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1985

Being Alone

The whole gang is at the store, but not for long. It's a holiday and Jodie, Sam and Muffy all have special plans.

Muffy has been invited to play golf with her cousin Mort at a very elegant resort: Club Mouse. She's really looking forward to it. "We're gonna have a great time, Mort and I, won't have to try to have a great, great time!" she sings, "Sitting by the pool, sipping lemonade, swimming to get cool, remembering the game of golf we played. We're gonna go and have a great time, yes we are, we're gonna go and have a great, great time!"

Sam is in the computer room looking for his fishing gear. He's going to spend his holiday out at the lake. He's trying to catch a giant bass named "Old Walter" a "tricky fella" he's been trying to catch for years. He pushes the wrong buttons on TXL and sends his makes his closets open and close, throwing contents everywhere, but eventually he finds his fishing pole - the line is attached to a rubber chicken.

"I'm gonna go and have a great time, I just know I'm gonna go and have a great great time, sittin' in that boat, feeling like a king, fishing while I float, not caring if I catch a thing! I'm gonna have a great time, I just know I'm gonna have a great, great time!" Sam sings, and then says, "Well, I'll see you later, TXL!" walks towards the door. But his lure is caught in the closet behind him and he's pulled back into the room.

"I'm seeing you sooner than you thought, Mr. Crenshaw," TXL cracks.

Jodie is also having a special day. It's her nephew Davey's birthday and she has a special cake ready to take to his party. It's a tradition, since the store usually has its holiday right around Davey's birthday. She's just putting some finishing touches on her display, and her Aunt Millie will pick her up to bring her to the party at 8.

Jeff tells her it's almost 8 o'clock already. Jodie is shocked. She thought she had another hour and her display isn't finished.

"What's this, Jodie sounding sad?" Muffy says, coming in. "Did something happen? Something bad?"

Jodie explains her predicament.

"Well I'd gladly lend you a helping hand, if my day weren't already planned." she says. They remember she was planning a day at "Club Mouse, with spacious grounds, where mice can play and cheese abounds!"

"Well maybe Sam could help me," Jodie says. But when Sam comes in, looking like a "professional fisherman," Jodie remembers that he has plans too. He offers to stay, but Jodie says she'll just have to finish the display herself and take a train to her Aunt Millie's farm later. "I wouldn't think of asking you to cancel your plans," she tells Sam.

"Jodie," says Jeff, "I don't have any plans. I was going to go back to being a mannequin in the window all day. I mean, I could finish your display."

Jodie and the others are not sure. Jeff has never been all alone in the store for a whole day and a whole night.

"I was alone on Christmas Eve," Jeff reminds them, "Well, until you all came back, that is."

Jodie feels funny leaving Jeff to do her job.

"I think it would be fun!" says Jeff.

"You really sure you'd want to?" Jodie asks.

"Sure!" says Jeff.

"Are you really, really sure, Jeff?" Sam asks.

"Yeah!" Jeff says enthusiastically. That way, he can have his own holiday right there in the store.

The others finally agree, but insist on leaving phone numbers where they can be reached in case anything happens and he needs help. Then it's time for everyone to get started.

"We're gonna have a great time! It's our day to go our way and have a great great time," they sing.

"Fishing by the lake," sings Sam,

"Basking in the sun," Muffy sings.

"Eating a birthday cake," sings Jodie.

"I'll get the display completely done!" sings Jeff.

"We're gonna have a great time," Jeff sings, then looks around and finds himself alone. "I'm gonna have a great, great time!" he finishes.

Later, he's hard at work on the display in the children's department and he calls out for someone to hand him the roll of red tape before he realizes he's alone. At first this thought exhilarates him. He thinks about all the things he could do.

"I could do something really silly, and there'd be nobody here to tell me how silly I look. Or I could SHOUT AND THERE WOULD BE NO ONE TO TELL ME I WAS TOO LOUD! Or I could trip," as he then demonstrates, "and there'd be nobody to help me up. In fact, if anything bad happened, there'd be nobody to help me," he says. "Now that I think of it, anything could happen. And what would I do?" He begins to sing: "What would I do if the lights went out and the store was black as night? Would I run about, would I scream and shout, would I shake and quake with fright? Oh no I would not, but what would I do?"

