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Great Days in Dayton
Untamed Waters


 

“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. 21—“UNTAMED WATERS”

 

MUSIC

[Theme: Starts fortissimo, then fades behind…]

 

ANNOUNCER:  Great Days in Dayton!”

  [Music: Swells and fades behind…]

ANNOUNCER:  Week by week we have presented dramatic events in the history of Dayton.  Beginning with the arrival of the first settlers, almost one hundred and fifty years ago, we have seen our community grow from a tiny cluster of log cabins to a thriving city.  We have seen the romance, the drama and at times, the tragedy that have been essential factors in that growth.  Our historical plays have presented the normal progress of peaceful times and the stark realism of war.  But always we have seen that our city’s advancement has been the result of a conscious spirit among Dayton citizens, a firm determination that Dayton should progress by wise planning and ceaseless effort for the welfare of the community as a whole. It is the hope of our sponsors, The Dayton Power and Light Company, that the presentation of these radio dramas shall renew and strengthen in all of us that civic spirit which alone can assure for Dayton great days in the future, as there have been great days in the past.  (PAUSE.)  And now…here is your narrator, Mr. Charles McLean, who will introduce the play we present today.

 

[MUSIC: Swells and fades behind…]

NARRATOR:  The founders of Dayton selected as its site the confluence of the Miami and Mad Rivers.  This was done because rivers were the life-lines of the early frontier communities, affording the easiest and safest means of travel, communication and transportation.  Yet Dayton’s rivers were not an unmixed blessing.  Even during the town’s early decades there were periodic floods.  Each spring the waters rose threateningly, and some times they covered the lower parts of the town.  Levees were built at last, and these, together with improvements in the river channels, gave what was considered ample protection against serious flood damage.  The high water continued to come each year, but it was more a matter of excitement for the younger generation than of concern for their elders.  The spring of 1913 saw the river rise as usual, its yellow current swollen with the melted snows of winter.  Then, late in March, there came four days of heavy rains over the entire area of nearly three thousand squares miles which drain into Dayton’s rivers.  On the night of Monday, March 24, the rain was still falling in torrents, but the river was not unduly high.  Most Daytonians were in their homes, warm and safe against the weather.  But several hundred had ventured out to attend a performance of “Officer 666” at the Victory Theatre; still others, doubtless with considerable grumbling, were doing work which kept them out in the cold rain; and a few, though not many, lined the bridges and levees, watching the racing current and speculating as to the probable crest that might be reached within the next few days.  Among these last, let us assume, were Samuel Lane and his two children, Paul and Susan…fictional characters who may be said to represent the typical Dayton family.

[MUSIC: Fades out.]

 

  [Rain and rushing water.  Indistinct voices off.]

PAUL:  Gee, Dad, the old river’s sure high, isn’t it?

SUE:  I should say so!  It must be higher than it’s ever been.

SAM:  No, it’s been higher than this lots of times, even in my day.  And years ago, they say, it used to flood a good part of the town.  There’d even be water running in Main Street.

PAUL:  Water in Main Street!  Gee, that would be fun!

SUE:  Will there be water in Main Street this time, Daddy?

SAM:  Oh, no.  We’re all through with that sort of thing in Dayton.  The new river channels and the good strong levees always keep the river where it belongs.

SUE:  But it’s way up on the banks, almost to the top.

SAM:  I know, but it would take a lot more water coming down to raise it to the tops of the levees.

PAUL:  I bet it would be fun to have a boat now.  Just think how you could whiz down the river on that current.

SUE:  You’d smash your boat against the bridge.  There’s hardly any room under the arches.

PAUL:  No, I wouldn’t.  I’d steer her right under and go on down …maybe all the way to Cincinnati.

SUE:  Look at that tree coming.  Oh, it’s a big one!  Daddy, I’m scared!

PAUL:  That’s just like a girl.  I wish I was on that old tree.

SAM:  It is a big one.  I don’t think it will get under the bridge.  [Shouts off.]

PAUL:  Here she comes!

