Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Great Villain Blogathon: Henry Brandon in Babes in Toyland (1934) and Our Gang Follies of 1938 (1937)


This essay is Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s contribution to The Great Villain Blogathon, currently underway from April 20-26 and sponsored by Ruth at Silver Screenings, Karen at shadowsandsatin, and Kristina at Speakeasy.  For a full list of participants and the bad guys discussed—click here.


Heinrich von Kleinbach was born in Berlin on June 8, 1912, and emigrated to the United States with his parents while still in his infancy.  Upon his graduation from Stanford University, the man we know better as Henry Brandon decided an actor’s life was for him by enrolling at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse.  Brandon would eventually become a respected character thesp and inarguably one of the most versatile; capable of playing anything from Indians to Germans to Arabs to Asians.  Even if the name doesn’t ring immediate recognition bells, you’ve certainly seen him before—one of his most famous roles was as the Comanche chieftain Scar, the nemesis of Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) in the 1956 Western classic The Searchers.

Henry’s feature film debut was in the 1932 Cecil B. DeMille film The Sign of the Cross—but his first official onscreen credit would be in the 1934 Hal Roach Studios production of the Victor Herbert operetta Babes in Toyland.  The rights to Toyland, a Broadway hit in 1903 (and composed by Herbert to cash in on the publishing success of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz), were obtained by the legendary comedy producer as a vehicle for his biggest stars, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy.  Roach reworked much of the operetta to spotlight The Boys (though his initial version didn’t pass muster with the famously meticulous Stan, who with several staffers rewrote Roach’s first treatment until he was satisfied); the final product is widely different from the original source, including only four songs (featuring the standard Toyland, which old-time radio fans will recognize as the inspiration for Dream Girl, the Lustre Crème shampoo jingle) and the rest of the repertoire as background and/or incidental music.

In the kingdom of Toyland, the inhabitants are those featured in Mother Goose rhymes and fairy tales (Jack and Jill, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.)—Mother Goose herself even makes an appearance, played by Virginia Karns.  But the thrust of the story in Babes in Toyland centers on famed shepherdess Little Bo-Peep (Charlotte Henry), the daughter of the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (Florence Roberts).  Bo-Peep is a lovely and charming girl who has not escaped the attention of the diabolically wicked Silas Barnaby (Brandon), Toyland’s wealthiest resident.  Barnaby wants very much to marry Bo-Peep, but she spurns his advances—she has fallen for Tom-Tom (Felix Knight), the piper’s son.

Bo-Peep and Tom-Tom’s nuptials are threatened by the fact that the Widow Peep is in arrears to Barnaby; if she’s unable to pay what she owes on the mortgage, Silas will toss her shoe out into the street.  So the widow is relying on her two boarders, Ollie Dee (Hardy) and Stannie Dum (Laurel), to get what she owes from their employer, The Toy Maker (William Burress).  In typical Laurel & Hardy style, The Boys manage to cock that up—first by getting fired and then arrested when they attempt to break into Barnaby’s house and steal the mortgage.  But the duo have the last laugh: Bo-Peep has agreed to marry Barnaby so that her mother won’t be dispossessed…and Ollie has Stan don Bo-Peep’s wedding regalia, tricking Barnaby into marrying him instead.

Angered at being played for a fool, Barnaby frames Tom-Tom for kidnapping one of The Three Little Pigs; the evidence against him is overwhelming, and so Toyland ruler Old King Cole (Kewpie Morgan) banishes Tom-Tom to the neighboring kingdom of Bogeyland.  Ollie and Stan are able to prove Tom-Tom’s innocence, and help Bo-Peep rescue her beloved from the clutches of the fearsome inhabitants.  But Barnaby—that vichyssoise—assembles an army of the dread creatures and marches on Toyland, terrorizing its populace.  Fortunately, our heroes do some quick thinking and repel the Bogey hordes with toy weapons and an army of their own—one hundred six-foot soldiers (created as a mistake on Stan’s part; the original order was for six hundred one-foot soldiers)—as the proceedings come to a close.

