Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: The Screen Guild Theater
Show: A Letter to Three Wives
Date: Nov 03 1949

CAST:
LORA MAE, wife of Porter
PORTER, husband of Lora Mae
DEBBY, wife of Brad
RITA, wife of George
GEORGE
ADDIE ROSS, who writes the letter
BABE, Lora Mae's obnoxious sister
MA, Lora Mae's mother
NICK, Babe's boyfriend
CAPTAIN
MAN
VERNE SMITH, announcer
GEORGE BARCLAY, announcer
NBC ANNOUNCER (1 line)

SMITH:

(COLD) The Camel Screen Guild Theatre!

MUSIC:

FIRST PHRASE OF "HOW MILD"

SMITH:

Our stars tonight.....Linda Darnell and Paul Douglas!

MUSIC:

SECOND PHRASE OF "HOW MILD"

SMITH:

Our play......."A Letter to Three Wives".

MUSIC:

COMPLETE "HOW MILD"

SMITH:

Our hosts .... the makers of Camel Cigarettes!

QUARTET:

How mild, how mild, how mild can a cigarette be?
Make the Camel thirty-day test and you'll see. ....
Smoke Camels and see --

SMITH:

No throat irritation......Not one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels -- that's what noted throat specialists reported in a coast-to-coast test of hundreds of people who smoked only Camels for thirty days! That's how mild Camels are!

BARCLAY:

Make a note. Remember your throat. Try Camels today!

MUSIC:

INTO PLAY THEME AND FADE OUT INTO:

SMITH:

And now, while you discover the smoking enjoyment of Camel Cigarettes, for your listening enjoyment, the Camel Screen Guild Theatre brings you one of the most provocative & exciting pictures of the year - with the two great stars who made it so absorbing on the screen. For the first time on the air, the Camel Screen Guild Theatre is proud to present "A Letter to Three Wives" starring Paul Douglas & Linda Darnell.

MUSIC:

(FULL INTO PLAY THEME...AND DOWN, TO HOLD UNDER:)

ADDIE:

(SOFTLY) The name of the town isn't important...Like thousands of others it's on a river, and it's got houses and schools and churches and stores...you've seen them before...drugs, shoes, groceries...all the little chain stores that breed like rabbits....Yes, and all kinds of people - good, bad, some of them charitable - like Debby, Rita, and Lora Mae. They're being charitable this very morning. They're taking some underprivileged children down the river... (BOAT PUFFING IN B. G.) There's the excursion boat, just leaving now...(EXCITED KIDS IN B. G.) And there are the children... And my three dear friends standing by the rail...(SOFTLY, SMILING) And of course they haven't the slightest idea - but I've prepared a little surprise for them... (MUSIC CUTS)

CAPTAIN:

(EMBARRASSED) Uh - excuse me, ladies - don't mean to intrude, but --

LORA MAE:

It's all right, Captain. What's on your mind?

CAPTAIN:

It's Miss Addie Ross...

RITA:

(DRILY) That Addie really gets around, doesn't she?

CAPTAIN:

She come down and left this here letter with me. Said to give it to you ladies after we started.

DEBBY:

A letter? That's strange...

LORA MAE:

Why's it strange? You know how that character likes to be a character...Open it, Rita.

DEBBY:

(PREMONITION) No. Let's wait!

RITA:

For what, Debby?

DEBBY:

Till we get back.... Knowing Addie - I mean, why let her spoil our day?

RITA:

Not my day. Addie Ross never saw the day she could spoil my day. Did I get enough days into that?...(ENVELOPE RIPS) There we are...Now let's have a look...(MUSIC HITS FAINTLY)

ADDIE:

(FILTER) Dearest Debby, Lora Mae and Rita...

RITA:

Tactful, isn't she? Even put us in alphabetical order.

ADDIE:

(FILTER) You don't know it, of course, but I'm leaving this morning. I'm leaving for good. You three will have to carry on without me...

LORA MAE:

That's the best news since V.J. Day!

DEBBY:

Shh, Lora Mae - let's hear the rest.

ADDIE:

(FILTER) It isn't easy to leave a town like ours, to tear myself away from you dear, dear girls who have always meant so much to me...And so I'm taking a sort of memento along. Something to remind me of the town that was my home, and my three dearest friends whom I want never to forget...And I won't forget...Because, you see, girls - I've run off with one of your husbands.

