“Great Days in Dayton”
Reproduced on these pages is the full script of a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. All music and sound effect “cues” are indicated just as they appear on the working scripts used by the cast. The sponsor hopes that you will find interesting these dramatized episodes from the life story of your city.
“Great Days in Dayton” is a Presentation Sponsored by
THE DAYTON POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY
SCRIPT No. 14 – “RECONSTRUCTION”
Theme. Starts fortissimo, then fades behind . . .
ANNOUNCER: “Great Days in Dayton!”
[MUSIC : Swells and fades behind . . . ]
ANNOUNCER: When the first settlers looked upon the ground where Dayton now stands, they faced the immediate problems of life in a virgin wilderness. They lived from day to day, struggling against nature, meeting the bare needs of food, clothing and shelter. Yet even in this they worked according to a preconceived plan, laid out for them by the founders of our city. The wisdom of that plan is apparent today. We see it in our broad streets, in the easy access to all parts of our city, in the physical unity of Dayton. But if we look deeper we see, too, a unity of spirit, a persistent determination to shape and build our community for the benefit of every citizen. Time and again that spirit has been revealed in these historical dramas . . . the outstanding influence in creating the Dayton we know today. And it is the hope of our sponsors, The Dayton Power and Light Company, that all of us may gain from these programs a better understanding of that spirit, a still stronger determination to make it the guiding force in Dayton’s future. (PAUSE.) And now for today’s play, which will be introduced by your master of ceremonies, Mr. Charles McLean.
[MUSIC : Swells and fades behind . . . ]
NARRATOR: In our last two programs we witnessed the ominous gathering of clouds of civil war, the suffering of our city when the storm broke and swept thundering across the years. We saw at last the coming of people and the martyrdom of Abraham Lincoln. Today we return, across the span of three-quarters of a century, to a Dayton faced with the difficult problems of post-civil war readjustment. It was a time of building anew, and it is from this that we take the title of our play . . . “Reconstruction.” Difficulties confronted every citizen, especially the returned soldiers. We choose one of these, Allen Trent, as our central character. He lives only in our play, yet perhaps we may assume that he is representative of the suffering of many. (PAUSE.) Our story begins on a summer day in the late Eighteen Sixties.
[MUSIC : Fades out.]
[Train sound behind . . . ]
LESLIE: This don’t seem right. We’ve been riding and talking together all day, and we don’t know each other’s names. Mine’s Leslie, Walter Leslie.
ALLEN: And mine’s Trent. First name’s Allen.
LESLIE: I knew you were an ex-soldier as soon as I saw you. You have that look . . . can’t hide it, even in civilian clothes. Where are you headed?
ALLEN: Back to my home town, Dayton. We’re near it now.
LESLIE: [Chuckling.] You’re late getting back, aren’t you? The war’s been over a long time.
ALLEN: I’ve been in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t going back at all.
LESLIE: I don’t know. A man’s home town is a pretty good place.
ALLEN: Maybe it is . . . if he’s the same man who left it. I’m not.
LESLIE: You look all right to me.
ALLEN: You haven’t seen me walk. One leg that drags like a dead limb on a tree. And . . . well, other things, too.
LESLIE: Look here, comrade, don’t talk if you don’t want to. I know how it is. Any ex-soldier would.
ALLEN: I don’t talk about it much. And maybe it isn’t much, anyway. I’m just going back because there’s something I have to do. [Train sound up as door opens.]
BRAKEMAN: Dayton! Dayton! [Door closes. Sound down.]
LESLIE: I know I’m putting in where it’s none of my business, but if I could help . . . money, or anything . . .
ALLEN: No, I have a little money. Thanks, just the same. [Train slows to stop. Door opens.]
BRAKEMAN: Dayton! All out for Dayton!
LESLIE: If you ever get to Indianapolis, look me up. Everyone knows me.
ALLEN: I will, Leslie. And thanks again. So long.
LESLIE: So long, Trent. And good luck!