  [Loud crash.]

SUE:  Oh, Daddy, I could feel the bridge shake.  I’m sacred.  Let’s go home, please.

PAUL:  Oh, Susan, and just when it’s getting exciting!

SAM:  It’s time to go anyway. Your mother will be afraid we’ve all drowned in this rain.  Come on.  [Fade out.]  [Door opens.]

                                                                          __________

 

MARY:  Sam Lane, I should have known better than to let you take these children out at all.  You said you’d be gone only a few minutes, and it’s been nearly an hour.

SAM:  Well, Mary, there were a lot of people there on the bridge watching the river, and I sort of lost track of the time.  I suppose the children did get a little wet.

MARY:  Wet?  They’re soaked to the skin.  Sue, you and Paul go upstairs this minute and get those wet clothes off.  You’re both to take hot baths and go straight to bed.  It’ll be a wonder if you haven’t caught your death of colds.

SUE:  Mother, it was awfully scarey.  We saw a big tree come down the river and smash right into the bridge, and…

PAUL:  I wasn’t scared.  I wish I’d had a boat.  I’d have…

MARY:  Never mind about a boat or anything else.  March upstairs this very minute, both of you.  I’ll be up in a few minutes with some hot lemonade.  And I want you to sleep between blankets.  You’re both chilled through.  (PAUSE.)

SAM:  Yes, the river’s pretty high. It might scare a man if he hadn’t seen it that way often before.

MARY:  There isn’t any real danger is there, Sam?

SAM:  Oh, no!  Of course, there’ll be water in the cellars over in Riverdale, and maybe some in the streets, like there is every year.  But here on Second Street we’ll be safe and dry, except for this rain.  It sure is pouring…has been for the last two or three days.

MARY:  I know.  If it isn’t clear tomorrow, I’ll have to hang the children’s clothes around the furnace to dry them.

SAM:  That reminds me.  I’d better see about the fire.  It may be a little low.  I’ve been trying to nurse this last ton of coal along through the rest of the winter.

MARY:  Sam.

SAM:  Yes.

MARY:  When you’ve looked at the furnace, will you call the Journal office and see what they think about the high water?  I can’t help being a little worried.

SAM:  Sure, I’ll call them.  But we needn’t worry.  [Fade out and in.]

                                                                     __________

 

  [Newspaper sounds…telegraph, typewriters, voices off.]

ED:  So I said, ”All right, maybe he was a good college professor, but that doesn’t make him a good President.  You give me a fellow, like Teddy Roosevelt every time.  There’s a man who…” [Telephone rings.]  Dayton Journal, city room…Oh, hello, Sam…No, we don’t think so…I know, but we’ve had a man out covering different parts of town.  It’s nothing serious…sure tell her not to worry at all.  Good night.  [Hangs up.]  Joe!

JOE:  [Coming on.]  Yes, Ed.

ED:  You’re writing the river story, aren’t you?

JOE:  Yes.

ED:  Sam Lane just called up. His wife’s worried about the high water.  A lot of other people have called up tonight, too.  A few of them seem to be scared of a real flood.

JOE:  Sure, they are.  Some of them are scared that way every year.  But there’s nothing to it.  The river’s high enough so that the storm sewers can’t carry off this heavy rain.  So there’s water backed up in some streets…quite a lot of it some places.  There’s a foot or two standing on the lower parts of First, Second, Third, and Fourth, down toward Robert Boulevard.  And there’s more in Riverdale, North Dayton and Edgemont.  But it’s backwater; it’ll drain off as soon as the river falls a little.  I’m only giving the story half a column, and it’s not worth page one, if you’ve got much good wire stuff.

ED:  All right, go ahead and finish it.  [Telephone rings.]  Dayton Journal city room…No, no, it’s nothing serious…that’s right, you can go to bed and forget about it.  [Fade out and in.]

