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1982

Television

Sam, looking in a mirror is nervously trying to tie a bow tie on his tuxedo. "This thing here is supposed to be a bow tie," he tells Jeff, "but the only thing in knots around here is my stomach!"

Jeff is shocked. "Your stomach is in knots, well that's terrible!"

Sam explains that his stomach isn't really in knots, it's just that he's nervous and his stomach feels tight, like a knot.

"Is that because your scared about appearing on TV tonight?" Jeff asks.

"Oh, no . . . I'd say terrified is more like it!" Sam says. "Betcha Jodie's not nervous about singing a song on a TV show tonight, thousands of people watching." He speculates that she's probably "cool as a cucumber."

But Jodie, in a an evening gown and limping in on one shoe, is anything but calm. She can't find her other shoe, her hair is "a mess," and she's a nervous wreck. Jeff soon helps her find her shoe -- which has been in her hand the whole time she has been searching.

Seeing how nervous Sam and Jodie are, Jeff realizes that being on television is a big, exciting thing. He explains that he's not dressed up like they are because he's not going anywhere, he has to stay in the store.

Sam and Jodie wonder where Muffy is, and Muffy, not nervous at all, is actually sleeping! Jodie's voice calling wakes her, and she dashes behind a screen and makes a quick change into a red evening gown and a golden cap. She is still fussing over her appearance when Jodie's voice prompts her to come and join the others.

Now Jeff walks Jodie, Sam and Muffy to the elevator to say good-bye. They ask him to wish them luck and as the elevator door closes, they practice the song they're going to sing tonight, "Yo He Ho," as they go.

Jeff is very sad and disappointed that he can't go with them. He feels all alone and the happy farewells from the others, "Keep an eye on the store, Jeff! Toodle-oo!" just make him feel worse. Sometimes, he tells us, he dreams about what it's like in the world outside the store. He begins to sing about the "Wide, Wide World" that he is longing to explore, a world with beaches and playgrounds and merry go-rounds, and it's just beyond the door.

Then he wonders what Sam, Jodie and Muffy are doing right that minute.

We soon see that they are at the door of the TV studio, ready to go in. No one is around, so they decide to explore.

They're impressed with the big studio, all the lights, and are surprised to see a set that looks just like a sailing ship. They can't imagine why it's there, maybe another show is using it. They also find a sailor's rain hat, called a sou'wester, nearby, a Sam tries it on, on top of his top hat. Jodie says he looks like a "salty old sailor."

They've lost track of Muffy again and soon find her looking at something new. It's a TV camera. Jodie explains that all the pictures we see on TV are taken with a camera like this one, but soon Muffy is off exploring again, this time she has found a microphone. After Jodie explains what a microphone is for, Sam suggests they use this one to practice their song again, since they're all a little nervous. So they sing "Yo He Ho," once again.

Chorus:
Singin' yo he ho, sail across the ocean blue,
Singin' yo he ho, I'm a comin' home to you
(Repeat)

Our sails they flutter in the breeze while back and forth we're tossed,
Our ship it sails the seven seas because the captain's lost!

(Chorus)

The cook he serves us soggy cheese and toast that's overdone,
The captain's cat is full of fleas and scratches everyone!

(Chorus)

When the song is over, a man in a spectacularly bad suit, a yellow and brown patchwork tuxedo, with a pink ruffle shirt and bow tie walks in like he owns the place. He assumes they are fans come to see him in person, and puts his arm around Jodie, saying.

"Would you like a picture of me for your photo album holding your pet rat?"

Muffy is indignant. "I am not a pet nor am I a rat. I'm Muffy the mouse and that is that!"

Jodie introduces her as her *friend* Muffy, and then introduces herself and Sam. Sam explains they're there to sing a song on the "Sing People Sing" show, but the studio seems empty.

"Well you're in luck because I'm Ron Smooth, host and star of 'Sing People Sing!'" (As we get a closer look at him we can see he is wearing a shiny brown toupee.) Soon applause fills the studio and Jodie wonders why, since no one is there but the four of them. Ron Smooth explains that the sound is his applause machine, he takes it with him wherever he goes so he can always have instant applause. He demonstrates it again.

"Everywhere I go I'm a hit!"

Muffy is impressed. "Let me try it Ron, let me turn it on!"

"Sure, kid," says Smooth.

"Let's hear it for Muffy, hip hip hooray, let's hear it for Muffy, what do you say?" She shouts. But when she turns a dial on the machine, she is greeted with peals of laughter, instead of applause.

Ron Smooth smirks as he explains, "There's also a switch for laughter."

Meanwhile, the mime lady is watching TV. TXL asks us whether we think the show she is watching is happy or sad. It must be very sad because the mime begins weeping profusely. She turns the channel and then begins laughing hysterically, so it's clear she is now watching something that makes her happy. "I wonder what she's watching?" TXL says, and we soon see a silent movie with a bunch of people throwing pies at each other. "That's pretty silly all right!" TXL says.

