Remember WENN; Season 1 Photo Graphic 1. "On the Air"
2. "Klondike 9366"
3. "A Rock and a Soft Place"
4. "There But for the Grace"
5. "Sight Unseen"
6. "Emperor Smith"
7. "Who's Minding the Asylum?"
8. "Armchair Detective"
9. "Hilary Booth, Registered Nurse"
10. "Valentino Speaks"
11. "A Capital Idea"
12. "Popping the Question"
13. "World of Tomorrow"


Note: a photo is worth a thousand words.

dividing line

1. "On the Air" (originally telecast 01/13/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Betty       Betty Roberts, winner of a WENN writing contest, arrives at the station to find there's no paying position waiting for her. But when the head writer collapses, inebriated, into his typewriter, Betty has a chance to show her stuff. (27'12") ¤
  Guest Cast: Mr. Gianetti: Peter Maloney
  Episode Notes: The first four episodes contain a running gag—everyone who meets Hilary refers to her performance in the play The Rivals. (BTW, keep "the competition's" rendition of "Camptown Races" in mind—you will hear it again.) Mr. Gianetti must have judged the writing contest, because Victor doesn't seem to think much of Betty's winning script! Actually, Victor is terribly brusque in this episode, but his description of the magic of radio brings a lump to one's throat. There's also a lovely scene where Mackie and Betty quote Shakespeare to each other.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: First appearance of the WENN soaps, The Hands of Time featuring the much-abused Elizabeth Marlow (played by Hilary) and her oft-amnesiac husband Brent (Jeff), and sponsored by Midas Hand Cream, and Valiant Journey, featuring Daphne Danvers (also played by Hilary), and sponsored by Hampton's Vegetable Soup, as well as Mackie's Col. Moore, who provides cracker-barrel commentary on news items. We also hear an adventure show called Amazon Andy with Mackie in the role of Captain Amazon.
  (There's a great in-joke in this episode if you know some radio history. Mackie refers to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast early on. An amusing story from that broadcast is that to get the particular echoing effect of the top of the Martian ship unscrewing, one of the sound engineers took a jar and a microphone into the men's room and unscrewed the jar within a toilet bowl. In this episode, unexpectedly needing the sound of a river, Mr. Foley takes a microphone into the men's room and flushes the toilet.)
  Episode Trivia: Betty is from Elkhart, Indiana. Gertie likes peanut brittle—and ordinarily doesn't share it with anyone.

          Let's See Television Do That: *
          Victor: "Do you have any idea what our competition provides their listening
          public with?" {tunes in radio} "This is what our competition plays, sunup to
          sundown...records! They play records. The same records you could play on
          your gramophone at home. Now this is what we give our listeners-"
          {cut to Mackie's energetic performance in Amazon Andy}
          Victor: "Tell me, what did Captain Amazon look like?"
          Betty {thoughtfully}: "Oh, sort of- Flash Gordon. Steely blue eyes, flowing
          blond hair..."
          {cut back to Mackie, definitely not "Flash Gordon."}
          Victor: "That's funny, I was listening to the same program and I thought the
          hero looked a lot like me." {returns ot his desk, speaking intensely} "And
          therein lies the magic: tens of thousands of people out there, listening, each
          envisioning their own motion picture of the mind. And that is what we give our
          audience, Miss Roberts. We give them dreams. We give them towers and
          landscapes, secrets and revelations. We give them a warm hearth in the dark—
          or a cold shiver up their spine."

          Hilary 1, Betty 0:
          Betty: "Oh, I'm sorry, Miss Booth, I was buried in thought."
          Hilary: "Yes, and I'm sure it was a shallow grave."

          * with apologies to Stan Freberg... <g>

When is WENN?: Most episodes aren't specifically dated, but since Mackie refers to Welles' infamous Halloween broadcast of October 1938 as having just happened, "On the Air" seems to be set in early November 1938. Time does pass in this series, as upcoming episodes illustrate. In season 4, Betty's arrival date is specified as September 29, 1939.

Listen Quick!: Just after Mackie and Betty chat and before Betty tosses her script into the wastebasket, listen as the door to the studio opens. The music you hear is a segue piece from a song called "Soap Opera," from Rupert Holmes' first album, Widescreen. (Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Laura!)

