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The Remember WENN Character Tribute
by Jen Payne
Home      Quotes      Season 3
SEASON THREE
 
Episode 27: In the WENN Small Hours (Complete Episode)
 

Victor? (sighs) Victor. (sighs again) Victor Comstock is resting in peace and you,
Betty Roberts, have not been resting enough. Memo to Ms. Roberts: Please Note:
that in all future radio scripts, ghosts will be described as wearing shrouds or sheets
and they will be heard dragging long chains behind them and carrying… Dixie cups.
 

Betty! Thank God! Well, I was afraid that you were never gonna come around.

(He sits down) Drink this.
 

What is that?!
 

It…um, it’s water.
 

Water. Yes, yes. (she splashes herself)
 

Oh, Betty, I’ve already explained it to you. You’re not dreaming. I’m real.
 

(she nods and then splashes him)
 

And, ah, that was, ah, intended to, um, melt me - in the tradition of say, ah, the wicked witch of the west?
Betty, I need you to suspend disbelief for just a moment and believe in me.
 

You…Victor Comstock was killed in a terrible explosion in London.
 

Yes, but I’m feeling a lot better now. Betty, I know that this is hard for you to accept, but it’s really me.
Why don’t you try taking some of this water internally?
 

You… Victor Comstock and I once took a walk down to where the Monongahela and the Allegheny rivers meet.
It was a clear night; it seemed as if the entire universe was reflected in the water.
The Milky Way was a plume of white smoke on a black velvet river, filled with shining sapphires.
We…Victor and I looked down into the water and you…he said something to me that I will never forget…
can you tell me what you said?
 

I think, I said something to the effect that the confluence of the rivers was, in fact, a misnomer,
since in actuality, the Monongahela circumvents the Allegheny by some 300 odd feet.
 

Victor! It is you! Oh, my God! Oh, oh, wait until I tell the others; they’re not going to believe this!
 

No! Betty, you can’t tell the others; you can’t tell anyone! Betty, I may be alive, but right now
I am closer to death than I was in London with a German bomb heading straight for me!
 

Victor, I don’t understand…anything.
 

I know, Betty. There’s so much to tell you…so much. And thank God we’ve got some time alone.
 

La, la, la LA, la, la, la. (from behind the door) La, la, la LA, la, la, la.
 

That sounds like Eugenia!
 

It is Eugenia, and she’s right on time.
 

On time for what? The station went off the air an hour ago.
 

Yes, but we go back on the air in ten minutes with the Agitato Alert.
 

What’s the Agitato Alert?
 

Oh, it’s a show for insomniacs and folks who work the night shift. Eugenia does it all by herself.
 

Betty, I realize that the entire world thinks I’m a dead man, but if anyone sees me here…I’m a dead man.
 

…Don’t fall asleep at th-e wheel…C.J.! What are you doing here? This is Lester’s shift; you should be home by now!
 

I was having a Welsh Rarebit at the Buttery, when the coin-phone rings, and surprise, it’s Lester,
who said he’s indisposed due to injuries received while fighting for a lady’s honor. Apparently, she wanted to keep it.
 

Good for her! And for us too, C.J. We haven’t worked together in months! I really do miss the daytimes, you know.
Playing for the afternoon dramas, and being with the gang…sometimes I feel like one of those strange
creatures who rises at sunset and sleeps at dawn. What do they call them?

 

They call them…your listeners.
 

No! Victor! You are not vanishing anywhere until you can tell me how you can be alive, how you could let me…da…all of us believe that you were…
 

Betty, I’ve risked life and limb to tell you exactly that. But if anyone spots me here,
and I mean anyone, my resurrection will be rescinded. I’ll go from being un-dead to un-un-dead.
 

That’s a double negative.
 

You’re telling me. Betty I promise to tell you everything, but right now I have to hide.
 

Hello… Is somebody here?
 

Where the heck am I gonna hide?

 

You’re six-foot-five, that’s going to be a tall order.
 

Mr. Eldridge? Are you still here? (as she opens the door)
 
Betty! Gee! This is turning out to be a regular open house! But, I thought I heard a man, talking.
 