                                                                         __________

  [Strong rain and river sounds, holding behind…]

VOICE:  Slowly, through the long black hours of night, there rose the unseen monster of destruction.  As wind-lashed rain beat upon the silent city, the rising rivers roared and strained against their bonds, gathering hour by hour the full measure of their untamed strength, threatening relentlessly the very community to which they had given birth.  The many thousands slept peacefully.  A few, wakeful, stared into the darkness, listening to the thunder of the rain and the rushing waters.  A very few sensed the impending disaster.  And at the first streaks of dawn one of these set forth to measure and prepare against the coming catastrophe.  [Fade out and in.]

                                                                         _________

 

PATTERSON:  There’s enough light now to see how bad it is.  Is the car ready?

VOICE 1:  It’s at the door now, Mr. Patterson.

PATTERSON:  All right.  While I’m gone, call the factory and tell them to get all department heads there as soon as possible.  I’ll be there myself by eight o-clock, probably before.

VOICE 1:  Yes, sir.  [Door opens.]

VOICE 2:  Good morning, Mr. Patterson.

PATTERSON:  Good morning.  I want you to drive me over as much of the city as possible within the next hour, particularly along the river and through the lower parts of town.  Drive as fast as you can safely.

VOICE 2: Yes, sir.

                                                                          __________

  [Car door slams.  Motor starts.] [Running car fades, out and in.]

VOICE 2:  Do you think there’s any real danger, Mr. Patterson?

PATTERSON:  Yes, terrible danger.  See, down there to the west, toward the river.  The water has already covered hundreds of acres.  Drive straight in Main Street to the river.  [Running car fades out and in, comes to stop.]  [Roaring water in and up.]

VOICE 2:  I’m afraid we’d better not cross the bridge, sir.   There’ll be deep water in all the Riverdale streets on the other side.

PATTERSON:  No, no, of course not.  It’s even worse than I thought it would be.  And nothing in the world can prevent it now.  Drive east along Monument Avenue.  I want to see how much water is coming in from Mad River.  Then we’ll go to the factory.  [Car starts and fades out.]

                                                                        __________

 

MARY:  Sam, I’m terribly frightened.  The water is up over the sidewalk and almost to our front steps.  It must be three feet deep in the street.  And it’s rising all the time.  I’ve been watching it.

SAM:  Now, Mary, don’t worry.  The water has backed up some from the storm sewers, and it may come even higher.  But there’s no real danger.

PAUL:  Gee, it’ll be fun.  I can put on my boots and wade to school.

MARY:  You’re not going to school today, Paul. Neither is sue.

SAM: You’re worrying over nothing, dear.  There won’t by any water at all in the streets up at the schoolhouse.

Sue:  [Tearfully.]  I’m scared.  I want to stay home with you, Mother.

MARY:  You’re going to, darling.  Sam, I tell you there is danger.  The water may come so high that none of us can get out of the house.

SAM:  Nonsense, my dear.

MARY:  It isn’t nonsense.  I know it.  I…I feel it.  Listen to me, Sam.  We have almost no food in the house, because I was going to market today.  I want you to go to the grocery on the corner of Third Street and get some things.  Get bread, several loaves, and canned beans and soup, and three quarts of milk.  Go now, Sam, please.  In a little while it may be too late.

SAM:  All right, I’ll go if it will make you feel any easier.  Paul, get my hip boots from the hall closet.

MARY:  Promise me one thing more.  When you come back, stay here.  Don’t go to your office.

SAM:  Oh, I couldn’t do that.  I’ll have to go, of course.

MARY:  No, Sam.  I tell you you mustn’t.  I’ve never felt like this …never been so frightened.

SAM:  Well, now, dear, if you’re so worried.  I will stay home for a little while…till the middle of the morning, any way.  By that time you’ll see that everything is all right.

MARY:  I hope so.  Oh, I hope so!  [Music: Fades in and out.]

                                                               __________

  [Buzz of conversation.]

VOICE 1:  Here’s Mr. Patterson now.  [Conversation down.]

PATTERSON:  Are all department heads here?

VOICE 1:  Yes, Mr. Patterson.

