06x32 - Betty's Graduation (Flashback)

Episode transcripts for the TV show "Father Knows Best". Aired: October 3, 1954 - May 23, 1960.
The series, which began on radio in 1949, follows the lives of the Andersons, a middle-class family living in the town of Springfield.
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06x32 - Betty's Graduation (Flashback)

Post by bunniefuu »

(pleasant orchestral music)

- [Announcer] Here are Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.

With Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin

in Father Knows Best.

- Kathy, what's this note from your math teacher

about unsatisfactory work?

- I'm not good at it.


- Oh, don't give me that, you're very good at it.

Here's your math book.

Now you get to work before it's too late.

- It's no use.


- Well of course it isn't if you don't study.

Are you trying to flunk this course?

You wanna stay at junior high for the rest of your life?


- Yes.

- What?

- You wouldn't understand.

This is the happiest time of my life

and I don't want it to end.

- Oh no, not at your age.

- Well, it's true, here I am at the prime of my life

and it's almost over.


- Look, Kathy, you can't just stop things because you,


take a god look at your sister there.

(flamenco music playing)


Does that look like asad, miserable old woman

who's life was over years ago?


- No, but at her age, what else can she do

but try to make the best of it?

- Well before you decide tomake a career out of the eighth

grade, let me tell you a little story about Betty.

This happened way back when she was getting ready

for her high school graduation.

There was more hustle and bustle around here

than a woman's hat sale.

We all got involved in it.

Even poor old Bud was pressed into service

as a model for Betty's graduation dress.


- The side like that.

- Well, what if a tornado should suddenly rip off

the front of the houseand everybody walking by

could see me?


- I doubt we'll have a tornado today.

- Well, what iflightning should strike

and we'll all be k*lled and I'd be found d*ad this way?

I wouldn't dare go back to school.

- Bud, will you just stand still for a second?

I'll get this finished, I'm working as fast as I can.

- I don't see why Betty can't model her own dress.

- I've already told you, she has too many

other things to do.

She's trying to learn her valedictory speech

and well, wait til you graduate,you'll be just as busy.

- Not me, if I have to go through all this nonsense

to graduate, I'll drop out of school first.

(telephone rings)

- [Margaret] Oh Bud, wait.

- The phone's ringing, it's probably Claude.

I'm supposed to be helping him catch gophers

in Mrs. George's asparagus.

- Oh no.

- She's gonna pay us two bits a gopher.

- We need you around here today.

- Hello Claude?

Oh, oh wait a minute.


Hey ugly, telephone!


- Do you have to call her ugly?

- No, I don't have to.


- [Betty] Who is it?

- Dotty, are you about through fooling around up there

so you can take over here and let a man go do a man's work?

- So cute, hello Dotty.

No honey, you receive the diploma with your left hand.

That's right, ohyou'll remember.

Yes you will, that's right, the left.

Okay, Dotty, bye.

- I ought to be trappinggophers right now.

- Oh, that Dotty, worrying herself sick

over which hand to accept the diploma in.

She'll use the wrong onetoo, just wait and see.

- And how are youcoming with your speech?

- Oh I don't know, I can't seem to concentrate on it.

Uh, as we stand on the threshold of life,

I keep wanting to say the brink of life.

As we stand on the threshold of life,

facing before us the great adventure of the future,

our thoughts turn backwardswith a warm, nostalgic fondness

to the happy four year journey culminating today

with this graduation.

- I'm standing here losing two bits a gopher.


- Oh, freshmen, freshmen, freshmen.

- Timid as a yearling.

- As freshmen, we enter these portals timid as a yearling,

wide-eyed and eager, yetstumbling and unlearned.

(doorbell ringing)


- Mother, I'd perish if anybody saw me like this.


(light orchestral music)

- Miss Betty Anderson, is that you, ma'am?

- No, I'm her mother,but thank you very much.


- Oh, it must be a corsage from Ralph.

But before your rare beauty these flowers do pale,

please wear them tonight when you dance with this male.

Gee, how corny can you get?

Gee, are these pretty?

- It's beautiful, and it'll go wonderfully well

with your dress, too.

You know, sometimes thisRalph surprises you.

You want to keep it in the box?

It's a good idea to put it

in the refrigerator until tonight.

(door latching)

- Well, I made it.

I hope it's the right size this time.

I was lucky, too, there are about seven others down there

trying to exchange theirs.

Actually, I can't see the difference,

they all look the same to me.

Here, you want to try it on?

Oh Princess, why the tears?

What is this?

- I don't know, I just don't know.