MUSIC:

(HITS HARD...AND DOWN FAST TO HOLD UNDER:)

ADDIE:

(SOFTLY) A little startled, aren't you, girls? Too bad you can't get to a telephone...Oh, well, you've got the whole day to think it over. And a boat's such a grand place for thinking, isn't it? (CHUGGING MOTOR, UNDER) That chugging motor is so restful and soothing... (WICKEDLY) Don't you think so, Debby? Isn't it soothing? (MUSIC CUTS)

DEBBY:

Brad --

ADDIE:

(FILTER) Is it Brad? Is it Brad? Is it Brad? Is it Brad? (FADING...LEAVING CHUGGING MOTOR UNDER) Is it Brad? Is it Brad? Is it Brad? Is it Brad?....

DEBBY:

(TO SELF, TENSE) No...No, it couldn't be Brad - It couldn't...and yet...marrying me the way he did - when I was in the WACs, in uniform...He'd never seen me in an evening gown - I'd never had an evening gown... And then bringing me home - where everybody knew him and admired him...and me so awkward and scared...I've always been scared!....And - and he did go into town today...on business, he said...for Addie Ross!...But it couldn't be Brad! If it was, I'd die.

MUSIC:

(HITS HARD...AND DOWN FAST TO HOLD UNDER:) (MOTOR UNDER)

ADDIE:

(SOFTLY) Poor Debby, you're so worried, aren't you?.... And, Rita, how about you?...How do you like the boat ride, darling?...Do you find that motor soothing, too?...Do you, dear?...Do you?... (MUSIC CUTS)

RITA:

George --!

ADDIE:

(FILTER) Is it George? Is it George? Is it George? Is it George? (FADING...LEAVING CHUGGING MOTOR UNDER:) Is it George? Is it George? Is it George? Is it George? ...

RITA:

(TO SELF, TENSE) It's silly!...George is too fine, too decent, too sensible!...But then...he's always liked Addie - they were always laughing together... And he didn't go fishing this morning...first day of the season... I've never known him to miss it before...And if he didn't go fishing, where did he go? Where?

MUSIC:

(HITS HARD...AND DOWN FAST TO HOLD UNDER:) (MOTOR UNDER)

ADDIE:

(SOFTLY) Poor Rita, you've been so edgy lately... (CHUGGING MOTOR UNDER) And you, Lora Mae - you're worried too, aren't you, darling?...You're thinking, too, aren't you, dear?....(MUSIC CUTS)

LORA MAE:

(GRIMLY) Porter --!

ADDIE:

(FILTER) Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is it Porter? (FADING...LEAVING CHUGGING MOTOR UNDER) Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is It Porter? Is it Porter?...

LORA MAE:

(TO SELF, GRIM) Who cares? I've got everything I want...No living across the tracks any more...practically right on the tracks...(TRAIN RUSHING BY, CLOSE...DISHES RATTLE LOUDLY)...the whole place shaking like it had the palsy, every time a train went by... The dishes rattling... the door of the ice-box popping open...(TRAIN IS FADING)...And Ma always sitting in the kitchen... the kitchen... 'cause we didn't have any parlor to sit in... And the first night I ever had a date with Porter - (FADING) - My kid sister Babe yelling her head off...

BABE:

Ma, just because she's going out with Mister Porter Hollingsway, does she hafta keep the bathroom an hour?

MA:

(YELLS) Lora Mae! Leave your sister into the bathroom!

BABE:

After all, I got a date, too - a respectable date!

SOUND:

SHARP SLAP...BABE HOWLS

MA:

That's your sister you're talking about.

BABE:

I don't care, I think it's disgusting! He's thirty-five if he's a day!

MA:

I wish I was that disgustin' again.

BABE:

How do you think I feel, having my friends talking about my sister?

MA:

Your sister is a decent girl, and there's nothin' wrong in goin' out with the boss and talkin' over a new job... (YELLS) Lora Mae!... (DOOR OPENS OFF)

LORA MAE:

(SLIGHTLY OFF, GENTEEL) Yes, Mother?

BABE:

You don't own that bathroom! There's other people in the house!

LORA MAE:

(COMING IN) But you're such a quiet little thing, dear, one never knows you're about.

BABE:

(FADING) I still think it's disgusting! (DOOR SLAMS, OFF)

LORA MAE:

How do I look, Ma?

MA:

If I was you, I'd show more of what I got. Maybe wear somethin' with beads.....

LORA MAE:

What I got don't need beads.

MA:

(CRITICAL) What's your new job gonna be - somethin' secret like a spy? Somethin' he couldn't talk about in the office?

LORA MAE:

All right, I'm gonna disgrace the fair name of Finney! Wait'll it snows and throw me out!

MA:

You just remember you're a decent girl! You're ---

SOUND:

(CAR HORN HONKS IMPERIOUSLY, OFF)

MA:

There he is. That's him. Ya got everything?