2. "Klondike 9366" (originally telecast 01/13/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Celia       Perky blond Celia Mellon, of the wealthy Pittsburgh Mellons, begins work at the station, to Hilary's great chagrin, just as Victor comes up with an idea for a novelty radio program: a live phone-in show called It's Your Nickel, where WENN celebrities discuss issues and answer questions. But the show's a disaster—until a little boy named Jimmy phones. AMC movie host Bob Dorian guest stars as Mr. Medwick, head of Cup O'Comfort, a potential sponsor. (25'09")
  Additional Guest Cast: Willis Thorndyke: Jeff Blumenkrantz.
  Episode Notes: The character of the station engineer turns up again in later episodes, although he's only credited in two of them during first season, played by C.J. Byrnes, who played the role in the first episode. For those of you who, like me, were surprised by Betty's disappointment when Victor left the station (not having noticed any obvious developing romance until the final scenes of "Hilary Booth, Registered Nurse"), I note that he did offer to walk her to the trolley in this episode. Foreshadowing Department: When Celia waves at Jeff through the studio door window and Hilary demands to know who she is, Jeff replies that he thinks she might have been the new maid.
  The role of Jimmy is unbilled, but the voice is that of Nick Holmes, Rupert Holmes' elder son, 8 years old at the time the episode was filmed.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: First appearance of Bedside Manor, a breakfast show starring Jeff and Hilary as themselves and Mackie as Travers the butler, sponsored by Ingrams Coffee. Celia auditions for the role of Happy Returns, Birthday Bob's friend and "the long-lost sister of Candy Candleblower" on an unnamed children's show. The evening's programming ends with Bedtime Serenade.
  Episode Trivia: Hilary's (often sarcastic) nickname for Jeff is "Pumpkin." Pennsylvania Pantry, owned by Mr. Medwick, produces Cup O'Comfort, "the nutritious nightcap," and their competition is Dutch Uncle Cocoa, which is advertised on WPTR on Cocoa Cabana. The population of Pittsburgh at this time is 671,659. The "9366" in the station's phone number stands for "WENN." Jeff spent three summers working in a steel mill, and also worked two seasons at the Louisville Rep, playing both Iago to Raymond Massey's Othello, and Prince Hal in Henry IV..
  "Holmes Watch": Rupert Holmes is the voice of the Cocoa Cabana announcer.

          Always the Optimist:
          {Victor's just conceived the idea for the radio phone-in show}
          Victor: "So, what's our last program before sign-off?"
          Betty: "A Book at Bedtime."
          Victor: "Who's the sponsor?"
          Mr. Eldridge: "Cup O'Comfort, the nutritious nightcap."
          Victor {rapidly, growing more excited}: "I'll call Medwick at Pennsylvania
          Pantry! Oh, God, I love radio! You can bring something to life at the speed
          of a bolt of lightning! It's like being God!"
          Mr. Eldridge {alarmed}: "Or Frankenstein!" {insists} "What do you do to
          make the telephone voices loud enough for the radio?"
          Victor: "I don't know."
          Mr. Eldridge: "What do you do if nobody calls?"
          Victor: "I can't imagine."
          Mr. Eldridge: "How do you handle the extra calls?"
          Victor: "I haven't a clue." {pauses} "Let's do it tonight!"

When is WENN?: In Bedside Manor, Jeff refers to the German annexation of Poland, which occurred in September of 1939.

3. "A Rock and a Soft Place" (originally telecast 02/07/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Howard Meltzer.
Mellon_Acton       Both Mrs. Florence Dunthorpe Mellon, the aristocratic dowager who sponsors Pittsburgh Public Library Theatre, and Mr. Acton, president of Acton Anthracite Coal, have two different ideas of what radio programming should be like. When Victor grants both their desires in the same program, the results are astounding. Meanwhile—why doesn't Celia seem eager to talk to her mother? (28'24")
  Guest Cast: Mrs. Mellon: Irene Worth. Mr. Acton: Barton Heyman.
  Episode Notes: Victor's solution to the Mellon/Acton problem is a hoot—see if you can identify what's going on in "Vengeance is Mine" before Mrs. Mellon does! Sam Dane, Private Detective turns up in a later episode as what sounds like a regular series. The next Library Theatre presentation will be "Beth and Mac...murder—with a shot of Scotch" (an adaptation of Macbeth, we presume). There's a brief glimpse of a station engineer in this episode, but it doesn't look like Jeff Blumenkrantz or C.J. Byrnes.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: First appearance of Rance Shiloh, U.S. Marshall, with Jeff Singer in the title role, sponsored by Acton Anthracite Coal and the Pittsburgh Library Theatre, presently presenting a reading of The Canterbury Tales. A series called Opera Without Music is also mentioned.
  Episode Trivia: Celia's real last name is Padrusky. Jeff swims for exercise.