At the time of its release, Babes in Toyland was a huge box office success—so much so that the film was re-released over the years under a number of different titles (most famously March of the Wooden Soldiers) in order to convince the public that they were seeing a different movie.  Some of its fans remember it from its multiple showings on television, as many local stations featured it over the years as a holiday staple (New York’s WPIX often offers it on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).  Toyland was also one of several movies to suffer the indignity of the odious process known as “colorization”; sadly, there are those who defend this form of cinematic bastardization by referencing a comment once made about the movie by co-star Laurel: “If only we could have made it in color.”

Babes in Toyland is a wonderful musical film, and it has an undeniable appeal for audiences of all ages—children enjoy the fantasy elements while adults can revel in the antics of the greatest movie comedy of all time.  Henry Brandon’s screen credit in Toyland reads “Henry Kleinbach” (he hadn’t transitioned to his better-known handle yet), and his role as Silas Barnaby was purportedly the most difficult to cast.  Hal Roach saw the actor in a stage production of The Drunkard, where Brandon was portraying an elderly sinister lawyer named Cribbs.  The producer got quite a jolt when the 6’4” Henry arrived for an audition—“You’re not the old son-of-a-bitch I saw the other night!” he exclaimed—but was impressed enough to offer him the part.  Brandon was twenty-one at the time he landed the important role…three years younger than the actor (Felix Knight) who played the juvenile Tom-Tom.

Silas Barnaby would become Henry Brandon’s ticket to movie villain immortality.  Granted, not all of Brandon’s film roles required him to be a rotter; he took on the occasional sympathetic assignment such as Black Legion (1937; as the tragic Joe Dombrowski) and Edge of Darkness (1943; as British undercover agent Major Ruck).  But if you needed a bad guy, you could do no worse than the thesp who especially excelled at wickedness in the world of the chapter play: in Jungle Jim (1937), Henry played the malevolent Cobra; in Secret Agent X-9 (1937), he was Blackstone, trusted lieutenant of the formidable (and mysterious) jewel thief Victor Brenda; and in Buck Rogers (1939), he was the chief henchman of villain Killer Kane (Anthony Warde), Captain Laska.  (Reportedly his agent got him this last part—when Brandon asked him why he didn’t lobby him for the role of Kane the agent explained: “The lead heavy works for one day, the henchman works three weeks.  Which part did you say you wanted again?”)  There was just something about Henry’s aristocratic bearing and his resonant, compelling speaking voice that spelled V-I-L-L-A-I-N; serial devotees remember him fondly as the titular menace in Republic’s Drums of Fu Manchu (1940), which many believe to be one of the greatest chapter plays ever produced.

In 1937, Brandon would reprise the role that garnered him much acclaim in a Hal Roach two-reeler, Our Gang Follies of 1938.  By 1936, the Roach “Lot of Fun” was weaning itself from the comedic two-reel shorts that had made the studio legendary, concentrating on feature films (many of which featured Laurel & Hardy) because that’s where the profits were and letting go of employees like Charley Chase, who migrated to Columbia in 1937 to continue in the field of short subjects.  Roach made an exception with the kid troupe known as Our Gang, continuing to churn out their comedies because they were extraordinarily popular with movie audiences (though the “Gang” would also strike out with a feature film attempt in 1936’s General Spanky)—though he whittled down the running time of their comedies to one reel.  Our Gang Follies of 1938 was the exception; a 2-reel tuneful extravaganza that spoofed MGM’s Broadway Melody of 1938 and other “let’s-put-on-a-show” musicals of that era.

In Follies, would-be impresario Spanky (George McFarland) has once again assembled the gang for one of his basement productions—the advertising outside of which touts (with a funny caricature) Alfalfa, the “King of Crooners.”  Inside the hall, Alf (Carl Switzer) steps out on stage and starts in with a rendition of The Barber of Seville, to the displeasure of the audience.  When Spanky asks his friend why he won’t croon, Alfalfa points out that his is a special voice, not to be sullied with that lowbrow form of popular singing.  Accompanied by sidekick Porky (Eugene Lee), Alfalfa visits the Cosmopolitan Opera House to present himself as being ready for an operatic career.

