Monday, January 14, 2013

Mayberry Mondays #71: “The World Traveler” (02/08/71, prod. no. 0321)

Although my parents aren’t really what you would call sitcom fans (particularly the old man, who dislikes all “scripted television”) my Mom enjoys a good rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond every now and then.  I’ve always thought of Raymond as sort of a sitcom litmus test: for many, the show was quite funny and popular…for others; the concept of bickering couples probably doesn’t particular play as knee-slappingly hilarious.  My folks are not unlike the parents on that show, Frank and Marie Barone—their arguments aren’t quite as rancorous as the couple, but they are just as numerous (particularly since both are retired and have little to do nowadays but be in the same room with one another).  Squabbling couples dot the landscape of the American sitcom: Fred and Ethel Mertz, Gladys and Abner Kravitz, Stanley and Helen Roper—I’m sure you can think of others.

The creative minds behind Mayberry R.F.D., I think, wanted to add Emmett and Martha Clark (Paul Hartman, Mary Lansing) to that lineup…but it never really panned out as they hoped.  Emmett, as frequent TDOY commenter rockfish once memorably labeled him, is “the anti-Floyd”—instead of the lovable bewilderment of the late, lamented Mayberry barber we must interact with a man who’s the intellectual inferior of a kumquat…and whose propensity toward cheapness isn’t quite as endearing as that of, say, Jack Benny.  There’s a lot of subtle spousal abuse in the Clark marriage—I mean, who goes on a trip to Palm Springs and doesn’t take his wife along?  And what about all the parties and important functions that essobee attends and never thinks to bring the missus?  Emmett won’t dance with his wife but has plenty of time to frug with some chippie (“The Harvest Ball”).  Emmett acts like a fool on his 50th birthday (“Emmett’s 50th Birthday”).  Emmett drives his wife crazy when he takes early retirement (“Emmett’s Retirement”).  Emmett stupidly pawns his wife’s wedding ring and loses the money in the stock market (“Emmett and the Ring”).  And perhaps the greatest indignity of them all, Emmett insists that his wife close down her successful boutique (“Emmett’s Domestic Problem”) when she proves to be better at business than he is.


And with that, we dovetail into today’s installment of Mayberry Mondays by presenting this beast in his place of business—where he’s joined by poor-but-honest-dirt-farmer-turned-town-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry).  Sam has brought in the council office typewriter for Emmett to repair…though he’d probably get more efficient service handing it off to an orangutan.  Mr. Clark studies the instrument with a screwdriver at the ready…and then grabs his all-purpose “fix-it” mallet and gives the typewriter a whack.

SAM: Emmett…maybe I ought to take it over to that…typewriter shop in Mt. Pilot, huh?
EMMETT: Are you kidding?  Those bandits would charge you seven-fifty just to look at it!  (He slides the typewriter over) There ya go…
SAM: Oh…wait a minute…wait…well…no…no…the “Q” still sticks…
EMMETT: Well, all you gotta do is hit it a coupla times and jiggle the backspace—it pops right out…
SAM: Oh…well…thanks a lot…
EMMETT: How often do you use a “Q” anyway?

The two men then receive a visit from Mrs. Clark, who’s only sporting a few bruises because she falls down a lot.

MARTHA: Guess what, dear?  We got a postcard from Marion and Charles…and guess where they are?
EMMETT: Mount Airy...?
MARTHA: Think big…
EMMETT: Akron!
MARTHA: Paris!
EMMETT: Oh… (He takes the typewriter back from Sam)
MARTHA: Look…look at this!  (She hands him the postcard) The Eiffel Tower!  X marks right where they stood!
SAM: Hmm…proves that they were really there, doesn’t it?
MARTHA: Oh, just imagine—Marion and Charles in Europe…isn’t that wonderful?
EMMETT (a lack of enthusiasm): Yeah…it sure is…

Martha goes on to explain to Sam that the couple currently touring Europe are old friends of hers and Emmett’s, and that in the early, carefree days of their marriage the four of them often joked about who would get to Europe first.  Emmett, clearly uncomfortable at being reminded of what little he’s accomplished with his life, tells Sam that if he wants to leave the typewriter there he’ll look at it some more.

