The Donna Reed Show

Season 4 Episode 37

The Man in the Mask

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 31, 1962 on ABC

Episode Recap

The Sadie Hawkins party is right around the corner and no one has yet to ask Jeff to the party and he's not sure why.  Turns out the girls are busy with softball.  The two girls Jeff hopes will invite him are captains of the two team (opposite teams) and they're looking for a fair and impartial person to umpire the game.

While on his way downtown to interview baseball great Don Drysdale, for the school newspaper, he stops by to give both girls the chance to invite him to the party.  Once there, the girls ask him for whom he'll be rooting during tomorrow's game, as Jeff doesn't want to risk his chances with either girl, he provides a fair, balanced, and impartial answer.  The girls notice how wonderful he looks in his suit (for the interview) and the wording of his answer.  Thus, they decide to ask for him to umpire the game.  This request puts him in a very delicate and interesting position. Decline and he might upset them both.  Yet by accepting the offer, he runs the same risk during the game tomorrow.  He accepts after having his ego stroked by telling him how all the girls respect and like him so much.

Meanwhile Don Drysdale has been running late and misses Jeff at the hotel.  Feeling obligated to keep his interview with Jeff, Mr. Drysdale stops by the Stone residence and meets Dr. Stone.  When Jeff gets home, he's livid and both Dr. Stone and Mr. Drysdale hears Jeff, without Jeff realizing it.  Mr. Drysdale acts, as though, he's having trouble hearing because he recently flew on an airplane, till it as time for the interview.  The interview is quick, as he has another appointment and doesn't want to be late for two appointments in the same day.  As he leaves, they discuss Jeff and baseball.  Once Mr. Drysdale hears about Jeff umpiring two girls softball teams, his advice is for Jeff to hide.

Next day, Jeff has his suit on again and yells, "Play Ball!"  The two team captains take this to heart and start buttering Jeff up, so he'll provide their team great calls.  Jeff begins to wiggle for oh, so many obvious reasons.  When Jeff begins making calls the girls act like softball team captains and either argue or praise the calls.  It seems like he can't win, but his calls are fair and good.

When the softball ends up in a tin can and it and the ball end up at third base, the two teams can't agree nor do they give Jeff a chance to rule on the runner being safe or out.  Meanwhile back at the Stone residence, Mary and Dr. Stone discuss the softball game Jeff is umpiring, as heard the girls yelling blocks away from the park.  Dr. Stone says he wouldn't want to be in Jeff's shoes, for all the tea in China.

Back at the field, Don Drysdale stops by to see the game, return Jeff's pen, and find out how he's doing at the game.  After hearing Jeff's side of the game, he gives Jeff advice on both the game and life, itself.  Don offers Jeff and his family, the best seat in the ball park the next time they're in Los Los Angles.

Jeff returns to the game with a new perspective and also giving up on ever seeing an invite to the Sadie Hawkins party.  Back in the dugouts, the girls are working on their beauty and charm to encourage Jeff, in ways a major league umpire wouldn't never see nor have to contend with during his career.  As the game continues Jeff stands his ground making his calls and being fair.  The girls might not like his calls, but they gain respect and start treating him not as a guy who they can manipulate, but as an umpire.

As Mr. Drysdale leaves, he favorably compares the game to his time back in Brooklyn, NYC.

After the game, Jeff and his Father are discussing the day's events and Jeff is getting Fatherly advice on girls.  Just as Jeff is sure he's dead to Angie and Marcia, the door bell rings and Mary says Angie is downstairs.  It doesn't take Jeff long to realize he misread the girls, when Angie says all the girls feel Jeff was a wonderful and fair umpire.  As she finishes inviting Jeff to the Sadie Hawkins party, the bell rings and it is Marcia.  Before anyone else can say a word, she also asks Jeff to the Sadie Hawkins party.

After the girls argue a bit, they decide to let the umpire decide who he'll be going with to the party.  Jeff decides on Angie, as she asked first and those are the rules (when the girls or guys are equal).  After Marcia leaves (a little upset), Jeff sticks his foot in this mouth.  He's remembering what Don Drysdale taught him about a wrong decision and Angie takes it to mean they're going to the party is a wrong decision.  The episode ends with Jeff not know if he'll be going to the party or if anyone will speak to him next school day.