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1983

Travel

Jeff is standing in the children's department, looking at a postcard on a display which says "Win a Trip Around the World." He puts it down and walks to the counter just as Sam appears. Sam stops by another sign and mentions that the signs are all around the store.

"Win a trip around the world," he reads. "Wouldn't that be something Jeff?"

"It'd be great," Jeff agrees.

Sam wonders if Jodie would let him take home some of the display posters after the travel contest is over. Jeff isn't sure.

"Why don't you ask her when she gets back from her trip?"

It turns out, Jodie is away, visiting her aunt Margaret.

"She was so excited about seeing her again!" Sam says. But Jeff has something else on his mind. He's been reading about all the places in the world people can travel to. And he knows Sam has traveled to many places in the merchant marines.

"What was it like?" he asks.

"Oh! Well, I'll tell ya, Jeff, travelin' around the world was, well it was just about the most exciting thing I ever did in my whole life. Yep, yep, yep. Meetin' all those people and gettin' to see how they lived in their faraway lands. 'Course I had to try all the food they had in those faraway lands . . . I had enchiladas and shish-kabobs and wiener schnitzel and curries and lasa . . ."

Muffy pops up from behind the counter and begs Sam to stop. "All this talk about food is putting me into a most hungry mood."

Sam laughs.

"Me too, Muffy!" says Jeff.

Muffy says that Jodie's away on a trip, and that Sam has traveled too. "But what about me, this stuck-at-home mouse! I'd certainly love to get out of the house. A change of scenery, that's what I need. A holiday trip would be fine indeed. But a trip like that, when all is said and done, would take bags of money, of which I have none."

Sam suggests she enter the store's trip around the world contest. Then she could go on a trip, and it would be free. "Why not, Muffy? Why there's a great big world out there just waitin' to be seen!" He begins to sing, "See the world! See the world! Pack your bags and set off to see the world!" As he sings, we see video scenes from an airport and things like the Eiffel Tower, the Statute of Liberty, and women carrying baskets on their head in Peru.

"That does it for me!" Muffy exclaims when he's done, "I'm not gonna wait! I'm entering that contest before it's too late!" and she rushes off.

"That's the spirit, Muffy!" Sam calls after her.

Jeff says he wishes he could go on a trip, too. It wouldn't have to be a big trip, he explains. "I'd settle for a little walk down the street."

Of course he couldn't do that, because the magic hat wouldn't work anymore if he did, Sam reminds him gently.

"I know," Jeff sighs.

"Oh, cheer up, Jeff!" says Sam. "Jodie'll be back soon. Come to think of it, she should've been here by now. I wonder what's keepin' her?"

We soon find out. At a "Petro Canada" gas station, Jodie sits at a desk, looking weary. First, she got lost and then her car broke down. She's looking at a map and having a cup of tea while her car is getting fixed. We can hear her thoughts. "Oh, I wish I knew where I was," she thinks. She tries to figure out where she turned off after leaving her Aunt Margaret's and trying to take a shortcut. "Some shortcut!" she thinks in exasperation. She's distressed at how late it is and wonders if everything is all right at the store. Just then, the mechanic comes in and tells her he's fixed her car but she has a leaking tire and he needs to put the spare on.

After he leaves, Jodie resolves to take the train to Aunt Margaret's next time.

Meanwhile, back at the store, Jeff is very depressed. Sam tells him that he's sorry to see him so down in the dumps.

"If you were me, Sam, you'd feel unhappy too." Jeff tells him. "Well, you've been to so many places, and I don't get to go anywhere."

Sam says it's kind of funny. Jeff and Muffy want desperately to travel, but he's traveled so much he's "kinda traveled out." The only traveling he's interested in these days, he explains, is "gettin' in that big hammock in my backyard and swingin' back and forth and back and forth."

"Don't you ever want to get away?" asks Jeff, "Not even for a little while?"

Sam says that once in a while, he'll pack a bag and stay in a big hotel downtown. In fact, he had done just that the weekend before. As he tells Jeff about it, we see still pictures of him arriving in a taxi, being greeted by the doorman (who is surprised to see Sam's fishing rod), checking in, going up to his room and tipping the bell boy for carrying his bag, playing pool, eating lunch at the swimming pool, ordering breakfast in bed, and relaxing by the pool. "Yes, sir, I tell you, when you wanna get away from it all, you just can't beat a relaxing weekend in a hotel!"