“Yeah…maybe I will, Emmett,” muses Sam.  “I just might run into a word with a ‘Q’ in it.”  Every episode…one laugh-out-loud moment.  Martha has to be moseying; she just thought Emmett might like to hear the news about Marion and Charles, editorializing “I’m so glad they finally made it.”

Martha says her goodbyes, and Sam gives Emmett a funny look.

EMMETT:  I ain’t goin’ home
SAM (chuckling): I did notice a little pressure there…
EMMETT: A little?  Just wait ‘til I get home…she’ll have my slippers out, and my newspaper…and my favorite dinner all cooked…

Well, isn’t she always supposed to do that?  (Unless she wants the strap again?)  “I guess you got troubles, huh?” Sam asks, keeping a straight face.

“I’ll say,” responds Emmett.  “The last time she was that nice to me it cost me a full-length pinecone rabbit coat.”


Here’s a screen capture of the sumptuous meal Martha has prepared for Emmett because she’s really lobbying for that trip to Europe.  (Those are some serious mutant cherries amongst that pineapple and ham, friends and neighbors.)

MARTHA: How’s the ham, dear?
EMMETT (with his mouth full): Fine…real good…
MARTHA: I hope the raisin sauce is all right…
EMMETT: Delicious… (After a pause) Come on, Martha…let’s get it over with…
MARTHA: What?
EMMETT: The big fight we’re gonna have about goin’ to Europe
MARTHA (laughing): Oh, now don’t be silly…I just think it’s wonderful that Marion and Charles finally made it…oh, it’s just like a dream
EMMETT: Well, dream on…’cause we ain’t goin’
MARTHA: I know, dear…
EMMETT: We can’t afford it!
MARTHA: I know…they’re just lucky, I guess…never realized a night watchman made so much money
EMMETT: Well, Martha…he ain’t got the overhead I got!  Once in a while, a few flashlight batteries and that’s it…now I don’t wanna hear another word about it!  Not another word!

And he won’t hear another word…he’ll hear several.  “After all—why should my feelings count,” Martha tells him after promising him the subject won’t ruin their dinner and she just “sit quietly.”  “You earn the living,” she continues.  “I just do the cooking and the washing and the entertaining and the gardening and the cleaning…”


MARTHA: …I remember you holding my hand and saying, “Martha…you and I are going to see Europe before we’re thirty”…then I remember that little bank account we opened…and you promised to see it before we were forty…and then fifty…and now I don’t know when we’ll ever get there…
EMMETT (exhausted): Martha…what do I have to say for you to let me go to sleep…

Sleep deprivation.  Nice touch, Martha old girl.

MARTHA: Well, dear…all you have to say is “Yes, we’ll go”…
EMMETT: All right, all right…we’ll go…fine…good night…
MARTHA: You see, Emmett?  That’s all it took…


Buh-what now?  The scene then shifts to Emmett’s fix-it shop, where he is in the company of Mayberry’s other idiot, gas pump jockey Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), and its resident nebbish, pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson).  Sam is also on hand to act as interpreter.


GOOBER: Going to Yurp?  (Snorting) Hot dog!  Ain’t that somethin’?
EMMETT: No, it ain’t somethin’…Martha tricked me into agreein’ and now I can’t get out of it…
SAM: Well, don’t knock it…I wish I had seen more of it when I was over there in the Army…
GOOBER: I tell ya what I’d like to see…them guards at Buckingham’s Palace…
HOWARD: Yeah…they’re most impressive in their tall bearskin hats…I believe they’re called, uh, beefeaters
GOOBER: Well, I don’t know what they eat but they’re really somethin’…I hear you can stand there and…tell ‘em jokes, laugh at ‘em…stick your tongue out at ‘em…they don’t even bat an eye…

Sam seems to be siding with Martha on this “going to Yurp” deal and he’s trying to get Emmett to loosen up over the prospect but the fix-it man is pleading poverty.  Sam says that the trip won’t really be all that expensive since they have a lot of bargain trips, group rates, chartered flights and tours.  He’s going into Mt. Pilot that afternoon (let’s go by the Dairy Queen for a Mr. Misty!) and offers to drop Emmett off at the travel agency.

