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1982

Records

As the show begins, a waltz is playing, and Jodie and Jeff are dancing into the children's department. Each has a mannequin on wheels for a partner, dressed in what appears to be Victorian era clothing. They come to a stop. "That was fun!" says Jeff. They then roll the mannequins into a corner until Jodie decides how to use them in her display.

"Come on, Arlene!" says Jeff to his mannequin partner.

"Come on, Mr. Delmar!" says Jodie to hers.

After rolling his mannequin against the counter, Jeff looks around the children's department. Brightly colored cardboard is everywhere.

"Wow! Look at all this stuff, it's all over the place!"

"Oh, it's for today's special," Jodie explains.

"Today's special is cardboard?" asks Jeff.

"No, today's special is records."

"Records, well, it looks like cardboard to me!"

Jodie shows him that the cardboard is merely the cover, and that inside are the records. She pulls one out.

"What do they do?" Jeff asks.

Jodie explains that once you put them on a record player, they play music.

Jeff finds it hard to believe since he can't see any music on the record. Jodie assures him the music is on there. She explains there are many kinds of music on records: "Orchestra music, singers, rock and roll, opera," she pauses for emphasis before she says "*dance music*!"

"Oh, I'd like that!" Jeff says. Jodie explains that there are also stories, riddles, jokes, just about everything you can think of on records.

Muffy comes in and admires all the records. "From this pile that I can see, do you think there's one for me?"

"Are you a record fan, Muffy?" Jodie asks.

"Oh, yes, Oh yes, I listen too, what else could ears like these ones do?" She explains, "mostly I like happy songs, where mice have rights and cats do wrong." Then she spots a mouse-sized record she'd like to take. She says it's for a trick she wants to play.

Jodie looks after her, saying, "She is one of a kind!"

Next, Jodie shows Jeff an old Victrola, an old-fashioned record player, she is using in her display, but she can't make it work. Jeff is disappointed. He was hoping there would be some nice dance music. He demonstrates, singing his own tune and waltzing around the room. He runs into Sam and winds up with Sam in his arms.

"Care to dance, Sam?" Jeff asks half-seriously. Sam declines the offer, but he is helpful with regard to the Victrola, he remembers his family having one when he was a little boy. He shows Jodie that there's a crank you have to turn in order to make it work. The crank is a little stuck but they manage to wind it up and put the needle on the record, and it plays: "Singin' yo he ho, sail across the ocean blue!" Sam is thrilled that the Victrola is playing his favorite song.

While the music plays, the phone rings. But when Jodie goes to answer it, there's no one on the phone. So she decides to get back to her display. Sam goes off to finish his rounds, chuckling and saying under his breath: "Dancin' man!"

Meanwhile Muffy is in her home, gazing at a poster on the wall. "I look once, and I look twice. I've never seen such gorgeous mice. They're as handsome as a dream. Oooooh! It makes me want to scream!" "They" are the Rodents 3, Muffy's favorite singing group. They consist of Freddie, Blinky, and Captain Pinky. "He's one who plays the drums, he can't sing he kind of hums. Freddie is the one that sings. Blinky wears a lot of rings."

She's listening to their latest song on her record player. She sings along with the group, "Cheese Please, cheese please, please oh please can I have cheese please!" and dances happily around the room.


In the computer room, Sam is using TXL's screen to look at all the record players, amplifiers and speakers in Jodie's displays.

"If you had ears, TXL, you'd love it!"

"I don't need ears, Mr. Crenshaw, I am a TXL Series 4 computer, operating on electro-impulses."

Sam brushes that off and gets to the reason he's there. Jodie wants him and TXL to help her choose a modern record player to use in her display. Just then there's a knock on the door and Sam gets up to look outside, but there's no one there. TXL can't see anyone on her camera either. They wonder what's going on.

Meanwhile Jeff is putting on a record children's department. The record is wobbly and strange sounding, but Jeff tries to do "the Muffy" to it anyway. He hasn't put the record on the spindle properly.