She seemed fine a few moments ago,

she seemed excited when the corsage from Ralph came,

I just don't know.

- This shouldn't be a day of tears.

Graduation dance tonight, the commencement tomorrow,

valedictorian of her class.

Why, this should bethe happiest day of her

(dramatic orchestral music)


Gee God!

- You make one crack, Dad, you and I are through.


- Well, we couldn't figure out what was bothering Betty.

But at least shecontinued getting ready

for the big occasion.

In fact, I found her upstairs,

rehearsing her graduation speech.

- As h*m*, wesoared to sudden height,

flying on the flimsywings of sophistication

and smug conceit, only to plunge as aged

and profound juniors to the realization

that the journey was yet long and perilous.

Oh, hi Father.

- Very good, sounds fine.

- I'll never learn it.

- Well it sounds to me as though you already learned it.

Want me to hang this in your room?

- Oh, would you?

- Everything alright?

- Yes.

- Anything else I can help you with?

Anything else I can do?

- I don't think so, thanks.

- You're sure everything's okay?

- Everything's fine.

- Good, you know, I can hardly believe

you're grown up and graduating.

Seemed like just a couple of weeks ago

you were about this high.

We used to go out to that little place along the creek

at Sycamore Grove Park.

You called it yourthinking spot, remember?

You used to like to go there whenever you had problems

and you used to put some fine questions to me, too,

like who started God?

How do they keep the sunfrom burning up the sky?

- How do they, Daddy?


- Well, Kitten, I may as well tell you.

I haven't figured out the answer yet.


I'll hang this in your room.

- Daddy, will you take me out to that thinking place

in where'd you say it was?

- In Sycamore Grove Park.

I never did know why they called it that.

The trees are all live oaks and cottonwoods.


- Will you take me there?

I have quite a bit of thinking to do these days.

- Well good, but I think weought to find a different place.

That one belongs to Betty.

- She owns it?


- Well, in a way.

The way you own that part of the moon that shines

through your window at night.

- I see, one of those kid deals.


- Yeah, kid stuff.

- Oh Daddy, would you read me this book.

- Not now, later.

- It's got some funny stuff in it but I don't understand it.

It's all about a dairy.

- Sounds interesting.


- For the love of Louis, Mom, aren't you done yet?

- Just stand still for half a second.

Stop hiding in the closet, my heavens.

- You promised you'd bake me a lemon pie if I do this,

but you're not gonna have time now.

Is that any way to treatyour only favorite son?

- Will you stop beating me about that pie, I'll bake it.

- Why don't you get a whip and b*at her?


She's alright now at least on the surface,

but underneath, I don't know,

maybe it's just my imagination.

- I think she's just worked up, excited.

After all, this is a pretty big moment

in a young girl's life.

- It's a big pain in a young boy's life.


- Here's a voice from my graduation.

Our annual class reunionlunch has been canceled

because of lack of response.

They're finally getting smart.

I'll never forget the last one

of these things I responded to.

We sat around like a lot of strangers.

After a couple of stale reminisce ness

no one could think ofanything to talk about.

- Where's the box this came in?

- I put it in the kitchen.

- Is that all she has to do?

Carry around a little fistful of dandelions?


While I suffer and sl*ve, tortured beyond a man's endurance?


How dare even little children laugh at me?

A base object of derision, I quit!

- Do you want that pie or don't you?

- It better have about this much merengue on it.


- Do you have time to read this to me now?

- Well, maybe a little later, dear.

- Do you know you're a character in this?

At least it's got your name in it.


- Oh good.

- May th, Armin askedme to the spring formal

but I don't know what to tell him.

I know I can get Jim to ask me

if I want him.

- Who is this?

- But if I turn Armin down,

Jim is just dec-

- Deceitful.

- If I turn Armin down, Jim is just deceitful enough

to ask someone else.

- Kathy, where did you find that?

- In some old stuff in the attic?

- You want it here?

- No, you shouldn't take things unless you ask first.

- That's right, itbelongs to your mother,

it's an old diary she used to keep.

- Diary, I thought it was about a dairy.


- What are you laughing at?

- Nothing, not a thing.

- If people had a few manners around here,

respected other peoples' privacy.

- What part did you read, Daddy?


- I read nothing.

- Do you want to know what she thought

after Armin kissed her?


(telephone ringing)

- No.

- Hello?

Oh yes, yes, just a minute.

It's for you, Ralph.


Well, take it.

- Hello, Ralph, yes I did and it's a beautiful corsage.

Ralph, I want you to listen closely

to what I'm going to say.

Don't ask me why and please try to understand.