          The Big Bang Theory:
          {Gertie's buzz has interrupted their meeting with aggressive Mr. Acton,
          sponsor of Rance Shiloh}
          Betty: "The woman from the Pittsburgh Public Library—she's here, and
          she's all in a snit about Rance Shiloh."
          Victor: "Having them meet would be like introducing nitro to glycerine."

Note: Irene Worth was nominated for an Emmy award for her performance in this story.

4. "There But for the Grace" (originally telecast 02/21/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Grace       Movie star Grace Cavendish, on a bond drive, makes a stop at WENN—where Hilary plots the comuppance of her old rival and a member of the station renews old (and romantic) acquaintance with Grace. But the tables are turned on Hilary when she thinks Grace would like to work with her again. (27'27")
  Guest Cast: Grace Cavendish: Patti Lupone. Jack Desmond: Ray DeMattis.
  Episode Notes: Either John Bedford Lloyd is reeeeally tall or Patti LuPone is petite! Grace refers to a new comic book character, "the Man of Steel." Grace's reunion with her old flame is quite romantic (and note Betty's face when she catches them). The Looneyville sketch is very, very funny. You get to hear the words to the Remember WENN theme in this episode. Wave at C.J. in the booth...
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Betty fobs off Mr. Bigelow from Penn Utilities by saying Victor has created a show for him—assumed to be fictitious—called Captain Power and Lightning Lad (nice superhero parallel with Grace's reference to Superman). (N.B. No, it's not fictitious. Check out the schedule on the blackboard behind Gertie during the "council of war" in "Who's Minding the Asylum?"). We hear the variety show The Glint Grab-Bag sponsored by Glint Dishwashing Soap.
  Episode Trivia: Hilary was born in Ligonia, Maine, just outside of Portland (but she tells everyone she was born in Crockett's Corner, because the latter is more well known). Reporter Jack Desmond works for the Globe. Hilary appeared in Razzle Dazzle with Grace Cavendish. Hilary and Jeff have been working at WENN for three years. Betty, Celia, and Grace all performed in The Mikado in their respective high schools (although with Celia's penchant for exaggeration, we can't be sure). Mackie was the youngest principal ever to tour with the Michigan Mummers and Minstrels (he played Mr. Bones). Mr. Eldridge invented the pneumatic trap door and used to be a stage doorman on Broadway. WENN broadcasts Pittsburgh Pirates' games and can be heard as far north as Hackensack, New Jersey. Grace will be making a movie version of The Rivals. Victor left New York to run WENN because he felt it offered him more artistic freedom. While Hilary spiked the drink intended for Grace with ipecacuana, it was zinc sulfate Grace used in Hilary's tea to take over her part in Razzle Dazzle.
  "Holmes Watch": Rupert Holmes is the voice of the announcer introducing Grace Cavendish.

          Say That Three Times Fast:
          Mackie: "Any problem?"
          Betty: "No, nothing."
          Mackie: "What do you mean, nothing? Is it really nothing because it's
          nothing, or is it nothing because it's something you don't want to tell me, or is
          it nothing because it's something you will tell me if I promise to say nothing?"

Remember WENN initially premiered in January 1996 with 10 episodes anticipated. These were supposed to run every other week. However, overwhelming critical acceptance of the series led AMC to pull the remaining episodes so a run of thirteen could be presented in a regular weekly timeslot. The first four were repeated before starting the next nine.

There were a couple of minor set changes when the series returned. The area near Gertie's desk was enlarged, and the front door was now visible from her reception area. (It may help to explain WENN's continual struggle with sponsors and funding when you notice the number on the door is "1313.") Also, the usually unlighted neon "WENN" logo above her switchboard was changed in favor of a lighted one with a background.

There are now also blinds on the green room doors instead of shades.

Time is assumed to have passed at WENN as well, as Betty has discarded her shoulder-length "country-girl type" hairstyle in favor of a curly thirties-fashionable haircut.

