Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

See also . . .
Radio Memories
This Day in History

The Life of Riley

"The Lawnmower Company"
Originally broadcast 12/08/50
Transcribed by Jessi Taylor for Arizona TheatreWorks
Announcer 1
Announcer 2
Announcer 3
Chester A. Riley
Junior Riley
Peg Riley
Joey (Junior's friend)
Willie (Junior's friend)
Digger O'Dell
Mossbank O'Dell (Digger's son)
Mr. Petersen

ANNOUNCER 1: Hey Riley.

RILEY: Yeah.

ANNOUNCER 1: What'll you have?

RILEY: Pabst Blue Ribbon. What else?

(SUNG to the tune of "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians")

Smoother, smoother, smoother flavors.
That's the sparkle millions favor.
Taste that smoother, smoother flavor.
Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

ANNOUNCER 1: What'll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon! Internationally famous Pabst Blue Ribbon. The finest beer served. Anywhere. Presents The Life of Riley, starring Williams Bendix as Riley.


ANNOUNCER 1: With a sincere wish for good weather everywhere, we apologetically report to the rest of the nation that this day dawned bright and sunny in the part of California where Chester A. Riley lives. He rose early, ate a hearty breakfast, and since the aircraft plant is closed today, Riveter Riley decided to put his holiday to good use by doing various odd jobs around the house-jobs that's he'd neglected to do for some time. So Riley dutifully took his tool chest, went out into the back yard, and for his first chore, began to put up a new hammock. He hammered a large nail into the tree.

F/X: Hammering

ANNOUNCER 1: He hammered a nail into the other tree.

F/X: Hammering

ANNOUNCER 1: And then he put of the hammock and stretched out in it to test the hammock and see if the nails were secure enough to support his wait. Now, that was at ten o'clock. It is now 12:30, and the test is still going on.


F/X: BB gun shot

RILEY: Aaaa! I'm shot! I'm shot! Peg, why didya' do it?

JUNIOR: Take it easy, Pop. I didn't hit ya'.

RILEY: What…? Junior, what are you doin' with that gun?

JUNIOR: I was just shooting at that bulge in the tree there.

RILEY: Well, you hit the bulge in the hammock. (GROANS) You wanna kill somebody?

JUNIOR: Well, gee, Pop, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit ya', honest. But it's only a BB gun. It can't hurt ya'.

RILEY: Can't hurt me?! (GROANS)

PEG: What's all the yellin' about, Riley? Why are ya' sittin' so funny?

RILEY: Well, your son almost blew my brains out.

PEG: Junior…

JUNIOR: I'm sorry. Honest, Pop.

RILEY: That's some son you've got. A sniper. Don't you got nothing better to do than goin' around takin' pot shots at people.

JUNIOR: I'll shoot at tin cans.

RILEY: Yeah.

PEG: Now you be more careful with that gun, Junior, or you're not gonna be allowed to play with it.

RILEY: Some kid. When I was your age, I didn't go around shootin' my father behind his back. Why don't ya' go play baseball?

JUNIOR: Ah, there's nobody to play with. Most of the gang went campin' up to Big Bear Lake for the weekend.

RILEY: Well, why didn't you go campin'?

JUNIOR: 'Cuz you said you wouldn't spend the money.

RILEY: Always excuses. Anyway, there's other things to do besides goin' campin'. You can have fun right here in town. Why don't ya' go swimmin'?

JUNIOR: The only place to go around here is the Y.

RILEY: Well, why don't you go there?

JUNIOR: 'Cuz you wouldn't give met the seven dollars to join.

RILEY: Oh. First I didn't wanna give you money for campin', now I don't wanna give you the money for the Y. Next thing you'll be callin' me a tight wad. Go on, say it, say it. I dare ya'. Say I'm a tight wad.

PEG: Well, you are a tight wad.

RILEY: I ain't askin' you. I'm askin' him.

JUNIOR: Can I go now, Pops?

RILEY: No, you stay here. Now listen here, young man. You got two weeks Christmas vacation ahead of you, so you better find somethin' better to do with your time than hangin' around the house all day.

PEG: Well, at least you could be constructive, Riley. What do you want him to do?

RILEY: Well, let him get a job. Go to work.

JUNIOR: But it's my vacation!

RILEY: So what? When I was your age, I worked every school vacation. I was ambitious. Why, one summer alone, I had a job with an ice man, then I got a job helpin' a milk man, then I helped run a corner newsstand, then I got a job in a livery stable-

JUNIOR: What's the matter, couldn't you hold a job?