Ralph, I'm not going to the dance tonight.

No, no Ralph, that's not it at all.

Please Ralph, I asked you not to ask me why.

No, there's no on else,I'm not going at all.

Please don't be mad, I just can't explain.

- [Margaret] Betty, you don't mean that,

now you're going to the dance.

- Why certainly, she'll go, Ralph.


- Your dress, a nice corsage,

you'll have a wonderful time.

Probably the happiest time of your life.

- I know, and that's the trouble.

I just couldn't bear to have it end.

- Oh now, Princess.

- I just couldn't.

The only way I know to keep it from ending

is to never let it start.

All the other dances, there's always been another one

to look forward to, but not this one.

This is the last one, the graduation dance.

- Now Princess, just because you're graduating,

- I'd stop that too, if I could.

- I'd stop all the clocks, I'd padlock time.

How am I gonna get through that speech tomorrow?

Do you know what valedictory means?

It means farewell, farewell to all the things

I love and want.

The kids, the fun, the classes,the library, the dates.

They'll all be gone forever, d*ad.

I'll never have them again, never!

- Well, you can imagine we were pretty upset over this.

We didn't know exactlyhow far Betty would go.

Ralph kept calling and calling

but Betty seemed determined not to go to that dance.

Then we really got worried when Betty disappeared.

- Disappeared?

- Yeah, we hunted all over but the only clue

we got was from you.

You were out in the front yard,you'd said you'd seen her.

Oh, Kathy.

- Oh hi, Daddy, how do you like my new thinking place?


- Fine, have you seen?

- It belongs to me and Bear.

Only trouble is, neitherone of us has been able

to think up anything to think about.


- Have you seen Betty?

- Mhmm, about an hour ago.

She said she was going for a walk.

- A walk, where to?

- I don't know, but wherever it was, I don't think

she wanted to go there,'cause it looked like

she was sort of crying.

- Jim?

- Kathy said shewent for a walk.

- Oh well, I found thisin her wastebasket.

- Her speech, inthe wastebasket?

- You don't suppose, oh surely she doesn't intend

to stay away from the graduation tomorrow?

- Oh that's impossible, isn't it?

(telephone ringing)

- Oh that Ralph.

- It's your turn.

You know, she's a good deal more disturbed about this

than we realized.

- Hello, who?

Oh yes, well no, she's not here right now.

Oh, well what time should she have been there?

Really, well she must have got the time mixed up.

We'll try to get in touch with her and have her there

as soon as possible, I'm sorry this happened, alright.

- Supposed to have been where?

- The school, they're having a rehearsal as part

of the graduation exercise

and they especially wantthe valedictorian there.

She was supposed to have been there half an hour ago.

- You know, I don't think she's kidding.

Well, where do we start looking?

I haven't the least idea.

- But where to look?

She's obviously not withany of her girlfriends,

they're all at the school.

- Kathy said she left an hour ago,

but you know her idea of the time.

(telephone ringing)

Well, why isn't Ralphrehearsing with the rest of them

instead of making these fool calls.


What, I can't hear you.

Betty, where are you?

- You'll never guess,not in a thousand years.

Sycamore Grove.

Oh I don't know, just asudden stupid impulse.

I wanted to see my thinking place beside the stream again.

I guess I'd thought it'd solve something, but it didn't.

Oh Father, I'm so mixed up, I don't know what I'm doing.

By taxi, and it took all my money,

that's why I'm calling you.

- Well, you wait right there and no,

wait by the stream, I'll be right out.

Sycamore Grove, weshould have known that.

- Is she alright?

- Oh sure, poor kid, reaching back into her childhood

trying to slow down a little.

But that old time is pretty relentless.

I'd better go.

- I'll ride off with you.

- Good idea.

(light orchestral music)

Uh, no, you better takecare of the home front.

You get her dress and everything ready.

I have a hunch she'll be needing that dress tonight.

(telephone ringing)

Tell Ralph to hold everything.


(water rippling)

- Hi.

- Hello, Father.

- I suppose you know, youmissed the graduation rehearsal.

- I forgot.

I suppose I couldn't really forget.

Why should I go to something that's just gonna make me sad?

- By George, the oldplace still looks good.

Everything else changes and always,

but somehow this spot looks just the way it used to.

- It looks the same, but somehowit doesn't seem like it did

when I was a little girl.

I think that's because I'm not a little girl anymore.

I've changed.

- Didn't it ever occur to you that's exactly what life is?

- Change.

If something stopped changing it wouldn't be living anymore.

It's the changing that makes it

stimulating, exciting, challenging.

