Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Suspense
Show: Night Before Christmas
Date: Dec 24 1951

Buffy was played in the original by Greer Garson

FX:

Theme music

ANNCR:

Suspense!

FX:

Theme music sting

ANNCR:

Tonight, a special program for this holiday season. The unusual dramatization of -- "'Twas the Night before Christmas.

FX:

Theme along with drums

ANNCR:

Good evening, this is Harlow Wilcox. Tonight, as a special Christmas presentation we bring you a story about a certain little girl on a certain Christmas Eve. And now, transcribed, "Twas the Night Before Christmas," hoping once again to keep you in...

FX:

sting

ANNCR:

SUS - PENSE!

FX:

Neutral Christmas music bridge

FX:

Bedroom door is being gently opened...soft shoes on carpet.

BUFFY:

Kathy...Kathy, honey...wake up! Wake up, Kathy. It's the day before Christmas! Oh, and there's so much (to do)

KATHY:

Oh, Miss Buff! It's light out already. You said you were gonna wake me really early today, so we could go to the airport and meet them.

BUFFY:

Come on, up you get. Let's get you dressed.

KATHY:

Buffy, they're going to be waiting for me, and you didn't wake me. I know what -- they're home already!

FX:

Kathy runs out to look

BUFFY:

Kathy!

KATHY:

Mommy -- Daddy -- where are you? Daddy? Mommy? (pause) Buffy, they're not in their bedroom! Where are they?

BUFFY:

(off mike) Kathy --

KATHY:

I know -- I bet they're in the kitchen already having their coffee.

FX:

She runs to kitchen

KATHY:

(breathlessly) Mom --

FX:

more walking around

KATHY:

Miss Buff, they're not home?

BUFFY:

I know, honey.

KATHY:

The clock in the kitchen said 8: 30.

BUFFY:

(upbeat) Kathy, here put this on, dear. You told me you wanted to wear this dress today. That's why I ironed it for you.

KATHY:

Miss Buff?

BUFFY:

Yes dear?

KATHY:

Why aren't they here?

BUFFY:

Oh, they'll be here.

KATHY:

But when I talked to Mommy on the telephone yesterday, she said she would be here at 6 this morning. And I promised he I'd meet her at the airport -- her and Dad.

BUFFY:

I know...

KATHY:

And Daddy said he had a surprise he was bringing for me, all the way from Paris. It's 8: 30, Buffy. Let's go out to the airport now.

BUFFY:

Oh, but there's so many things to do first -- you've got to get your breakfast, and we have to finish decorating the tree, and uh, oh there's so many things I want you to help me with --

KATHY:

Oh, everything can wait, Buffy. Hurry, I promised to meet them!

BUFFY:

(a bit sadly) No dear.

KATHY:

Why not. Buff?

BUFFY:

Well I think we'll -- we'll wait for them here. Kathy?

KATHY:

Yes?

BUFFY:

Do you remember what you promised your Mommy and Dad? That you'd do everything I asked you while they were away?

KATHY:

(Quietly) Yes.

BUFFY:

Then, let's wait for them here, hmm?

KATHY:

Alright, Buffy.

FX:

Music bridge transition

FX:

Wall clock chimes the hour.

KATHY:

It's noon. Buff.

BUFFY:

(worried) I know.

KATHY:

Don't you think they might have called and told us they'd be late?

BUFFY:

Oh...I'11 go and make our lunch, you must be very hungry.


KATHY:

No I'm not.

BUFFY:

But you didn't eat your breakfast, Kathy.

KATHY:

Miss Buff, I'm not hungry.

BUFFY:

Look! Oh look, it's snowing, honey! We'll have a nice warm lunch and then we'll go out for a long walk, hmm?

KATHY:

(almost to herself) They should have called...

BUFFY:

Tell you what, Kathy. We'll take our walk first. We'll see the shops. We'll visit. We'll go and see Johnny, and your Aunt and Uncle -- maybe if it snows hard enough we can all build a snowman. Wouldn't you like that?