RILEY: Don't be such a wise guy. There's one rule in life you oughta' know, and that rule is, learn the meaning of hard work when you're young, like I did. And you'll get somewhere when you're old.

PEG: Like you did.

RILEY: Well, there's an exception to every rule. Now look here, Junior, tomorrow morning, you look through the want ads-

PEG: Oh, Riley! He's only fourteen! Now, he's studied hard in school all term. Let him have a little fun.

JUNIOR: Sure, I wanna have some fun.

RILEY: Fun, that's the trouble with you kids of today. That's all they think of-fun, fun, fun. But work, oh no, let the old man work!

PEG Well, why shouldn't he have some fun?

RILEY: A boy's gotta learn to stand on his own two feet. He's gotta learn to be self-reliant. That's theAmerican way. Ain't you ashamed, Junior? Comin' to me every week, week after week for your allowance?


RILEY: No? You're not ashamed to ask me?

JUNIOR: Why should I be ashamed? I ask ya', but ya' never give it to me.

RILEY: Again with the money! Now, just for that, I'm gonna teach you a lesson, Junior. You ain't getting' a cent out of me, all during your vacation.

JUNIOR: Aw, Pop!

RILEY: If you want money, you'll hafta' work for it.

PEG: Now Riley, why don't ya' think about it, and later when you feel better-

RILEY: I mean it! My head is made up. Work, work! That's my motto! If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a lazy loafer.

JUNIOR: Aw, but Pop!

RILEY: Now stop swingin' this hammock. I wanna take a little cat nap. Wake me up in six hours.


F/X: Door opens

F/X: Footsteps

F/X: Door closes

RILEY: Hi, Peg.

PEG: Oh, you're home early, dear.

RILEY: Yeah. I walked instead of takin' the bus. Where's Junior?

PEG: Out on the back porch, I think. He was a minute ago.

RILEY: Oh. Did he look for a job today?

PEG: Well, he disappeared right after he got home from school. Maybe.

RILEY: Maybe? You don't know?

PEG: I got more important things to worry about.

RILEY: What's more important than your boys future? I wanna know if he looked for a job today.

PEG: Well then go ask him.

RILEY: All right, I will. (YELLING) Junior!

F/X: Footsteps until OUT


JUNIOR: I'm out here, Pop!

RILEY: Oh. Junior-

F/X: Footsteps OUT

F/X: Door closes

RILEY: Oh, hi, fellas.

JOEY: Hi, Mr. Riley.


RILEY: Junior, uh, did you look for a job today?

JUNIOR: No, Pop, I-

RILEY: I thought I told you you were going to work this vacation.

JUNIOR: Oh, I am. But I'm going into business for myself.

RILEY: What?

JUNIOR: Yeah, I'm mowing lawns. Me and Joey and Willie here. We're partners. See, if we can get holda' ten bucks, we can rent three lawnmowers. And with the three of us workin', boy, we'll clean up!

RILEY: (LAUGHS) Junior. You're still a child. Goin' into business for yourself. Anything to get out of work.

JUNIOR: But, Pop, this way-

RILEY: You'll never make a go of it. You know the kind of a neighborhood this is. Every guy mows his own lawn.

JUNIOR: You don't.

RILEY: Or gets his wife to do it.

JUNIOR: Well, yeah. But if we get three lawnmowers-

RILEY: Don't you know the only way to make an honest dollars is to put in your eight hours every day and collect your pay at the end of the week?

JUNIOR: But we can make this pay off. If we can only get the lawnmowers.

JOEY: Sure, Mr. Riley. Well, we can make oodles of boodle.

WILLIE: I figure we can make it.

RILEY: Oh, okay, okay, okay. At least it's better than loafin'. You're makin' a stab at work. I'll give ya' the ten bucks.

JUNIOR: Aw, you will, Pop?!

RILEY: Yeah, there ya' are.

JOEY: Oh, boy, thanks, Mr. Riley!

WILLIE: Gee, you're a pal!

JUNIOR: We'll pay ya' back, Pop!

RILEY: Aw, forget it. But believe me, it's just throwin' away good dough. You'll never make a go of this.

JUNIOR: Oh, sure we will. We got forty customers lined up. Five dollars each for a month. That's two hundred dollars a month. And gosh, in twelve months, that's, um, twenty-four hundred dollars!

