"MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE"
Melvin Frank and Norman Panama
Based on a novel by
THE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN - STOCK
A very high airplane view of the entire island. Over this, a
Voice, authoritative, impressive.
In any discussion of contemporary
America and how its people live, we
must inevitably start with --
Manhattan -- New York City, U.S.A!
NEW YORK CITY SKYLINE - STOCK
Manhattan -- glistening, modern giant
of concrete and steel reaching to
the heavens and holding in its arms
NEW YORK CITY - ANOTHER VIEW - STOCK
Seven millions -- happy beneficiaries
of the advantages and comforts this
gracious metropolis has to offer...
Its fine broad streets and boulevards
facilitate the New Yorker's carefree,
BROADWAY AND FORTY-SECOND STREET - STOCK
An enormous traffic jam, horns honking, etc.
Kindly, courteous public servants
ever on hand to offer a word of
TRAFFIC COP AND CAB DRIVER
yelling at each other.
A transportation system second to
none in speed and comfort!
A SUBWAY DURING RUSH HOUR - STOCK
Modern recreational facilities for
A CROWDED LOWER EAST SIDE STREET - STOCK
Kids playing ball in truck-laden street.
For its adults, the peace and privacy
of a day in the sun!
CONEY ISLAND ON ITS MOST CROWDED DAY - STOCK
It's delightful changes in climate!
A BLINDING, WINDSWEPT NEW YORK BLIZZARD - STOCK
Its great institutions of learning!
Open to all. Free of charge.
BUILDING EXCAVATION - DAY
Leaning on a railing looking down into the excavation are a
group of sidewalk supervisors. The CAMERA MOVES UP to a HEAD
CLOSEUP of one of them. It is Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas), a
well-dressed, intelligent, attractive looking young man.
I suppose you're wondering what all
this has to do with Mr. Blandings
and his Dream House? Well, I'll tell
you. Jim Blandings is part of the
fabric of this town. Born and raised
right here, he's as typical a New
Yorker as anyone you'll ever meet.
At least he was.
And if you want to know the real
story, I guess I'm your boy. Cole's
my name, Bill Cole. I'm Jim's lawyer
and quote, best friend, unquote.
Jim's one of those bright young men
from Yale. Advertising business,
lovely wife, two fine kids, makes
almost fifteen thousand a year. Want
to know why? Just look up there.
A billboard -- against a white background is a large ham. In
large letters across the ham is printed:
(A WHALE OF A HAM)
And below this in quotes:
"WHEN YOU'VE GOT THE WHIM, SAY 'WHAM!'"
"When you've got the whim, say
'Wham!'"... Jim Blandings wrote that
slogan. Seven magic words that shine
like a beacon light for the American
"When you've got the whim, say
'Wham!'" Jim Blandings' contribution
to the American Scene.
EXT. A LARGE NEW YORK APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
As CAMERA MOVES UP it and TOWARD a window:
For fourteen years Jim and Muriel
had been living in their apartment
over on East Seventy-fourth Street.
It was just another of those wonderful
crisp September mornings and the
Blandings were still asleep. Just
like millions of other people in
good old Manhattan -- New York City --
The CAMERA GOES THROUGH the window and INTO:
INT. THE BLANDINGS' BEDROOM - DAY
Jim (Cary Grant) and Muriel (Myrna Loy) Blandings are asleep
in twin beds.
The room, not large to begin with, gives us the impression
of being cluttered up and overcrowded because the beds,
oversized chest of drawers, dressing table and chaise lounge
take up an inordinate amount of space.
SOUND of an alarm clock going off. Jim awakens, yawns himself
into hazy consciousness, gropes about on the night table for
the clock; it isn't there. He slips out of bed, and rubbing
his eyes, blindly moves toward the dresser. The circuitous
path, which he accomplishes with sleepy dexterity, entails
going around the chaise lounge, just missing the ominously
pointed edge of Muriel's dressing table, deftly stepping
over the low dressing table chair and finally reaching the
chest of drawers upon which is the clock. He turns off the
alarm and yawningly starts back over the same path. We get
the feeling that Jim makes this sleepy excursion every waking
morning of his life.
Back at his bed, Jim sits down, and, yawning loudly, gropes
with his feet for his slippers. Before he can find them,
however, he begins to doze off and slowly tilts back toward
the pillow, pulling the covers over him. In a moment he is
sound asleep. Muriel's arm automatically stretches out and
shakes Jim into consciousness. As he painfully reawakens and
starts to rise, Muriel's arm disappears.
We get the impression that this, too, is a regular part of
the Blandings' daily routine.
Jim locates his slippers, reaches around for his bathrobe,
can't find it, stumbles his way over to the closet, opens
INT. THE CLOSET
This is a fairly good-sized closet but it was never intended
to be shared by two people, particularly not Jim and Muriel
Blandings. Assuming that they had started out on even terms,
it is now obviously Muriel, three-to-one. Her dresses, gowns,
slips, seem to obscure his occasional pair of slacks, suit
or sports coat. Her shoes neatly line the floor and the shelf
above is loaded to the ceiling with her hat boxes, in an
orderly but somewhat precarious state of balance.
Groping blindly for a robe, Jim feels around and pulls one
out. As he slips into the arms, we see it's much too small
for him, obviously Muriel's. In disgust he attempts to put
it back. Unable to find a hook he finally jams it in between
two silk dresses which fall to the floor. As he bends down
and gropes for the dresses, he discovers his robe crumpled
under them on the floor. He drags the robe out and dons it,
leaving the dresses where they fell. With a guilty look at
Muriel he closes the closet door and starts out of the bedroom
and into the narrow hall.
INT. THE HALL
A narrow corridor extending the length of the apartment. Off
it are doors leading to the bathroom, the childrens' room
and the foyer.
Jim shuffles down the hall. He stops at the closed bathroom
door, listens, hears the shower, knocks.
Jim continues down the hall, stops at the closed door of the
children's room, knocks. No sound. He opens the door and
INT. CHILDREN'S BEDROOM
A small room, crowded and cluttered up with the accoutrements
of adolescence. Joan, an eleven-year-old is asleep in one of
the twin beds. Jim automatically pulls the covers clear off
Joan's bed. She awakens, cocks an eye at him.
As she sleepily stretches and prepares to rise, Jim exits
into the hall.
INT. THE HALL
CAMERA FOLLOWS Jim through the foyer into the living room,
on through the very small combination dining and breakfast
nook and into the compact but tiny kitchen. Gussie, the
colored cook, greets him heartily.
'Morning, Mr. Blandings!
(a feeble attempt at
Gussie takes a glass of hot water, squeezes in a little lemon,
stirs and hands it to Jim who gulps it down, makes a slight
face and pats his stomach. Gussie hands Jim a cup of black
coffee and he starts back toward the bedroom.
INT. THE HALL
Gingerly balancing the cup and saucer, Jim approaches the
door to the children's room. With split-second timing, he
pauses as the door flies open and Joan, in her bathrobe,
towel in hand, rushes out and past him down the hall. She
disappears into the bathroom. Jim carefully proceeds down
the hall and, as he reaches the bathroom, deftly steps to
the left as the door bursts open and Betsy flies by on the
way back to her bedroom. All this is done with a timing and
shifting of hips of which Knute Rockne might have been proud.
Jim continues down the hall, enters the bedroom.
INT. THE BLANDINGS' BEDROOM
Muriel is still asleep as Jim enters, walks over, nudges
Muriel awakens, sniffs the fresh coffee, smiles, sits up,
takes the cup.
Thank you, dear.
They kiss briefly. Muriel starts to sip the coffee as Jim
goes to his chest of drawers. It consists of several rows of
small drawers above and large drawers below. Jim ruffles
through a couple of small drawers, pulls out a suit of
underwear, continues noisily and with some annoyance to look
through the other drawers.
Looking for something, dear?
Why don't you look in your sock
That's where I found my underwear.
Well, try your underwear drawer.
I'm in my underwear drawer.
He reaches in and holds up one of Muriel's silk slips.
Well, they must be somewhere.
(attempt at morning
Socks just don't get up and walk
away by themselves.
Muriel, I thought the top two-and-a-
half drawers were to be mine! I wish
you'd tell Gussie --
The closet! That's where they are.
We put them in the closet.
Socks? In the closet?
Well, there didn't seem to be any
room in the drawers...
And there's so much of it in the
...so Gussie and I decided that from
now on we'll keep them in a basket
on the shelf.
Well, thanks a lot!
He strides angrily to the closet, opens the door, reaches up
for the basket and pulls it off the shelf. As he does so,
all the hat boxes come tumbling down knocking the basket
from his hand, the socks spilling on the floor. About to
explode, he looks at Muriel.
Jim, I do wish you'd make an effort
to be a little less clumsy.
I'll try, dear.
Jim looks at her barely containing himself, and then puts
the hats back in the boxes, jams them back on the shelf where
they toter precariously. With bated breath he gingerly closes
the closet door. Pause. Silence. He picks up a pair of socks
and walks cautiously toward the hall door. Suddenly there is
a rumble and crash from inside the closet. Jim exchanges a
look with Muriel, is about to say something, changes his
mind, exits into the hall. Muriel looks at the closet, sighs,
takes another sip of coffee.
INT. THE HALL
Jim opens the door of the bathroom. There is a scream. He
quickly closes the door, scowling with annoyance. A moment
later the door opens and Joan emerges, wrapping her robe
Father, just one morning I wish you'd
(to her back as she
Joan disappears into her room as Jim enters the bathroom.
INT. THE BATHROOM
Very small with a stall shower. Jim takes off his bathrobe,
yawns, gets on the scale, looks at the dial, shakes his head.
He takes a deep breath, draws in his stomach, looks down,
scowls, shrugs, gets off, moves to the mirror. He examines
the thinness of his hair, the condition of his tongue, etc.
Taking his toothbrush he looks down at the tube he is about
to use, frowns.
WHAT HE SEES - THE TOOTHPASTE TUBE
WHAT HE SEES - the toothpaste tube. It has been squeezed in
the middle, one of Blandings' pet peeves.
CLOSE SHOT - JIM METICULOUSLY SMOOTHES OUT THE TUBE
CLOSE SHOT - Jim meticulously smoothes out the tube, rolls
up the used portion from the bottom. Then placing a small
amount on his brush, he caps the tube, and starts vigorously
to brush his teeth. As he does so, he attempts with his free
hand, to put the tube back in the medicine cabinet which he
CLOSE SHOT - THE MEDICINE CABINET
CLOSE SHOT - the medicine cabinet, loaded to the hilt with
medical accumulation of fourteen years of family life.
CLOSE SHOT - JIM
CLOSE SHOT - Jim. As he pushes the tube into the bulging top
shelf, a bottle of iodine falls out. Jim makes a desperate
one-handed catch, still brushing his teeth. As he pushes the
iodine into the second shelf, a small bottle of pills pops
out. Jim catches it, pushes it back into the cabinet. A bottle
of cough medicine falls out. He catches it, tries to put it
back, finds it won't fit. He looks at the bottle, sniffs it,
contemplates its value, throws it in the wastebasket. He
finishes washing his mouth, admires his teeth, disrobes and
steps into the shower, putting on his shower cap. He reacts,
scowls, takes off the cap and turns it upside down, a full
cup of water falling out. He reaches out for a towel, dries
the inside of the cap, carefully puts it back on his now wet
hair. Then he turns the water on and at the first warm spray
Jim Blandings' life takes a sharp turn for the better. He
starts to sing, a robust bathroom baritone version of "Home
On The Range."
Jim - He stands in front of the washstand lathering his face.
Over scene we hear Muriel's voice from the shower. She is
singing a lusty chorus of "Home On The Range." Jim picks up
his razor and turns to the mirror. He reacts with annoyance,
as he discovers it is covered with steam. With weary
resignation he takes a towel and starts to rub off the mirror.
As he clears one section another clouds up. By the time he
gets it all reasonably clear he finds that his lather needs
freshening. He grimly relathers his face only to find that
the mirror is again clouded up. As he turns with exasperation
toward the shower we see Muriel turn off the water, reach
for a towel, start to dry herself.
The mirror cleared off, Jim relathers, starts to shave. During
this, Muriel, having dried herself and donned her robe, comes
She takes her toothbrush and then opens the cabinet to get
the paste. Jim, automatically following the mirror, has to
squeeze around in a desperately contorted position as he
CLOSE SHOT - MURIEL
CLOSE SHOT - Muriel. She takes the tube from the cabinet
and, squeezing the tube in the middle, applies the paste to
JIM AND MURIEL
Jim and Muriel - Placing the tube on the washstand, Muriel
closes the cabinet. Jim, still shaving, moves back to his
original position as he follows the mirror.
Muriel nods, steps back, starts to brush her teeth. They
both hum "Home On The Range". Her mouth full, Muriel taps
Jim on the shoulder. Without stopping his shaving, Jim moves
to one side as Muriel rinses her mouth. She examines her
face in the mirror.
If you don't mind, dear.
As he steps back in front of the mirror, Muriel continues to
look at her face in the glass, over his shoulder. She decides
she needs a little skin lotion.
(as she steps in front
She again opens the cabinet. Jim once more follows the mirror
around, nicks his face, gives up, stands glaring arms folded.
Muriel takes the lotion from the cabinet.
Take your time. I can spare the blood.
Oh... cut yourself?
I cut myself every morning. I kind
of look forward to it.
Why don't you get an electric razor?
(trying to shave)
Don't like them. No close shave.
Ridiculous! Bill Cole's been using
one for years.
He doesn't have my beard!
That's silly. Bill's beard is just
as tough and coarse and --
I'm not interested in discussing the
grain and texture of Bill Cole's
hair follicles before I've had my
You don't have to carry on so. I
only said, why don't you get an
Because I prefer the cool, clean
sweep of the tempered steel as it
glides smoothly --
Stop writing advertising copy! Hurry
up, dear, you'll be late for
Muriel exits. Jim sighs, turns back to the mirror and with a
few deft strokes finishes shaving. As he reaches for the
water faucet, he encounters the tube of toothpaste, squeezed
in the middle. Reacting with annoyance, he meticulously
smoothes it out and rolls it up from the bottom. He opens
the cabinet and gingerly places the tube on the top shelf.
The iodine bottle pops out. He grimly catches it, studies
his problem, has a solution. With his right hand he starts
slowly to close the mirror door. Just before it closes, he
slips the bottle into the cabinet with his left hand, quickly
slamming the mirror door, trapping the bottle. He reacts
masterfully at his triumph, picks up his robe and starts for
the door. As he reaches it, there is the SOUND of the cabinet
opening and a crash as the bottle obviously hits the
washstand. As Jim winces,
INT. THE BLANDINGS' BREAKFAST NOOK - DAY
Narrow and small. The four Blandings are at breakfast, Jim
and Muriel each reading his section of the morning paper,
Betsy pasting a clipping in her notebook, Joan engrossed in
a magazine of popular science. As we come in, Gussie, taking
off the orange juice, is squeezing by Jim who accordingly
and automatically ducks his head as she passes. Jim
uncomfortably turns the newspaper to another page, folds it,
reacts with pained but controlled exasperation.
