Jeff and Jodie are in the children's department, excitedly unwrapping a package.
"Oh hurry Jeff, please, I can hardly wait to see them!" Jodie says.
"I hope they sent the right size," says Jeff.
Muffy is passing by and Jodie encourages her to stay and see what's in the package. At first, she declines. She's on her way to take a nap. It seems she and Sam stayed up very late and "ate and ate" and she's exhausted.
"On the other hand, perhaps I'll stay! This might be cheese and that's okay."
But when Jodie opens the package, she lifts out one of a pair of shiny pink shoes. "Aren't they pretty?" she asks Muffy.
Muffy is unmoved. "I thought this might be cheese to eat. But they're just shoes to wear on feet!"
Jeff explains they're not just any shoes. They're tap shoes. He flips the shoe over to show her the taps.
Jeff is going to teach Jodie to tap dance. "I promised I'd perform at the staff party," Jodie says. Jodie apologizes for Muffy's disappointment.
"Well, I'm sorry if I sounded rude, but I'm sorrier still that it wasn't food!" Muffy says and off she goes.
"Poor Muffy," Jodie says to Jeff. "Sometimes I think the only thing she cares about is . . ."
"CHEESE!" they both say together.
Soon it's time for Jodie's first lesson. Jeff begins by teaching her a shuffle. Jodie picks it up instantly. Then he ads a hop. "Hop shuffle step step step," he says, giving her a sequence to imitate. Pretty soon she's doing it right alongside him.
"Just feel the rhythm, and the beat," sings Jeff, "start tap tap tap tap tappin' tappin' tappin' tappin' tappin' your feet," as he sings, he demonstrates some very fancy footwork which Jodie doesn't even try to imitate. But then he comes back to the shuffle. "A shuffle, makes the step complete, when you're tap tap tap tap tappin' tappin' tappin' tappin' tappin' your feet!"
Jodie joins in the song. "Your feet start flyin' with the music. Keep tappin' faster than before! Toes tap tap tappin' tappin' more and more." They slow down into a slow gliding step before going into a lively finale. Jodie matches Jeff step for step.
When they're done, Sam comes in, carrying a wrench. "All right! I'm here. Don't worry, I'll fix it."
"Fix what Sam?" Jodie asks.
"Just as soon as I find it."
"Well, find what, Sam?" Jeff asks.
"The leak, Jeff. Yeah, I could hear it all the way downstairs. Pitter patter pitter patter!"
Jodie and Jeff look at each other and then look down at their taps.
"Um, Sam? Sam, did it sound like this?" Jodie asks, and then begins tapping gently. Sam says yes, but it was louder. So Jeff and Jodie tap together.
"Hey! Yeah, that's it, that's it exactly," says Sam. "I wonder why I can't see it, though?"
Jodie explains that Jeff was teaching her how to tap.
"Oh! Tap! Oh, you mean there's a leak in the tap?"
"No, no, no, I mean tap dancing." Jodie says.
"Oh, you mean there's no leak at all. You were tap dancing. Oh. Well, you never, uh, considered taking up ballet, did you Jodie? That's kind of a nice quiet sort of dancing." Sam says, more to himself than to her. Then he walks off, muttering, "Boy, somebody should invent rubber tap shoes, especially when Muffy and I have been up so late."
Jeff and Jodie decide to go to the stockroom and practice where their dancing won't bother anyone. So, dancing and singing, off they go to the stockroom.
Meanwhile, in her darkened apartment, Muffy is laying in bed, trying to take a nap. "That tapping sound is most annoying. My nap time I am not enjoying!" She's been trying to count mice (instead of sheep), but with the noise, she sees tap shoes on their feet. "If this goes on, I will complain, I'll find them both and I'll explain: My head is spinning, my ears are bruised and Muffy Mouse is not amused!"
Just then, TXL shows us some tap shoes dancing and asks us to clap the rhythm the shoes are making. A pair of white gloved hands appear and clap the rhythm as well. But after we've clapped for awhile, Muffy appears on screen. "Oh, will you stop that clap clap clapping? It's as bad as that tap tap tapping!" The hands disappear and the feet rise up out of the picture.
"Sorry Muffy, I told them to clap," says TXL. Muffy pleads with her to do a quiet quiz next time.
