automotive maintenance, Leroy recommends Gildersleeve, who thinks he’s agreeing to show them how to repair sewing machines.
When he realizes that it’s automobiles they want to learn about, not sewing machines, Gildersleeve decides he has to do the lesson anyway, especially since it’s a class of pretty girls. Mrs. Salisbury Twitchell has offered her station wagon for the class, and Gildersleeve has to fake the lesson by running off for a drink of water frequently so he can consult with the repair manual Leroy has hidden there.
- Selling the Drugstore
On George Washington’s birthday, Gildersleeve gives Marjorie and Leroy a lecture on the importance of telling the truth. Leroy takes the lesson to heart, and starts reminding Gildersleeve whenever he hears him telling little white lies.
This penchant for absolute honesty becomes a problem, however, while Gildersleeve is trying to deal with a drugstore owned by the estate. The store is losing money, and when Judge Hooker learns about it, Gildersleeve needs to sell the store. He tries to sell it to Mrs. Salisbury Twitchell, but that doesn’t work. Then he has to deal with a tax assessor, with a little help from Leroy. All turns out well, however, when the supposed tax assessor turns out to be scouting the store for a drugstore chain, and the honest, high evaluation works in the estate’s favor.
When the deal is made, Leroy tells Gildersleeve where to invest the money– in United States Defense Bonds.
- Swami Gildersleeve
Gildersleeve agrees to help at the Bundles for Bluejackets fair by serving as a barker for the Kissing Booth, but he soon finds himself agreeing to serve as a substitute for the Swami fortuneteller hired for the event. After a session with a gypsy fortuneteller to pick up some tips (during which he wrongfully accuses her of stealing his watch) Swami Gildersleeve is ready.
When Judge Hooker comes to the fortunetelling tent and fails to recognize him, they have the following exchange:
Gildersleeve: “I see you have a friend, a dark man with moustache.
Hooker: “Is he a fat fella?”
Gildersleeve: “No, not fat, maybe a little plump, but on him it’s look good. He’s a handsome dog, no?”
Hooker: I wouldn’t call him handsome, but he’s a dog all right!”
Gildersleeve: You know, you are always abusing this friend fellow, giving him the hotfoot in his soul.”
A detective from Chicago arrives to arrest the real Yogi Swamihandra, also known as Willie the Tub, who is wanted in several states for various crimes of fraud including “in Florida for selling rubber plants guaranteed to grow white sidewall tires.” All is resolved, however, at the end of the day when the real Willie the Tub shows up!
- One of the Ten Best-Dressed
Gildersleeve is flattered to be named one of the ten best-dressed men in Summerfield. Unfortunately, it’s a suit-selling scam, and both Gildy and Judge Hooker get swindled into suits made of “Orkney Twist” (better known as “backstrap burlap.”)
- Letters to Servicemen
Ditzy neighbor Dotty hurts her hand, and needs Marjorie to take over her commitment to write to servicemen. Marjorie, however, is already over-committed in that area. Gildersleeve and Leroy volunteer to help out by writing letters and signing them with Marjorie’s name. When they mix-up two letters, they send a set of answers to one soldier that match questions sent by another– and the mixup definitely sends the wrong message!
- The Goat
The goat that wanders into Gildersleeve’s yard bears a striking resemblance to Judge Horace Hooker, especially its bleating laugh. Gildersleeve tangles with bureaucracy when he tries to get someone to come take the goat away, and with his family when Leroy hides Horace the Goat in his bedroom.
- Ship Christening
- The Mystery Voice
Judge Hooker has a popular local radio program on child-rearing, and Gildy is jealous. They have an argument which leads to a $100 bet on whether or not Judge Hooker’s show will last a month.
To win the bet, Gildy decides to get his own program on a rival station. He poses as a Brazilian baritone called “Ricardo,” who wears a cape and mask, speaks with an outrageous accent, and talks his way into his own show, telling the station manager, “I am the best baritone on this side of the Amazon River, and on the other side, she’s no better either!”
The program is a great hot with the ladies, and soon even Birdie is singing the romantic ballad that has become Ricardo’s theme, “La Rosita.”
Sweet girl of my dreams,
Hear my song I implore you,
Soul of my soul,
Hear my gay serenade.
The ladies of Summerfield are fascinated with the mysterious Ricardo, and shower him with both attention and baked goods. The men of the city become jealous, especially Judge Hooker, who is losing his audience, and the brother of Ricardo’s biggest fan, Rosita Callahan, who thinks he’s singing just to her, and who bakes him a cake using sugar purchased with a coupon from her brother’s ration book. The men come to Gildersleeve and ask his help in removing Ricardo from the air, Callahan using a pending real estate deal as leverage.
But Gildy’s real problems begin when the gushing Rosita uses her position as a radio station stockholder to arrange a private meeting with the man of mystery. Escaping from her amorous clutches is difficult, but not as difficult as convincing the Police that he had nothing to do with Ricardo’s disappearance!
- The College Chum
Gildy gets a call from “Old Brownie,” college classmate Bob Brown. There were two Bob Browns in Gildy’s class at Princeton, and Gildy doesn’t remember this one, but invites him to the house for dinner.