...Who did this?
INSERT NEWSPAPER, a section of which has been cut out.
BACK TO SCENE.
She holds out her hand to Joan, who, automatically, and
without looking up hands her the salt.
I have repeatedly told you --
(ducking as Gussie
comes back with coffee)
-- don't cut up the morning paper
until I've had a chance to look at
I'm sorry, father. It's necessary
She hands the salt back to Joan who automatically passes it
(with some sarcasm)
I suppose this is another of Miss
Stellwagon's so-called Progressive
(using salt and handing
it to Jim)
Now dear, there just isn't any point
in sending your children to an
expensive school if you're going to
undermine the teacher's authority in
your own dining room.
I'm not undermining anything. I happen
to be in the advertising business
and keeping abreast of the times is
important to me.
And so is your children's education.
That's not the point.
It certainly is.
It certainly is not!
(without looking up
from her magazine)
Bicker, bicker, bicker.
You eat your cornflakes!
Jim ducks as Gussie passes back on her way to the kitchen.
(handing Joan toast)
Joan, every time your father and I
have a lively discussion we aren't
(to Betsy; solicitously)
What is it, dear, another English
(taking toast from
Miss Stellwagon has assigned each of
us to take a want ad and write a
human interest theme about it.
(to Jim; passing toast
I found one typical of the
disintegration of our present society.
(taking toast, not
looking up from his
I wasn't aware of the fact that our
society was disintegrating.
I didn't expect you to be, father.
Miss Stellwagon says that middle-
class people like us are all too
prone to overlook the pressures and
tensions which befall the less
fortunate members of our community.
Jim puts down the paper, turns to Muriel.
(with great restraint)
Muriel, I know it's asking a lot,
but just one morning I would like to
sit down and have breakfast without
Picks up his paper.
Jim, you really might take a little
more interest in your children's
(without looking up)
You can't squeeze blood from a turnip.
Jim reacts with painful resignation, folds his arms, puts
down the paper, turns slowly to Betsy.
All right. All right. I'll listen.
(picking up her
It's just twenty-four words. But in
simple eloquence it mirrors a minor
tragedy of our times.
"Forced to sell. Farm dwelling, oak
grove, apple orchard, trout stream,
hay fields, four barns, seclusion,
superb view, original beams, paved
You don't see it, do you, father?
No. Fellow wants to sell a house so
he puts an ad in the paper. What did
you expect him to do, take it to the
There must be more to it than that.
Isn't there, dear?
Certainly, mother. What some people
don't see is the whole sordid picture.
A poor, honest farmer, pushed to the
wall by hardship, soil erosion,
mortgages, everybody gobbling,
gobbling, gobbling, until finally,
in desperation, he is "forced to
sell," and stoops to the crass
commercialism of newspaper
Oh, indeed... crass commercialism...
(nose in her magazine)
Miss Stellwagon says advertising is
a basically parasitic profession.
(with extreme control)
Oh, she does?
Miss Stellwagon says that advertising
makes people who can't afford it buy
things they don't want with money
they haven't got.
Perhaps your Miss Stellwagon is right.
Perhaps I ought to get out of this
"basically parasitic profession,"
which at the moment is paying for
her very fancy tuition, those extra
French lessons, her progressive summer
camp and for that matter, the very
braces on your teeth!
I wish you wouldn't discuss money in
front of the children.
Why not, they spend enough of it!
Bicker, bicker, bicker.
As Jim gives her a look and buries himself in his paper, the
downstairs buzzer rings. Gussie enters, squeezes by Jim who
automatically ducks, goes to the phone in b.g.
Miss Blandings, there's a Mr.
Funkhauser wants to see you.
Oh, Mr. Funkhauser!
That's what he says.
Muriel looks nervously at Jim who is preoccupied, reading
his paper. Then she turns back to Gussie.
Uh -- better ask him to come up.
Says to come up.
Gussie hangs up, squeezes by Jim, exits into the kitchen.
Oh -- uh -- darling, Mr. Funkhauser's
You remember, Bunny Funkhauser, that
clever young interior decorator we
met at the Collins' cocktail party?
What's he doing here?
Well, I imagine he's brought the --
uh -- estimates.
(rapidly; to conceal
a feeling of guilt)
Darling, you know how long we've
said we've got to do something about
this apartment, and, well, he called
last week, and I had him come over,
and he's got some simply wonderful
There couldn't be two Bunny
Funkhausers, could there?
Why, no, dear.
Then this is the same clever young
man who's responsible for that zebra-
striped monstrosity in the Collins'
That couch is terribly functional.
Phil Collins told me what he paid
for all that function!
If you think I'm going to --
SOUND of doorbell ringing.
Children, you'll be late to school.
Run along and --
The children rise, pick up their school paraphernalia.
Miss Stellwagon says that
functionalism in modern furniture --
Never mind, dear.
She hustles Betsy and Joan toward the foyer as Jim rises.
Gussie has just admitted Mr. Funkhauser. He is a tall,
slender, effete-looking, young man. He is loaded down with
sketches, samples of wallpaper, bolts of material. Betsy and
Joan brush by him on their way out.
(with a sharp
As they rush out and the door closes, Jim and Muriel enter
Good morning, Mr. Funkhauser. You
remember Mr. Blandings?
But of course.
He sweeps by them into the living room, taking over
INT. LIVING ROOM
You'll have to pardon my bursting in
at this dreary hour --
(puts a sketch on a
-- practically the middle of the
(puts wallpaper against
-- but I did so want to catch you
in. I've been at it hammer and tongs
all week and I'm just a mess --
(drapes bolt of chintz
-- but then Muriel and I thought we
ought to talk it over with you before
we take the plunge...
Funkhauser looks briefly for a high object over which to
display his last bolt of chintz, finds none, settles for
Jim's shoulder over which he drapes the cloth, the folds
flowing down in front. As Jim reacts:
(smoothing out folds
on the chintz)
After all, it's your home, too, and
it should reflect you. You know,
Man's Castle, all that sort of thing.
Jim looks down at the chintz.
Jim, just wait till you hear. He's
got some wonderful ideas for the
Oh, that's out! All out! Changed the
whole thing! I just couldn't live
with it! I said to myself, "Bunny,
what are the Blandings? How shall we
do them?" And the answer was perfectly
obvious. Very American, very grass
roots, very blueberry pie -- that
sort of thing.
(dark look at Muriel)
Funkhauser fingers the material of a drape, disdainfully
removes his hand.
Now first, let's dig into this living
room of yours, it's really a dreary.
(quickly; to Jim)
We want this room to be very gay,
dear. Something in bright reds,
yellows and greens.
Red, yellow and green?!
Oh, come, Mr. Blandings, let's not
run away from color.
Not running away --
(a lame joke)
-- just backing off a little.
Uh -- yes.
Now as I see our room, it's definitely
Colonial. You know, cobbler's bench,
breakfront, pie cooler, student lamp,
hooked rug. But everything in good
taste. It must not jump out at you
and scream: "Look -- see how antique
Of course, these things take
imagination. You've simply got to be
able to visualize.
If you'll forgive me, Mr. Funkhauser,
what I'd like to visualize -- at
this dreary hour -- is how much is
this all going to cost?
Well, really, I hesitate to say.
After all --
-- by the time this wall is out we
may find --
This wall is -- what?
Out. Source of light is from the
east. Obviously if our room is to
have any function at all --
You're going to tear out the wall?!
Dear, it's a wonderful notion.
Visualize three feet of leaded panes,
the rest --
Can you give me a figure?
Well! Costs aren't what they used to
be, you know, and --
Just a figure.
Materials are impossible, labor has
just run wild --
Just an overall figure.
Well!... I shouldn't like to be tied
down. But I suppose if you must have
a figure, I'd say -- mm --
-- somewhere in the neighborhood of
That would be seven... thousand?
Jim looks at Muriel, considers.
We-ll. That seems fair.
(gathering up materials)
After all, we're not running away
from color --
(picks up wallpaper)
-- and we are tearing out walls --
(picks up sketches)
Mr. Funkhauser, do you have a card?
Jim, we haven't even discussed the
rest of the house.
We will, dear.
(leads the whole batch
Well, really, I --
(deftly steering him
toward the door)
We'll talk it all out and then we'll
get in touch with Bunny.
CAMERA TRUCKS with them to the door.
Well, really, I mean, I was under
the impression we'd come to some
I'm sure we will.
So nice of you to come.
hat on his head)
And Funkhauser is gone. Jim closes the door, turns ominously.
Now darling, you -- you just don't
go to a man like Funkhauser and ask
how much it's going to cost before
you even know what he's going to do!
No, that would be too logical! Seven
thousand dollars! Blueberry pie! I
wouldn't put seventy-five cents into
this broken-down rat trap!
It's our home, Jim. Betsy was
practically born in this apartment.
That does not make it a national
Seven thousand dollars and not one
word about closets.
Closets! You wouldn't even let him
get to the bathroom!
I haven't got that kind of money!
The way you talk, Jim Blandings,
you'd think I was some kind of
Sometimes I'm beginning to wonder!
You can just get out of here!
That's not a bad idea!
He angrily jerks open the hall closet door, pulls his hat
down from the shelf, several hat boxes, some ski boots and a
tennis racket tumbling down on his head. Jim jams his hat
onto his head, takes a deep breath and storms out, slamming
the door. Muriel walks over to the closet, is about to bend
down and pick up a hatbox when all of her pent-up emotions
explode. She kicks the hat box into the closet, slams the
door, starts to cry.
EXT. RADIO CITY - ESTABLISHING SHOT - (STOCK)
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE OF JIM'S OFFICE - DAY
Exiting from the elevator, Jim enters a door marked:
DASCOMB AND BANTON
INT. JIM'S OFFICE - DAY
On the wall are various framed copies of Jim's handiwork.
Most prominent are advertisements for a meat product called
"Wham!" "A Whale of a Ham!" There is ample evidence of the
fact that Jim's most successful slogan is: "When you've got
the Whim - say 'Wham!'"
Jim enters, goes to his desk, sits down, still emotionally
upset. He glances at a photograph of Muriel, looks guiltily
away, then back.
His secretary enters.
Good morning, Mr. Blandings.
You wanted to see the color copy
from this month's House and Stream.
She hands him a magazine. He looks at it perfunctorily, is
about to hand it back when his eye is caught by an ad on the
INSERT THE BACK COVER - A COMMUNITY AND EXTOLLING LIFE IN
INSERT THE BACK COVER - A community and extolling life in
the country, sponsored by a group of realtors, local chamber
of commerce etc. Over a pastoral scene of lovely little houses
checkering a rolling landscape are the words:
LIVE IN THE COUNTRY COME TO PEACEFUL CONNECTICUT TRADE CITY
SOOT FOR SYLVAN CHARM
In smaller type:
CHOOSE YOUR OWN COMMUTING TIME HOUSES OLD AND NEW... ACREAGE
Will that be all?
JIM - MARY.
Jim - Mary.
(looking up; blankly)
Will that be all?
Without answering he turns back to the ad. The CAMERA COMES
IN for a HEAD CLOSEUP as he studies the ad and on the sound
track we hear:
"Forced to sell. Farm dwelling, oak
grove, apple orchard, trout stream,
hay fields, four barns, original
As he looks up thoughtfully:
INT. JIM'S CAR - DAY - (PROCESS)
It is a convertible, the top down. Jim is driving through
Well, that's the way it all started.
The ad was enough to convince Jim --
INT. THE CAR - DAY - (PROCESS)
Jim and Muriel - They are leaving Manhattan, entering the
Merritt Parkway. Muriel, wearing an orchid corsage, looks
curiously at Jim. His answering gesture says, "Just wait and
see." Over this:
-- But Muriel was a little tougher.
I guess the corsage did it.
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Jim, Muriel and Mr. Smith - They are driving through a
beautiful Connecticut countryside. Mr. Smith, a local real
estate dealer, is of that shrewd Yankee breed which
specializes in the understatement, underselling school of
There they are, two little fish from
New York -- out in the deep deep
waters of Connecticut real estate.
That's Smith, the real estate
salesman. Mighty shrewd cookie in a
quiet sort of way. Never thought
he'd get a bite this quick.
Smith looks speculatively at the Blandings.
Now he's sizing up the catch. "Mm.
Let's see. Convertible -- orchids --
must be pretty well fixed. Wonder if
they're lookers or buyers?"
Jim takes a deep breath, looks at Muriel as if to say, "Get
that air!" Muriel smiles with approval. Jim pats her hand
affectionately. Smith reacts.
Yes, sir, Smith, looks like you're
finally going to unload the old
Hackett place. Now first thing is
get 'em a little anxious.
Jim slows down the car as they approach a rather picturesque-
looking old Connecticut farmhouse. He and Muriel react with
approval, look questioningly at Smith. Smith shakes his head,
"no," as though to say, "Not nearly good enough for you."
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Jim, Muriel, Mr. Smith - They pass another house. Jim and
Muriel appraise it with interest, look at Smith.
Uh-uh, not yet.
Smith firmly shakes his head "no."
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Jim, Muriel and Mr. Smith - Another house.
Take it easy, Smith, give 'em a little
Smith shakes his head "no".
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Jim, Muriel and Mr. Smith - The car pulls to a stop.
Now we're ready to gaff 'em.
Well, folks, there she is -- the old
The Blandings look off, react with interest and approval.
WHAT THEY SEE -- BURROWED INTO THE UPWARD SLOPE
What they see -- Burrowed into the upward slope of the land
is the old Hackett farmhouse. If the roof seems to sway a
little and the massive stone chimney to tilt a bit and the
overall condition of board and beam to be a trifle unsteady,
charge it up to age, which will be a hundred and seventy
years come next April. However, the overall effect is
definitely one of picturesque rustic beauty. In the back are
a series of barns and behind them the rolling hills known as
Fifty mighty pretty little acres...
JIM, MURIEL AND SMITH.
JIM, MURIEL AND SMITH
It's simply charming!
Jim's look cautions against her over-enthusiasm.
That is, for an old house.
Of course, you understand, Mr. Smith,
we're just window shopping, so to
speak. Nothing really definite in
Perfectly all right.
(studies house; with
Mm. Not a bad-looking place, but
it's certainly a lot older than
anything we had in mind.
She's no spring chicken --
-- but that's just what makes her
such a buy.
They look at him curiously. Smith's attitude is matter-of-
fact, almost without enthusiasm.
This isn't just old timber, or a
virgin stand oak grove other side of
the trout stream, or a couple of
fruit orchards... You're buying a
piece of American history.
(interested in spite
You don't say! How's that?
First year she was built, General
Gates stopped right here to water
Oh! Old General Gates -- Civil War.
Oh. Oh, that General Gates. Hear
that, honey, General Gates!
Wouldn't that make the house over a
hundred years old?
Hundred and seventy come next April.