ALLEN: The same to you. [Dragging footsteps.]
BRAKEMAN: Can I help you down to the platform?
ALLEN: Thanks. I’ll make it.
VOICE: [Off.] All aboard!
[Train starts and fades.] [Dragging footsteps fade. ]
ALLEN: [Gently.] It wouldn’t be right for either of us, Jane, dear.
JANE: But I love you, Allen.
ALLEN: You love the boy who went away to war, and I’m not that boy now. It isn’t just my injury; that wouldn’t keep me from practicing law, as I wanted to. But something has happened to all of me . . . my nerves, I guess, and my mind. Sometimes I can’t . . .
JANE: Allen, don’t talk that way! You know I’d take care of you.
ALLEN: That’s what I won’t let you do. I won’t let you spend your life that way.
JANE: Why didn’t you come back at first, Allen, right after the war?
ALLEN: I thought I’d get well, and so did the doctors. So I stayed way because I didn’t want you to see me this way. That’s why I wrote all those letters, saying that I’d be back soon. Well . . . now I’m sure I’ll never be any better, and that means I can’t really come back to you. I’m going away somewhere, out West, I think, where I don’t know anyone. I won’t care so much then.
JANE: I can’t believe that’s right, Allen. People in Dayton would help you . . . lots of them. You’d be much happier here.
ALLEN: I couldn’t stand their helping me. I’m Allen Trent, and the Trents were Peace Democrats, Southern sympathizers, so violent that they moved away from Dayton. It wouldn’t make any difference that I’ve been a Union soldier. Dayton people would be helping John Trent’s son. No . . . I couldn’t take that kind of help.
JANE: Allen, don’t you love me anymore?
ALLEN: So much that it hurts . . . but too much to hurt you. No, Jane, I’ve thought it all out, over and over, and I’ve come back to tell you, to make you understand. Then I’m going away.
JANE: I won’t let you, Allen . . . not as long as there’s a chance for our happiness. I want you to do something. Promise me, will you?
ALLEN: I’ll do it if I can?
JANE: Go to see Dr. Reeve, Dr. John Reeve. He’s . . .
ALLEN: Yes, I know him. Everyone in Dayton knows him. But I tell you the doctors can’t do anything. They’ve told me.
JANE: Dr. Reeve’s different, Allen. He’s more than just a good doctor, because he knows and understands his patients so well. I’m sure he could help you. Promise me you’ll go to see him before . . . before . . . Oh, Allen, darling!
ALLEN: All right, Jane, dear. I’ll see him! [Fade out and in.]
REEVE: Yes, yes, Allen, but tell me first just what happened.
ALLEN: Well, you see, Dr. Reeve, we were going forward through the trees, and this shell broke right in front of me. All I saw was a terrible flash of light, and I didn’t feel anything. But they told me afterward that I’d been thrown against a tree and had been unconscious for hours. Then for a long time, even in the hospital, I wasn’t really conscious. And finally I found that I was . . . well, the way I am.
REEVE: I see. And you say that you’re very nervous?
ALLEN: Almost all the time. And I can’t keep my attention fixed on things. Sometimes I get confused . . . uncertain about things . . . even about myself. I can’t explain it, quite.
REEVE: I understand, Allen. (PAUSE.) You see, when that shell exploded, even though none of the fragments hit you, it gave your whole nervous system a bad shock. And when you were thrown against a tree there was probably some injury to your spine. The nerves are something we don’t know much about yet . . . we doctors aren’t as wise as we wish we were . . . but, still, I think . . . yes, I think we may be able to do something for you.
ALLEN: But, Dr. Reeve, the army doctors said . . .
REEVE: I know, Allen, but it’s not all a matter of medicines. There’s the matter of human relationships. (PAUSE.) Allen, my boy, if you could stay here and get well, and if you and Jane Patton . . .
ALLEN: Dr. Reeve, I’d give anything in the world for that.
