Remember WENN; Season 3 Photo Graphic 1. "In the WENN Small Hours..."
2. "Prior to Broadway"
3. "Who's Scott Sherwood?"
4. "The New Actor"
5. "Two for the Price of One"
6. "The Importance of Being Betty"
7. "Mr. & Mrs. Singer"
8. "Nothing Up My Sleeve"
9. "A Star in Stripes Forever"
10. "A Girl Like Maple"
11. "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece"
12. "Eugenia Bremer, Master Spy"
13. "Courting Disaster"
14. "And How"
15. "The Ghost of WENN"
16. "Caller I.D."
17. "Happy Homecomings"


Note: a photo is worth a thousand words.

dividing line

Several credit changes mark the beginning of season 3; Rupert Holmes is now listed as series creator and also as co-producer starting with episode 3; Howard Meltzer shares executive producer credit with Paula Connelly Skorka (the series production company is now also listed as Howard Meltzer Productions, Inc.). Thomas DeWolfe is listed as the supervising producer. C.J. Byrnes has also been shifted from a guest cast credit to the regular closing cast list.
1. "In the WENN Small Hours..." (originally telecast 08/16/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Howard Meltzer.
Cutter       Betty must keep Victor's reappearance a secret, not only from the staff, but from an old acquaintance of his, a world-famous explorer visiting WENN to do an interview on Agitato Alert, Eugenia's all-night series. (31'25")
  Guest Cast: Mr. Medwick: Bob Dorian. Cutter Dunlap: Malcolm Gets. Victor Comstock: John Bedford Lloyd.
  Episode Notes: A well-balanced blend of comedy, intrigue, and appealing romance—and a stunner of another cliffhanger—complete with the prerequisite (by now) Wizard of Oz references, as well as many references to previous episodes. Malcolm Gets is a delight as Dunlap, especially during his wild-eyed scenes, and John Bedford Lloyd and Amanda Naughton simply glow as Victor and Betty rekindle old flames. It's a treat to have Mary Stout back; Eugenia's scene with C.J. and her bewildered reaction to Cutter Dunlap's assertions are both priceless.
  But oh, that cliffhanger...
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: The entire episode takes place during Agitato Alert, sponsored by Pennsylvania Pantry, but the series is cancelled by the end of the night.
  Episode Trivia: The night shift engineer's name is Lester (and he appears to be quite the ladies' man). Cutter Dunlap has agreed to do an exclusive radio report about his latest adventures in Northern Tibet for Pittsburgh Pantry. His books include Lost on the Congo Line, The Sand and I, A Nomad in Nairobi, and Cutter of Calcutta. He met Victor before he left New York; Victor had asked Cutter to do an audio travelogue of his journeys called Sounds Dangerous. During a radio interview, Hilary at first tells Eugenia she was born the same day as the Big Crash (which would make her 12), and then on the same day as the "big crash of the Titanic (which would make her 29).
  Some of the "big changes" Victor and Betty hoodwink Cutter Dunlap with: men now wear nylons (they are warmer and cheaper than long johns); General John J. Pershing is President of the United States (Greta Garbo is vice-president and the White House was relocated to Kansas for defense purposes); insect life ("lunar ticks") was discovered on the dark side of the moon; Studebakers run on tap water; Canada and Mexico have joined to make the Divided States of North America; jazz has been prohibited in the US (except in Vermont); and there are edible eating utensils. (Also, the Andrews Sisters and the Marx Brothers are the same people.)
  So Where HAS Victor Been?: Victor tells Betty that after the explosion he found himself at the edge of the debris; he got up and walked away, finally boarding a double decker bus on Regent Street (he told the conductor he was going to Madison and 52nd) and collapsing. Hospitalized at Charing Cross Hospital, he regained consciousness 10 days later. Because he was presumed dead and had no close living relatives, the military talked him into working undercover as Jonathan "Benedict" Arnold, an embittered American broadcaster passing anti-American and anti-Allied propaganda for the German shortwave service (Mackie refers to him in "Magic"). He is back in the States only briefly to complete his final briefing with military intelligence (the Nazis think he is wrapping up his personal affairs) and is endangering himself by returning to WENN to tell Betty he is alive...and other things. He leaves Betty with a key to the strongbox hidden in his desk; it contains the code name and phone number of the person who knows the truth about Jonathan Arnold.
  And in a startling revelation, he reveals he has never heard of Scott Sherwood...

          Back Together At Last:
          {C.J. has just walked back into the studio}
          Eugenia {surprised}: "C.J., what are you doing here? This is Lester's shift.
          You should be home by now."
          C.J. {removing his coat}: "I was having a welsh rarebit at the Buttery when
          the coin phone rings and, surprise, it's Lester, who says he's indisposed
          due to injuries received while fighting for a lady's honor. Apparently she
          wanted to keep it."
          Eugenia {warmly}: "Good for her! And for us, too, C.J. We haven't
          worked together in months!" {C.J. smiles} "I really do miss the daytime,
          you know—playing for the afternoon dramas, and being with the gang...
          sometimes I feel like one of those strange creatures who rises at sunset
          and sleeps at dawn—what do they call them?"
          C.J.: "They call them your listeners."

2. "Prior to Broadway" (originally telecast 08/23/97)
Teleplay by Rupert Holmes. Story by Rupert Holmes and Emily Whitesell. Directed by Richard Shepard.
Rippy       Hilary views a new play, The Bell of Babylon, written by aspiring—and egotistical—playwright Euripedes Moss to be a ticket to Broadway for her and Jeff—if they can agree on how to "play" it... (28'57")
  Guest Cast: Euripedes Moss: Harry Hamlin. Mr. Sweet: Louie Zorich. Edna Sweet: Peggy Cass.
  Episode Notes: The Holmes wordplay comes fast and furious in this funny outing, with Harry Hamlin playing the consummate egotist who makes Hilary look almost demure. Another piece of the Scott Sherwood puzzle posed last week almost seems intrusive—if it wasn't such an interesting clue. One regret: there wasn't more done with Hilary's homemaker role in Home Sweet Home—watching the Lady from Broadway cope with a pickled beet would have been a sight to behold. Eugenia, by the way, gets the hands-down award for best line in this episode...
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Father Fenton and Sister Marissa (and Brother Paul) are featured in an unnamed series that seems to take place in a Catholic church. The Sweets, owners of what sounds like a chain of hardware stores, Sweet Supplies, sponsor Home Sweet Home, a series in which Hilary gives domestic advice (although Hilary herself is far from domestic!). In the works is a series called Calico Jones, Detective—about a feline sleuth, with Hilary in the title role.
  Episode Trivia: Giles Aldwych has sent Euripedes Moss to see Hilary and Jeff (the name of Aldwych's school apparently has been changed to the "Aldwych Dramatic Academy"). Mr. Sweet is from Babylon, Long Island. Moss will be writing copy for the Sweets' first supply catalog, which he plans to call The Taming of the Screw.
  A Clue in the Scott Sherwood Mystery: Betty retrieves Victor's referral letter—which Scott apparently has read—from his personnel file; at the end of the letter is a reference that sounds a lot like Scott's "Oh, will you look at the time" catchphrase. Did Scott actually write the letter himself?

