Written by Ruth Brooks Flippen
The kids’ overuse of the phone and a mounting phone bill causes Mike to install a payphone, in order to teach the kids a lesson about the value of money. I hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
SAM THE BUTCHER
MR. CRAWFORD, BUSINESSMAN
(The episode begins with Mike and carol in his den. The phone rings and Mike picks it up. He is expecting a call from his friend Ed, about an upcoming golf game they are in.)
Mike: Hello, Ed. Listen, we’re gonna tee off at… (He laughs) Hello, Martha. Yeah, just a second (He turns to Carol) Honey, it’s for you.
Carol: Oh, I guess she wants to shorten her blue dress.
Mike (sarcastically): Oh, I certainly hope so. I’ve really been worried about that. (He hands her the phone) Honey, we’re trying to settle a golf game, can you make it fast?
Carol: Oh, it’ll only take a second. (She gets on the phone) Hi, Martha. Good. (to Mike) She’s gonna take it up an inch.
Carol (on the phone): No, I wouldn’t take it up any more than an inch because when you sit down it’ll ridge up.
Mike: Ridge up, what does that mean?
(Carol shows him on her skirt that it means her skin will show.)
Carol: Well listen Martha, I’m in the den and Mike wants to use the phone so I’ll call you back later, okay? Bye.
(The phone rings again and mike answers.)
Mike: Hello, Ed, listen… Who? (Pause) Alice? Yeah, just a minute ALICE! TELEPHONE!
Alice (calling): I’ll take it in the kitchen.
Mike: Sam the butcher, since when does a butcher call at 8:00 at night?
Carol: Since he and Alice have been dating. Be glad, you should see the difference in the cuts of meat we’ve been getting.
Mike: Listen, with you and Alice and the kids all the time, it’s a wonder I ever get a call. And it’s not just golf games either, sometimes I get business calls in the evening.
Carol: Darling, do you know what time it is?
Mike: No, what time is it?
Carol: It’s time we got a second phone. No, I mean you added three new daughters and a wife to your household, that’s four extra mouths.
Mike: At the very least.
Mike: No, you’re right. A second phone should solve everything.
Carol: Well, just call me your little problem solver.
Mike: Okay, you’re my little…
Carol: Don’t you dare.
(The phone rings again and Mike answers.)
Mike: Hello, Ed. Just a second. MARCIA!!!!
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has Mike talking on the phone to his friend Ed.)
Mike: Yeah, that’s what solved the whole problem, Ed. The kids have their phone in the family room and I have my phone here in my den. After you hear from Harry, call me up and tell me what time we tee off. (Pause and with a laugh) Call me anytime, I am the master of my fate and the captain of my phone. Good-bye.
(He hangs up and goes to make another call just to hear the time. He walks out to the kitchen, while Sam arrives to pick Alice up for a date)
Alice (replying to Sam’s knock): Come in.
Sam: Hi, it’s your Sammy boy. (He pats her shoulder) Ha, ha ha.
Alice: You better watch it with that meat cleaver, you’re gonna hafta prove you’re a butcher.
Mike (coming in the kitchen): Hi, Sam.
Sam: Hi, Mr. Brady.
Mike: Say, that was a great roast we had the other night.
Sam: Thanks. This ain’t a bad little lamb chop right here. (He laughs and turns to Alice): Ready to go?
Alice: Sure, as soon as I can get this (her arm) in a cast.
(They leave while Mike goes into the family room where Carol is on the phone with Martha.)
Carol: If an inch isn’t short enough, shorten it another inch. You got nice knees. (She sees Mike and talks to him) Honey, it’s Martha, did you wanna use the phone?
Mike: Of course not, you’re talking to a man with two phones.
Carol: Good, because Martha can’t figure out what to do with her knees.
Mike: Oh, I forgot, I’m supposed to call Marty.
(He goes back into the den.)
Carol: That was Mike, since he has his new phone you’ve never seen a happier man.
(Back in the den, Greg is on the phone with his friend Harvey.)
Greg: Okay, okay, Harvey, but this is my last offer for your bike. I’ll add my baseball mitt, my autographed picture of Raquel Welch, and my pet white rabbit. And I think that’s a real good deal.