This is nothing to besad about, this is good.

- Is it?

- Sure, it is.

Like this stream, look at it, watch it.

See how it flows, really fast?

Like it's laughing, dancing on the rocks.

There's excitement there.

Here the water's fresh,clear, alive, beautiful.

But look, look down there at it

where that old log has fallen into the water.

Dammed it up, slowed it down, shackled it.

What happens to the water, is it fresh and clear?

Muddy and murky, there's no laughter.

It lost the excitement of discovering what's around

the next bend and the next one after that.

Stop the water completely and it becomes stagnant.

You don't want to do that to your life, do you?

- This is all very pretty, Father,

but you still don't understand how I feel.

- Oh?

- Let's take your pretty little stream.

What happens to it when it goes where it eventually goes,

into the ocean, what happens then?

It gets all swallowed up,mixed up with billions of other

drops of water, drops inthe ocean, lost forever.

Isn't that right?

- Well, just like the old days.

You sitting on this bank asking me

all those darned questions.

- In other words, I'm right.

- Well.

- There is no answer.

- Look, let's face it, I'm no poet, no philosopher.

I'm just a guy who sells insurance,

but I know you're mixed up on one point.

You think graduationis the end of the line,

the point where the stream empties into the ocean,

but it's not.

Graduation is back there, one of the first bends.

The best part is still ahead.

- How can you say that?

Don't you realize all I'm losing when I walk away

from that school for the last time?

Things I could never, never regain.

- Of course not, you don't want to try to regain things,

that spoils them.

Just be grateful that you have wonderful memories.

Now, you want to move on to new things.

True, it's rougher from here on, but that makes it

more challenging, the rewards greater.

Look, I know that all this sounds to you just like words.

I have something here that

means more than anything I can say.

- What's that?

- A book.

June eighth.

Last night I graduated from high school.

No, not from high school, from life.

I feel so lost it hurts in the pit of my stomach.

It's all over, gone, all the things I love,

things I can never regain.

Could I preserve these things

by suddenly vanishing into thin air?

Should I climb to the top of the steepest cliff and hurl?

- Go on.

- The author nevercompleted that sentence.

The next entry explains why.

June ninth, sorry we were interrupted yesterday, diary,

but Jim called.

We went on a picnic and had the most perfect time.

We laughed over the silliest things.

I could hardly wait til he calls today.

You know who wrote this?

Someone you love, someone you respect.

- Mother?

- You better not ever let her know I took this,

I don't want to be convicted of robbery

or invasion of private rights.

- I thought I was the only one that felt that way.

- Well, she probably thought that, too.

But that was on June the eighth.

June the ninth was the important day.

- Now, I feel like somebody just held a big mirror

up to me and suddenly I think this half-grown awkward

gangling girl with pigtails can't see

beyond the end of her nose.

- Yeah, you're a mess alright.


We're gonna have to workawfully hard to make you

look anything like avaledictorian tomorrow.

Oh, there's one thing I hope.

When you and Ralph go to that dance tonight,

I hope you look better in that dress than Bud did.


- And the name of this young lady who's fine record

of scholarship and achievement has justly earned for her

the title of valedictorian of her class is,

Miss Betty Anderson.

Betty, will you please come forward?


- I hope she remembers her speech.

So wasn't so sure of it this morning.

- She'll do alright.

- Shh.


- Thank you ladies andgentlemen and fellow classmates.

As we stand on the threshold of life,

facing before us the great adventure of the future,

our thoughts turn backwards with a warm,

nostalgic fondness to the happy four year journey

culminating today with this graduation.

But our sadness in leaving this happy home is soon lost

in eager anticipation of what lies ahead.

- That isn't her speech.

- Life I like a rushing stream.

When it flows fast and free, dancing over the rocks

it's clear and fresh and beautiful.

We have reached one of the first bends in the river.

The course becomes more rugged now, but we are eager

to discover what lies beyond that bend and flow on

to explore the next bendand the one after that

until we've run our course as richly and as fully as we can.

- So you see, high school wasn't the end.

Nor is junior high, nor even college.

You understand what I've been saying?

- Yes, I do, Daddy.

You're saying, okay Shrimp, get busy and study this.


Well, that's important.

My main point is.

- Don't worry, I understand.

- Good.

- But there's one thing you'll have to do for me.

- What's that?

- Buy me this pretty bathing suit.

- Oh no, I'm not gonna bribe you to study.

- It's not a bribe, if I'm gonnaspend my life in that river

swimming around those bends, I want to look good.



(pleasant classical music)
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