5. "Sight Unseen" (originally telecast 06/01/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Angela       When a blind girl arrives at the station hoping to meet her favorite radio character, the suave, romantic Vagabond, his alter ego Mackie Bloom is determined she won't find out he's really a short, balding, middle-aged man. (29'35")
  Guest Cast: Angela Colton: Molly Ringwald. Mr. Winthrop: Julian Holloway.
  Episode Notes: A very touching outing wherein you find there's much more to Mackie than "meets the eye." Note Victor and Betty's wonderfully hilarious (and unintentional—at least we hope) double entendre dialog in Victor's office. Mr. Winthrop, BTW, will turn up again. Wave at C.J.
  Incidentally, Ringwald's father is jazz pianist Bob Ringwald, who is blind, and she based many of her mannerisms as Angela on those of her dad.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Celia plays Lucy Landers in Second Chance at Love, and the daughter on Our Fleeting Passion, plus appears on Six O'Clock Circus as Tightrope Taffy (Jeff is the ringmaster and Mackie is Custard the Clown). (When Victor briefly fills in for Mackie, he introduces himself as Custard's brother Mustard.)
  Episode Trivia: Mackie loves Benny Goodman and George Gershwin. It seems Eugenia may have a secret crush on Mackie.

          A Useful Prop:
          Mackie: "Betty, where's the smoking jacket? I can't do 'Letters to the
          Vagabond' without the smoking jacket."
          Mr. Eldridge: "I just finished pressing it. Shall I go get it?"
          Betty: "Mackie, the audience can't see you. You don't need it."
          Mackie: "Okay, I use the smoking jacket as a crutch."
          Mr. Eldridge {walks away, fretting}: "I should have used more starch."

Trivia Question: What's the connection between one of Mackie's favorite composers and two members of the cast?
Answer: Tom Beckett played the role of George Gershwin in Young Indiana Jones and the Scandal of 1920, the series in which George Hall portrayed elderly Professor Henry Jones, Junior. Sadly, in the DVD release of The Young Indiana Jones Adventures, "Old Indy" has been edited out.

6. "The Emperor Smith" (originally telecast 06/08/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Frank Doelger.
George       When aspiring black actor George Smith takes over for Mackie, who's lost his voice, the station tries to keep his identity under wraps, fearing the racial mores of the day won't accept the roles George is playing—including Hilary's steamy lover "Lord Branley" on The Hands of Time! (26'57")
  Guest Cast: George Smith: Howard Rollins. Tess Bracken: Mary Louise Wilson. Walter Snell: Peter Jacobs. Mr. Devere: Steve Routman.
  Episode Notes: Yep, that's the Heimlich manuever George uses on Mackie. Victor goes off to Washington in this episode, leaving Betty in charge—ahem, note the look in Betty's eyes when she says "I do" to Victor. (And he's awfully cagey about why he's going, come to think of it...) Nice use of Poe's "purloined letter" technique in one scene with Snell; also note that Snell knows "a secret" about Jeff and Hilary—this secret is revealed later in the season. IMHO, Mr. Eldridge's finest hour. (And wave at C.J. yet again...)
  Mr Devere will reappear.
  A rarity in modern television—this episode not only tells a good story, but makes its point without bludgeoning it home! This is the type of story you could willingly write essays about, starting with the parallel of Elizabeth being imprisoned by false accusations and George's imprisonment by false conceptions of his race. Although Walter Snell is mainly comic relief, he's at the center of the most pointed scene: although George is on the set when Snell hears Lord Branley speaking, he never at any time suspects George of being Lord Branley; because of the color of his skin he doesn't really exist—truly the "invisible man" he has been dubbed by Snell's exploitation of Betty's slip of the tongue. It's enough to make your skin crawl.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: The Hands of Time is sponsored by American Way Greeting Cards in this outing. Characters on WENN programs include Robbie Rocket, the Crimson Blade, Colonel Moore's Alabama cousin Robert E. Lean, Tommy of Tibet, the Sharpshooter, and Old Doctor Carstairs, plus Millie and Molly in a show by the same name. Jeff and George rehearse an Amos and Andy-type show called The Fife and Dime Show (lead characters Abraham Fife and Algernon Dime), an evident reference to Amos and Andy (down to the initials of the lead characters' first names). In the final scene, Pittsburgh Public Library Theatre presents Othello.
  Episode Trivia: George works as a waiter at the Buttery and has appeared in The Emperor Jones, Green Pastures, Porgy and Bess, and Emperor Porgy. Mr. Eldridge is from Greenboro, North Carolina. Elizabeth's prison number is 1083 (although Mackie says "0183" initially). Tess is WENN's press agent. Walter Snell's column is called "Snoops and Scoops."
  "Holmes Watch": Rupert Holmes is the voice of the announcer telling you to stay tuned for the "man of mystery."