The Blandings exchange a doubtful look which Smith catches.
Now I'm not trying to sell you
anything -- all I'm saying is that
one of these days someone with a
little vision and imagination's goin'
to come along, and just steal this
and I mean steal it.
The Blandings, as one, turn to the house with renewed
interest. This is not lost on Smith.
Mr. Blandings, I know you can look
at that house and just about picture
what a couple of coats of paint and
a little pointing up here and there
can do to it.
The CAMERA MOVES TO a HEAD CLOSEUP of Jim as he begins to
WHAT HE SEES
WHAT HE SEES - The Old Hackett Place suddenly DISSOLVES into
the New Blandings' Place -- Jim's version. It is a lovely
country house. Massive. Masculine. Jim, in jodhpurs, tweed
coat, pipe and accompanied by two large Irish Setters, is
proudly surveying his property. He nonchalantly holds a sleek,
beautiful shotgun in the most precisely correct position.
CLOSE SHOT - JIM'S FACE.
CLOSE SHOT - Jim's face. His lips don't move but we hear his
Hm. Wonder what he meant by "steal?"
And I guess I don't have to tell
you, Mrs. Blandings, what a woman's
touch could do to a place like this.
CAMERA MOVES to a HEAD CLOSEUP of Muriel as she starts to
WHAT SHE SEES - THE OLD HACKETT PLACE
WHAT SHE SEES - The Old Hackett Place DISSOLVES into a dainty,
feminine cottage with criss-cross curtains at the window and
a lovely little white rail fence enclosing "her garden."
Muriel, in delightful gingham, is in the garden, admiring
her latest triumph - the largest rose ever grown in Lansdale
CLOSE SHOT - MURIEL'S FACE.
CLOSE SHOT - Muriel's face. Her face is soft. Her lips don't
move but we hear:
It is a nice old house. It just needs
someone to love it, that's all.
Yes, sir, you've certainly got to
CAMERA MOVES to a HEAD CLOSEUP of Smith as he, too, begins
WHAT HE SEES - THE OLD HACKETT PLACE.
WHAT HE SEES - The Old Hackett Place. Suddenly SUPERIMPOSED
over it in large figures is:
GROUP SHOT - SMITH LOOKS AT HIM AND MURIEL
GROUP SHOT - Smith looks at Him and Muriel who are looking
at the house with unabashed affection. Jim's arm goes tenderly
around Muriel's waist. Smith looks back at the house.
WHAT HE SEES - THE OLD HACKETT PLACE.
WHAT HE SEES - The Old Hackett Place. The
is quickly replaced by:
Shall we go up and take a look at
(a little too casual)
Well -- I -- suppose as long as we're
I guess it doesn't hurt to take a
As Smith precedes them up the path toward the house:
It does have possibilities. Do you
think we can get it?
Like taking candy from a baby.
Now don't lose your head.
Shh. Just keep quiet and let me handle
As they enter the house:
Tell me, Smith, what kind of a price
is the owner asking for this old
EXT. THE OLD HACKETT PLACE - ANOTHER ANGLE - DAY
Jim and Muriel precede Smith as they exit from the house. As
Jim and Muriel carry on a sotto voce conversation, Smith
looks off with some concern in the direction of the road.
It's wonderful, Jim! That master
bedroom with those two closets!
Funkhauser could do wonders with
Funkhauser will have nothing to do
with this house! Shh!
Smith's face suddenly brightens as a weatherbeaten old car
appears, turns up the driveway, stops.
(to the Blandings;
What do you know, it's Eph Hackett,
owner of the place!
Well, you don't say.
Eph Hackett gets out of the car, saunters over. Hackett is a
middle-aged, rural-looking, taciturn New Englander
Eph, this is Mr. and Mrs. Blandings --
from New York City.
How do you do?
You certainly have a lovely place
here, Mr. Hackett.
Mr. Hackett, we've just been talking
to Smith here about -- uh -- taking
the old place off your hands.
Hackett exchanges the briefest of looks with Smith who almost
imperceptibly shakes his head "no."
Ain't for sale!
As the Blandings react with dismay:
Why don't you folks just go out in
back and take a look at the orchard?
He gives them a wink which says, "Just leave it to me." The
Blandings exchange a look, turn and walk off.
How'm I doin', George?
Nice timin', Eph. Think we got
They the same people you showed it
to in nineteen-thirty-eight?
They were lookers -- this is the
If they got five thousand dollars on
'em. don't let 'em get away.
They already offered ten.
Y'don't say... What's my asking price?
A mite stiff...
I've got 'em measured.
They're gonna take the place for --
(turns, looks back at
Make it eleven thousand five hundred
Odd kind of figure.
Might as well take the commission
out of them instead of me.
As Smith raises a knowing eyebrow:
INT. THE BLANDINGS' BREAKFAST NOOK - DAY
Muriel and the two children are having breakfast. Jim enters
in high spirits. During this scene we repeat the business of
passing, etc. used in the previous breakfast scene.
(singing gaily to
"Home On The Range")
"Home, home in Connecticut With a
closet to hang up your petticut..."
(as he seats himself)
(going on, as he places
his napkin in his
"No hustle or fuss No Fifth Avenue
Uh -- Jim?
I was just wondering, dear. Ten
thousand dollars is such an awful
lot to offer --
Jim looks suspiciously at her, at the children, then back at
That is, for two people who don't
know anything at all about real
estate, or anything...
(Jim's look darkens)
I mean, don't you think perhaps we
should have asked someone's
Like... say... a lawyer?
Well, Bill knows about these things
Muriel, for once in my life I'm going
to make one small decision, on my
own, without the legalistic
machinations of Mr. Bill Cole.
It seems very peculiar that when
your very best friend happens to be
one of the very cleverest young
lawyers in New York City --
Muriel, I don't want to hear another
word about Bill Cole!
(turns to children)
Well, did your mother tell you about
Miss Stellwagon says the current
craze for modernizing old farmhouses
is a form of totem worship.
(with great restraint)
Did it ever occur to you two that
there may be some remote, intangible
subjects upon which your Miss Irma
Stellwagon is not the final authority?
Why don't we buy a Solaxion house?
...You know it's just barely
conceivable -- What kind of a house?
Solaxion. It's built on a mast like
a tent and it revolves with the sun.
Oh, it... revolves... with the sun?
Who lives next door -- Buck Rogers?!
It's the only practical way to live.
When a new model comes out you trade
the old one in like a used car.
Children, you haven't even seen this
Personally, I'd like a Crane Mobile
home. It comes all folded up and all
you do is plug it in for electricity
and water and --
Now just a minute!
What kind of children are these?
Do you want to spend the rest of
your lives in chromium tents and
portable merry-go-rounds? This house
was built before our country became
a nation. It has dignity. It's --
Gussie enters with a letter.
(handing it to Jim)
Special delivery, Mr. Blandings.
As he eagerly opens it and reads, his face falls.
"I have conveyed your offer of ten
thousand dollars to Mr. Hackett and
am sorry to say he is not interested.
However, I feel..."
Oh, dear. Maybe we should have gone
a few dollars higher.
He's bluffing. Simple as that.
For ten thousand dollars we could
get a Rockford Trailer and a Zamboni
Power Unit. It's kitchen, bathroom
and air conditioning all rolled up
Jim gives her a weary look, turns to Muriel.
Muriel, I'll let him push me to ten
thousand, two hundred, but not a
JIM'S COST CHART
INSERT JIM'S COST CHART - Rising diagonally and bisecting
the chart is a line graduated in scale starting at $5000 and
running up to around $17,000. Resting on the line at exactly
$10,000 is a miniature of the old house. Fluttering across
the scene from left to right is a letter from Smith on the
stationery of the Lansdale Realty Co.
As we see the letter and hear the voice of Smith, miniature
figures of Smith and Hackett appear at the lower side of the
house. Their shoulders start pushing the house up the
graduated scale. Over this:
"Dear Mr. Blandings: While your offer
of ten thousand two hundred is still
not acceptable to Ephemus Hackett --
A letter on Danton & Bascomb's stationery flutters across
the screen from right to left. A miniature figure of Jim
appears above the house, desperately pushing it back. Over
this, we hear:
"Dear Mr. Smith: You may inform Mr.
Hackett that the very highest I could
possibly go --"
As a succession of letters flutter across the screen, first
from left to right and then from right to left, and the house
is jockeyed back and forth, they are punctuated with the
"Dear Friend Blandings --"
"My dear Friend Smith --"
"Dear Blandings --!"
"Dear Smith - !"
Throughout this Smith's voice remains bland and unperturbed
while Jim's has the desperate, frenetic quality of a man
being slowly pushed to the wall.
The Special Effect concludes with the house finally and firmly
at rest on the preordained $11,550. As the antagonists on
both sides of the house relax, Smith reaches around in front
of the house and shakes hands with Jim. It's a deal!
About halfway through when the going gets tough, Jim beckons
Muriel to help in the losing fight. As they now embrace,
Smith and Hackett shake hands in mutual congratulation.
Door - on it is printed:
INT. BILL COLE'S OFFICE - DAY
A successful lawyer's office, the walls crowded with leather-
bound books. Jim and Muriel are seated facing the large desk
behind which sits Bill Cole. Bill finishes reading a series
of papers, the sum total of correspondence between Jim and
Mr. Smith. He sets down the papers, leans back thoughtfully.
Jim and Muriel look at him with nervous but eager
(not too sure)
What do you think, Bill? Steal, huh?
It certainly is.
Jim looks triumphantly at Muriel.
Perhaps "steal" is an understatement --
"swindle" might be a little more
Well, it wasn't much, Bill. I just
saw a good thing and I --
What do you mean?
Every time you get a little tight
you weep on my shoulder about the
advertising business and how it forces
a sensitive soul like yourself to
make a living by bamboozling the
(picks up Smith's
I would say that a small part of
this victimized group has now
redressed the balance.
What are you talking about?
You! You've been taken to the cleaners
and you don't even know your pants
Dear, I told you. I said we should
call Bill --
Never mind, Muriel!
(to Bill; challengingly)
All right, just what's wrong with
First time around you offered ten
thousand dollars for fifty acres,
What of it?
That's two hundred dollars an acre.
I know that part of Connecticut and
one hundred dollars an acre is
standard top-gouge price to city
slickers. When the natives sell to
each other it's around forty or less.
Forty dollars an acre!
The man's entitled to a fair profit.
Not two hundred and eighty-four
And besides, you're not getting fifty
acres, you're only getting thirty-
five, more or less.
Where does it say that?
(picks up letter)
I refer to a rather obscure post-
script on the back of the second
letter from Friend Smith.
He hands the letter to Muriel.
"Incidentally, Mr. Hackett has been
a little over-optimistic about the
acreage. It will probably survey
somewhere in the neighborhood of
thirty-five acres, more or less, but
I feel sure..."
(on the defensive)
All right, so it's thirty-five! What's
the difference? Do you know how many
tennis courts you can get on thirty-
You're not spending eleven thousand
five hundred dollars for tennis
That's not the point!
That's precisely the point. We're
going to write this Hackett a strong
letter and tell him he can either
kick in with those fifteen acres,
reduce the price, or find another
We'll do no such thing! I'm not going
to queer this deal over fifteen broken-
We were just going window shopping
and so far it's cost us eleven
thousand five hundred dollars and
they even made us pay the commission!
You don't understand business.
You mean extortion.
As Jim turns on Bill and is about to answer him explosively:
I wonder if we could get another two
year lease on the apartment?
Now wait a minute! You can't measure
everything on a slide rule. This
house has certain intangibles.
Like what, for instance?
Like antique value, for instance! It
just so happens that General Gates
stopped right there, at that very
house, to water his horses.
I don't care if General Grant dropped
in for a scotch and soda -- you're
still getting rocked!
That was a different war!
I think Bill's absolutely right.
(struggling to contain
Let me explain something. To both of
you. For fifteen years I've been
cooped up in a four room cracker
box! Just getting shaved in the
morning entitles a man to the
Congressional Medal for bravery.
That doesn't make this a good buy.
Bill -- Muriel and I have found what
I am not ashamed to call our Dream
House. It's like a fine painting.
You buy it with your heart, not your
head. You don't ask, how much was
the canvas, how much was the paint?
You look at it and you say, "It's
beautiful... I want it," and if it
costs a few pennies more you pay it --
and gladly -- because you love it
and you can't measure the things you
love in dollars and cents!
Muriel looks at Jim, impressed, her face softening with
Well -- that's how I feel about this
place. And when I sign those papers
Saturday, I can look the world in
the face and say, "It's mine! My
house! My home! My thirty-five acres!"
(coming over; moved,
Our house. Our home. Our thirty-five
They tenderly kiss.
...more or less...
On Jim's reaction:
EXT. LANSDALE COUNTY COURTHOUSE - DAY
Comprehensive Shot showing village green of a small, typical,
quaint New England town.
INT. RECORDS ROOM LANSDALE COUNTY COURTHOUSE - DAY
Old Judge Quarles is reading from the title deed, the
proceedings almost over. Jim stands in front of the bench
flanked by Muriel and Bill. Mr. Smith and Hackett are the
only other people present. As the Judge drones on, Jim and
Muriel exchange a smile. Jim squeezes her hand intimately.
"...thence along said stonewall fence
forming the East boundary of said
Lansdale Road, N 20° 27' E, 21.84
feet to the end of said stonewall
fence, thence along a wire fence, N
16° 31' W, 78.66 feet to a dead twenty-
inch chestnut tree, thence westward
to said stonewall fence, to a total
of thirty-one and a half acres --"
What was that? How many acres?
Judge Quarles looks up impatiently at the interruption.
Thirty-one and a half.
I was under the impression your
property was thirty-five acres, Mr.
It is... more or less.
Bill looks significantly at Jim.
You see, Mr. Blandings, when you
signed the purchase agreement it was
subject to traced map attached.
Surveyed to an even thirty-one and a
Jim turns to Bill for affirmation. Bill soberly nods his
It's nothing, Your Honor, just a few
less tennis courts.
Jim gives Bill a sour look as the Judge continues:
"...to have and to hold to him, the
said Grantee, his heirs and assigns
to his and their own proper use and
During this, and as a shaft of sunlight hits them, a beatific
look comes across the faces of Jim and Muriel. For a moment
it has become their wedding day. After a momentary pause:
Subject to a six thousand dollar
mortgage held by Ephemus Whittaker
As the Blandings are startled back to grim reality:
EXT. RURAL COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
LONG SHOT - The Blandings' car. The Blandings and Bill Cole
driving along. They approach a fork in the road which leads
to a very old covered New England bridge. On the bridge is a
sign which reads:
They pause, turn, go through the bridge.
INT. THE CAR - (PROCESS)
As they drive through the dark interior of the bridge there
is an appropriate rattling and rumbling of the ancient
EXT. THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BRIDGE
There is another fork in the road. Muriel points to the road
to the right. Jim shakes his head, points to the road to the
left. Muriel points to the right. Jim emphatically shakes
his head, puts the car in gear, drives off on the road to
LONG SHOT - THE CAR
LONG SHOT - the car. It goes up to the top of a hill, stops,
starts up, disappears.
