Monday, December 31, 2012

Mayberry Mondays #69: “The Kid from Hong Kong” (01/18/71, prod. no. 0317)

Everybody’s favorite television small town is back after a two-week vacation (just in time to close out 2012) and while I’d dearly love to be able to report that it’s upped the laugh quotient substantially during that hiatus…that would be a big stinky fib.  Particularly since this week’s installment centers on the antics of the son of poor-but-honest-dirt-farmer-turned-town-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry)—the adorable moppet known to one and all here at TDOY as Mike the Idiot Boy (Buddy Foster).  This is such a Mike-centric episode that there’s barely room for a brief appearance from pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson), which means Stacia has now wandered off…and there will be no developments from beloved village idiot Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman) or bakery shop doyenne Millie Swanson (Arlene Golonka).  (It will not be easy to cope, chillun.)

I should also point out that after we come to the end of this write-up, there will be just nine more installments of Mayberry Mondays before the blog takes on The Doris Day Show in a new Thrilling Days of Yesteryear feature entitled Doris Days.  Recently I asked volunteers from the TDOY faithful to vote on whether I should initially run this on Tuesdays in keeping with the sitcom’s debut on that night in its first season (it then moved to Mondays in Year Two, following Mayberry R.F.D. for two years) or just do it on Mondays for the entire run.  By a 9-7 tally, Doris Days will take over on Mondays as soon as the R.F.D. episodes are completed.  (I kind of got a chuckle at seeing the results because 56% of you were essentially saying: “You obsess over this stuff way too much.”)

On with today’s episode!  It kicks off with Mike the Idiot Boy in repose in his bedroom as chief cook and bottle washer Cousin Alice (Alice Ghostley) enters with a load of clean laundry.  She then grabs Mike’s shoulders and pulls him to his bed roughly, where they…hold on—that’s from some fan fic someone sent me via e-mail (and Lordy, do I wish they hadn’t).  Instead, Alice does a clever bit of comic business where she raises Mike’s feet like a drawbridge in order to get to his closet…and upon opening it, is nearly buried in a pile of clothing and other bric-a-brac…

“Dadrat the dadratted…gotta straighten out that closet one of these days.”  Mike then asks Alice if she wants to see “something real neat.”

“I’d consider it a blessing,” she responds, producing in me a small chuckle.

MIKE: Take a look at this camera… (Alice walks over and looks over Mike’s shoulder at a catalog he’s perusing) I think I’ll send away for it…
ALICE: Well, that looks kind of expensive to me, Mike…don’t you think you should discuss it with your father?

As if it were scripted, the man claiming to be Mike’s father enters the bedroom and asks: “Hmm?  Discuss what?”

MIKE: This…uh…camera here…I was thinking of sending away for it…
ALICE (walking past the two of them): Excuse me…
SAM: Oh? (He sits down on the bed next to Mike)
MIKE: But I don’t think I will…it only costs twenty dollars…
SAM: Only twenty dollars?
MIKE: Yeah!  I mean…if you’ve got thirty-five dollars to spend—why settle for twenty?
SAM: You’ve got thirty-five dollars to spend?

“That milk money extortion racket I’ve got going on at school is pretty sweet, Pa…”

MIKE: Well…I saved it up this month…for doing odd jobs after school and stuff…
SAM: Wait…wait…you made thirty-five dollars just from doing odd jobs for a month?

“Why the hell am I still farming?”  Mike, to his credit, comes clean and admits that a portion of his largesse—twenty-five dollars of it—came from some birthday money he received from relatives.  “Five from Aunt Elsie…and the rest from my twenty-dollar uncle in Cleveland!” Mike says excitedly.  (It’s not important to know the uncle from Cleveland’s name—but it’s “Ray,” for those keeping score at home—only that he’s the source of a double sawbuck when the chips are down.)

SAM (sighing): Look…Mike…it seems to me that you actually only…earned…ten dollars of that money—so it’s fair that you spend that much on yourself…but now as for the rest of it…
MIKE: Uh-oh…I bet you want me to do something sensible with it…

“Yes, I do.  I’ll need you to stake me in that poker game tonight at The Royal Order of the Golden Door to Good Fellowship.”