LORA MAE:

(CALM) I've got everything. (DOOR OPENS OFF)

BABE:

(OFF) Hey, he's out in front! A car a block long!

MA:

Lora Mae, he's waitin'! Go on!

LORA MAE:

Relax. (CAR HORN HONKS AGAIN, OFF)

BABE:

(OFF) He blew his horn again!

LORA MAE:

(CALLS) It ain't Gabriel. Relax.

MA:

My nerves can't take this! ... What are you waitin' for?

SOUND:

(KNOCKING ON DOOR...OFF)

LORA MAE:

That's what I was waiting for. This ain't a drive-in. Anybody wants me, can come in and get me..

MUSIC:

(ACCENTS....AND FADES OUT INTO)

SOUND:

(LOW EFFECTS OF RESTAURANT)

PORTER:

Go ahead..try your cordial....

LORA MAE:

What a pretty shade of green.... What's it called?

PORTER:

Creme de menthe. Tastes like peppermint.

LORA MAE:

It isn't too strong, is it?

PORTER:

Wouldn't hurt a baby.

LORA MAE:

We-ll....I'll just have to trust you...(SIPS...THEN) Mmm. Good....my, when I think of all the wonderful things you know about that I've never even heard of...

PORTER:

I got a few years head start.

LORA. MAE:

Now, don't go making yourself out an old man, Mr. Hollingsway --

PORTER:

Let's make it Porter.

LORA MAE:

--- why, a man isn't really grown up till, say, thirty-five at the least.....

PORTER:

(LIKES IT) Yeah.... (THEN) How'd you like the dinner?

LORA MAE:

Simply delicious.... This is such a lovely place. I've heard of it, though, of course, I've never been here.

PORTER:

It's got class. That's why I like it. I like class. Come here all the time.

LORA MAE:

With the other young ladies you want to talk to about new duties at the store?

PORTER:

Let's not talk business.

LORA MAE:

But, I thought that's what this dinner was for, Mr. Hollingsway.

PORTER:

We'll get around to it.....What do you do with yourself after working hours -- say, nights?

LORA MAE:

I have my family and my friends, of course.

PORTER:

Boy friends?

LORA MAE:

Isn't that getting a little personal?

PORTER:

A girl like you, I'll bet there's plenty. Who's out in front?

LORA MAE:

(STERN) I don't happen to be a girl who talks about her private life, Mr. Hollingsway. What I do with my private life is my own personal business and nobody else's.

PORTER:

(RELIEVED) That's swell.... (THEN) Uh - getting stuffy in here, don't you think?.....It's swell out tonight. Let's take a ride.

MUSIC:

(ACCENTS...AND FADES OUT INTO)

SOUND:

(CAR...SLOWING...TO STOP....BRAKE PULLED ON)

PORTER:

View is swell, up here on the hill.... see the lights for miles.....

LORA MAE:

It's lovely..... (PAUSE) Are we going to talk about business now?

PORTER:

(SMILES) You're smart.

LORA MAE:

Thanks.

PORTER:

Plenty smart....(MOVING TOWARD HER) Pretty, too..... pretty enough for ---

LORA MAE:

(STOPS HIM) Mr. Hollingsway....... I was just thinking - Miss Lipke is leaving next week.....

PORTER:

(MIND ON OTHER THINGS) Yeah.

LORA MAE:

And if Miss Goldberg moves up, you'll need a new assistant supervisor.

PORTER:

Like flies around honey...

LORA MAE:

Hmmmmm?

PORTER:

You and your boy friends.

LORA MAE:

I thought we'd settled that.

PORTER:

I want to talk about it some more.

LORA MAE:

(SMILES) What makes you so interested in my boy friends?

PORTER:

What do you think?

LORA MAE:

I've got very definite ideas.

PORTER:

Like what?

LORA MAE:

(SLOWLY) Well....there's never been anybody in particular.. nobody special....

PORTER:

You've been waiting for that one guy to come along....

LORA MAE:

I've got very definite ideas....

PORTER:

(SURE OF HIMSELF NOW) And what's he got to be like, this one guy -- ?

LORA MAE:

(SOFTLY) Somebody that wants to marry me more than anything in the world.

PORTER:

(RETREATING) You sure got wrong ideas about things.

LORA MAE:

They may be wrong, but they're definite...(A PAUSE)...Well. Tomorrow's another working day. Shall we go?

PORTER:

(GRIMLY) Yeah!

MUSIC:

(IN FULL.....FOR CURTAIN)

(APPLAUSE)

 

SMITH:

Now a brief intermission and time for a smoke! Are you enjoying a mild cigarette?

