To transition from the 30 minute episodes of Lum and Abner, back to a storhy line that I dropped about 3 years ago, I present this compilation of shows and notes to review where I left off. Don’t worry, there are still half hour shows, but I’ll wait until the Fall to pick them up again.
The story that began when a stranger came to town to seek an honest man, actually had long reaching affects.
Diogenes Smith was modeled after the character in Greek mythology, who carried a lantern, and sought an honest man. He never found one before he died. In this case, Diogenes is out to spread kindness, good will, and honesty. To sweeten the deal, he offers a $10k cash prize. Needless to say, the town of Pine Ridge is abuzz, and everybody is out to outdo their neighbors in kindness. To keep everybody on their toes, 5 secret deputies are appointed, wgho are sworn to not reveal themselves, or risk their own shot at the prize.
“Wonderful World!” Is the catch phrase that sweeps through town. The hypocritical behavior of the citizens of Pine Ridge oozes out, for maximum comic affect. Squire pays his bills, Snake Hogan stops beating people up, and Grandpap even gets along with Abner during a checker game… well, sort of… well, maybe not so much.
Who are the deputies? Various people are suspected, and recieve extra buttering up in hope of a favorable report to the strange Diogenes. What are the pamphlets that he prints all about? Lum, Abner, and Cedric manage to get in close to Diogenes as his helpers in pamphlet writing, distributing, and delivery.
The story comes to a head when, in the side steps into supporting the war, Lum sets himself up as Air Raid Warden, and his nightly security checks begin turning up sneaky behavior. It doesn’t come from the night skies, but from strangers in town, Cedric having his license plates lost and found, and more. The end for Diogenes is near when Lum makes a couple honest mistakes in delivering what he believes are pamphlets in other towns.
There’s a war on that is building in steam. Side steps from the story feature such topics as: War Savings Time, Victory boxes, scrap drives, Air Wardens, and more. A gag about Mousey begins. Namely, his lengthy security reports that say a lot, but don’t actually say anything.
Diogenes smells the long arm of the law closing in on him, and flees. Is being left in charge a good thing for Lum and Cedric? Lum, Abner, and Cedric need to watch out, or a couple more new men in town could get them landed in the penitentiary. Before they face that hazard, they have to figure out exactly what it was that Diogenes was doing. Not to mention a secret source of Cedricv’s new found wealth. Could it really be magic?
Secrets are revealed, our heros go on the run from the law, but Lum saves them all from trouble and sees that justice is served. With Diogenes out of the picture, his story libngers on in the form of… What do they do with the unawarded prize money?
A brief break from the problem of the prizde money comes in the form of the real world event of Lum and Abner’s movie release of: The Bashful Bachelor. Gala plans to welcome celebrety guests and show the film in town are made..
Disguising the fact that the $10k was a real prize, Lum and Abner run acontest with a prize of their own in the form of free groceries. They take suggestions on what to do to improve the community, for the benefit of all. The trouble is that everybody suggests things that will benefit them. Squire begins to sniff out the scent of real cash, and when Mousey offers the winning idea of a modern apartment building, he tries to get a hand on the cash.
As popular as an idea that the Wonderful World apartments are with the town, and all the crazy ideas and events that lend themselves to the inspired project, it comes to a quick end. Fatal flaws in the apartment concept are exposed, however, the money is safe from Squire, and a worthy investment is discovered. One that will also support the war effort. 2i
You would think the affects that Diogenes had would end about now… but wait! There’s still the matter of his printing press. The lawmen have confiscated the plates he used in his counterfeiting racket, but the press remains safely in the feed room. As the new addition to the Jot ‘Em Down store is unraveled, and Lum plans for a printing business are explored, several side steps into other topics pepper the landscape.
Affects from the apartment project linger, as Lum, Abner, and grandpap day dream of their ideal retirement home. Returns to on going gags show up in lazy days, and plans for fishing. Buried treasure is found… sort of, and more calls to patriotic duty is made by supporting the USO.
The printing business lends itself for Lum to stretch his creative writing, poetic skills, and edit the tallents of those in Pine Ridge, who want to be ppublished authors. Just when he is disgusted with the drivel that most of the citezens send his way.
Then a mysterious, phantom writer slips manuscripts under the door. The mysterious events in the novel begin to actually happen, and it has Abner spooked.
Who is the mysterious author? All the bits of these stories can be found on the web page. A quick tip is to do a search for ‘Lum and Abner 4202’ or replace the number in that search with 4203, 4204, or 4205. You’ll find the entire span of the story as it stretches from February to May of 1942, and even a little beyond. But that’s where I pick up our visits with Lum and Abner, and will begin to present shows from 1942 again. Watch for them soon.