"Wait a minute Jeff," Jodie says, coming over, "I think I can help."

Jodie shows him the best way to hold a record so as not to smudge its surface. "Did you check this needle?" she asks, looking at the record player.

"I don't want to sew, I want to dance!" Jeff says. Jodie laughingly explains that every record player has a needle which fits in the grooves on the record and makes the sounds we hear. Jeff suggests another record. Jodie pulls it out and shows him the hole in the center.

"It was there before I touched it, honest!" says Jeff.

Jodie explains that the record player has a spindle, and the hole fits over it. She demonstrates. Once the record is on properly, she puts the needle on the record. Suddenly there's a big crash. "What was that?" Jodie asks, startled.

"It was uh . . . nothing!" says Jeff. Another mystery noise.

A bit later, Jeff, doing everything right this time, puts on a record. "Finally I get a chance to dance." First it plays a waltz and Jeff dances to that. Suddenly the music changes to a flamenco sound. Jeff stamps majestically around the room, and mimes a bullfighter making passes with his cape, all in time with the music. Suddenly the music changes again to square dance music. Jeff starts doing a country dance. Suddenly that one stops too. Jeff goes over to check the record player and discovers that there are three records on the spindle! He hears Muffy giggling and realizes she is changing the records. He asks her to stop. "One type of music is all I need!"

He puts on a new record, a Charleston tune. He starts dancing the Charleston, but suddenly the music is very slow. He slows his movements down, but then the music goes faster. Jeff goes faster too. Faster and faster the music plays, and Jeff is dancing furiously to keep up. Exhausted, Jeff cries out, "I asked you not to change the records!"

Muffy answers, "You said 'one type is what I need,' you didn't mention changing speeds!" Now, though, she wants him to play one more record and dance with her. Of course, it's the Rodents 3's new record, "Cheese Please!" They dance together for a minute, doing a modified Muffy, but Jeff is tired, so they don't dance long.

Down in the computer room, Sam is thanking TXL for her help choosing the record player for Jodie's display. Now he explains that he's supposed to tell a story about records, but he doesn't know one. TXL suggests he push her "R" button, and she tells the story of "The Runaway Record."

In the story, a boy has a beloved record that he plays all the time. When his family moves away, he is careful to pack the record player, with the record on it, to take with him. But as he is carrying the box, the record slips and falls out, without anyone noticing. Some boys come along and play with it like a frisbee. One of them throws it over another's head and the record lands on its edge and starts rolling. The boys chase it. Mrs. Patterson, working in the garden, sees the record and wants to use it for a sun hat. So she joins the chase. Rico, at his Italian restaurant, wants it for a plate for spaghetti, so _he_ joins the chase. Next they're joined by Officer Trudy, who wants the record for a fan. Farmer Lane joins the chase, thinking the record would be good for working his fields. But the record keeps rolling and eludes them all. It rolls into a little town, up to a little house, hits a stone, flies through the air, goes through a window and lands right on the little boy's record player. He's thrilled to get his record back, and when he puts it on to play, everyone dances.

Sam is very pleased with the story, but startled to hear a dog barking out in the hall. Yet TXL's screen shows that the hall is empty. "There's something migh-ty peculiar going on here!" Sam concludes.

In the children's department Sam and Jeff are discussing all the odd sounds. They decide to ask Jodie about it, but Jodie has earphones on. Jeff asks her why, but she doesn't hear him, so he tries again, a bit louder. "Hey Jodie! How come you've got earphones on?"

Sam suggests he try shouting, and Jodie, seeing his lips move, says, "I can't hear you, I've got earphones on."

Jeff shouts even louder, "HOW COME YOU'VE GOT EARPHONES ON?" Just then, Jodie pulls them off and is startled to find Jeff yelling at her. She tells them she has fulfilled a long time wish to make a record. Sam and Jeff want her to tell them about it.