SAM: Now, look—there’s nothing wrong with being sensible…
MIKE: Except that always means that I don’t get the money
SAM: Now, that’s not true, Mike…you have built up a very respectable bank account through being sensible…
MIKE: Yeah…when I go in the bank, Mr. Haller says hello…and it’s neat when they stamp in your interest…

From Mike’s mention of “Mr. Haller,” this would seem to indicate that Cyrus Tankersley (George Cisar), Mayberry’s resident capitalist swine, has retired from the world of town banking.  Cyrus’ last appearance on the show was in the R.F.D. classic “The Caper,” and I speculated then that they might have given him his walking papers as a result of Howard’s attempt to hold up the bank (even though Cyrus was referenced on subsequent episodes).

SAM: You bet it is!  So…I suggest you put…say…uh…oh…fifteen dollars of that money in your savings account…
MIKE: Well…that still leaves me with ten…
SAM: Yeah, I know…and I was thinking…uh…you remember last Sunday when…Reverend Keith talked about charity—about helping others?
MIKE: Kinda…

“Oh, who am I kidding—I was fast asleep by that time…”

SAM: Uh-huh…well, now don’t you think it would be nice if you gave that money to somebody less fortunate than yourself?

“Less fortunate than me?  Who would qualify?  You’re certainly not making any money from this alleged farm of yours…”

MIKE (sighing): Okay…whatever you say, Pa…
SAM: Now…now I’m not forcing you into this…it’s just that I would be very disappointed in you, Mike, if you went out and spent all that money on yourself…now I’m sure you can understand that…
MIKE: Yeah…well, I guess if I’m going to be sensible…somebody ought to get some good out of it…

A scene shift finds Mike in conference with this man…

…he’s also been referenced on the show a time or two, but this is his first actual appearance (one of two—he later turns up in the episode “Goober, the Elder” even though he’s billed as just “Minister”) on the program.  With his third movie role, that of Dr. Arthur Carrington—the eggheaded scientist who foolishly wants to befriend the carrot alien played by James Arness—in The Thing From Another World, Robert Cornthwaite later became the prototype for eccentric scientists in films like Monkey Business and the original The War of the Worlds.  His other notable screen appearances include Stranger on Horseback, Kiss Me Deadly, Day of the Outlaw, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Futureworld and Matinee (as the mad doctor in the movie-within-the-movie, MANT).

Cornthwaite also had a lengthy television legacy, guest-starring on the likes of The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Perry Mason, Rawhide, Get Smart (as CONTROL scientist Professor Windish), The F.B.I., Batman and Dynasty.  His best-known boob tube work is probably that of Alzheimer patient Howard Buss, who appeared in several episodes of Picket Fences—Howard got to be mayor of Rome before they croaked him in the second season.  Because my familiarity with Cornthwaite resides in both Fences and The Thing, it’s a bit of a chore for me picturing him in charge of Mayberry’s church.

KEITH: Ten dollars…it’s very generous of you, Michael…
MIKE: Yes, sir…

“Now you make sure my family gets a seat up front for Sunday services from now on—capice?”

KEITH: You know…as long as it’s coming from a child—perhaps it should go to a child…
MIKE: Hey, that’s a good idea!  Do you know somebody?

“I have the very person in mind…I have a son…his name is…er…Brian!  Brian Keith, that’s his name…”

KEITH: Well…let’s see here… (He begins to rummage through his desk drawer, and then pulls out a folder) Ah…here we are…how’d you like to send a child to school?  For a whole year?
MIKE: For ten dollars?!!

Reverend Keith then informs Mike that there’s a mission school in Hong Kong where the tuition for one year is one sawbuck, where a young child can get a good education before going to work in a sweatshop factory to make clothes for Wal-Mart.  (It also provides food for the youngster, in case a hungry Sally Struthers comes skulking around.)  Okay, I am being a little facetious here—but it will allow Mike the Idiot Child to become a “foster parent” with his ten bucks admission.

MIKE: If that’s the way it works, that’s okay with me…
KEITH: Good!  All we have to do is…fill out the forms…send it along with the money…I’ll…uh…I’ll write it out for you if you’d like…
MIKE: Hey, that’s cool!  I mean…thank you, Reverend Keith…

Cornthwaite’s odd, hesitant phrasing in his portrayal of the Rev curiously makes me think he’s planning to take that ten-spot down to the track later.  “And Mike…I think your gift is going to mean a lot to some deserving child,” he tells our young doofus as solemn music swells on the soundtrack.  (“Her name is Bambi…she’s promised me a lap dance later this evening.”)