SAM: As a matter of fact—why don’t you and Martha stop by my place later for dinner?  Alice can give you some good hints…she was over there in Europe with the WACs…
EMMETT: Thanks…I got a feelin’ I’m gonna need every free meal I can get…
GOOBER: I know what you could do…
EMMETT: What?
GOOBER: Tickle ‘em…
EMMETT: Huh?
GOOBER: Them palace guards…


They tried to tell Mrs. Pyle about Goob eating the lead paint chips off his baby crib…but nooooo she wouldn’t listen.  At the Reid Travel Agency in Mt. Pilot, our non-hero walks into the place announcing “I wanna go to Europe.”  The agent asks for his name, and when Emmett complies he also cracks “But I don’t wanna get on no mailing list…”

I’m going to skip over most of the dialogue between Emmett and the unnamed travel agent (though he could be the “Reid” in the business name) only because there’s nothing particularly funny or revelatory in the fact that Emmett is tighter than the skin on Sydney Greenstreet’s hip.  “Just want to get over there, slop up a little culture, and get back,” Emmett reveals as his game plan.


But I do want to introduce you to the actor essaying the role of the travel agent…because according to the always reliable IMDb, it was his last show business gig before his passing in 1981.  Charles Irving is probably recognizable for the numerous times he played a judge on Perry Mason; he also guest-starred on such programs as Ben Casey, Bonanza and Peyton Place.  But here at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, he’s remembered as the announcer on Henry Morgan’s radio show—a Radio Spirits collection of which I announced in a giveaway earlier today here on the blog (I love it when these posts come together).  Irving also worked such radio shows as Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater (a hilarious half-hour written by the great Nat Hiken before Uncle Miltie went into TV) and The Lux Radio Theatre.  You’ll also come across Irving both vocally (he narrated a lot of the Famous Studios “Sing-a-Long” cartoons) and visually in movies like A Face in the Crowd, 3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt and Head.

Irving’s comedic experience with Morgan and Berle comes to the fray in this episode because his travel agent becomes more frazzled (and disheveled) with each minute he has to spend with the world’s tightest man.  (For starters, Irving’s agent suggests a wonderful package consisting of 21 days visiting seven countries that will run Emmett $1800.  “$1800?  My brother didn’t blow that much on his gallbladder!” is Mr. Clark’s reaction.)  By the time Sam comes by to collect Emmett, the agent has probably given serious thought into adopting another line of work.  (Something to do with explosives, perhaps.)

SAM: Hey, Emmett!  Ready to go?
EMMETT: Yeah…just a second, Sam…
AGENT: Thank…thank you, Mr. Clark…I’ll start making the reservations…
EMMETT: Okay…oh, uh…find out if we can cook in the room
(The agent looks at Emmett wearily, then returns to his desk)
SAM: Everything work out okay?
EMMETT: Oh, yeah…fine…comes to just under six hundred dollars…
SAM: Six hundred?  Say…I’d say that’s pretty reasonable, six hundred apiece…

And you could say that…were it not for the fact that that’s the total tariff for the trip.

EMMETT: Yeah…we’re gonna fly to London, and then cross the channel to Paris
SAM: And then where?
EMMETT: That’s itLondon and Paris!
SAM: Oh…
EMMETT: Oh, I admit it ain’t the grand tour, but…I think it’s silly to try and cram all of Europe into six days…

Faithful Mayberry Mondays acolytes will remember that the Clark’s trip to Washington, D.C. in “Emmett’s Retirement” was an equally succinct one.  Sam tells Emmett that they’d better get going because Alice will be waiting dinner…and Emmett asks Sam not to say anything about the trip; that he wants to “spring” the good news on her.