PATTERSON:  All right.  Gentlemen, at this moment the National Cash Register Company ceases to be a manufacturing concern and becomes a rescue and relief organization for what is going to be the worst disaster in the history of Dayton.

VOICE 2:  What do you mean?

PATTERSON:  I mean that Dayton is going to be swept by a terrible flood.

VOICE 2:  Why, I can hardly believe that.  I drove across the river from Dayton View twenty minutes ago, and while the water is pretty high, it didn’t look really dangerous to me.

PATTERSON:  But you’ll not drive back across the river an hour from now…and neither will anyone else…not for a great many hours…not for days.  It’s eight o’clock now.  Within an hour all of downtown Dayton will be covered by several feet of water, and in the outlying lower district it will be much deeper.

VOICE 2:  Won’t the levees hold the river?

PATTERSON:  It isn’t a question of levees.  There’s so much water coming that we might as well not have any levees at all.  I tell you, this flood is going to be like a tidal wave.  By noon today thousands of people are gong to be marooned in their homes.  Some of those homes are going to collapse or be swept away.  People will be drowned.  Hundreds, or even thousands, may be drowned, unless rescue work is started now!  And this organization is going to start it.  First of all, the wood-working department is to start immediately building flat- bottomed boats.  I don’t care what they look like, as long as they’ll float and carry several people each.  As fast as they’re built, our factory trucks are to carry them over the fairgrounds hill and launch them on the other side.

VOICE 1:  Do you mean to say that there’ll be water in the streets there?

PATTERSON:  There’ll be plenty of it…and don’t interrupt me. We’ll get volunteers from the factory, and anywhere else we can, to row or pole those boats through the streets and get people out of their houses as fast as we can.  (PAUSE.)  Next…the factory commissary department will start immediately to prepare relief meals…hot soup, sandwiches and coffee.  They’ll be served here at the factory, and taken by truck to other points in town where the rescued people will be brought.  There will be thousands of homeless people to feed by tonight.  We’ll telephone to Columbus, Cincinnati and probably New York for additional food supplies, and for doctors, nurses, medical supplies, cots and blankets.  We’ll convert whatever part of this factory is necessary into dormitories and hospital wards.  Every man in the room, and every employee of this company, is on constant relief duty from now until further notice.  [Music: Fades in and out.]

                                                                          __________

  [Rain.  Rushing water.]

GEORGE:  Harry!  Harry!  Come here to the window!  Come here!

HARRY:  [Coming on.]  What is it, George?  (PAUSE.)  Good Lord!  Water running in Main Street, and it must be six inches deep.  Why, there wasn’t any when I came into the building fifteen minutes ago!

GEORGE:  Look!  Lean out here with me and look up toward the Monument!  It’s coming down the street in a wave three or four feet high!  It’s stalled the street cars and caught a wagon and a team.  The horses are down, both of them.

HARRY:  There’s a man in the next block, trying to get his car started. He can’t make it.

GEORGE:  Yes, he can.  He’s started.  He’s turning around and heading this way.

HARRY:  Not soon enough.  The water’s caught him.  Look!  He’s turned over.  He’ll drown!

GEORGE:  No, there he is!  He’s climbed out.  He’s wading toward the sidewalk.  He’s down, now, but he’s swimming.  He’ll make it …yes…yes…he’s caught hold of a lamp post.

HARRY:  [Shouts.]  Look out!  Look out below!  You people getting off that street car!  Run!  Run! Run for this building!  Hurry!

GEORGE:  They can’t all make it.  The water’s catching them already.  Look at that; there’s a woman down!  She’ll drown!  What can we do?  What can we do?  [Fades out and in.]

                                                                      __________

  [Telephone rings.]

VOICE 1:  Daily News, city room…Yes, of course, we know it.  How could we help it, with the water four feet deep right outside this building?…Yes, you’ll get help.  The N. C. R. is building boats, the fire department will have some and there’ll be people with canoes…No, no, stay inn your house.  Wait till they come for you.  All right, all right.

