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44-09-13 A Letter from Aunt Bess - Ham Ham


As the family sits out on the back porch, Sade informs the boys that she's gotten a letter from her sister Bess Helfer and has Russell read it out loud. He mistakes "ha ha" in the letter with "ham ham." This upsets Sade and then has Vic read the letter out loud. He finds another "ham ham."

Needless to say, Sade is furious and storms into the house. The boys, not wanting to feel the wrath or coldness of Sade, decide to take a walk downtown.
Sade is mighty touchy when it comes to her precious letters from her sister, who has broken her back to write trash that they already know.

Vic actually knows better than to make fun of the letters - or not listen when the letters are read out loud. You can hear him stepping on tip toes the whole way through the episode. Russell, on the other hand, seems much more reckless than Vic (or even Rush) and plows ahead and says whatever he feels like saying, many times without thinking of the consequences.

I assume Russell knew the letter actually meant "ha ha" but the "ham ham" was just too obvious for him not to point out. His "mistake" though hurts Sade... and I'll never understand why it does - but it DOES.

Vic, on the other hand, just mistook the "ha ha" for "ham ham" and I'm sure while he was walking downtown with Russell, regretted it the whole way there and back. I can imagine him telling Russell to "play along" and appease Sade when it comes to the stupid letters from her sister, no matter how hard it is for him.

While you'll get no argument from me that the episodes with Russell are not as good as the episodes with Rush, there is generally something to enjoy in almost every one. We all can assume this episode would have been even better with Bill Idelson playing the son instead of David Whitehouse but Whitehouse still does an adequate job here. This is a well-written episode that has all the hallmarks of other episodes of this ilk, including the ones where Idelson plays Rush. There's little to complain about in this episode.


+ Sade had a cold. I wonder if her friends brought her "hot soup?"

+ Euncie had been sick with a cold as well.

+ Blue Tooth Johnson's father's had a bad cold as well. This is the first time he's been mentioned in the surviving series.

1939 "Mercury Head" dime
+ Blue Tooth found a 1939 dime. Considering it was found on the street, it probably wasn't in pristine condition. It's value today (depending on the mint mark and condition) would probably range from about $2.00 to about $35.00.

When Russell informs Vic and Sade about the find, Sade asks, "Did he find the owner?"

+ Russell complains that he scratched (up) his knee. Recall he injured himself another time playing baseball.

+ Gus Fuss sent Vic a letter about a month prior where he also wrote "ham ham" instead of "ha ha."

+ Euncie has been learning a new piano solo, Facin' the Barkin' Revolvers of Frank and Jesse James. This piece allows her to scrape her thumb down the white keys and stomp the loud pedal with both feet.

+ For the first time in the surviving episodes, the sound of a slammed back door is heard when Sade storms inside.

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

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