RILEY: Partners, I think we can make a go of this!

JUNIOR: Partners?

JOEY: What does he mean, 'We'?

RILEY: Well, it's my ten bucks that's puttin' you in business.

JOEY: What does he mean, 'My'?

WILLIE: You gave it to us.

RILEY: Gave it to you? Aw, you kids have got a lot to learn about business. I didn't give it to ya'. I ain't no philanderer. I'm an investor-er. I'm bringin' in the capital, ain't I?

JUNIOR: Well, if you don't wanna give it to us, then lend it to us. And we'll pay ya' four percent interest, just like a bank. Oh, you wanna loan? Well, okay. What's your security?

WILLIE: Well, sure, that's what the bank would want.

JUNIOR: Pop, I give you my word you'll get the dough back.

RILEY: Ha! What bank would take the word of a Riley? Nah, I've been all through that.

JUNIOR: Okay, I guess we'll hafta make ya' a partner.

JOEY: Yeah, I guess so.

WILLIE: And everything was goin' along so nice.

RILEY: Well, what are ya' worryin' about? I'll be fair. I'll let you kids have a controllin' interest. All I want is a measly forty-nine percent. That means fifty-one percent for the three of you. And any time you wanna get ridda' me, all you hafta do is call a meetin' of the stockholders, and you can vote me outta the corporation.

JUNIOR: Oh, can we do that?

RILEY: Well, sure. I'll draw up the bylaws, and we'll make it legal. Now, anything else we need?

JUNIOR: Oh, hey, yeah, we need some dough to buy weed killer.

JOEY: It's two fifty a gallon.

RILEY: Two fifty?! Why that's ridiculous. I know where to get some weed killer for seventy-five cents a gallon.

WILLIE: Aw, that stuff's no good.

JUNIOR: Yeah, the other stuff's guaranteed.

RILEY: Now, look, it's all the same stuff. It's just different labels. The weeds don't know the difference.

JUNIOR: But, Pop-

RILEY: Look, don't try to tell me about weed killer. You get the seventy-five cent stuff.

JOEY: Okay.

WILLIE: All right.

JUNIOR: All right, Pop.

RILEY: You see there? I just saved you two and quarter. You need a guy like me in the organization. Well, okay, fellas. Get the lawnmowers and the weed killer, and get to work bright and early tomorrow. The Riley Lawnmowin' Company is now in business. And remember our motto: Don't let the grass grow under your feet!



F/X: Footsteps until OUT

RILEY: Hi, Peg. Boys here yet?

F/X: Footsteps OUT

PEG: Yeah, they're here.

RILEY: Aw, swell.

PEG: Now, just a minute.

RILEY: Oh, we got a meetin', Peg.

PEG: That's what I want to talk to ya' about. Now, why don't ya' leave those kids alone?

RILEY: Well, now Peg, I'm helpin'-

PEG: Now, listen to me. They're better off without your help.

RILEY: Well, that's a nice remark to state. The way you talk, you'd think I was tryin' to swindle those guys.

PEG: Well, I didn't mean that! Only I think that you-

RILEY: I couldn't even if I tried. I only got forty-nine percent of the profits. They get fifty-one percent.

PEG: Well, why should you get so much?

RILEY; Well, how do I know there'll be any profits? Suppose they don't vote any.

PEG: Well that's right.

RILEY: Right.

PEG: They don't hafta vote any profits.


PEG: With their fifty-one percent they control the vote. (LAUGHS) Riley, I don't think you were very smart on this deal.

RILEY: No? (LAUGHS) Oh, don't you worry. I thought of everything. On paper they control the vote, but you don't think Junior will vote against me. No, the two of us will decide what profits are taken out, and if the other two kids step out of line, why, we'll just vote 'em outta the corporation. (LAUGHS)

PEG: Oh, Riley, you wouldn't do that!

RILEY: Peg, there's no room for sentiment in business. Besides, it'll be a good experience for the other two kids. It's train 'em for the future.

PEG: But, Riley, I-

F/X: Footsteps until OUT

RILEY: No, no. Later, Peg. I got this meetin'.

F/X: Footsteps OUT


WILLIE: Oh, hi, Mr. Riley.

JOEY: Hi, Mr. Riley.

JUNIOR: Hi, Pop.

RILEY: Hi, partners. Okay, the mettin' of the stockholders of the Riley Lawnmowin' Company is no called to order.

