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40-04-15 Milton's Dirt in Fruit Jars

Vic is approached by Rush with an idea. Rush tells Vic that Milton Welch has a fruit jar collection. The jars are filled with dirt from various states. He has a total of 11 jars so far.

Milton has offered 10 cents for each additional jar of dirt from the states he doesn't have.

Rush realizes that Vic has connections all over the United States, his affiliation with his job and the Sacred Stars of the Milky Way provide Vic the luxury of knowing people in almost every state of the union and the District of Columbia to boot.  Rush asks Vic to use his influence and friendship with these folks to write them and ask them to send a jar of dirt his way. Milton is lacking 38 states. Add in the bonus of Washington D.C. and that's 39 jars total. That's $3.90 Rush would receive from Milton, enough money for him to pay off a few debts and have pocket money too.

Rush also states that Milton would like each jar to include a seal from a Notary, showing the jars contained dirt from the actual state it's said to contain.

Though Vic admits this is a nice idea, he tells Rush this idea has too many flaws in it to be reasonable:
  • For one thing, Vic would have to write almost 40 letters and they would all have to be personalized and different.
  • Each request would cost a 3 cent stamp, an envelope and stationary.
  • The jars would have to be sent to the Gook house C.O.D. for postage.
  • A Notary generally charges .25 cents for his services.
When Rush realizes his idea is actually an expensive one, he feels a bit dumb.  The $3.80 profit could easily be a $15.00+ boondoggle.
Rush has a scheme to make himself a fair bit of extra money. He outlines his plan to Vic.

This is one of those rare Vic and Sade episodes that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. The ending is so touching, and the excellent writing and acting communicate every single thing that Rush is going through. The thrilling emotional high, followed by the abrupt and complete crash, and disappointment combined with humiliation in front of the businessman he looks up to the most, and then that overflow of unnameable emotion that we sometimes feel when someone is kind to us in a time of trouble, and all of this felt a little more strongly because Rush is still partly a child — the poor guy is put through the wringer today. I think that you can almost hear Vic struggling to stave off Rush’s tears — hear how his speech speeds up when he tells Rush he is going to reward him for his smartness? That’s the sound of a parent frantically trying to make everything okay for his kid. Aw, shucks…this truly is a Very Special Episode.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)
This episode has a very special surprise ending that I dare not share with you.  If you have never heard this episode, I beg of you to download it and have a listen to this gem.  The ending is written and performed so that it can have many interpretations.  It's one of writer Paul Rhymer's best episodes (at least out of the surviving shows) and if you aren't affected by it, then you have no soul.

Spoiler: To see my thoughts (and that of my friend Toby Levy) on the ending, please go here.

Jimbo's alternate commentary

+ Sade is not in this episode.

+ Though the recording seems to mention "Milton Walt" instead of "Milton Welch" this either has to be a mistake by the actors or an audio anomaly.   There has never been a mention of "Milton Walt" in Vic and Sade while Milton Welch has been mentioned many times.

+ Milton seems to already have dirt from Illinois and the surrounding states and had an uncle in New Mexico send him one.

+ This episode mentions many of Vic's friends by name and location.  The members of the lodge mentioned are listed in the Sacred Stars of the Milky Way section of the blog.

"Norris Goff of Hope, Arkansas"
+ Of all the friends mentioned in this episode (and there are quite a few), the most unique is "Norris Goff of Hope, Arkansas."  This is in obvious reference to "Abner" of Lum and Abner radio fame, who was a big fan of the show.  Both Lum and Abner and Vic and Sade were broadcast out of Chicago at this time and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that they used the same studio.

Rush tells Vic that Milton is collecting dirt: {{{HEAR}}}

Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!

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