EXT. A ROAD - DAY
As the car approaches, the CAMERA discloses it is back at
the same covered bridge. The car stops.
INT. THE CAR
Jim reacts with annoyance, mops his brow.
Congress ought to pass a law. When a
man buys a house in Lansdale County
there's a prize -- he gets ten percent
off if he can find it.
EXT. THE BRIDGE
Jim backs up and, over Muriel's protestation that they go
right, turns the car left.
LONG SHOT - THE CAR
LONG SHOT - the car. It drives up an empty road, disappears.
EXT. A ROAD - DAY
As the car approaches, the CAMERA reveals it is again back
at the old covered bridge. The sign still reads: "SHRUNK
MILLS - 2 Mi."
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Jim and Muriel look at each other with disgust and
What in the world are "Shrunk Mills?"
They are probably mills that have
Well, you certainly aren't much of a
Look -- you really want to find that
house of yours -- it's no problem.
They look at him curiously.
Just pretend you're one of General
Gates' horses and you're thirsty...
Now where would you go for a drink
Jim looks at him darkly, drives through the bridge, turns
right, as Muriel looks slightly triumphant.
EXT. THE OLD HACKETT PLACE - DAY
Jim, Muriel and Bill stand a little distance from the house,
looking at it. A vast lilac spreads across it. The Blandings
are in quiet rapture, and it is Bill who speaks first.
(frank and open)
Well, I must admit it's a very
The house and the lilac are just the
same age, Bill; if the lilac can
live and be so old, so can the house.
It just needs someone to love it,
Three shingles slide from the roof. As Jim and Muriel react:
It's a good thing there are two of
you -- one to love it and one to
hold it up.
As Jim gives him a look:
What'd your engineer say when he
checked over the foundation and that
Who needs engineers? This isn't a
train, you know.
I just saw it move.
This house has been standing since
the second year of the Continental
Congress. You take one look at it
and shingles start to fall off!
As if on cue, a few more shingles slide off the roof, nearly
Look -- let me do you a favor. I've
got a client, crackerjack structural
engineer, Joe Apollonio; he
practically built the George
Washington Bridge single-handed.
Thanks a lot, but we're not building
He's the follow who advised the
Government not to raise the Normandie --
they didn't listen to him, cost them
five million dollars.
You have my word, if I were raising
the Normandie, I wouldn't make a
move without Apollonio.
Now would you like to come inside
and look around?
(a skeptical look at
No thanks, I'll just stay out in the
car and listen to "Life Can Be
As Jim opens the door and disappears, there is a crash,
followed by a series of other crashes. Muriel looks in, turns
back to Bill.
I think you'd better contact Mr.
EXT. THE OLD HACKETT PLACE - DAY
Near the front entrance. After a moment, the door opens, and
the Blandings and Mr. Apollonio emerge. Jim, limping, is
aided and abetted by a cane. Apollonio is a stolid, New York
construction man, replete with derby, blue serge suit, and
cigar. A short rule sticks out of a back pocket. As they
emerge, the Blandings are hopefully enthusiastic; Apollonio
is thoughtfully noncommittal.
It has charm, hasn't it, Mr.
(through his cigar)
Of course, any small changes would
have to conform with the character
of the countryside.
(through his cigar)
And yet still be functional.
Apollonio casually walks over to the corner of the house,
kicks an exposed beam. It crumbles, apparently rotted by
termites. Two shingles fall off. The Blandings watch him
As he thoughtfully rubs his chin, Jim, followed by Muriel,
limps his way over to him.
Well, uh, what's your professional
Apollonio looks at the Blandings, at the house, then back at
the Blandings. He takes the cigar from his mouth.
Tear it down.
Tear it down??!
If your chimney was shot and your
sills was okay, I'd say go ahead,
fix her up. If your sills was shot
and your chimney was okay, again I'd
say go ahead, fix her up. But your
sills are shot and your chimney is
During this speech Apollonio picks up a wooden frame, squares
it with a pocket square, levels it on a fence, and looks
through it at the house.
Take a look at the way she sags.
The Blandings step over, look through the frame.
WHAT THEY SEE.
What they see. Outlined against the frame, the house slants,
THREE SHOT AS THE BLANDINGS REACT WITH SOME DISMAY
THREE SHOT as the Blandings react with some dismay.
So I say don't throw good money after
bad -- tear it down.
Thanks a lot.
He tips his hat, walks out of scene.
Bill Cole and his experts!
Darling, we'll get our own experts.
EXT. THE OLD HACKETT HOUSE - DAY
The Blandings have just finished surveying the house with
Mr. Simpson, another expert.
And so they got their own experts.
Mr. Simpson said --
Tear it down.
The Blandings look at each other.
EXT. THE OLD HACKETT HOUSE - DAY
The Blandings have just finished examining the house with
Mr. Murphy, another expert.
On the other hand, Mr. Murphy said --
I think you'd better tear it down.
The Blandings smile feebly.
EXT. THE OLD HACKETT HOUSE - DAY
The Blandings and Jones, another expert.
And then just to be a wee bit
different, Mr. Jones said --
(firmly; deep bass
Tear it down!
The Blandings are now considerably shaken.
A shingle. It reads in neat, conservative lettering:
HENRY L. SIMMS
And that's how our friend, Mr. Simms,
came into it.
INT. HENRY L. SIMMS' LIVING ROOM - DAY
Jim, Muriel, Simms. The room is in quiet, good taste, a
flagstone fireplace, modern steel casement windows, window
seats, etc. The walls are crammed with books and photographs
of Simms' handiwork. There are a couple of gold medal
citations of his work conspicuously spaced around the room.
Simms is a tweedy, pipe-smoking, conservative New Englander,
a distinguished-looking local architect. He puffs thoughtfully
on his pipe as he looks at a photograph of the old Hackett
place, an exact duplicate of the shot we saw through the
Of course you could fix up that old
house. You can fix up any structure
that's still standing. The sills and
floors couldn't be worse, I grant
you, and I guess you'd have to jack
up that west corner at least three
feet to make it level. Need new
chimney. New roof. Complete new
Too bad you didn't buy it ten years
ago. Could have fixed it up in jig
time then, and it would have made
at his nails)
Uh-huh... mm-hmmm... uh-huh.
Fact is, before you're through, it
would be less expensive to tear the
old place down and build a new one,
Mm. New house...
(as the notion sinks
in, becomes attractive)
(to Simms, with
You mean... for the same money... we
could build a brand new house?
It certainly wouldn't cost any more.
Hm... New house...
He turns and looks thoughtfully at Muriel who raises an
interested eyebrow. Then, to Simms:
Just... what sort of thing do you
have in mind?
Well, I imagine the type of house
you'd want would be something in
quiet good taste, two story, frame
and brick veneer construction --
modern, but of course fitting in
with the architectural traditions of
Well, I -- What do you think, Muriel?
I think it sounds fine.
Perhaps you'd like to see a basic
floor plan --
(reaches into file
-- something like this.
Simms places the basic floor plan on the desk before him,
the Blandings moving around, flanking him. They examine the
plan with interest.
WHAT THEY SEE -- THE PLAN.
What they see -- the plan. A simple master plan of a two
story house, the names of the various rooms indicated. As he
talks, we see Simms' hand, holding a pencil, point out the
First floor. Living room, study,
dining room, kitchen, service porch,
maid's room -- upstairs three family
bedrooms with two adjoining baths.
THREE SHOT. THE BLANDINGS PRAISE THE PLAN
THREE SHOT. The Blandings praise the plan with the
uncompromising expertness of two people who have never seen
such a plan before in their lives.
It's very nice, I'm sure, but -- uh --
well -- doesn't it seem just a little
Yes, Simms, if we were going to build
a house we want it -- well, you know --
just a little bit different.
(he's heard all this
Yes, of course.
Now, for instance --
(takes Simms' pencil)
THE DRAWING BOARD.
THE DRAWING BOARD. Jim's pencil traces as he talks.
-- here in the study if we could
just push out this wall a little --
and put in a built-in bar we could --
Excuse me, dear --
Her hand takes the pencil from his, starts to trace as she
talks. Jim's fingers drum with the beginnings of impatience.
These bedrooms. They do seem rather
small. And, of course we'd have to
have a little dressing room -- and --
As she draws it in, Jim's hand takes the pencil. Muriel's
fingers drum nervously.
And closets, Simms, lots of closets.
(traces them in)
If there's one thing this family
needs, it's closets.
(as his hand reaches
for the pencil)
If I might make a suggestion --
But Muriel's hand reaches the pencil first.
(as she draws them in)
And bathrooms, Mr. Simms. Each bedroom
must have at least one bathroom.
But that would be four bathrooms,
Mrs. Blandings --
(his hand reaches for
I think I'd better point out to you --
Jim's hand reaches the pencil before Simms. Now Simms' fingers
and Muriel's drum in unison.
Just a minute. Do you think --
we might manage a little playroom in
the basement, nothing tremendous,
you know, something like this --
(as his hand reaches
for the pencil;
Well, it's always possible, but at
the moment our fundamental problem --
But Muriel's hand has the pencil.
(as she traces)
And I've always wanted a little sewing
room upstairs --
(Jim's and Simms'
You know, a little utility room where
I can be alone, and sew, or sulk, or
on a rainy afternoon...
(as his hand takes
Pardon me, dear. On that playroom,
Simms, not too small. You know, plenty
of room for ping-pong, darts, nice
big poker table...
(as his hand reaches
for another pencil)
If you don't mind, I --
But Muriel has reached the pencil first. As she and Jim sketch
simultaneously and the scene begins to DISSOLVE, we hear:
...And off the kitchen, I'd like a
little flower sink just to putter
...And a terrace off the study, with
an owning and little outdoor
THE DRAWING BOARD - THE ORIGINAL PLANS
THE DRAWING BOARD - The original plans are lost in a maze of
the Blandings' extensions, alterations and additions.
THREE SHOT - THE THREE ARE SOMEWHAT EXHAUSTED
THREE SHOT - The three are somewhat exhausted, silently
looking at the plans. Simms wearily runs his hand through
We-ll... let's just see what we have
here. In the first place --
THE DRAWING BOARD - SIMMS'
THE DRAWING BOARD - Simms' pencil indicates as he talks.
-- I'm afraid you've got the upstairs
about twice as big as the downstairs.
It's all those bathrooms.
It is not, it's all those closets.
By extending this breakfast room
you've eliminated the possibility of
any stairs going to the second floor.
Oh, you can just shove those stairs
And, Mrs. Blandings, on that sewing
room, the way you have it now, the
chimney stack would come up right
through the middle of the room,
leaving you with something in the
shape of a square doughnut.
Which, of course, might be very warm
in winter, but otherwise of doubtful
You could always move the chimney
somewhere else, couldn't you?
(rising; resigned to
his fate but tactful)
Look, I think I know just about what
you two have in mind. Why don't I go
ahead with some preliminary plans
You do that, Simms, but remember,
we've got to hold it down to ten
That, I can tell you right now, is
impossible. Even with a considerable
trimming of the things you've
indicated, I don't see how we can
bring it in for less than twelve or
(looks at Muriel;
Well, I guess we're not going to
quibble about a few pennies one way
or the other.
No, you'll find Mr. Blandings never
quibbles about pennies.
And -- uh -- have you any notions
about how you'd like the old place
(a rueful joke)
Why don't we just blow on it?
There's a good local house wrecker.
I'll have him contact you.
Jim expansively puts his arm around Simms' shoulders.
Fine. You just shoot ahead with those
plans, and remember, try to keep it
down to ten, ten-five.
Well -- we'll try.
As the Blandings walk to the door:
There's one good thing about getting
that old relic down. Those original
beams and everything -- this time
somebody pays us.
As they go out the door:
EXT. ROAD NEAR OLD HACKETT HOUSE - DAY - WINTER - (PROCESS
Old Hackett house matted to show winter sky, bare trees. In
the f.g. bare ground with patches of snow.
Eph Hackett is standing with one of the wreckers. In the
b.g. we see the frame of the old house, firmly intact, the
chimney still standing within it. There are mountains of
shingles, splintered boards and other rubbish, piled about.
The piles are reasonably neat and sorted.
Them beams is worth money. You payin'
him, or he payin' you?
He's payin' me.
He squawked, but he paid.
Hmm. I guess maybe I got a little
somethin' comin' too.
As he starts out of scene:
Okay, boys, let her go!
Tractors attached to chains and cables start to pull.
MINIATURE SHOT - What is left of the house collapses.
EXT. HILL OVERLOOKING THE OLD HACKETT PLACE - PROCESS OF
MATTE OR MINIATURE SHOT
Jim and Muriel are standing there, having watched the
demolition. As the dust settles:
Well, so far it's cost us thirteen
thousand, three hundred and twenty-
nine dollars and forty-five cents.
But we've got the nicest vacant lot
in the state of Connecticut.
They exchange a look of mixed emotions.
SIMMS' NEW PRELIMINARY PLANS
INSERT SIMMS' NEW PRELIMINARY PLANS - Fresh and workmanlike,
a few small sections crossed out where cuts have been
Something will have to give somewhere,
that I know.
The CAMERA ANGLE WIDENS to disclose:
INT. THE BLANDINGS' LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Jim, Muriel and Simms are going over the preliminary plans.
Betsy and Joan are present, Betsy reading the Lansdale Blade
and Joan reading a science book.
It's impossible. I don't see how we
can cut another inch.
Honey, you heard Simms. As the house
stands now it's over fifteen thousand
Well, it just doesn't seem possible --
for a house with such small rooms.
Mrs. Blandings, I've already
explained. It's not only the size of
the rooms so much as it is the number.
You see, our primary problem is one
of cubage --
That's right, dear, cubage.
(sorry he got into it)
just a figure of speech.
But what does it mean?
(a little irritably)
Cubage. It's just the number of cubic
feet that --
-- go into a cubic foot. Go on, Simms.
Now is it absolutely essential for
each of your daughters to have her
own room with two closets and a
(a look at the girls;
clearing his throat)
Yes. You see, er, my daughters are,
er, approaching womanhood, and, er --
(brief look at the
I hadn't realized they were
approaching it quite so fast.
Perhaps what you need is not so much
a house as a series of little
What about that silly flower sink?
We could eliminate that.
I beg your pardon.
Or that sewing room upstairs, that's
certainly a waste.
If we're going to eliminate anything,
we'll lose that ridiculous play room
in the basement with that great big
Honey, I've got to have some
We've got thirty-one and a half acres.
Go out in the back and do a little
Sure, and get poison ivy!
(with dogged patience)
If I may interrupt, I'd like to
suggest that none of these are really
major eliminations. Now if we could
do with one less bathroom on the
second floor --
I'm sorry. We couldn't possibly.
