T. N. T. - Episode 01
PATCHES, the dog
MRS. WILLIAMS, the neighbor
NOTE: A response to the revival of the labor movement in the 1930s, this Don
Lee Mutual network program was broadcast from Los Angeles and included
interviews and dramas featuring pro-business, anti-union propaganda. The
show's sponsor, The Neutral Thousands (a.k.a. TNT), was actually a front group
originated by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and
Manufacturers' Association "in the belief that an apparently neutral women's
organization could aid in creating a public opinion favorable to their cause,"
according to A History of the Los Angeles Labor Movement, 1911-1941
(University of California Press, 1963). Actual membership was supposedly less
than three hundred, so the group was "neither neutral nor thousands." Most of
its funding came from another business front group which got the bulk of its
money from large corporations and banks.
T. N. T. #1.
Wednesday, October 6, 1937, 8:15-8:30 P. M.
Theme: Music 10 second (fade to station anncr).
ANNCR: T. N. T.! This is the first of a series of radio broadcasts sponsored
by The Neutral Thousands, an organization of women supporting an Industrial
Peace Crusade to Safeguard the welfare of women and children and protect the
American home. Any similarity in names of characters in this episode to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. T. N. T.!
NARRATOR: The scene is the home of the Fentons in a large industrial city.
Mrs. Fenton is preparing supper for her husband Danny, who has not yet
returned from work.
(Sound: Knock on screen door. A dog barks.)
MRS. W: Oh, Mrs. Fenton. Are you home?
MARG: Hello, there. Down, Patches!
(Sound: Footsteps. Screen Door Opens, Squeaking.)
WILL: I just thought I'd return that cup of sugar before I had to get dinner.
MARG: Well now, you didn't have to bring it back in such a hurry! I really
don't need it.
WILL (sighs): I say we need everything we can lay our hands on these days. I
declare, what with food prices going up, and all, I don't know how we're going
to exist through the winter.
MARG: Oh, I wouldn't worry too much. Why, your husband will be working again--
as soon as this strike is over.
WILL: I wish I could be sure of that. It looks as if the strike is going to
MARG: Spread! What do you mean?
WILL: I heard my husband say just last night that his union is going to
organize a general strike.
MARG: For heaven's sakes! What for?
WILL: They haven't gotten their demands--they need the help of other unions.
MARG: Now, why should a lot of innocent people get mixed up in a controversy
that doesn't concern them? After all these strikes are none of our business.
WILL: That's what you think. Why, the men's families are always the ones to
suffer most. When I think of all the things the children need, why--we
haven't had a decent meal since the strike began.
MARG: I wouldn't stand for it, if I were you.
WILL: What can I do? I suppose we will be better off in the long run--if they
ever settle anything.
MARG: That's what they tell you, anyway. I'm glad Danny hasn't joined any
WILL: He'd be able to get a better salary if he did.
MARG: Maybe so--but the salary he does get is steady. And the way we
have to buy things on time--oh, I wouldn't want him to take any chances!
WILL: That's a selfish point of view, Mrs. Fenton!
MARG: Is it selfish to try to raise your standard of living?
WILL: We should think of the welfare of our men as a whole.
MARG: Now why should a whole industry go on strike and take the joy out of
life for everybody--just to help a few men who think they're mistreated?
WILL: Because those few need help--badly. I'm willing to put up with hardship
now, because I feel that we'll be better off when the strike ends.
MARG: Oh, they've been feeding you propaganda. Why--the way innocent people
have to suffer--it's just like--like--war!
(Sound: Dog barks. Heavy door closes.)
DAN (off mike): War, is it? What do you know about war?
MARG: As much as any woman--and that's plenty.
DAN (up into mike): (Greetings) Oh--how'do, Mrs. Williams.
WILL: Good evening. Well, I don't mean to run off as soon as you get here, Mr.
Fenton, but my husband will be calling for his supper by this time--such as it
MARG: Look--why don't you both come over here for a round of bridge tonight?
WILL: Why, that would be nice. We'd love to----
DAN: Sorry to break up your plans, honey, but I can't be here tonight.
MARG: Why not?
DAN: I--I have to go out.
WILL: Well, I'll be running along. Telephone me what you decide to do.
