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1987

The Queen of Hearts

Muffy and Sam are in the children's department baking a pie, and making a mess, too, as becomes evident when Sam begins cleaning up and clouds of flour billow into the air. Jeff and Jodie are amused when they come in and see the clouds.

"Looks like it's snowing in here, Sam," says Jeff.

Jodie picks up the pie. "Oh, does it ever smell good and it's so light!" But then she lifts the crust and finds the pie is empty - there's no filling.

Sam and Muffy explain that they can't find the ingredients they need, so Jeff offers to get them from the food department.

"Oh, thanks a lot, Jeff, now we'll need two dozens blackbirds."

"Okay, two dozen," says Jeff, walking off. Then he stops, brow furrowed. "Two dozen blackbirds? Sam - Sam, it's not very nice to put blackbirds in a pie!"

"Oh, oh sure it is, Jeff, I mean, we're not going to eat them or anything. We just want the blackbirds to sit in the pie for awhile and sing. That's what the recipe calls for, you know."

"Two dozen blackbirds . . ." repeats Jeff.

"That sing!" Sam adds.

Jodie refuses to believe there's a recipe that calls for any such thing, but when she picks up the book to read it for herself, she sees it's true. Then Jeff notices the title of the book. "The Mother Goose Cook Book."

"Ah! The Mother Goose Cook Book. Oh, wait a minute," Jodie says, "two dozen blackbirds? That's the same as four and twenty blackbirds."

"Baked in a pie," Jeff says. "When the pie was opened . . ."

"The birds began to sing . . ." Jodie puts in, and then, together, they finish, "Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king!"

Sam explains that all the recipes are food that is eaten by characters in Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

Jeff then finds a recipe for pat-a-cake, so he and Jodie just have to do the clapping game.

"If you two are finished now, Muffy and I do have some serious cooking we'd like to get on with."

"Oh come on, Sam," Jodie chuckles, "This is a wonderful book!" She picks it up again and finds a recipe for pease porridge. She says the rhyme: "Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old." Then, "I always wondered what pease porridge was," she adds.

"And that is why this book is great, it tells you what the people ate!" Muffy says.

They all sing, "We all love to hear a nursery rhyme, we repeat them all the time. Mother Goose characters are such a treat to meet. But did you ever think about the funny foods they eat?" They go on to sing about pease porridge and curds and whey, and Jack Horner's plum pie, before they repeat, "Did you ever think about the funny foods they eat?"

Later, in the empty children's department, the Mother Goose Cook Book is sitting open on the counter. Suddenly, a royally dressed young man (played by Lane White), pops out of the book and into the room. He sneaks away, carrying a tray of pastries.

Then Sam and Muffy return. They've got a new plan. They're going to sprinkle birdseed on their pie in the hope of luring some blackbirds.

But when Jeff and Jodie hear their plan, they're doubtful, to say the least.

"Oh come on, Sam," says Jodie, "You don't really believe that two dozen blackbirds . . ."

"That sing!" Jeff adds.

"That sing - are just going to fly through the window and jump inside your pie?"

"Why not, Jodie? Strange things happen all the time!" Sam says, looking at the book. Then, pop! The lady who was on the page pops out of the book and into the children's department. She is dressed even more royally than the young man who preceded her.

"Wow!" Muffy says.

"See what I mean?" Sam says.

"My goodness! I do dislike traveling," the lady says. "One ought to be able to stay in one's book where one belongs."

"Book?" Jeff asks. "Jodie, do you think she's from the Mother Goose Cook Book?"

"Well, I think so, Jeff, but which character is she?" Jodie wonders as the lady brushes herself off.

"Well, maybe she's Little Miss Muffet," says Sam, "No, on second thought, she's not very little, is she? Oh, my quirky quizzes, if she's not Little Miss Muffet, then who is she?"

TXL's voice comes over the scene as we look at the woman. "Who do you think she is?" She asks us. "Well, judging from the hearts on her dress and the crown on her head, I'd say she was the Queen of Hearts!"

"The Queen of Hearts?" Everyone asks. Then, as they recognize her, "Oh! The queen of hearts!" They say in unison.

"You've heard of me, how nice!" The Queen (played by Kay Hawtrey), says. She has an aristocratic-sounding British accent. "I do apologize for popping in without an invitation. But I want to get my tarts back and the thief who stole them. So where is he? Where have you hidden him?"

"Uh, hidden who, your royal queeness?" Sam asks.

'Why the knave of hearts, of course. I saw him take my tarts, jump out of this book, and into this store and I want to know where he's gone!"

After Jodie explains to Muffy that a knave is a royal attendant like a page or a lady-in-waiting, they all assure the queen that they haven't seen him.