          Chalk Up One for Tom Eldridge...:
          Snell {irritated}: "You wouldn't be acting dim on purpose, would you?"
          Mr. Eldridge: "Oh, no, I leave that to the actors."

          ...And One for Gertie:
          Betty: "Gertie, we're closed to the public and the press. No one strange is
          allowed in the studio."
          Gertie: "Oh? When did we change those rules?"

Note: Howard Rollins died of complications from cancer in December 1996.
7. "Who's Minding the Asylum?" (originally telecast 06/15/96)
Story by Rupert Holmes. Teleplay by Rupert Holmes and G. Ross Parker. Directed by Howard Meltzer.
Medwick       Victor and the cast members depart for a radio convention in Harrisburg, leaving Betty, Gertie, Mr. Eldridge, Mr. Foley, and Eugenia in charge. What's to worry?—all the performances are recorded on glass disks, ready to be played, right? Bob Dorian reprises his role as Mr. Medwick, the Cup O'Comfort sponsor. (29'19")
  Additional Guest Cast: Engineer: C.J. Byrnes.
  Episode Notes: Another reference to the Pittsburgh Pirates—only this one's rather acerbic. Betty's solution to the presentation of Great Stories from the Good Book is especially clever, and Mr. Medwick's introduction to the "cast" is a riot. The end of the episode had me singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" for days. And listen!—C.J. has a line.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Jeff and Hilary star in a Western called Lost is My Valley with Mackie playing the villain. It seems to be sponsored by Hampton's Vegetable Soup. Wee Mary McGregor, Veterinarian concerns "the kindliest veterinarian in all the Highlands," fighting the evil Angus Burns (with the help of "the bonniest wee pig in all Scotland," Geordie). The makeshift Amateurs on Parade features Mr. Foley making noises with his mouth; Betty and Eugenia singing; Mr. Foley singing "Danny Boy" (offscreen, naturally); Mr. Eldridge trying to shatter a wine glass with his singing (and succeeding!) as well as (badly) reciting limericks; and Mr. Medwick performing magic tricks, making shadow pictures, and telling ghost stories, plus preparing Betty's chopped liver.
  Episode Trivia: Mr. Medwick takes belladonna to settle his stomach (he has an ulcer). The theatre Mr. Eldridge worked as doorman for was the Broadhurst. Gertie plays the clarinet (and Mr. Eldridge plays a mean xylophone).
  "Holmes Watch": Rupert Holmes is playing Gertie's clarinet and also provides Mr. Eldridge's singing voice.

          The Singers Carry On...and On:
          {Hilary's missing her fox stole}
          Betty: "Hilary, we'll find it. What does it look like?."
          Hilary {exasperated}: "Looks like a fox, only dead. Bushy tail, tiny claws,
          snapping jaws..."
          Jeff {interrupts}: "It's amazing how people resemble their pets, eh?"
          Hilary: "Jeffrey, darling, the train leaves shortly—why don't you be under it?"