VOICE 2:  The pressroom’s flooded.  We can’t get the paper out.

VOICE 1:  Oh, yes, we can, if we have to print it on a hand press in the composing room.  [Telephone rings.]

VOICE 1:  Daily News…Oh, yes.  Where are you, Max?…I see.  Whole family on the roof, were they?  And the house collapsed under them…yes…yes…father saved the mother and two of the children, but the baby drowned.  Yes, I’ve got it.  Call me back, Max.

VOICE 2:  They got the people off that stalled train.  They’re on the second floor at the Union Station, but they haven’t anything to eat.

VOICE 1:  Neither have I.  [Telephone rings.]  Daily News.  All right, Dan… yes…yes…all the store windows on Main street smashed…yes…furniture, pianos, clothing dummies, everything that will float, and all out in the street…all right, Dan.

VOICE 2:  They think the telegraph lines are going out any minute.

VOICE 1:  All right, we’ll start getting this stuff on the wires.  Send bulletins as fast as we get the stuff in here, and follow with a running story for as long as the lines are working.  Get on it.  [Telephone rings.]

VOICE 1:  Daily News…yes…I see…Can’t you hold it a little longer?…Oh…Yes, all right.  [Hangs up.]  Listen!  They’re going to pull the main fuses at the telephone exchange in twenty minutes to prevent a fire.  That means we’ll be cut off.  Everyone who’s not working on wire bulletins, get on the telephone lines and get in all the news you can.  [Music: Fades in and out.]

                                                               __________

 

MARY:  Sam!  Sam!  Come up here right away!

SAM:  [Off.]  Coming.  [Footsteps on the stairs.]  [Coming on.]  Mary, there’s five feet of water in the cellar.  It’s coming in through the windows from the yard.  I fished around and got this axe.  We may need it to make firewood; the furnace is flooded.

MARY:  [Grimly.]  Look out in the street, Sam.  That isn’t backwater.  Look at that current.  And it’s getting deeper every minute.  I’ll tell you what’s going to happen, since you can’t see it for yourself.  The water is coming into this house…not just the cellar, but right here on this floor where we’re standing, right into our home.

SAM:  [Slowly.]  Yes,…I see.

MARY:  Children!  Children!

SUE: Yes, Mother.

MARY:  Sue, darling, we’ll all have to go upstairs.  You and I will carry as much glassware and china as we can.  Paul, you help your father.

PAUL:  All right, Mother.

SAM:  Get those sacks of groceries from the kitchen first, son.  Then carry up the two big kettles; we’ll fill them with water.  Mary, I’m going to carry up as many books and pictures as I can.

MARY:  Get all the coats from the hall closet first.  We’ll need them.  And if you have time, bring up those two oriental rugs.  [Running footsteps.]

PAUL:  Here are the groceries, Dad.

SAM:  Upstairs with them.  And, before you come down, turn on the water and let the bathtub fill.

SUE:  I have most to the cups and saucers out of the china closet, Mother.

MARY:  All right.  Put them in this clothes basket and we’ll carry them up.

SAM:  [Excitedly.]  Here comes the water, Mary.  It’s coming under the front door and up through the registers.  We’ll have to hurry. 

MARY:  Run, Sue!  Run upstairs. Never mind the basket; I’ll bring it. Paul, stay up there!  We’re all coming up.

SAM:  You go up, too, Mary.  I’ll bring these rugs and then come back for everything I can save.

MARY:  I won’t, Sam!  I won’t let the water take all our lovely things.  I’ll bring the basket back and help you with the books and pictures.

SAM:  You can’t, I tell you.  The water’s coming faster and faster.  It’s almost up to the windows outside.  It’ll smash them in in a few minutes.  Go upstairs, I tell you.  [Fade out and in.]

                                                                   __________

 

MARY:  We’ll be all right now, children.  Put on your heavy coats, both of you.  It’s going to be very cold.

SAM:   The electricity is off, Mary.  We’ll have to do something for light.  Have we any candles?