No! No, um, I was just, ah, adapting…Julius Caesar for the radio and I was trying out some new lines.
Come here, come hear and listen. ‘Mark Anthony is coming, whe-re do I hi-de?’
 

But the voice said ‘Betty’. I don’t remember anyone in Julius Caesar named ‘Betty’.
 

(out in reception)

I wouldn’t have thought there would be anyone up this late.
 

They’re burning the midnight oil to keep our beverages boiling.
 

The truth is, Medwick, for the last two years, as I was drinking salted tea with yak butter,
alone on the frozen steppes of northern Tibet, I sure didn’t picture spending my first night back in the states here at W-E-N-N.
I’m disappointing several ladies and a dozen bartenders even as we speak.
 

Cutter, your deal with Pittsburgh Pantry calls for an exclusive radio report on your adventures immediately upon your return.
We’ve been waiting two long years for this. I want you on the air for Agitato before the newspapers can over exploit your exploits.
 

Funny, the last time I saw Victor Comstock, he was trying to get me on a radio station in New York,
doing an audio travelogue of my journeys – ‘Sounds Dangerous’. Then he quit or got fired for having too much talent.
What an innovative man; a true visionary, wouldn’t you say, Medwick?
 

Oh, yes.
 

Shame he’s not here.
 

Well, I like to think that he’s always here…
 

Really? You, ah, you think about him a lot, do you?
 

Oh, I do, Cutter, I do. In my life there will always be only one Victor Comstock.
 

If Julius Caesar needs Roman music…
 

Mr. Bremer!
 

(I know…) Mr. Medwick! What a wonderful surprise! Isn’t this a nice surprise, Betty?
 

I’m trying to quit.
 

Ms. Bremer, Ms. Roberts, I bring with me a very special guest for tonight’s Agitato broadcast,
the world renowned author and explorer, Cutter Dunlap.
 

Ladies.
 

Oh, I’ve read all your books! Do you have a favorite?
 

Well, of course, ah, ‘Lost on the Congo Line’ was my first…
 

But what about ‘The Sand and I’ or ‘A Nomad in Nairobi’, not to mention ‘Cutter of Calcutta’?
 

Well, each volume is like my very own child, you see, and I don’t think it’s possible…
 

Gosh, we really ought to save all this fabulous chit-chat for when we’re on the airwaves,
which is where I have to be right now…excuse me.
 

Folks, I’ve been on one flying boxcar after another since I left Canton,
and I could sure use a cup of coffee, or maybe just a tad something stronger?
 

Ah, there’s a bottle of, ah, tad down in Scott Sherwood’s office…Ms. Roberts?

(they walk down to the office and Betty opens the door but it closes twice before she realizes that Victor is inside)
 

Uh, no. You can’t go in there.
 

Why not?
 

Um, because right now I’ve got to tell you about this, this new, innovative idea…
 

Oh, no, no, no. Leave me out of your innovations.
 

Why don’t we just push on into Mr. Sherwood’s office?
 

Oh, no, no. Because it’s been closed off.
 

By whom?
 

By the police. Because of what happened here earlier this evening.
The authorities made a very big arrest, didn’t you hear about it?
 

No, I’ve been at Pan American airlines, trying to pick up Mr. Dunlap.
 

And why were the police here?
 

Because of what we were broadcasting.
 

Which was?
 

Um, code messages to Nazi saboteurs.
 

That’s pushing the boundaries of entertainment a little bit, even for you folks, isn’t it?
 

And who did the police arrest?
 

Oh, well, they arrested…
 

Yes?
 

Um, the sponsor.
 

Why am I not surprised?
 

I’m sure it’s not really as bad as it sounds.
 

No. And neither is the Agitato coffee program…this way gentlemen.
 

Ms…Ms. Roberts.

(the door opens and we hear…)

…a cup of Agitato…
 

(Betty closes the door and then turns to knock on the office door)

Victor… (she knocks 3 times and he answers the same)
Victor, unlock the door, it’s me, Betty! Quickly!
 

(from down the hall)

Man, oh, man! (she closes the door) What a holy rigamoral I just came from with the police.
They turned up the heat to the third degree and grilled us like we were the criminals.
Mr. Foley was confessing to everything since Jack the Ripper on. You were smart to stay here, Betty.
Come on, I’ve got half the makings of a bourbon and water in my desk.
 