Alfalfa interrupts a rehearsal by the resident tenor (Gino Corrado!) to speak with the manager (Brandon)—who is not identified onscreen as “Barnaby,” though he is designated as such in the script.  Barnaby explains that Alf is a little too young to be a star right now, but with a wink to his secretary (Wilma Cox), has a contract prepared for the tyke with an option that he’ll exercise in twenty years.  Alfalfa then returns to Spanky, who is rebuffed once again with his request to Alf to croon, and settling into an easy chair, Alfalfa drifts off to dreamland.

In his dream, Alfalfa makes his operatic debut…and is jeered and pelted with vegetables by the crowd.  This makes no never mind to Barnaby; Alfalfa signed a contract, and he’s going to hold him to it—even if our hero must sing in the street with a tin cup.  And so Alfalfa does just that, until he’s distracted by a nightspot called “Club Spanky.”  He meets a tuxedo-clad Spanky outside, who invites him in to take a look at his successful venture…even though Alfalfa remains steadfast that he will not croon.

After a few musical numbers (including the jaunty The Love Bug Will Get You [If You Don’t Watch Out]) performed by Darla (Darla Hood), Buckwheat (Billie Thomas) and other talented kiddie thesps, Alfalfa relents—he’ll croon, and reap enormous financial benefits in the process.  But the evil Barnaby arrives on the scene to roadblock that avenue of pleasure, and Alfalfa wakes from his nightmare to the sound of the kid audience demanding he perform.  Alf tears up his “contract,” and warbles Learn to Croon in that endearing off-key way of his as the short ends with a big finish.

Our Gang Follies of 1938 would be the final two-reel comedy produced by Hal Roach…and certainly the last one in the Our Gang series, which had concentrated exclusively on the one-reel format beginning in 1936.  Its lavish production values (financed with a little more scratch than usual, courtesy of MGM) made it the most expensive Our Gang short ever made, and for some it’s one of the best comedies from the franchise.  It depends a lot on your tolerance for musical numbers performed by children, which would become a standard when the series was purchased from Roach by MGM in 1938.  The highlight of Follies is the entertaining dream sequence where Alfalfa learns to his dismay that he’s made a deal with The Devil (represented by Brandon’s Barnaby); it would have been more enjoyable if the actor had been given a bit more screen time but what is wonderful is that he offers a nice tribute to the part that put him on the movie map.

As for Henry Brandon, he continued his prolific career both on stage and in films—among the notable movies he graced include The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), The Garden of Allah (1936), Beau Geste (1939), The Son of Monte Cristo (1940), Canon City (1948), Wake of the Red Witch (1948), Joan of Arc (1948), The War of the Worlds (1953), Casanova’s Big Night (1954), Vera Cruz (1954), The Ten Commandments (1956), Auntie Mame (1958), The Big Fisherman (1959), Two Rode Together (1961) and Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).  Brandon also boasted an extensive television resume—it would only be a small exaggeration to suggest that he made the rounds on nearly every boob tube oater (usually as an Indian).  His passing on February 15, 1990 at the age of 77 was greeted with sadness from movie fans, who knew that they could depend on him to descend the heights of Mount Villainy and beyond.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Doris Day(s) #15: “Let Them Out of the Nest” (01/21/69, prod. no #8512)


Que sera, sera…well, after a three-month hiatus, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear is pleased to bring back the staggeringly popular Doris Day(s).  (Crickets)  All righty then.  This week’s episode has a special resonance for yours truly, mostly due to the fact that at the new PNW location of The Double K Ranch (the residence of my sister Kat and her fambly), a chicken-raising project is currently underway—as evidenced by this photo of my nephew Davis and Exhibit A:


I just want to warn you good people…I have an endless reservoir of cute photos of him posing with his poultry menagerie, and I’m not afraid to use them should events in today’s episode slow to a crawl.  But I don’t think this will be necessary (ha!), because as “Let Them Out of the Nest” opens, we find Widder Martin (Doris) and her loyal housekeeper Juanita (Naomi Stevens) dutifully hanging up the wash while the Laird and Master of Webb Farms, Buckley Webb (Denver Pyle), treats himself to a snooze in the hammock.  Inside the house, the phone starts to ring…so as Juanita excuses herself to go answer it, the introduction of a goose named “Bernice” means the slapstick shenanigans will now begin…


Buck gets his Christmas goose early, and pandemonium breaks out with him angrily chasing Bernice, followed by faithful sheepdog Nelson (Lord Nelson)…the three of them run willy-nilly around the yard, knocking over the wetwash poles and dirtying up the laundry all to Doris’ amusement…


Que lastima!  Nelson does not like Bernice at all, so you’d think the family Webb would have doped out a better solution on how to handle these tricky dog-goose relations by now.  Well, this hilarity is really just a prelude to introduce Doris’ eldest son Billy (Philip Brown), who is a-tingle with excitement.