8. "Armchair Detective" (originally telecast 06/22/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Holmes       A convicted murderer who recently had his crime recreated on WENN's mystery series Armchair Detectives escapes prison and holds the cast hostage until they broadcast a recreation of his version of what really happened at the scene of the crime. (24'59")
  Guest Cast: Larry Looper: Joe Grifasi. Engineer: C.J. Byrnes. Policeman: Barry Bellamy.
  Episode Notes: This is probably the funniest episode of first season, with the quips coming fast and furious. Especially catch Hilary's wrath as she discovers who cast the recreation. There's also a nice moody ambiance to the setting: a thunderstorm, ominous phone calls, and appropriate low lighting culminating in a blackout. And yet another Pittsburgh Pirates jibe to boot. There are two particularly clever within-series jokes at the end: Celia complains "But I always play the maid," a reference to her former job, and Jeff, as Sherlock Holmes, summing up the mystery, reveals Hilary's character was "fearing the young maid would replace her in his affections," the same which could said for Hilary's fears about Celia and Jeff.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Armchair Detectives stars Jeff and Mackie as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. After performing a fictional Victorian-era crime story, they invite law enforcement personnel (shades of Gangbusters) on air to solve real crimes. In the recreation of Larry's crime, Mackie plays Carleton Killian, Celia his faithless wife, Mr. Foley his supercilious nephew Simon, Betty the French maid Millie, and Hilary the shrewish housekeeper Miss Craven.
  Episode Trivia: Warden Thomas Pillsler is in charge of Ramsey State Prison, from which Larry escapes. Larry Looper used to work as a butler for millionaire Carleton Killian. This is the only time in first season you hear someone calling our faithful engineer "C.J."

          The Fateful Pinch:
          {The lights abruptly go out}
          Celia {screams}: "Don't try that again, smart guy!"
          Larry: "Sorry, I mistook you for a chair."
          Celia: "Boy, you have been in prison a long time."

          Hilary 1, Jeffrey -1:
          Hilary: "Who the blazes did the casting for this thing? Miss Craven? The
          gargoyle? Who gave out these parts?"
          Celia: "Welllll...Jeffy did."
          Hilary {outraged}: "Jeffy?" {turns to Jeff} So—it's 'Jeffy' now, is it?"
          Jeff: "Uh, Hilary—we still have a murder to solve."
          Hilary: "Yes, the death of 'Jeffy,' whose thick head was repeatedly
          bludgeoned by a blunt ingenue."

9. "Hilary Booth, Registered Nurse" (originally telecast 06/29/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Howard Meltzer.
Carr       A noted Broadway producer, enamoured of Hilary's acting and determined to put her soap Valiant Journey on a coast-to-coast hookup, is kept in the dark when Hilary suffers amnesia and believes she is Jane Timmons, the sweet self-sacrificing nurse she plays on a World War I drama. (29'12")
  Guest Cast: Adrian Carr: John Glover. Dr. Sebastian: Dan Resin.
  Episode Notes: This is an episode I've come to like more upon repeated viewings—especially watching Hilary Booth "become" the super-altruistic Nurse Timmons. (Her scenes with Adrian Carr are especially funny.) Plus, Celia's "audition" is a total hoot, and watching Mackie, Jeff, and Mr. Foley recreate last Tuesday's races at Santa Anita is quite amusing. The finest scene, IMHO, is Victor's farewell.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Jane Timmons, Registered Nurse takes place during "the Great War," where Jane serves as a battlefield nurse with Dr. Hale and Dr. Sebastian. Hilary does a show called Women's Views on the News. Co-stars on Valiant Journey include Jeff as Leonard Manley, Mackie as Phillip Crandall, and Celia as Gwendolen. (Gertie goofs when speaking to Adrian Carr, however: she talks about Elizabeth in Valiant Journey—Elizabeth's in The Hands of Time.)
  Episode Trivia: Adrian Carr is producing Peter Pan on Broadway. Jeff and Hilary were married on New Year's Eve in Matamoros, Mexico, after appearing in Razzle Dazzle in Dallas, Texas.

          A Fateful Kiss:
          {Jeff demos a "real" kiss with Celia to protest Mr. Foley's cartoonish "kiss"
          sound effect— just as Hilary walks in}
          Jeff: "Now that's what a real kiss sounds like, right?"
          Hilary {icy}: "Sounds more like the kiss of death to me." {pauses} "Let's see
          what the situation is here, shall we? I'm your wife, I find you kissing 'Charlie
          Chaplin' here-"
          Jeff: "Charlie Chaplin?"
          Hilary: "The little tramp?" {theatrical pause} "It seems to me, Jeffrey, that
          there's a rich tradition which calls for you to minimally be hemming and
          hawing at this moment." {glares} "Haw away."
          Betty: "Hilary, it was nothing—really. I was standing here watching the whole
          Hilary: "Then you're even more depraved than he is."
          Celia: "Hilary, a little kiss never did anyone any harm."
          Hilary: "No. No, not like a miswired microphone that sends thousands of
          kilowatts of ungrounded voltage through a young actress' body. Or have I
          said too much?"