Oh, you can’t go in there.
 

It’s my office, Betty. I tend to go in there every now and then.
 

Well, that was then. This is now. Now you can’t.
 

Why not?
 

Because you have the hottest story in Pittsburgh, Scott. You broke the code; you caught the head saboteur.
 

Hey, you know, that’s true. I mean forget about my part in this, this is big, big news, isn’t it?
And at the moment it’s a W-E-N-N exclusive. Knock on wood.
(he knocks on the door and Victor knocks back)
 

And I will second that knock again. (Betty knocks) But, now you really have to get into the studio…
 

But can’t I just get into my office for a second?
 

Please…the police, the police…said that no one must open that door until the investigation is complete.
Now, you go on in there and give those sleepy listeners of ours the inside scoop that’ll really open their eyes!

(she leads him into studio A and turns around, but Scott pops his head back into the hall)


 
(Eugenia is heard in the background: “and I’ve just had my seventh cup…”)
 

It’s gotta be the biggest news story that has ever happened right inside this station, huh?
 

Oh, you’d be surprised!
 

(Eugenia is heard in the background: “I’ll be up all week…”)
 

(he left again and she knocked again on the office door; Victor copies her)

Victor, you can open the door, quickly, it’s Betty!
 

Ms. Roberts! (she closes the door) Cutter Dunlap is in the control room, cooling his heels,
and your Scott Sherwood has jumped the line and gone on the air with his story.
 

I am so glad that you’re standing right here next to me, Mr. Medwick...
so that I can tell you that Scott’s story is only going to attract more listeners.
Uh, people are waking up their friends, telling them to tune in, which sets up
Cutter Dunlap’s exploits for an even wider audience.
 

Even more listeners?
 

Oh, sure. I mean hardly anyone listens to the radio after midnight on a Sunday.
 

Really?
 

Oh, sure.
 

Then why am I sponsoring this show?! (he leaves)
 

Victor, the coast is clear now! It’s me, Betty, and hurry!
 

Don’t tease me, Betty!
 

Hurry! (he opens the door)
 

Well, Eugenia, I suspect that even though this nation isn’t at war, we’re already part of a war of nerves,
with Herr Hitler trying to raise our fears and lower our resolve. And radio will be a big part of that battle. 
That’s why the Nazis are using Americans, like say, Jonathan Arnold, to broadcast defeat and despair to his own people.
 

Jonathan Benedict Arnold is what I call him.
 

(the scene switches to the office, with Betty and Victor sitting behind the desk)

I don’t remember the explosion. I came to at the edge of the debris, there was smoke everywhere and people were screaming.
All I knew to do was to get up, and keep moving; walking. Apparently, I boarded a double-decker bus on Regent’s Street
and told the conductor I was going to Madison and 52nd. And then I collapsed.
They took me to Sharing Cross Hospital, and it was the strangest thing, Betty,
ten days later, when I came to, I was visited more by the military than by medics.
 

Why? You were a civilian; a broadcaster.
 

The perfect, civilian broadcaster, as far as the military was concerned.
Presumed dead, no family, no attachments; well, none to speak of.
 

What did they want from you?
 

Oh, they asked me to be the worst American since Benedict Arnold.
 

(the scene switches to reception, where Hilary and Jeff walk in the door)

Well, at this point I don’t see any point in going home.
 

We wait an hour for the police to type up our official statement and then you have to go and sign it,
“Best wishes, to one of my greatest fans.”
 

Pure reflex. I didn’t know it was their only copy. And would you believe that photo session?
 

All they wanted was a head and profile mug-shot, Hilary, and you kept saying, “No, no, that’s my bad side.”
 

(Scott comes out into the hall) Hey, what took you guys so long?

 
(…don’t fall asleep at the wheel… [from the studio])
 

Oh, it took us a while to convince the police that we weren’t suspects.
 

They wanted to frisk both of us. We had to wait until they could find a policewoman.
 

Well, that’s understandable.
 

It was Jeff who requested it.
 