In the meantime Jeff and Jodie have reached the stockroom. It seems they're alone there. Jeff announces, "Let's try something really tricky." Jodie agrees.
Then Jeff launches into an incredibly intricate, incredibly difficult series of steps.
Jodie just laughs.
Then Jeff laughs too. "No."
"No!" Jodie repeats.
"Let's try this!" he says, and begins the time step.
"Okay. That's better!" says Jodie, and begins tapping along with him.
Just then they hear a hammering noise nearby. Mrs. P. is in the stockroom nailing down some wooden crates. They figure they're going to bother her, but she tells them she loves dancing. "You and Jeffrey can make as much noise as you like." Thrilled, Jodie and Jeff resume dancing, but when they try to dance while she's hammering, it throws off their rhythm. So Jeff suggests they go elsewhere.
Mrs. P hasn't heard any of this underneath her hammering. She pauses, "Oh, Jodie . . . " she begins. "Hmph! Gone already!" she says when she sees that Jeff and Jodie have left. "That's the trouble with the young folk! They don't know the meaning of the word practice!"
Jeff leads Jodie up onto the roof, tapping all the while. "See? We can rehearse up here! It's air conditioned and look at the stars in the audience!"
Just then there is a clap of thunder and it begins to rain.
Jodie says, "Well, I guess we could always wear flippers. Or do an Esther Williams number."
That comment leaves Jeff puzzled.
So they're off again, dancing their way through the store. Without realizing they're in front of Muffy's apartment, Jodie notices that the floor they're dancing on has a nice ring to it and might be a good place to practice. They tap away happily.
"Good for you!" says Jeff, seeing how well Jodie is dancing.
"Oh, I've got the best teacher!"
Muffy comes out. "Hi, Muffy!" they say, tapping away. Then Jodie realizes that Muffy is not happy. She stops dancing and reaches out to stop Jeff, too. "Hi, Muff." she says.
Muffy's voice is dripping with sarcasm as she tells them, "I know you both have to rehearse, but it is a great big universe! And of all the places in the store, you have to dance outside my door!" She tosses her head regally, and disappears into her apartment.
"Well, I guess it's back to the old children's department." says Jodie. Off they go, tapping as quietly as they can.
While Jeff and Jodie have been tapping elsewhere, Sam has begun building a small house of cards. Just as he puts the final card on, Jeff and Jodie begin tapping upstairs again. He knocks down the cards. "Cantankerous camels! Those two are at it again! Sounds like a couple of runaway typewriters up there!"
TXL suggests a story to distract him. He pushes the wrong button on her keyboard and a toy truck with a siren comes out, adding to the general din. He tries again, and this time the story comes up on her screen. "And now, for a nice, quiet story." he says.
TXL tells "The Shoe Story." The story is in live action, but we only see the feet of the players. It's about a pair of shoes who don't know what they were good for, so they go out to find a job. They meet a pair of sneakers who boast that they are the fastest shoes in the world. The shoes wonder if they could be fast, too. But when the sneakers begin running, the shoes can't keep up.
Next, they run into a pair of farmer's boots. The boots boast about how tough they are, and how they have to keep the farmer's feet dry. The shoes try stomping around in mud puddles with them, but they only succeed in getting wet.
Next they meet a pair of ballet slippers. The slippers stand on their toes. But the unemployed shoes can't manage to do that either.
Finding nothing they're good at, they finally give up, assuming they're good for nothing. Then, another pair of shoes comes along. "Can you dance like this?" they ask, and begin tap dancing. The shoes try it, and lo and behold, they can do it! At last, the pair of shoes have found something to do. "We may not be the fastest, or the toughest, or the most graceful," they say to each other, "but we're the happiest shoes in the world!"
Sam likes the story, but can't help noticing how much tap dancing there was in it. "You did that on purpose didn't you?" he asks TXL.
"I like tap dancing Mr. Crenshaw!" she says.
"Well, so do I, but . . ." the tapping upstairs begins again. "Not all the time, TXL."
Just then, Muffy comes in. "I have a sneaky plan to stop that tapping if we can," she tells Sam. "And then we'll have some peace and quiet. Well, what's your answer - you wanna try it?"