Mrs. Blandings, a simple bathroom,
eight by ten by eight with grade A
fixtures will cost around thirteen
I refuse to endanger the health of
my children in a house with less
than four bathrooms.
For thirteen hundred dollars they
can live in a house with three
bathrooms and rough it!
Look, perhaps the most practical
thing would be --
Oh, look, we're in the Lansdale paper!
"Historical Society Blasts Vandalism!"
Muriel, Simms explained to you. We've
just got to cut, cut --
"Censure Vote Passed re Destruction
of Famed Hackett Edifice."
Well, isn't that just too bad! Let
me see that.
He takes the paper, scans it, suddenly bursts into laughter.
What's so funny.
Prutty. Mrs. Bildad Prutty. Get a
load of this!
"The semi-monthly meeting of the
Lansdale Historical Society was turned
into an uproar last night when its
president, Mrs. Bildad Prutty" --
How do you like that, Bildad Prutty? --
"reported the total demolition by
its New York buyer of the historic
old Hackett house."
Bildad Prutty! Muriel, I've got to
send this to the New Yorker!
Read on, father.
"Mrs. Prutty," -- Bildad, that is --
"reminded her audience that several
years ago the Society started to
raise a fund to purchase and restore
the old house to its original
(looks up, laughs
Read on, father.
(back to paper)
"The project fell through by being
seven hundred dollars short of the
sum of twenty-six hundred dollars..."
(Jim slows down as
"...which Ephemus Hackett testified
was the lowest reasonable price he
could accept as --"
The paper drops.
...Twenty-six hundred dollars.
And what did we pay, father?
Eleven-five, with the commission.
Muriel, isn't it time for those
children to be in bed?
Now girls, I don't want to tell you
The front doorbell rings.
As the CAMERA FOLLOWS Muriel to the door, we hear:
Twenty-six hundred dollars!
I wouldn't be too concerned about
Mrs. Prutty and her committee. After
all, it's your property and if you
want to tear it down --
Muriel opens the door, admits an excited Bill Cole.
(he strides past her
waving a telegram;
Well, you've done it again'. Once,
just once, why don't you come to me
and find out if it's all right, if
it's legal, before you go barging
off and run yourself smack into
What's eating you?
(ignoring him; to
And I must say, Simms, I hold you
What? What happened?
I'm afraid I don't understand.
(to Simms; indicating
Did you let this idiot tear down
What if he did? What of it?
Reconstruction was unsound and totally
I quite agree. But you're dealing
with a man who doesn't think before
he acts, who goes off half-cocked!
What is it? What did I do?
(ignoring him; to
You're an architect! You must have
been aware of the legality involved.
What? What legality?
You knew there was a mortgage on
I assumed as much.
What happened? What are you talking
(ignoring him; to
And you know the requirements in
regard to a mortgage where there's
Certainly. But since you were his
lawyer, I naturally assumed --
With a man like this you can't assume
Just one minute! I am entitled to
know what I did! This is America! A
man's guilty until he's proven
It's the other way around, father.
You go to bed!
Bill, I've had a very trying day.
Would you mind telling me in clear,
concise English just what crime I've
committed -- and why?!
(with weary resignation)
In clear, concise English, you tore
down a house on which another man
holds a mortgage without first getting
his written permission.
Well, I -- I did?!
And in such case, the mortgagee can
demand the full payment of said
mortgage upon demand --
and Mr. Ephemus Hackett so demands!
Six thousand clams! And he wants
You've got ten days.
Jim gulps. Pause.
For six thousand dollars we could
have had a Solaxion house and a Crane
(herding the kids
toward the door)
Girls, say your good nights and off
to bed without another word.
Good night, Mr. Simms. Uncle Bill.
Miss Stellwagon says the problems of
the parents should be the problems
of the children.
(shooing them out)
You keep that in mind, dear. It'll
help prepare you for motherhood.
The children exit. An embarrassed pause.
Perhaps we'd better let the plans go
for the time being and --
No, Simms, I'll work this out. You
go ahead with your final plans and
let's see some estimates.
And we'll just forget about that
(preparing to leave)
Very well. You'll hear from me as
soon as possible. Good night.
Good nights are exchanged. Muriel takes Simms out of scene
toward the door. CAMERA HOLDS on Bill and Jim.
Six thousand dollars!
Bill looks at Jim with compassion.
What'll you do for collateral on
your building loan?
I don't know, turn in my insurance
policies or something.
(coming into scene)
Now, Jim, you can't do that.
What if something should happen? You
can't leave the children unprotected.
I'm not dead yet! And if I die,
there's plenty left to take care of
Not if you cash in your policies.
As Jim reacts with painful resignation:
I'm sure it won't be necessary. I'll
see the boys at the bank. Maybe you
can put up your insurance as
collateral. If necessary, I'll sign
a personal note.
And Jim, do me a little favor. The
next time you're going to do anything,
or say anything, or buy anything,
think it over very carefully, and
when you're sure you're right --
forget the whole thing. Good night,
He goes to Muriel and kisses her on the cheek. Jim sees it,
Good night, Bill.
CAMERA FOLLOWS Muriel and Bill to the door. He exits. Muriel
comes back into the room.
What a wonderful friend.
What's with this kissing all of a
Just because a man is helpful in a
business way, it doesn't give him
extra-curricular privileges with my
That's a fine thing to say about a
friend of fifteen years!
Well, I don't like it. Every time he
goes out of this house, he shakes my
hand and he kisses you.
Would you prefer it the other way
Well, I don't like it, that's all!
Why is he always hanging around? Why
doesn't he ever get married -- or
Because he can't find another girl
as sweet and pretty and wholesome as
Well -- it -- it doesn't look right.
There are limits to friendship and --
Muriel comes over, puts a sympathetic arm around him.
Darling, let's not be silly about
this. It's not Bill, it's the house
you're upset about.
I suppose so.
Do you think it's worth all this?
Of course, darling. We're not just
building a house -- it's a home. A
home for ourselves -- and our children --
and maybe our children's children.
It's getting awfully crowded with
only three bathrooms.
They look at each other, smile and kiss intimately, as we
INT. SIMMS' LIVING ROOM - DAY
Jim and Muriel are watching Simms, who has just taken a
typewritten sheet from his files. Simms looks at the sheet,
turns to them a little apprehensively.
Well -- here are the estimates. Before
you look at them, I think I'd better
Don't bother, Simms.
(takes the sheet)
I'm getting to be an old hand at
this sort of --
Jim is halfway into his chair as his eye catches the first
bid. There is a sharp MUSICAL EFFECT as Jim bounces out of
Jumping H. Mahogany --!!
The CAMERA GOES IN for a CLOSE SHOT of the column of
estimates. As the CAMERA IRISES DOWN ON each sum, there is a
dissonant MUSICAL EFFECT.
Antonio Doloroso, Builders $32,117.00
Caries & Plumline $30,500.00
Julius Akimbo & Co. $28,575.00
Zach, Tophet & Payne $24,250.00
John Retch & Son $21,000.00
THREE SHOT JIM, MURIEL, AND SIMMS
THREE SHOT - Jim, Muriel, and Simms. Muriel has read the
column over Jim's shoulder.
Now obviously these bids are way out
of line, that is, all except John
Retch and Son at twenty-one thousand.
And with some judicious cutting, I
think we can pare that down to
We've only asked for the barest
Frankly, with all the extras you two
(hands estimates to
If you'll just send us a bill for
your services, I'll see that it's
taken care of.
(takes Muriel's hand
and starts for door)
Now, if you'll excuse us.
Where are we going?
I am going out to get my head
examined! Then, if I don't jump off
the Brooklyn Bridge, I'm going to
find the owner of our building and
sign a twenty-year lease!
As they are about to exit, they pause as their eyes are caught
by a drawing on an adjacent drawing board.
WHAT THEY SEE - A BEAUTIFUL PENCIL AND CHARCOAL DRAWING
What they see - a beautiful pencil and charcoal drawing of
their completed prospective house. Under it, in neat letters
RESIDENCE OF MR. AND MRS. JAMES H. BLANDINGS
JIM, MURIEL, AND SIMMS.
Jim, Muriel, and Simms. They look at the drawing, then at
each other. Jim's face softens. Muriel looks at him
What's the name of that contractor?
INSERT JIM'S COST CHART. The house rests on the diagonal
line at the figure of $13,500. As the miniscule Jim and Muriel
watch with apprehension, the small figures of Smith and
Hackett are joined by Simms, John W. Retch, and several sub
contractors, who put their collective shoulders to the house
and push it past the Blandings and up to $31,000.00
EXCAVATION - LOCATION #2 - EARLY SPRING - DAY
A sign on a sawhorse - it reads:
JOHN W. RETCH AND SON
Over scene is the thunderous dissonance of the various SOUNDS
that go into preliminary construction. A steam shovel in
action, a bulldozer, the sawing of wood, and intermittently
the loud, earth-shaking crash of a well-digger's rig.
As the CAMERA PULLS BACK, we see the machines and workmen at
their various tasks. The scene has all the rustic peace of
the invasion of Hollandia.
The ANGLE CHANGES, and we see Jim, Muriel, and Bill drive up
the improvised driveway very close to the scene of activity.
INT. THE CAR - DAY
Jim and Muriel look at their property with unconcealed pride.
Bill is interested but would like it better if there were
(shouting over noise)
Well, things are certainly humming.
I said, humming.
As they get out of the car, there is an unusually loud crash
from the well-digger's rig.
What's going on over there?
That's Mr. Tesander. He's digging
Well? What happened to the trout
stream, with that pure, clear, cold
I decided against it --
There is a sudden cessation of the steam shovel and complete
silence. Jim, unaware of it, continues to shout.
The trout stream --
didn't seem practical.
It wasn't exactly a decision, dear.
We discovered the trout stream dries
up in August and the rest of the
year it's polluted.
Well, anyway, I'd rather have artesian
water. It's healthier. Calcium --
vitamins -- artesian --
What's wrong with that steam shovel?
They look off.
WHAT THEY SEE. A CLUSTER OF WORKMEN
WHAT THEY SEE. A cluster of workmen have gathered around Mr.
Zucca, the driver of the steam shovel, who is swearing in
voluble but undistinguishable Italian.
JIM, MURIEL AND BILL.
Jim, Muriel and Bill.
Better take a look.
He starts off for the steam shovel, nimbly jumping over a
drainage trench. Muriel starts to follow, pauses, unable to
negotiate the trench.
Jim turns in time to see Bill pick Muriel up and carry her
across the trench. As he sets her down:
(sarcastic; to Jim)
Thank you, dear.
Jim frowns, annoyed. They approach the group around the
What's the matter, Mr. Zucca?
How do you lika that? Broka my bucket.
Two times this week I broka my bucket?
What did you do, strike a boulder?
Atsa no boulder, atsa ledge.
What does that mean?
Meansa we gotta blast!
Blast. Witha dynamite.
What do you mean, dynamite?
(a little annoyed)
What do you mean, "What do you mean?"
Mr. Zucca just explained. He's going
to use dynamite and blast until he
gets rid of the rock.
Atsa no rock, atsa ledge.
What Mr. Blandings means is -- what
precisely is a ledge?
Ledge. Lika bigga stone, only a-
Like a boulder?
No, like ledge.
Jim looks at Muriel and Bill.
...Like a ledge.
But you don't gotta worry. Only cost
twenty-four cents a cubic foot, plussa
dynamite an'a fuse.
But how far will you have to blast?
Harda tell. Might be a lilla baby
ledge -- mighta run the whole toppa
At twenty-four cents a foot? Do you
realize what that means?!
Meansa we gotta blast.
Zucca walks off.
(with quiet resignation)
Well, anyway, our house will never
If it does, we can always get Mr.
Apollonio. He raised the Normandie.
There is a crash from the well-digging rig.
"Come to peaceful Connecticut --
Trade city soot for sylvan charm."
How long does that go on?
I don't know.
Three weeks now at four dollars and
fifty cents a foot.
I think I'd better have a little
talk with Mr. Tesander.
He starts off. Muriel and Bill, curious, follow.
EXT. AT THE WELL RIG
Tesander, a stolid New England well-digger, the soul of
industry and candor, attacks the earth. Jim, followed by
Muriel and Bill, walks into scene, stands by, watching him.
After a moment:
Oh -- Mr. Tesander --
The motor is making too much noise.
Tesander looks up, shuts off his motor.
How's it coming?
(considers a moment;
With a nod he turns on his motor, resumes work. Jim exchanges
a look with Muriel and Bill.
No -- no -- I mean --
But he's drowned out by the motor.
Tesander patiently stops his motor, looks up.
What I meant was -- how far down are
Tesander looks at his equipment, considers.
Oh -- 'bout a hundred and ninety
Well -- isn't that pretty deep?
(thinks it over; he's
not one for snap
He's about to turn on his motor, but Jim detains him.
Do you think maybe you'd better try
Up to you.
I mean -- well, have you hit anything
yet at all?
(thinks it over)
Hit some limestone yesterday.
Is that good?
Jim looks at Bill who shakes his head with mock commiseration.
And right now it looks like we're
coming into some shale.
Jim looks at Muriel for comfort which isn't forthcoming.
'Course it might turn out to be
Tesander shakes his head, "No."
Tesander shakes his head, "No."
Can't tell. Might be good. Might be
bad. One thing you know -- you got
plenty of shale, sandstone and
He turns a little helplessly to Muriel and Bill.
On a hot day there's nothing like a
nice cool limestone shower.
Mr. Tesander, just for the record,
of course, what ever happened to
Oh, it's there, all right.
(he smiles, nods,
tips his hat to Muriel)
Just got to be patient.
He turns on his motor, goes back to work. Jim, Muriel and
Bill start to move off.
If you ask me, this project's getting
a little out of hand.
Nothing's getting out of hand at
all. I've made a chart of the whole
operation, and --
with a few minor deviations, I know
exactly what every penny's going to
And just what does that mean?
Meansa we gotta blast.
There is a loud dynamite blast o.s. As a shower of dirt and
rocks cascade down and they run for cover:
JIM'S COST CHART
INSERT JIM'S COST CHART - Jim stands casually above the house
holding the line with one hand. The group pushing from below
now consists of Smith, Hackett, Simms, Retch, Tesander, Zucca
and assorted sub-contractors and workmen. As the house moves
up a thousand dollars, Jim firmly pushes it back. It now
rests at $33,500.
INT. JIM'S OFFICE - DAY
Jim and Mary.
You see, Mary, the average fellow
who builds a house doesn't know where
he stands from day to day -- but I
do things a little differently. With
a few minor deviations I know exactly
where every penny is going --
There is a knock on the door. It opens and Bill Cole appears,
briefcase under his arm.
Bill! Come in, come in.
Just going over the Knapp contracts
with old man Dascomb and I -- uh --
Can I talk?
(a little concerned)
Sure. What's up?
While I was in there with Dascomb
the conversation kind of got around
to you and -- uh --
What is it?
Well, he didn't say in so many words
that ever since you started with
that house you haven't turned in a
decent piece of copy, but --
But you kind of got the feeling...
