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"That seems to be the trend today, to kill off the good guys." (June
Cleaver, in a line that eerily presages the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy)
It's the last season of LITB, and Wally is approaching adulthood: the perfect time to learn thrift and fiscal responsibility, traditional American virtues which LITB promoted. In this episode, Eddie is bragging about his new credit card. Wally implores Ward to let him have one too, but Ward refuses; it's too big a responsibility for a boy Wally's age. When Wally, Eddie and Lumpy are driving home from a sports event, Wally's car battery fails and Eddie foots the bill for a new battery with his credit card. Wally pays him back, but will Eddie then be responsible enough to pay back his father?
The episode is solid (as always with LITB), but not a whole lot of fun. It seems to me that Ward and June became very stiff and authoritarian towards the end of the series. Watch June's line readings and reactions in this episode: she seems positively robotic. There was not a whole lot of humor in the final season, and the funniest thing in this episode is the flashy vest Eddie buys on his credit card ("They say it brings out the Peter Lawford in me.") George Petrie has the first of his two appearances as Mr. George Haskell; both he and the actress who played Mrs. Haskell were earthy and real in their roles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wally wants a credit card. Eddie Haskell has a card, and a dinner
jacket, and a phone of his own in his room: Wally is falling behind
Eddie Haskell. June believes Wally can handle a credit card: Ward
believes there are lots of people who can't handle credit; and he
believes Wally isn't ready yet.
Wally wonders why does he have to take the guys everywhere. Lumpy's car boils over, Eddie made a deal with dad that he wouldn't take the car out of town; so, Wally wants the guys to at least chip in to pay for gas. At the game. Wally's car won't start; it needs a battery. Eddie offers to have Wally put the cost of the battery on his credit card, all $15.
At home, Wally explains what happened. Yes indeed, it was Eddie and his credit card to the rescue. Ward's not happy; but Wally hands over the $15 to Eddie. On his way home, Eddie spends the money on a vest he sees in a shop window. Lumpy cautions Eddie about giving his dad he $15, but Eddie is sure he will have the money for the credit card bill at the end of the month. Yeah sure, this is Eddie.
Wally is trying to repair his upholstery himself. Eddie is off to see the "chicks" when George Haskell gets the credit card bill. George Haskell calls the gas station to find out who received the battery; it certainly wasn't his son's car. The station owner remembers Eddie, and it seems that George Haskell knows his son also. Then George Haskell calls Ward and complains that Wally didn't pay Eddie for the battery. Ward states Wally did, but George questions Wally's honesty. Apparently, George really doesn't know his son. Wally arrives home but gets a heads up from Beaver. He's off to see Eddie. Where did the money I gave you go? See the great vest that brings out the Peter Lawford in Eddie? Either pay up or I talk to your father now. No, Wally doesn't want to do that, Eddie claims his father will clobber him. Eddie gets a reprieve, until seven that night. Ward wants Wally to call Mr. Haskell immediately; but Lumpy arrives to say Eddie paid his father.
Wally wants a little privacy and a talk with Lumpy. Where did Eddie get the money? Eddie used his credit card to "buy" a tire for $25, then he sold it to a friend, Fred Cousins, for $15. Now Wally's off the hook and Eddie is in the clear. Beaver, marveling at the math involved, shows an admiration for Eddie, a guy who failed Geometry twice. Wally's sees the whole exchange as stupid. What happens at the end of the next month when Eddie owes $25 for the tire? Wally says Eddie is basically stealing. Eventually he will lose his credit, his card, and his car.
Eddie is at the Cleaver house, he wants to speak with Ward. George Haskell did find out about the battery; and he took away his credit card, and his car, and grounded Eddie for a month. Eddie apologizes to both Ward and June. Beaver figure that Eddie has an angle; he can't be nice for nothing. Wally also wants to know what Eddie's angle is. Eddie says he just thought the Cleavers would ban him from the house, and from seeing Wally. Eddie asks if everyone thinks he's a mess. Pretty much. Pretty much.
I recall being at a home show and the big novelty was a machine capable of making raised imprints on a plastic card. As a token, they were giving away free cards to kids with your name and address on them. For the adults, the salesmen were touting the practicality of their invention to make employee I.D.'s and such. Even a plastic "credit card" to replace the raised steel cards most big department stores were using, such as Strouss' or McKelvey's. Stores now long gone; but those damned credit cards certainly morphed into really big business. If Ward had only known.
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