Mike (coming in the den): Greg.
Greg: Yeah, Dad.
Mike: What happened to the rules? You’re not supposed to be in the den, and you’re supposed to use the other phone unless it’s an emergency.
Greg: This is an emergency, and if I don’t unload that rabbit in a hurry, we’re gonna have dozens of them.
Greg: And besides, Mom’s using our phone.
Mike: Okay, okay, finish your call. Maybe your mother’s through with the other one, but just this once.
Greg: All right.
(Mike heads to the family room, but Jan is on the phone with her friend Dorey.)
Jan: Of course, you can always bleach your freckles, Dorey. But sometimes it does something funny to your face. I don’t see what’s wrong with freckles, I got lots of them. (Mike comes up to her and she holds the phone) Is there something wrong, Dad? Isn’t this the phone I’m supposed to use?
Mike: Oh yeah, yeah, it’s the phone you’re supposed to use. (Pause) I guess I’ll just have to get Greg off the other phone.
(Jan gets back on the phone.)
Jan: well, if you insist on bleaching them, Dorey, don’t use too much. You’ll wind up with white freckles instead of brown ones.
(Back in Mike’s den, Peter is on the phone with his friend Jerry.)
Peter: Jerry, I didn’t say the new math wasn’t hard, I said you should stop mixing up the old math with the new math.
(Mike walks in the den and sighs in disgust at Peter using the phone. Peter puts the phone down.)
Peter (to Mike): Some kids just haven’t got it up here.
Mike: Yeah, like, for example, kids who’ve been told not to use their father’s den and not to use their father’s phone. Suppose somebody’s trying to reach me now on business.
Peter: You said it’s okay if it’s an emergency and he’s gonna flunk math if I don’t talk to him.
Mike: That makes it an emergency for him, but not for you.
Peter: He’s my best friend, and if he flunks, his Dad will get real mad at him. He’s not a swell guy like you.
Mike: And none of that stuff. (Pause) Oh, all right. Maybe you better help Jerry and hurry up.
Peter: Thanks, Dad. (He gets back on the phone) I just said the new math wasn’t hard. I said you should stop mixing up the new math with the old math, got me.
(Back in the family room, Marcia is on the phone with her friend Phyllis.)
Marcia: Phyllis, believe me, if George Wilton deliberately ignores you twice today in school, that’s the best, the greatest, most definite sign of interest. (Marcia starts to laugh as mike sits down) Now take my word for it, if George ignores you for two or three more days, that proves he’s crazy about you. (She looks over at Mike and giggles) Now don’t worry, just make sure to be at the benches by recess.
(She giggles and Mike walks out. The next scene has Carol setting the table and Mike walking in the kitchen from the family room)
Mike: Two phones and it’s worse than it was before.
Carol: What do you mean?
Mike: Now we got two phones, I can’t call out, nobody can call me because they’re both always busy. You know, as much as I hate it, I’m gonna hafta issue an ultimatum. Emergency or no emergency, those kids can’t use my phone.
Carl: my phone?
Mike: Our phone, our phone.
Carol: Well anyway, dear, I do agree with you. The kids do need an ultimatum.
(The next scene has Mike talking to the kids in the family room.)
Mike: And that’s the way it’s gonna be from now on. No more excuses, and no more emergencies. Because the phone in my room is for my use and for Mother’s use exclusively. Now you kids have the phone in here, and that’s the one you use. Okay, is that clear now? (All the kids nod) Huh, good. (He and Carol get up and walk out) Let’s hope that solves the phone problem.
Carol: Oh, I’m sure it will.
(The next scene has Greg on the phone Harvey while Marcia, Peter and Jan pace around for him to finish.)
Greg: I’m telling you, Harvey, you’ll never get an offer like this for the rest of your life.
Marcia: Will you get off the phone, I’m supposed to call Phyllis!
(Peter and Jan also protest.)
Jan: What about Dorey, she’s expecting my call!
Greg: WILL YOU GUYS SHUTUP, NOW HOW CAN I TALK WITH EVERYBODY SCREMING IN MY EAR!