KATHY:

Yes, that would be fun!

BUFFY:

(laughs) Well, go get your coat and hat and galoshes.

KATHY:

Alright. And -- and when we come back. Mommy and Daddy will be home.

BUFFY:

Well, you go and get your things now.

FX:

Phone rings.

KATHY:

(Excited) Oh I'll get it! I'll get it Buffy!

FX:

Picks up phone

KATHY:

Mommy!?

Oh who is this. Daddy?

Is, umm --

oh, from the newspaper.

I see.

(to Buffy) It's a man. Buff. He says he wants to talk to an older person. Here.

BUFFY:

Hello?

Yes, this is the Harper residence, I'm the housekeeper. I-- Well, just a moment please --

(to Kathy) Kathy --

KATHY:

Who is it?

BUFFY:

Someone wants to talk to me, honey, will you go get your things?

KATHY:

No...Who are you talking to, Buffy?

BUFFY:

Never mind, dear, go and get your things.

KATHY:

No... No I won't.

BUFFY:

(strained, after a pause) Hello?

[I'm from the News and I have a few questions fer ya.]

I... I see.

[Uh, did you see this morning's paper?]

Yes...yes I saw the papers.

[Was that Mr. Howard's little girl on the phone?]

Yes, yes that was the daughter.

Yes the only child.

[does she, uh, know about the missing plane?]

No, she doesn't.

[Can I talk to her about it?]

No!

[drop by for a picture?]

No, no I wish you wouldn't. Please, don't, here. No --

FX:

Phone is set down

KATHY:

Who was he?

BUFFY:

Oh, just a man, honey.

KATHY:

He was from the newspapers...why? What did he want?

BUFFY:

Nothing.

KATHY:

He asked about me, didn't he. Why?

BUFFY:

Honestly honey, it was nothing.

KATHY:

It was about Mommy and Daddy.

BUFFY:

Oh, it wasn't anything important.

KATHY:

Buff? --

BUFFY:

Yes dear?

KATHY:

(paused, then almost whispered) I-- I don't know.

BUFFY:

Look at that snow coming down, Kathy! Get your things, dear, go on.

FX:

Music bridge - minor key

FX:

Street scene with light traffic continues throughout scene.

FX:

Carolers singing "Angels we have heard on high"

BUFFY:

Don't they sing beautifully, Kathy?

KATHY:

(without enthusiasm) Very lovely.

BUFFY:

This street, and all the decorations, and the singers,...

KATHY:

It's very lovely. Miss Buff.

KATHY:

Honey, here. Give this to the man.

FX:

Coin dropping in (beggar's) cup

BEGGAR:

Well, thank you. Thank you missy, (fading off) Merry Christmas!

KATHY:

Let's go Home now.

BUFFY:

In a little while. Don't you remember, we were going visiting, too!

KATHY:

Mommy and Daddy are probably home right now, waiting for me! And wondering where I am.

BUFFY:

-- and we'll build a snowman together, like I said. Come on, honey. (Pause) I remember when I was a little girl, how excited I'd get. Oh, all the wonderful things to see -- the sights and the smells -- and the sounds...the pretty shop windows in the snow...To be a little girl at Christmastime, to be young at Christmastime, and happy, and --

FX:

(Streetcorner Santa's bell has snuck in by this point.)

KATHY:

What's the matter, Buffy?

BUFFY:

Oh Kathy --

KATHY:

Buffy?

BUFFY:

Let me hold you! Oh Kathy darling!

KATHY:

Buffy, you're crying!

BUFFY:

I'm just silly, I guess! (trying to recover composure) Oh look, there's Santa Claus watching us! Let's say hello to him.

KATHY:

You WERE crying.

BUFFY:

(Bravely) Hello, Santa.

SANTA:

(Off-mike) Merry Christmas! And Merry Christmas little girl!

KATHY:

Merry Christmas.

SANTA:

Why, you're a pretty little girl! What's your name?