BILLY: Wait till you hear about Arthur Nader!
DORIS: Who’s he?
BILLY: You know—the new guy who lives up the road!
DORIS: Oh, yeah…what about him?
BILLY: Well, he’s going away for two weeks and he said we could take over his egg route!
DORIS: His egg… (She can’t finish the sentence)
BILLY: Can we, Mom?  Please
DORIS: Billy, I really don’t even want to think about it right now…
BUCK: Wait a minute…wait a minute…
BILLY: It’s easy!  Honest, Mom!
BUCK: That’s not a bad idea—I had an egg route when I was a kid…it’ll be good for him!

Leaving aside the fact that I would challenge as to whether or not Buck was ever “a kid,” Doris isn’t completely on board with the idea of her irresponsible son doing responsible things.

DORIS: You really think you could do that?
BILLY (getting to his feet): Yippee!  I’ll go tell Toby it’s okay!
DORIS: Hey!  I didn’t say that you…
BUCK: I…kind of think you did…

So that settles that!  In the next scene…


…salad?  For dinner?  Must be a special occasion—Thursday night is jelly donut night…

DORIS: So I guess now they have an egg route…I didn’t even say yes…
(Juanita chuckles)
BUCK: Will you quit worryin’ about those boys…all they’re gonna do is deliver a few eggs…it’s good for ‘em…makin’ a big thing out of nothin’…
JUANITA: Well, just take it easy on her…she’s just being a mother

Looks like someone hasn’t quite learned their place in the House of Webb.

BUCK: Teach ‘em responsibility!
DORIS: But they’re so young for all that responsibility…
BUCK: Well, they’re old enough to start learnin’…and listen—they’re gonna be on a farm, they gotta learn to haul their own freight…

I realize that snatch of dialogue might unnerve a few of you out there who are used to the blog’s write-ups from Mayberry R.F.D., where poor-but-honest-dirt-farmer-turned-town-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry) rarely made his idiot son Mike (Buddy Foster) “haul his own freight.”  (That’s because their farm was largely fictional, of course.)

DORIS: Oh, you kill me…
BUCK (to Juanita): Why don’t you chop up the…
DORIS: Just don’t change the subject…who’s out there saddling the horses and fixing the bikes and baiting the fishhooks and all that jazz?
BUCK: Well, that’s altogether different
DORIS: Oh, sure…it’s different when it’s you hauling the freight…
JUANITA: Take it easy…he’s just being a grandfather

Well, I have to hand it to Juanita—she may be a buttinsky, but she’s a diplomatic one.  And so it’s time to introduce the previously referenced Arthur Nader, who’s played in this episode by a child actor named Bob Graham.  Mr. Graham apparently found another line of work because with the exception of this appearance and a credit for the 1971 film Dusty and Sweets McGee (which is available on MOD DVD through the Warner Archive, in case the WA wants to send me a free copy) his acting career was nasty, brutish and short.  Doris plays the proper hostess by bringing out a bowl of hot buttered popcorn for Arthur and her kids, who then get down to the business at hand.

ARTHUR: Now you better take notes…’cause what I’m going to tell you is pretty important…
TOBY: Yes, sir…
DORIS: Toby…you can’t…
BILLY: Mom!  This is a business meeting…

“So why don’t you run out to the kitchen and fetch us some soda pop—okay, Sweetcheeks?”

ARTHUR: Now these are the rules that you gotta remember when you’re delivering eggs…

“The first rule of Egg Club is…you do not talk about Egg Club…the second rule of Egg Club is…you DO NOT talk about Egg Club!”