...that if I told you, you'd know
that he knew that you knew that he
knew... that you knew... or something.
What's he worrying about? The
deadline's three months off. I've
The phone rings. Mary answers.
Hello? Yes. Just a minute.
(hands phone to Jim)
Mrs. Blandings calling from Lensdale.
Yes, Muriel. What? What's that?
Tesander struck water! Say that's
We've finally got our well.
He extends his hand. Jim absently shakes it, then:
(listens at phone)
Huh? What's that?
What do you mean we've got two wells?
(listens; then, grimly)
I'll be right out.
(hangs up, rises)
Come on, Bill, we'd better get out
(soberly, as he slips
into his coat)
Mary, have you ever seriously
considered building a house?
Well, no offense, Mr. Blandings, but
my boy friend says that anybody who
builds a house today is crazy.
You stick with that boy, he's got a
As he and Bill start for the door:
EXT. THE EXCAVATION AT BALD MOUNTAIN - DAY
Muriel, Jim, Bill, Simms and Retch stand at the edge looking
down at the excavation which is partially filled with bubbling
You mean you hit a spring, a bubbling
spring right here in our cellar?
It'll have to be diverted before
Retch here can lay his cement.
May take a while. Pumps are over in
Tesander walks into scene, looks down at the water.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Water, Mr. Tesander.
At six feet!
And over there, just thirty-two yards
away, you had to go down two hundred
and twenty-seven feet to hit the
How do you account for that, Mr.
Tesander considers a moment, rubs his chin, then:
We-ll, way it seems to me, Mr.
Blandings, over here the water's
down around six feet and over there
it's -- uh --
BILL AND TESANDER
-- down around two hundred and twenty-
Jim exchanges a weary look with Muriel.
SPECIAL EFFECT: MONTAGE
SPECIAL EFFECT: It consists of a Montage of the following
(1) The water being pumped out of the excavation.
(2) The cement mixer pouring cement into wheelbarrows.
(3) The pouring of the cement floor, walls and foundations.
(4) Planks, shingles and plumbing equipment begin to arrive
and are strewn about the property.
(5) The exterior framing of the house begins to go up.
(6) The sheathing is put on.
(7) The roof is constructed.
OVER THIS MONTAGE IS SUPERIMPOSED:
Jim's Cost Chart. - With each successive operation, a new
workman is added to the already considerable group of people
who are pushing the house inexorably upward, this against
the frantic efforts of a slowly weakening Jim Blandings.
EXT. THE BLANDINGS' HOUSE - DAY
The exterior sheathing is completed and, in the roughest of
terms, the project begins to resemble a house. Among the
workmen's cars we notice the Blandings' convertible.
INT. THE INCOMPLETE LIVING ROOM - LOCATION #1 - DAY
A dozen hammers, saws, trowels, etc. are heard in other parts
of the house busily rasping and banging away. Jim and Muriel
and Bill appear in the doorway before entering the rough
unfinished interior of what will eventually be the living
What's this, another closet?
This happens to be our dining room.
Not the dining room, dear, the living
There's the fireplace.
Then where's the dining room?
Maybe it's that little room off the
That's the breakfast nook.
It's not the breakfast nook, it's
the powder room.
Do me a favor -- don't ever invite
me here for a meal.
Two workmen pass by carrying a few long pieces of lumber.
The workmen don't see the Blandings.
I don't figure this Blandings at
all. If you gotta build on the
windiest hill in Connecticut, why do
you have to pick the windiest side
of the hill?
You know these New York millionaires --
The workmen pass from view.
I think I'd like to go outside.
(gesture to door)
After you, Rockefeller.
As they enter the foyer, a carpenter appears.
Just the man I want to see. Would
you step over here a second?
I'll browse around upstairs.
As Bill starts up the stairs, Jim and Muriel follow the
On them second floor lintels between
the lally columns, do you want we
should rabbet them or not?
The -- second -- floor -- lallys?
The second floor lintels, between
Oh. Oh, the lintels between the
Yeah. From the blueprints you can't
tell. You want they should be
Jim throws a brief look at Muriel who is regarding him
Un -- umm. No, I guess not.
Okay, you're the doctor.
Hey, fellas, you got any of them
rabbeted lintels set, rip 'em out!
After the sheerest pause there comes a shriek of nails
brutally withdrawn from timber, a loud splintering of wood
and then something of the appearance of entrails comes
hurtling down end over end landing with a dusty slap at Jim's
feet. The carpenter exits. Muriel gives Jim an accusing look.
It sounded less... expensive to say
There is another loud screech and more "entrails" come
hurtling down, narrowly missing them. Muriel yells in the
direction from which they came.
Stop it! Stop it!
From upstairs comes a long, shrill whistle. Instantly all
sound of activity ceases and a voice is heard.
Okay, fellas, let's quit!
Now look what you've done.
As Muriel turns with apprehension, eighteen workmen come
trooping down the stairs.
Look, men, Mrs. Blandings didn't
(the workmen regard
I mean, there's no point in walking
off a job just because... a woman
makes a silly little remark.
It's Saturday, mister. We quit at
twelve o'clock. This ain't a chain
gang, you know.
As the workmen exit the Blandings look at each other a little
sheepishly, start up the stairs.
CRANE SHOT - AS THE BLANDINGS GO UP THE STAIRS
CRANE SHOT - as the Blandings go up the stairs.
I'm just sick. From the outside this
house looks like a grain elevator,
and on the inside everything's miles
As they reach the second floor landing, we hear, o.s. a steady
but muffled pounding.
They stop as they hear the thumping.
That noise -- listen.
(again the thumping)
It's coming from the closet!
They rush to the closet, open the heavy oak door. Bill is
inside, leaning disgustedly against the wall.
The door blew shut. I got locked in.
Impossible. I had this closet built
especially for myself. The lock opens
from the inside.
Maybe for Houdini -- not for me.
As Bill starts to step out, Jim detains him.
Nothing to it. A child could work
it. Look, I'll show you.
He steps inside with Bill, firmly closes the door. A moment's
pause. The door re-opens.
You see, it just takes a little good
old Yankee know-how.
You know, dear, it's just possible
the lock worked for you and not for
Ridiculous. Even you could do it.
Come on, I'll show you.
He ushers Muriel inside and the door closes on the threesome.
The CAMERA REMAINS on the closed door.
Go ahead, dear, just open it.
The knob turns, jiggles a little, but the door remains closed.
I don't seem to be able to ---
Here, let me show you! You just take
the knob and turn it clockwise.
An efficient clockwise turn of the knob. Pause. An impatient
doubletwist of the knob. Pause. A more forceful rattling of
the knob, plus a slight kick. A furious rattling, pounding
and kicking. The door remains closed.
INT. THE CLOSET
As Jim turns sheepishly:
Nothing like that good old Yankee
Jim turns back to the door, pounds on it, yelling:
Hey! Hey! Somebody let us out of
Silence. Muriel is at the shoulder-high circular frame solid
glass window. She looks out.
Jim and Bill look out.
WHAT THEY SEE - THE LAST OF THE WORKMEN'S CARS
WHAT THEY SEE - The last of the workmen's cars driving away.
Leave a call for seven o'clock.
Jim gives him a look, turns back to the window, sizing up an
escape, starts muttering to himself.
If I could just get over to that
He tests the window frame, finds it solid.
Seems a shame but I guess it's the
Jim picks up a piece of tar paper.
What are you going to do?
Don't get panicky, I'll get you out
(hands tar paper to
Here, hold this over the window.
As Bill somewhat skeptically complies, Jim picks up a piece
Stand back, Muriel.
Jim raises the plank, takes a stance.
Jim swings; the window shatters. Almost simultaneously there
is a click and the door to the closet swings open. As Jim
turns with a sense of accomplishment, his face falls as he
and the others see that the erratic door has opened.
In case of emergency -- break glass.
Come on, Bill.
As Muriel and Bill precede Jim out of the closet and down
the stairs, Jim pauses, speculatively toying with the lock.
Funny... always worked before. Huh.
INT. FOYER - STAIRWAY
Muriel and Bill walking down the stairs. From upstairs comes
a steady sullen pounding from the interior of the closet.
Without a word, they stop, look at each other, turn and walk
INT. THE BLANDINGS' BREAKFAST NOOK - DAY
Muriel and the children are having breakfast. Jim enters, in
fairly high spirits, once again improvising to "Home On The
(as he sits down)
"Home, home in Connecticut -- Where
you have to conform to local
traditions, customs, politics and
(picks up his morning
mail, starts to thumb
Dad, do you suppose I could have a
chemistry lab in the basement?
Sure, why not?
I think it's awful. Smelling up the
house with those horrible chemicals.
Never mind, Betsy.
Dear, I'm going up to the place this
afternoon to see about landscaping.
Bill's driving me.
(looking up; darkly)
What do you mean, Bill's driving
(a little annoyed)
Why do you always say, "what do you
mean," when you know perfectly well
what I mean and what you mean?
I mean that every time I turn my
back Bill Cole's driving you some
place or something.
He's only being helpful.
(annoyed; tears open
I thought he was a lawyer! Why isn't
he out suing somebody?
Bicker, bicker, bicker.
Another word and you don't get your
Well, that's something!
Jim suddenly explodes, crumpling a letter he has just read.
We'll just see about that!
What is it, dear?
Ignoring her, he reaches for the phone, starts to dial.
Jim, what's the matter?
(into phone; sharply)
Mr. William Cole, please.
(pause; then with
Hello, Bill? I want you to fight
this thing! I know my rights as a
citizen! They can't get away with
it!... What do you mean, what am I
talking about? The letter, of course.
From the owner of this building.
They want us to move! It's a thirty
(listens a moment)
But that's ridiculous. How can I
move into a house that isn't even
finished?! No windows, no plaster --
or paint, or -- or plumbing!
(listens a moment;
then with rising
Now you listen to me! I have no
intention of moving in thirty days!
This is not legal! I'm going to fight
this thing! And I don't care if it
takes every penny I've got!
Yeah... Yeah... Yeah... All right!
We're moving in thirty days.
On Muriel's reaction:
EXT. ROAD AND COVERED BRIDGE - DAY
Two moving vans are approaching the bridge. Behind them is
the Blandings' convertible. In it are Jim, Muriel and the
children. Behind it and attached is a trailer. After a pause,
over this, we hear:
So-came thirty days -- and they moved.
MED. CLOSE SHOT - ENTRANCE TO BRIDGE.
MED. CLOSE SHOT - Entrance to bridge. As the cavalcade passes
through we see in the rear of the trailer, jammed among the
household effects, Gussie and a very uncomfortable Mr. Bill
I mean -- we moved.
OTHER END OF BRIDGE AND FORK
The moving vans precede the convertible, make the wrong turn.
Jim stops the convertible at the fork and honks as he
impatiently gestures to the drivers to turn in the opposite
direction. Over this:
(as Jim would say it)
That's the wrong road! Any fool knows
Jim starts his car up leading the way.
EXT. ROAD AT THE HOUSE - DAY
The moving vans turn up the new gravel driveway. Jim stops
his car and they all look off at the house, react with
WHAT THEY SEE - LONG SHOT - THE HOUSE IS RAPIDLY NEARING
WHAT THEY SEE - LONG SHOT - The house is rapidly nearing
completion. A half dozen men are finishing the exterior
painting, planing down doors, etc. In front, a couple of men
from the nursery are working on the landscaping. For the
first time we, as well as the Blandings, see the property as
a clean, bright and very attractive new house.
Well, there she is, bright and shining --
and just about complete -- the
residence of Mr. and Mrs. James H.
INT. THE CAR - DAY
MOVING SHOT - Jim and Muriel are visibly affected by the
sight of their Dream House. They exchange a warm intimate
Not bad at that.
EXT. THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE - DAY
MED. SHOT. The car pulls up, stops.
All right! -- Everybody out.
Everybody piles out of the car. As Jim and Muriel walk toward
the house away from us and Bill, Muriel sentimentally reaches
out, takes Jim's hand.
Guess you can't blame them for feeling
just a little bit proud.
At the door, Jim stops, indicates that he'd like to carry
Muriel across the threshold.
Look -- he wants to carry his wife
across the threshold. Romantic, isn't
JOAN AND BETSY.
Joan and Betsy. They look on with distinct adolescent
Ooops! I guess I meant "corny."
GROUP SHOT. OVER MURIEL'S PLAYFUL PROTEST
GROUP SHOT. Over Muriel's playful protest, Jim starts to
pick her up.
Uh-uh. Watch that sacroiliac. Fifteen
years since you've done this sort of
Jim manages to lift Muriel.
Whew! Nice work, Tarzan. Now, let's
see if you can make it into the hall.
Jim carries Muriel over the threshold and into the foyer.
That's right. Go right in. Don't pay
any attention to the sign.
The CAMERA PANS TO a LOW SHOT of a sign on the floor of the
foyer. It reads:
FULL SHOT - FOYER.
FULL SHOT - foyer. In the b.g. is a painter, varnishing the
floor. He looks up in complete dismay as he sees his newly
varnished floor being violated. After a couple of steps, Jim
stops, suddenly aware of the painter. The painter rises,
throws down his brush, says something caustic.
Don't mind me, buddy, I just got
through varnishing that floor.
Jim reacts, raises a tentative foot, the sticky varnish
practically holding it to the floor. Jim says something.
Whose bright idea was this?
The painter says something, points at Muriel. Jim looks darkly
and accusingly at Muriel whose weak smile is an admission of
She just wanted everything to be
nice and shiny on the day they moved
Jim turns and shouts something to the painter.
Stop painting that floor and put
some planks down in here, or some
The painter shouts back.
Okay, mister, but take it easy. The
Republicans ain't in yet, you know.
Jim reacts, turns and walks back out of the foyer, desperately
trying to match his clearly outlined incoming footsteps.
Each step is outlined by strands of thick sticky varnish.
EXT. THE FRONT DOOR OF THE HOUSE - DAY
As Jim appears, still carrying Muriel, Betsy and Joan catch
his attention, indicate the front wall of the house which is
complete except for the windows. Jim reacts.
Oh, fine! A house without windows!
We'll just see about that!
Abruptly handing Muriel to Bill he starts off. Ahead of him
and unnoticed are a layer of newspapers which have been spread
Look out for those papers!
But Jim has stepped on the papers. They stick to his feet.
After a few steps he is aware of it, tries to get rid of
them. After a few hectic but futile attempts, he disgustedly
disappears around a corner of the house, the newspapers
flapping behind him.
EXT. SIDE OF HOUSE - DAY
Jim flaps his way up to a workman who is staring at a pile
of window casements.
Around back trying to figure out
what to do about them windows.
What's the problem? You put windows
Not these. They don't fit.
Oh, they don't, don't they?
He continues on toward the back of the house, the newspapers
flapping beneath him.