QUARTET:

How mild,
How mild,
How mild can a cigarette be?
Make the Camel thirty-day test
And you'll see......

BARCLAY:

Not one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels -- that's what noted throat specialists reported in a coast-to-coast test of hundreds of men and women who smoked only Camels for thirty days!

SMITH:

The smokers in this test averaged one to two packs a day. At the end of each week during the test period, throat specialists made careful examinations of the throats of these smokers. The reports of every one of the doctors were the same: Not one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels! That's how mild Camels are!

BARCLAY:

Make a note. Remember your throat. Try Camels today!

SMITH:

Camel Cigarettes now present the Screen Guild Players in Act II of "A Letter to Three Wives" starring Linda Darnell and Paul Douglas.

MUSIC:

(FULL INTO PLAY THEME..AND DOWN TO HOLD UNDER)

SMITH:

It's a little later now. Our three wives are still on the excursion boat - still knowing no more than they did before, still wondering which one of them has lost her husband to Addie Ross ...... (CHUGGING MOTOR UNDER) And through the monotonous pulse of the motor, Lora Mae can still hear Addie's voice. (MUSIC CUTS)

ADDIE:

(FILTER) Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is it Porter? (FADING....LEAVING CHUGGING MOTOR UNDER) Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is it Porter? Is it Porter?

LORA MAE:

(TO SELF, GRIMLY) Class.....that's what he wanted, class...The only trouble was he wanted me, too....I kept telling him no, and he kept coming back. I guess we broke up a dozen times at least. But I had him running around in circles. And then - that night - the night we went to his place....... (CHUGGING MOTOR CUTS)

PORTER:

Well....this is it...... How do you like it?

LORA MAE:

It's the most beautiful house I've ever seen. There's just about everything anybody'd want.

PORTER:

You name it, I've got it... (PAUSE) Started snowing again....

LORA MAE:

(ABSTRACTED) Yes....

PORTER:

(PAUSE) Looks like it's going to be a white Christmas....

LORA MAE:

(ABSTRACTED) Yes... (PAUSE) You were married once, weren't you?

PORTER:

How's that creme de menthe?

LORA MAE:

Perfect....Is that her picture on the piano?

PORTER:

My wife? I wouldn't even have her fingerprints in the house!

LORA MAE:

Then.... that must be Addie Ross.

PORTER:

How'd you know?

LORA MAE:

Oh, I read the society page...'Addie Ross was squired, as usual, by Porter Hollingsway'....(PAUSE) She's beautiful, all right. She sort of looks like a queen, doesn't she?

PORTER:

Like a queen ought to look.

LORA MAE:

I imagine you must be - very good friends.

PORTER:

I helped her with some investments. She gave me that last Christmas.

LORA MAE:

Almost a year ago.....

PORTER:

Yeah...Just never bothered to put it away, I guess. (A PAUSE, THEN LOW, HUSKILY) Lora Mae.....

LORA MAE:

(HALF WHISPER) No..No, Porter - please --

PORTER:

Why not? One kiss?

LORA MAE:

I'm afraid.

PORTER:

Of what?

LORA MAE:

I'm only human, you know....

PORTER:

(PAUSE) I'm not so sure you are.

LORA MAE:

No?

PORTER:

No.

LORA MAE:

Thanks.

PORTER:

You're smart.

LORA MAE:

So you told me.

PORTER:

I'm smart, too. And I've been around.

LORA MAE:

I'll bet.

PORTER:

It's an old act. You're good at it, but you don't fool me. The come-on - give a little, promise a lot, just so far and no further - there's all kinds of names for that act of yours....

LORA MAE:

You're smart, all right. Smarter than anybody.

PORTER:

I know all the answers.

LORA MAE:

Then answer this one: Why pick on me?...'Miss Finney, I've been watching your work, and I think you're ready for advancement - let's have dinner and talk it over...' There's a brand new act for you, it's got a beard a mile long! I didn't ask you out, you asked me - and why me? The girls you want, the woods are full of 'em!

PORTER:

Not like you.

LORA MAE:

You can say it again, not like me - and they don't want what I want!

PORTER:

All right, what? What do you want?

LORA MAE:

Not a four dollar a week raise! I don't want a new car, a fur coat or a trip to Hawaii on a solid gold yacht! You don't carry what I want in any of your seven big stores, Mr. Hollingsway!

PORTER:

Name it.

LORA MAE:

(DELIBERATELY) I want to be in a silver frame on a piano. My own piano. In my own house.

PORTER:

You mean you want to get married.

LORA MAE:

Does that make me a freak?....(PAUSE) Maybe I don't know all the answers. But I know some of them. (ABRUPT) It's late. I better be getting home.