Meanwhile, Muffy has already dressed up in traveling clothes. She is wearing a tropical shirt and she has sunglasses perched on her head. Her room is a mess. "To tour the world, one must look the part," she says, "So the wise traveler plans right from the start." She's packing a trunk and two suitcases. "There's not room in my bags for all of my things, so I have to decide just what I should bring." She decides on a cool straw hat, a sweater, some snowshoes, maybe even skis. Tennis racquets are hardly a necessity, but an umbrella is. Her phone will stay behind. She's not sure about her teapot, but finally decides against taking her own. "Oh there are so many problems that I must unravel before I can go on all my world travel."

Back at the Petro Canada gas station, Jodie's car is ready. The mechanic puts the old tire into her trunk, and Jodie asks him the best way to get back to the city. She tells him that she must've taken a wrong turn somewhere, and he says it happens all the time.

At the store, Jeff is up on the roof. "You wanna know something?" he says to us, "You're lucky." He sounds almost resentful. "Well, you get to go to all kinds of places. Me? The only time I get to go outside the store is when I come up here on the roof to do some thinking." Then he smiles. "Wow!" he says, looking down on the street. "All the cards and the people. I wonder where they're all going. Sure would be nice to be down there with them. But I can't." We all know why. He'd turn back into a mannequin right away. But, still, he wishes he could see the outside world just once.

"There's a world of things I've never seen, just waiting to be found," he sings, "If I could travel I'd find out what makes the world go 'round, what makes the world 'go round," he sings of the wonders he's heard of, and his longing to be a part of them. "There are lands I've only read about, beyond the deep green sea, I wonder if the people there have hopes and dreams like me -- have hopes and dreams like me?"


Sam is in his computer room, wondering aloud where Jodie can be and why it is taking her so long to get back from Aunt Millie's farm. Just then, the phone rings. It's Jodie herself, calling from a phone booth. She explains that her car broke down and that she got lost. Sam tells her everyone at the store is all right, though Jeff is a bit down because of not being able to travel. Jodie tells him to give him a big hug for her and to tell him she has a surprise for him that will make him feel better. Sam decides to try and guess what the surprise is, but Jodie stops him. She has to get going. She tells him to say hi to Muffy.

"I'll pass on your greeting at our very next meeting," Sam says, and they say goodbye. He's relieved to know that Jodie's all right. So now he decides to ask the computer to show them a quiz.

TXL shows us three things from Muffy's house, a suitcase, an umbrella and a phone. "Which one will Muffy not take on her trip?" she asks.

Once we've answered that she won't be taking the phone, Sam realizes, because of the quiz, that Muffy's all set to do some serious traveling. "I sure hope she gets to go."

Just then Muffy appears wearing her travel outfit. "Did someone say traveling? It is true, I'm all set. I'm just so excited, I'll see the world yet!"

"Now that's what I call the well dressed traveler!" Sam says admiringly.

"I want to be sure that I look my best when I win the store's big travel contest." Muffy tells him.

TXL speaks up. "But Muffy, people who work in the store can't enter the travel contest. It's against the rules."

"But my bags are all packed, they're back at my house. Besides, I'm not people, I'm Muffy the mouse!"

"Yes, Muffy, but you do work in the store. The rules say that if you work in the store you cannot enter the travel contest. I'm sorry, but rules cannot be broken."

Sam feels terrible. "It's all my fault, I never should have told you to enter that travel contest."

Muffy tells him, "I'll never blame you, it was all much too good to ever come true." She leaves dejectedly to remove her entry from the box in the children's department, clearly quite upset.

"Oh gosh!" says Sam. "Poor Muffy. What a shame that that trip around the world contest couldn't come true for her. It was her big chance to go away. Boy there sure are a lot of unhappy people around here tonight. Muffy can't enter the travel contest and Jeff can't go anywhere. I wish there was somethin' I could do for 'em." He sighs.

Next TXL tells us a story. In India, long ago, a man named Mohan lived in the desert and made beautiful carpets. But few people could afford camels in order to come out and buy them. So as he worked at his loom, he made a wish on every strand he knotted. He wished for a sari the color of the desert sunset for his wife, sandals of the softest leather for his son, cool green grass for their tired old donkey. He never made a wish for himself. Then a stranger came by and told him that a maharajah had built a great shining palace far across the desert. He would surely need many carpets. "If only you could travel there!" the stranger said.