"Well, I will not rest until I've searched this store from top to bottom. Somewhere, that naughty knave is hiding, and when we find him, we will find my tarts. Follow me!" She demands, and marches off.

The others watch her go. "Hmm, kinda funny isn't it?" Sam comments.

"Yeah," agrees Jodie.

The queen comes back. "I said, 'Follow me,' everybody. That is a r-royal command!"

So Jodie tells everyone they'd better show her around because if they don't find the tarts, she'll be very upset. She and Jeff go, but Sam and Muffy stay behind for a moment. Sam is worried that maybe the queen is wrong about the knave. "I mean, anybody could have stolen those tarts," he tells Muffy.

"No, no, Sam, don't you know the nursery rhyme? It was the knave who did this crime!" Then Muffy follows the others.

"Of course I know the nursery rhyme, Muffy!" Sam says. "Let me see. It goes: The queen of hearts, she made some tarts - um,, for the king, I think . . ."

So TXL recites it for him. "The queen of hearts, she made some tarts, all on a summer's day. The knave of hearts, he stole the tarts and took them clean away."

"Yeah, I knew it was something like that," says Sam.

A little later, the knave is in the stockroom, hiding the tarts under a box. He sneaks away when he hears Jeff, Jodie and the queen coming.

When they come in, the queen says she smells something sweet. Her nose leads her to a cloth-covered pile and she snatches the cloth off of it. But it's not her tarts. "This is some sort of soggy looking bun thing."

Jodie throws the cloth back further and there, underneath, is Sam! Sam explains that the donuts are bait. He's hoping the knave will try to take some and then he can capture him.

But the queen doesn't think that's a good idea. "You see, my tarts are so exquisite that once tasted, the thought of a mere donut would make one positively ill!"

"Ill, huh?" Sam says, "Your tarts are that good, are they? Well, I must try one when we find them."

"Oh! That's impossible, you see they're all for the king. He's the only one allowed to taste them."

Sam doesn't think that's quite fair, but anyway, they have to get on with their search for the knave. They leave Jeff behind to search the stockroom. When he sees that the queen has left the Mother Goose book behind, he sits down on the wooden box under which the knave has put the tarts and imagines what it would be like living inside a book and being able to meet all the characters there.

"Look inside a book, there is a world filled with treasure, look inside a book, just for your own pleasure, with people to meet and stories exciting no matter what your age, adventure waits on every page inside a book," in his daydream, Jeff is small enough to slip right into the Mother Goose book, and soon he spots a dancer dressed as a cat playing a fiddle. He sings about Old King Cole (who listened to a fiddler and was a merry soul), and watches the cat dance. Next they meet Little Boy Blue and Jeff sings, "Underneath this haystack a nursery rhyme was born. Sheep couldn't find their way back because boy blue forgot to blow his horn!" Suddenly the dancer playing Little Boy Blue jumps up and blows his horn. He dances alone for a bit, and then Jeff and the cat join him and the three of them dance together. "Why not look inside a book?" Jeff sings, and the fantasy is over.

Now he turns his attention to the tarts and asks if we know where they are. So we tell him he's sitting on them. So Jeff gets up and lifts the box up and finds the tarts. But once he picks them up the queen sees him and thinks he stole them.

"Oh!" She shouts. "I caught you RED HANDED! You stole my tarts!"

"Oh, no, I just found them," Jeff tries to explain, but the queen won't hear of it. She grabs Jeff by the ear and leads him off to tell the others she found the thief.

Muffy, standing nearby is horrified. "Our Jeff a thief? Now that's absurd. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. The queen has made a big mistake, for tarts our Jeff would never take." But she realizes that the thief will return to the stockroom to get his tarts, so she decides to lie in wait for him.

Sam is in the children's department with his magnifying glass, but instead of looking for the tarts he's looking for blackbirds in his pie. The queen sweeps into the room. "Good news everyone!" She announces. "I've found the tarts and I caught the thief!"

"Oh, that's wonderful!" says Jodie.

"Oh! Royal raccoons and regal beagles, good detective work, Madam Queen. Where is he?"

"This young man. Right here." The queen says, as Jeff looks sheepish.

"Jeff?" says Jodie.

"Jeff?" says Sam.

Jeff explains to Jodie and Sam that he found the tarts in the stockroom. "The knave must have left them there."

"Are you saying that I, the famous Queen of Hearts am mistaken?"

"Yeah!" Sam says, "And you're wrong too!"

"Excuse me, your majesty," Jodie says gently, "But we know Jeff very well, and if he said that he didn't take the tarts, well, we know he's telling the truth."

"Oh! Well, if you're quite sure, perhaps I might have been a trifle hasty. Well, at least I have my tarts back."