MARY:  No, none up here.  But I think there may be some in the kitchen cabinet.  It’s too bad we forgot them.

SAM:  I’m going to get them.

MARY:  You can’t go down, Sam.  The water’s too deep now.

SAM:  Yes, I can, even if I have to swim.  [Footsteps.]

SUE:  Look!  Daddy’s walking right down into the water.

PAUL:  Gee, I bet it’s cold!

MARY:  Be careful, Sam!

SAM:  I’ll be all right.

PAUL:  There he goes, around through the living room.  The water’s awful deep.  [Pause.]  [Splashing sound.]

MARY:  [Frightened.]  Sam!

SAM:  [Off.]  Yes, I’m coming.  [Splashing.]  (PAUSE.)  [Coming on.]  Here we are.  I

found five candles.  And here’s your china punchbowl, Mary; it was floating around in the dining room with the table and chairs.  And I got these few books from the top shelves.

MARY:  You must get into dry clothes right away.

SAM:  I’ll make a fire for you first.

MARY:  No, Paul can do that.  Thank heaven, this house has a fireplace on the second floor.

PAUL:  Sure, I can make a fire.

SAM:  Get two of those plain chairs from the back bedroom, son, and split them up with the axe. [Music: Fades in and out.]

                                                                   __________

 

  [Mixed voices and shouts off.]

VOICE 1:  What time is it?

VOICE 2:  I don’t know.  I lost my watch when the canoe turned over.  But it must be after midnight.

VOICE 3:  The water’s still rising, but not so fast.  We’re measuring it over here along the curbstone.  [Rumble.]

VOICE 1:  Here comes another truckload of boats.  [Rumble on to stop.]

VOICE 2:  How many have you got this time?

VOICE 4:  Six.  They’re building them faster now…one every seven minutes.

VOICE 1:  That’s good.  We can use all they make.  [Voice up.]  Bring the lanterns over here and help unload these boats.  And we’ll need more volunteers to go out in them.

VOICES:  I’ll go…Frank and I will take one…So will we.

VOICE 2:  All right, slide them down.  [Scraping.]  Now, into the water.  [Splash.]  Get aboard, you two.  Now, take along these blankets and some canned soup.  Leave them in houses where they’re needed and where people are safe for the present.  Take out the old people and sick ones first.  We’ll get the others later.  Off you go!

VOICE 3:  Here’s a boat coming back.  They’ve got three people.  (PAUSE.)  [Scraping.]

VOICE 1:  All right, you’re safe now.

VOICE 5:  [Woman.]  Get my mother and father out first, please.  The water came so high in our little house that we couldn’t keep out of it.  We’ve been it for hours.  Mother, are you all right?  [Moan.]  Father.  (PAUSE.)  Father.  (PAUSE.)  [Voice rises.]  Father!

VOICE 2:  He’s probably all right.

VOICE 5:  [Tearfully.]  No, he isn’t.  He isn’t all right.  I know it!

VOICE 3:  Here let me help you first.  Then we’ll lift them out.

VOICE 1:  Swing that ambulance around here!  [Rumble.]  That’s it.  Now, lift them in carefully.  All right, take these people out to the N. C. R. factory and have a doctor see them right away.  [Fade out and in.]

                                                                  __________

 

VOICE 5:  Is he all right, Doctor?

DOCTOR:  I’m sorry…he’s gone.  People of his age can’t stand exposure like that.  But your mother will live.  A nurse is putting her to bed now.

VOICE 5:  Oh, oh, what are we to do?  We’ve lost everything.

DOCTOR:  Now, you mustn’t worry.  Your mother will have the best possible care here, and so will you.  First of all, I want you to eat a hot meal.  Then we’ll have a bed for you and see that you get a good night’s sleep.  [Music:  Fades in and out.]

                                                                 __________

 

  [Fire sound.]

VOICE 1:  This is terrible.  As if the flood weren’t enough, it looks as though the whole center of town may burn.  How did the fire start, Chief.

