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1987

Sam and the Robot

A picture of a rather odd looking man (played by John Stocker), with a waxed mustache and glasses, is in the children's department.

"Oh, I can't believe these photographs of the new night manager - They're on every floor!" says Jeff.

Jodie even has an addition to her uniform, a big pink shirt with the man's picture on the back.

"Have you met him yet?" Jeff asks.

"Crandall J. Crummington?"

"Yeah - the third." adds Jeff.

"No, Jeff, but I heard a rumor that he likes to sneak up and spy on his employees."

"Do you think he could be watching us now?"

Jodie doubts that anyone could be that sneaky, but then they spot him, "hiding" in a picture of himself.

"Mr. Crummington!" Jodie says in a disgusted tone.

He gives a wicked laugh. "The very same. Sly fellow, aren't I?" He laughs again.

"Can I help you with something?" Jodie asks.

"Oh, just checking, just checking. Has that old codger Crenshaw been through here?"

"If you mean Sam," says Jodie, "He's in his computer room."

"Oh, not for long. He quit!" Crummington announces merrily.

Jeff and Jodie can hardly believe it, but Crumington says that he made him see that the store needs a "young, strong" security guard.

"I can't believe Sam would quit his job. He loves this place!" Jodie says.

"He loves us," Jeff adds.

"Oh, ho ho, what can I say? I simply told him about the company physical scheduled for him tomorrow. Crenshaw obviously couldn't do the required FIVE chin ups," Crummington says "five" in a lengthy, piercing nasal tone while splaying five fingers out towards Jeff, who makes a face. "Too old, you know. So he did the only wise thing. He quit!"

Jodie thinks Crummington made him quit.

"Well, it doesn't really matter now, does it? Crenshaw's gone!" Crummington says, and, wiggling his fingers with wicked delight, he's gone.

Jeff and Jodie are stunned.

Meanwhile, Sam is out in behind the store near the dumpster. He's mostly out of uniform, except for his hat, and he's playing the "Today's Special" theme song, blues style, on the harmonica. He doesn't know just how to say goodbye to Jodie, Jeff and Muffy, his "oldest and dearest friends." So he decides to go home and come back to say goodbye tomorrow. He realizes he's still wearing the hat, so he tosses it into the dumpster (which also has a picture of Crandall J. Crummington III on it).

But it comes flying back out. He he tosses it in again. But out it comes. So Sam climbs up to peer into the dumpster and a big, rusty, clunky looking robot looks back at him.

"Whoa!" Sam shouts. "Aliens! Aliens! Help, we've been invaded, aliens from Mars!"

"Aliens? Save me, I must hide!" The robot says, putting a piece of cardboard over her head. "Aliens! We are doomed."

"Wait a second, you're the alien, you're the invader, the thing from outer space!"

"Me? From outer space? Ha-ha. That is a funny one. Ha-ha. Laugh. Laugh." The robot introduces herself, "My name is Bleep. I am a Series One robot, created in 1956. Who are you?

"I am a Sam. I mean, I'm Sam Crenshaw, pleased to meet you - created in 1919."

Bleep explains that she's in the dumpster because she is "garbage, useless and out of date, Crandall J. Crummington said so."

"Crummington again, huh?" Sam says. "Yeah, he sorta said the same about me."

"You are useless and out of date?"

"Yeah something like that," says Sam.

"It is sad. I will sigh. Sigh. Sigh."

"You can say that again, Bleep," says Sam. Then, anticipating what she'll say next, he says it with her: "Sigh. Sigh."

Inside the store, Jeff and Jodie have come to Sam's computer room looking for him, but TXL tells them he's already packed his things. A closet door opens and Muffy is sitting inside the empty space. "It's too late friends, he's gone away, and he won't come back another day." She tells them.

Jodie asks her to come out.

"I'd rather stay in here and pout, I just don't feel like coming out." The door closes again.

Jodie promises she'll find a way to help Sam get his job back. TXL says she hopes that's a promise she can keep.

"So do I, TXL. So do I." Jodie says.

Outside, Sam has gotten Bleep out of the dumpster and is dusting her off with what appears to be a pair of old boxer shorts. He can't believe they're throwing such a fine looking robot away.

"Mr. Crummington says I'm old-fashioned. I'm not a "today" robot. I am too big, too clumsy."

"Aw come on, Bleep! You talk, you have lights that flash, and arms that move and things . . ." says Sam, and he accidentally pulls her arm off! He's flustered until Bleep explains that she comes apart for easy cleaning, and he easily puts it back on.

"The kids today want robots that transform. I am not a tank, I am not a truck. What you see is what you get . . . Soon the garbage truck will come and I will be history. Crummington will smile."