KATHY:

Kathy.

SANTA:

Ahh. That's a nice name for a nice little girl like you.

KATHY:

Thank You.

SANTA:

And I can tell, you've been a GOOD little girl! I saw the way your Mommy was holding you.

KATHY:

She's Miss Buff. My Mommy's away. Daddy too. We're taking a walk to make them come home.

SANTA:

Oh, and where are they?

KATHY:

(after reflection) I don't know...I don't know. (starts to cry) I don't know!

FX:

Minor-key music

FX:

Knock on door.

UNCLE:

Kathy! Kathy, come in darling! And Miss Buff, how are you, come in, come in. (turns) Mother! Mother, guess who's here!

FX:

Aunt walks in.

AUNT:

Why it's Kathy! And Miss Buff!

KATHY:

Hello Aunt (Margaret)

BUFFY:

Hello, Mrs Cleveland.

AUNT:

Take your things off. We've got a big fire in the living room. And WAIT 'til you see our Christmas tree, Kathy!

KATHY:

I'm sure it's very beautiful.

UNCLE:

I'll bet Kathy came to see her cousin Johnny, didn't she?

KATHY:

(laughs a bit) Yes I did. Uncle Ted. I would like to see him very much.

UNCLE:

Do you know what that boy of mine did. Miss Buff?

BUFFY:

No...

UNCLE:

He FOUND the trains!

BUFFY:

Oh, he did?

UNCLE:

After I took so much trouble to hide them out in the garage, he found them. So of course I had to set them up for him. Well, it's the day BEFORE Christmas. He's in his room now, Kathy.

KATHY:

Yes, I would like to play with the trains.

UNCLE:

Of course you would, (calls out) Johnny!

JOHNNY:

(always off mike) I can't come out Daddy, I'm busy!

AUNT:

Kathy's here!

JOHNNY:

Hey, come on up and play with my trains, Kathy! You oughtta see! I got 'em all hitched up now.

BUFFY:

Go on, Kathy.

KATHY:

Alright.

FX:

Pause while she quietly walks away.

Sounds of trains set begin under next speech.

UNCLE:

(conspiratorily) I've been on the phone since 7 this morning, Miss Buff, and there just isn't any word at all about the plane.

JOHNNY:

Look! Look, Look!

BUFFY:

A man from the newspaper called the house -- I told him to stay away.

AUNT:

Does the child know?

JOHNNY:

(Laughs)

BUFFY:

I -- I think she does.

AUNT:

What did you tell her?

BUFFY:

Nothing! How do you tell a child, Mrs. Cleveland?

JOHNNY:

Lookit it go!

UNCLE:

What I can't understand is why no word at all? The plane took off from Paris and there was radio contact over Ireland from what I could find out -- but since then, nothing.

AUNT:

You'd better tell her, Ted.

BUFFY:

Tell me what?

UNCLE:

Well, there was a storm. Over the ocean. A pretty bad storm. They said --

FX:

Pause as Kathy walks back up

KATHY:

Miss Buff --

BUFFY:

Yes darling?

KATHY:

I just figured out something. It's about Mommy and Daddy.

BUFFY:

Oh Kathy --

KATHY:

They're not coming home. They're not ever coming home.

FX:

Sad music builds to climax

ANNCR:

You're listening to Miss Greer Garson with Ann Whitfield as Kathy in "Twas the Night Before Christmas," tonight's production in radio's outstanding theatre of thrills, SUSPENSE! (BIG MUSIC CHORDS)

FX:

Theme music up

ANNCR:

And now, we bring back to our soundstage Miss Greer Garson in our production of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," a tale well-calculated to keep you in -- SUSPENSE!

FX:

Dramatic music

FX:

Car and street sounds, walking in the snow.

BUFFY:

Br-r-r-r, it's going to be good to get inside the house, Kathy. Oh, look at you, you look almost like the snowman you and Johnny built. Here, let me brush you off a bit before we go inside.