CHIEF:  There was an explosion in the drug store at the corner of Third and St. Clair.  The water got at chemicals of some kind.

VOICE 1:  Can the department do anything?

CHIEF:  We’re almost helpless.  Our fire plugs are under ten feet of water, and even if we could get to them, we wouldn’t have any pressure for our hose lines; the city pumping station is dead, of course.  I’m afraid we’ll lose most of these two blocks on both sides of Third Street.  Come along in this boat, if you want to.  I’m going to see what can be done.

VOICE 2:  All ready, Chief?

CHIEF:  Yes.  Row around to the far side, where the fire is spreading.  We may be able to do something there.

VOICE 1:  Let me take an oar.  This current is terrible.

VOICE 2:  There’s another dead horse.  I must have seen fifty tonight.

CHIEF:  Yes.  They let them out of the livery stables, and most of the poor animals couldn’t save themselves.  [Oarlocks squeak.]  (PAUSE.)  Wait a minute! There’s a man in a third-story window.  Row over that way.

VOICE 3:  [Faint off.]  Help!  Help!

CHIEF:  [Shouts.]  All right.  We’re coming!  [Voice down.]  Swing the boat around and get in close to the building over the sidewalk.  That’s it.  Now work up toward where he is.  I’m going to have him jump.  Steady, now.  Hold it about here if you can.  The current will bring him to us.

VOICE 1:  He’s up pretty high.

VOICE 2:  Yes, but he’ll burn to death where he is.

CHIEF:  [Shouts.]  Jump!  We’ll pick you up.

VOICE 3:  [Off.]  I’m afraid.

CHIEF:  Jump, I tell you!

VOICE1:  Jump!

VOICE 2:  Come on!  We’ll get you.  (PAUSE.) 

CHIEF:  He’s getting up his nerve.  Wait.  (PAUSE.)  Here he comes!  [Loud splash.]

VOICE 1:  I see him!

CHIEF:  Swing the boat over a little.  That’s it.  Now, grab him.  Haul him in.

VOICE 3:  [Chattering.]  Get me some place where it’s warm; I’m freezing.

CHIEF:  Take this coat.  We’ll get you in somewhere in a few minutes.  Now, row around on the other side.  [Oarlocks squeak.]  (PAUSE.)

VOICE 1:  The fire’s spreading, all right.  Just look at it!

CHIEF:  Yes, but not as fast as it was.  I think we can count on that one fire wall to hold it back.  And the rain is checking it.  It may burn itself out without doing much more damage.  If it doesn’t, we may have to do some dynamiting.  [Music: fades in and out.]

                                                                     __________

 

ED:  Your deal, Joe.  And let’s see you ante first this time.

JOE:  All right, Ed.  There it is.  Five good cards to each and every player…and all from the top of the deck. 

VOICE 1:  They’d better be.

VOICE 2:  This is a fine kettle of fish, if you ask me.  I thought the press had some freedom of movement in time of emergency.  Here we are cooped up in a newspaper office with nothing to do but play penny ante.

ED:  Yes, and nothing to eat.

JOE:  It sure is tough.  Who’s opening?

VOICE 1:  I am…and for two.

VOICE 2:  You don’t scare me, neighbor.  I’m raising two.

ED:  I keep thinking about Bill Halleck, the lucky stiff.

JOE:  What about him?

ED:  He’s over at the Algonquin Hotel.  I sent him over there the first thing in the morning to get an interview, and he was there when the water came in.

VOICE 1:  What’s so lucky about that!

ED:  Everything.  The place is full of things to eat and drink, and everyone has a comfortable bed.

VOICE 2:  Not bad, not bad.

JOE:  Who’s drawing cards?

ED:  I am…two.

VOICE 1:  One for me.

VOICE 2:  Give me three.

JOE:  And two to the dealer.

ED:  Yes, Bill called me just before they cut off the telephone service.  He said he was in congenial company and was feeling fine.  He missed the first flood, he said...the one with the Ark in it…but he thought he was going to enjoy this one.  He said he’d see us all again in forty days and forty nights.