MARG: All right. I'll phone you about eight.
WILL (off): Goodnight--and thanks again for the sugar----
(Sound: Screen door closes.)
MARG: I, ah, don't mean to be inquisitive, but where do you have to go
DAN (evasively): To--a meeting.
MARG: A meeting! I thought you hated----
DAN (quickly): This is different.
MARG (alarmed): Danny! You're trying to hide something from me!
DAN: No, I'm not.
MARG: What is it, then?
DAN: Margaret, I joined the union.
MARG: The union?
MARG: But why? You've always been dead set against----
DAN: I had to.
MARG: You mean they forced you to?
DAN: No--not exactly. But everybody else joined up, and I would have been up
against it if I hadn't.
MARG: But you're doing all right just as you are. Why should they have to come
along, and stir things up, and make it difficult for you?
DAN: Belonging to the union won't be any different. I'll have to pay dues, of
course--that's the only drawback, but otherwise----
MARG: Yes--and suppose someone comes along and makes you strike----
DAN: Oh, there won't be any trouble. The men in our mill have no kick coming--
we get good wages and hours.
MARG: What's the sense in joining, then?
DAN: Because--well, it's hard to explain. We've got to have a voice in the
running of our own affairs. Unionising is our only way.
MARG: I hope your local has some peace loving men in it, then!
DAN (laughs): Sure, sure--now quit worrying. Everybody joins up these days.
It's the fashion--just like those funny hats you women wear!
MARG (mock sternness): You've said enough! Come on--your supper is getting
DAN: O. K. What do you say to a little music on the new radio? I'll bet you
never listen to it--and after all the money it cost, too.
MARG: The thought of paying for another thing on time rather takes the joy out
DAN: What's wrong with you? Anybody hearing you talk would think the world was
coming to an end tonight.
MARG: Oh, I was all right until that Mrs. Williams came in here and began
talking about her husband being out of work on account of the strike--then you
burst in with the news that you've joined too. It's enough to put anybody in a
(Sound: Radio receiver dialed to various bits of programs.)
DAN: Well, let's forget it and listen to some music.
(Music: On radio. In. Fade down as if by volume control.)
ANNCR (on receiver speaks, breaking into music): FLASH! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN--
WE BRING YOU THE LATEST REPORT FROM THE STRIKE FRONT. IT IS RUMORED THAT BY
TOMORROW MORNING THE ENTIRE CITY WILL BE PARALYZED BY A MASS SYMPATHY STRIKE
INVOLVING THE UNIONS ALLIED TO THE TRADES NOW ON STRIKE.
MARG: So that's what your meeting is about!
DAN: Sshshsh--I want to hear this----
MARG: And you said there wasn't going to be any trouble!
DAN: This is only a rumor--he said so----
ANNCR: A TIE UP WHICH PROMISES TO BECOME THE MOST EXTENSIVE THIS COUNTRY HAS
KNOWN ACCORDING TO MARK GORDON, BELLIGERENT LEADER OF THE CURRENTLY STRIKING
UNION. MR. GORDON COULD NOT BE REACHED TONIGHT BUT IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT HE
WILL BE PRESENT TO ADDRESS A MASS UNION MEETING LATER THIS EVENING. WE SHALL
BRING YOU FURTHER DETAILS ON OUR REGULAR TWELVE O'CLOCK NEWS BROADCAST. STAY
TUNED TO THIS STATION FOR UP TO THE MINUTE FLASHES ON THE STRIKE SITUATION.
(Music: On receiver up and softly thru following lines.)
MARG: Danny--please don't get mixed up in this!
DAN: What can I do? I am mixed in it now.
MARG: You wouldn't have to go--tonight.
DAN: I'd lose my job.
MARG: You mean you'll lose it if you join--just like Mr. Williams.
DAN: Everybody's in the same boat now. We've got to stick together.
MARG: But there's no reason for you to strike! Suppose they close your
DAN: That's probably just what will happen.
MARG: There must be some other way out--some peaceful way. Strike . . . that's
all people seem to know lately. I despise the word!
DAN: The striking union needs us, or they wouldn't be asking our help.
MARG (bitterly): They forget that you all have families dependent on you.
