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1986

A Date for Sam

Sam is in his office looking at a picture in his high school yearbook of his class's prom queen.

"Geraldine Hucklemeyer," Sam says admiringly. "Just look at you. The prettiest girl in Moose Jaw High School. I haven't seen you in almost 50 years. And tomorrow night, we're goin' out (gulp), on a date." He puts his head in his hand. "Oh, boy, I am so nervous. I - I - I - I can't go through with it! Geraldine Hucklemeyer, just look at you," he repeats, and then puts the book down and looks in the mirror. "and Sam Crenshaw. Just look at you. How did you ever get so wrinkled and so gray? Oh, boy." Sam taps on the keyboard and brings out a picture of his late wife Maud. "Maudie, Maudie, Maudie," he says to her, "What am I going to do? I haven't been on a date since - well, since you passed away! I won't know how to act or-or-or what to say. Well, you know how clumsy I can be. Oh, gosh. I wish you could talk to me now, Maudie."

All at once, Sam hears someone call his name. "Sam?"

Startled, Sam looks upwards. "M-M-Maud?"

"Sam, it's Jodie!" Jodie is talking to him over the computer screen. She tells him there's a visitor to see him. He's glad for some company to take his mind off the date.

"Do you know who it is?" he asks her.

"Her name is Geraldine Huck - Hucker . . ."

Sam cringes and groans as Jodie struggles with the name, and falls under the desk.

"Yeah, Hucklemeyer," he says. He tries to tell Jodie he can't see her yet, but it's too late. She's on her way to the computer room. Sam panics, tries to hide behind a small plant, but of course that won't do. Then he tries to hide behind a feather. That's silly. He's got to hide somewhere. What can he do?

Meanwhile, Jeff escorts Ms. Hucklemeyer (played by Helen Carscallen), into the computer room. "Brought someone to see you, Sam," he calls. "Well, that's funny, I was sure he was in here." He turns to us. "Have you seen Sam?"

"Not to worry," says Geraldine. "Sam wasn't really expecting me. I just thought I'd drop round with these tickets for our class reunion."

Jeff says Sam will be sorry to miss her and takes the tickets.

"Well, I'll be seeing him tomorrow night." Geraldine says, with an impish and satisfied smile. "We have a date!"

Jeff's eyes grow round. "A date!" he repeats.

"We haven't seen each other since high school. Tell me. Is he still such a handsome fox?"

Jeff's mouth forms an "O" and he says, kind of half-heartedly, "Yes."

With that, Geraldine is on her way. "Ta-ta!" she says to Jeff.

"Ta-ta!" answers Jeff, waving goodbye. "Isn't that something?" he says to us. "Sam has a date! Now where'd he get to anyway?"

We can see above Jeff's head that a panel is missing in the ceiling, but Jeff is facing away from it.

"Pssst! Pssst! Up here!" Sam hisses from inside the ceiling. "Is she gone Jeff?"

"The handsome fox, I presume?"

Sam explains, "There's a trap door in the ceiling for emergencies, Jeff, and this was an emergency, believe me!"

Jeff can't imagine why, and tells him he just missed a visitor.

Sam insists that he can't go out with her, not tomorrow, not ever, and that he's going to stay up in the ceiling forever and ever. As he leans down to talk to Jeff, his hat falls off.

"Jeff, would you do me a favor?" Sam asks, "Tape that hat to my head? It keeps falling off."

Jeff shakes his head. "Oh, Sam!" he sighs.

In the children's department, Jodie and Jeff are chuckling over the pictures in Sam's high school yearbook and commenting on the clothes and the hats, when Muffy suddenly pops up to ask what they're looking at, startling Jodie. When she recovers, she shows Muffy Sam's yearbook "picture." (Actually an illustration). It looks like a slightly younger Sam with black hair and mustache.

"Wasn't he cute?" says Jodie.

His favorite food is listed as jelly bean and sardine sandwiches.

"Boy, some things never change," says Jodie.

"Well, Sam has changed, and how! Oh, he sure looks older now." says Muffy.

Jeff warns Muffy not to tease him. "Sam's very sensitive about looking older. Especially since he's going on this date with Geraldine tomorrow night."