REEVE: And so would Jane, I’m sure. I know Jane, as I know her whole family, and you and your family. And it’s the hope of happiness with Jane that I’m counting on to help you, perhaps even more than I can help you myself.
ALLEN: If I could only hope that, myself! But they told me . . .
REEVE: Never mind what anyone told you. (PAUSE.) Now, here’s what I want you to do. The new Home for Disabled Soldiers is established here in Dayton, and I want you to enter it.
ALLEN: I’ve been in too many military hospitals. They don’t . . .
REEVE: This is different, Allen. You’ll get not only hospital care, but complete freedom from worry. You’ll have good food, good clothes and a comfortable bed. You’ll be able to sit for hours in the sun, swapping yarns with other ex-soldiers. If you get restless, they’ll let you do some work, as much as is good for you. But you won’t have to do anything.
ALLEN: I don’t want to be a public charge, Dr. Reeve.
REEVE: I suppose not. But your country thinks it owes you proper care if you’re disabled. (PAUSE.) Now, I’m going to a dinner party tonight, and one of the guests is going to be Mr. Gunckel, the manager of the Soldiers’ Home. I’ll have a chance to talk to him about you. Understand, Allen, I’m not trying to force you, but if you’ll stay in Dayton and think it over for just a day or two . . .
ALLEN: All right, Doctor, I’ll stay that long. [Fade out and in.]
VOICE 1: [Man.] It seems to me that there’s still a lot of bitterness between Dayton people. They haven’t forgotten the mobbing of Abolitionist speakers, or the arrest of Vallandigham, or the burning of the Journal building.
VOICE 2: [Woman.] But they will soon, don’t you think? I’m sure there’s a change of feeling among the women. During the war our literary club had to suspend altogether because some of the members wouldn’t think of meeting each other. But we’re having meetings now, and pleasant ones.
VOICE 3: [Man.] That may go for the ladies, but not for the men. We’ll see some of these war feuds last for years.
VOICE 4: [Woman.] I’m not so sure of that. I know certain men in Dayton . . . I won’t mention any names, but you all know them . . . who wouldn’t even speak to each other on the street. But they’ve decided now that business is business, and they’re doing it together. [Laughter.]
VOICE 2: [Woman.] What do you think, Dr. Reeve?
REEVE: Most wounds heal in time. It depends on how deep they are . . . and also on how badly the patient wants them to be healed. Some of us here in Dayton will nurse our bitterness, keep in our hearts the poison that keeps the wounds from healing. A few such cases may be hopeless. But if you’re speaking of Dayton as a whole, and if you’re asking me as a physician, I expect the patient to recover . . . without undue complications. [Laughter.]
VOICE 4: I think we need the sort of common interests that have united Dayton people so often in the past. Perhaps something like our new Soldiers’ Home. Surely, there can’t be any quarrel over the necessity for caring for the soldiers.
VOICE 1: [Man.] Well, you might offer your services to Mr. Gunckel, the manager of the Home. He’s sitting right across the table from you.
VOICE 2: [Woman.] How is the Home coming on, Mr. Gunckel?
GUNCKEL: Very well, everything being considered. The first winter was bad. We had hundreds of applicants for admission, many of them homeless, friendless and penniless. So we couldn’t wait for architect’s plans. We put up one-story barrack buildings as fast as we could, and filled them as soon as they were completed. And we converted an old barn into a dining hall. And we took care of every man who was admitted.
VOICE 4: [Woman.] But the Home will be beautiful, won’t it, Mr. Gunckel?
GUNCKEL: Oh, yes. Some of the permanent buildings are up now, and others are building. They’ll make a very handsome group when they’re completed. Besides, we have complete plans for winding drives and walks, and for the planting of trees and flowers. And we’re very fortunate in having several good springs on the grounds. We’ve started already to lay out streams, pools and waterfalls. The Home is a pleasant enough place, even now, but some day, I’m sure, it will be very beautiful.