DAN: Margaret, I can't change the situation alone, so you'd better forget it.
Say! What time is it?
MARG: It's nearly eight o'clock, and you haven't had a bite of supper.
DAN: Eight! Hey, I'll have to dash--I'll be late as it is.
MARG: But what about your supper?
DAN: Leave it on the table for me--I'll eat it when I get home.
MARG: But Danny----
DAN: Goodnight, honey--don't wait up for me. I'll probably be late.
MARG: You know I'll wait up for you----
DAN: Where's my overcoat?
MARG: Here it is. Oh. Danny, I wish you hadn't gotten into this.
DAN: Can't you stop worrying? Go to a movie and get your mind on Clark Gable
MARG: No. I'm staying right here. Danny, if you have any influence at all with
those men, try to persuade them to keep out of this strike.
DAN: All right I promise--for your sake. Goodbye!
(Sound: Door slams. Dog whines.)
MARG: Yes, Patches--Danny's gone.
(Sound: Dialing numbers on telephone.)
MARG: Hello. Mrs. Williams? This is Margaret Fenton--I guess we'll have to
have our bridge game some other night--well, he went to that union meeting.
What? No, he joined today--oh, I'm sick about it. I don't object to his
joining. It would probably be a fine thing, if they didn't have to get mixed
up with the affairs of other unions. Yes, I'm going to wait up for him. I want
to hear the news broadcast, anyway--something ought to be decided by twelve.
Well, I'll see you soon. Goodnight.
(Sound: Phone hung up.)
Music: From receiving up thru following.
MARG: Patches! Here, Patches--come on puppy.
(Sound: Dog barks.)
MARG: Here Patches. Now lie down by the radio. That's it--good dog.
(Sound: Dog whines.)
(Music: Up for passage of time. Music--Up to 10 seconds and out suddenly with
Radio Anncr's voice.)
ANNCR: This is Station WLP--We bring you the correct time--exactly twelve
MARG (thru gong): Oh! Patches--where are you? I must have fallen asleep.
(Sound: Dog barks.)
ANNCR: And now for the latest news brought you by North American Press. Three
men were seriously injured here tonight as the strike situation reached a
crisis after the mass meeting of labor unions held at the huge county hall. A
sympathetic strike intended to paralyze industry throughout the country had
been voted by a small majority acting in favor of the currently striking
union. As picket lines formed to proceed to factory gates an organized gang
alleged to be strike breakers appeared, charged on the pickets, forced them to
the walls of the building with clubs and lead pipes. Their unarmed victims
were so taken by surprise that the entire group of union men scattered in
confusion. One moment, please--I have now received the names of the riot
victims. Those injured seriously in the fray are Henry Ray, member of the
currently striking union; Hans Meloff also a member; Danny Fenton, an
apparently unaffiliated man who strangely enough had tried desperately to
prevent a general strike----
MARG (in whispering strike): Oh. Danny, Danny, they've killed you--and it
wasn't even your fight.
(Three seconds pause.)
MRS. OCHS: The women of California do not dispute the right of any worker, man
or woman, to join any union he or she may desire of his or her own free will.
They believe in the principle of collective bargaining, but they are
against strikes and lockouts forced upon peaceful and contented workers
by outside forces that destroy payrolls. We believe that in the strength of
American womanhood lies the strength of the nation. The women of California
have come to realize that if their homes and their children are to survive,
Industrial Peace must come now. What we ask is a two-year truce against
labor strikes. The Neutral Thousands believe in Truth Not Terror. We are
building here in Los Angeles County, an organization of women, two hundred
thousand strong, and we invite you to join forces with us to bring Industrial
Peace to Southern California, to keep our payrolls and maintain prosperity
with a two-year neutrality truce. There are no dues and no assessments. The
headquarters of The Neutral Thousands are located at 706 South Hill Street, on
the ninth floor, and our telephone number is Trinity 2531. Trinity 2531. You
can either write or telephone for a Membership Application, our Declaration of
Principles and additional information. This is Mrs. Bessie Abbott Ochs
speaking for The Neutral Thousands. Our next radio broadcast will be heard
over this same station next Wednesday evening at this same hour.
(Theme 6 seconds.)
ANNCR: Station Disclaimer, F. R. C.