Sam’s reaction is uncharacteristically hilarious in the delivery: “Oh, I will…I will.”  And so the scene shifts to the living room of stately Jones Manor, where we find Howard showing Martha a picture of the Swiss Matterhorn in a magazine and telling her “it’s a must when you get to Switzerland.”  Bakery doyenne (and Sam’s main squeeze) Millie Swanson (Arlene Golonka) enters with a tray of hors d’oeurves and chirping about how happy she is that Martha and Emmett will soon be touring the continent.  (What made me laugh-out-loud is that Goober is not attending this soiree, a subtle indication that a decision was made not to have any idiocy on hand.)  Sam and Emmett enter through the front door at this time and are peppered with questions from Millie and Martha, with Cousin Alice (Alice Ghostley) emerging from the kitchen to hear all the skinny on Project European Vacation as well.  (Also not in attendance is Sam’s mentally stunted progeny Mike [Buddy Foster], or as we affectionately refer to him here at TDOY, Mike the Idiot Boy.)


EMMETT: Well…uh…Martha…a week from Thursday…you and I are gonna be landin’ in London, England
(Reaction from all in attendance)
MARTHA (hugging him): Oh, Emmett!
SAM: Well—shall we eat?

I’ve been challenged on this in the past—but Ken Berry isn’t usually funny unless he’s sneezing and abruptly seizing retreat, turning it into victory.  (Shout-out to my buddy Hal there.)  But his attempts to avoid discussing the fact that Martha and Emmett’s European sojourn will take about as long as dropping off and picking up something at the dry cleaners did make me laugh.

MILLIE (admonishing): Sam…oh, maybe you’ll see the Queen!
MARTHA: Oh, my…oh, I’ll have to learn to curtsey! (She laughs)
ALICE: I saw the Queen at Windsor Castle
MARTHA: We’ll see that—won’t we, dear?
EMMETT: Oh, sure…if it’s on the walkin’ tour…
ALICE: Oh, no Emmett—the best way is to take the boat up the Thames
MILLIE (to Alice): Oh, you’re so lucky to have been there…
EMMETT: Yeah…but don’t forget…Uncle Sam was footin’ the bill!
MARTHA: Where are we staying in Paris?
ALICE: There’s only one place: the George Cinq…
HOWARD: That’s George the Fifth…if you sit in the lobby; everybody’s who anybody will come by…

Remember that, good people, should we ever get separated…

HOWARD: …I mean, that’s what they say
MILLIE: Maybe you’ll see Liz and Dick!
EMMETT: Liz and Dick who?

When Martha asks Emmett if they’re staying there, Sam tries to save Mistah Clark’s bacon by positing that “some of the little out-of-the-way hotels really have a lot more charm.”  Emmett enthusiastically concurs.

ALICE: You know what would be perfect?  It’s just a short flight from Rome to Greece
MARTHA (excitedly): The Greek Isles!  Oh, Emmett… (She hugs and kisses him)
EMMETT: Now, Martha—we gotta watch expenses!
MARTHA: Oh, we will, dear…we will…don’t you worry…where else should we go?
ALICE: Well…
SAM (interrupting): I think we should go over to the table and have some dinner!

Sam seems to have made the right motion, and the guests start getting up to sit down for a nosh—Millie excitedly tells everyone about the salad: a recipe from Maxine’s that Alice found.  “The Maxine’s?” asks Howard.  “Well, that’s just about the most famous restaurant in the whole world!  It’s a gastronomical landmark!”

As everyone starts to sit down, Alice burbles: “I shouldn’t have gone near the place—it was a month’s pay for a corporal.”  Martha instructs Emmett to write it down, and the camera moves in for a close-up of Emmett as he starts to rub his stomach, wincing in pain.  (“Mamma mia—atsa some spicy meatball!”)


There’s a fade out to a commercial break, and when the show returns Emmett’s in the fix-it shop—where he’s finally summoned up the stones to tell Martha that their trip will consist of just London and Paris, and the only Maxine they’re coming into contact with is the new hash slinger at the Mayberry Diner:


EMMETT: Now you gotta get this straight, Martha…I promised to take you to Europe, but I didn’t promise to get ridiculous…there’s just so much I can afford and it don’t include Maxine’s or the Riviera or them fancy Greek islands…we’re goin’ just the way I planned it—London and Paris and that’s it!  And if you don’t like it, it’s just too bad!