VOICE 2: [Woman.] Well, now, I think if the gentlemen will excuse us, we’ll leave them to their cigars. [Women’s voices recede.] (PAUSE.) [Indistinct men’s voices behind . . . ]
REEVE: Mr. Gunckel, is the Home filled to capacity just now?
GUNCKEL: It always is, Dr Reeve, yet we always manage to take in one more, somehow.
REEVE: I have a patient who I think should be admitted. Do you know young Allen Trent?
GUNCKEL: John Trent’s son?
REEVE: Yes. He’s come back to Dayton at last. There’s no question about his physical disability. In fact, it amounts to even more than that.
GUNCKEL: That’s too bad.
REEVE: It is, as things stand now. But I don’t think his case is hopeless. For one thing, there’s a girl . . .
REEVE: Yes. Frank Patton’s daughter. They were already in love when he went to war, at eighteen years of age. And they’re still in love. But Allen . . . he’s twenty-three now . . . thinks that he must give her up. He’s talking about going out West. But I think that if he could be here, near her, and if we could give him proper treatments . . .
GUNCKEL: Of course, Doctor, of course. You understand that his application will have to go through the regular channels.
REEVE: Naturally. I was sure you’d understand. [Music : Fades in and out.]
JANE: Father, do hurry! Mother and I are all ready to start.
FRANK: Yes, yes, Jane, my child. Just a moment, now. Just a . . . How does this hall hat-rack get so cluttered up? Bonnets, cloaks, capes, parasols, umbrellas . . . can’t find a thing of my own. Sarah, where did you put my walking stick? You know I always carry it on Sunday.
SARAH: It’s in your study, Frank, dear . . . in the corner beside your desk . . . just where you always leave it.
FRANK: Humph! [Receding.] Ought to be here, where I can find it.
JANE: Mother, you do think Allen is better, don’t you?
SARAH: Yes, dear, of course.
JANE: I know he doesn’t seem much improved . . . not for a whole year in the Soldiers’ Home . . . but he is better, a little, don’t you think?
SARAH: Oh, yes, dear, I’ve noticed it each time we’ve gone out to see him.
JANE: Have you really, Mother?
SARAH: Yes, Jane.
FRANK: [Coming on.] Well, well, come on. What are we waiting for? [Door opens and closes.] [Footsteps behind.]
SARAH: What a lovely day! Frank, it’s just too bad that you didn’t have the carriage painted earlier. Now we’ll have to ride on the horse car all the way to the Home.
FRANK: Meant to have it done. It slipped my mind, somehow. [Pause, footsteps continuing.] [Crowd sound off.]
SARAH: Oh, dear, just look at the crowd standing in front of the Phillips House. We’ll never get seats on the car.
JANE: But they run extra cars on Sunday, Mother. See, there are two of them coming now. [Crowd sound up.] [Bells clang.]
DRIVER: Take these cars for the Soldiers’ Home! [Excited chatter.] Move up forward, please. Move up forward! (PAUSE.) That’s all! That’s all we can take in this car . . . horses won’t be able to pull the hill. Take the next car! [Bells clang.] Get up! [Car rumbles.] [Subdued voices behind . . . ]
FRANK: Sarah, I don’t see why you object to horse cars. They’re almost as fast as a carriage, and quiet comfortable, too.
SARAH: They’re not so bad in this kind of weather, with the windows open. But in the winter they’re simply terrible. I’ve never smelled anything like the straw they put on the floor to keep your feet warm.
FRANK: That’s nothing, that’s nothing! They’ll have bigger cars soon, cleaner and better heated. And we’ll have more car lines, too. This one was started just to take visitors to and from the Home. But people are getting used to the idea, and they’re demanding other lines. They want them running out East Third Street, and South Brown Street . . . yes, and even across the river and out North Main Street. [Car rumbles faster.]
SARAH: But do you think all those lines would pay, Frank?
FRANK: Would pay? They will pay! If I werent’ sure of that, I wouldn’t’ be investing any money in them.
SARAH: Frank, you haven’t done anything foolish, have you?