ARTHUR: All of the eggs have to be delivered by six a.m.…that’s in the morning


Oh, come on, Arthur…they’re not that stu…okay, forget I said anything.  Check out Doris’ reaction to the news that her kidlets are going to have to be up at the butt-crack of dawn:

ARTHUR: You got that down?
TOBY: Uh-uh…
ARTHUR: Why not?
TOBY: I don’t know how to write…

“I like cheese!”  Doris offers to be the stenographer during this discussion but Billy waves her off with an “I can do it…”

ARTHUR: Rule number two…don’t break none…
TOBY: Why?
BILLY: ‘Cause if you break ‘em, they don’t have to pay for ‘em…right, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Right…rule number three…collect the money every Saturday…
DORIS (after a pause): Honey?  Did you write that down?
BILLY: I’ll remember, Mom…
DORIS: Billy…if you’re going into business now the money is the most important part…isn’t that right, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Right…I’d give you my notebook…but my address is in it…


What a strange, strange line.  So Arthur hands the Martin brothers a list of his customers and their addresses, then tells them the egg boxes are out on the porch.  “Come on—I gotta get goin’,” he says impatiently.  (He must be running late for that meeting with HR.)  Doris sneaks off the couch and starts towards the porch but is stopped by Buck.  “I’m just going to get the popcorn,” she lies.  She has no intention of going out to the porch…but looking out the window, she observes the boys and then shouts: “Hold it out there!”


Billy and Toby are loaded down with egg cartons, and are comically trying to carry them out to the barn.  But Doris starts taking them out of their hands, giving them the old “you’ll-break-your-necks-if-you-can’t-see” nonsense.  Buck proposes that they let their ma take the boxes to the barn because it is getting late after all, and they’ll need to be up at four a.m. to start Project Egg Route.  So he loads Doris down with the cartons, because he’s a right rat bastard when he sets his mind to it.


Of course, with Doris trying to manipulate the boxes, it’s not long before we add this to the mix.


Let’s just call this “Ladadog’s Revenge.”  (“Steal me from my nice home in Larchmont, will ya?”)  The inevitable happens—Nelson gooses Doris, causing her to drop all of the cartons and splitting the sides of anyone unfortunate to be watching the DVD.


3:59 a.m.  It would appear that the Martin brothers have not slept a wink all night, because they are too excited about their new career as egg salesmen.  (“It’s kind of like Christmas morning,” offers Toby.)  The alarm goes off, and the two boys quickly remove their pajamas to reveal that they are wearing their street clothes underneath.  They then move to the bathroom, where they “wet” their toothbrushes and washcloths, then “dry” their hands on bath towels to perpetuate the illusion that they washed their faces and behind their ears.  (Yes, it plays like a Brady Bunch gag.)  They race out of their rooms and down the stairs, dutifully followed by Nelson—then they realize they are barefoot and race back upstairs to get their shoes.  (Nelson carries Toby’s shoes in his mouth, which did make me giggle.)

TOBY: What are you gonna have for breakfast?
BILLY: I’m gonna have ham, eggs, bacon, toast and milk…
TOBY: Me, too…but I’ll have biscuits instead of toast…
BILLY: Okay… (Pause) Who’s gonna cook it?
TOBY: I’ll get Mom…

Yeah!  Get her lazy carcass out of bed and into the kitchen, so she can get those boys a heapin’ bowl of licorice whips or something.  But no…Brother William decides that would be bad form, since the whole purpose of Project Hen Fruit is to show Doris the boys are capable of doing it themselves.  Billy and Toby will make their own breakfast.

"Billy!  I've never seen so much cheese in my life!"
This is inside that refrigerator of the Martins that I love for some odd reason.  Billy and Toby decide upon a hearty breakfast of pickles, spaghetti and jelly…washing that splendid repast down with a couple of root beers.  At the risk of sounding scoldy, I don’t think this is proper for boys their age.  That sort of meal should be eaten when they’re in college.

After scarfing down breakfast, the two boys head out to the barn.  Toby is still finishing the last of his root beer, and on the last swallow he tosses the bottle off-screen…but instead of the sound of glass breaking we hear the screeching of a cat.  “Sorry, Al,” he says.  (How did this sneak past animal lover Doris, I wonder?)  The boys then see that there is a light on in the chicken house…and guess who’s inside?