PORTER:

Should I call you a cab?

LORA MAE:

It's a nice idea but I can't afford it. From tomorrow on I count the pennies.

PORTER:

What's tomorrow?

LORA MAE:

The day I start looking for a new job.

PORTER:

Now what do you want to do that for?

LORA MAE:

That's a silly question, coming from a man that knows all the answers....(PAUSE) Don't let it worry you, Porter. Maybe it's just a new twist in the same old act.

PORTER:

I'll take you to the door.

LORA MAE:

You stay where you are ....(THEN QUIETLY) This time it's goodbye, and no kidding...Maybe you're right, maybe I'm a fool.......(SOFTLY)....but maybe you're the biggest fool in the world...... (A WHISPER) Goodbye.

SOUND:

(QUICK FADING STEPS ....... DOOR OPENS, OFF)

PORTER:

Lora Mae -- (DOOR SLAMS, OFF.....AS:)

MUSIC:

(HITS HARD........ AND FADES OUT INTO:)

MA:

Look, Lora Mae, you don't want to stay home on New Year's Eve. Ya sure you don't want to come play Bingo with me?

LORA MAE:

No, thanks.

MA:

Well....... I'll be home before midnight.

LORA MAE:

You don't have to on my account. I'm going to bed early.

MA:

Well, it's getting late. (FADING) ....I better get dressed ........

SOUND:

(FADING STEPS....PAUSE...KNOCK ON DOOR.... DOOR OPENS)

NICK:

Hi, Lora Mae! Babe ready yet? (DOOR CLOSES)

LORA MAE:

Unless she's beat her brains out with a powder puff.

NICK:

(CURIOUSLY) Hey - it's New Year's Eve. How come you ain't dressed up?

LORA MAE:

I am. I'm going to a fancy dress ball.

NICK:

Yeah? As what?

LORA MAE:

A queen.

NICK:

A queen?

LORA MAE:

In a silver frame.

NICK:

I don't get it...What d'ya mean by --

LORA MAE:

I'll go see what's keeping Babe.

SOUND:

(FADING STEPS...PAUSE...KNOCK ON DOOR...DOOR OPENS)

NICK:

Come on in, I just -- (STOPS SHORT)

PORTER:

Where's Miss Finney? (DOOR CLOSES)

NICK:

(PETRIFIED) She - she'll be out in a minute, Mr. Hollingsway.

PORTER:

We met somewheres?

NICK:

Not exactly, Mr. Hollingsway. I - I work in your shipping room.

PORTER:

You waiting for Miss Finney?

NICK:

Y-yes, sir. We're just friends - kind of - Miss Finney and me. We --

BABE:

(SLIGHTLY OFF) Ba_boon_ Face! (COMING IN) Happy New Ye--- (DYING) Mr. Hollingsway!

PORTER:

(BLANKLY) Huh?

LORA MAE:

(SLIGHTLY OFF) Meet my sister Babe.

BABE:

My real name is Georgiana.

NICK:

(NERVOUS) Whaddya say, Babe?

BABE:

Sure, Nick - come on! (DOOR OPENS)

NICK:

(HOPEFULLY) Happy New Year, Mr. Hollingsway.....(PAUSE) Ah - happy New Year.

SOUND:

(DOOR SLAMS)

LORA MAE:

(A PAUSE) Something you wanted, Mr. Hollingsway?

PORTER:

I thought Baboon Face was waiting for you.

LORA MAE:

He used to. I gave him to Babe. He goes with the dress.

PORTER:

Have you got another dress?

LORA MAE:

Why?

PORTER:

I'm taking you to a party.

LORA MAE:

Addie Ross's party?

PORTER:

How'd you know?

LORA MAE:

I still read the society page...You sure Addie Ross invited me?

PORTER:

I told her we had a date, and not to expect me if you'd made other plans.

LORA MAE:

We haven't got a date and I haven't got any plans, so why don't you run along.

PORTER:

We'll go someplace else.

LORA MAE:

No.

PORTER:

Why not?

LORA MAE:

You know why not.

PORTER:

(PAUSE, THEN SUDDENLY) Lora Mae, I can't take it any more!

LORA MAE:

I thought we'd decided to leave it alone.

PORTER:

It's worse not seeing you, knowing you're here --

LORA MAE:

Maybe I oughta leave town.

PORTER:

Wonderin' about you - who you're with, who you're lookin' at, who you're kissin'--

LORA MAE:

Easy now.

PORTER:

I can't sleep nights thinkin' about you!