10. "Valentino Speaks!" (originally telecast 07/13/96)
Story by Rupert Holmes. Teleplay by G. Ross Parker. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Peck       An eccentric director thinks Jeff is just the man to cast as Rudolph Valentino so he can complete and make a sound version of a partially filmed Sheik movie. It's when he enlists the aid of the rest of the WENN regulars that things get out of hand. That's British actor Simon Jones, best known to science-fiction fans as Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Arthur Dent, as director Ted E. Peck. (29'14")
  Additional Guest Cast: Tess Bracken: Mary Louise Wilson. Paul Rice: Alessandro Nivola.
  Episode Notes: Sauce for the goose time: Now it's Hilary's turn to flirt with a young man. Jeff's final words with Hilary in the closing moments of this episode give a great description of the challenge and freedom given to radio actors.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: A Book at Bedtime is sponsored by Cup O'Comfort. The adaptation in this episode is of The Strange Loves of Mavis Streibling from the bestseller by Dorothy Birkenstock.
  Episode Trivia: Hilary played Juliet in a Shakespearean performance in Schenectady, NY. Paul is an acting student at Carnegie Mellon University and is presently working as an apprentice at WENN. Peck found the Valentino movie in a closet in Altoona (one wonders if this is a veiled reference to the opening scenes of Hitch-Hiker's Guide, where Arthur Dent claims he found the plans for the highway bypass about to come through his home at the planning office "in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'"); he was thrown out of Hollywood because he "couldn't handle dialog." (After hearing Peck's dialog for this movie, I'm not surprised.)

          A Starstruck Singer:
          Jeff {excited}: "Hilary, I was thinking: you know, Gable, Tracy—they're all
          right, but Hollywood needs some fresh blood."
          Hilary: "I have a knife. We'll send them two quarts right after you get dressed."

11. "A Capital Idea"
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Frank Doelger.
Scott       The new director of WENN, Scott Sherwood, comes up with what he thinks is a surefire moneymaking venture: incorporating commercial references into all the shows—until there's no programming left but the ads. (29'32")
  Guest Cast: Mr. Boynton: Alan Nebelthau. Todd Varick: Spence White.
  Episode Notes: There's a "time" theme woven into this episode—"Oh, will you look at the time!" becomes Sherwood's running gag whenever he wants to get out of something. Sherwood tells Hilary he's "under orders" to get rid of a member of the cast—whose orders? Victor's? (This question is probably answered— unspoken—in "Christmas in the Airwaves.") Sit through Sherwood's abrasiveness—the payoff is definitely worth it. BTW, it was a common practice to work the sponsor's name into old radio programs, even for giveaway promotions—but not quite so blatantly as in this episode! Oh, and wave at C.J. again...
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: We hear News at Eight, sponsored by Broome Brothers Department Store (owned by Winslow Broome). The commercial for Felix the Cat wristwatches that interrupts the news is for Empire Jewels, owned by Mr. Boynton. A show called Matinee Melodies is referred to. Another appearance of Hands of Time, in this case is sponsored by Kemper's Quality Meats. They're selling a Sunbright washing machine during Flash Flanagan. And here's the reappearance of Sam Dane, Private Detective. Parodies of regular WENN series abound near the end of this episode (Rance Shiloh and the adaptation of Robinson Crusoe for Library Theatre are especially riotous—one hopes the Hays Commission didn't hear the latter.)
  Episode Trivia: Celia snagged two pair of nylon stockings (one pair for Betty) courtesy a floorwalker named Bruno at Broome Brothers. Sherwood has sailed a schooner, presumably around the world, and has had bad associations with lawyers. According to his referral letter from Victor, he's operated out of Portugal, London, Cairo, and Peking, and counts experience with zinc mines and non-flammable blimps of Texas, plus flew for the Trans-Siberian Mail Service. His father was a butcher. Todd Varick offers Celia a temporary job promoting Blondie and Dagwood cartoons and a chance at a screen test at Columbia Pictures.

          Meow! Inc.
          Celia: "He doesn't sound very radio, does he?—not one of us."
          Hilary {icily}: "Us? Do you mean as if he's someone lacking in dramatic
          training, with no true theatrical experience, who simply wanders in here one
          day and thinks he owns a piece of the place, that sort of thing?"
          Celia {smug}: "No, I meant somebody who might want to clear out some of
          the deadwood and focus on some of the younger talent, y'know, that sort of

          We've Had Days Like That:
          "At the tone, Broome Brothers time will be Thursday."
          (Rupert Holmes does this line, incidentally.)