We then shift our scenery to the mission school in Hong Kong, and this would seem to suggest that Reverend Keith isn’t dipping into the collection plate to play the ponies now and then, particularly since this guy…

…is playing the part of the man o’the cloth what runs the jernt.  He’s character great Phil Chambers, who graced more TV westerns than you’ve had hot dinners—guest-starring on the likes of Tales of Wells Fargo, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Daniel Boone and The Big Valley.  He appeared on non-Western shows, too, like Perry Mason, Lassie and The F.B.I.—Phil even turned up a few times on The Andy Griffith Show as the hotel clerk.  But his regular boob tube paycheck came in the form of his co-starring role as Sgt, Myles Magruder in the 1957 syndicated western adventure The Gray Ghost.  His movie appearances include The Big Heat, Executive Suite, Rogue Cop, Backlash and A Day of Fury.

REVEREND (to a little girl): I have very good news for you…you now have a foster father
KIM: I do?  Where did I get him?
REVEREND: He’s an American…his name is Mr. Michael Jones and he lives in Mayberry, North Carolina

“I’m so sorry to hear that.”  The child actress playing the role of Kim the Orphan (her real name is Kim Lee, but I like my way better) is identified in the closing credits as Teresa Jaw.  She gets no mention at the always reliable IMDb (though she is listed at and as such this would seem to be her only television appearance.  Far be it from me to speculate on why this is so, but it could either be that her parents felt a show business career wasn’t in her future…or because she is a horrible actress.  (I’m voting the latter, in case you were curious.)

KIM: Mr. Michael Jones…that is a nice name…I wonder is he tall with big smile like Americans in comic books?
REVEREND: I wouldn’t be surprised!

Ohhhhhhhh…yes you would.  He’s short and nerdy and a shoo-in to cop the class award of “Most Likely to Be Tossed into the Girls’ Locker Room.”  I’m going to abbreviate most of the Kim the Orphan scenes for the simple reason that the little girl will get on your wick after a while: suffice it to say, Kim is so excited about having a foster father that she is going to brag to her friend Lin Yang.  The Reverend then tells her that she should compose a letter to her new patron, and that she will include a copy of her report card despite doing poorly in mathematics.  (I will let you make the obvious joke here.)

Back in the U.S.A., Alice is on kitchen patrol when Mike enters Casa Del Jones through the back door.  “Hi, Mike,” Alice greets the foster dad.  “Have a nice day?”

“A nice day?  I was in school,” he laments.  Alice then alerts him to a letter that awaits on the kitchen table.

MIKE: Hey!  It’s from that mission school in Hong Kong!  (He opens the letter) They probably want to thank me for that ten dollars…

Or if experience has taught me anything, they’re probably going to hit you up for more.

ALICE (observing that Mike is squinting at the letter): What’s the matter?
MIKE (starting to read): “Most honorable father”?  This must be for Pa
ALICE: No, it was addressed to you… (She walks over to the table) See?
MIKE: Mr. Michael Jones…hey!
ALICE: What does it say?
MIKE (reading): “I am filled with the great happiness that you are going to be my foster father…”  Hey—it’s signed, “Your devoted daughter, Kim Lee”…
ALICE: Daughter?

“Don’t call me daughter/Not fit to/The picture kept will remind me…”

MIKE: Oh, yeah…when I gave Reverend Keith the money—he said something about a foster parent plan…and how I helped some kid get through a mission school…
ALICE: Oh, I see…well…what else does she say?
MIKE: “I am filled with the great happiness that you are going to be my foster father…and much pleased that you help me stay here in mission school…I hope I will be worthy of you…I am sending you a picture of me, so you can see if you like me…your devoted daughter, Kim Lee…”

“Well—what a pretty child!” gushes Alice as she gives the photo the once-over.  (“But she’s so foreign!”)  Then Mike finds the enclosed report card, and glancing at that comments: “Uh oh…she’s not doing any better in arithmetic than I am.”  (Well, that’s because you’re a moron, Mike.)

“Maybe it runs in the family,” jokes Alice.  Mike then hurries off in search of Sam to inform him of his Asian child bride, and finds him pretending to repair some sort of farm implement.  “Pa,” Mike asks him, “I know what a parent is—but what’s a foster?