FRANK: Oh, no, no! You can’t go wrong, investing in street car lines. The best kind of transportation, the cheapest and the most convenient. All you do is sit here and ride! [Car rumble up and faster.]
DRIVER: Whoa, you! Whoa, there! Hold up! [Excited voices.] [Car rolls to a stop.] Well, folks, you’ll all have to get out, and the men will have to help push her back on the rails. Don’t know what’s the matter with them horses. Least down-grade and they try to run to kingdom come. Whoa, there! All right, everybody out, please! [Footsteps. Clatter.]
VOICES: [Ad lib.] Lean on behind, there! . . . We’ll never get her on if we don’t push together! . . . No, no, not that way; that’s not doing any good! . . . What’s the matter with those fellows back there? . . . Now, all together, push! [Car rumbles.] That’s it! Just a little more! There she is!
DRIVER: All right, folks, get aboard! [Footsteps. Voices. Bell clangs.] Get up, there! [Car rumbles.] [Fade out and in.] [Subdued crowd sound.] [Band music far off.]
JANE: Allen, dear, are you sure you aren’t tired? Don’t’ you think you’d better go back to the barracks?
ALLEN: No, I’m all right, Jane. We can sit here a while longer.
SARAH: The Home is really getting to be beautiful. I think the buildings are very handsome. And the landscaping is lovely. The curving drives and walks, with all the trees and shrubbery. And the lawns are so perfectly kept.
FRANK: There’s a big crowd here today . . . must be five or ten thousand.
ALLEN: All of that. The excursion trains bring them from all over the country every Sunday. There were nearly thirty thousand people here on the Fourth of July.
SARAH: And the Home is growing so, Allen! It seems to me there’s a new building finished every time we come out.
ALLEN: There is, almost. There are more than a hundred buildings here now, counting the new chapel, the mess hall, hospital additions, library and the music hall. And there are miles of drives and walks.
FRANK: Do they still feed you well, Allen?
ALLEN: Oh, yes. Beans and bacon for breakfast; soup, roast beef, potatoes and greens for dinner; then a supper of stewed fruit, bread and butter and tea. It’s more than most of us can eat, except those who are working on the grounds, or in the bakery or shoe shop or tailor shop. I’ve been doing some outside work.
SARAH: You’re lucky, Allen. It keeps you active and interested.
ALLEN: They really lucky ones are those who’re going out . . . those who are getting well, whatever’s been the matter with them, and going back to real life. Yes, they’re the lucky ones.
JANE: You’re going to do that, Allen.
ALLEN: Yes, Jane, of course . . . some day.
SARAH: Frank, isn’t that Dr. Reeve’s carriage? It is! Dr. Reeve! Dr. Reeve!
REEVE: [Off.] Whoa! Hello, there! [Coming on.] Well, well, how are all of you?
VOICES: [Ad lib. greetings.] [Bugle sounds “Assembly” off.]
ALLEN: They’ll have retreat soon. Let’s walk over to the parade ground. We can hear the band better there.
JANE: Oh, yes, I’d like to.
FRANK: So would I.
REEVE: [Aside.] Walk with me, please, Mrs. Patton.
SARAH: Yes, of course. (PAUSE.) What is it, Doctor?
REEVE: I have a decision to make, and I need your advice.
SARAH: I can’t imagine what . . .
REEVE: It’s this way. They’ve done everything they can for Allen, here at the Home. I mean, everything that good care and regular treatments can do for him.
SARAH: And he’s getting better, isn’t he?
REEVE: Y-e-s, a little, I think.
SARAH: Jane thinks there’s been a great improvement, and, of course, I tell her I think so, too.
REEVE: Of course. But Allen will never be really well, Mrs. Patton; not if we do no more than we’re doing now.
SARAH: Oh, Dr. Reeve! You mustn’t tell Jane that! She’s so hopeful.