Muffy gives a start. "What's this date routine? And just who is this Geraldine?"

Jeff and Jodie fill her in.

"Sam and Geraldine sitting in a tree," Muffy chants, "K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"

"Come on, Muffy, don't tease him!" Jeff says fervently. "Sam is really upset about this date. You know it took me twenty minutes to coax him down from his emergency trap door."

Jodie isn't worried. She figures Sam will get over his fears soon enough.

"Not without our help Jodie. He's really in a panic about this."

"Oh, Jeff, come on, Sam's the most down to earth, level headed man I know. He can handle a date. He doesn't need our help."

As she speaks, Sam comes up behind her. He's wearing a cheesy baby blue tuxedo coat with black lapels, a bright yellow ruffled shirt with an orange neckerchief and a big red flower in his buttonhole, and last but not least, a shiny brown toupee perched on the top of his head.

"Ahem!" Sam clears his throat.

Jodie does a double take.

"Well, what do you think?" Sam asks.

"He needs our help." she says.

"What is that thing on your head? Is it alive or is it dead?" Muffy asks.

"It's a toupee, Muffy. Makes me look younger. Look, and I picked out these snazzy young looking clothes . . . do you like it Jodie?"

"Oh, well, gee Sam, I think that you look, well, I'd say that, that, well . . ."

Jeff tries to help. "You see Sam, what Jodie is trying to tell you is that, well . . ."

"Well, I'll tell you what I think!" says Muffy, "You look like a . . . "

Jodie rushes to cover her mouth.

Sam gets the message. "Oh. Oh, that bad huh? Look. I've only got 24 hours to become a young," he looks down in embarrassment, "uh, well, uh, a handsome fox. Would you help me? Please?"

"Of course, Sam," says Jeff. "But the first thing we've gotta do is find you some better clothes!"

"Yeah, and, let's get rid of this," Jodie says, plucking the toupee from his head. Muffy grabs it and runs off. Jodie wonders what she's going to do with it.

This becomes a quiz. TXL says she knows what Muffy did with the toupee. She shows us a picture of Muffy's room. "Let's see if you can figure it out, too." We see that it is on the floor. Muffy is using it as a throw rug.

Back in the children's department, Jeff rolls in a rack of clothes so elegant, he promises, that Geraldine will be dazzled.

"I don't really care about dazzled, Jeff," says Sam, "I just don't want her to laugh at me, you know."

Jodie goes over to the rack and looks at the suits, exclaiming over one after another until she is startled by Muffy, sitting between the suits in the rack.

"Oh, Muffy! You startled me again." says Jodie.

Muffy insists that she didn't mean to. She was just catching a ride.

Taking on an officious air, Jeff announces that Sam has some sprucing up to do. "Ladies, if you'll excuse us!" he says.

So the ladies leave and Jeff begins to sing, "Sprucin' up, getting dressed, gotta look your very best!" He sings about the different parts of a tuxedo as Sam tries on a shirt and coat. He is doubtful until he gets a look at himself in the mirror.

"Look at that!" he sings, "I declare, I feel so suave and debonair. A starched collar, golden cuffs. Crenshaw lad, go strut your stuff!" He begins bopping to the music.

"Sam!" cries Jeff, "You can't strut, you can't dance, till you get a pair of pants." He moves the mirror for modesty's sake.

Sam looks down and then hides behind Jeff. His confidence is gone. He just knows he'll make a fool of himself on his date.

"Oh, Sam. You're gonna be just fine. I mean, once you get all dressed up in your new tuxedo - with the pants - You're gonna feel like a new person." He tells him a tuxedo gives a man strength and confidence. Then, poof! Jeff himself is wearing a tuxedo, with a red tie and cummerbund to match his magic hat. He dances around the children's department with elegance and style, ending in a graceful slide. "See what wearing a tuxedo can do for you Sam?" he says. "Sam?" But Sam has disappeared. "Now where did he go?"