JOE:  That’s all right about what a good time Bill’s having.  But who’s betting on this hand?

VOICE 1:  I am…two.

VOICE 2:  And raise you two.

ED:  That lets me out.

JOE:  Me, too.

VOICE 1:  And two back at you.

VOICE 2:  And two more.

VOICE 1:  Let me look at these again.  (PAUSE.)  I guess I’ll call you.

VOICE 2:  I’ve got a pair of deuces.

VOICE 1: That whips me.

                                                                      __________

  [Music: Fades in and out.]

SAM:  I’ll build up the fire, Mary, and then go down and measure the water again.  It hadn’t risen much the last time I was down.

PAUL:  I want to go down, too.

SUE:  So do I.  I want to see all the furniture floating around.

MARY:  No, children, you stay here with me.  We’re gong to have some bread and hot milk in a few minutes.  [Wood cracking.]

SAM:  There goes the last of that chair.  It’ll make a good fire for a while. Now, I’ll see about the water.  [Footsteps.]  (PAUSE.)

SAM:  [Off.]  Mary!  Mary!  The water’s going down!  [Coming on.]  It’s fallen almost an inch since the last time I measured it.

MARY:  [Quietly.]  Yes, Sam.

SAM:  But aren’t you glad?  We’re out of danger.

MARY:  No, we’re not.  We’re just saved from this one flood.

SAM:  It couldn’t happen again…a flood like this.

MARY:  Yes, it could.  It could happen next year…or next week.  The rain can fall, and the river can rise, and the water can come to drown all of us.  I don’t want to live in a town where the lives of my husband and children aren’t safe.  And after this is over, no Dayton woman will want to.  I don’t know why you men can’t see things like that.  You may be content to clear away the wreckage and go back to your business and forget all about it.  But this flood has struck at women’s homes and hearts.  They won’t be content to risk having it happen again.  They’ll want to know it cant happen.  They’ll want you men to do something about it…do something!  Can’t you understand?

SAM:  [Slowly.]  Yes…I understand, Mary.  You’re right, Mary.  This mustn’t happen again.  There must be some way to prevent it.  And we must find that way.

MARY:  I…I’m sorry, Sam, that I went to pieces that way, when there’s so much for all of us to do.

SAM:  There, there, dear.  That’s all right.  [Music: Fades in and behind.]

                                                                  __________

 

NARRATOR:  In the brief time allotted to us for each of these historical dramas, it has been possible to present today only the highlights of the story of the great Dayton flood of 1913.  The horror and menace of the rushing waters, demanding their frightful toll of death and destruction, constitute but one phase of that drama.  For when at last the waters subsided they left behind them scenes of indescribable desolation and despair.  Then if ever an American city faced a stark and crucial test of its citizenship; then, if ever, the will, the courage and the spirit of a people were confronted by overwhelming tragedy.  How Dayton met that moment, how tragedy was converted into triumph…this constitutes the theme of the drama which we shall present next Sunday.  [Music: Swells and fades behind…]

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ANNOUNCER:  Great Days in Dayton” comes to you under the sponsorship of The Dayton Power and Light Company.  For many years this organization has supplied natural gas, electric light and power, and city steam, to the homes, businesses and industries of Dayton.  It’s growth and expansion have been made possible by Dayton’s will to progress.  Its plans for the future are plans for Dayton’s future.  It welcomes its own share in the task of building the always better community of tomorrow.  (PAUSE.)  These programs originate in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute.  Admission to the broadcasts is free.  Tickets may be obtained for yourself, your family and your friends at the ground floor offices of the Gas and Electric Building, 25 N. Main Street.   (PAUSE.)  All dramatic roles in these productions are played by members of the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company.  Your narrator has been Charles McLean.  Your announcer is Morton DaCosta.  (PAUSE.)  Next Sunday we shall present “Up from Despair,” another drama from story of the Dayton flood.  Be sure to tune in at 5:00 P. M. over Station WHIO for “Great days in Dayton!”