1963

In Mr. McKinnon's junior year A.A. English class at Norwalk High School, the class had been studying two novels: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1871-1900) and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864).  The teacher divided the class into groups of six and told us to do something creative relating to these novels and present it to the class.  I wrote a very short play with three scenes and we presented it to the class without a rehearsal as I remember.  For fun, girls played male roles and boys played female roles (except me).  In the middle of the last scene, we had a commercial (borrowed from Mad magazine #78 written by Earle Doud - "Future Group-Comparison Tests").

Three of the girls in that English class wrote about the play in my yearbook - El Lancero 1963.

Mary Scott: "Jerry, It's really been a lot of fun in English and especially in the little play we put on, The Scarlet Letter of Courage.  I sure hope I can see you in one of my classes next year.  Lots of Luck.  Love, Mary Scott"

Sandy Kabel: "Jerry, ('Henry') It's been a lot of fun having you in English.  I think your play 'The Scarlet Letter of Courage' was the greatest.  Hope to see you next year.  Sandy Kabel"

Robyn Richter: "Jerry, Best wishes to a real sweet boy - your skit was cute - but so was ours.  Good Luck.  Robyn"

If anyone from the Norwalk High School Class of 1964 has any memories of this episode, please send me an email at madandson1@aol.com.  Following is the text of the play.  [JAM 4/3/2010]

THE SCARLET LETTER OF COURAGE

Written by Nathaniel Crane and Stephen Hawthorne.  [not really]

Main characters:
Hester Prynne  [Gary Kracker]
Pearl Prynne  [Louis Larson]
Arthur Dimmesdale  [Mary Scott]
Henry Fleming  [Jerry Moore]
Jim Conklin  [Sandy Kabel]
A tattered soldier  [Nina Valentin]

Scene I

In the forest by a babbling brook Jim Conklin stumbles through the forest.  All of a sudden he stops, makes a beautiful bounce, and dies.  Henry Fleming and the tattered soldier walk up to him.

Henry: "Tsk!  Tsk!"
Tattered soldier: "Tsk!  Tsk!"
The two men walk off talking about the fallen man.

Henry: "It's a pity to see a man go like that."
Tattered soldier: "Yep he's been drunk ever since his wife left him."
They stop under a tree.

Tattered soldier: "Boy, I got hit 15 times yesterday."
Henry: "You sure are lucky."
Tattered soldier: "Where's your red badge of courage?"
Henry shows him his red cowboy badge.

Henry: "Got it right here."
Tattered soldier: "Where'd ye git it?"
Henry: "Knott's Berry Farm."
They eat and leave the scene.

Scene II

In the same forest by the same babbling brook about a half a mile away.
Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are walking through the forest.

Hester: "Arthur."
Arthur: "Hester."
Hester: "Arthur."
Arthur: "Hester."
Pearl: "Break it up, break it up!  What do you think this is, a soap opera?"
They walk a little farther until they come to Jim Conklin's body.

Hester: "Oh!"
Arthur: "Oh!"
They both look at Pearl.

Pearl: "Don't look at me.  I ain't killed nothing larger than a squirrel."
Hester: "Tsk!  Tsk!"
Arthur: "Tsk!  Tsk!"
They leave the scene.

Scene III

Still in the same darn forest by the same darn babbling brook.
Hester and Arthur are about to meet Henry and the tattered soldier.  (Pearl has wandered off by now.)
They are about to pass each other when Henry stops Arthur.

Henry: "Excuse me, could I ask you a question?"
Arthur: "If you must."
Henry: "My friend and I are looking for the Civil War.  Could you tell us where it is being fought?"
The narrator walks in with Mr. Prebble.
Narrator: "Now a word from our sponsor, Rayco Safety Belts."
The narrator and Mr. Prebble give the commercial.  All the while, the 4 people are having a conversation.

Arthur: "Go right about 10 miles, 'til you come to a big oak tree, thurn left there, you can't miss it."
Hester: "No, no!  It's straight ahead 15 miles, and then left 19 miles."
Arthur: "I got it now.  It's 14 miles left and then 20 miles to the right."
Hester: "No!  No!  You're wrong!"
Arthur: "How should we know where it is?"
Hester: "Where's Pearl?"
Henry: "Who's Pearl?"
Arthur: "She was with us the last time I looked."
Henry: "Who's Pearl?"
Hester: "She must have wandered off."
Henry: "Who's Pearl?"
Tattered soldier: "Who's that comin' down the road?"
Arthur: "It's Pearl."
Hester: "Pearl, where have you been?"
Pearl: "I've been to the war."
Henry: "Where is it?"
Pearl: "It's over with."
Henry: "Who won?"
Pearl: "Nobody!  I caused so much confusion that they called it off."
They all walk over towards where Jim Conklin lies.

Tattered soldier: "There's Jim!"
Pearl: "I didn't do it."
Hester: "Who's going to bury him?"
Arthur: "Not me."
Henry: "Not me."
Pearl: "Not me."
Tattered soldier: "Not me."
Hester: "Ugh!  Not me."
Jim gets up and walks away.

Jim: "I'm not going to stay there if nobody's going to bury me."
Henry looks at Hester and Hester looks at Henry.

Henry: "Will you marry me?"
Hester: "Yes!"
Arthur: "I thought you were going to marry me."
Hester: "I can't marry you because you're going to die in this story."
Arthur: "What?"
Henry shoots Arthur.

Henry: "I'll marry you if you promise that you won't wear wear that silly red letter on your clothes."
Hester: "All right."
They leave the scene with Arthur laying on the ground.

THE END

COMMERCIAL

Narrator: "This is R.W. Prebble, who, like thousands of other Americans recently took part in an Auto Seat Belt Comparison Test for the makers of Rayco Safety Belts!  Tell us about it, Mr. Prebble."
Mr. Prebble: "Well, just this morning, we were all put into brand new automobiles and strapped in with auto seat belts!  Half of us were using Rayco Safety Belts ... and the other half were using an inferior brand."
Narrator: "And what did you do?"
Mr. Prebble" "We all lined our cars up on these big wide salt flats -- and on a given signal, we all jammed our foot down on the accelerator."
Narrator: "And what happened?"
Mr. Prebble: "We took off at a fantastic speed, getting our cars up to 70-80 miles an hour!  I mean we were really travelling!"
Narrator: "And then ...?"
Mr. Prebble: "And then?  Why -- then we all smashed our cars head on into the brick wall they'd built across the flats especially for the test!  Like we were supposed to!"
Narrator: "And what were the results?"
Mr. Prebble: "Our half -- the half that were using Rayco Safety Belts has 47% fewer casualties than the half using the inferior belts!  Boy, you should've seen 'em!  Most of 'em are still out there ... embedded in the wall!"
Narrator: "And there you have it folks!  Proof-positive that Rayco Safety Belts are best by far -- for your car!"

 

Bowling Average: 173 (Norwalk Bowl)

High Game: 248 (Norwalk Bowl)

High Series: (I have no idea)