Sunday, October 28, 2001

“The day we lose Custard the Clown, Betty, we’ve lost the war.”

Some of you may recall “Remember WENN”, a charming comedy series created by Rupert Holmes that ran for four years on AMC back when AMC was worth watching. Set in the late thirties and early forties, it chronicled the activities of the actors, writers and managers of a local radio station. (Say, AMC, whatever happened to “Remember WENN”?)

The final episode, which now seems prophetic, concerned the cast’s reaction to the news of the Pearl Harbor attack (mentioned at the end of the previous episode). Betty Roberts, the station’s head (and only) writer, felt that the regular schedule of comedies, dramas, and music would seem, well, trivial in light of current events. "I mean, war's no laughing matter," she told the station manager, Victor Comstock. So, she suspended them all in mid-plot and went to an all-news and analysis format.

Victor set her straight:

What do you think this country is fighting for, hm? Life. Liberty. And the right to do silly radio programs.

...The reason we are in this thing is so that men and women of every race and creed can come home after a hard day's work and take a beer out of the icebox and sit in their underwear listening to Rance Shiloh, US Marshall.

The day we lose Custard the Clown, Betty, we've lost the war.

This may be the most patriotic thing I’ve ever heard.

(Thanks to Linda Young for the transcription, which I've edited.)

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