When is WENN?: Nylon stocking were introduced to the public in 1939.

12. "Popping the Question" (originally telecast 08/03/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Howard Meltzer.
Doug       Sherwood's newest scheme, a radio quiz show called Brainstorm, has a new twist—they'll be giving away several thousand dollars instead of the small amounts awarded on other quiz series. But to keep from losing money on the trial show, he wants to fix the answers! Meanwhile...will Doug ever get to meet Betty in person? (27'22")
  Guest Cast: Doug Thompson: Matthew Bennett. Mr. Winthrop: Julian Holloway. Randall Parson Jr: Thomas Mizer. Engineer: C.J. Byrnes.
  Episode Notes: Some really nice interplay at the end between Betty and Scott. Watch for the wonderful scene with Mr. Eldridge and Mackie grilling Betty's date as surrogate "fathers" (and Jeff butting in as an "older brother" type). Doug is mentioned again in "Radio Silence," "The First Mrs. Bloom," and "Who's Scott Sherwood?", and is featured in "Happy Homecomings."
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Parson's Pets sponsors Bloodhound Biff, New York Police Dog. The series The Crimson Blade, Our Fleeting Passion and Valiant Journey are again mentioned, plus one called Tales of Tension.
  Episode Trivia: Doug is an attorney who enjoys doing legal aid work. Mr. Eldridge fought in the Spanish-American War and participated in the Battle of El Caney.

          The Musings of Tom Eldridge:
          Mr. Eldridge: "You know what I'd like to see? The room where the phone
          company makes the dial tones."

          Making It Up As She Goes Along:
          {Betty is distributing scripts}
          Betty: "Okay, Jeff, I've got Valiant Journey and Our Fleeting Passion for
          you, and Mackie, I've got Tales of Tension, and I should have The Crimson
          Blade finished in about 15 minutes."
          Mackie: "I just want to know how he gets out of it."
          Betty: "What do you mean?"
          Mackie: "Last week you had me falling 500 feet into a vat of boiling oil and
          I can't imagine how you get me out of it."
          Betty {thoughtfully}: "Me, neither." {brightens} "Just 15 minutes, Mackie."

13. "World of Tomorrow" (originally telecast 08/17/96)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Hilary       Victor Comstock asks Jeff if he will fly to London to do some broadcasts with him, as the sponsors think the commentary needs "an all-American voice." In the meantime, Sherwood manipulates the cast into broadcasting a special program on the closing day of the 1939 New York World's Fair. (26'12")
  Guest Cast: Bob Devere: Steve Routman. Victor: John Bedford Lloyd.
  Episode Notes: Hilary makes a catty remark about Grace Cavendish early on. The first of several references on the series to The Wizard of Oz. Another chance to "wave at C.J." as well. This is a many-layered story that begins with many gags and then slowly, before you realize it, becomes extremely serious. Many revelations—and the obligatory 1990s series cliffhanger in a well-crafted ending—mark this excellent season finale.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: American Way Greeting Cards sponsors a futuristic series that takes place in the "world of tomorrow" of 1990. Scott's signed a new sponsor for Valiant Journey, Mother Martin's Yankee Bean Soup. Hands of Time and Our Fleeting Passion have encore mentions, and we also hear about a serial called Young Doctor Talbot.
  Episode Trivia: WENN's range is 70 miles. American Way Greeting Cards has its own pavilion at the World's Fair, The Hall of Greetings. Scott once knew a trapeze artist named "Hildy" (a name he often accidentally calls Hilary). The secret mentioned in "Emperor Smith" is revealed: Hilary and Jeff were divorced two weeks after they were married. WNYW is simulcasting WENN's program in New York.
  "Holmes Watch": Rupert Holmes is the voice of the American radio announcer in the closing scene.

          When Victor Calls:
          Jeff: "I can hardly hear him. He's using a military line."
          Celia: "Oh, I've heard a million of those."

When is WENN?: People fairly familiar with history may wonder how the final day of the 1939 New York World's Fair coincided with the London Blitz, which was in 1940. It's not a glitch—the '39 World's Fair ran through October of 1940.

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