          Who Was That Masked Woman?:
          Eugenia {hurrying into the Green Room}: "Are you ready, Hilary?"
          Hilary {panicked}: "Jeff was right, I was wrong!"
          Eugenia {stunned}: "I'm sorry ma'am. I thought you were Hilary Booth."

3. "Who's Scott Sherwood?" (originally telecast 08/30/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Dark Scott       After Rollie Pruitt orders a surprise audit on the WENN books, Scott is fired, and the entire staff rallies to his side—save Betty, whose encounter with Victor has left her unable to defend him.
  Guest Cast: Rollie Pruitt: Jonathan Freeman. Miss Cosgrave: Audrie Neenan. Moving Man: Mike Danner. (29'00")
  Episode Notes: The last 6 1/2 minutes of this episode are pure dynamite—again O'Rourke and Naughton pack an emotional wallop on par with "Radio Silence." (Both of them have standout scenes of their own as well: Betty's grim interview with Pruitt and Scott's revelation during his dismissal.) The staff's solution to the Pruitt problem echoes back to "A Capital Idea," but with a dark twist suitable to the mood of an episode marking Scott's departure as station manager (although it's considerably less "fun"). Jonathan Freeman earns the rank of WENN's Moriarty with his chillingly gloating portrayal of Pruitt. (Check out the engraving on the wall behind Pruitt in Scott's dismissal scene; is that meant to be Scrooge?) The music in this episode is by Paul Schwartz, and, yes, that is Pachebel's Canon you hear in the background during part of Pruitt's opening scenes. Doug Thompson is mentioned.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: The Masked Man, a Western reminiscent of The Lone Ranger, stars Mackie as the mysterious Masked Man (guest characters this episode Miss Susannah the Schoolmarm and Ezekiel were portrayed by Maple and Jeff, respectively)—he's later unmasked and no one cares. Bedside Manor, The Hands of Time, and Colonel Moore at the General Store are temporarily brought to an end as well.
  Episode Trivia: Scott claims he was a semi-professional tailback for the Brattleboro (Vermont?) Bobcats, and, to get the staff to quit offing programs, tells them he has a new job at NBC, in charge of West Coast programming. The inscription on the book of limericks (quoted from by both Mr. Eldridge and Betty in "Magic") reads: "To Tom, My old friend, who makes all logic as clear yet as surprising as a limerick. Victor Comstock."
  So, Who IS Scott Sherwood?: Scott confesses to Betty that, as an out-of-work promoter, he met Victor for the first time in a London pub. The mails were slow, so he offered to take the book of limericks Victor had bought for Mr. Eldridge back to Pittsburgh with him. He was interested in getting into radio, and Victor had spoken at length about a "sweet" and "smart" girl named Betty Roberts, so he created the referral letter and forged Victor's name using the inscription in the book of limericks. He had not intended to stay at WENN long, but after Victor's death felt he had to keep the station afloat.

          A Complete Nightmare:
          {Maple, Hilary, and Jeff wonder how to cope after Scott asks them not to
          intervene in his behalf}
          Maple {stunned}: "So how do we undo the damage we've done to the
          shows? We've burned down Bedside Manor, unmasked the Masked Man..."
          Jeff {equally stunned}: "Well, we can was all a dream..."
          Hilary {sarcastic}: "'It was all a dream'? That's the stupidest idea I've ever
          {They pause to consider}
          Hilary {pragmatic}: "Shall it be your dream or mine?"

4. "The New Actor" (originally telecast 09/06/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Joanna Kerns.
Overworked Mackie       Jeff's resolve to return to the BBC for a few weeks of broadcasting leaves Mackie exhausted from playing every male role, so auditions are held to find a substitute. (26'19")
  Guest Cast: Rollie Pruitt: Jonathan Freeman. Auditionee: John Harrington Bland. Bad British Actor: Steve Prudenz. Mime Artist: Bill Bowers. Voice of Jonathan Arnold: John Bedford Lloyd.
  Episode Notes: The biggest surprise in this episode isn't Scott's return as performer, but John Bedford Lloyd's off-camera performance as the stridently Western Jonathan Arnold, who's (naturally) about as far away from Victor as one can get. (But Betty will give that game away if she's not careful.) A funny, funny episode with situations piling on situations—it begs for multiple viewings to get all the jokes (Supper with Hilary Booth [during and after], Mackie, Mr. Foley, all of Mr. Eldridge's material, the "shirt" and "handcuff" scenes—just to name a few.) (Hmmm, wonder if they serve piña coladas at that "bar called O'Malley's" that Jeff hangs out at? <g>) The reprise segment at the beginning is notable as well.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Sam Dane, Private Eye makes a return appearance, with Jeff (and Mr. Eldridge) in the starring role, Maple as his female sidekick, and Mackie doing the remaining roles—Mugsy, the Weasel, the Ox, the Professor, and FBI agent Bradley; the sponsor is Flintlock Lighters. Following is Supper with Hilary Booth (this week featuring the music of Eddie King and a recipe for crab cakes). The Hands of Time and Sherlock Holmes (Armchair Detective?) are also reprised. (Holmes is sponsored by the Bonsoir Demitasse, whose ads are voiced by Mackie as Pierre Duval.)
  Episode Trivia: Jeff likes to have a drink occasionally at O'Malley's bar. He once played Harry Houdini in a production called Portrait of the Escape Artist as a Young Man.

          Out of Tune:
          {Gertie is eating a sandwich and Eldridge reading the paper as the radio
          plays in the background}
          Maple {voiceover}: "Now stay tuned for Supper with Hilary Booth,
          coming up next on WENN Pittsburgh."
          Gertie {in distaste}: "Supper with Hilary Booth...while I'm eating."
          {Hilary speaks in background}
          Gertie {continues}: "Tom, would you mind changing the station?"
          Mr. Eldridge: "Change the station? Oh, my, I don't even know where I'd
          begin. We could use some more dance music, I know that."
          Gertie {still eating}: "No, I mean change the tuning."
          Mr. Eldridge {slightly irritated}: "Of course the music has to be in tune."

          "Come On, Mackie, Tell Us What You Really Feel...":
          {Betty and Mackie are in the office with Pruitt; Betty is hoping to get him a
          Pruitt: "Mr. Mackie Bloom."
          Mackie {stiffly}: "That's what my friends call me, but you can call me that,
          Pruitt: "As you know, the enterprising Mr. Scott Sherwood has departed
          Mackie: "Yes, well, you can't win them all."
          Pruitt {continues}: "-and I, for the time being, will serve as business manager
          for this station."
          Mackie {icily}: "Well, you can't win them all."

