Jack and Joanne Allen return from their honeymoon/missions trip to the Philippines to find boxes of antiques for their shop, J & J Antiques, given to them by Whit and the Universal Press Association (UPF). Connie, their temporary assistant, is helping to catalog all the items in the inventory when they come across a painting. The beautiful work depicts women gathering crops. Jack wonders if it may be an original oil painting from the 1830's, "Gleaning at Twilight" by the French master Henri L'Eau, which has been missing for years.
Jack calls Professor James Champlin, Campbell County Community College art expert, who authenticates the painting. Though they could be wealthy because of this discovery, Jack and Joanne are determined to find the original owner who donated the painting to be sure they don't want it. They find that the painting was donated to UPF by G. Winston Smith, one of the wealthiest men in the country. He agrees that Jack and Joanne should keep the painting as long as they will agree to not publicly mention him or his organization.
However, while transporting the painting to Whit's End for safekeeping, they find writing on the back. Through one of his many contacts, Jason traces its origin through the International Art Registry in Paris, which indicates that the painting may have been stolen from a Jew during WW2.
Jack and Joanne visit Mr. Smith to try to uncover the truth and he becomes very angry when he feels they are suggesting that his grandfather stole the painting while stationed in Paris in the German army. Rabbi Myer Abbot, from whom the painting was stolen, confronts Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith admits his name is really Schmidt, and his father was a Nazi who stole the painting. He used the proceeds from the things he stole to emigrate to the U.S. and start a hardware business, which eventually became the huge company that Mr. Smith now heads. His father kept the secret his entire life. Mr. Smith donated the painting to UPF when he found out the truth about his father, as he was worried that the history of his organization would be known.
Rabbi Myer expresses his forgiveness and support for Mr. Smith's organization, despite the past. The rabbi loans the painting to Jack and Joanne for exhibit and Mr. Smith forms a Hannah Abbott art scholarship, in memory of the rabbi's wife, for those whose work celebrates the ideals of freedom.
- Jack and Joanne wanted to find out where the painting came from. Why was it so important?
- G. Winston Smith tried desperately to keep the painting's background a secret. Why didn't he want anyone to know about it?
- Myer Abbott forgave Mr. Smith. What was his explanation for forgiving him?
Heard in episode
Mentioned in episode
|John Whittaker||Joanne Woodston-Allen|
|Eugene Meltsner||Connie Kendall|
VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view]
- The original broadcast version of this episode included an extra line that has since been cut. Toward the end of the final scene with G. Winston Smith, the Rabbi originally said, "You have created a wonderful organization that helps others, Mr. Smith. You have atoned for your sin. And for that, may the Lord bless you." All subsequent airings and album versions cut the line, "You have atoned for your sin." There is now a brief pause in the middle of the line.
- The album version of this episode includes the following material:
- Lines are added about the woodcarver who made Jack and Joanne's sign, and Connie wanting to be an art major.
- The conversation is extended where Connie and Jack discover the painting, as well as the description of the painting during the phone call with G. Winston Smith.
- Jack and Joanne talk longer about the information that they got from the International Arts Registry.
- Jason tells Connie in this episode that he has emptied out "the big safe," indicating that there are two safes at Whit's End and settling a seeming goof from #169: “Hold Up!” when Connie expressed frustration that Eugene knew about a safe that she didn't, though Whit had mentioned the safe to her in #113: “Suspicious Minds”.
- This episode was re-aired on August 27, 2016, as a commemoration of Alan Young (Jack Allen) and Janet Waldo (Joanne Allen). That version included an introduction by Dave Arnold
- The name of the woodcarver (Abe Norman) mentioned in the album version of this episode is an obvious reference to Norm Abram (of This Old House fame).
- Although it's never been stated, the fictional "Gleaning at Twilight" painting from this episode is probably based on the real life painting "The Gleaners" by Jean-François Millet.
- Joanne mentions in this episode that Whit is staying at the Drake Hotel — a real-life hotel in Chicago.