KATHY:

There's a man there.

BUFFY:

What'd you say, darling?

KATHY:

Right there, standing by the door. A man.

BUFFY:

Hello...

REPORTER:

Good evening, miss. Hello, little girl. This your house?

KATHY:

(wary) Yes, I live here.

BUFFY:

Who are you, what do you want?

REPORTER:

Well, then you'd be the Harpers' little girl, wouldn't you?

KATHY:

Yes....

BUFFY:

I asked you who are you?

REPORTER:

Now don't worry about it, ma'am. I just want to take a picture of the little girl. Do you want your picture taken, little girl?

KATHY:

Buffy --

BUFFY:

You're the reporter I talked to this morning, aren't you!

KATHY:

And uh, we'll want one of you too, ma'am.

FX:

Camera being readied.

BUFFY:

Here, get in the house Kathy. Don't stand there dear, get in the house -- I'll be in in a moment.

FX:

She walks up stairs, opens door, goes in.

BUFFY:

It's Christmas Eve, Mr. Reporter -- did you know that?

REPORTER:

Aww, now look ma'am, I've got a (job to do)

BUFFY:

It's Christmas Eve. Where's your heart?

REPORTER:

Now look, you've gotta understand, I talked to ya on the phone, it was almost ten hours ago -- before noon. It's nighttime already, there still isn't any word about the plane, and I represent a newspaper ma'am, we've got to assume -- well, you know I don't want to say it any more than you do.

BUFFY:

Oh, just go away!

REPORTER:

Oh, now, really, I've gotta --

BUFFY:

Were you...were you ever -- lonely -- on Christmas Eve? Alone in a house that's empty? While outside other people were singing? Where there was warmth, and love, and joy -- but outside?

REPORTER:

I'm just tryin' to do (my job)

BUFFY:

Christmas Eve! The snow is falling. Christmas Eve...and a child is grieving.

REPORTER:

(hushed) Yeah. I'm sorry. Goodnight ma'am.

FX:

He walks away. She walks inside after a moment.

KATHY:

I'm in the living room, Buffy!

BUFFY:

I just had a wonderful thought.

KATHY:

Yes?

BUFFY:

Let's have a secret.

KATHY:

What, Buffy?

BUFFY:

Let's not wait until tomorrow.

KATHY:

What do you mean?

BUFFY:

We'll go to our tree and open some of our presents now! Maybe just one. Hmm? Choose the one with the most beautiful wrapping; you can open it and you can play with it now, while I go and fix something for you to eat.

KATHY:

I'm not hungry. Buff. Honestly, I'm not.

BUFFY:

Well just some milk and cookies, honey. You haven't eaten since --

KATHY:

Oh alright.

BUFFY:

Well then, let's choose. Go ahead. Pick one.

KATHY:

Alright...That one.

BUFFY:

Uhh Hmm. It's from Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, next door. Open it.

KATHY:

You open it, Buffy.

BUFFY:

Very Well.

FX:

Sounds of wrapping being torn open.

BUFFY:

Ohhh, look!

KATHY:

(whispers) It's very nice.

BUFFY:

A carousel! Well! I'll wind it for you.

FX:

Music box being wound up and set down.

BUFFY:

And we'll put it down here. Now. You watch it. When it runs down you can wind it up again. I'm going into the kitchen.

FX:

She walks away for a moment. The box runs slower. She walks back in.

BUFFY:

Kathy, here's your -- Kathy...

Kathy honey, where are you?

Kathy, your milk and cookies are on the table. Kathy?!

Are you in your room Kathy?

FX:

She walks up and tries the door.

BUFFY:

Kathy?

Kathy honey!

(finally alarmed) Kathy!

FX:

She runs out front door towards street

BUFFY:

(yells, panicked) Kathy!

FX:

Music up full

FX:

traffic conies up in BG

FX:

Doorbell rings. Door opens.

ANDERSON:

Why, Miss Buff!