(Mike and Carol look on from the kitchen,)
Mike: From bad to worse to impossible.
Carol: Honey, I got an idea.
(She and Mike walk over to Greg.)
Greg: Will you listen t me, Harvey, I’ll go over the deal once more. Believe me, this is my final offer, so, listen carefully. (Carol puts a sandglass down) Hold on a second. (to Carol)What gives?
Carol: That is how much time you’re allowed on the phone, and when the sand runs out, it’s good-bye, Charlie.
Greg: I’m talking to Harvey.
Mike: Then it’s good-bye, Harvey.
Greg: Oh, Harvey, listen, my time is limited, so you have to make up your mind right away. On the other hand (He turns the sandglass over) If you still wanna dicker.
(The other kids scream in protest as we move to the next scene, which has mike going over the bills in his den.)
Mike (slowly): Insurance. Dollars and no cents. (He puts that bill down and gets another her bill) Phone bill. (He opens it up and gets shocked) Carol, Carol, Carol!
Carol (running into the den): Yes dear, what is it? What’s the matter? You look sick, do you feel faint?
Alice (who also came in with Carol): Bend through your knees.
Mike (handing her the bill): Look at this bill.
Carol: It’s the phone bill.
Mike: I know it’s the phone bill. Take a look at the grand total this month.
Carol: Oh, no!
Mike: Oh, yes, I thought it was the national debt.
Alice: Maybe I better be running along, something the kitchen may be boiling or freezing or something.
Mike (to Alice): I’d like you to see this too.
Carol: Oh, it’s terrible.
Mike: It’s that second phone, the toll calls alone, they’re five times as many units as we’re allowed. Those kids are using that phone constantly and we’ve got to do something drastic.
Carol: Like what?
Alice: Maybe get them to start writing letters.
Mike (firmly): Alice.
Mike: Excuse me while I show this bill to a certain group of children.
(He gets up and leaves the den. The next scene takes us to that evening, with Mike walking around the bedroom, lamenting to Carol about the phone problem.)
Mike: Honey, it’s amazing how a simple thing like a phone can become such a big problem. Some of the other things that have come up with the kids we had managed to solve them, but, here we are, hung up on the phone.
Carol: Hung up? Mike.
Mike: If I’m trying to be funny, I’m serious. We have a wonderful bunch of kids, I mean, really marvelous, they don’t play hooky, they don’t lie, they’re not fresh, boy, they won’t stay off of that phone.
Carol: But all our friends with kids have big phone bills too.
Mike: Oh, honey, not as big as ours. Have you seen those toll charges? I think our kids are talking to the astronauts on the moon.
Carol: Honey. (Pause) Where are you?
Mike: There’s got to be a solution to this, there must be some way to keep those kids from using that phone 24 hours a day. And teach them the value of money.
Carol: Well, if you think the phone’s expensive, wait till you get the bill for the new carpeting.
Mike (stopping): What new carpeting?
Carol: The one you’re wearing out pacing back and forth.
(The next scene is at Sam’s butcher shop, with him waiting on a customer.)
Sam: There you are, Mrs. Pfeifer, that chicken is guaranteed to melt in your mouth. (He sees Alice there and goes to talk to her) And how is my favorite little filet today?
Alice: I see you raised your tongue again, you oughtta be arrested for charging those prices for something that can’t even talk.
Sam: You got a lot of nerve, looking down your nose on my tongue. That’s a good one, huh, Alice?
Alice: Is that supposed to be a New York cut, what race did it run in?
Sam: Hey, hey, something’s wrong, when you start to criticize Sam’s meat, something is definitely wrong. (He walks over to her) Now suppose you tell old Sam all about it.
Alice: Something is wrong, all right.
Sam (carrying a closed sign): Yeah, I’ll go put this up so we can talk.
(As he puts it up, Alice sees a fresh baked tongue for 55 cents a pound and sticks her tongue out at it.)
Sam: Now why don’t you let old Sam put a smile back on your face. (He gives her a playful punch on the shoulder and she hits him with her purse) Hey, you really are upset.
Alice: You bet your sweet pig’s knuckles I am.
Sam: What’s the matter? just sit back here and relax.
Alice: On a crate?