Fighting back the temptation to tell him it’s “beer” in an Aussie accent, Sam explains to Mike that “it’s almost as if you adopted her, Mike—but not really.”

SAM: I mean…now she has someone to look up to as a father…and I supposed she now feels like she’s part of a family, even though she’s in Hong Kong and you’re here in Mayberry...make sense?
MIKE: I guess…here’s her picture… (He shows it to Sam)
SAM: Aw…say—she’s cute!
MIKE: She’s more than cute, Pa—she’s my daughter!

Mike then rattles off Kim the Orphan’s grades to Sam; with a special emphasis on the “D” she received in arithmetic.  But Sam is preoccupied with fixing his implement (snicker) and ignores Mike because he has to contact Elliott’s Hardware for a gasket for his valve “and he might have to order it from Raleigh.”  Sam walks off and Mike whines: “Boy…if I get a ‘D’ he blows his stack…”

The scene then shifts to the spacious office of Mistah Howard Sprague, county clerk—who, after collecting fifty cents from Mike, stamps a renewal on his bicycle license and lets him know “now you can ride your bike for another year without any legal misgivings.”  Mike isn’t the brightest kid in that town, but you would think he’d know better than to ask Howard what ensues, particularly if he has someplace to be.  (But if he asked someone like Emmett, he’d probably have to listen to a racist diatribe for the next several hours.)

MIKE: Mr. Sprague…have you ever been to Hong Kong?
HOWARD: No, Mike…no, unfortunately I haven’t—and it’s one of the great regrets of my life…although I am familiar with its colorful background and history!
MIKE: Do you know anything about the people who live there?

Man, this kid is a glutton for punishment.

HOWARD: Well…I believe that Hong Kong is mainly inhabited by the Chinese…and I certainly have a great deal of respect for their customs and traditions…

Howard goes on to explain to Mike that family relationships among the Chinese are different in that the children are never disrespectful to their parents, and that their parents are fiercely devoted to them.  “I mean, they know the children look to them for guidance and…well, they’re always more ready and willing to give them the benefit of their sage wisdom,” Howard further pontificates.

Mike is taken with this concept of “sage wisdom.”  “Boy,” he tells Howard, “for a guy who’s not a teacher or anything you sure know a lot of good junk.”  As he heads for the door, Howard stops him:

HOWARD: Mike?  You got me kind of curious, Mike…why this sudden interest in Hong Kong?
MIKE: I’ve got a daughter there!

Which prompts a priceless deadpan from Howard.  (Every episode…one laugh-out-loud moment.)  The scene then shifts to Mike’s bedroom, where our foster daddy sits at his typewriter, hunting and pecking a letter to Kim the Orphan.  A kid enters, carrying a baseball mitt, and Mike addresses him as Richard…

…he’s played by child actor Brian Morrison, who, unlike the young thespian playing Kim the Orphan, did go on to greater television glory as Philip Traynor, grandson of Maude Findlay (Bea Arthur) on the 70s sitcom Maude.  (Morrison was replaced by Kraig Metzinger in the show’s final season.)  Nowadays, Morrison makes his living as a special effects technician on films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Sleepy Hollow.  Morrison’s Richard would seem to be a substitute for Mike’s usual playmate, Harold Henderson (child pugilist Richard S. “Fishface” Steele)—he makes a second appearance in a later episode, “Goober, the Hero,” so perhaps Steele had fights scheduled the day these episodes were filmed.

RICHARD: Hey!  Who taught you how to run a typewriter?
MIKE: Nobody!  When you use just one finger you can teach yourself…
RICHARD: You use it for homework?
MIKE: Nah…just for important stuff…I’m writing my daughter a letter…

Richard is apparently out of the grade school loop, since he’s a bit puzzled as to how Mike could have a daughter if “you don’t even have a wife.”  Idiot Boy explains to his pal the whole “foster father” deal, and then proceeds to read him what he’s typed so far.

MIKE: “Dear devoted daughter Kim Lee…nice to hear from you, and get your report card—except for that ‘D’ in arithmetic, which makes me very disappointed…”
RICHARD: You gonna write some more?
MIKE: Yeah…besides telling her to try harder in arithmetic, I’m gonna tell her to take good care of her tonsils…and brush her teeth, and keep ‘em straight and all that stuff!
RICHARD: That’s a good idea!
MIKE: You know, Richard…I never knew us fathers had so many problems

It’s a good thing they decide to break for some words from General Foods at this point in the narrative, because this oh-so-cutesy “Mike as father” crap is starting to make me a little nauseous.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really miss Goober and Emmett.