Mohan sat down on his pile of unsold carpets, and for the first time, he made a wish for himself, to travel to where the maharajah lived to sell his carpets. Suddenly, his carpets sprung into the air and flew! They lifted Mohan across the desert and then landed right in the courtyard of the rich man's palace. After silently inspecting them, the maharajah said that there was magic in the carpets because their maker wished to bring happiness to others. He then bought all of Mohan's carpets and made him his royal carpet maker. Now, Mohan could afford to buy camels and bring his family to the city, where they all lived happily ever after.

Back in the children's department, Jeff is looking for Jodie, but it appears she hasn't returned yet. "I wish she was here, I really miss her."

Just then there's a loud noise. Muffy is inside the contest entry box throwing all the entries out, looking for hers. The cards fly around like large confetti. She explains to Jeff what's she's doing and why. Jeff is really sorry.

"Oh, Muffy, we might as well face it. Neither of us are ever going to see the world!"

"Now, wait a second now, Jeff, don't be hasty," says Sam, coming into the room. He hands Jeff a round tin and asks him to open it.

"Wow!" says Jeff. It's a tin full of postcards of places all around the world. Most of them Sam collected himself, but some of them were sent to him by friends.

"I thought this would be a good way for you and Muffy to see the world, and you still wouldn't have to leave the store!"

"Aw, it's terrific Sam, thanks. Aw, it's just great. The only thing that would make it better is if Jodie were here," says Jeff, "it would just be perfect."

"Someone mention my name?" asks Jodie, appearing at the door. Everyone goes to greet her, Muffy is especially keen to see her, because she's expecting a gift.

Jodie pulls a globe out of her bag. She says her Aunt Margaret had given it to her when she was a little girl pretending to be an explorer. Now she has brought the globe to the store because she thought they'd all like it. "Especially you, Jeff."

"Gee, now I can really say I've seen the world," Jeff says with a chuckle. "Aw, thanks Jodie, we'll take care of it forever."

Now Muffy wants to hear about her trip, but Jodie shakes her head. All she can say is that she's so glad to be back. "Come everybody, gather round, I want to tell you something that I've found, no matter where you choose to roam, you'll always be glad to come back home," she sings, initiating a little dance. Jeff joins in. "Oh! You can travel east," she sings, "Oh! You can travel west. Oh! But coming home is still the part that I love best." Jeff, Muffy and Sam join in on the chorus, but as they sing it, they dance right out of the room! Jodie looks puzzled as they pass by as if she wonders where they're going and why, but then she brightens up again, singing, "Coming home is still the part that I love best!"


Quizzes:

  • We're at a train crossing. Listen, what's coming? Is it an airplane? (One slides by on the tracks), An ocean liner? (A large ship goes by, horn blowing). No? What is it? A train! (check)

Nursery Rhyme:

  • Twinkle, twinkle little star, which goes beyond what most us know, adding extra verses, including:

    When the blazing sun is gone,
    when he nothing shines upon,
    then you show your little light,
    twinkle twinkle in the night

    When the traveler in the dark
    Thanks you for your tiny spark
    He could not see which way to go
    If you did not twinkle so...

Notes:

  • Travel is an odd episode, fraught with continuity errors. First, Jodie says she's been visiting her Aunt Margaret, but in the middle scene where she talks to Sam on the phone, both he and she say she's been visiting her Aunt Millie's farm. Then at the end when she reaches the store at last, she again says she was visiting her Aunt Margaret. Also, when she is talking to Sam from the phone booth, she is wearing gray slacks, but when she gets back to the store, they're blue.
  • This episode, like other episodes in which Nerene Virgin is largely absent, lacks a certain warmth and freshness. But additionally, everyone seems so sad and desolate in this episode, especially Jeff who looks like he's lost his best friend much of the time. But when Jodie finally arrives, the welcome is subdued, even flat. Then everyone dances out of the room and leaves Jodie, who they've been longing for the whole episode, alone.
  • It's amusing that twice it is emphasized that Muffy will not be taking her phone with her on her trip. Clearly, this was pre cell phone days.
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