5. "Two for the Price of One" (originally telecast 09/13/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Miss Consgrave       In a money-making move, Miss Cosgrave signs a contract that requires the WENN performers to provide programming for another station, WEEP, along with their own. (26'44")
  Guest Cast: Miss Cosgrave: Audrie Neenan. Chuck Crowley: Lee Wilkof.
  Episode Notes: This may have to rate as the WENN with the most bizarre ending!—the juxtaposition of the two songs is inspired as well as hilarious. But there are some equally inspired character bits: Miss Cosgrave's "classroom" (anyone read lips? What did Mackie whisper to Hilary, and what is Mr. Foley complaining about when Eugenia steals his thunder?), Scott's interpretation of Simmons the Gardener on Bedside Manor; Gertie's potato enthusiasm, C.J.'s "breakdown"...never mind, it would take too long to list them all and we'd just miss Thomas Eldridge with the News. Meanwhile, love must be in the air at WENN... Note: I want to hear all of "Strong and Silent."
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Bedside Manor has an inadvertant sponsor in Torbor Brothers Floorists, when Scott trades a mention on the air for having the floor revarnished in Studio B?), but its regular sponsor, Ingrams Coffee, is also heard from. Two Can Live as Cheaply as One seems to be a two-character drama, now starring Maple and Scott. Bella's, an Italian restaurant in Monroeville, sponsors Thomas Eldridge With the News, Series heard of or from again: Young Doctor Talbot (Scott in the title role, Hilary as Head Nurse Treadwell, Maple as Nurse Robbins) and Valiant Journey, plus two new series heard, Racing Results Down the Homestretch and Cafe New Orleans. And of course there's Gardening with Gertie...
  Episode Trivia: Scott and Maple have apparently "performed together" before, but not on radio; they have a mutual acquaintance named "Blinky" Morgan. (Early in the episode Scott makes a reference to leaping into action when he hears the words "Lights! Camera! Action!"—is this a hint of a possible past as a movie actor?) Scott was working on a loading dock before returning to WENN and he knows someone at WTN in Philadelphia. (Or as a broadcaster?)
  "Holmes Watch": Rupert Holmes is one of the singers of "When the Saints Go Marching In/Deuschland Uber Alles" in the final scene.

          Something in the Air, Part I:
          {Mr. Eldridge bustles in, carrying a box, as Betty rants about Scott's
          tardiness for his role}:
          Mr. Eldridge: "Doughnuts, anyone?"
          Betty: "Mr. Eldridge, I need you."
          Mr. Eldridge {taken aback}: "Well I'm sure it's...uh, spring fever."
          Betty: "No, I'm putting you on."
          Mr. Eldridge: "Oh, Betty, why do you toy with me like this?"

          No Love Lost:
          {Miss Cosgrave is officially introducing herself to Hilary, Mackie, Mr. Foley,
          and Eugenia}
          Miss Cosgrave {loftily}: "Well, as you know, it is my great honor and
          privilege to serve as Mr. Pruitt's right hand."
          Hilary: "No, I believe you serve with the left and take away with the right."
          Miss Cosgrave {frowning}: "I'm sure you're misunderstanding."
          Hilary {archily}: "I'm sure we'll have one."

          Something in the Air, Part II:
          {C.J. is monitoring both WENN and WEEP at the same time}
          C.J.: "It's not as hard as you might think, Betty. I'm listening to our station on
          the speaker and monitoring the other broadcast on my headphones."
          Betty: "Gee, I would think that would be like trying to pat my head and rub
          my tummy {she does so as she says these words} at the same time."
          C.J. {glancing with interest at her actions}: "Ah, that would be a lot more fun
          for me to do."
          {Betty stops, realizes, as does C.J.}
          C.J. {embarrased}: "Oh, gosh...I mean...sorry."

When is WENN?: Mr. Eldridge mentions the sinking of the British ship Hood by the German battleship Bismarck, which dates this episode as on or after May 24, 1941.

6. "The Importance of Being Betty" (originally telecast 09/20/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes and Leon Seidman. Directed by Michael Tuchner.
Conflicted Betty       After Betty is offered a job at The New Yorker, the cast tries to convince her they can get along without the many things she does for them—and Mr. Pruitt gleefully takes over the writing of scripts. (29'33")
  Guest Cast: Rollie Pruitt: Jonathan Freeman. Fred Hanson: Julian Gamble. Guy Darcy: Reathel Bean.
  Episode Notes: Some quiet and nice commentary about families—especially the ones we pick for ourselves—in an episode that could be thought of as WENN's version of This Girl's Kinfolk. Jonathan Freeman has some marvelous moments as Pruitt (one might think the man's heart occasionally does do more than circulate blood), and the sociopolitical commentary that runs through his scripts is especially funny. One sees a new series in the offing here: Eavesdropping With Gertie. <g> You can see an echo of the endings of both "On the Air" and "The First Mrs. Bloom" in Betty's solution to the Bonneyville Mills "cataclysm."
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: This Girl's Kinfolk, taking place in the little town of Bonneyville Mills (Mr. Eldridge is Grandpa, Hilary is Becky, and Maple her sister Trish; Mackie is the town banker), is the main focus of this episode. Wilson's Watches (owner: Wallace Wilson) presumably sponsors WENN's time check. It's the first appearance of Is Something Burning?, a cooking series. Betty is working on a one-man show about Abraham Lincoln for Scott (who wants to sell it to Jake Abraham Lincoln/Ford for sponsorship). Although the series is not cited, the program Maple (as Gwendolen) and Hilary appear in is Valiant Journey (no, "the untrustworthy Gwendolen" didn't have a French accent first time round), and Young Doctor Talbot and Amazon Andy are also mentioned. Two potential sponsors are Fred Hanson from Purity [Motor] Oil and Guy Darcy of Virginia Malt Vinegar (Hilary wants to use them as sponsors for a series called Salad Days featuring her as a struggling young actress in New York). Hanson actually wants to sponsor a comedy about two mechanics called A Barrel of Grease Monkeys, but it's Darcy who wins Hilary with his idea about swapping his vinegar for her performance of Shakespearean readings. (How appropriate!)
  Episode Trivia: One of the highlights of Betty's schooldays was the delivery of The New Yorker.

          He's Starting to Make Sense:
          {Gertie's just told most of the cast about Betty's job offer}
          Scott: "It's funny. Every fiber of my being tells me to use my greatest skills
          and scams to trick Betty into staying..."
          Hilary {leans forward}: "...and yet?"
          Scott: "Who said anything about 'And yet?'?" {grins}
          Mr. Eldridge: "I remember a saying I first heard at the Great Wall of China–"
          Maple {impressed}: "You've been to China, Mr. Eldridge?"
          Mr. Eldridge: "No, that's the name of a restaurant just down the block from
          me. {pause} The saying went something like this: 'If you set a bird free, and
          it doesn't return, it wasn't yours to begin with. But if you set a bird free and it
          returns—it's probably a homing pigeon.'"
          Hilary: "There's a wonderful lesson in that story, Mr. Eldridge. And it is that
          we must never let you tell us another story."