LORA MAE:

So what? What do I do about it? Start the same thing all over again - and wind up the same way? What about the way I feel - my sleep - but then, I'm not even human, am I. I'm just a great big act!

PORTER:

You know what you're doin' to me!

LORA MAE:

And you know all the answers! (SUDDENLY QUIET) Oh, what's the use, Porter? You're a big tough operator and you know what you want, and you'll keep trying, if I let you.

PORTER:

And you're a smart little cookie that'll get what you want - if I let you.

LORA MAE:

(PAUSE) Tell Addie Ross it's the cook's night out, and I had to stay home with the ice box.

PORTER:

(PAUSE) Okay...Okay, you win. I'll marry you... (PAUSE) How about it?

LORA MAE:

(SLOWLY) Thanks for nothin'.

PORTER:

Now what kind of an answer is that?

LORA MAE:

I don't know...I just felt like it.

PORTER:

We'll do all right, Lora Mae - we're startin' where it takes most marriages years to get. An even trade, out in the open, no jokers - you'll see, kid, you've made a good deal....(PAUSE) Now how about it?

MA:

(BREEZING IN) Lora Mae, if ya want me, I'll be at the Callahan's playin' - (FALTERS) - playin' --

LORA MAE:

Ma. We're gonna be married.

MA:

-- bingo! (SHE SIGHS....FALLS)

SOUND:

(TRAIN RUSHES IN...WHOLE PLACE SHAKES, AS:)

MUSIC:

(COVERS...HOLDS...AND DOWN, TO HOLD UNDER:)

ADDIE:

(SOFTLY) Lora Mae...Debby, Rita...you're all very sure of your husbands, aren't you?...Aren't you?... (BOAT WHISTLE IN B.G.) But, look - the boat is getting ready to dock...Mm-hmm, that means you can race each other getting off - and break your necks getting home - and then, of course, you'll want to telephone... (MUSIC CUTS)

RITA:

(ON PHONE, BREATHLESS) Hello, Debby? Rita...Yes, George is here, I've been so silly! You know why he didn't go fishing today? Because they've asked him to coach the High School play!...... Yes, I'll tell you all about it later, at the dance. We'll pick you and Brad up at -- (STOPS, THEN QUIETLY) He isn't?...Well, maybe he'll be coming up on the late train...(TRYING TO SOUND UNCONCERNED) Don't be silly, darling, that's ridiculous ....Sure, you go to the dance with George and me...Yes, we're meeting Lora Mae and Porter there....Okay.

MUSIC:

HITS...AND FADES OUT INTO:

MA:

Gettin' late, Lora Mae...How come Porter's so late tonight?

LORA MAE:

Want a drink, Ma?

MA:

Some of that green peppermint stuff.

LORA MAE:

Cream de menthe? I can't stand it. Never could.

MA:

I love it...(BOTTLE ON GLASS) Half past seven. He's never been this late.

LORA MAE:

(QUIETLY) He may not be coming home at all.

MA:

You mean he's gone for good?....With another woman? (PAUSE) I don't believe it.

LORA MAE:

Why not?

MA:

Because he's in love with you.

LORA MAE:

What?

MA:

He's just plain crazy in love with you.

LORA MAE:

Are you out of your mind? Are you trying to --

MA:

(TRYING TO STOP HER ) Uh - Lora Mae - Lora Mae, I - (BROADLY, FOR HER BENEFIT) Hello, Porter!

PORTER:

(SLIGHTLY OFF) I thought I heard soft voices in here.

MA:

Excuse me - (FADING) - I gotta get the seven-thirty race results.....

PORTER:

(COMING IN) What was the fight about this time - furs, jewelry or cash?

LORA MAE:

(QUIETLY) We were just talking about Addie Ross... She left town today, and took somebody's husband with her.

PORTER:

Yeah?

LORA MAE:

You seem real excited about it. Like I told you we were having lamb for dinner.

PORTER:

What do you want me to do - sue somebody? I'm tired.

LORA MAE:

I figured you might be the [lucky] boy who hit the jackpot.

PORTER:

Then it must've broke your heart when I walked in here.

LORA MAE:

Funny you should mention my heart. [It's the only part of me you never showed any interest in.] You never showed any interest in it before.

PORTER:

I need a drink.... (BOTTLE ON GLASS) So you figured I ran away with Addie Ross? How'd it feel?...No, you don't have to tell me. I can tell you.

LORA MAE:

You ought to go on Information Please.

PORTER:

"So what? I got mine." That's what you thought to yourself....

LORA MAE:

You oughta get a concession at some carnival, you're a regular mind-reader....

PORTER:

"Three years of playin' the good wife - here's where I cash in, here comes the pay-off" -- that's what you thought.

