Gifts for Madge and Guy
It's Christmastime at Whit's End. Whit, Tom, and Officer Harley are setting up the tree, and Connie is doling out hot chocolate. Two of the kids are arguing about the meaning of giving gifts. Whit tries to convince them that "it's not the gift but the thought that counts," and "it's more blessed to give than to receive." When the kids scoff at this, Whit comically presents for them the O. Henry story, Gift of the Magi, told in the style of a "Fractured Fairy Tale."
Madge, a very poor woman, is upset over how she can't afford to buy a really nice Christmas present for "her guy, Guy." Her mother, Ethel, tries to convince her to go to get her hair cut at Pop's Top Notch Top Shop for twenty dollars. Madge is hesitant because her long, silky hair that falls almost to the floor is one of the two most prized possessions that are shared between the couple. The other is Guy's antique, familial heirloom watch, with a beautiful case, ivory face plate, and whenever opened, plays a touching little melody.
Madge that decided to go shopping to take her mind off her dilemma. However, while she walked past Fishbine's Jewelers she saw a beautiful gold chain in the display window that would go perfectly with Guy's watch. She asked Morty Fishbine how much the chain would cost. It turned out to be a valuable heirloom, but it would be sold for $20. Madge decided to take drastic action and go to Pop's Top Notch Tops shop to have her hair cut for the twenty dollars she needed.
On her way back to Fishbine's Jewelers, she found the store was closed and that the chain was packed away for a New Year's Day sale. Just as she starts to cry, and since Mr. Fishbine can't stand a woman crying, he allows her to buy the chain. After an hour long confusion about "her guy, Guy," she raced home in the snow to wrap her gift with wallpaper.
Guy walks in soon afterward and doesn't recognize her at first because her hair is cut. He is astonished that she would cut her hair but understands the situation. The main reason Guy was so surprised was because of his gift to her, which was a set of combs made from pure tortoise shell with jeweled rims. She had wanted these combs for years and is delighted to have them. Madge then gives the gold watch chain to Guy. He then tells her that he sold the watch so that way he could buy Madge's combs. The story ends with them leaving together, more in love than ever.
Whit explains that although neither of them expected such generous gifts, they were both willing to sacrifice to give a special gift to the other. That is what real giving is about.
- Madge & Guy sacrificed their greatest possession for one another. Have you ever sacrificed to give someone a gift?
- Why is sacrifice important?
- What is the greatest gift you have ever received?
- The greatest gift you've ever given?
- Have you accepted God's gift of eternal life?
VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] A longer discussion between Madge and Guy is used in some versions of this episode, such as in the 20th anniversary broadcast. The longer version is not included in the album releases.
- This is the first Christmas Episode.
- This is one of only several episodes in which announcer Chris Anthony appears as a character. A few others include #86: “Isaac the Insecure”, #92: “The Ill-Gotten Deed”, #107: “Bad Luck”, #194: “A License to Drive ”, #537: “My Girl, Hallie”, and #609: “Prequels of Love”, among others.
- Walker Edmiston's voice used for Mr. Fishbine sounds very much like (and is most likely an intentional spoof of) Henry Fonda, an actor for whom Edmiston did voice-matching professionally.
- Madge's friend Ethel seems to be a spoof on Ethel Mertz from "I Love Lucy."
- The O. Henry story this episode was based on ("The Gift of the Magi") was also turned into a Radio Theatre production.
- The name of the wig store changes from "Pop's Top-notch Tops" to "Pop's Top-notch Top Shop".
Ethel (a): Why Madge darling! Are you crying? What is it?
Madge (a): It's when your face gets all red and tears run down your cheeks.
Ethel (a): No, no, dear. I mean, what's the matter?
Madge (a): You mean besides the fact that it's Christmas Eve and I haven't done any shopping and even if I did I couldn't buy what I want because what I want is something really special and all the money I have in the world is one dollar and eighty-seven cents?
Ethel (a): Yeah, besides that!
Madge (a): Nothing!