F/X: Striking (with what sounds like a gavel) TWICE

RILEY: Ow! Oh, my hand! We gotta buy a gavel. Okay, treasurer Junior, let's have your report.

JUNIOR: Well, today we've collected, um, seventy-five dollars.

RILEY: Mm-hm.

JOEY: And we spent six dollars for the weed killer.

WILLIE: That leaves sixty-nine dollars cash on hand.

RILEY: Well, that's not bad, partners. Not bad for one week's work. Now we gotta decide how much of the sixty-nine dollars goes for your salaries, and how much for profit. Now, uh, how about fifteen dollars for salaries-

JUNIOR: Fifteen?!

RILEY: Yeah, and fifty-four dollars for profits. Do I hear a motion?

JOEY: Yeah, I move the whole sixty-nine dollars be paid out in salaries! Twenty-three each for the three of us-me, Junior, and Willie.

WILLIE: Second the motion.

RILEY: (LAUGHING) Oh, no, no, no. Now, wait a minute, nah. Nah, you can't do that.

JOEY: There's a motion on the floor!

WILLIE: Yeah! Take a vote!

RILEY: Well, okay. If you wanna vote, you'll get a vote. This is a fair and square outfit. (LAUGHING) All those in favor of this ridiculous, stupid motion, say aye. Joey?

JOEY: Aye!



RILEY: (LAUGHS) And I vote no, so the motion is defeated.

JOEY: Hey, wait a minute! Junior didn't vote!

RILEY: Wha-What? (LAUGHING) Oh, yeah, that's right. Well, okay, Junior, let's hear your vote.

JUNIOR: I vote… aye!

RILEY: There, you see?… Aye?!

JOEY: We win, fifty-one percent to forty-nine! Okay, here's the dough, fellas. Twenty-three for you, twenty-

RILEY: Wait a minute.

JOEY: Twenty-three for you, Junior-

RILEY: Now, now, just a minute!

JOEY: Here's yours, Willie.

WILLIE: Oh, boy!

RILEY: Now wait, you can't do this!

JOEY: Here's your share, Junior.

RILEY: No, don't take the money, Junior!

JUNIOR: Oh, boy, twenty-three bucks!

RILEY: You're out of order! You can't get away with this! I'll take my ten dollars back.

JOEY: Okay. I move we give Mr. Riley his ten dollars back and kick him outta the corporation!

RILEY: No way!

WILLIE: Second the motion!

RILEY: No fair!

JOEY: All those in favor?



JOEY: Aye!



RILEY: Aye! I mean, no! Junior you can't do this!

JOEY: Okay, Mr. Riley, here's your ten dollars back.

RILEY: Well, it just ain't legal. You can't do it!

JOEY: Oh, yes we can. It says so in the bylaws.

RILEY: Those bylaws are crooked!

JUNIOR: But you wrote 'em, Pop!

RILEY: But I… you… this is… Oh, what a revoltin' development this is!


ANNOUNCER 1: You have just heard the first act of The Life of Riley, starring William Bendix as Riley. Now, here's a question you hear everywhere:

ANNOUNCER 2: What'll you have?

ANNOUNCER 1: Pabst Blue Ribbon!

ANNOUNCER 2: What'll you have?

ANNOUNCER 3: Pabst Blue Ribbon!

(SUNG) When ya' hear the fights on the radio, with the fighters trading blow for blow, the moment that bell begins to sound, it's Pabst Blue Ribbon from the very first round.

What'll you have?

Pabst Blue Ribbon!

What'll you have?

Pabst Blue Ribbon!

What'll you have?

Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

Smoother, smoother, smoother flavors.

That's the sparkle millions favor.

Taste that smoother, smoother flavor.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

ANNOUNCER 1: Finest beer served. Anywhere. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Say, do you wanna know how to judge truly fine beer? Well, friend, just make the three-way expert's test. One, see the clear color, and look at the creamy head. Two, sniff that fragrant Blue Ribbon blend. Three, taste the flavor the whole world knows. Then you'll agree…

(SUNG) Finest beer served-anywhere. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

ANNOUNCER 1: What'll ya' have?

ANNOUNCER 2: Pabst Blue Ribbon!


ANNOUNCER 1: And now back to The Life of Riley, starring William Bendix as Riley, with Paula Winslow and John Brown. Well, The Riley Lawnmowing Company is still a growing concern, only without its president and founder, Chester A. Riley, who was ousted in a shrewdly executed voting maneuver on the part of majority stock holders, Junior, Joey, and Willie, aged 14, 13, and 12 and a half, respectively…

RILEY: My own son. My own son!