"I don't know, Muffy. Is it really sneaky?" Sam asks.
Muffy nods and snickers wickedly.
"Good!" Sam says.
So the two of them go up to the children's department where Jeff and Jodie are tapping away. Jodie is doing the time step, and Jeff is doing a vastly more difficult step. Sam calls them over to see something.
They come over, but all he has to show them is his hand.
"Watch carefully," he tells them, "What do you see?"
"Your hand." says Jeff.
"Watch what this hand can do!" he says. He makes the hand "talk," opening and closing it like a mouth and saying, "moo moo moo moo" and "quack quack quack quack," he spins his finger around and makes other silly noises.
Jeff and Jodie are puzzled.
"Is that all?" asks Jodie.
"Well, it's enough I think!" says Sam, as Muffy joins him. "Way to go, Muffy, they didn't suspect a thing! You must've been quiet as a little mouse. Ha-ha-ha!"
"What are you two talking about?"
"While Sam kept you occupied, both your feet I put inside a giant shoe and a giant sock. And then I quickly locked the lock!"
Sure enough, when they look down, they find that Jeff's left foot and Jodie's right foot are locked together in a giant boot.
Jeff and Jodie beg for release, but Sam and Muffy won't let them go until Muffy has had a nap, and Sam has had some peace and quiet. Then, off they go, leaving Jeff and Jodie bound.
"Well, I guess they showed us, didn't they?" Jodie says, laughing.
"I suppose we were a little noisy." says Jeff. They're good natured about it, even when Jodie falls over trying to go in a different direction than Jeff. Working together, they get to some chairs and sit down.
"I don't know, Jeff. What do you think, are we going to be able to get out of this?"
"I don't know, not without a key!"
Jodie wonders what they can do now that they can't dance. Jeff suggests they could think about dancing.
"Sure, I do it all the time!" he says. He tells her he likes to imagine that all the mannequins in the store are just like him, and they come alive at night and go dancing together. He tells her to close her eyes and imagine the store with no one in it, just Jeff and his fellow mannequins.
Jeff and his friends (members of the National Tap Dance Company) start as mannequins. Jeff sings, "If you should stay someday, after the store is closed, after the sun's gone down don't be afraid, you'll be greeted by quite a sight, as we sing and dance at night. Come join the mannequins on parade!" We watch Jeff and the mannequins dance for a bit and then Jeff sings again.
"If you should still be here, after the dawn arrives when the birds sing their morning serenade, you'll be greeted by quite a race, as we rush back into place," everyone dashes to their position. "Come join the mannequins on parade, come join the mannequins on parade, come join the mannequins on parade!"
Back to reality, in the children's department, both Jodie's and Jeff's imprisoned feet are falling asleep. They decide to get up and move around a bit. On the count of three, they stand up. Having accomplished that, Jeff suggests they try some dancing. They do a simple brush step, but Jeff suggests they can do better than that.
"Okay, you go!" says Jodie. So Jeff hoofs away on one foot, loses his balance, and knocks his hat off. Jodie can't reach it. Jodie is not so amused anymore. "Well, this is a fine mess!" she says. "Jeff's a mannequin and I can't move." She heaves a sigh. "Wait'll I get my hands on Muffy Mouse!"
Fortunately, Mrs. P comes through the children's department on her way home. Jodie asks her to help by picking up Jeff's hat, which she does, cautioning Jodie to be more careful. "It wouldn't do to have the customers find you like this in the morning!" she says. She gets the hat and goes over to Jodie. Jeff is in a half-falling position, bent over with his hands in the air.
"Oh, I do like Jeffrey," Mrs. P. says. "He has such excellent posture!"
Jodie takes the hat and puts it on Jeff's head and says the magic words. Once Jeff comes to life again, Jodie tries to get Mrs. P to help with their predicament. But Mrs. P thinks it's a way to help Jodie learn to dance and goes off without understanding.
"It's too late, she's gone!" Jeff says. "Well, Jodie. We could always enter a 3-legged race!" says Jeff. Jodie laughs, but Jeff wants to try it, so off they go as fast as they can across the children's department floor.