BUFFY:

(breathlessly) Mr. Anderson, is Kathy here?

ANDERSON:

Well, why. No...is, uh (anything wrong?)

BUFFY:

Well would you mind asking Mrs. Anderson if Kathy's here? Maybe she came in through the back way.

ANDERSON:

Well Mrs. Anderson and I have been sitting in the living room for the last hour. Why what's the matter. Miss Buff?

BUFFY:

Kathy ran out of the house.

ANDERSON:

Oh, poor child. I can imagine how she must feel...

BUFFY:

I thought she might have come over here, next door -- she just ran out of the house; I don't know where she is...(sobs)

ANDERSON:

Poor child like that, and this happened to her today -- wait, I'll get my coat Miss Buff, and I'll come with you.

FX:

Music briefly up

FX:

Children playing in snow.

BUFFY:

(calls) Paul! Paul!

PAUL:

(coming closer) Want a sled ride. Miss Buff?

BUFFY:

Paul, Listen --

PAUL:

Oh hi, Mr. Anderson. Want a ride? I'm goin' all the way down the hill for three blocks! They've got it roped off.

ANDERSON:

Paul, have you seen Kathy?

PAUL:

Sure.

BUFFY:

Well where is she?

PAUL:

I dunno.

BUFFY:

Where is she, Paul? Where did she go?

PAUL:

How am I supposed to know where she went?

ANDERSON:

But you saw her, didn't you?

PAUL:

Sure. She was running down the block. I yelled at her to come on over but she kept running.

ANDERSON:

Which way, Paul?

PAUL:

Down there, I guess. Where the stores are.

ANDERSON:

Thank you Paul.

PAUL:

Sure. Merry Christmas, Mr. Anderson. Merry Christmas, Miss Buff. (turns away) Hey, watch!

FX:

Sound of sled?

FX:

Music Bridge

RUXT:

She hasn't been in MY store Miss Buff, and I'm the only one on the block who's open. Last minute Christmas rush, you know.

BUFFY:

Thank you Mr. Ruxt.

RUXT:

Say, now that kid 'n' what happened to that plane today -- I'd sure let the police know she was missing.

ANDERSON:

I think he's right. Miss Buff.

BUFFY:

Call them, please. Call them.

RUXT:

Oh, uh, use this phone Mr. Anderson.

ANDERSON:

Thank you.

FX:

Picks up phone. Dials operator.

ANDERSON:

Hello, Operator? Give me the police.

Hello, police? I want to report a little girl who's missing.

Uh huh. Kathy Harper.

Well, she's got blond hair, blue eyes--

FX:

Music sneaks in under this.

ANDERSON:

(fading out) Oh wait a second, I'll find out.

FX:

Music up full, then fade

FX:

Traffic again, with walking, then door opening.

ANDERSON:

Now, you just go in the house. Miss Buff. I'm sure they'll find her.

BUFFY:

It's ten o'clock. They've been looking for three hours.

ANDERSON:

Oh, they have ways. They'll find her.

BUFFY:

We waited in that station house. All the policemen who phoned in - none of them.

ANDERSON:

Now you just go in the house now, I'll send Mrs. Anderson over.

BUFFY:

No, no really. I'd rather you wouldn't.

ANDERSON:

Well...

BUFFY:

Goodnight Mr. Anderson. and thank you.

FX:

She walks in, closes door. traffic sounds fade out.

FX:

Winding of carousel, which then plays.

BUFFY:

(Sobs quietly.)

FX:

Sharp knock on door.

BUFFY:

(Sobs, walks over, blows nose, then opens door.)

Yes?

POLICE:

I'm Patrolman Reed, ma'am.

BUFFY:

You found Kathy?!

POLICE:

Yes ma'am.

BUFFY:

Where is she?

POLICE:

You'd better come with me, ma'am.

FX:

Music builds up and dies away

FX:

Church choir sings (with organ?)

POLICE:

There she is, ma'am. In the second pew.