LORA MAE:

I've been a good wife! The best wife your money could buy!

PORTER:

Strictly cash and carry!

LORA MAE:

Isn't that what you wanted? Isn't that what you told me - even trade, out in the open, you made a good deal, kid....? (PAUSE) Did you ever stop to think, Porter, in over three years there's one word we've never said to each other even in fun?

PORTER:

To you, I'm just a cash register. You can't love a cash register.

LORA MAE:

And I'm part of your inventory. You can't love that, either.

PORTER:

I asked you to marry me because I was crazy about you!

LORA MAE:

You didn't ever ask me!

PORTER:

I've been a good husband. You've had what you wanted.

LORA MAE:

If you'd only asked me! If you'd only made me feel like a woman instead of a piece of merchandise!

PORTER:

Did you give me a chance to? All you ever showed me was your price tag!

LORA MAE:

(PAUSE) What's the use....You better get dressed...... We're meeting the others at the country club.

PORTER:

I'll be ready when you are.

MUSIC:

(ACCENTS...AND RESOLVES INTO DANCE BAND....IN B.G.)

PORTER:

So Brad didn't get home in time to bring you to the dance, huh, Debby?

DEBBY:

(SUBDUED) No....Thanks for sitting this one out with me, Porter......

PORTER:

It's okay, kid. Didn't have much choice. (GRIM) My wife out there dancin' with a bookie.... Did you know he's a bookie? All the saloons and barber shops in town.

DEBBY:

He came over and asked politely enough.

PORTER:

She'd dance with anybody....Not that I care. I wouldn't care if a chimpanzee asked her.

DEBBY:

Then you've got no right to complain.

PORTER:

(SARDONIC) No, I've got no complaints. Me. I'm happy Joe from Kokomo. Greatest little wife in the world - fine home, fine friends, fine ------

DEBBY:

(SNAPS) Oh, why don't you stop acting like a spoiled baby!

PORTER:

(BLANKLY) Huh?

DEBBY:

You're always talking about being such a man - you don't even act grown-up!

PORTER:

What are you gettin' sore about?

DEBBY:

You! You're so stupid! Have you any idea how much Lora Mae's in love with you?

PORTER:

What? (MUSIC ENDS ... APPLAUSE, OFF)

DEBBY:

So much that she's afraid to tell you -- afraid you'd laugh at her!

PORTER:

Me laugh? She couldn't say it with a straight face! She wouldn't try!

GEORGE:

(GAYLY, COMING IN) Well, there we are! Another bit of terpsichore successfully negotiated.

RITA:

(LAUGHS) He means the dance is over.

GEORGE:

Say, Debby, you're letting all that nice cold champagne fizz itself to death!

DEBBY:

I'm sorry, George, I-- (CHANGES SUBJECT) Oh, here's Lora Mae back.

MAN:

(COMING IN) Thank you very much, Mrs. Hollingsway.

LORA MAE:

Let's do it again some time.

MAN:

And thank you, Mr. Hollingsway.

PORTER:

Yeah. (STEPS, FADING)

GEORGE:

He seems pleasant enough. Who is he, Lora Mae?

LORA MAE:

A business associate of my mother's.

PORTER:

He's a bookie. Her mother bets with him.

RITA:

We got it right away. Obviously her mother's not a horse.

DEBBY:

(SUDDENLY) Will you all excuse me, please. I - I think I'd like to leave.

GEORGE:

I'll drive you home, Debby --

DEBBY:

No, I'd rather go by myself.

PORTER:

What's going on here? What's the --

LORA MAE:

(SOTTO, CURT) Shut up.

RITA:

Debby, why not stay over with us tonight?

DEBBY:

Thanks just the same, Rita, but --

PORTER:

Will somebody tell me what it's all about?

DEBBY:

Porter, you mean to say you didn't know?

PORTER:

Know what?

DEBBY:

About me -- and Brad - and - and ----

GEORGE:

Debby - come on, I'll take you home.

DEBBY:

No - I want to say it, George - I want to say it out loud, so Porter will know.....My husband's run away with Addie Ross.

GEORGE:

Debby ---

DEBBY:

He said he had to go to the city for business - But he's run away with Addie Ross.

RITA:

Deborah, darling ----

DEBBY:

(TEARS COMING) No - please - don't anyone get up. Goodnight.

PORTER:

(QUIETLY) Wait a minute, Debby. Sit down.

DEBBY:

Please, Porter ---

PORTER:

Sit down for a minute.

GEORGE:

Let her go, Porter.

PORTER:

You keep out of it, George. Everybody keep out of it.... (QUIETLY) Debby...Brad didn't run away with Addie Ross. I did.