Back from the commercial break, we find Mike back at the typewriter, passing along “sage wisdom” to his little Hong Kong chippie about wearing her scarf and brushing her teeth.  Also, too: “When you do your homework, it does no good to copy the answers from the back of the book.  The teacher will ask you how you did the problem.”

The scenery then shifts to the mission school, where Reverend Chambers is praising Kim the Orphan’s progress in arithmetic—on her most recent test, she only got three answers wrong.

“Next time maybe none wrong,” the kid burbles.  “Then I will write to Honorable Foster Father once more, so he will know that I am trying harder.”  The audience’s hopes that Kim the Orphan will instead wind up in a Hong Kong house of pleasure are dashed, however, with a knock on the door that signals the arrival of an American couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kenworthy.

We’ve met the actor playing Kenworthy on Mayberry Mondays before—he’s Charles Bateman, who appeared as Sam’s lecherous Army buddy Charlie Harris in “Millie and the Palm Springs Golf Pro.”  The role of Madam Kenworthy is essayed by Jean Powell, who in addition to playing “Sally Phillips” was the co-author of the 1955 Roger Corman-directed The Fast and the Furious, according to the IMDb  Apart from that contribution to cinema, Howell has also appeared in films such as Apache Woman, Crime of Passion, Who’ll Stop the Rain and Superstar (the last film a truly remarkable feat in that she died three years before it was released in theaters—I think there’s some credit confusion here)—and made the rounds guesting on the likes of TV’s Dragnet, Trackdown, Dennis the Menace, The Loretta Young Show and many others.  Old-time radio fans know her as the wife of actor Larry Thor, who’s best known as detective Danny Clover on Broadway’s My Beat and the one-time announcer for Suspense; the two of them worked together on a Crime Classics broadcast entitled “The Terrible Deed of John White Webster” (07/13/53).

REVEREND (to Kim Lee): You remember Mr. and Mrs. Kenworthy—they stopped by to visit you last week!

“It was Orphan Photo Opportunity Day!”

MRS. KENWORTHY: We’ve reached a decision…
KENWORTHY: We decided we’d like to adopt a little girl… (Turning to Kim) Named Kim Lee…
REVEREND: You know what that means, Kim Lee?

“I get to knock off early at the Apple parts factory?”

MRS. KENWORTHY: Well…we don’t have any children of our own…

“My insides are a rocky place where Mr. Kenworthy’s seed can find no purchase.”

MRS. KENWORTHY: …and…we’d like you to be our child and come and live with us in the United States…in Washington

“And this has nothing to do whatsoever with my husband’s reelection campaign.”  Okay, I’ve kind of telegraphed a plot point here (Kenworthy is a Congressman) but nothing stands in my way when there’s a joke to be made.  Kim is a bit taken back by this turn of events, which prompts the Rev to observe: “This is often hard for them to absorb.”  Mr. K tells the Reverend that he and the missus will be in Hong Kong for the next two weeks, and asks him if the paperwork can be expedited so that little Kimmy can come to America A.S.A.P.  The Rev assures him all will be taken care of, and the couple leaves in a rather awkward fashion—I mean, they just met the little mook last week and they’ve already decided to adopt her?  You can’t tell me they don’t have ulterior motives.

REVEREND: Kim…you don’t seem to be too excited about this…you do like Mr. and Mrs. Kenworthy, don’t you?

“Put yourself in my shoes, Rev…I hadn’t planned on becoming a politician’s concubine so early in my childhood development.”

KIM: Oh, yes…
REVEREND: Well…won’t it be nice to have your own mother and father?
KIM: But I already have a father…
REVEREND: Mr. Jones?

“…and me/Stare at the beautiful women…”  Reverend Chambers tries to explain to Kim that Mr. Jones is just a dweeby kid from Mayberry with ten bucks burning a hole in his pocket and who’ll probably lose a finger in shop class some day while the Honorable Representative Kenworthy is the guy she’s gonna want to hitch her wagon to, even if he and his wife exploit the dickens out of her among their hoity-toity Washington friends.  So Kim asks the good Rev if she should write to Mike about her adoption: “Do you think it will please him?”