(the scene switches back to the office)

You’re Jonathan Arnold? You’re the American in Germany saying
terrible things about the English and the French and…us?
 

Yep. That’s me. (Victor gets up on his knees and turns around)
Speaking from the heart of Berlin, where I have access to files our war department can only dream of…
 

What are you looking for?
 

There’s a small strongbox built into the bottom drawer of this desk…I thought I left a key to it…nope.
 

But why are you Jonathan Arnold?
 

Betty, I’m supposed to be an embittered American correspondent who has let his
sympathies be known to the right officials in Berlin. A man without friends or family,
whose own lives could be endangered by the Nazis.
This way, my professional reputation and my real name would remain untarnished if I live to reclaim either one of them.
 

But how much longer do they expect you to keep this up?
 

Until the war in Europe ends. If the Allies win, Jonathan Arnold will simply cease to be.
If, on the other hand, Hitler wins, I suppose I’ll be very nicely positioned to help him rule the world.
 

That’s not funny. The British are bombing Germany, you could be…
 

Blown up twice in the same war, in both London and Berlin?
 

Victor, you can’t go on pretending to be a traitor.
 

Oh, but I am a traitor, Betty.
 

What do you mean?
 

Military intelligence brought me back to the states for my final briefing.
Of course, the Nazis think I’m here to wrap up my personal affairs – well maybe I am –
but, Betty, just by coming here tonight and sharing with you this highly confidential,
top secret information is an act of high treason. It’s a capital crime,
which is why being found here would be the very worst thing that could happen to me.
 

(Cutter Dunlap opens the door and turns on the light)

Victor… Victor Comstock! Well, I sure didn’t expect to find you in here!
 

Well, I don’t think many people would at this point, Cutter.
 

I heard I could find some spirits in this room.
 

Uh…
 

He means whiskey.
 

I just have a touch of radio fright. Well, Victor, you look very fit, considering what you’ve been through.
 

Especially considering.
 

I knew they couldn’t keep you buried away. I told them back in New York,
“don’t write any epitaphs for Victor Comstock, he’ll spring up from the ground and kick off the dust!”
Oh, they all said you were finished, but I knew you’d rise again…like um…
 

Like a phoenix?
 

Oh, you’ve been in Arizona as well! Boy, you really did resurrect your career!
 

Uh, Cutter, you’re either a philosopher of truly cosmic dimensions, or have you,
by any chance, been out of touch with the news for the last year?
 

Two years, actually. I’ve been, ah, researching another book.
Living the life of a nomad in the Himalayas; no contact with western civilization.
I just got back this evening and learned they’ve made the Wizard of Oz without Shirley Temple. Big shock there.
 

Oh, well, there’s a lot more on the way. Um, meaning that there have been so many inventions and innovations,
like, ah, like these silk stockings. (she lifts up her leg) These are actually a new man-made fiber called ny-lon.
 

Well, if they’re man-made, I can see why the man was inspired.

(she puts her leg back down and pulls her skirt over her knees)
 

I wear nylon stockings too.
 

You do?
 

You do? Oh, ah, yes, yes of course.
 

All men wear nylon stockings now, for insulation purposes.
They’re warmer than long-johns and, um, a lot less expensive.
 

They are?
 

Cutter, would you like us to bring you up to date on a few other things?
 

Yes! Yes, this is fascinating.
 

Betty?
 

(switch to the studio)

And as I stood there, this gun pointed at my heart, my entire life passed before me, and oh,
what a wonderful story it made, beginning with my birth at Crocket’s Corner, Maine, the same day as the big crash.
 

That would make you twelve?
 

I meant, of course, the big crash of the Titanic.
 

That would make you twenty-nine.

 

Oh, Jeffery, you mustn’t give away these things on the radio.
 

(laughing) Well, I’ll see you for breakfast, Victor. (He leaves with Betty)
Well, that was very informative, to say the least, Ms. Roberts. I’m, ah, I’m very much in your debt.
 

Oh, well, in that case, Mr. Dunlap, may I be bold with you?
 

I could take to that.
 

Um, did you ever meet someone, and know in an instant that this was the one?
 

The one?
 