Meanwhile Muffy is having pangs of conscience. She's trying to nap, but admits, "An awful thought keeps me awake. Perhaps my trick was a mistake. I only meant to have some fun, and get a little sleeping done . . . Oh, I'll give them back the key, apologize and set them free. But first I'll sleep a little more!"
Then Sam knocks and calls through the door.
"Oh, wrong again! Sam's at my door," Muffy sighs.
It turns out Sam is also feeling guilty and has come to suggest that they shouldn't have done what they did. "I feel kind of, you know, rotten. Why don't we just let them go?"
"Yeah," agrees Muffy. "Well, hey! We'll do more than just let them go. We'll put on a little show. We'll sing and we'll dance and we'll make a fuss, and then they won't be mad at us!"
In the children's department, Jodie and Jeff are thinking of going to bang on Muffy's door when they hear a drum roll. Sam's voice calls out.
"Ladies and gentlemen! Presenting for your entertainment, that dancing duo: Sam and Muffy!"
Out they come, wearing straw hats and red checked coats and carrying canes. They sing:
"Singin' and dancin' is a good thing for you to do! And we'll set you both free, and hand over the key, and tell you both we're sorry, hope everything's hunky dory, 'cause we're singin' and dancin', just to show that we both love you! And if you still wanna tap we won't go into a flap! But first a dance from Muffy and Sam to you!"
First Sam comes over near Jodie and Jeff. We zoom in on his feet and he performs a little soft shoe. Then he introduces Muffy. "Show us your stuff, Muff!" Jeff calls out. Muffy does a bit of fast shuffling with her foot. Then she calls out to Jodie,
"Jodie, take your turn now that you've learned!"
"Only if Jeff takes it with me!" Jodie says. So they stand up and do alternating brush steps. Then all four friends sing,
"And if you still wanna tap, Muffy will give up her nap, 'cause that's what good friends happily often do . . ."
Jodie reaches down to get the key from Muffy. ("Let's have the key!")
"'Cause that's what good friends happily often do!" they all finish the song together. Jodie's got the key in hand, and everything's all right again.
- Which of these eight shoes to you wear in the winter? (The ice skate, snowshoe, big winter boot and the ski.) "But not at the same time!" TXL tells us. Then an octopus appears, wearing all the shoes at once. "Uh-oh! Wrong again," she corrects herself.
- What's that tapping sound in the woods? (It's a woodpecker). When the woodpecker is joined by his friends, TXL laments, "Oh, dear, and I promised Muffy we'd be quiet!"
- Second clapping quiz, after Sam and Muffy decide to set Jeff and Jodie free. "Let's all clap this rhythm. I don't think Sam and Muffy would mind now." After the rhythm is tapped by a pair of tap shoes, it is tapped again by a another pair, and then by a pair of oversized clown shoes. Then another trio, a pair of roller skates, a pair of flippers, and the clown shoes dance the same rhythm together.
- There came an old woman from France that taught grown-up children to dance.
- Jodie learns to tap dance unbelievably fast in this episode, but it is interesting to note the progress Nerene Virgin has made in her tap dancing. Comparing her dancing in "Ears" with the more sophisticated steps she does in "Dancing Shoes," it appears she has been successfully working on her own dancing far longer than Jodie does in this episode.
- I find it rather odd that Jodie promised to perform at the staff party before Jeff taught her to tap dance.
- Jodie's comment about doing an "Esther Williams" number when it began to rain was a reference to the Hollywood movie star (and former competitive swimmer) who did many spectacular water ballets in the movies in the 1940s and 50s. Definitely a joke for the parents. Or grandparents!
- The speech Muffy makes when she finds Jeff and Jodie practically dancing on her porch was a wonderful bit of sarcastic verse, delivered impeccably by Nina Keogh.
- We saw many feet without bodies in this episode, in "The Shoe Story," the tapping quizzes and in Sam's dance. Undoubtedly Jeff's feet were included among them, my guess would be that his feet were in the role of the shoes searching for employment in "The Shoe Story," and his feet were probably in the flippers in the quiz. The two other dancing feet in "The Shoe Story" were Lesley Ballantyne and Scott Smith. Perhaps they also helped out with the quizzes.
- Jeff's comment that he thinks about dancing "all the time" makes me smile. As a gifted dancer and choreographer, that statement is probably literally true of Jeff Hyslop himself.
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