REEVE: It’s Jane I’m thinking of. You see, there’s an operation we might perform. It’s been done only two or three times . . . in Vienna. It’s an operation on the spine and . . . well, frankly, it’s a very delicate undertaking. I’m sure that if we perform it, and if it’s successful, Allen will recover completely, not only physically but mentally. And that last is his worst trouble . . . his frequent spells of morbid depression. (PAUSE.) On the other hand, if we fail . . .
SARAH: Yes . . . I see. Have you talked with Allen about it?
REEVE: Yes. He wants us to do it, but he’s thinking about Jane.
SARAH: And you want to know what Jane would say?
REEVE: No. She’s in love with Allen. She’s too close to him. But you’re a woman, and . . . (PAUSE.)
SARAH: I want Jane’s happiness above everything else, Dr. Reeve. I’ve hoped . . . I’ve made myself hope . . . that she could have it with Allen. But now you say . . .
REEVE: That there’s no chance . . . none at all . . . if he goes on as he is. He’ll live, yes, and he may never be any worse than he is now. But he’ll never be any better.
SARAH: But if you operate, he will be.
REEVE: If we’re successful, he’ll recover completely.
SARAH: It’s a terrible decision to make, Doctor.
REEVE: I know. I’ve thought a long time before speaking to you. (PAUSE.)
SARAH: [Slowly.] If I were Jane . . . and yet could see with my own eyes . . . I would say yes.
REEVE: [Quietly.] Thank you, Mrs. Patton.
JANE: [Off.] Come on, you two. We’re just in time. [Bugle sounds “Retreat.”] [All sounds out.]
[Music: Band. “Star-Spangled Banner,” fading after first few bars.]
ALLEN: However it turns out, Dr. Reeve, this is what I want. I’ve watched Jane all this last year. She thinks I’m getting better, thinks I’m going to get completely well. But I’ve known almost from the first that I wasn’t getting well, not even here. And I couldn’t face the day when Jane would come to know that, too. This is the thing to do.
REEVE: I’m glad you feel that way, Allen.
ALLEN: Will it . . . will it hurt much?
REEVE: It won’t be easy. But it won’t last long.
ALLEN: All right. I’m ready.
REEVE: I’m going with you, Allen. I’ll be right there beside you. [Dragging footsteps.] [Music: Fades in and out.]
SARAH: But, Jane, dear, it must be all right. I’m sure it is.
JANE: I won’t believe it . . . I can’t . . . until I see Allen.
FRANK: There, there, dear, don’t cry.
SARAH: Here comes Dr. Reeve now.
REEVE: [Coming on.] You can see him now, Jane. But only for a few minutes. Come with me. [Fade out and in.]
JANE: Allen! Oh, Allen, darling!
JANE: Did they hurt you?
ALLEN: No. No, they didn’t hurt me.
JANE: You’re not telling me the truth, and I’m glad. But there’s no pain now, is there?
ALLEN: No, there’s none now. I feel fine.
JANE: Do you, dear, really?
ALLEN: Yes. I feel like a little boy who’s just come out of a dark wood. There have been shadows hanging over me, things I haven’t understood, things that have frightened me. And now, suddenly I’m in the warm sunlight. Everything is sharp and clear, the way it used to be. I’m not afraid any more. I can see ahead, far ahead, to where I want to go.
JANE: And we’re going there together, aren’t we, Allen?
ALLEN: If you’ll go there with me, Jane. [Music : Fades in and out.]
SARAH: Good morning, Jane, dear.
JANE: Hello, Mother.
SARAH: I suppose I should say, good afternoon. I’ve tried to change your father . . . get him to have Sunday dinner right after church. But he says two o’clock is early enough.
JANE: I’m glad, really. It gives Allen a chance to take a good long walk. You know, after all this time . . . nearly twelve years now . . . he’s still conscious of being physically well again. He loves to walk, even to run. He and the children have races through the woods, over on the other side of the river.
SARAH: You are happy, aren’t you, Jane?
JANE: No one knows how happy. Having Allen, and the children . . . I can’t put it into words.