He ponders a bit but then thinks of an answer: He would find a flashlight. "That's what I'd do if the lights went out and the store was black as night, oh my light would shine in a clean straight line and I know I would be all right! In three seconds flat - that's what I'd do!"

Then he thinks of something else. "What would I do if the rain poured down with the windows opened wide? Would I hide my face in a dry safe place letting water rush inside? Oh no I would not, but what would I do?" he sings.

Jeff admits he's still a little afraid of thunderstorms, even though Jodie taught him to snap, clap and chuckle [in "Storms"], but no matter how afraid he was, he'd close the windows. "That's what I'd if the rain poured down with the windows open wide! I'd protect the store, double lock each door, see that all was safe inside. In three seconds flat - that's what I'd do."

"But what would I do if my hat came off and I froze right on the spot?" he wonders. Then he says, sitting up on the counter, "Well, I just won't let my hat come off! That's what I'd do!" he sings proudly.

Meanwhile, at Davey's party, Jodie is putting candles on the cake. She suddenly realizes that she's put 15 candles on the cake instead of 10. She just can't concentrate, she keeps thinking about Jeff, all alone in the store.

Muffy isn't doing well at her golf game at Club Mouse, either. "I hit the ball with all my might, but I aim left and the ball goes right!" She demonstrates her poor style. Despite everything, she's having fun, but she, too, can't stop thinking about Jeff.

Meanwhile, Sam is sitting at the dock fishing. The fish are really biting, or so he's been told. Sam has only caught a rubber boot, an old pail, a hat and a license plate that floated by and caught on his line. He, too, is having trouble concentrating.

"I thought I could have an enjoyable day, spending my time in my favorite way," he sings, "but somehow I can't keep my mind off the shore, 'cause Jeff's alone in the store,"

Back at Club Mouse, Muffy sings, "I thought I'd love everything in this resort, especially golfing with dear cousin Mort. But I can't manage a good golfing score, 'cause Jeff's alone in the store."

At the birthday party, Jodie sings, "Is he as glad as he told us he would be, or does he feel lonely or scared? Being alone can be difficult you see, when nothing you do can be shared. So I will smile and say everything's fine,"

Muffy: "I'll try one more swing,"

Sam: "And I'll cast one more line,"

The screen splits and we see all three as they sing together, "There'll always be something, I just can't ignore ... Jeff's alone in the store!"

Meanwhile Jeff is doing pretty well. He's a bit nervous, however as he searches through the store for something to use on the display.

"It's funny. I've walked through the store hundreds of times, by myself, and just knowing that Sam and Muffy and Jodie aren't here, I feel, well, different. Yeah, I guess being alone is something everyone has to get used to." He admits he kind of wishes he had someone to talk to or to play with.

Suddenly, he catches sight of someone else - but it turns out to be just his reflection in the mirror. Then, he catches sight of a shadow - his own. He feels kind of silly jumping at his own shadow and his own reflection, but then he realizes that with them there, he's doesn't feel so alone.

"I was feeling kind of blue," he sings, "until my eye caught sight of you. Now I'm not scared or lonely, 'cause I'm not the only one here, it's clear! I've got you and you with me," he sings, pointing to his shadow and his reflection, "how can anybody be alone? I'm not alone . . . With my reflection in the mirror and my shadow on the floor, I suddenly don't seem to be alone, anymore. I'm not alone, not me, not me, not me, not me anymore!" Off he dances into the store, while his shadow and his reflection dance independently of him.

Back in the children's department, Jeff is putting the finishing touches on Jodie's display. It's a window-shaped display and he's filling the window with toys. "It doesn't look too bad, if I do say so myself!" he says. "Then again, I have to say so myself because there's no one else to say things to!"

He wishes that Jodie could see the display. Then he remembers he has her phone number and decides to call her. That way she won't worry about her display, and he'll be able to share his news with her.

At the same time, Jodie is thinking of calling Jeff. She picks up the phone, but she doesn't want to appear to be checking up on him, as if she didn't trust him, so she puts the phone down. But soon she picks it up again, because "It's better to be safe than sorry." When she calls, the phone is busy, because Jeff is trying to call her. She can't imagine whom he would be talking to, but he assumes someone has phoned Davey to wish him a happy birthday.