Of course, we know that Emmett isn’t really talking to Martha because if that were the case she’d be kneeing him in the Clarks about now.  The camera pulls back to reveal that Sam and Goober have been listening to Emmett’s “rehearsal” on how he’s going to break the news about their abbreviated trip.

EMMETT: How’d ja like that?
GOOBER (clapping like an idiot): It was good!
SAM: Yeah…yeah…you really laid it on her…
EMMETT: Well, that oughta put her in her place, right?
GOOBER: No way…she’s gonna be hoppin’ mad....

“I like the first way you tried best,” offers Goober helpfully.  “You know, the one where you ain’t gettin’ any younger and you’re gettin’ a bad back and you’re gonna end up in the poorhouse?  That’un gimme a lump in my throat.”


Goober’s critique of Emmett’s one-man show comes to a halt with the arrival of Martha and Millie, who have just returned from a small shopping spree for clothes for Martha to take on the trip because that’s what women do, shop all the time.  Goober, in one of his rare hilarious lucid moments, starts to head out of the shop, telling both women he doesn’t have time to see what they’ve bought…and then before he leaves he mutters to Sam, “Ixnay amscray.”

MARTHA: Oh…wait till you see the bathing suit I got for the Riviera, dear… (Noticing that Sam is inching toward the fix-it shop door) Oh, Sam—you’ll want to see this, too!
EMMETT: Well, take it back—we ain’t goin’ to the Riviera!
MARTHA: We’re not?  Why not?
EMMETT: For the same reason we ain’t goin’ to Rome or the Greek Isles
MILLIE (seeing the signs on the wall): Oh…uh…Martha, where do you want these?  I have to get back to work…
MARTHA: Well…I don’t know what you’re talking about—where are we going?
EMMETT: London and Paris!
MARTHA: Well, yes…and then where?
EMMETT: Then home!
MARTHA: Only two cities?
EMMETT: Well…you seem to be forgettin’ we got a four-hour layover in New York—and don’t forget Icelandwe’re flyin’ right over that!

Millie has an amusing bit of business where she hands off Martha’s boxes to Sam and hauls ass out the door, saying she has to get back to work.  Sam has been denied the freedom to bail on the Clarks’ quarrel, and it is a doozy.


MARTHA (to Sam): You tell Emmett we have to go to the Riviera!
EMMETT: Tell her she’s lucky we’re goin’ to London and Paris!
SAM: Well…uh…
MARTHA (storming over to her husband): I’ll tell you right now…I’m not going all the way to Europe and just see two cities!
EMMETT: All right, if that’s the way you feel about it!  Have it your own way!  We won’t go at all!
MARTHA: All right!  That’s fine with me!  We won’t go at all!  That’s just fine!

Martha turns to stomp out of the fix-it shop but Sam is in her way, still holding her packages.  “And thanks a lot for siding with him!” she yells.  (Sam can’t catch a break.)

In the next scene, Millie and Sam are seated at the Jones Family kitchen table as Alice pours them coffee.  (I forgot to mention this earlier, but Millie is wearing her hair the way I like it in this and the previous dinner party scene.  I know, I’m superficial.)


MILLIE: It’s so sad…you know, if they don’t go now they may never go…
ALICE: You know, Sam…I think that you should talk to Emmett and get him to compromise a little…
MILLIE: Yes…so do I!
SAM: Well, now wait a minute…wait a minute…why me?  Why don’t you two talk to Martha?
MILLIE: Well, we already have…
ALICE: …and I’m sure she’s willing to compromise…but…well…Emmett is so darn cheap about it!
MILLIE: And I don’t understand it—you know, Martha said they can really afford to go…

Faced with the reality that if he doesn’t play peacemaker he will get neither sustenance nor poontang, Sam agrees to talk to Emmett—“Maybe even take him out for a cup of coffee,” he muses.  “On you, I hope,” adds Millie, and the three of them laugh.

At the diner, Sam and Emmett are having a cup of joe and Sam channels his inner Andy Taylor:

SAM: Look…Emmett…it’ll be a wonderful experience for both of you…

Please let him be talking about the trip to Europe.