“You know, it’s quarter to five,” complains Doris to Juanita.  “I knew they wouldn’t get up at four o’clock.”  Juanita offers to wake the boys, but Doris tells her not yet—they’ll wait until all the eggs are parked in the station wagon, because Doris plans to drive them.

TOBY: She’s gonna drive us into town…
BILLY: And keep an eye on us…
TOBY: What are we going to do?

They’ll just have to teach Doris a lesson she’ll never forget.  A scene change finds Dodo entering the boys’ bedroom and turning on the light…where she finds Billy and Toby still in their beds.

DORIS: Come on, men…up and at ‘em…come on, boys…egg time!  Come on, lazybones—we’ve got deliveries to make!
BILLY: I don’t feel good…
DORIS: You what?  (She feels his forehead) Oh, no…
TOBY: Me either…
DORIS (feeling Toby’s forehead) Well, where does it hurt?
BILLY: All over…
DORIS: Oh…

Really, Doris?  You’re going to let those mooks put this over on you?  When I faked illness to get out of something I didn’t want to do (like school, for instance) I had to provide a little more substance than that.  Coughing up blood, for starters.

JUANITA (entering the bedroom): Aren’t they out of bed yet?
DORIS: They don’t feel well…
JUANITA: No wonder…you should see what they just ate for breakfast…
DORIS: What?
JUANITA: Pickles, spaghetti and root beer
DORIS: What?

“You boys know better than that—there are macaroons in the crisper!”  Doris is not happy with this turn of events, but since Juanita volunteers to take care of the boys (she’s not that dumb) it looks as if Doris will have to tackle the egg deliveries.


Back from the commercial break, Doris attempts to load up the cartons of eggs in her jitney.  Once this task is completed, she gets into the station wagon and backs up…but the car is not running smoothly—the ride is a little bumpy; it’s almost as if she accidentally ran over Al.  (Sorry, cat fanciers.)


Nope…the station wagon just has a flat!  Cue the sad trombone!


Okay, Plan B—Doris carefully puts the egg cartons into a large box and piles that into the back of the pickup truck.  As she prepares to get in via the driver’s side, she notices that the hood of the vehicle is up…


Cue the sad orchestra!  You know, you’d think she would have noticed that before doing all that work.  (I have a feeling that the individual who removed that engine is none other than handyman Leroy B. Semple Simpson [James Hampton], who thankfully is not in this week’s episode.)


You don’t get to be America’s favorite female movie box office champ without having a Plan C, good people.  Doris must resort to using one of the boys’ bicycles to begin her egg deliveries.  Throughout most of these delivery shenanigans, there’s a running gag involving a newspaper delivery boy (Keith Huntley) who’s delivering The Cotina Free Press, or whatever the rag in that town is called.  Jauntily whistling Merrily We Roll Along, each paper he tosses at a doorstep manages to hit Doris in the ass.


Delivering eggs at one house, she sees two sets of numbers on the front: “613” and “613 ½”—the “half” also has a designation of “rear” alongside it.  So Doris goes around to the other side of the house with the eggs as a squad car watches.  The deputy in the car exits the vehicle and draws his gun…


…it’s not entirely noticeable from the above screen cap, but the actor playing Cotina’s version of Barney Fife is Raymond Kark, who appeared earlier on the series in the episode “The Friend.”


As Doris comes back around carrying the carton of eggs, Deputy Marvin (Kark’s billing in the credits) yells “Freeze!” and squeezes off several rounds as if he were skeet shooting.  The commotion wakes up the owner of the house…


Holy Hooterville, Batman!  It’s Doris Ziffel!  Okay, she’s identified as “Mrs. Wilkins” here—but there’s a certain delicious irony seeing Green Acres’ own Barbara Pepper in an episode of The Doris Day Show…since Dodo’s previous housekeeper, Fran Ryan, would take over as Mrs. Z on Acres after Pepper’s passing on July 18, 1969.  (Babs appeared on an episode of Mayberry R.F.D.“The Church Bell”—and had an uncredited bit in 1969’s Hook, Line and Sinker before leaving this world for a better one.)  “What’s going on down there?” Mrs. W demands to know.

