December 13, 2023

Divorce Court, White Christmas-Style

In the world of TV Heaven, it's time once again for the latest episode of one of the most popular shows of the 1950s, Divorce Court. Tonight, an all-star cast is on hand to give us what promises to be one of the most exciting courtroom dramas of this or any other season.

Bill Welsh:
This week on Divorce Court, we bring you a case from the world of entertainment, between two singers whose marriage appears to have hit a sour note: Bob Wallace, famous song-and-dance man, successful Broadway impresario, one-half of the act of Wallace and Davis, versus Betty Haynes Wallace, part of the Haynes Sisters, appearing in many of the shows of Wallace and Davis. Presiding is Judge Voltaire Perkins. 

Bailiff: All rise.

Judge: Greetings, gals and guys. (To Welsh): So what’s the action, Jackson?

Bailiff: Wallace vs. Wallace, married for four years, the grounds are irreconcilable differences.

Bettina Lovelace: Council for Mrs. Wallace, your honor.

Shyster McQuirk: Council for Mr. Wallace, your honor.

Judge: So, you want me to permit the split, eh? Well, let’s hear it. Ladies first, I always say.

Betty: Your honor, I gave up a successful act with my sister when I got married. Judy and I were starting to really go places, play some of the bigger clubs. We met Wallace and Davis in Miami just before Christmas, four years ago, and we asked for some advice on our act, what we might be able to do to make the act bigger.

Bob: Seems like you know how to get bigger all on your own.

Judge: Quiet, you! You’ll get your turn. 

Betty: Anyway, he tells me that everyone has an angle, and I figure that means he’s going to help us hit the big time, maybe even television. Well, we’re on our way to Vermont to play in a lodge there, and he follows me there. I don’t know what he’s up to but, well, he was so famous, and so important in the business, that I thought I’d better be nice to him if we want to go anywhere. We had a few drinks, some laughs, and I thought that was it. And then I get a job at a club in New York, and he follows me there! 

Bob: That’s not how I remember it. 

Betty: And I think that, well, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be involved with someone like him. He’s always talking about how he can introduce us to people who can help our career go places, somebody like Frank Sinatra, or even Lawrence Welk. That’s all it was, though, talk, talk, talk. As soon as we get married, suddenly all that’s over, and I’m stuck at home taking care of the kids while he and Phil go on the Ed Harrison show. He never listened to me when I asked him about it. I think he was jealous, if you want to know the truth. He was afraid I’d become a bigger star than he was because I was younger and better looking than him. You may not believe it now, but I was quite a looker back then, but he took care of that, too. Whenever I had trouble sleeping, he'd tell me to go downstairs and have something to eat. Look at me now! I weigh 350 pounds. Do you think anyone's interested in hiring a 350-pound singer who's not Kate Smith?

Judge: I don’t know. Can you sing “God Bless America”?

Lovelace: Your honor, my client is entitled to recompense not only for the lost income from the Haynes Sisters act that Mr. Wallace ruined, but for the mental anguish that he’s caused by his comments. She should be kept in a lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed.

Bob: (To McQuirk): Say something! She’s making me out to sound like a cross between Simon Legree and Ivan the Terrible! 

McQuirk: Your honor, my client wants to throw himself on the mercy of the court!

Bob: Wait a minute! Who’s side are you on here, Junior?

McQuirk: Mine. I always make sure they get my good side.

Bailiff: Order in the court!

Judge: I’ll have corned beef on rye, hold the pickle.

Bob: Judge, can I say something?

Judge: It’s your dime, Charlie. 

Bob: What she’s telling you isn’t how it happened at all. Sure, I was willing to give her a break. They were a couple of nice kids, and my partner Phil was interested in Judy, so we followed them to Vermont. But that’s all there was. Jealous of her? Are you kidding? I’m just a crooner who’s trying to stay ahead. Do you think I’m worried about some sister act from Florida? 

But that’s the kind of person she is. Everything was fine, and then we get married, and it all went to her head. Suddenly she was Mrs. Bob Wallace, and she wanted all the fine things in life. The new cars, the clothes, the apartment in New York and the winter place in Florida. As if I could keep up with all that. I have trouble just paying the grocery bill every month. Would you believe she had a 26-inch waist when we were married? I didn't expect her to stay like her sister--she has a waist so small you can wrap your hand around it. But this? When they asked her to appear in the Macy's parade, I didn't know if she was supposed to sing or if they were going to inflate her and float her down the street.

Betty: Your honor, are you going to let him insult me like that?

Judge: I don’t know. How would you like him to insult you?

Bob: I just can’t figure out what makes this chick click. One minute everything’s hearts and flowers, and I’m her knight in shining armor, and then all of a sudden it’s like I’m trying to pull something over on her, and I get the passive-aggressive third degree. “You never listen to me,” “You never take me anywhere,” When I ask her what's the matter, she says, “If you don’t already know, there’s nothing I can say.” What am I supposed to be, a mind-reader? Trying to get her to tell me what’s wrong is like trying to pull out a tiger’s front teeth. I get dizzy just trying to keep up with her. (To himself) Gary warned me to stay away from women like her.

Betty: See—he doesn’t try to understand me.

Bob: Look at how defensive she gets—there’s been something wrong with her thinker since she was a kid. You can’t reason with someone like that—not listening to her, it’s just self-defense. She’s always talking about what she needs—she needs to see a shrink, is what she needs. And speaking of shrinking—

Betty: There he goes again with the insults!

Judge: Quiet, everybody! 

McQuirk: Your honor—

Judge: Scram, Sam!

At this point Phil Davis, Bob's partner, and a man in a marshal's uniform enter the courtroom.

Judge: Ah, there’s the man with my sandwich. It’s about time!

Phil: Bob, we've got a problem.

Bob: You've got a problem? What do you think this is?

Phil: This is a marshal from Miami. It seems there's a hotel manager there who's suing us over an unpaid bill from the Haines sisters. They're waiting for us over on The People's CourtTV  

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