Sam looks at the night manager's picture on the dumpster. "He dumped us both for newer models," he says. "I don't like that. I say we stand up to that Crandall J. Crummington!"

"But we are standing. We are vertical!"

Sam clarifies. "Not like that, Bleep. You repeat after me," then he begins to sing, "Oh, I'm not through yet, oh you haven't heard the last of me, oh you haven't heard the last of me, me, me, 'cause there's so much more that we can be, be, be, 'cause there's so much more that we can be!" Bleep echoes each line.

Once the song is over, Sam says, "Not by a long shot, Bleep!"

"Not by a long shot, Bleep!" Repeats Bleep.

"Yeah, that's the spirit, Bleep!"

"Yeah, that's the spirit Bleep," she repeats.

"Uh, you can stop repeating what I say,"

"Uh, you can stop repeating what I say,"

"Oh, jumpin' jackrabbits, come on!"

"Oh, jumpin' jackrabbits, come on!" Bleep says. "I think I'm gonna like this, Sam." She sings again, "Oh, I'm not through yet, oh, I'm not through yet . . ."

The mime lady has a robot too. It looks just like her. There's a large switch nearby with three symbols, meaning "sit," "stand," and "hop." As the mime pushes each button, the "robot" assumes each position or hops. The mime gets carried away, pushing the buttons one after the other at breakneck speed, until the "robot" keels over and a symbol appears over her. "Broken." TXL says. "Oh, well," the mime seems to say as she shrugs.

In the children's department, Jeff is trying to track Sam down by calling some of Sam's friends on the telephone, but no one has seen him.

Jodie is getting more and more angry that Crummington somehow forced Sam to quit his job. "Oh! That - that meanie!" she says.

"Careful, Jodie. I mean, Crummington might be hiding nearby, watching us." Jeff warns.

"I don't care if he hears me, Jeff, I've got half a mind to quit myself!"

That brings Crummington out from behind a rack of clothes. "Oh! Come now, is that re-e-eally necessary?"

"Crummington." Jodie acknowledges with distaste.

"No need to quit your job on my account, Jodie!" Sam says, walking in.

"Sam!" Jodie and Jeff cry.

"Are you still here?" The night manager asks.

"I most certainly am, Mr. Crummington, and I'm gonna stay, too, 'cause I un-quit! Right Bleep?"

"Bleep?"

"Right Sam." Bleep says, walking in.

"I thought I threw you in the trash last night!" says Crummington.

"You did, but," Bleep says. She sings, "I'm not through yet, you haven't heard the last of me!"

"They say the best is yet to be!" Sam sings defiantly.

"You're all in this together I see," whines Crummington.

"Right. Together all the way. Inseparable. Stuck like glue!" Sam says, grabbing Bleep's arm and pulling it off again.

"And what about those FIVE chin ups you have to do tomorrow for your physical? You'll never make it."

Sam says he will, even if he has to train all night.

"That's the spirit Sam! We'll all help you!" Jodie says.

"Pretty feisty group, aren't we?" says Crummington. They all look proudly at each other. "Well, I'll tell you what I'll do. You do those FIVE chin ups tomorrow at sun-up and retrain this hunk of junk into something useful, and you can keep your job with a raise in pay . . . But if you fail, you're out of here. ALL of you! And that includes that frilly little rodent that's hiding over there in the stuffed toys. I see you!"

Muffy proudly comes out and joins her friends.

"It's one for all and all for one!" Shouts Jodie.

"One for all and all for one!" The others repeat, putting their hands one on top of the other.

"And we won't quit until we've won!" Muffy says, putting her hand on top.

Crummington looks at us with a sneer. "Cute," he says, rolling his eyes.

Next TXL shows us some real robots. We won't find many robots like Bleep outside the store, but there are real robots. She shows us one arm-like device that is helping to put a car together. "Do you think Bleep could handle a job like that?" She asks.

Meanwhile, Sam has gotten into a hooded sweatshirt. He hasn't worn it since he was in the merchant marines and he puts it on backwards, so Jeff has to take the hood off of his face and fold it under. Sam looks down at his stomach. "Yeah, I don't remember this bulge being here when I was in the merchant marines."

Jeff has set up a chin up bar and invites Sam to try it so they can see what how many he can do.

"Crummington says I have to do five."

"FIVE," says Jeff in a great imitation, splaying his fingers out.

So Sam begins. One comes pretty easily, but two is a little harder, and Sam catches his nose on the bar. "Does this count?" He asks. Crummington walks by.

"They're called chin ups, Crenshaw, not nose-ups!" Cackles Crummington, "and you have to do FIVE." He walks away.