Back at the studio, Ron Smooth has a surprise for them. They have to wear costumes! Jodie is very disappointed because she has bought her beautiful new evening gown to wear on TV and now she has to cover it with a sailor's hat and coat. Ron explains, "If you're going to sing a song like Yo Heave Ho you've got to dress like a sailor . . ., sailors do not wear gowns with red shimmering sequins and tuxedos." Looking at Muffy, he ads, "Sorry I don't have a costume small enough for your hamster."

"Do I look like a hamster to you?" Muffy exclaims, "I'm a mouse! A mouse though and through. With gray ears and a tail and a cute little nose, and as for a costume I can make one of those!"

Ron gives us a look. "Sensitive, isn't she?" he says.

Now Ron instructs Sam and Jodie to climb up onto the set that looks like a ship. He tells Sam to turn the wheel and tells them to rock back and forth as if they're bouncing on the waves. His crew is back from their break so he says, "Cue the sound George!" and we hear a wild, stormy wind with thunder.

"If you can hear the wind you should be able to feel it!" Ron says, turning on a great big fan which blows right at Sam and Jodie. Next Ron says, "Cue the special effects!" and suddenly, the little sailing ship set looks like it is about to be swamped by a great big wave.

"Run for your lives!" Sam cries.

"Take it easy, sailor boy, that isn't the sea back there that's only a movie of the sea we've got going." He explains that it looks real because on television they are able to make all sorts of things seem to be real. "Remind me to show you some time how we seem to make a person disappear." says Ron, who promptly vanishes.

We hear Ron's voice, though, from another part of the studio, telling Sam and Jodie to start singing when they hear the music. Sam and Jodie wonder where Muffy is and worry that she'll miss her chance to be on TV, but she shows up at the last minute in the crows' nest up on the mast of the ship set, dressed like a pirate. So with all the special effects and the fan blowing, while rocking back in forth, they all sing, "Yo He Ho!"

"Thank you!" Ron says after the song is finished. "Let's go home!"

Muffy is sad to see this end. "What, no more in store?" she asks.

Sam isn't feeling too well. He mentions that he just remembered why he left the Navy. He gets kind of seasick.

Jodie puts her arm around him. "Sam, let's get a taxi and go back to the store."

Even Muffy is ready to go home. "It was lots of fun being on TV," she says, "but a store mouse is what I want to be . . . oh, unless of course I could have my own show, where I'd sing and dance and play the banjo. I'd have to have my own dressing room, though." But then Jodie calls and Muffy has to stop daydreaming and go home.

Next we see the mime lady again. She's still watching TV. TXL asks us how we think she feels about the program she is watching, because she is obviously scared to death. What should she do? We soon find out, when the mime lady turns off the TV and curls up with a good book instead.

Now, we join Jeff, who is in the children's department. He admits that since we've been gone, he has been sitting here feeling sorry for himself because we can all go outside and he can't. But now he realizes that he's actually very fortunate, because before he was just a mannequin who couldn't see or hear or talk, or have friends. But then when Waldo said the magic words, his life began! He likes to remember that wonderful day.

We get to see it, too, as Jeff dances throughout the store singing, "Hocus, pocus, alamagocus!"

Now that he has thought about it more carefully, Jeff appreciates his life. But he still misses his friends. The store feels empty without them. But actually, they're back and they are sneaking up behind him to shout: "Surprise!" They tell him how much fun they've had and that they met Ron Smooth. They also brought him a sou'wester as a souvenir. When he tries it on Jodie tells him he looks like a salty old sailor.

They all begin to sing "Yo He Ho" again and Jeff does some sailor-type dance moves Sam taught him. Jodie joins him and they all sing "Yo He Ho" one more time.


Quizzes:

  • Are these two pictures of Muffy the same or different? What makes them different?
  • Which boat in the picture is smaller?
  • Which of these three things (a sailboat, a submarine and a truck) doesn't belong in water?

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • In "Television", as in "Family," the "Hocus, Pocus, Alamagocus" number starts with Jeff as a mannequin and an unseen person, I assume it's supposed to be Waldo the Magnificent, whispers: "Hocus, Pocus, Alamagocus!" And then Jeff begins to dance. Later, in "Our Story", that part is taken out as they now explain more about how Jeff got his hat.
  • In Television, Jeff explains that the magic hat turns him from a "mannequin into a man." This is the only time Jeff is referred to as a man. Later, in "Hello, Friend" and Jeff, he is referred to as a boy. Perhaps because despite the fact that Jeff Hyslop is obviously a grown man, Jeff the mannequin is only a few years old.
  • Patrick Rose, who plays Ron Smooth, was also featured on another TVOntario show, "Science Alliance." He was Bryant, who taught the kids about great scientists from times past with a segment called "Bryant's Giants of Science."
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