Sam takes a look at them. "Oh, my my my tingling taste buds." He offers the queen to trade a donut for one of the tarts.

"As I've said before, they are all for . . ."

"For the king, I know," says Sam. "Boy, some kings get all the breaks don't they?" He then suggests that he and Jeff go to the stockroom to look for clues.

Once they've gone, the queen is still suspicious, thinking that maybe "that Jeff person" really was the thief and they're letting him get away.

"Oh believe me, your majesty. Jeff won't leave the store." Jodie explains. "And you should stop being so suspicious. Don't you have any friends that you trust?"

"Queens don't have time to have friends. We're much too busy riding in parades and giving royal balls. Although, it would be nice to have a friend. Someone like - you, perhaps?"

Jodie is taken aback at first, but then she says, "Why not?"

"Oh! It's quite impossible," says the queen. She walks towards the middle of the children's department where there is a large chair. She sits down in it. "We lead such different lives."

"I know, but there's so much we could learn about each other," Jodie says. Then music begins and they half-talk, half-sing, about their lives.

"I travel by royal carriage," says the queen.

"I ride on a bus," Jodie sings.

"I live in a great big palace!"

"My apartment is cozy."

"My neighbors are nosy."

"You have to make royal speeches, oh! I would be tongue-tied."

"But you don't have to spend time waving, whenever you go outside!" At this Jodie pushes the chair along as if the queen is riding in a parade.

Together they sing, "So even though we don't have a lot in common, we can be good friends if we try!"

"Do you really think we could be good friends?" The queen asks. "We're so different! I go to breakfast with a crown on my head!"

"Why?"

"200 guests."

"For breakfast?"

"Every day."

Jodie sings, "I boil my own egg and I toast my own bread."

"Sounds simple," says the queen.

"Oh, not when you're late for work," says Jodie, and together they sigh, "Wouldn't it be nice to spend the whole day in bed!" Then, "We could be good friends if we try!"

"I enter a room and a fanfare will blare!" The queen announces.

"Impressive!" Jodie breathes.

"Noisy." The queen contradicts.

"My friends all complain if I'm being unfair."

"Oh, I don't have that problem," the queen says.

"Why not?"

"Talk back to a queen, there's no one who'd dare!"

"I would!" Jodie insists.

"I know, that's why . . ." and they sing together, "We could be good friends, if we try, we like to work, play, in our own way, tarts and displays . . ." They get up and dance a bit as they sing.

"I bake," sings the queen.

"I make," sings Jodie.

"We lead different lives that don't coincide but we could be good friends, I think we should friends, we could be good friends if we try!" The queen goes back to sit on the chair and Jodie rushes over to curtsy to her. Then they laugh together and clasp hands.

Meanwhile, in the stockroom, an elaborate chain-reaction trap, designed by Muffy, has been set up to catch the knave. Sam and Muffy (still wearing their chef hats and aprons), and Jeff are hiding behind the dollhouse waiting for the knave to come back for the tarts.

Then Jodie and the queen come in to put the tarts back under the box. When they lift the box, a bucket lowers, flags come up, a whistle blows and the stealthy trio behind the dollhouse jumps up. "Aha!" They cry, followed by a moan of disappointment when they realize it's just Jodie and the queen.

"Are you trying to turn the royal hair gray?" Asks the startled queen. Sam explains what they're doing and invites the two of them to hide with them. Jeff sets up the trap again and Jodie puts the tarts under the box.

Unfortunately, they aren't very quiet. "Quiet as a mouse now, Muffy," says Sam, "You think you can manage that?" Then he laughs at his own joke.

"Sam! I've been here a long time. Please, doesn't anybody here have some cheese?" Muffy complains.

Meanwhile the knave comes in. He hears them talking and figures out there's a trap. He disconnects the rope that's connected to the box and it looks like he'll get away without being detected, but when he lifts the box, it makes a creak. The gang behind the dollhouse hears it, and just as he's sneaking away they all pop up. "Aha!" They cry.

The knave gulps. He's caught.

Later, in the children's department, the queen is questioning the knave while pacing to and fro.

"All right, young man. Now what do you have to say for yourself? You know I'm going to have to tell the king, and he's going to be in a royal rage!"

The knave nods, but stays silent, to everyone's surprise.

"Doesn't say much, does he?" Jodie says.

"I guess we'll never know why he took the tarts," says Jeff.

"Yeah, well, one good thing at least," Sam says, "We caught him before he had time to eat the evidence."

"Oh, I would never eat the royal tarts!" The knave protests. He, too, is speaking in a British accent, but his is the working class variety.

"You wouldn't?" They all ask in unison.

"No, I was going to give them away."

"Give them away! My royal tarts? How outrageous! How mortifying!" The queen exclaims.

