December 19, 1987
|Whit tells the people in Whit's End a story about Madge and Guy, who are willing to sacrifice their most treasured possessions for one another.
Written By: Chandler
This is one of my all-time favorite shows. Phil Lollar and Steve Harris took a classic story and skillfully converted it into an exceedingly humorous tale by Whit. Thankfully, its availability is not affected by Officer Harley's brief appearance.
This is the fifth show in a row in which Tom Riley is at Whit's End. It a good thing Whit hired Connie, or Tom might still be hanging around. :o) This time he was there to help carry in the Christmas tree along with Officer Harley. Tom, Connie, Whit, Officer Harley, Phil, and Lisa begin conversing about what it means to give a gift. All the other people in the shop are busy working on decorating the Christmas tree, even as Whit begins his story about gift giving. Later on, when Officer Harley suggests that Lisa's hair be sold, there appears to be quite a crowd of children that laugh in response so the crowd must have gathered around as Whit told his story.
The actors really bring a lot to this show. Chris, as Madge, makes a rare appearance in an actual episode, fitting well into the lead role of Madge. Will Ryan displays his talent for multiple voices by doing Officer Harley, Guy, and Morty Fishbine. Walker Edmiston does the same as Tom Riley and Mr. Fishbine. Even Joan Gerber as Ethel does commendable work.
The story Whit tells is a modification of a story by O. Henry called "The Gift of the Magi." In it a woman, deemed Madge by Whit, wants to get her husband, Guy, a present for Christmas, but doesn't have the funds to do so. Finally she decides to do something drastic and sells her long, beautiful hair in order to be able to buy Guy a new chain for his antique watch. She is shocked to discover that Guy sold his watch in order to buy her new hair combs. But in the end, they are even more in love with each other at the thought that each was willing to sacrifice their most prized possession for the other.
Whit's story is hilarious! I love all the humor sprinkled throughout. Things like the porch being sold, Madge's use of wallpaper as wrapping paper, Guy's statement, "Me? That's a strange name," and Madge's reference to living happily ever after. It also brings to mind some significant questions. Can you really sell a porch? Is a child's portion diet mini cheeseburger even visible to the unaided human eye? Why does Guy keep a face on the front of his head? I enjoy hearing the characters in the story talk to the narrator and the play on the song "How much is the Doggie in the Window" (and also reference the song "The Bear Went over the Mountain"). The exchanges between various characters are pulled off well, even lines that are repeated, such as Pop's Top Notch Top Shop (nice delivery). That and many other things make this story wonderful to hear. Through it all, we learn the important lesson that there is more joy in giving to others.
As much as I love Whit's tale, I think the final scene of the show is also well constructed. Contrasting the goofy story he just told, Whit's monologue about the true meaning of Christmas is a breath of fresh air. It is a good reminder to us as we enter each holiday season. The music, although not unique to the show, adds much to that scene in my opinion. This is a terrific show!
This is the first of only a few episodes where Chris (the show's announcer) appears as a character.
This is one of the few episodes with Officer Harley that has been released. "Recollections" also features him, and the Gold Audio version of "The Adventure Begins" includes a portion of Officer Harley's lines in "Missed It By That Much". He is slyly inserted into "Curious, Isn't It?" and "A Thanksgiving Carol".
- Waluigi Freak 99
Interestingly enough, this is not the only time we here of somebody named Fishbine. In the episode "All's Well With Boswell", the name of the lady who Robin babysits for is Mrs. Fishbine.
Certain versions of this episode have deleted lines of Harley.
- Erwin Springer
The name of the wig store changes from "Pop's Top-notch Tops" to "Pop's Top-notch Top Shop".
- Waluigi Freak 99
The story that Whit told was adapted from a story by William Sidney Porter (alias O. Henry) called "The Gift of the Magi."
Madge's friend Ethel seems to be a spoof on Ethel Mertz from "I Love Lucy."
Although not referenced directly in the episode, this episode was intended as an homage to the radio comedian Stan Freberg and the cartoon "Rocky and Bullwinkle."
: Your face! What is it?
: Oh, something I like to keep on the front of my face. A couple of eyes, a nose . . .
This is not a quote, but how can you keep your face in front of your face,K?