Sam: This is a butcher shop, not a furniture store.
Alice: I’m sorry.
(She and Sam sit down.)
Sam: Now, why don’t you just spill it all out, big Sam is listening.
Alice: Well, I get upset when there’s a problem at the Brady house, and now we’ve got a beaut.
Sam: Well, now, maybe isn’t all that bad, maybe you’re just making a meat loaf out of a hamburger.
Alice: Pretty bad all right, Mr. Brady has been getting phone bills that are driving him completely up the wall. He’s upset with the kids and that’s making Mr. Brady upset. With Mrs. Brady upset and Mr. Brady upset and the kids upset, I get upset. Believe me, Sa, we got more upsets than you got meat.
Sam: You got something Alice, you got a bigger heart than a cow.
Alice (smiling weakly): Sam, you sure know how to make a girl feel good. (She notices a payphone on the wall) When did you get that?
Sam: What? You see something you like?
Alice: This thing.
Sam: Oh, the payphone. Sometime last week, I had to. My customers kept using my phone all the time. (He mimics how they requested it) Do you mind if I make a call? Do you mind if I make a call? The prophets were all going down the drain, the dime here, a dime there.
Alice: A dime here?
Alice: A dime, lend me a dime, you just gave me a good idea.
Sam (giving her a dime): There go the prophets again.
(The scene fades out.)
(The next scene is back at the Brady house, Alice is in the kitchen while Carol and the kids are in the family room gathered around a present Mike put on the wall.)
(Alice goes over to Carol and the kids.)
Alice: Hi, Mrs. Brady, kids.
Carol: Alice, what’s this big thing on the wall?
Alice: What’s what thing on what wall?
Carol: This big thing (She points to it) Over here.
Alice: Oh, oh, that thing.
Carol: Yes, that thing. What is it?
Alice: Oh. (Pause) Wait a minute, I remember now. Mr. Brady called a while ago and said he had a big surprise, but he wants everyone to wait till he gets home to unwrap it.
Carol: Unwrap what? Now, come on, Alice, what is it?
Alice: Excuse me, I think I smell something burning. I better take a look at my liver.
(Alice walks away and Carol turns around to speak to the kids.)
Carol: Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.
(The next scene has Mike at home and shows the family the new surprise,)
Mike: All right, is everybody ready? Why don’t you let the little kids up front so they can see.
Carol (to Bobby and Cindy): Come on, sweetheart.
(Bobby and Cindy move up.)
Mike: All right, we all know from the past that the telephone problem has been absolutely impossible.
Cindy: Hasn’t bothered me.
Bobby: Me neither.
Mike: Well, it’s bothered me and it’s bothered our household budget. Fortunately, I have the solution to the problem and here it is. (He unwraps the gift and it turns out to be a payphone) Ta-dah.
Carol: That looks like a pay telephone.
Mike: That is a pay telephone.
Carol: Honey, that looks like a real payphone.
Mike: Precisely. Didn’t you noticed the other one is gone, the other phone?
Carol: Hey, it is gone.
Greg: I don’t dig.
Marcia: What’s the point?
Mike: The point is, this payphone is for all you kids, and the household budget stops taking a beating. From now on, you will be given an addition to your allowance for 2 calls per day. After that, any call you make will be deducted from your allowance.
Peter: Did you say, 2 calls a day?
Mike: That’s right. The rest comes out of your allowance.
Jan: But I average at least ten.
Mike: Well, there goes your allowance. This payphone will teach you kids not to monopolize the phone and you’ll have to be especially careful about toll calls. (He turns to Carol): Did you know that every call you make to Martha is a toll call?
Carol (laughing): Well, you don’t expect me to use that thing.
Mike: Very good, you can use my phone in the den.
Carol (sarcastically): Oh, thanks a lot.
Mike: You’re welcome.
Peter: Two calls, even when you’re arrested you get to make one call.
Jan: And that you make to your lawyer.
Greg: Come on, let’s tell them how we feel.
Marcia: We don’t want a payphone, you can’t lie on the floor and talk.
Mike: That will make your call shorter, won’t it.
Greg: Suppose we promise to be more careful.