The one person that you’ve been waiting for all of your life, Mr. Dunlap. Cutter,
I want to follow you wherever the trade winds take you, to be with you on the empty sand and the lonely peaks…
 

Come on, Cutter! It’s Agitato time! Ha-ha.
 

Yes, yes, we should definitely pursue this line of conversation later, Ms. Roberts!
 

 And so, Ms. Bremer, as my life imitates my art, I find it infuses my roles with a kind of verity,
which is as Hamlet says, the purpose of playing, meaning acting,
whose end was at first and now was and is to hold as to a mirror up to nature…

 
Thank you so much, Ms. Booth. (she plays a chord on the piano)
And now, here’s another big treat for all our Agitato listeners.
World renowned explorer and author, Mr. Cutter Dunlap,
just returned only hours ago after two years, alone in Tibet,
where he lived the life of a nomadic monk.
Mr. Dunlap, it must be very strange to suddenly be back amongst people after such a long period of isolation.
 

Well, I catch up pretty quickly, Ms. Bremer. Adaptability is the key word for any explorer.
And of course, it helps that many of the faces I’m seeing are familiar.
Your sponsor himself greeted me at the airport. And I’ve just had a wonderful chat with an old friend; Victor Comstock.
 

Uh, who – whom did you say you were chatting with?
 

Victor Comstock. Well, don’t tell me you don’t remember the man who…
 

No! We, we all remember him! Ah, so, you say you were thinking about him?
 

No, Victor and I were talking, in his office just now.
 

Maybe it was someone who looked like Victor?
 

No, no, my eyes are trained for recognition. Although, I did doubt it was him for a second,
when he told me he was wearing nylon stockings!
 

Beg pardon?
 

Men in stockings! The very idea makes me want to drop in on President Pershing and say,
“Look, just because we discovered insect life on the dark side of the moon doesn’t mean
we can all have to start acting like lunar ticks! (he laughs) Of course with the White House
being relocated to Kansas for defense purposes, I’m not likely to drive out to see the president,
or even Vice President Garbo, even if they make Studebakers that run on tap water now! (he continues laughing)
 

Um, C.J.? I’m all alone in here with Mr. Dunlap…
 

Saying, being alone all those months, I never imagined there would be so many strange things going on.
I mean Canada joining with Mexico to form the Divided States of North America?
The prohibition of jazz? Except in Vermont, of all places. Edible eating utensils?
And then to learn that the Andrews Sisters and the Marx Brothers were the same people? (he laughs)
 

Betty, don’t you think you ought to go in there and do something?
 

I mean knock me over with a feather! (Except we all walk around with these lead weights in our pockets.)
 

Oh, I think Mr. Dunlap’s doing just fine, C.J. Just fine.
 

I mean things are going crazy!
 

And Victor Comstock told you all this in Tibet? Like a little voice, inside your head?
 

No! No, he was in the next room, just a few minutes ago.
And I’m a changed man already! Look! (he lifts up his leg and pulls up his pant leg)
Your Ms. Roberts loaned me her stockings…I don’t know if they feel any warmer,
but you know, when in Rome! (laughs) Why are you looking at me that way?
 

He can’t be dead! I tell you, I talked with Victor Comstock. I spoke with him in there…

(the door to the office is locked)
 

This room has been sealed by the police, Cutter.
 

Let’s go into the Green Room, so you can lie down for a while.
 

Stop acting like I’m crazy.
 

Here we go… (they go into the Green Room, where Betty is at the table.)
 

Ms. Roberts, Ms. Roberts, tell them, weren’t you and I and Victor Comstock talking just a few minutes ago?
 

That’s not funny, Mr. Dunlap, Victor Comstock is dead.
 

But you were there, I…Victor was talking about how he wears nylons and about the bugs they found on the dark side of the moon.
 

Oh, oh, yes, oh, yes, yes, oh, you mean Victor
 

Oh, that Victor!
 

Ah…
 

Oh, yes, Victor is waiting for you back at your hotel and after you see him,
maybe you could have a rest after your long ordeal in Tibet…right, Jeff, Scott?
 

Yeah, of course. Come on, Cutter. Let’s get you back to the hotel.
 