BUFFY:

(after a pause) Oh, Kathy, child.

POLICE:

(another pause) Christmas Eve. Church shoulda been the first place we shoulda looked for that kid.

FX:

Hymn finishes

BUFFY:

(quietly) Kathy. Let's go home now, darling.

KATHY:

(whispered) Alright.

FX:

Music, sad and tender, builds to minor-key "First Noel."

BUFFY:

There we are, all tucked in.

KATHY:

It's almost Christmas, isn't it?

BUFFY:

Yes, darling.

KATHY:

You going to read to me?

BUFFY:

Well, of course. You just lie there.

KATHY:

Buffy?

BUFFY:

Yes darling?

KATHY:

Nothing. Just read to me.

FX:

Pages of a book being flipped open. Buffy sniffs.

BUFFY:

(fighting back tears during)

Twas the Night before Christmas

when all through the House

Not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

in hopes that Saint Nicholaus soon would be there.

FX:

Ever so faintly a choir begins humming 'O Holy Night'

BUFFY:

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap

had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

FX:

a distant church bell starts to toll midnight

BUFFY:

And out on the lawn there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

tore open the shutters and threw open the sash.

The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow

gave a lustre of midday to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear

but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

FX:

Santa's jingle bells quietly in distance.

BUFFY:

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.

"Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Pracer and Vixen.

On Comet, On Cupid, On Donder and Blitzen

To the top of the porch; to the top of the wall;

Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"

FX:

A door buzzer stops the music and effects.

KATHY:

Buffy!!

BUFFY:

(whispered) Oh Dear Lord.

FX:

Kathy runs downstairs, flings open the door.

KATHY:

Mommy! Daddy!

MOM:

MERRY CHRISTMAS KATHY!

DAD:

Kathy Baby!

KATHY:

(Sobbing)

DAD:

Hey, hey, it's Christmas! We don't cry on Christmas!

KATHY:

I thought --

MOM:

Ohhh, baby, baby!

DAD:

Hey, how about a big hug for me!

KATHY:

Oh, Daddy!

DAD:

Ah, that's my girl.

MOM:

Where's Miss Buff?

KATHY:

I was in bed -- she was reading to me --

DAD:

Bed's the place for you. Come on, I'll carry you.

KATHY:

(sniffling) Buff! It's Mommy! It's Daddy!

BUFFY:

I know darling, I know!

DAD:

Hello Buffy! Merry Christmas.

MOM:

Merry Christmas, Buff!

DAD:

We had to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland. Small field, communications were shot, that storm...

BUFFY:

(crying) Yes, yes, let's not talk about it any more.

KATHY:

Buffy was reading me a wonderful thing about the night before Christmas.

DAD:

Here...I'11 put you in bed, Kathy.

There. There you are.

Read it to us, Buffy.

BUFFY:

Hmm?

DAD:

To all of us.

BUFFY:

Oh uh, well I uh, I lost my place, I --

MOM:

Read it, Buffy.

BUFFY:

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly

when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

with a sleigh-full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof

the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head and was turning around

down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.

FX:

Choir again, singing the words

BUFFY:

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

and looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth

and the smoke - it encircled his head, like a wreath.

He had a broad face, and a little round belly

that shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump - a right jolly old elf.

And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head

soon gave me to know I had -- nothing to dread --

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work.

Filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

and laying his finger aside of his nose,

and giving a nod,

up the chimney he rose!

FX:

Jingle Bells, once more.

BUFFY:

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

and away they all flew like the down on a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight.

Happy Christmas to All, and to all a good night.

FX:

Choir up full, with trumpets and organ.

ANNCR:

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just heard a dramatization of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," tonight's production of Suspense. Suspense is transcribed and directed by Elliot Lewis. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was written for Suspense by Morton Fine and David Freidkin. Ann Whitfield starred as Kathy, and included in tonight's cast were: (INSERT) Merry Christmas to all! And to all, a good night!

FX:

Choir sings "Silent Night."