“Oh, yes…I’m sure he’ll be very pleased,” Chambers replies.  (I’m beginning to understand why they assigned this guy to a post in Hong Kong.)

MIKE (reading): “…I do not know if I want to go…so I hope you will write to me very soon…and tell me if you are pleased…”
SAM: Well…you don’t look too…happy about it, Mike…
MIKE: Well, gosh, Pa—how would you feel if you got a letter from your daughter…and she isn’t your daughter any more?

“If only I could get a letter like that about my son.”  Both Sam and Alice (who sucks at this whole counseling thing almost as much as her cousin; I’m starting to understand Stacia’s dislike for her, though she’s still not off the hook where Una Merkel and Thelma Ritter are concerned) try to tell Mike that this is really the best thing for Kim Lee: a nice home in Washington, and a family who (allegedly) love her.  “And now all your responsibilities will be over,” Sam concludes.  “You can stop worrying about her report cards and start worrying about your own.”

MIKE: But, Pa…I still say the least they coulda done was ask me about it!
SAM: Well, Mike—you weren’t really all that…deeply involved…I mean, you sent her some money to help her with her tuition…and you exchanged a few letters…but that’s all…
MIKE: I suppose so…
SAM: It was…it was a very nice gesture, Mike…and I’m sure she’s very grateful…but…now that she’s been adopted I’d say everything worked out just great!

Break out the peaches and cream, Cousin Alice!  But Mike is still pretty sulky about this whole situation—and in a scene dissolve, can be found sitting in bed reading Kim’s letter over and over again.  Outside his bedroom door, Sam is moseying down the hall when he sees Mike’s light on through the bottom and he knocks on his door, calling out his name.  Mike then turns off the light quickly and does his patented “pretend-to-be-asleep” gag that worked successfully in the coda to “The Harp”—but Sam has wised up a bit since then.

SAM: Mike…Mike, I know you’re awake…I saw the light under the door… (Mike turns on the lamp by his bed) Do you know it’s almost midnight?  Huh?  What are you doing up so late?
MIKE: Uh…I was reading…
SAM: Reading what?

“Honest, Pa…I found it in Goober’s stack of comic books.  I didn’t know what it was until I looked at the centerfold.”  Sam learns that Mike has been reading Kim the Orphan’s letter again, and is positively gobsmacked by this.  “Come on, Mike—you must know this letter by heart…”

MIKE: Uh…I just wanted to read it again…
SAM: You’re really upset about this, aren’t ya?
MIKE: I’m worried about her, Pa!

“It’s like the guy who writes this blog said earlier—adopting her after just knowing her one week is too convenient!”  Never let it be said that Sam doesn’t try to be a good dad: his idea is to take Mike to Washington (well, he’s got to pick up his subsidy check anyway) and there he can meet with Kim the Orphan as she and her new parents arrive by plane.  Sam will call Reverend Keith in the morning to make all the arrangements.  And with that…

…Mr. Jones goes to Washington.  (Oh, like you wouldn’t have come up with the same joke.)  Sam and Mike are racing through the airport—though it’s not specified whether it’s Washington National, Dulles or BWI my money’s on National—and arriving at the gate are informed that the flight has already landed.  Sam mentions that they might have to look for the family upstairs but Mike’s sharp eye spots an Asian girl in a yellow dress coming through the gate, and she is accompanied by the Kenworthys.  Introductions are made all around.

SAM: …and this must be Kim Lee…
KIM (bowing): So happy to meet you, Honorable Foster Father…
SAM: Uh…no, honey…no…I’m…this is your Honorable Foster Father…
MIKE: How do you do, Kim?
KIM: You are my father?!!
MIKE: That’s right!
KIM: I thought you were going to be bigger

“…and less of a geek!”  As Mike walks with his “daughter,” Sam and the Kenworthys make a bit of small talk, and Mr. Kenworthy invites Sam and Mike to lunch with them “If you have the time.”  This is where we learn that the five of them will be dining in the Capitol Dining Room…because membership has its privileges.  (Mike has a funny moment when he whispers to Sam “Pa—is he a Congressman?” as if it were something to be ashamed of.  Insert your own commentary here.)