When is WENN?: In Is Something Burning? Mackie mentions the day as being the anniversary of the start of the War of 1812, which puts the date at June 1, 1941. (The title of the show is also probably meant as an inside joke, as it was in the War of 1812 that the British burnt the White House.)

7. "Mr. & Mrs. Singer" (originally telecast 09/27/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Richard Shepard.
Pavla       Already upset because she has been unable to speak to Jeff in almost a month, Hilary doesn't know how to react when she hears that a "Mrs. Singer"—Jeff's mother?—is asking to see her. But the surprise goes beyond that... (29'33")
  Guest Cast: Pavla Nemkova: Karen Travis.
  Episode Notes: A showcase for Melinda Mullins, who takes Hilary from high-horse to heartbreak with effortless skill. Hmmm, one gets the feeling Scott isn't taking his performances seriously... Producer Trevor Zanish? A play on "Darryl Zanuck," perhaps? Oh, look, there's that oft quoted "Rumanian queen and the elephant" joke again... More mysteries abound—what has happened to Jeff, and why on earth would he really do this?—to carry us into future episodes. (Jeff's letter reads, in part: "Life is too short. I have to learn who I really am. Pavla's like no other woman I've ever- ...only pray we can stay caring, loving friends."—which sounds, BTW, like an echo of one of the lines Hilary performs in "Radio Silence.")
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: The Hands of Time opens our episode (with Brent's amnesia on the prowl again), and Daphne, Leonard, and Philip of Valiant Journey make a return engagement. Hilary is Prudence, Scott is Jeremy, and Mackie appears as Father O'Brien in an unnamed drama, and A Woman's View on the News, Colonel Moore at the Country Store, and a new show called Latin Lunchtime are mentioned.
  Episode Trivia: Celia Mellon's movie, Amorous Airwaves, opens at the Rialto (Celia won't appear at the Pittsburgh premiere as she's already working on another movie). It is presumed from Gertie and Hilary's dialog about Jeff's mother that she is foreign, most probably French. Hilary's line to Pavla also implies Jeff has a brother. Pavla's Certificate of Marriage says she and Jeff were married at Caxton Hall, Westminster (while Hilary and Jeff's marriage in Matamoros was performed at the Casa de Siesta by what Pavla terms "the local meat inspector").

          "Like Adding Nitro to Glycerine":
          {Hilary rails to Scott after his performance in The Hands of Time}
          Hilary: "..[a]nd what is all this about politics?"
          Scott: "Great idea, huh? I'm dying to do a show about smoke-filled rooms,
          back room deals, power brokers going for broke! It might pep up some of
          this romance gunk."
          Hilary {grimly}: "Listen, I demand that henceforth you stick to the script.
          Stick, stick, stick! You stuck up stuffed-shirt Sherwood, spoiler of scripts!
          You stick to it or I'll stick it to you in so many places you'll feel like a damn
          pincushion at a darning convention."
          Scott {flattering}: "You know, just the fact that you can pronounce all that
          serves to remind me how much I can learn from a seasoned pro like yourself."
          Hilary {not falling for it}: "Go ahead. Go ahead, call me 'Hildy.'"
          Scott: "But your name's Hilary...I admit that sometimes I slipped and called
          you 'Hildy' when I was the acting manager of this station, but now that I'm
          the acting actor I've made a point of calling you by your correct name—
          Mrs. Singer."
          Hilary {explodes}: "Booth! It's Hilary Booth! My husband's name is
          Mrs. Singer!"

          Wisdom ala Eldridge:
          {Betty and Mr. Eldridge discuss Celia's movie debut}
          Mr. Eldridge: "We can be really proud of her."
          Betty: "Oh, you're right. Even the best radio actors rarely make the transition
          into movies."
          Mr. Eldridge: "Well, it must be very hard suddenly having to act in black and

          ...and Retort ala Maple and Gertie:
          {Maple has just entered}
          Gertie: "Hi, Maple, what did you have for lunch?"
          Maple: "The Hilary Booth salad: Cracked crab on an unmade bed of olive
          pits, sour grapes, and nuts."
          Gertie {adds}: "With a vinegar vinaigrette and a twist of venom."

8. "Nothing Up My Sleeve" (originally telecast 10/11/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Jason Alexander.
Ballinger       Hilary, still smarting from Jeffrey's betrayal, is entranced by "the Astonishing Ballinger, Master of All Things Mental," but is the charmer in reality a charlatan, as Maple says?
  Guest Cast: Alan Ballinger: Jason Alexander. Bishop Kenneth Quinn: Malachy McCourt. (34'49")
  Episode Notes: Melinda Mullins' restrained portrayal of a bruised Hilary, Jason Alexander's charismatic Ballinger (the name sounds like a tip of the hat to real-life radio mentalist Dunninger), some inspired scene stealing, and sight gags (the "Pulova" clock comes to mind)—what else could one ask for? Jeff and Hilary's mind-reading code (which Ballinger refers to as the "Danon mind-reading code") is mentioned and used again (conversation also cites the events in "Magic" as well). Guest star Jason Alexander, best known for his role as George Constanza on the series Seinfeld, is a close friend of Rupert Holmes and starred in his 1991 mystery play, Accomplice, which won an Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Magic Time is featured again—sort of sponsored, due to Scott acting as announcer, by Steel City Ale (and once again a featured guest is from the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh).
  Episode Trivia: C.J. mentions that WENN's signal can be heard in Trenton, NJ, and has been reported in Perth Amboy. Mackie used to room with Howie Kaufman ("the Great Kaufmani") while touring with the [Michigan] Mummers and Minstrels (they double-dated the lady Kaufman sawed in half—and her sister). Rollie Pruitt either has offices in or lives in Boston. Maple knew Alan Ballinger as Alan Brixton when she toured with the Velvet Vanities (her act involved two large ostrich feathers—she was "prematurely blonde" back then); Brixton was a failed comedian before he took up his mentalist act. Bishop Quinn's object for Magic Time was the only known copy of The Meditations of St. Thomas Aquinas.