The mime is also getting ready to out, but not on a date. She has a cap, a black and white striped shirt, shoes with cleats, and a whistle. Who is she supposed to be in that uniform? A referee, of course. But of what sport? In flies a blue football. The mime catches it and tosses it away, and then does an end zone dance. Then she takes off the hat and shoes and puts on skates. Now, she's a hockey referee. Unfortunately, a big, animated hockey player comes in and knocks her down on the "ice."

Now Jeff is leading Sam into the children's department, blindfolded. When it's removed, he finds that Jodie has a surprise for him. It's a practice date. Jodie puts on a hat and pretends to be Geraldine. Jeff is dressed as a waiter. There are plants and an elegantly set table, in the "very elegant Potted Palms restaurant," Jodie informs Sam.

Sam slaps on some cologne. "I want to smell nice for Geraldine."

"Sam, what is this?" asks Jodie, picking it up.

"It's called Moose Musk. Do you like it?" Sam answers.

Jodie sniffs and immediately begins coughing. "Well, it's a little strong!" she says through her nose, as if she has a cold.

"Yeah! Yeah! Well, the man at the store said it had a nice manly sort of aroma."

"You smell like a moose," Jodie says, as nicely as possible.

"Yeah, well, at least it's a manly moose, I guess," Sam mutters.

"May I serve you a beverage, sir?" asks Jeff in his best waiter voice.

Sam says yes, and asks Jodie if she'd like one too. So far so good.

"Hey look at this! Party hats!" Sam says, picking up a napkin folded with three corners.

"Sam. Sam, I think that's a napkin," prompts Jodie.

"Oh, sure. Oh, sure. I-I-I knew that was a napkin." he says. Then he compliments "Geraldine" on her appearance. Next, he begins stuffing a cloth into his collar. "Let me just prepare myself here," he says.

Jeff, standing by as a poker-faced waiter, looks down. "Sam," he says in a quiet voice. "That's the tablecloth."

Sam claims he knew that and he just thought that since he was wearing his snazzy new tuxedo, "I didn't wanna spill anything on it, like ketchup or vichyssoise, or anything, you know, uh . . ." he trails off.

"No, Sam." says Jeff quietly.

"No, no tablecloth." says Sam. He looks at Jodie, who quietly shakes her head and mouths, "No."

"No! No! No! No! No! Of course not! No! Hey! Maybe this would be a good time for me to sing that song I wrote for Geraldine. I have it right here."

Jeff and Jodie are impressed.

"Oh, how romantic!" Jodie says. Sam has a little tape recorder with his musical accompaniment. He pushes the button, and it plays a pedestrian, halting melody which sounds sort of like a horse plodding down the street.

"Geraldine, sweet Geraldine," sings Sam, "lovely as a jelly bean, oh, Geraldine, sweet Geraldine, cutest girl I've ever seen. Oh, Geraldine!"

From "jelly bean" onward, Jodie begins shooting doubtful glances at Jeff.

"That's all I've written so far," says Sam.

"It's just as well," mutters Jodie.

"I beg your pardon, Jodie?"

"I said it's - it's just swell!" she covers up.

With the air of a rescuer, Jeff cries, "Dinner is served!"

"Oh, boy. Dinner!" Sam exclaims. "The grub! The chow! The stuff! I lo - I mean, uh, I wonder what dish the chef has prepared for us this evening?"

Jeff lifts the cover off a serving dish and there's Muffy, sitting in a bed of raw vegetables.

"For your dinner fare, mouse extraordinaire!" she says.

"Muffy that is the third time you've popped up on me, tonight!" says Jodie. Everyone laughs. "Oh, hey, I think this is a good time for Sam and Geraldine to dance," she adds.

"Yeah!" says Sam, "Sam and Geraldine are gonna - What? Dance? Oh no! Don't say I'll have to dance. Please! Anything but dance! Please!"

"I think we've found another problem," wails Jodie.

"Oh, no no no dance, oh no, I couldn't dance, oh, please, no dancing, oh, no!" Sam mutters.

Meanwhile, the mime lady is also eating at the Potted Palms restaurant. She's miming the eating of something. What is she eating? TXL asks us. It's obviously corn on the cob. Once we've guessed that, the corn pops suddenly into her hands and then just as quickly disappears. "I guess that's popcorn!" says TXL, and to a loud popping sound, popcorn rains all over the table, and the mime lady herself, who is delighted. She first tosses some in the air, and then eats some.