MIKE (pulling a gift out of a bag): Kim Lee…I got something for you…
KIM: Oh!
(Mike produces a model of the White House)
MIKE: It’s to make you feel more at home in Washington!
KIM: Oh—it is very pretty!  It is my new house?
MIKE: No, that’s the President’s…but anyone can go inside…

“And you can sleep in the Lincoln bedroom, if the price is right.”  Kim also has something for Mike, though he insists it wasn’t necessary—but Kim counters that it is.  She has brought her latest report card, and she’s worked her way up to a “B+” in math.  Mike excitedly tells Sam about Kim’s progress in arithmetic, and he humorously cracks: “I hope that will be an inspiration to your father over there.”

So as the five of them continue through the airport on their way to lunch, Mike takes Kim the Former Orphan by the hand and instructs her to stick close to him so she won’t get lost.  And if she does get lost, she needs to find a policeman.  And don’t talk to strangers.  Or talk with your mouth full.  And stop tracking mud on my nice clean floor.  (Oy.  This one was gooier than your average Family Affair episode.)

Well, since I spent twelve Word pages on this doggone thing the coda is going to be cut to the quick.  Sam and Mike arrive back at Jones Estates, where Alice and Richard welcome them with open arms.  Mike is telling Richard all about the sights he saw in D.C., and Sam mentions to Alice that the Kenworthys seem to be decent people despite Mr. K’s choice of a career in politics.

ALICE: You know, Richard was telling me that he gave some money to Reverend Keith and now he’s a foster parent…
SAM: Wow!
MIKE: Really, Richard?  Hey, that’s neat!
RICHARD: I just got a picture in the mail…
MIKE: What’s she look like?
RICHARD: I got a son

“But I don’t know about giving him a lot of sage wisdom,” Richard ponders.  “My kid is three years older than I am.”  And while everyone out in YesteryearLand takes a moment to catch their breath from laughter, we’ll…

…fire up the ol’ Alice-o-Meter™, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented invention that measures the number of appearances from Alice Ghostley in the third and final season of Mayberry R.F.D.  (The total is now eight.)  Next week on Mayberry Mondays, another below-par episode that, to its credit, does feature a guest appearance from the son of an Academy Award-winning actor-crooner and a pair of old-time radio veterans…not to mention the final appearance of a recurring minor character played by an actress best known as the chum of one of television’s most popular “domestic engineers.” I do hope you’ll join me for “The Moon Rocks.”

On a personal note: this is the final post in 2012 for TDOY.  I don’t make merry in the way that I used to (the ‘rents will be lucky if they’re still awake past ten) but I still cherish the tradition of wishing all and sundry the happiest of New Years’ celebrations.  Tomorrow, I hope to have a post up on the state of the blog…but for now, we will party like rock stars.  Good night, everybody!


Anonymous said...

Aw, I was waiting for a Woody Allen joke to be worked in. Yes, I meant that.

Re: Stacia.
Una Merkel? Really? All she has to do now is be coarse about Glenda Farrell and she's outta my bookmarks.

Michael's TV Tray said...

Looking forward to Doris Days!

Stacia said...

I love Una Merkel! It's Una O'Connor I hate!

This is what I get for being late to the episode again.

Honestly, I gotta tell you that I don't think it's entirely fair to take all of Mike's money away from him. I don't know what the lesson was supposed to be. "Work hard after school and get gifts once a year, which you should then completely deprive yourself of?" Or maybe "Sure, a camera is educational and might lead to a career or reveal an artistic bent in the boy, but it's better he has nothing ever at all?"

Not that the charity is a bad idea, mind you, but it seems like that's something he should save up for instead of forcing him into it in one fell swoop.

Also, never having given to charity would mean Mike wouldn't have gone off the crazy cliff with the daughter deal, and we can all agree that is for the best.

I can't believe you watched this episode for us. We owe you, like, lots of things.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Stacia frantically waves to get my attention:

I love Una Merkel! It's Una O'Connor I hate!

You know, for some odd reason I must be having acid flashbacks from college because I could have sworn you publicly declared animosity towards Una M...and what's even more weird, I found an old post in which the Merk got a birthday shout-out and you were in complete agreement with me that she is the shiznit. So obviously I'm the one who confused Merkel with Connor--don't know how that could have happened (it's hell getting old), but it did. So you people who ran screaming from She Blogged by Night...please come back. It was all a simple misunderstanding.

Stacia said...

I spent years getting their names confused, so it's possible you remember me saying I hated Una Merkel on Usenet when I meant Una O'Connor. I'm almost positive I had to correct myself on Usenet a few times before I finally got the names straight in my head.