EMMETT: Yeah, I suppose…I don’t mean to cheat Martha out of somethin’ she’s been countin’ on…but…I guess I could swallow my pride and talk to her some more…
SAM: Sure…sure…you give in a little, and she’ll give in a little…
EMMETT: Yeah…I guess I could throw in a couple of them side trips…I hear the Paris sewers is pretty interestin’…
SAM: Yeah…that’s a start…

Emmett agrees to broach the subject again with Martha, making Sam deliriously happy.  “Believe me—you’re gonna have the time of your life over there,” he tells him.  “Before you know it, you’ll be back home here just boring us to death with your pictures.”  (“It’ll be just like how you usually bore us to death, only with visual aids.”)

The scene shifts to the Clark bedroom.  (Pregnant women and people with cardiac conditions might want to skip over this next screen capture.)


EMMETT (after a nine-month pregnant pause): Martha…
MARTHA (quickly): Yes?
EMMETT: Uh…I apologize for growling today…
MARTHA: Well…that’s all right…I…I was probably a…little unreasonable myself…
EMMETT: A little?  Er…uh…forget I said that…
MARTHA: All right…dear…
EMMETT: It’s kinda silly for us not to go at all…
MARTHA: Then we’ll go?!!
EMMETT: Oh, sure!  I guess we both sorta lost our tempers…
MARTHA: Oh, Emmett…we’ll compromise…we can do it!
EMMETT: Sure!  I-I’ll tell you what—if you give up them Greek islands…I’ll throw in the Rhine cruise!
MARTHA: Well…all right…if you’ll keep Venice and Rome
EMMETT: Venice and Rome?  Martha, if I give you Rome ain’t that enough?!!
MARTHA: Well, we can’t just sit in our hotel room!  (Pause) Uh…we are getting a hotel room—aren’t we?!!

The delivery of this line from Lansing was a beaut.  But guess who just coincidentally happens to be walking by Casa del Clark at this time?  It’s Sam Jones, Diplomat—and before you get the impression that Sam likes to peek in on his neighbors during the hours when he’s not not-farming, his girl friend Millie is with him.  The two of them look up at the lights on the second floor and notice that Emmett and Martha are still up.


MILLIE: Hmm…I hope we straightened them out…
SAM: Oh, sure we did—I think my little talk with Emmett really helped

Wait for it…

MARTHA (shouting from inside the house because the window is open): Emmett, I will not be embarrassed by going into a French restaurant in France and not ordering wine!
EMMETT (also shouting): I ain’t no Maurice Chevalier!
MARTHA: Everybody has wine there—it’s cheap!  Just like you!

Oooh!  Nice one, Martha!  (Yeah, I have a tendency to side with Martha in these donnybrooks—only because I’ve spent more time with Emmett and have surmised he’s the type of guy who would sit around the barbershop and vent for thirty minutes on how welfare people have it so good in this country.)  Now she’s about to administer the coup de Gracie:

EMMETT: Cheap?!!  That’s right, call me cheap—the man who’s given you all this luxury!
MARTHA: Luxury?  Every appliance I’ve ever had has been left in your shop over ninety days!

And the lady wins a Kewpie doll!  Emmett then orders Martha to put a sock in it before the neighbors hear them squabbling, so he runs to the open window to close it and looks down to see Sam and Millie standing below.  “Sam?” he calls out.  “Is that you?”

Sam gives him a weak wave.  “Oh….hi, Emmett,” he chuckles.  “Good night!”


EMMETT: Hey—wait a minute, Sam!  This was your big ideer!  How ‘bout tellin’ Martha it takes two to compromise!
MARTHA (appearing at the window): Compromise?!!  Did you hear that, Millie?  I give up a dinner at Maxine’s and get a sewer tour!

Emmett has reached his limit—he tells Martha that if she doesn’t like it, she can go by herself…something which she would only be too happy to do.  The lights then go off as Emmett announces to all of Mayberry that he’s going to get some sleep…but they quickly snap back on again because Martha wants to tell him exactly what he thinks of him.  Sam and Millie slowly slink off, presumably to report for the next assignment: working on the next debt ceiling crisis with members of Congress.

The scene then shifts to Goober’s gas station, where Emmett sits and licks his wounds as Goob, Howard and Sam look on.