Mike: Sorry, son, we tried discussions, we tried egg timers, we tried even threats, nothing worked.
Carol: That’s right, Greg.
Mike: Now you use the payphone.
Marcia: But, Dad.
Mike: Sorry, Marcia. Maybe this is gonna solve the problem. Dismiss.
(The kids leave in protest.)
Mike (to Carol): Do you know how hard it is to get a payphone? You know all the red tape I had to go through with the phone company?
Carol: Do you know how much this is gonna cost us?
Mike: 2 calls per child, 6 kids, $1.20, $36 a month.
Carol: Well, that’s more than our phone bill was last month.
Mike: Well, honey, who says it’s permanent? Look, if this payphone accomplishes the problem, we’ll return it and go back to the regular phone.
Carol: Well, dear, I guess it’s worth a try.
(The payphone rings. Carol picks it up and hands it to Mike.)
Mike: Who could be calling on a payphone? (He speaks into the phone) Hello. (Pause) I think you better dial again.
Carol: Wrong number?
Mike: I assume it’s the wrong number, we’re not O’Brien’s Taco and Tamale Shop.
(The next scene takes us up to the girls room.)
Greg: Hey, Marcia, listen, I got to make a telephone call. You got change for a quarter?
Marcia: Yep, but I wouldn’t part with it if my life depended on it.
Greg (angry): Thanks a lot.
(Next, we’re in the boys room, with Jan begging Peter for a dime.)
Jan: But Peter, I just need a dime to make a call, and I’ll give the money right back. (Peter gives no response) You wanna be known as a selfish brother?
Peter: A rich one.
(Next, we’re in the family room with Cindy trying desperately to gat a dime from Bobby.)
Cindy: But, my piggy bank’s empty.
Bobby: Well, that’s your tough luck. get off me.
(The next scene has Carol in the den talking on the phone to Martha.)
Carol: Look Martha, I can’t worry anymore about your dress. I’ve my own problems trying to find dimes and nickels for the kids. Well, if that’s short now wear it as a belt. (Mike walks in) Now, Martha, I did not mean to be sarcastic. (Mike kneels down and starts to kiss her) Excuse me (to Mike) Hi, dear.
Mike: Ask me what’s new, ask me what’s new.
Carol: Listen, excuse me, Martha, Mike just walked in. Yeah, uh, (to Mike) Listen, honey, you look like you’re just bursting with news.
Mike: I am, I am, I am. I’m supposed to meet Mr. Crawford to discuss the multi-million dollar factory complex, the one I helped design. I have to call him at 6:30 to set up a meeting, and that’s in about 5 minutes.
Carol: Oh, Mike, that’s wonderful. (They kiss and Carol gets back on the phone) Listen Martha, Mike just came in and (Pause) Martha, now Martha I told you I didn’t mean to be (Pause) Martha, it’s nothing to cry over. Martha, Martha, Martha. Mike, I think I hurt her feelings. She’s off crying and we’re still connected.
Mike (grabbing a phone): Let me try. (He speaks into the phone) Martha, Martha! Martha! I’m supposed to call Mr. Crawford at 6:30 and you don’t keep multi-millionaires waiting, Martha!
Carol (speaking into the phone): Martha, please come back, Mike needs to use the phone.
Mike: Never mind, I’ll use the phone in the other room.
(Mike runs out of the den chanting Martha.)
Carol (into the phone): Martha, Martha. (to herself) That’s the thanks I get for helping her with her dress.
(Mike is on his way to the family room and sees Sam, who is there to pick up Alice for a date.)
Mike: Hi, Sam.
Sam: Good evening, Mr. Brady.
Alice: Sam got here early. He’s taking me to a movie tonight.
Sam; Somebody has to take her. It’s one of those pictures with an R-rating, and she ain’t 16 yet
Mike: Have fun, kids. (He walks into the family room and puts a dime in the payphone, he picks the receiver and dials) Hello, Mr. Crawford, please.
Operator: Who’s calling, please?
Mike: This is Michael Brady, he’s expecting my call.
Operator: Mr. Crawford is on another line, will you wait please?
(He waits a few minutes and Mr. Crawford’s secretary answers.)