EXT. REAR OF HOUSE - DAY
Simms and Retch. More window frames are neatly stacked against
the wall. Simms and Retch react as they see an angry Jim
Blandings flap his way into scene, his varnished shoes having
picked up additional paper, shavings, shingles, etc. Retch
hands Jim a sheaf of papers.
Oh, Mr. Blandings, you'd better look
What's this about the windows?
I'm afraid there's a little slip-up.
These windows seem to belong to a
Mr. Landings in Fishkill, New York.
I talked to Mr. Landings this morning.
Well, has he got mine?
No, he seems to have some windows
that belong to a Mr. Blandsworth of
Where are my windows?!
As near as we can figure out they've
either been sent to a Mr. Benton in
Evanston, Illinois, or a Mr. Bamberger
of Phoenix, Arizona.
Bill wanders into scene, looks over Jim's shoulder.
What are we supposed to do -- live
the rest of our lives in a house
It'll just be a matter of a few days.
What's a "Zuz-Zuz Water Soft-N-R"?
How should I know?
You've got one.
(reading from bill)
"Furnishing and installing one Zuz-
Zuz Water Soft-N-R, two hundred and
I will not have any such piece of
equipment in my house!
I'm afraid I authorized that, Mr.
Blandings -- to save your boiler and
Rust. The plumbing man assures us
the water from your well is the most
corrosive in his entire experience
in the trade.
(pursing his lips)
Well, if it's necessary, put it in!
We're moving in today, you know and --
(a final show of
Then get me the bill for it!
You've got it.
All right then.
And he stalks off, his papers, shavings, etc. flapping behind
EXT. THE HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON
The moving vans are driving away.
INT. THE FOYER - LATE AFTERNOON
A general flurry of activity; Gussie and several workmen
carrying furniture upstairs, unpacking barrels, etc. Muriel,
list and samples in hand, is explaining her color scheme to
Mr. PeDelford, a polite, cigar-smoking, noncommittal boss
painter. In the b.g., casually leaning on the bannister is
PeDelford's taciturn and somewhat skeptical-looking assistant.
Now I want the living room to be a
Not quite as bluish as a robin's
egg, but yet not as yellow as daffodil
(handing him a sample)
The best sample I could get is a
little too yellow, but don't let
whoever mixes it go to the other
extreme and get it too blue. It should
just be sort of a grayish yellow
(making a note)
They turn to the dining room.
Now the dining room I'd like yellow.
Not just yellow, a very gay yellow.
Something bright and sunshiny.
I tell you, Mr. PeDelford, if you'll
just send one of your workmen to the
A&P for a pound of their best butter
and match it exactly, you can't go
(making a note)
This is the paper we're going to use
here in the foyer.
(hands sample to him)
It's flowered but I don't want the
ceiling to match any of the colors
of the flowers. There are some little
dots in the background, and it's
these dots I want you to match. Not
the little greenish dots near the
hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish
dot between the rosebud and the
delphinium blossom. Is that clear?
PeDelford looks carefully at the sample, then:
The kitchen's to be white. Not a
cold, antiseptic hospital white -- a
little warmer but not to suggest any
other color but white.
Now for the powder room, I want you
to match this thread.
(hands him thread)
You can see it's practically an apple
red. Somewhere between a healthy
Winesap and an unripened Jonathan.
There is a crash from the kitchen.
Will you excuse me?
Muriel hastily exits toward the kitchen. PeDelford turns to
Got it, Charlie?
rooms with his thumb)
Green, yellow, blue, white, red.
INT. PANTRY - OFF KITCHEN - DAY
Joan is on a stepladder helping Gussie put away some dishes.
Remains of two broken plates are on the floor below them.
Joan, you know father was to take
care of the heavy dishes.
He disappeared. I haven't seen him
for an hour.
Betsy flies into the room waving a railroad timetable.
Where's Uncle Bill? I just checked
the timetable -- he's going to miss
If they've run off somewhere it
certainly isn't very --
From upstairs comes the SOUND of a steady, methodical thumping
of a hand on a solid oak door.
She rushes for the door.
Muriel opens the closet door revealing Jim and Bill, who
have been locked in the closet for the last hour. Each leans
against the wall, arms folded, in an attitude of boredom and
disgust. Without a word Jim and Bill exit from the closet.
The three start down the stairs.
I thought you were going to take
care of it.
I thought you were.
You're going to miss your train,
Uncle Bill! It leaves Lansdale in
Isn't there a later one?
Not till the Commuter's Special
tomorrow morning at six-fifteen.
You mean seven-fifteen.
No, Dad, six-fifteen.
What about the seven-fifteen I'm
supposed to take to the office every
There's a little asterisk. The seven-
fifteen only runs Saturdays, Sundays
Let me see that!
Oh, dear, don't tell me I read it
That's fine! For the rest of my life
I'm going to have to get up at five
o'clock in the morning to catch the
six-fifteen, to get to my office by
eight, which doesn't even open until
nine -- and which I never get to
Perhaps if you started earlier you
could quit earlier.
So I could get home earlier to go to
bed earlier to get up earlier!
Maybe you can have the railroad push
the train up to four-fifteen -- then
you won't have to go to bed at all!
Uncle Bill, you're going to miss
Jim, you clean up this mess. I'll
drive Bill to the station and pick
up some cold cuts for dinner.
Betsy and Joan pick up some boxes and walk into the dining
You'd better hurry!
Kind of hate to leave that little
place. Just four walls and a couple
of mothballs, but to me it'll always
So long, Bill.
Bill and Muriel exit.
INT. THE DINING ROOM
As Jim drifts in, still preoccupied with timetable:
It's certainly going to be fun this
summer when Uncle Bill comes up for
We'll get in a lot of doubles.
(looks up from
What are you talking about? Bill's
going to Europe.
No, he's not. I heard him and mother
talking. He's going to move his
vacation up and take a place in
Uh-huh... Mm-hm. Mm-hm... Uh-huh.
(then, covering up)
All right, come on, come on. Get
INT. THE BLANDINGS' CAR - (PROCESS)
Evening is beginning to fall as Muriel drives Bill into town.
I'll scout around and find you a
place in Lansdale.
Now, you're not going to change your
mind about coming up?
Don't worry, I'll be on the job.
It won't be easy. I promise you a
Cook's tour of every lamp maker, rug
weaver, and antique shop in Lansdale
When I married you two I suppose I
took you for better or for worse.
Muriel smiles warmly, and in a friendly gesture reaches over
and pats his hand.
Good old Uncle Bill.
Good old Uncle Bill.
As they exchange an understanding smile:
INT. THE BLANDINGS' LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
It is dark outside and getting quite chilly. The children
are unpacking a last barrel. They have made a rather unsteady
pile of books and boxes, obviously Muriel's personal effects.
Jim is in the process of trying to start his first fire in
the fireplace. The immediate result is a clouding of the
room with smoke. As he backs away, coughing, he bumps into
the pile which falls to the floor spilling open a box which
contains, among other things, Muriel's diary and a lifetime
accumulation of sentimental trinkets.
Now look what you've done!
Betsy coughs her way to the fireplace, turns the flue handle.
The smoke immediately goes up the chimney and the room starts
Father, the first principle of
lighting a fire is to see if the
flue is open. A three-year-old child
Next time we want a fire I'll send
out for a three-year-old child!
Get that stuff cleaned up and go in
and help Gussie set the table. It's
The children start gathering up the debris. Joan picks up
some trinkets which have spilled from a cardboard box.
Look, Dad, your fraternity pins.
(busy cleaning the
Pins? I only had one.
There are two of them here.
All right, all right. Just put them
Funny, this one says W.C. on the
William Cole! It must be Uncle Bill's!
(reaching for it)
Let me see that.
Betsy has picked up a small leather-bound book. She whistles.
Mother's diary when she was in
college. It's slightly torrid.
That's none of your business!
I'd say mother and Uncle Bill were
somewhat of an item!
(taking book from
People do not read other people's
diaries! It's not a very nice thing
(shooting them out)
Now go in there and help Gussie with
What about --?
I'll take care of that. Now, shoo,
The children exit. Jim is about to put down the diary when
his curiosity gets the better of him. Making sure he's
unobserved, he sits down on a box, opens the book, starts to
read. As his brows wrinkle with concern:
EXT. THE HOUSE - NIGHT
The wind is howling, the trees swaying. The lights are on in
the kitchen. CAMERA MOVES UP to the open kitchen window.
INT. THE KITCHEN - NIGHT
The family, in overcoats, is huddled around the kitchen table
finishing dinner. Gussie, in overcoat and muffler, is clearing
the dishes away. Jim, a sober look on his face, rises, takes
a steaming kettle from the stove.
Where are you going?
While I can still trust myself with
a razor. At six o'clock in the morning
I'd probably cut my throat. Goodnight.
Jim abruptly exits. Muriel looks after him with concern.
INT. THE BLANDINGS' BATHROOM - NIGHT
Jim, in his pajamas and overcoat is shaving. After a few
moments Muriel, in her nightgown and overcoat, enters the
She takes her toothbrush and opens the cabinet, Jim
automatically moving around back of it in their previously
established pattern. As Muriel puts the paste on her brush,
replaces the tube, shuts the cabinet and starts to brush her
teeth, Jim uncomfortably moves back to his original position.
Muriel, do you have to do that now?!
There's no need to be so irritable
just because you have to shave at
I'm not irritable!
Well, you're certainly something!
You haven't said a civil word all
Sometimes a man doesn't feel like
What is it, dear? Something down at
Have you got the new slogan for
It's not due yet!
Well, it's something. You're certainly
upset about something. I can always
I'm not upset.
(going back to shaving;
with studied unconcern)
It's just that I don't happen to
approve of falsehood and deception.
Particularly in my own wife.
What are you talking about?
Oh, nothing. It's just that I
distinctly remember your telling me
you gave back Bill's fraternity pin
fifteen years ago.
Muriel looks at him, puzzled.
Well, did you or didn't you?
Did I, or didn't I what?
Give it back to him.
Of course I did. If I said I did, I
(suddenly Sam Spade)
Then perhaps you'd have the goodness
to explain how this happened to fall
out of your jewel box?
He takes the pin out of his pocket and hands it to her. Muriel
takes the pin, looks at it sentimentally. Suddenly she looks
at Jim and bursts out laughing.
What's so funny?
You! You're jealous! You're standing
there with your face full of soap
and you're jealous.
If you were so crazy about the guy,
why didn't you marry him?!
(beginning to be a
Because I wasn't in love with him!
That's not what you said in your
(now really angry)
Oh, now you've been reading my diary!
(a little guilty)
Well -- it happened to fall open
and... I... happened to look at it.
It... just happened.
I'll just bet!
It's all over the book so why don't
you admit it? You were in love with
Don't be absurd! Of course I was in
love with Bill. In those days I was
in love with a new man every week.
Then why did you marry me?
I'm beginning to wonder!
Maybe it was those big cow eyes of
yours or that ridiculous hole in
your chin! Maybe I knew that some
day you'd bring me out to this thirty-
eight thousand dollar icebox with a
dried-up trout stream and no windows!
Or maybe I just happened to fall in
love with you -- but for heaven's
sake, don't ask me why!
Muriel stalks out of the bathroom. Jim looks after her,
thoughtfully starts to dry his face.
INT. THE BEDROOM
Jim enters. Muriel stands with her back to him angrily winding
the clock. Jim noisily clears his throat. No reaction.
Would it do any good to say I'm sorry?
I don't know.
Jim gently turns her around facing him.
Well -- I am. I acted like a schoolboy
and I'm sorry.
Muriel looks at Jim. Finally she smiles.
She goes into his arms and they kiss intimately. As their
Why don't you take the soap out of
Why do I love you so much?
Jim again kisses her tenderly, warmly.
Darling, it's awfully late.
Jim kisses her again, a little more ardently.
Maybe you ought to go down and lock
(kissing her ear)
What for? The windows are all open
(as he starts to kiss
Jim, you have to get up at six
prevails; brief sigh)
Yes, I guess so.
Each gets into his own bed, still wearing the overcoats.
INSERT JIM'S COST CHART - The house now wavers at $37,000.
As Jim and Muriel still try to stem the tide, the group that
is pushing the house ever upward includes all of the previous
people connected with the house and -- in addition --plumbers,
painters, landscape gardeners, etc. Over this, and across
the scene flutter more bills, more extras.
And so the days sped by -- and the
bills -- and the extras -- and as
the house approached forty thousand
dollars, Jim approached his deadline
for the new slogan. It was almost a
EXT. RADIO CITY - NIGHT (STOCK)
It is raining. The lights are on in the buildings.
INT. JIM'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Mary is attending to some detail work as the door opens and
Jim enters, disturbed. Mary looks at him questioningly.
You'd better send out for coffee and
sandwiches,... It looks like an all
What did he say?
himself at desk)
Well, I guess you'll just have to
dream something up -- good or bad.
I rather got the impression it had
better be good.
He picks up a pencil, nibbles on it thoughtfully. The silence
in the room is broken only by the patter of raindrops on the
window. It strikes a note in Jim's subconscious. He swivels
around in his chair and stares soberly out the window.
Funny how you look forward to the
little things. Rain, for instance.
Mary looks at him curiously. He turns to her.
For a month now, I guess I've been
looking forward to the first rainy
night at the house.
(looks at Muriel's
Big blazing fire. Muriel knitting.
Me in my new smoking jacket... with
my pipe and slippers, reading my
As he starts to work.
INT. THE BLANDINGS' LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Note: The house is painted and almost completely furnished.
A hard rain beats on the windows. There is a blazing fire in
the fireplace. Muriel, in a warm bathrobe, sits near it,
comfortably knitting. In fact, the scene is exactly the one
Jim has just described, except that the man with slippers,
pipe and smoking jacket, reading the paper, is Bill Cole.
Near the fire, Bill's rain-drenched jacket, shirt and shoes
are hanging up to dry. The cozy tranquillity is broken by a
sharp RINGING of the front doorbell.
Thank heavens! The children.
Stay put. You look too comfortable.
The CAMERA FOLLOWS Bill to the front door. He opens it. A
man in raincoat and boots stands there in the pouring, driving
rain. The man enters as Bill struggles to get the door shut
against the wind.
Whew! What a night! I'm Jones, from
down the road. Just came over to
tell you your kids are all right,
Oh, I'm not Mr. Blandings. Cole's
the name, Bill Cole.
He sees Jones' doubtful look at the smoking jacket, feels an
explanation is necessary.
Friend of the family. Wet clothes.
Just came in out of the rain.
Muriel walks into scene. Jones takes in the bathrobe, again
looks skeptically at Bill.
I'm Mrs. Blandings.
How do. Mrs. Williams just called.
Says your phone's out of order. Wanted
me to tell you the water's rising
and they've got the bridge roped
off. Girls'll spend the night over
at her place.
Thank you. I was beginning to get
concerned. Can I make you a cup of
No, thanks. Better be gettin' back
'fore I have to swim for it. 'Night,
'Night, Mr. Bl--
Cole. Bill Cole. Friend of the family.