          A Secret Revealed...:
          {Ballinger, romancing Hilary in the Green Room, explains the "Nine of
          Spades" trick}
          Ballinger: "My miracle with the nine of spades is based solely on the oddity
          that if you multiply any number by nine and add the result repeatedly until you
          have only a single digit the number will always be nine. 9 x 2 is 18, 1 and 8
          equals nine; 9 x 3 is 27, 2  and 7 equal nine, and so on-" {as he speaks he
          has been pouring a glass of water for both himself and Hilary from a pitcher}
          "-to infinity."
          Hilary: "But we didn't multiply anything by nine, we multiplied by three.
          Ballinger: "But I had you multiply by three twice, which is the same as
          multiplying by nine once."
          {He sits back down, placing his glass on the table, but holding the other. As
          he continues speaking, he rubs his hand around the second glass so we
          cannot see the contents.}
          Ballinger: "The rest was of the trick was simply stage dressing and
          misdirection. The audience is thinking, 'There really is such a things as magic,'
          and all the while I'm thinking, 'There really is such a thing as math.'"
          {Whereupon he offers her the glass, now filled with what looks like wine.}

          Out to Lunch:
          {Scott, Maple, Betty, and Mackie are gathered around the water cooler.}
          Betty: "Hilary's romance is really not our affair."
          Maple {cynically}: "Hilary's affair is not really a romance."
          Betty: "But even if you're right, are we right? Do any of us have the right to
          meddle in her personal life?"
          Scott: "Sure, why not?"
          Mackie: "I gotta admit, he's got a good point."
          Scott {sighs}: "Listen, I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but right now
          Hilary is vulnerable. Emotionally she's like a sitting duck in Peking, {eyes get
          a faraway look as he gets involved in his metaphor} ready to be broiled to
          a golden crisp, served with scallions and plum sauce, all rolled up in a
          Chinese pancake."
          Mackie {unimpressed}: "Look, why don't we all order a dish and then we'll

When is WENN?: This episode is dated July 27, 1941.

9. "A Star in Stripes Forever" (originally telecast 10/18/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Jill Mitwell.
Palermo Racine       Mackie's temporary status as station manager—and his ongoing status as WENN spokesman—is threatened when an old "friend" from his past turns up looking for special favors. (29'17")
  Guest Cast: Palermo Racine: Philip Bosco. Link: Todd Stashwick.
  Episode Notes: Chris Murney and Mary Stout are delightful in this mix of slapstick and sentiment—and it's nice to see Hilary's ego back to normal as well—although everyone gets in a good line or two. There are several echoes back to "Close Quarters" (Gertie's dictator comment sounding like Jeff's complaint and a couple of musical cues) as well. As no surprise to everyone who saw Mackie don his "humpback," his quote "Was ever woman in this humor wooed?" is from Shakespeare's Richard III (Act I, Scene II, to be specific). The poster panned in the hallway before Hilary is "reading from her diary" is for Ingrams Coffee, BTW.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Listen to Your Life, a series in which a celebrity's life story is highlighted by voices from his or her past, plays an integral part in the action. Sentry Savings, a banking firm based in Boston (Seldon Sentry— who will be mentioned again!—president of the firm), is a sponsor (presumably of Hobo Bo, a series featuring the homespun tales of a "traveling man" during the Depression). Two other sponsors mentioned are Security Safes and Dentons Diapers.
  Episode Trivia: Hilary was saved from drowning in the ocean when she was 15 years old. She took piano lessons from Mrs. Tumley (who never charged her) from age five through high school graduation. (Of course, being Hilary, she remembers neither of these people.) Betty is attending a radio convention in Utica, New York, where Hilary once played summer stock. Betty acts as station manager when Pruitt is gone. Scott is a member of AFRA (American Federation of Radio Actors). Palermo Racine has an "account" at St. Mary's Hospital, where he sends "Squealie," a stool pigeon. Mackie's "cover name" in this episode is "Warren Smith," but the "Mackie" actually is short for "McKinley."
  The Dark Episode in Mackie's Past: When he was starting out, he was touring with the [Michigan] Mummers and Minstrels when they went into bankruptcy in Steubenville, Ohio. The local employment agency got him a job chauffeuring Palermo Racine and his "boys" around town. Unfortunately, an unknowing Mackie was driving the day Palermo robbed a warehouse full of minks. Mackie deliberately drove to the nearest police car he could find, but when they found out he did so, Palermo's gang testified he was in on the job and he was sentenced to two years in the Ohio State Penitentiary (reduced to 6 months by the understanding warden, James Cadwallader).

          Her Old Sparkling Self...
          Gertie: "Betty, where's the radio convention this year?"
          Betty {enthusiastically}: "It's in Utica. That's in New York."
          Gertie: "Ooooh."
          Hilary {disdainfully}: "It's in a kind of New York, Betty."
          Betty {unquenched}: "Oh, really, Hilary—have you been there?"
          Hilary: "I did summer stock there when my stock was at an all time low.
          But—a long weekend in Utica can be the equivalent of a college education."
          Betty: "How so?"
          Hilary: "It'll feel like four years."

          His "Piece of the Rock" Ain't Prudential:
          {Eugenia, pretending to be Mackie, makes small talk with an shady old
          "friend" of Mr. Bloom's after his hulking "assistant" has left}
          Eugenia: "Oh, are you in the profession yourself, Mr.-"
          Palermo: "- Palermo Racine. No, ma'am. I am primarily in the insurance
          Eugenia: "Personal, accident, health?"
          Palermo: "Yes, all that. We step in wherever someone might have a serious
          accident and we present them with a payment plan that takes into account
          their assets and our needs."
          Eugenia: "'Accidents can happen' is your slogan?"
          Palermo: "It is our policy. We have on more than one occasion been able to
          save a client from receiving great injury."
          Eugenia: "How did you do that?"
          Palermo: "By saying, 'All right, Link, he's had enough."

10. "A Girl Like Maple" (originally telecast 10/25/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Richard Shepherd.
Cinderella Maple       Maple uses a stage voice to interview an aristocratic congressman, then fears using her real voice—or real identity—in front of him when he takes an interest in her. (29'32")
  Guest Cast: Congressman Bob Farraday: Boyd Gaines.
  Episode Notes: No fairy tale here: the handsome prince eventually turns into a frog in this sweet outing where Maple proves, despite her lingo, she will always be a lady. A couple of familiar characters are referred to: Archbishop Chanin and Mayor Humphries, both attending Farraday's speech at the Van Buren Grill. Check out the lovely scene where Maple confides in Hilary—Hilary's Brooklyn-to-Brookline accent making a repeat appearance—and the hilarious poker game. Some nice camera angles, too!
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Men in the Headlines, usually hosted by Hilary, is one of WENN's most prestigious programs, in which influential men are interviewed. A musical program, Beguines from Studio B, is promoed. The Hands of Time, still sponsored by Midas Hand Lotion, is reprised (Scott substituting for Jeff's role); of course Brent has amnesia once more—this time he's married a snappy-talking Brooklyn girl named Selma Flatbush (played by Maple and later Hilary).
  Episode Trivia: Maple has a cousin Bernice who loves to listen to the radio. Farraday is actually from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

          The Same Old Story:
          {Betty briefs Maple on substituting for Hilary on Men in the Headlines}
          Maple {taking handout}: "What's this?"
          Betty: "It's a biography of Congressman Bob Farraday. You're interviewing
          him for Men in the Headlines. You may want to study up on it."
          Maple: "What's to study? Every two years he says a lot of sweet things
          strictly to get what he wants, then when he's got it he does whatever he likes,
          and the only way to make him live up to his promises is to threaten to throw
          him out the door."
          Betty {understanding}: "You mean...he's a politician!"
          Maple {cynically}: "No, I mean...he's a man."