Secretary: Mr. Brady.
Mike: Yes, Mr. Crawford.
Secretary: I’m sorry, sir, this is Mr. Crawford’s secretary. Mr. Crawford had to take a London call, he’ll be with you in a few moments.
Mike: Well, I’ll wait if I may.
9Mike waits a few more minutes and finally reaches Mr. Crawford.)
Mr. Crawford: Hello.
Mike: Mr. Crawford?
Mr. Crawford: Yes, this is Crawford.
Mike: This is Michael Brady.
Mr. Crawford: Oh yes, the plans for the new factory complex, are they complete?
Mike: Yes sir, they are. I thought we might discuss them over dinner. Do you like the candlelight room at the Royal Hotel?
Mr. Crawford: Fine, best food in town.
Mike: Nothing but the best when you are discussing multi-million deals, that’s our firm’s policy. (Mike gets cut off and the operator asks to deposit another 10 cents) 1o cents?
Mr. Crawford: Did I hear an operator ask for 10 cents?
Mike: Mr. Crawford, you just hang on for a minute. (He goes in his pockets looking for another dime but can’t find one) Mr. Crawford, are you still there? (Mike can’t find another dime) CAROL! ALICE! HELP! I NEED ANOTHER DIME!
Alice: Dime? The kids cleaned us out of change.
Sam: Wait a minute, I got dimes.
Alice: You have?
(Alice and Sam go in the family room and see Mike sitting on the couch, unhappy. Sam puts a bunch of dimes on the counter.)
Sam (to Mike): Here you go, help yourself.
Alice: No wonder the kids hadn’t been able to find any dimes, you had them all.
Sam: Oh, Alice.
Carol (running in the room): What happened, dear?
Mike: The operator cut me off because I didn’t have another dime.
Carol: Oh, darling.
Sam: Well call him back, Mr. Brady, here’s plenty of dimes.
Mike: Call back Mr. Crawford and explain why I was discussing a multi-million dollar deal and couldn’t deposit another ten cents. (He laughs) On the other hand, what have I got to lose.
Alice (to Sam): Come on.
Sam: Wait, I wanna hear how it comes out.
Alice: Come on.
Sam: It was my dime.
(Alice and Sam leave and Mike gets back on the payphone.)
Mike: Hello, Mr.. Crawford, this is Mike Brady again.
Mr. Crawford: Frankly Mr. Brady, I’m not accustomed to doing business with a company which has to use pay telephones.
Mike: Mr. Crawford, the payphone is in my house.
Mr. Crawford: Your house? That doesn’t exactly restore my faith in you or your company, Mr. Brady. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have other calls waiting.
Mike: Mr. Crawford, let me explain. You see, I have six children and I could never get to use my own phone. Besides, they were running bills up that were out of sight.
Mr. Crawford: Payphone. Payphone in your house. That’s a very interesting idea. I have three teenagers of my own and I know what you mean. Tell me something, has the payphone solved your problem?
Mike: Oh, yes, it has worked fine. With the single exception of my phone call to you.
Mr. Crawford: Well, maybe that worked fine too. Did you say the candlelight room at the Royal Hotel?
Mike: Yes sir, you name the day.
Mr. Crawford: Friday at 8 would be fine, I’ll see you then.
(He hangs up.)
Mike (hanging up the phone): We’re all set.
Carol (excited): Oh, Mike, that’s marvelous.
Mike: Yes, thanks to you and the kids and that silly box.
(The scene fades away.)
(In the next one, Mike is spackling the wall where the payphone used to be.)
Mike: In a few minutes you’ll never be able to tell there was a phone attached to it.
Carol: The kids are thrilled to have their regular phone back again, and I’m sure they learned a very valuable lesson.
Alice: I’m kind of surprised you took it out the payphone, Mr. Brady. It brought you good luck in that big deal with Mr. Crawford.
Mike: It certainly did. In fact, it might have been the payphone that clinched it.
Alice: It seems kind of a shame you took it out.
Mike: I’ll tell you what, Alice. If you get lonesome for a payphone, I can give you the address of a home that’s got one.
Alice: Mr. Crawford?
Mike: You better believe it.