"Well, we would like to know just who you were going to give them to!" Muffy says.

"Old Mother Hubbard," the knave answers.

"Old Mother who, Jeff?" asks Sam. Jeff explains that she is also a character from a nursery rhyme.

"Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard . . ." Jeff begins.

"But when she got there the cupboard was bare!" Muffy continues.

"It's true!" The knave says passionately. "I was going to give the tarts to Mother Hubbard, because she had no food in the cupboard at all!"

"Aw, that's very nice of you to want to help somebody," says Jodie.

"Of course it 'tis," says the queen.

"But stealing doesn't help anybody," Jodie continues.

"Of course it doesn't," the queen says.

"And you really should've asked permission."

"Of course you should have."

The knave brightens up. "Well! May I give the tarts to Mother Hubbard your majesty?"

"Of course you can't."

"He CAHN'T?" The others say, mimicking the queens accent. (Ta-dum!)

"I thought I made it very clear. The royal tarts are strictly for the king . . .However, there must be something in the royal kitchen that we could give to Mother Hubbard. Ah, perhaps some pease pudding or curds and whey."

"Oh, that's great!" Jodie says.

"Well come along, everyone, it's time for us to go back to our book." The queen then announces. She says goodbye to Jeff first, apologizing for thinking he was the thief. "You're very lucky to have so many good friends." Then she invites Muffy to visit her. "A rhyming mouse is always welcome in my book."

Meanwhile, Sam calls the knave over and hands him a donut to give to Mother Hubbard in case she doesn't like pease porridge.

"Before I go, I would like to award Jodie an honorary royal heart."

"What's that?" Sam says, "Is Jodie getting a tart?"

"Oh, no, no Sam, not a tart. Jodie's been given a royal heart," Muffy explains. It's a lovely ruby-colored heart pin that the queen was wearing.

"This royal heart is in recognition of being such a wonderful new friend." The queen says, pinning it on Jodie. Jodie is very touched. "Now!" The queen says. "If everybody will close their eyes, we will disappear, back into our book."

So Jeff and Jodie close their eyes, and Sam and Muffy cover theirs. While their eyes are closed, the queen sneaks over and places a royal tart in front of Sam. The knave smiles approvingly. Then, poof! They're back in the book in the classic pose, the knave with the tarts running away from the queen.

"Oh, my tingling tastebuds, look at this!" Sam cries, "The queen left me a royal tart, Muffy!" They're all amazed. "You know she wasn't so bad after all. I'm kinda gonna miss her."

"Yeah," says Jodie softly, touching the heart pin. "Me, too."

"I think we've had enough excitement for one day," says Jeff. Then there's a tinkling sound. "Uh-oh. I shouldn't have said that, should I?" He adds.

Suddenly the top of Sam and Muffy's pie crust pops up and out fly two dozen animated blackbirds. "Four and twenty blackbirds! Wow!" Jeff cries.

"Sam it worked, oh yes, oh yes, our blackbird pie is a big success!"

"Yeah, except for one thing, Muffy. They all flew away! Now why do you suppose they could've done that?" Sam asks.

"Maybe they tasted the crust," Jeff deadpans.

And everyone - after a beat - laughs.


Quizzes:

  • An animated horse, bear and dog are sitting at the table, ready to eat. Which would like a) the bone, b) the hay, c) the honey?
  • A cartoon mouse, old woman and pussy cat stand before us. According to their respective nursery rhymes, which one a) lives in a shoe, b) runs up a clock, c) falls into a well? (One by one, the characters run towards their props as TXL recites the relevant lines from the nursery rhymes. Once everyone is settled, TXL says facetiously, "We wouldn't want the nursery rhymes to sound silly, would we?"

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • What a great idea "The Mother Goose Cookbook" is! I wonder if anyone has ever put together anything like that.
  • Usually, when Robyn Hayle's (TXL's) voice is heard commenting on the action, as in "Trash" when Jodie's ticket is lost, the characters in the scene can't hear her. This episode is the only one I can remember where TXL-as-narrator's voice (which quizzes us about the Queen of Hearts' identity) is heard by the others and responded to. ("Oh! The queen of hearts!) Sam is also able to hear the TXL's voice recite the rhyme and say, "Yeah I knew it was something like that."
  • When the queen says goodbye to Jeff, it looks for all the world like he is about to kiss her hand. The scene shifts abruptly, so perhaps he did and for some reason (perhaps time constraints), they decided not to show it.
  • The dancers in Jeff's fantasy "inside a book" were Donna Kelly as the cat and the fiddle and Brad Cormier as Little Boy Blue.
  • Jeff hits some very impressive high notes in this and other 1987 episodes, in a range we hadn't heard before.
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