Back at Sam's practice date, Jodie puts a record on and tells Sam he needn't worry. They'll polish up his dance steps. "Geraldine will be calling you 'twinkle toes,'" she says, giving him an affectionate tweak on his nose.

Sam agrees he needs help, but Muffy thinks she's the one who's going to teach him. She has grabbed onto his leg and is saying, "One, two three! One, two, three!" But Sam says she's too small.

"Hey! It's not that I'm small. Why are you so tall?"

Jodie crouches down to Muffy's level to say, "Excuse me, Muffy, may I cut in?"

"Oh, sure! Pick on the little one. I never have any fun."

"Jeffrey!" calls Sam.

Jeff swoops to the rescue. "May I have the pleasure of this dance, Miss Mouse?"

"Oh! Me, dance with you? Oh, I'd love to."

Problem solved. Sam and Jodie begin to dance, quite slowly, but well. But when Sam sees Jeff and Muffy go by, with Muffy bragging about their fancy steps, Sam decides to do some fancy footwork of his own, and dances them right into a couch, into which they fall.

TXL observes the whole thing on her screen and says Sam may have invented his own new dance, "the fall down waltz." She shows us some video of how people danced when Sam was a young man. We see some jitterbug type dancing as well as some Charleston-type dances from the 20s. It all looks pretty odd on the grainy old film.

"Very strange, these humans," concludes TXL, "We computers are much more sensible."

Now the night has arrived. At the store, Jeff and Jodie are driving Muffy crazy, pacing as they worry about Sam.

"I can't help it," apologizes Jodie, "When I get nervous, I pace."

"And I'm keeping her company," says Jeff. "I hope everything goes all right."

"Well, at least he threw away that terrible toupee!" says Muffy.

"Now if only he didn't wear the Moose Musk!" Jodie adds.


Now we're with Sam, standing in front of Geraldine's house, still quite nervous. There's no turning back now. He sprays breath spray into his mouth and then begins to knock. "What if I do something dumb?" he says. "Oh, why would I do anything dumb, that's not like me," he tries to encourage himself. But as he turns away, he doesn't see that Geraldine has opened the door and he is soon knocking on her face!

"Oh, I'm sorry, Geraldine," he says.

"No harm done, Sam. I thought I saw you standing out here."

Sam gives her some flowers and admits he's a little nervous.

"So am I!"

"You, too?"

"Mm-hmm. I know I've changed a lot since high school."

"Aw, go on. You're still the prettiest girl in class!"

"Oh, Sam," she says.

He puts on a top hat, and leads her to a waiting taxi. He's taking her to a restaurant Jodie recommended. "My friend Muffy says we should really like the cheese."

"I'm sure it will be very nice," Geraldine says.

Soon we see them seated in a little restaurant. "This is really lovely," Geraldine is telling Sam. Sam mentions that there's a small dance floor and a small band. "Perhaps we could dance later, if you'd like."

"Oh, I'd like that." There's a pause as she unfolds her napkin. "It's a lot easier being here with you than I thought it would be," she admits, "I was so nervous, I changed my dress three times before you came!"

Sam chuckles. "You couldn't have been any more nervous than I, ouch!" Pointing to himself with a fork, Sam has given himself an accidental poke. He continues, "Any more nervous than I was. You wouldn't believe some of the things I did, Geraldine." He admits that he was hiding when she came to see him. He tells her about the toupee and "snazzy jacket." He tells her about all the things Jeff, Muffy, and Jodie did to help him. "They really are good friends, those three."

"You must be a special person to have such wonderful friends," Geraldine tells him.

"Well, I - I know I'm lucky to be who I am. Gray hair, wrinkles and all."

Geraldine smiles. "You aren't a handsome fox anymore."

"No. No, I know, Geraldine."

"You're a handsome silver fox!" she says, putting her hand over his.

"Oh, gosh!" says Sam, looking down.

Next we visit the mime lady at the restaurant again. She's about to have dessert. TXL asks what she will have. The mime looks to her left, and a picture of a cow appears.