“It’s all right, Mr. Wilkins…just shooting some eggs,” offers Deputy Marvin helpfully. 

Another house, another newspaper in the ass.  This time, Doris falls into the flora and fauna around the front door and…


Well, you can’t make an omelet, yadda yadda yadda.  At the next house, Doris sets down the egg carton…and is interrupted by a man staggering up the steps with an umbrella.


“Hal Smith!” as they say on radio.  Yes, the man famous for playing Mayberry’s beloved inebriate, Otis Campbell, plays a similar souse here—and he tells Doris “No, no, no…”

DRUNK: Not there…not there…
DORIS: I beg your pardon?
DRUNK: Don’t put those eggs out here…those little chickies might catch cold
DORIS: There are no chickies in here…
DRUNK: Oh, yes there are…

So The Drunk takes the carton of eggs to a windowsill…and breaks the window with his umbrella.  Placing the carton inside, he tells a stunned Doris: “Now the little chickies will be warm…”  Hijinks!


One more house.  As Doris bends over to sit down the carton of eggs, she hears Merrily We Roll Along…and she quickly rights herself to avoid taking a paper in the gluteus maximus.  Unfortunately, this maneuver causes her to step right on the eggs.  Poor Dodo.

Mrs. Martin suffers her last indignity with her last delivery…as she walks across a lawn, a thoughtless neighbor turns on the sprinklers, giving her a right soaking.  But you might be able to make out a rainbow in this screen cap…


…Paperboy tosses another paper at Doris—this one only hits her in the leg.  But it cheeses her off to the point where she grabs an egg and throws it at him, tagging him in the back of the head.

Doris pedals home.  She is wet, sore and tired as she trudges into the house.

JUANITA: How did it go?
DORIS: All I know is…everybody in the whole world should deliver eggs just once…gives you humility…

Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse
Criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

The newly humbled Doris manages to make it upstairs…and just as she’s about to enter her boudoir for a nice soak in the tub she hears laughter and gaiety from her sons’ room.


Pillow fight!  Those young rapscallions are at it again!

DORIS: What are you doing?  Get off this bed!  Get over there…what is going on?  I thought you two were supposed to be sick!

“Really, Mom?  And Shreve thinks we’re the dumb ones…”

DORIS: Here I am out there doing all the work…do you think that’s fair?

“Maybe not…but on the other hand…we’ve never seen you looking so humble.”  Doris continues her rant until Billy interrupts her, pointing out that she kind of took over things like a big bossy boss.  Her father also reinforces the lecture a few moments later once she’s got back to her room.

DORIS: Did you see what that room looks like in there?
BUCK: Sit down…
DORIS: I wish that somebody would keep an eye on those two when I’m out and…
BUCK: Sit down and be quiet!

“Or so help me, I will cut a bitch!”  Well, I’m going to skip over this part—it’s the basic boilerplate from Buck:  kids have to take on their own responsibilities; Doris is being a mother hen; kids have to have the freedom to make their own mistakes; argle bargle argle bargle.

BUCK: Now then…there are thirteen more days…those eggs have got to be delivered…who’s gonna deliver them?
DORIS (after a pause): Not me!

“So suck it, old man!”  Okay, let’s stick a coda on this: the epilogue finds the kids’ alarm going off at four again, and they go through the fake toothbrush and face washing ritual—only to be confronted by their mother, who seems to have wised up since the last commercial break.

DORIS: Hold it!
BILLY: What’s the matter, Mom?
DORIS: Did you wash your face and brush your teeth?

“Define ‘face’.  And ‘teeth,’ for that matter.”

TOBY: But, Mom…we…
DORIS: No buts about it…get in there and do it…
BILLY: I thought you said we were on our own?
DORIS: You are…as far as your business life is concerned…when it comes to your personal life—I’m still in charge…march!

“Washin’ that face, boss…”  I have one hundred and thirteen more episodes of this to wade through…what the hell was I thinking?  Well, be that as it may—be sure to join us here next week for the return of Doris’ nemesis Tyrone Lovey (played by Strother Martin) in the not-uproarious-in-the-slightest episode, “The Clock.”  Toodle-oo!