Sam falls from the bar. "Oh, I'm sunk, Jeff."

"No, you're not, Sam. We'll just have to work harder!"

Then Jodie and Muffy come in exercise clothes ready for some aerobic exercise. "Feeling strong, feeling fit, just won't happen if you quit," she sings, "To be in shape, body-wise, get out there and exercise, you can do it, do it, do it, work on through it, through it, through it." Jeff joins them and so does Sam. It's pretty rigorous.

"You can do it, do it, do it," Sam tries to sing, but his breath is labored. Jeff and Jodie stop and come over to help. "I'm not altogether sure I can do it," Sam pants. Jeff fans him with a towel.

The mime is exercising, too. First she jogs in place. Next, she's going to lift weights. 100 kilograms! There's a metal bar in front of her with a 50 kg weight on each end. TXL doubts she can lift it. "Careful, don't try if it's too . . ." but then the mime lifts it. "Heavy!" she finishes, surprise in her tone. The mime lifts it over head. "That's fantastic! I'm impressed!" TXL says. Then the mime pulls out a pin and pops one of the weights. It's a balloon! She gives us a devilish smile and raises her eyebrows at us as if to say, "Fooled you!"

Sam's exercise is a bit more serious as he jogs through the store. He passes by a cartload of candy. Then he jogs backwards to take another look at the candy. "No, better not!" He says, and jogs past again.

Jodie has Bleep in the stockroom. "Now we have to come up with something for you to do Bleep or Crummington's gonna throw us out!"

"I will do anything you say, Jodie." Bleep says.

Jodie asks her to move some very expensive glasses. First Bleep tries to gather them all up at once, but Jodie stops her and tells her to move them one at a time. She picks up one glass and moves it to a table successfully, but then knocks it off while exulting in her own success.

"I don't think the stockroom is the best place for me," says Bleep.

Meanwhile, Sam is jogging his way through the bedding department. "That's good," he mutters as he passes, "making good time." Then he jogs backward. "The bedding department. It's more than good. It's great!" He says, and collapses on a bed.

Jodie and Bleep come into the children's department to find Jeff setting something up. He asks Bleep how things went in the stockroom.

"Don't ask!" Jodie says.

"I am not very good with glasses," says Bleep.

"How about cups?" asks Jeff, holding up a paper cup.

"Hey what's all this?" Jodie asks. Jeff has set up a table with bottles of liquid and cups. He explains that his idea is for Bleep to take the place of a drink vending machine in the cafeteria. people could hand her the money and Bleep could pour the drinks. Jodie thinks it's a great idea.

"Regular vending machines are so boring. Bleep would be a big hit!" Jeff says.

So they give it a try. Jodie poses as a customer and asks for a lemonade. Jeff hands Bleep a cup and a juice bottle with a squirter. "Squirt the juice in the cup," he instructs Bleep. Bleep does so.

"May I say how lovely you look today," Bleep adds.

"Oh, you're going to be a big hit with the employees, Bleep."

"Now give it to Jodie," Jeff says. So Bleep does, squirting the lemonade in Jodie's face.

"Oh!" Jodie cries as juice hits her.

"Not with the squirter," says Jeff, taking the bottle away. Crummington has come in just in time to see this and tosses Jodie a towel. "Having a little trouble - are we?" He guffaws as he walks off. Jeff makes faces behind his back.

"Crummington was right. I am a useless hunk of junk." Bleep moans. "Deep sigh!"

"Oh, Bleep, don't say that!" Jodie says. She asks her what she used to do in the store. So Bleep tells her that many years ago she stood in the store's front window. She always drew a crowd because no one had seen a robot before. She announced what items were on sale. Everyone would applaud. "Those were wonderful days!" Bleep says, sighing again.

"Don't give up, Bleep! You've just given me a terrific idea and Crummington's going to love it!" Jodie says happily.

Meanwhile, Crummington has just come across Sam sleeping in the bedding department. He's sure he'll never make the five chin ups. "I've won! I've won!" He says, but before he leaves, he decides to make absolutely certain that Sam won't make it. He puts rocks in his pocket to weigh him down. "Well, I told you I was sneaky, didn't I?" He says to us.

Soon, it's nearly sun-up. It's time. Jodie, Jeff, Muffy and Bleep are all gathered in the children's department. Bleep is confident that she'll be all right, but they're worried about Sam.

"A little while ago he couldn't even do two chin ups let alone FIVE," says Jeff, spreading out his fingers. "Oh, I don't think he can do it. Crummington's going to win after all."

Muffy thinks maybe Crummington has forgotten, but then he walks in. But Sam is still not there.