"A cow? You're going to eat a cow for dessert?"

The mime emphatically gestures no. She mimes drinking.

"Oh! You're going to drink a cow!" says TXL. The mime crosses her eyes. "No. Wait. What do you drink that comes from a cow? - Milk!" But the mime gestures that there's more. She begins to jiggle around in her chair. "Oh, you're shivering. You're shaking? Shaking milk, what kind of dessert is that?" The mime shakes her head in disbelief and begins sucking in an unmistakable way on an invisible straw. TXL finally gets it. A milkshake!

In the children's department, Jeff and Jodie are standing still, and now it's Muffy who's pacing. Jeff thinks Sam's date should be over. "You know, he's probably home and asleep."

"Jeff, I'm dying of curiosity!" says Jodie. "I wish I knew how it went!"

"Well, why don'tcha just ask me, I'll be glad to tell you!" says Sam, walking in, his top hat askew and his tie untied.

"Well, how did it go?" asks Muffy, "We're dying to know!"

"Well, I'll tell you one thing," says Sam, putting his shoes on the counter. "My feet sure hurt from dancing."

"Oh, so you danced!" says Jeff happily.

"Oh, I was a regular little twinkle toes."

"Ah, and what about Geraldine?" asks Jodie.

"Well, she's a real fine lady. You know, she didn't even mind when I rapped her on the face instead of her door."

"On her face?" repeats Jeff.

"Well, it was an accident, Jeff." He goes on to say that after dinner they went to their class reunion and saw lots of old friends. Sam was particularly amused by Fred Gurgleton, so worried about looking younger that he came in an awful jacket, with a black toupee perched on top of his head. "Can you imagine anyone being that silly?"

"Can't imagine!" says Jodie.

"And the best part of the evening was towards the end there, when we all gathered around and did the old Moose Jaw High cheer. I'll teach it to you, how'd you like that?"

He tells them to put their hands above their heads like antlers. Jeff and Jodie feel a little silly doing it, but, laughing, they do it anyway. "Now wiggle your fingers!" Sam instructs. He hands them some extra pom-poms he brought. "Say it like this, you ready? Rah, rah chickaboom, rah rah ree. Moose Jaw High three cheers for thee. Rah! Rah! Rah!" Then they all do it together, even Muffy, who has a mouse-sized pom-pom.

There's a sound like cheering in the background, and Sam says, "Don't you just love it? Rah!" He shakes his pom-pom again, and a very successful evening comes to a close.


Quizzes:

  • What do you remember about Geraldine Hucklemeyer? Which of these three hats was she wearing? Which style of glasses?

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • This is the first time in the series' history that we see humans in Sam's computer room. Previously, we only saw puppets there, so apparently the set was redesigned to accommodate both.
  • We find a little bit of revisionist history in this episode, as Sam's high school yearbook states his favorite food was sardine and jellybean sandwiches, while he claims to have invented the sardine-and-jellybean sandwich back in "Vacations". Liverwurst and onion might have been more appropriate as we are not told the origin of that kind of sandwich, another favorite of Sam's.
  • Neither the picture of Geraldine Hucklemeyer, apparently an actual photo of the actress when she was younger, nor the drawing of Sam look particularly young, certainly not young enough to be in high school. I think the reason for this was that if the pictures looked too different from what the kids were used to seeing, they might not easily grasp that the pictures were really of them.
  • Sam's toupee had a glistening shine to it, just like the toupee worn by "Ron Smooth" in "Television." Same toupee, perhaps?
  • I believe this is the only episode in which Sam calls Jeff "Jeffrey."  Usually, Mrs. Pennypacker is the only person to refer to Jeff as "Jeffrey."
  • When Jodie puts her hand over Muffy's mouth before she finishes her sentence, she doesn't complete her rhyme, the only time this happened in seven seasons.
  • Since they hadn't seen each other in 50 years, I wonder how Sam and Geraldine made this date in the first place? Must have been by phone. I also wonder who asked whom. It seems Geraldine must have asked Sam, since she had the tickets. Also, Sam seemed far too nervous to have asked Geraldine.
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