Good, good, because if I thought I imagined that, I’d doubt all that stuff you said to me, Betty, about…
 

About what?
 

About that, that, that I’m the one for you, and how you want to follow me to the ends of the earth?
 

Hey, hey, hey, let’s get you back to the hotel.
 

Yeah, Victor’s there along with President Grant.
 

That’s Pershing.
 

We mustn’t keep Victor waiting.
 

No, we mustn’t keep Victor waiting.
 

(scene switches to the writer’s room)

You have the only key to this room?
 

No one else can get in, but how are you getting out of here?
 

The same way I got in, through the air ducts above the storage room. How are we gonna square things with Cutter?
 

Offer him his own travel series?
 

Well, that’s a start.
 

I’ll make up some story about your crazy cousin Hector who pretends to be you.

 

That’s so good, it’s scary. And what are we gonna do about ruining Cutter’s reputation on the air?
 

Oh, I killed the relays to the transmitter before he went on. His reputation is as spotless as…
Victor Comstock’s. (she straightens his coat and he takes her hand)
 

Is this the same, impeccably principled, high-minded Betty Roberts from Moosehead?
 

Elkhart.
 

What have I done to you?
 

(on the radio) And with this brand new recording of Reveille, W-E-N-N begins another broadcasting day.
 

I have to get out of here.
 

(scene switches to reception)

I just can’t believe it, you mean there hasn’t been a single phone call about us being off the air?
 

None so far, this morning, Mr. Medwick.
 

But C. J. says that we were off the air for fifteen minutes, do you realize what that means?
 

I guess it means nobody’s listening…oops.
 

Oops. My words exactly. I’m taking the Agitato program off the air for good. There is no point doing this…
 

Oh, hi, Mr. Foley! How’d it go with the police?
 

He says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
 

Now he doesn’t want to talk about it! Oh, yeah, sure, now! You try spending the night
cooped up with Mr. Foley as a cellmate, yackita, yackita, yackita, I’m telling you.
If he doesn’t speak to me for another fifty years, it’ll be too soon.
 

Well, have a nice day, everybody.
 

Ms. Bremer! You’re nights are your own from here on in.
 

Beg pardon?
 

He means you can go back to your daily programs, Eugenia. You are the organ bench-warmer once again.
 

Oh, that’s wonderful! But what about you, Maple?
 

Oh, well, lately I’ve been doing more acting than playing on the air. It’s kinda fun to work standing up for a change…I mean…
 

We know exactly what you mean…Mabel. Jeff is at the hotel with Cutter Dunlap,
so you’ll have to play the new maid on Bedside Manor. Hm.
 

Better than playing the old maid…
 

What’s that?
 

Nothing. Come on, Eugenia, you’re Werleteser awaits.
 

It’s the good old days all over again!
 

~
 

(Betty and Victor carefully cross the end of the hall towards the storage room)

I have to meet my contact in eight minutes. Betty, what I didn’t tell you in all the time that we were working together…
 

Could fill volumes. Victor, risking your life to let me know you’re alive…I don’t know what more you could say.
 

This is the key to the strongbox in my desk. In it is the code name and the phone number of the one man
who knows everything about Jonathan Arnold. Keep it, in case I… Well, just in case.
 

(he looks at her tenderly and then turns to leave, but she grabs his arm)

Victor, what about the others, what about Gertie or Mr. Eldridge?
 

No, no, no, no. You can’t tell them anything. And I had no right to tell you.
As far as the world is concerned, I am the late Victor Comstock.
 

What about Scott Sherwood? He’s taken your death so hard.
 

Who is Scott Sherwood?
 

Scott Sherwood. The man you sent here to replace you.
 

I have never heard of Scott Sherwood.
 

Betty? Be-tty, Betty, Betty, Betty, Betty? (they both turn to look towards the hallway)
 

Betty… (he kisses her, their eyes meet for a moment and then he turns and leaves)
 

Betty! You look like you’ve just seen a ghost! Come into my office!
I’ve got a great new concept that’ll completely change the way you look at everything. He-he.
 

(she clutches the key and turns and looks longingly at the store room door after Scott leaves)
 
End.