11. "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece" (originally telecast 11/01/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Howard Meltzer.
Scot and Roberta       Gertie asks Betty to read her radio play, Rendezvous in Rabat, a mix of romance and intrigue taking place at "Scot's Cafe Mirage," with the crew of WENN as the basis for the characters. (29'50")
  Guest Cast: Victor Comstock: John Bedford Lloyd. Ricotti: Julian Holloway.
  Episode Notes: If "First Mrs. Bloom" was an early Valentine, this episode is a joyful holiday dinner, complete from soup to nuts. Every moment is delightful in this takeoff of Casablanca, with echoes of past episodes (both in dialog and musical cues), inside jokes, puns, plays on names (Peugeot!), background music (catch things like "The 1812 Overture" and "Ride of the Valkyries"—and the unforgettable "Polly Wolly Doodle"), the creatively redressed sets, absurdities ("Samantha's" roving piano)—plus Mary Stout singing the title tune. Notice who plays Ricotti?—that's Julian Holloway, Mr. Winthrop from "Sight Unseen" and "Popping the Question."
  The rest of the cast for Rendezvous in Rabat:
              Commandant rrrRauss: Tom Beckett
              Bartender/Nazi Bugler: C. J. Byrnes
              Lillie the Singer: Carolee Carmello
              Franz Eldridge: George Hall
              Martine Hilaire: Melinda Mullins
              Major Peugeot: Christopher Murney
              Roberta: Amanda Naughton
              Jeff the Headwaiter: Hugh O'Gorman
              Scot: Kevin O'Rourke
              Samantha the Pianist: Mary Stout
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Not even The Hands of Time shows up in this episode...
  Episode Trivia: Victor has no living relatives, according to what he told "Samantha" (Victor also mentions this in "In the WENN Small Hours").
  "Holmes Watch": That's Rupert Holmes playing the clarinet during "Polly Wolly Doodle" (the pianist is Lanny Meyers, who's done some of the incidental music this season).

          It's For the Soul:
          {Jeff, as the headwaiter, has asked "Mr. Scot" to sign a credit slip}
          Scot {wearily}: "No more credit for this fellow. He made his mint selling
          Swiss bullion to the Nazis. The French Resistance could have used that
          chicken broth."
          Jeff: "Hmm. Well, chicken broth does build up the resistance."

          Speaking in Tongue—Twisters:
          Peugeot {conversing with Scot}: "Your patently perfidious protests are
          perceptively pallid to perceive."
          {cut to Gertie and Betty in the writer's room}
          Betty: "Generally, Gertie, we try to avoid writing dialog for our cast that's
          impossible to pronounce."
          Gertie {skeptically}: "Oh—really?"
          Betty: "Yes, that type of tortuous tongue-twisting tends to be tantamount to
          terrifying and intimidating to our troupe." {realizes what she has said}
          "I mean-"

          He Sends His Regrets:
          {Victor and Betty enter Scot's Cafe Mirage, to be greeted by Jeff}
          Victor: "Yes. How long a wait for a table for two?"
          Jeff {routinely}: "Refugee or non-refugee?"
          Betty {nervously glancing at Victor}: "We're fine with either."
          Victor: "Actually, if you have a booth that would be greatly appreciated."
          Jeff {a little sadly}: "I don't have a booth anymore. {sighs} "Although I often
          wish I did."

12. "Eugenia Bremer, Master Spy" (originally telecast 11/08/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Julian Petrillo.
Eugenia       An agent from British Intelligence comes spy hunting at WENN—and Eugenia becomes his prime suspect. (28'51")
  Guest Cast: Desmond Quist: Daniel Davis.
  Episode Notes: Bucket brigades have never been been so much fun. Many trivia bits about both Eugenia and Betty, a reference to the events of "Magic", yet another reference to Abraham Lincoln, and a lovely performance by Mary Stout. This is another one of those episodes where what's going on in the background is just as interesting as the primary plot: catch Mackie and Mr. Foley during Maple's news announcements, and of course C.J.'s reaction to Hilary's paraphrasing! Note: Davis appeared on several talk shows, including Regis and Kathie Lee, describing his character in this episode as a "Sherlock Holmes" type, an interesting comment since he twice played Professor Moriarty on Star Trek: the Next Generation. BTW, the closed caption on this did a great job of translating the German dialog; usually the tag is just "speaks [fill in language]."
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Jed Jenner, G-Man and The Secret Love of Mavis Baxter are mentioned by Quist, and we see the cast doing the news. Amazon Andy is performed (Captain Amazon seems to have a new sidekick, Binkie [who takes weekly tap dance lessons], performed by Scott; perhaps Kippy went through puberty? <g>). Hilary does what sounds like Home Sweet Home and Mackie and Maple perform in a soap opera (medical drama?).
  Episode Trivia: Betty [still] rides the trolley to work every morning. Maple once appeared in a production of "The Little Engine That Could" at the Crimson Follies—as the caboose. Desmond Quist is a British counterintelligence agent presently working for the United States government. Betty frequently uses WENN's telephone number (KL9366) in scripts. There is a coffeehouse in Pittsburgh called the Cafe Bagdad; two other restaurants in the area are the Edelweiss and the Finlandia. In addition to her duties at WENN, Eugenia also gives piano lessons—no wonder she was upset when Hilary fails to remember her piano teacher—and is the choral director at the Macedonian Baptist Church, and as a snack likes sliced bananas on cinnamon toast. She is originally from Altoona, Pennsylvania. Betty lives at the Barbican Hotel for Single Women, was once the assistant editor of the Elkhart Daily Bugle, and her father's middle name is Chapin. Eugenia's teacher, Meister Feldenstein, who conducted Lohengrin in a ceremony honoring Hitler in 1936 before it was found out Feldenstein was Jewish, has gotten her a chance to sing arias on a network opera concert.
  "Holmes Watch": If you check the credits you will see an "opera consultant" and also a "Special Thanks" credit given to Richard Holmes, who is Rupert Holmes's brother, an opera singer.

          Not Sweet Little Betty Roberts from Elkhart, Indiana, Anymore:
          {An irritated—and irritating—Desmond Quist is attempting to get Mr. Eldridge
          to leave the writer's room so he may talk to Betty privately}
          Quist: "Please leave and tell the others we're not to be bothered."
          Mr. Eldridge {puzzled}: "About what?"
          Betty: "It's all right, Mr. Eldridge, I'll deal with this." {voice sharpens} "I ride
          the trolley to work every day and I'm used to dealing with discourteous
          Mr. Eldridge: "All right." {looks at Quist} "Be careful, sir. Our Betty's a
          bobcat when she's angry."
          {He gives Betty a confiding look, then exits; Quist locks the door behind
          him as Betty protests—}
          Betty: "Now, listen-"
          Quist {extracting papers from his suit jacket pocket}: "These papers will tell
          you as much as you need to know about me. Have you heard of British
          Betty {waspishly}: "I've heard of it. But at the moment, I think it's been
          vastly overrated."