Brown charms Marjorie and Leroy, who start calling him “Uncle Bob” and he invites himself to stay for in the guest room. Brown convinces Gildersleeve, Judge Hooker, Rosita Callahan and Birdie to invest in his manganese mine, and it’s Leroy who finally uncovers the truth– that Bob Brown is an imposter and the mine is a fraud.
- Dinner for Judge Hooker
When Gildersleeve gets a flat tire, Judge Hooker gives him a precious gift in wartime America– a new inner tube. Gildersleeve wants to do something special in return. Since he’s running for re-election and celebrating his twentieth anniversary on the bench, Gildersleeve decides to give a surprise dinner in honor of the Judge. Everything goes wrong, however, from the guest list to the date of the dinner.
- The Sneezes
Gildersleeve has a bad case of the sneezes. He visits an allergy doctor, who notices that he’s not sneezing, and that the problem must be something in his house.
When Gildersleeve returns home, he helps Leroy and his friend Piggy Banks, who are making a treehouse. Leroy goes in for lunch, and Judge Hooker comes out to the yard to admire the treehouse. Gildersleeve suggests that they go up into the treehouse, but Judge Hooker says that he’s too old and Gildersleeve is too fat. Gildersleeve takes this as a challenge and climbs up to the treehouse. Unfortunately, he falls through the secret trap door on the roof of the treehouse and gets stuck.
Everyone has ideas for how to get Gildersleeve out of the treehouse, but nothing works. The final indignity comes when Gildy is attacked by woodpeckers. To chase away the birds, Leroy sends Marjorie’s pet kitten up the tree. This not only gets rid of the birds, it solves the mystery of the allergy, when Gildersleeve sneezes himself (and the treehouse) right down into the Victory Garden.
- The Play
Summerfield is treated to a barn performance of a play written by Gildersleeve back in his college days. It’s called “Deep in the Heart of Maryland” and Gildersleeve plays a double role. In blackface, he plays Uncle Rufus, husband of a “Mammy” character played by Birdie. Everything goes wrong, including the use of a real gun with real bullets, at this unusual night at the theatre.
- The Father’s Day Chair
This show opens with Gildersleeve receiving the family’s window stickers and pins for spending at least ten per cent of their income on war bonds. Birdie is also part of the plan, because, as she says, “I’d like to be over there playing the Stars and Stripes Forever on that Hitler’s head with a skillet, but if I can’t, I’m going to use some of my dough for bond-dumplings to go with his cooked goose!”
The rest of the program is a tale of three chairs. Marjorie and Leroy buy Gildy a green leather club chair for Father’s Day, and Judge Hooker buys him a identical red chair. Meanwhile, Gildersleeve goes out to Slepperman’s furniture store and buys himself the very same chair, in brown. When the chairs start being delivered, everyone tries to correct the wrong-color error, until there are many chairs and the Police are called to help straighten things out.
- In Love
Gildersleeve is short-tempered lately, and Marjorie, Leroy and Birdie decide that he needs a girlfriend. Leroy suggests Judge Hooker’s sister Amelia, because she’s “awfully jolly” and “teaches girls Domestic Silence.” They arrange a picnic to bring the two together. Marjorie encourages Gildersleeve by telling him that Amelia is baking a devil’s food cake because she thinks he’s such a handsome devil, and that Amelia says Gildersleeve reminds her of Gary Cooper.
The picnic is a great success, despite Gildersleeve sitting in the cake, falling in the lake and having a bird build a nest in his jacket pocket. Gildersleeve falls madly in love with Amelia, and writes her some truly dreadful love poems.
Judge Hooker tries to keep the lovebirds apart, but when he arranges to dump water on Gildersleeve during a serenade, he didn’t know that Gildersleeve was being accompanied by the Police Band.
This is one of the strongest war effort episodes, with a focus on the government’s production of Liberty Ships.
Gildersleeve receives a telegram that the Navy is naming one of the new Liberty Ships “Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve,” after our Gildy’s great grandfather, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, I, who captured pirate in the War of 1812. Marjorie is to be the ship’s sponsor at the christening ceremonies in Oakland, California. The family must leave for California right away in order to arrive in time for the event.
Everyone is excited about the trip, especially Leroy, who hopes to see lots of Indians on the way west. However, the trip is one disaster after another. They travel by train, but when they leave the train for a few minutes to walk on the platform in Clinton, Iowa, they accidentally board the eastbound train. They make their way to an airport in Illinois and get a flight to San Francisco, but in Wyoming the plane lands and civilian passengers lose their seats to servicemen. They find a jive-talking young man with a jalopy, who gives them a ride part of the way. His name is Chief Rain in the Face, but he prefers to be known as Drizzle Puss. Leroy is happy to have met an Indian at last, even if he’s not quite what Leroy had expected.
After their ride with Drizzle Puss, they manage to catch a train to San Francisco, and it turns out to be the one they had lost in Iowa. Happy to be reunited with their luggage, they arrive at the Shipyard just in time for the ceremony. Marjorie christens the ship, but there is no time for the speech that Gildersleeve has prepared, since another ship is being christened immediately after theirs– “there’s a war on, you know.”
The show ends with Leroy and Gildersleeve talking about the production of the Liberty Ships. Gildersleeve tells that the ships are assembled from parts from every part of the country. “They’re real Liberty Ships, my boy, built by liberty-loving men so that liberty shall not perish from this earth.”