"I don't have to tell you, I can show you," says Jodie. "And I can show you, too!" she says to us.

So we see Jodie visiting a studio where they make records. First the band, (The Cowboys) plays a song by themselves. Next, it's her turn, and Clive VanderBurgh explains to her that she will sing into the microphone and that the engineer in the other room will mix her voice with the sound of the band. She's a bit nervous, but he tells her it will be fine.

So she belts out, "Friends, what would I do without them? Frie-ends! You make it a better day . . ." When she's done, the engineer gives her a thumbs up sign.

Next Jodie tries to play the record for Jeff and Sam, but at first they hear nothing, since she forgot to unplug the earphones! Then she announces, "Presenting Jodie and the Cowboys!" and she pulls out the plug, but we hear "Cheese Please!" instead of "Friends." "Oh, Muffy, that's _her_ record!" says Jodie. Jeff starts dancing the Muffy and says "Do the Muffy Jodie," so they all, even Sam, do the Muffy together.

Afterwards, Jodie again tries to play her record. But this time, before she can put the needle on the album, the sound of a train begins. It gets louder and louder, and sounds like it's getting closer. "Everybody run for your lives!" cries Sam.

Jodie and Jeff laugh instead. "An invisible train!" says Jeff.

Next they hear a chattering of birds. Jodie suspects a trick. Then they hear an unmistakable giggle. Jodie uncovers the culprit, Muffy with a record player and a sound effects record. Jodie plays the record for the others. We hear the phone, the knock, the crash, and the dog that we heard earlier.

"Come on, Muffy, what've you got to say for yourself?" Jodie asks.

Unrepentant, Muffy crows, "I guess I should say, number one, I don't know when I've had such fun. Honestly, I had to squeal (tee-hee), you all thought that they were real! I wish that someone paid me money, every time that you looked funny. I can't believe you'd run around, because you heard a little sound!"

Meanwhile, Sam and Jodie examine the record. Then, Jodie leans over and puts on the needle. "MEOW!" the record plays.

"Uh-oh, time to go!" Muffy says and takes off.

"What's the matter Muffy? It's just a little sound!" Sam calls, and they all laugh.


Quizzes:

  • There are three shapes (an oval, a square and a circle). Which one matches the record?
  • Here's an album cover with a flowery picture on the front. Hidden in the picture is an old Victrola, can you find it?
  • Here are the three shapes again. Which one matches the record cover?
  • Here are three record players, which one is different? Why? (It has no record on it).
  • The same three record players again. Which one is different this time? Why? (It has no "arm." In fixing it, TXL adds a human arm to the picture. "Not that kind of an arm!" says TXL. "That's better!" she says when the picture correctly adds a record player arm.
  • The three shapes once more, which one looks the same as the egg?

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • I'm sure the reference to the mannequins in the beginning of the episode as "Arlene" and "Mr. Delmar," is a literary allusion. I can't find out what book (or possibly, movie) they're from, however. Any one else have a clue?
  • The idea of Jodie singing in the studio gave her a chance to really belt out a song and use the power of her voice which previously had not been showcased. I believe they wanted a love-type song, as some of the words indicate, "now you've found me I can do it all!" It's no surprise that the site's webmaster Ben Schumin once thought she was singing a love song to a man named "Fred!"
  • Ben Schumin also pointed out that "Records" is the only episode of "Today's Special" which appears dated, since few young people use records anymore.
  • Sam's comment early in the episode calling Jeff "Dancin' Man," was probably an allusion to Jeff's CBC special of the same name done shortly before "Today's Special."
  • Muffy's comment about Captain Pinky of the rodents three was probably a Beatles reference, "he's the one who plays the drums, he can't sing, he kind of hums," since Ringo Starr, the Beatles' drummer, (who also wore a lot of rings like Blinky), was considered the weakest singer in the group. Another connection with the Beatles, Muffy says the Rodents 3 make her want to scream.
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