GOOBER: Goin’ by herself?!!  (He looks away from Emmett in disgust)
EMMETT: Not so loud…I’ve had all the shoutin’ I can take…
HOWARD: Aw, Emmett…this is awful
EMMETT: Oh, don’t tell me…
GOOBER: You know what’s gonna happen, don’tcha?  Martha’s gonna get over there feelin’ lonesome and one of them gigolos’ gonna get a hold of her!

Yes, he pronounces “gigolo” with a hard “G.”  Does this surprise you?

EMMETT: Why don’t you go pump some gas?
HOWARD (wagging his finger): Emmett—none of this would have happened if you hadn’t been so tightfisted with your money…
GOOBER: Yes, sir—you’ve been cheap before but this time ya outdid yourself…

This did make me laugh.  And Lindsey puts a nice capper on it by telling Howard that he’ll “change that tire for ya…for free!”  As the two of them walk off, it’s time for Sam the Counselor to rear his ugly head.  He doesn’t understand why Emmett’s been a complete dink on this thing—“You’ve got a nice business going for you there,” he observes.

Then Emmett comes clean.  Sure, he’s a tightwad who nevertheless could spend the money but he’s more worried about being “the Ugly American.”

EMMETT: You ain’t gonna believe this, Sam, but…money ain’t the only problem…
SAM: It isn’t?
EMMETT: Well…look at me, Sam…can you picture me hobnobbing around Europe?  I don’t know nothin’ about languages or tippin’ or orderin’ wines or…

“Birthin’ no babies…”

EMMETT: And…uh…I ain’t got the right clothes!  Why, I wouldn’t even know what to wear to one of them continental breakfasts!
SAM: Oh, Emmett…
EMMETT: Suppose I run into Princess Grace?  What am I gonna say?  “Hi, Your Highness—want me to fix your toaster?”

Emmett, in his own fashion, is telling Sam he’s too much of a rube…a problem one will encounter when they don’t get out of Mayberry on a frequent basis.  But Sam reassures him that everything will be fine—that Europe is equipped for tourism, and they want you to feel at ease.  (Though why everyone is telling him to go to Maxine’s is a little odd, considering some of the stories I’ve heard about their renowned rude wait staff.)

SAM: …and even if you do goof—so what?  You just laugh it off…
EMMETT: Well…maybe you’re right…but I’d still do some dumb thing like insultin’ one of them London bobbies or somethin’…
SAM: Believe me, I’ve been there…and by the time you’ve driven down the wrong side of the street…and you’ve tipped the waiter a week’s salary…and…you’ve lost your hotel completely…and walked through a door marked “Frauleins” you’ll be a seasoned American tourist, just like everybody else…

Wow.  Captain Parmenter goes to Europe.  So Emmett has to make things right with Martha because he really is excited about going to Europe, and he’s itching to see the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa.  “With my mechanical background, I bet I can tell ‘em where they went wrong,” he declares.  (Or set the damn thing on fire.)  And how will he accomplish this task, of squaring things with Mrs. Clark?  “Well, I’m man of the house,” he tells Sam defiantly.  “If I tell her we’re goin’, we’re goin’!”  (Look—the Clarks are a childless couple…so why exactly did they have to get married again?)

The trip is back on—huzzah!  The bus that will take Emmett and Martha to the airport pulls up, and all of their friends—Goober, Howard, Alice, Sam and Millie—are excitedly shouting out last minute instructions to them; my favorite is Goober’s teaching Emmett to ask “Do you want your oil changed?” in Italian.  (“Well, maybe you can work it into a conversation,” explains Goob.)  As the Clarks head toward the ‘Hound, Goob showers them with confetti.  (At least I hope it’s confetti.)

MILLIE: I think they’re going to make it…
SAM: Oh, yeah—Emmett will be fine…he knows how to take care of himself…
MARTHA (boarding the bus): Oh, I hope we get a window seat on the plane!
EMMETT: Oh, don’t worry about it—I’ll handle it!  As soon as we get on that plane I’m gonna slip the stewardess a buck!
MILLIE (to Sam): Tip the stewardess?
SAM: Well, why not?  Between that and changing his oil in Italian he’ll be the perfect world traveler…

The bus pulls away as the rest of them laugh their fool heads off.  If only we could join them.