Just came in out of the rain.
Well -- 'Night.
Goodnight... and thanks so much.
The door is opened with a terrific swirl of wind and rain.
Jones exits as Muriel and Bill push the door against the
wind, finally getting it shut.
That's fine. No bridge. How do I get
back to Lansdale?
You'll just have to spend the night
As they start back into the living room:
Muriel, really! With your husband in
New York and your children away --
think of my reputation.
Don't worry, Snow White, you'll be
as pure and unsullied in the morning
as you were the night before.
That's the story of my life.
Muriel pokes the dying fire, looks up thoughtfully.
Poor Jim, he sounded so worried
before. I certainly hope he comes up
Don't worry about the man who gave
the world "When you've got the whim,
say Wham!"-- This well will never
INT. JIM'S OFFICE - EARLY MORNING
The CAMERA COMES IN ON a package of cigarettes. A finger
impatiently rips open what is left of the package, discloses
that it is empty. The ANGLE WIDENS to reveal a tired,
disheveled Jim. Disgusted, he fishes the most likely butt
from a tray littered with them. With considerable difficulty
he manages to light it, only to burn his nose. Impatiently
stamping out the butt he rises, stretches, walks to the
window, pulls up the shade. Early morning sunlight floods
the room. He turns off a standing lamp, looks thoughtfully
out the window, suddenly gets an idea. Turning, he snaps his
fingers. Mary, who is asleep on the desk, her head resting
on her elbows, raises her head, opens a sleepy eye.
(selling; a note of
desperation in his
"Compare the price, compare the slice,
Take our advice -- Buy Wham!"
Mary critically shakes her head "no", closes her eye. Jim
wearily throws himself down on the couch, absently toys with
his already loosened tie. He pulls it up over his nose,
throwing the balance over the top of his head. Suddenly he
reacts, snaps his fingers. Mary opens a sleepy eye.
"If you'd buy better ham. You'd better
It's Boyle Petroleum. "If you'd buy
better oil, You'd better buy Boyle."
Her eye closes. Jim sinks back with defeat, his hand dropping
over the edge of the couch. It encounters a crumpled piece
of paper, earlier work. He smoothes the paper, scans it,
kind of likes it. He gets up, comes over, snaps fingers.
Mary looks up.
"This little pig went to market As
meek and as mild as a lamb. He smiled
in his tracks When they slipped him
the axe He knew he'd turn out to be
A long silent look passes between them.
"...knew he'd turn out to be Wham!"
He suddenly and angrily gathers all his papers, slams them
into the wastebasket.
It's gone! I've lost my touch! Maybe
I never had a touch! Maybe "Whim Say
Wham" was an accident! Who knows? I
can't think any more! All I've got
on my mind is a house with an eighteen
thousand dollar mortgage, and bills,
and extras, and antiques, and -- and --
I don't know... I don't know.
Mary looks at him sympathetically, doesn't quite know what
to say. As the CAMERA MOVES to a CLOSE SHOT of the emotionally
distraught Jim, his eyes go to a large photograph on his
desk of Muriel and the children. He picks it up, looks at it
with affection. Suddenly he gets an idea. Rising with
determination he puts on his coat and starts for the door.
Where are you going?
Home, to get some sleep -- and I'd
advise you to do the same.
But -- but you haven't --
Suppose I haven't! This isn't the
only job in town!
But -- but -- what'll I tell Mr.
You just tell him to -- to --
You just tell him!
EXT. THE BLANDINGS' HOME - DAY
It is an especially beautiful, sunshiny morning. A rural-
looking taxi deposits a weary Jim, who pays the driver. As
the cab drives off, Jim looks speculatively at Simms' car,
which is parked there, yawns, stretches, opens the door and
enters. Under this a slightly sour underscoring of "Home On
INT. BLANDINGS LIVING ROOM - DAY
As Jim comes into the foyer, he sees Muriel, in nightgown
and robe, talking to Mr. Simms. She holds the rolled-up volume
of blueprints that went into building the house.
(going to him;
Darling, you must be exhausted. How
did it go?
Is... everything all right?
(still in embrace;
Hello, Simms, what brings you out
with the morning dew?
Just dropped by to check the
blueprints. Some extras came in from
Retch this morning and there're a
couple of things I thought we ought
to go over together.
(arms still around
Really. What are they?
Well, let's see.
Few little things here, all right, I
guess. "Mortising five butts -- a
Let's not quibble about that. A man's
entitled to mortise a few butts now
Extra nails and screws -- three
dollars, eighty-nine cents.
Petty larceny, but let him get away
Now there's one here I frankly don't
understand. Ah, here we are.
"Changes in closet, twelve hundred
and forty-seven dollars." Did you
Well, we probably told him to --
Twelve hundred and what?!
Forty-seven dollars. Changes in
(hands bill to Jim)
Who does he think we are!
(looks at bill; very
What's this notation: "Refer to Detail
Sheet Number one thirty-five?"
Far as I remember, that would be
something in the back of the house.
Let's just take a look.
As he unrolls the blueprints, Jim looks suspiciously at
Muriel. She seems a little nervous.
Ah, here we are. It isn't a closet
at all. It's off the back pantry...
Mrs. Blandings' little flower sink.
Oh... Mrs. Blandings' little flower
You didn't authorize any changes,
Well... they certainly weren't
What -- have -- you -- done?
(speaking rapidly a
I haven't done anything! And what I
did was... just nothing at all.
What -- have -- you -- done?!
All I did was one day I saw four
pieces of flagstone left over from
the porch that were just going to be
thrown away because nobody wanted
them and I asked Mr. Retch if he
wouldn't just put them down on the
floor of the flower sink and poke a
little cement between the cracks and
give me a nice stone floor where it
might be wet with flowers and things.
That was absolutely all I did.
During the above speech Simms sinks into a chair, puts his
head in his hands and closes his eyes, a fact that isn't
lost on Jim.
That's all you did?
Absolutely. Just four little pieces
(to Muriel; wearily)
Did you by any chance authorize a
(verge of tears)
Of course I didn't. All I said was I
wanted a nice stone floor and Mr.
Retch was just as nice as could be
and said, "You're the doctor," and
that's all anybody ever said to
anybody about anything.
Jim takes a deep breath, turns to Simms.
(sigh; plunging in)
All right, I think I can tell you
what happened. First, the carpenters
had to rip up the flooring that was
already laid. Those planks run under
the whole width of the pantry, so
Retch had to knock the bottom out of
the pantry wall to get at them.
JIM AND MURIEL
Jim and Muriel - Jim looks at Muriel as though he were
premeditating first-degree murder. She averts his gaze. Over
Then he had to chop out the tops of
the joists under the flower sink
space to make room for a cradle. I
guess he bought some iron straps and
fastened them to a big pan to give
him something to hold the cement.
What with that added load on the
weakened joists, I'll bet he had to
put a lally column down there for
It was just four little pieces of
flagstone, and I only ---
GROUP SHOT - DURING THE FOLLOWING SPEECH
GROUP SHOT - During the following speech we see Bill Cole,
in Jim's pajamas and robe come down the stairs and enter the
room. Jim and Muriel are not aware of his presence.
Well, the main soil pipe runs under
there on wall brackets, so Retch had
to get his plumbing man back to take
out a section so he could get that
cradle set. I guess that meant he
had to change the pitch of the soil
pipe from one end of the house to
'Morning, Mr. Cole.
'Morning. Hello, Jim.
Jim turns away, reacts, suddenly turns back to Bill, taking
in the pajamas and robe. A little shocked but unwilling to
believe the implication of what he sees, he looks to Muriel
for an explanation.
The bridge was roped off and Bill
had to stay last night.
Slept like a rock.
Jim looks at Bill, then back at Muriel.
(clearing his throat)
And then, of course, there are hot
and cold water pipes hooked to the
joists right under that pantry. They
go up to the wing bathroom on the
second floor, and I'll bet my bottom
dollar he had to relocate them.
THREE SHOT - JIM, MURIEL AND BILL.
THREE SHOT - Jim, Muriel and Bill. Jim turns to listen but
finds himself looking speculatively at Muriel and Bill.
And I guess the electrician had to
rip out about sixty feet of armored
cable between the main panel and the
junction box by the oil burner,
including the two hundred twenty
volt cable that goes to the stove.
FULL SHOT - GUSSIE APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY
FULL SHOT - Gussie appears in the doorway in raincoat,
'Morning, everybody. Whew! What a
Where have you been?
Lansdale. Couldn't get back across
You... weren't here last night?
They weren't letting anybody across
that bridge, Mr. Blandings.
I passed the girls over at the
Williams. They'll be along any minute.
As Jim reacts:
Thank you, Gussie. You'd better get
As Gussie exits, Muriel turns to Simms.
Where were we?
We were at the two hundred twenty
volt cable that goes to the stove.
Just a minute.
(looks at Bill, then
You mean the children weren't here
last night either?
How could they be, dear? The bridge
I just came across it.
Well, it was closed last night.
It's open now!
(attempt at breeziness)
If you'll all excuse me -- I -- I
think I'll just go up and slip into
something a little more comfortable.
Bill exits. Another pause. Simms, aware of the tension, wants
to get out of there.
Well, that's about the size of it --
Through Simms' speech, Jim looks darkly at Muriel.
-- except that Retch had to repair
the pantry wall and that meant getting
a plasterer back. And of course, he
couldn't have broken through that
All right, Simms, all right. We'll
take care of it.
(preparing to exit)
I'll admit it's a little steep. But
I'll try to get Retch to knock a
hundred dollars off the bill. If I
can't get that, I'll certainly try
If he doesn't go for seventy-five,
I'll take a stab at fifty.
You do that.
(at the door)
Anyway, I'm almost sure we can get
There is no answer.
Well. Good day.
He leaves. There is a deadly pause.
Now dear, you're upset, you've got a
lot of things on your mind --
(with dangerous calm)
Muriel, there's only one thing on my
mind -- This house -- and how fast
we can get rid of it!
That's not what you're thinking.
Maybe it's not. Maybe I'm thinking I
was once a happy man!
I didn't have a closet, I didn't
have three bathrooms, but I did have
my sanity, a few dollars in the bank,
two children who loved me and a wife
I could trust!
That's a fine thing to say!
I also had a job at Danton and
Bascomb, something I don't happen to
have at the moment!
That's right, I've resigned! We're
starting all over again! From scratch!
And without this house!
You love this house!
I hate it!
In the b.g. Mr. Tesander enters, cap in hand, stands there,
nervous and embarrassed.
You don't mean that.
Every word of it! Anybody who builds
a house today is crazy! The minute
you start, they put you on the list.
The All-American Sucker list!
Everywhere you turn they've got a
hand in your pocket. If you take out
their hands, they find more pockets!
It's a conspiracy, I tell you, a
conspiracy against every man and
woman who want a home of their own!
Against every boy and girl who were
ever in love!
Tesander clears his throat. Jim turns.
What do you want?!
A slight embarrassed pause. Then:
Well, Mr. Blandings, there's a matter
of twelve dollars and eighty-six
(with a wild gleam)
Twelve dollars and eighty-six cents!
Why be a piker, Mr. Tesander?
Take everything I've got! Spread it
out among your pals!
(advancing toward the
Wouldn't Retch like a little
something? Maybe Zucca could use my
new dinner jacket? It's open house,
Mr. Tesander! Help yourself! If this
isn't enough I'll come over to your
place and do some odd chores. Maybe
I can mow your lawn or scratch your
You don't understand, Mr. Blandings.
This twelve dollars and eighty-six
cents -- you don't owe me, I owe
There is a momentary pause.
...W-what was that?
(taking out money)
Found I overcharged you. Almost three
He hands the money to Jim, who stares at it blankly.
Better count it. I think it's all
Jim looks haplessly at Muriel, sheepish, guilty.
Thank you very much, Mr. Tesander.
Well, I guess I'd better be gettin'
Sure got a pretty place here.
(at door; pauses;
I'll tell Mr. Zucca about the dinner
Jim and Muriel look at each other a little sheepishly.
INT. THE FOYER
As Tesander is about to exit, Bill, dressed, starts down the
Oh, Mr. Tesander -- could you give
me a lift to town?
Be right with you.
INT. LIVING ROOM
What did you mean before about losing
your job? Will we really have to
sell the house?
I don't know, dear... I don't know.
In case anyone's interested, I'm
leaving for town.
(for Jim's benefit)
If you want to count the silverware,
Bill, be patient with me. Maybe one
of these days I'll grow up.
What happened to him?
Twelve dollars and eighty-six cents.
Mind if I say something?
Jim and Muriel look at him curiously.
You know, I've kind of been the voice
of doom about this whole project.
Every step of the way I was firmly
convinced you were getting fleeced,
bilked, rooked, flimflammed and
generally taken to the cleaners. And
maybe you were. Maybe it cost you a
whole lot more than you thought it
would. Maybe there were times when
you wished you'd never started the
whole thing. But when I look around
and see what you two have here -- I
Maybe there are some things you should
buy with your heart and not with
your head. Maybe those are the things
that really count... See you around.
As Bill turns and leaves, the outer door is heard opening
and the kids appear. There is an exchange of "Hi's" as they
Hi, Dad! How come you're not at the
(a look at Muriel)
I'm on a... kind of a vacation.
You mean you got fired?
Well, not exactly, I --
We'll discuss it later.
Gussie's head appears from the kitchen.
Come and get it! Breakfast everybody.
Good! I'm starving! What are we
Orange juice, scrambled eggs and you-
(making a face)
Not ham -- Wham!
If you ain't eatin' Wham, you ain't
Gussie's head disappears.
CLOSE SHOT - JIM.
CLOSE SHOT - Jim.
What did she say?
He reacts with the sudden exhilaration of Balboa first seeing
the Pacific. He snaps his fingers.
Darling, give Gussie a ten dollar
His eyes light up as he begins to visualize.
INSERT ADVERTISEMENT IN MAGAZINE - It is a picture of Gussie,
smiling, holding a platter with an enormous ham. Under it,
the simple caption:
"IF YOU AIN'T EATIN' WHAM, YOU AIN'T EATIN' HAM!"
THE CAMERA ANGLE WIDENS TO DISCLOSE MR. JAMES BLANDINGS
THE CAMERA ANGLE WIDENS to disclose Mr. James Blandings
reclining in a hammock on the patio of his Dream House. In
the b.g. Muriel is working at her garden, Joan and Betsy
assisting her. Jim reacts with pride and satisfaction as he
sets the magazine down, takes a long drink of lemonade and
picks up a book which he has been reading. As the CAMERA
COMES IN for an EXTREME CLOSE SHOT of Jim we see the title
of the book on the jacket cover. It reads:
"MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE"
Jim looks up over the top of the book, directly into the
camera and winks.
(with simple sincerity)
Drop in and see us sometime.
As the CAMERA PULLS AWAY to a LONG SHOT tableau of the
Blandings and their Dream House, we:
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House
Writers : Melvin Frank Norman Panama
Genres : Comedy