"Maybe he chickened out - Threw in the towel - Went on home."

"Naw, I'm here." Sam says walking in slowly. But he isn't feeling too well. Jeff mentions that he sounds tired. "I don't know, Jeff, but I'm just really dragging, you know, oh, my legs feel so heavy and - I don't know."

Crummington smirks. "Maybe just feeling your age."

"Maybe you tried to do too much," says Jodie.

"Maybe," Sam says, "But I feel like I'm carrying around extra weight or . . ."

Crummington clears his throat and cuts Sam off. "Enough conversation! Eh, let's get down to business, shall we? There's the chin-up bar, Mr. Crenshaw. FIVE, count 'em, FIVE chin ups!" Everyone imitates his gesture and mouths the word.

"Come on, Sam, you can do it!" Jeff says.

"Just, just do your best!" Jodie says.

"You've got the right stuff, and that's good enough!" Muffy puts in.

"You're not through yet, Sam," says Bleep.

"Oh, let's cut the pep talk and get to it!" sneers Crummington.

"All right. Here goes!" Sam says. He manages one. Then two, then three, but can't quite make it to four.

"Nice try, there Crenshaw, too bad it wasn't enough."

"Oh, Sam, that's okay,' says Jodie.

"No, it's not okay, Jodie, all our futures were on the rocks!" Jeff reaches over to pat him on the back.

"Oh, Sam. Wait. Wait a minute. What - what's this?" He pulls the rocks out of Sam's sweatshirt. "Somebody has put rocks in your pocket, Sam."

"Who would do a thing like that? Who would be such a low rat!" Shouts Muffy. Everyone looks at Crummington, who is trying to look innocent.

"Why is everybody looking at me?" Everyone continues to stare. "All right, all right, he gets a second chance at the chin-ups no rocks. Everything on the up-and-up."

"At least I have a chance," says Sam. "It's only FIVE!" He adds. So up he goes again on the chin up bar. Jodie crosses her fingers and they all watch anxiously. One - two - three - Crummington looks very unhappy. Then four and then finally, FIVE!

"He did it! You did it Sam!" They all shout, jumping for joy.

"Do-o-o-n't celebrate yet!" Crummington says. "There were two parts to this deal. The chin-ups AND training that robot into something useful. I saw what she did as a vending machine!" He adds with an evil laugh.

"Picture this!" says Jeff. "Just inside the main entrance to the store, a small stage with a light shining from above. Bleep turns to the customers and says . . ."

"Greetings, shoppers, welcome to our fine store."

Crummington makes an exaggerated yawn. "B-o-o-ring!" He says.

"May I introduce you to some of the wonderful people who manage our store," Bleep continues. Jodie goes over to a table nearby. "Our night manager, Crandall J. Crummington III!" Jodie pulls away a drape to reveal a picture of him, surrounded by blinking red and blue lights.

"I like it!" Crummington says. "I like it! As a matter of fact, I like all of you. You stick together, and you help each other, and you don't quit! I admire that. Almost as much as I admire - me!" He finishes, pointing to his picture.

"Oh, I'm not through yet, oh, I'm not through yet, no you haven't heard the last of me, no you haven' t heard the last of me, me, me for there's so much more that we can be, be, be, for there's so much more that we can be!" Everyone sings while Crummington makes a face. "Oh, I'm not through yet, oh I'm not through yet, oh I'm not through yet . . ." they sing over and over until Jeff looks at us and says,

"I think we're through!"

The credits roll as everyone laughs.


Quizzes:

  • Can you tell what was broken by looking at the pieces? (A cup, which is now reassembled). A pitcher comes along and pours tea into it, but it leaks through the cracks. "I wouldn't use it now," says TXL.

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • It's odd that Sam refers to Jodie, Jeff and Muffy as his "oldest and dearest friends." Dearest, unquestionably, but oldest? They've only known each other five years.
  • In the alley behind the store, Sam is wearing the new bow tie that Jodie gave him in "Secrets."
  • This episode was made when "transformers," robots that could be manipulated into other things (like trucks), were all the rage. Sort of like Pokemon today, which explains Bleep's comment that she is not a tank or a truck.
  • It's strange that Sam does aerobic exercise to train for a strength test. But there's no doubt in my mind that the adrenaline rush from having to do those chin ups would help. Every year, for the national physical fitness test, I managed to do one chin up. I could never manage it any other time of the year. So, with his job on the line, it's easy to see how Sam could do FIVE.
  • It seemed unfair that Sam had to start all over again once the rocks were discovered. Since he accomplished three chin ups with the rocks in his pocket, it seems to me he should've only had to do two more. But of course, five was more dramatic.
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