          In Other Words:
          {To comply with Quist's request, Betty has requested that the cast
          paraphrase their scripts}
          Mackie {perturbed}: "Paraphrase? Paraphrase our lines like the scripts are
          just suggestions? You don't change the lines on a football field while you're
          playing. You shouldn't change the lines on a radio broadcast while you're
          Hilary: "Well, as long as the gist comes across..."
          Mackie: "The gist?" {rises and sets down his newspaper to stand by Betty}
          "You want the gist of the...uh, Gettysburg Address?" {declaims} "Eighty-six
          years ago our grandparents came to this area and settled a nation that the
          people were of, for, and by."

13. "Courting Disaster" (originally telecast 11/15/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Richard Shepard.
Stanley        When Jeff's supercilious attorney arrives at WENN saying Jeff is asking $100,000 in damages from Hilary, the cast tricks him into being on their own legal program—with Scott as Hilary's lawyer. (28'45")
  Guest Cast: Drake Stanley: Andrew Seear. Lazlo Iojeck: Bernie Sheredy.
  Episode Notes: The People's Court and doubletalking attorneys get prodded in this wonderful world of wordplay; my personal award for best scene goes to C.J. and his ribs, though. Grace Cavendish is mentioned several times, with a reprise of the story of how Hilary lost her role. Heh, we didn't know Gertie did celebrity impressions...
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Tell It to the Judge, a courtroom program, features Maple as the announcer and Mr. Eldridge as the judge, and Scott and Mackie as the opposing attorneys, representing real-life opponents (this week's episode is Lazlo Iojeck vs. his landlord Mr. Stepney). It is sponsored by Justice Dinner Rolls. Smokehouse Joe's barbecue restaurant in Monroeville also seems to be an inadvertant sponsor of Tell It to the Judge.
  Episode Trivia: Mr. Eldridge's middle name is Quincy.

          Eldridge at the Bench:
          {Mr. Eldridge takes his place behind the gavel on Tell It to the Judge}
          Mr. Eldridge {clapping the gavel}: "Court will now come to order. Is the
          defense ready?"
          Scott: "All ready, Your Honor."
          Mr. Eldridge: "Is the persecution ready?"
          Mackie {corrects gracefully}: "The proscution is ready, Your Honor."
          Mr. Eldridge {enthusiastically}: "Gentlemen, start your engines!" {organ
          sting} "Sorry, wrong program..."
          Mackie {to plaintiff}: "State your name."
          Iojeck: "Iojeck."
          Mr. Eldridge: "You can't object, you're a witness."
          Mackie: "No, Your Honor, it's the name of the witness, Lazlo Iojeck."
          Mr. Eldridge: "What?"
          Scott {helpfully}: "Iojeck, Your Honor."
          Mr. Eldridge: "Oh? And what's your objection?"
          Scott and Mackie {in tandem}: "'s the name of the witness!"
          Mr. Eldridge: "You can't object to a witness' name. That's un-American."
          Scott {in resignation}: "Withdrawn, Your Honor."
          Mr. Eldridge {thoughtfully}: "Yes, he does seem withdrawn." {to Iojeck}
          "Son, you simply must try to come out of your shell. Now, what's your
          Others, in Chorus: "Iojeck!"

14. "And How" (originally telecast 11/22/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Julian Petrillo.
Greyhawk       WENN is chosen to broadcast a landmark episode of the successful network series The Strange Loner, but the drunken collapse of the show's star uncovers the unpleasant treatment of the series' American Indian co-star. (26'42")
  Guest Cast: Joseph Grayhawk: Russell Means. Gavin Landru: Patrick Quinn. Patrick: Christopher Marquette.
  Episode Notes: A charming comic subplot about the first pizzeria in Pittsburgh provides interesting counterpoint to Joseph Grayhawk's story—an aspect of a foreign culture is more easily accepted than the actual aspects of the culture of people native to the American continent. Greyhawk's gentle reminders of stereotypes work nicely, but the final scene seems a bit too underplayed by Means. Many enjoyable bits include a delicious scene of Betty buttonholing Scott, Hilary committing one faux pas after another in meeting Grayhawk, a pratfall from C.J., and yet another reference to The Wizard of Oz.
  Technical complaint: In the first telecast, several of the scenes, including the Betty/Scott encounter in the station manager's office, resembled video conferencing quality, with a jerky aspect as if frames were missing. There was some speculation on whether AMC had tried to time compress the episode. It was marginally better in the second showing. In any case, whatever they did, I hope they don't do it again.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Mackie and Scott do the news.
  Episode Trivia: Gavin Landru's new film, Drums Along the Monongahela, is having its world premiere in Pittsburgh; Landru will then leave his radio series, The Strange Loner, to concentrate on movies—and, presumably, his alcoholic and womanizing tendencies as well. It looks as if WENN's frequency is 950 [AM], if I'm reading the bright "poster" outside Studio B correctly. Betty is indeed keeping Scott's recommendation letter deception a secret. Joseph Grayhawk is of the Shawnee tribe, of the Deer Clan.

          Miss Booth on Altruism:
          {Betty has just told the cast that they will be performing on the network
          Western The Strange Loner}
          Scott (enthused): "Well, that's a slice of all right! And...uh, you're gonna write
          the script, Betty?"
          Betty: "Well, no. The Strange Loner is written well in advance by the
          advertising agency who handles the show. Uh, here..." {distributing scripts}
         " are your scripts."
          Hilary: "So, Betty, if you're not writing the show, why are you happy?"
          Betty: "Well, I'm happy for you."
          Hilary {thoughtfully astonished}: "'I'm happy for you.' Wonder how that

15. "The Ghost of WENN" (originally telecast 12/06/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Jill Mitwell.
Haunted set       When the cast recreates a ghost story originally broadcast on Friday, August 13, 1931, on its stormy tenth-year anniversary (also on Friday), the staff is already nervous since an actor died during the original performance—-then a mysterious voice begins to stalk Hilary. (29'13")
  Guest Cast: Godfrey Clendenon: Charles Goff.
  Episode Notes: Shades of Bob Hope's The Ghost Breakers and Abbott and Costello's Hold That Ghost!—something stalks the corridors of WENN in this spooky ghost tale; and the end holds a surprise for fans of a certain character as well! Lots of good lines in this episode, but Eugenia's "Has anyone noticed Mr. Foley hasn't said a word?" is in the top ten... And then there's a reference to "Magic," the well-disguised Wizard of Oz reference, and lots and lots of references to Victor (heads up, folks!)... Especially watch for Hilary and Betty's hilarious deductive scene in the writer's room; Melinda Mullins and Amanda Naughton have a field day with this episode.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: The Hands of Time is just concluding as this episode begins; Colonel Moore at the General Store never does get a chance to be performed. "Don't Look Now," an episode of the suspense series The Tome of the Tomb, first performed on WENN on August 13, 1931, is recreated on the 10th anniversary of that broadcast. This broadcast replaces A Book at Bedtime and is sponsored by Cup O'Comfort (which not only must come to a shock to Mr. Medwick, but isn't exactly a production to be sponsored by a "soothing bedtime beverage").
  Episode Trivia: Godfrey Clendenon represents the publication Pittsburgh Radio Log. Hilary's elocution coach was named Karl Tobias. She once starred (presumably as a medium) in Hilary Booth: Madame Zenda.
  Never Mind Who He Is—Where's Scott Sherwood?: Well, Hilary mentions him, and we hear several of his lines, one from Mr. Eldridge ("Oh, will you look at the time.") and Hilary ("Betty, Betty, Betty"). It's my guess that this episode took place on his day off; perhaps he had the flu. Scott's aggressive personality would have made short order of the mystery, anyway, and it wouldn't have been as much fun... Since this episode ran just about 30 minutes, a reference to his whereabouts may have been cut.