SARAH: I understand. And I think we owe so much of it to Dr. Reeve. So does your father. He can’t do enough for the Saint Elizabeth Hospital. He says that as long as Dr. Reeve is chief of staff there he’ll consider the hospital his personal responsibility. He endowed five of the forty beds in the new addition. [Children’s laughter off.] [Door bursts open.]
DICKY: [Coming on.] Oh, Grandma, Grandma! Mary and I raced Daddy all the way from the corner. And we beat him, both of us!
MARY: We did, Grandma! Dicky ran the fastest, and I ran the next fastest, and Daddy was ‘way, ‘way behind!
ALLEN: [Coming on.] I certainly was! Ran my very best, too. See, I’m all out of breath! [Pants.] [Laughter.]
SARAH: Dicky, go and tell Grandfather that dinner is ready. He’s out in the garden. [Fade out and in.]
FRANK: . . . and I remember the very first meeting they had to talk about putting up a soldiers’ monument. Twenty years ago, it was, in 1864, while the war was still going on. I . . .
SARAH: Frank, dear, I think Dicky and Mary would like some more chicken.
FRANK: Yes, yes, of course. Just pass their plates. (PAUSE.) Well, as I was saying, the suggestion was made first by General Robert Schenck. So we had a meeting, formed a committee and drew up resolutions. There were Colonel Anderson, Colonel Lowe, Colonel Parrott . . . incidentally, we’re very well supplied with colonels for a town this size . . . and there were Lew Gunckel, Sam Craighead, Morgan Wood and a lot of others.
ALLEN: And what did that committee do?
FRANK: Nothing. That’s the trouble with all public movements . . . you have to make so many false starts. Now, you take private enterprise . . .
JANE: But you were talking about the soldiers’ monument, Father.
FRANK: I’m coming to that. But just think what we’ve done here in Dayton in the way of private business expansion. There’s the Barney and Smith Car Company, the Ohio Rake Works, the street car lines, and the telephone company. Look at the telephone company.
SARAH: But, Frank, you wouldn’t have anything to do with it at first.
FRANK: I know. George Phillips came to me back in seventy-eight. “Frank,” he said, “here’s your chance to make some money; buy some stock in the Dayton Bell Telephone Company.” I said, “George, you’re crazy. It’s just a fad, a children’s toy.”
ALLEN: You did invest in it, though.
FRANK: That was after.
JANE: After what?
FRANK: After George Phillips made me try it. He fairly dragged me up to their office . . . exchange, he called it . . . and showed me this funny-looking box. He said, “Do you want to talk to John McIntire?” “No,” I said. But George gave the crank a turn and put something up against my ear, and there was John on the other end of the line. Well, it turned out we had a matter of business to discuss, so that made me feel that the telephone might be of some use, after all.
SARAH: Frank, dear, I’m sure the children would rather hear about the dedication of the monument next week.
FRANK: Oh, yes. Where was I? I remember; it was after the first committee hadn’t done anything. That went on for fifteen years and then they formed a new committee in 1879 . . . called it the Old Guard. They gave a benefit entertainment at the fairgrounds and raised two hundred dollars; then gave another at the Music Hall that fall and made two hundred more. But the next affairs they gave lost money instead of making it, so they were right back where they started. So after that . . . [Fade out and in.]
[Crowd sound.] [Band music off.]
JANE: I guess we’ll be able to see from here, Allen, though we’ll probably have to hold the children on our shoulders.
DICKY: I never did understand what Grandpa said about the monument.
MARY: Neither did I.
ALLEN: I don’t’ blame you. But it’s pretty simple. When they failed to raise enough money by just asking people to give it, the whole county voted to tax itself . . . that means that almost everyone must pay a little . . . and in that way they raised more than twenty-two thousand dollars. And that’s what built the monument you see standing there.
DICKY: Gee, it’s big!
MARY: Mother, why do they have that curtain up on top?