Coda time!

Emmett and Martha have invited the gang over to show off the pictures they took in Rome—Emmett is wearing lederhosen (which is guffaw-worthy in itself) and Martha looks as if she’s a model for Swiss Miss Cocoa—now with Geritol!  (The only one not present is Mike the Idiot Boy, because he has inexplicably become lost in his bedroom closet.)


EMMETT (handing Goober a photo): That’s us, sittin’ at a sidewalk café—right there on the Chomps Eleesee…
GOOBER: Hey!  You look like a real native!
HOWARD: I believe that’s pronounced Champs-Élysées
EMMETT: Have you been there, Howard?

Who the hell are you…Baron Munchausen?  (“Vas you dere, Sharlie?”)  Martha and Emmett continue to show everyone pictures while Howard goes over to the bookcase to check on the proper pronunciation of the French avenue.

MARTHA: You’ll never guess what happened to me on the Via Veneto in Rome
MILLIE: What?
MARTHA: I got pinched!
(Millie lets out a squeal of delight)
GOOBER: What was you doin’?  Speedin’?


Howard returns with a dictionary to show Emmett that he’s a rube and that he’s mispronouncing Champs-Élysées…but Emmett, striking a blow for ignorance everywhere, blows him off.  “Howard, you’re readin’ out of a book!  I’ve been there, talkin’ to the natives!  So I oughta know better than you!”  Yeah, Howard—what are you, some kind of edjumacated college grad?  (Bro-ther…)

Seven more of these to go and then I meet with the parole board.  And because Cousin Alice is in this one, bragging about her world travels on the United States of America’s dime, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Alice-o-Meter™ moves up another notch to mark ten total appearances in the third and final season of the vanilla pudding of television sitcoms.  Next week on Mayberry Mondays—it’s a Goober-centric episode, so those of you who react to the Goobster like kale might want to skip it…but you’ll be missing out on some good comedy (it’s actually one of his better episodes) and some hilarious resentment from the true star of this show, Howard Sprague.  Plus we’ll bid a farewell to two Mayberrians as well.  “Goober, the Elder”—it’s here next week.

3 comments:

rockfish said...

Emmett does Yurr-rup would have challenged Francis Goes AWOL for comedy if only the show's producers had bucked up and shown a singular clip of The ol' cheapskate and Martha acting like illiterate sticks in some Paris cafe... Seems Emmett inherited his parsimonious ways honestly, anyways. Of course, the missing element of this story is where the codger got the money even for the fleabag tour; he's running the world's first cheap Chinese counterfeit operation out of his cellar - images of "get the Geek" has a new touchstone. As always, the droll and quick quips make the thought of parting from RFD a sweet sorrow. I anticipate a semi-howler next week.

Stacia said...

because that’s what women do, shop all the time

We're so bad at money, titter titter. I know sitcoms weren't nice to women in 1971, but Emmett's treatment of Martha has always seemed unnecessarily harsh.

I would pay cash money to see Emmett set the Tower of Pisa on fire.

P.S. Have you heard the latest Full-Length Pinecones release?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

rockfish wisecracked:

he's running the world's first cheap Chinese counterfeit operation out of his cellar - images of "get the Geek" has a new touchstone

The mental picture of Emmett running a printing press while Goober and Howard attempt to chain up a leather-clad and masked individual has only recently left me, for which I am truly grateful.

Then it was my BBFF's turn:

P.S. Have you heard the latest Full-Length Pinecones release?

The other night, when I learned that there would be a second season of Maverick released to DVD, I mentioned it to Mom...and her first response was "You're killing me with these DVDs." (Mumsy does not like the untidy state of my room.)

Then, knowing that my father is also a fan of all things James Garner, she says: "Well, maybe the Easter Bunny will bring you one if you're good."

"Or maybe even the Easter Pinecone," I retorted, as I watched my Mom slide out of her recliner with laughter while ensuring that that whole "good" thing didn't last long.