Jeff is disappointed not to be able to talk to Jodie, so he decides to call Muffy instead. She, tired of being laughed at by the other mice, has declined another round of golf with Mort, so, sitting at a table, sipping an ice cold lemonade, she tries to reach Jeff on the phone. Of course, he's trying to call her at the same time, so they both get a busy signal.

Next Jeff decides to try calling the dock to catch Sam before he goes out to catch Old Walter. Sam has already been out at the lake, but now he's walking down the dock, looking for his bait bucket. He hears a funny sound behind him, but when he stops it goes away. That's because it's his bait bucket, being dragged along on the end of his fishing line behind him!

"I guess my bait bucket must have caught on my lure on that last cast of mine," he says to himself. "Only goes to show you my last cast was the best one!" He comes to the store with the phone in it. It's the phone with the number he gave Jeff. He decides to give Jeff a call. Naturally, Jeff is calling at exactly the same time, so again, both parties get a busy signal.

Sam is worried when he can't get Jeff, and Jeff is puzzled and disappointed by all the busy signals, but he decides to try later after he's all finished with the display.

Now it's time to sit back and watch a show: It's Suzanne Shulman playing the Today's Special theme song on her flute while Sam and Muffy dance in front of a table with musical instruments on it.

The mime lady is waiting for a phone call, but she's forgotten to put the phone on the hook. When she does, the phone rings immediately, but it's for TXL.

At last, Jeff has completely finished the display. He's very proud of himself. "That's one good thing about being alone - you really feel good when you do something by yourself!" he says.

But then he hears a strange noise and gets really nervous. It's coming from the door and when he goes to see what it is, it turns out to be Jodie! She was worried when she couldn't get him on the phone so she decided to come and see if something was wrong.

"Nothing went wrong." Jeff says, "That is until a few seconds ago when I heard this strange sound, but now that I know it was you, well, everything's fine again!"

But then the sound happens again. Jodie looks nervous. "Was it a strange sound kind of like that?" she asks.

"Uh-huh," says Jeff.

But it's only Muffy. "My golfing day is at an end. I'm back to stay with you, my good friend," she tells Jeff.

"Muffy, I did the same thing but as it turns out, Jeff's just fine!" Jodie says.

"Yeah, especially now that I know it was you making that strange noise!" says Jeff.

Again, however, they hear a strange noise. Suddenly, Muffy shouts, "Look at that! A crawling hat!"

Sure enough, there is a hat moving, by itself, across the floor.

But Jodie and Jeff think the hat looks awfully familiar.

Suddenly they hear someone fussing in the background, "Flying fedoras, come back here you crazy hat!" It's Sam, from behind the counter, trying to reel in his fishing hat which has gotten caught on his hook.

"Hey Sam, is that Old Walter?" teases Jeff.

It turns out that Sam, too, was worried when he got the busy signal, and decided to come back to the store.

Jeff assures them all he's fine and proudly shows them Jodie's finished display. The "window" is now beautifully decorated with toys. They all love it. Muffy tells Jeff he should be very, very proud.

"You know it's really funny," says Jodie. "we were all so worried about you and, gosh, as it turns out, you're the only one who did what you said you were going to do on your holiday!"

"Well, I must admit I was pretty scared a couple of times," says Jeff, "but, well, for the most part . . ."

"What?" Jodie asks.

"I stayed and had a great time," he sings, "on my own, yes all alone I had a great great time. Fixing the display, dancing through the store, whistling time away, and learning things I've never known before! I stayed and had a great time, on my own, I stayed and stayed and had a great, great time."


Quizzes:

  • What is everyone taking on their holiday? (Muffy: golf clubs, Sam: fishing gear, Jodie: A birthday cake, Jeff: The whole store!)

Nursery Rhyme:

  • "There were two birds sat on a stone . . . "

Notes:

  • Jodie mentions that taking a cake from the store's bakery for Davey's birthday is a "tradition." I wonder if it was a tradition which started after the cookie fiasco in 1983's "Cookies."
  • Jeff does a really wonderful series of steps as he describes his day "fixing the display, dancing through the store, whistling time away . . ." in which he covers the length of the children's department floor with a few light, breezy steps. Sometimes it's the simplest of dance steps that are the most impressive when done well.
  • When Sam sang about his day to TXL he described 'sitting in a boat,' but when we actually saw him he was fishing from the dock instead.
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