JANE: That’s the veil, dear. At the end of the ceremony they’ll pull the veil away so everyone can see the statue of the Union soldier. [Band music up.]
DICKY: Here comes the parade! Here comes the parade!
MARY: Oh, goody, goody! [Band music on strong. Marching. Continues behind . . . ]
ALLEN: See, children, there are the ex-soldiers from the Home, and the G. A. R. and coming back of them are all the uniformed lodges in the city, and a detachment of infantry. (PAUSE.) And look! See that carriage and the man sitting on the right in the back seat. That’s Mr. Hayes. He used to be our President in Washington. Now . . . you can say that you’ve seen a President of the United States.
DICKY: G-e-e, w-h-i-z! [Fades out and in.]
VOICE: Ladies and gentlemen! On this most auspicious occasion, when there is gathered here the finest flower of chivalry from all of Montgomery County, and indeed from the whole of our state and nation, I esteem it a rare privilege and an exalted honor to have a part in the ceremonies thus inaugurated. I need to tell none of you why we are brought together, whom we are assembled to honor. Back of me there rises toward the ineffable blue of heaven a noble shaft of enduring granite, topped by a figure carved from the purest of Italian marble . . . that priceless stone from which the sculptural masterpieces of antiquity were fashioned. And what does this figure represent? What hopes, what faiths, what aspirations, what convictions? [Fades.] I shall tell you . . .
JANE: Allen, it’s going to rain. Just look at those clouds!
ALLEN: Yes, I guess we’re in for it.
JANE: Do you suppose we could get the children indoors some place?
ALLEN: Not a chance. This crowd is packed solid as far as I can see. We could never work our way through it. [Thunder.]
VOICE: [Fades in.] And thus it is my privilege to unveil for the first time to the eyes of our community this heroic figure so perfectly symbolic of our national courage and honor. (PAUSE.)
JANE: Oh, Allen, look! The veil won’t come off the statue. Allen, think how everyone must feel!
ALLEN: He’s yanking at the rope, but it won’t work. [Laughter spreads through the crowd.]
VOICE: [Off.] Get a steeplejack! Get a steeplejack! [Thunder.]
JANE: Here comes the rain! Get under my parasol, Mary. [Storm breaks, holds for long moment, fades out.] (PAUSE.)
ALLEN: The rain’s stopping. See, children, the steeplejack is almost to the top of the column. (PAUSE.) Now, he’s caught hold of the veil. Here it comes! See, there’s the statue! [Some laughter and applause, changing to deep crowd cheers . . . off: Someone starts “America,” which grows in volume until it drowns all other sounds, then fades out itself.] (PAUSE.)
NARRATOR: And so ends another of the dramas which constitute the cavalcade of “Great Days in Dayton.” (PAUSE.) Next week our play will deal with the birth and growth of Dayton’s first large industries . . . the direct ancestors of those many large concerns which today help to carry the good name and fame of Dayton to all parts of the world. It will be a program in which we are sure you will take a keen interest. [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]
ANNOUNCER: “Great Days in Dayton” comes to you through the sponsorship of The Dayton Power and Light Company. This organization has a long record in supplying natural gas, electric light and power, and city steam, to the homes, business and industries of our city. It feels that it can take an honest pride in its contributions to the growth and development of Dayton, not only in the physical sense but in the sense of promoting a progressive civic spirit. And it is with the hope of maintaining and still further strengthening this civic spirit, that our sponsors present these dramatized chapters from Dayton’s history. (PAUSE.) We would like to have you, your family and your friends as our guests at a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast, originating each Sunday afternoon at five o’clock in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute. Tickets are free. You can obtain as many as you’ll need by calling at the ground floor offices of the Gas and Electric Building, 25 North Main Street. (PAUSE.) All dramatic roles in these productions are played by members of the Dayton Civil Theatre professional company. Your narrator has been Charles McLean. Your announcer is Morton DaCosta. Be sure to listen next Sunday, at five o’clock, over Station WHIO, for . . . “Great Days in Dayton!”
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