DEBBY:

But how - what - you're here...!

PORTER:

(GROWLS) Man can change his mind, can't he?

DEBBY:

I - I -- (BREAKING) Thank you, Porter - thank you, so much...(FADING) Excuse me ....

PORTER:

Now where's she going?

RITA:

To the ladies room. (MUSIC STARTS SOFTLY, SENTIMENTAL)

GEORGE:

(QUIETLY) Porter...Porter, you're quite a guy.

RITA:

Brad would have been back in the morning anyway.

PORTER:

But she'd have had a tough night. She's just a kid.

RITA:

(QUIETLY) Dance with me, George.

PORTER:

Wait...do you mind? Just another minute..(PAUSE) Okay, Lora Mae. You've got it. They all heard me say I ran away with another woman. You've got everything you need. You can take me for everything you'll ever want. (PAUSE) Well?

LORA MAE:

Like always, Porter - when you start knocking on that brandy bottle, you'll come up with anything...I guess I've stopped listenin', because if you said something - I just didn't hear it....(A LITTLE CHOKED) Why don't everybody dance?

GEORGE:

(SMILING, FADING) Come on, Reet...

PORTER:

(PAUSE, THEN GENTLY) Lora Mae....

LORA MAE:

You big gorilla. (STARTS TO CRY SOFTLY)

PORTER:

(SOFTLY) You know something, baby? You've got class. (THEN HAPPILY) Come on, let's dance.......

MUSIC:

(UP FULL... FOR CURTAIN)

(APPLAUSE)

 


CLOSING


SMITH:

Our stars, Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell will return to the microphone in just a moment.

QUARTET:

How mild,
How mild,
How mild can a cigarette be?
Make the Camel thirty-day test
And you'll see....
Smoke Camels and see!

BARCLAY:

Yes, friends, smoke Camels and see how mild and how full-flavored Camels are. See how much you enjoy every puff of Camel's costly tobaccos, properly aged and expertly blended.

SMITH:

Among the millions who enjoy Camels regularly are many, many doctors. More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette, according to a nationwide survey. One hundred thirteen thousand, five hundred and ninety-seven doctors were asked what cigarette they smoked. The brand named most was Camel!

MUSIC:

TAG


FREE-CAMEL ANNOUNCEMENT


SMITH:

And now, before we ring our curtain down, a special word of thanks to our stars. To Paul Douglas for his first appearance here. And to Linda Darnell who got out of a sickbed to come and play her role tonight. Linda and Paul you've made this a memorable evening in the Screen Guild Theatre.

DARNELL:

Well thanks, Verne - but let's not forget one of the finest supporting casts I've ever worked with in radio. All of them as devoted as we are to the greatest cause in Hollywood - the Motion Picture Relief Fund and its Country House and Hospital. What do you think, Paul?

DOUGLAS:

Linda, they've got class. And for that matter, so has our sponsor, the makers of Camel Cigarettes. Each week, they send gift cigarettes to servicemen's and veterans' hospitals all around the country. This week, the Camels go to: U.S. AAF Station Hospital, Chanute Field, Illinois ....U.S. Naval Hospital, Pensacola, Florida.... Veterans' Hospital, Gulfport, Mississippi.

More than one hundred eighty-nine million free Camels have now been sent to servicemen, servicewomen and veterans.

DARNELL:

Happy smoking, fellows, your free cigarettes are on their way to you now with the compliments of Camels. Good night. (APPLAUSE)

MUSIC:

THEME

SMITH:

The Camel Screen Guild Players are directed by Bill Lawrence. The adaptations are by Harry Kronman.... Remember, every Thursday night - the Camel Screen Guild Theatre! Next week, the kind of story you've all been waiting for! A hardboiled, realistic love story set against a background of murder and intrigue. It's Ava Gardner and Joseph Cotten in "The Bribe". Be sure to listen!

BARCLAY:

"A Letter to Three Wives" was presented through the courtesy of John Klempner who wrote the original novel and of 20th Century-Fox Studios, producers of "Prince of Foxes." Linda Darnell and Paul Douglas will soon be seen in the 20th Century-Fox production "Everybody Does It".

SMITH:

For fun and hilarity, don't miss Camel Cigarettes' other great show over these same stations. Tomorrow night - the Jimmy Durante Show with Don Ameche and Vera Vague. And remember, next Thursday night - the Camel Screen Guild Theatre presents "The Bribe" starring Ava Gardner and Joseph Cotten.

This is Verne Smith speaking.

NBC ANNCR:

Join the gang at Duffy's Tavern, which follows immediately on NBC.