          Staff 1, Miss Booth 0:
          {Betty reveals the significance of the date August 13, 1931}
          Betty: "I found this script and this clipping filed under that date."
          Eugenia: "What's the clipping about, Betty?"
          Betty {significantly}: "The only on-air death in the history of this station."
          Maple: "You mean the time Hilary tried to do comedy?"
          Betty: "Maple! This was a tragic event that happened while all of Pittsburgh
          listened in horror!"
          Eugenia: "That's what the critics said about Hilary doing comedy."

When is WENN?: This episode takes place August 12-13, 1941.

16. "Caller I.D." (originally telecast 12/13/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Richard Shepard.
Jane's voice       A woman calling the station to say she about to leap from the ledge of a nearby office building turns Mackie's humdrum hosting of a midnight musical show—and eventually the presence of the entire cast—into an effort to talk her out of it. (28'38")
  Guest Cast: Voice of Jane Smith: Alice Playten. Sergeant O'Shea: William Keeler.
  Episode Notes: Audiences who become performers, performers reduced to being audience, the boundary between illusion and reality and where dreams become negative... Jane gradually turns from a potential news story and "good deed" into someone the cast cares about in deft strokes well-melded with "the usual repartee," including two amusing running gags. Alice Playten, more familiarly known to classic commercial fans as the newlywed bride who serves "marshmallow meatballs" and drives her hubby to Alka Seltzer, was the voice of "Karen" in the song "Our National Pastime" on Rupert Holmes' 1974 Widescreen album. (BTW, the song "Widescreen" itself is about falling into the illusions painted by the movies.)
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Mackie hosts Dreamland Dance Floor, a midnight musical program supposedly taking place in an actual nightclub, but in reality is just recorded music (this night the first featured tune is Benny Goodman's "Fresno"). (Eugenia does the opening music.)
  Episode Trivia: Betty has no telephone at home.

          Scott vs. Hilary: Take I:
          Hilary: "...dragging me all the way down here in the middle of the night. This
          is idiotic!"
          Scott: "You're telling me—a fur coat in August?"
          Hilary: "You didn't give me time to change."
          Scott: "I have given you the last two months to change and you're still no
          easier to work with!"
          Hilary: "Ooooh, is this a new programming policy? Command performances
          at all hours—four microphones, no waiting!"
          Scott: "Hilary, the woman's going to hurl herself off the 16th floor of the
          Glickman building unless you perform for her."
          Hilary: "Oh! Well..." {preens} " least she has the right attitude. Well,
          come on, we mustn't disappoint this fine, discerning...lunatic."

          Scott vs. Hilary: Take II:
          Hilary: "I've done many a 3 o'clock matinee, but never at this hour."
          Scott: "Well, it buys the police some time and buys us her trust. You think
          these scripts'll keep her happy?"
          Hilary: "All today's shows combined into one grand sayonara signoff...sort
          of An Evening with Hilary Booth and Friends.
          Scott: "Who'll play the friends?"
          Hilary {frosty}: "The same people who portrayed your legitimate parents."

          The Fellas in the Audience Disagree:
          Betty: "Hi, Jane...I'm Betty Roberts. Do you remember talking with me?"
          Jane: "Oh! Oh, yeah. Say, remind me of my sister!"
          Betty: "Oh, a lot of people say that...especially the fellas I dated in high

When is WENN?: This episode takes place August 1941.

17. "Happy Homecomings" (originally telecast 12/27/97)
Written by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
Victor       When a different voice takes over Jonathan Arnold's broadcasts, Betty fears for Victor's life and decides to open the strongbox. Meanwhile, Scott makes an interesting discovery about the contents of a certain commercial and an old face returns to WENN... (28'34")
  Guest Cast: Rollie Pruitt: Jonathan Freeman. Doug Thompson: Matthew Bennett. Voice of Jonathan Arnold II: Jeff Bottoms.
          and John Bedford Lloyd as Victor Comstock
  Episode Notes: Look up "cliffhanger" in the dictionary and "Happy Homecomings" will be cited in the definition: new twists appear in the Jeff/Hilary/Pavla triangle while the convoluted matter of Victor/Betty/Scott makes a pretzel turn at zero hour...29 minutes calculated to keep you creeping up and up until you are balancing at the edge of your seat and wailing as you fall over that precipice... Of course there's the unanswered matter of the lottery ticket—but there are many unanswered questions altogether in the best cliffhanger yet from the pen of Holmes. Also noted: Melinda Mullins' classic performance of the "Jeff or me" ultimatum to Betty, Amanda Naughton throughout, Kevin O'Rourke's delivery of "that line" (no need to ask which!), John Bedford Lloyd's understated and erratic Victor Comstock, and Juan Jose Campanella's moody direction.
  WENN Programming/Sponsors: Hobo Bo, still sponsored by Sentry Savings, is performed (and the sponsor figures in the plot). The Hands of Time is also performed, and later there's a new edition of the Looneyville sketch going on (are we in the middle of The Glint Grab-Bag, perhaps?).
  Episode Trivia: Doug won't handle contested divorces. Betty has hidden the strongbox key in a hollowed-out copy of The World Almanac 1939. Seldon Sentry's figures on depositors and assets are 923,431 and $35,627,402.05 respectively (the amount of depositors decreases each week, BTW).

          Hope Never Dies:
          {Betty enters the green room, interrupting Doug and Hilary's discussion}
          Doug: "Have you, uh, had lunch yet? And if not, would you like to have
          lunch? And if you have had lunch, would you like to have more lunch?"
          Betty: "Well, as it happens, I haven't had lunch, but I won't have time to
          have lunch as it is. Um, another time?"
          {they exchange quick smiles; she exits green room}
          Doug {to Hilary}: "To get Betty's full attention, I figure I'd have to have lived
          Hilary: "When?"
          Doug: "Another time.
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