PEG: Oh, stop it Riley.

RILEY: My own son stuck a knife in my back.

PEG: Well, you deserve it!

RILEY: I deserve it?! Is that way for a son to act? Young Henry Ford didn't do it to old Henry Ford. Young Nelson Rockefeller didn't do it to old John Rockefeller. Young Sears didn't do it to old Roebuck. But young Riley can do it to old Riley. That's okay, huh?

PEG: Well, there's no room for sentiment in business.

RILEY: What kind of a stupid remark is that?

PEG: You said it first.

RILEY: Yeah, and I was right. That was the smartest stupid remark I ever made. Well, I'll teach them a lesson they'll never forget.

PEG: Well, there's nothing much you can do about it, Dear.

RILEY: Oh no? Well, you take a look at the back yard.

PEG: Hmm?

RILEY: Yeah.

PEG: Why, it's a lawnmower.

RILEY: Yeah.

PEG: Where'd ya' get it?

RILEY: It's a power lawnmower, and I rented it.

PEG: What for?

RILEY: With that lawnmower, I can mow lawns in one-tenth the time it takes those kids. So I'm gonna hire some boys, pay 'em next to nothin', undercut Junior's prices, take all their customers away, and put 'em outta business. That's the kind of a man I am.

PEG: And you're not ashamed to admit it! For heaven's sake, Riley, why don't ya' leave those kids alone?! Now, you've got your money back!

RILEY: It ain't the money! I'm gonna teach those kids a lesson in business! It'll be an education for them. They gotta learn just because they're big business men, they can't shove the little fella around!

PEG: You're the little fella?! Why the three of 'em together weigh less than you do!

RILEY: I'm gonna throw my weight around! They gotta be taught a lesson! You'll see, by this time tomorrow, they'll come crawling back to me, beggin' me to come back in the corporation.

PEG: Oh, Riley! This is the meanest thing I ever heard of. How can ya' be so petty? Takin' advantage of kids! When I married ya' I never realized ya' had this side to your character!

RILEY: Yeah, well there's nothin' you can do about it now! You're stuck with me! (LAUGHS)


RILEY: I'll show 'em. They think they got me licked. Well, they'll find out I don't give up that easy. A Riley never says die until he's dead six months.

DIGGER: Nonsense! You're no different from my other customers!

RILEY: Digger, it's you!

DIGGER: Yes, it is I indeed. Digger O'Dell the friendly undertaker. What are you doing here on my threshold?

RILEY: I came to see you on business.

DIGGER: On that case, let's not stand out here on the street. Come into my parlor and stretch out. I like to see people comfortable during a business discussion.

RILEY: Okay.

F/X: Footsteps until OUT

DIGGER: Oh, dear.

RILEY: Uh, what's the matter, Digger?

DIGGER: I haven't got my key with me. Ring the bell, will you?

RILEY: Huh? Oh, yeah, sure.

F/X: Bell chimes to the tune of (The Funeral March?)

DIGGER: Someone must be home. Ah, yes, here comes one of my sons.

MOSSBANK: Hello, Papa.

DIGGER: You know my youngest son, Mossbank.

RILEY: Oh, yeah, sure! Hey, he's gettin' to be a big boy!

DIGGER: Oh yes! Pretty soon he'll be big enough to help me carry the load. What are you doing with that shovel, son?

MOSSBANK: Just playing, Papa. I'm digging a hole in the back yard.

DIGGER: Bully for you. Make it a nice big hole, and Papa will give you something to put in it! I'm buying a new weeping willow tree.

MOSSBANK: Thanks, Papa.

F/X: Footsteps

DIGGER: Charming youth. I believe boys oughta learn how to plant things at an early age. It helps them later on. Now what did you want to see me about, Riley?

RILEY: Well, Digger, I'd like to mow your lawn for ya' for a small fee.

DIGGER: But your son, Junior, and his friends are doing it for me now. And they're doing a bully job, too.

RILEY: I'll do better.

DIGGER: But I made a deal with the boys. We have a verbal contract.

RILEY: Break it!

DIGGER: Oh, I can't do that. Twenty years in business, and I've never broken my word yet. When I make a promise to a customer, the promise is always carried out. And so is the customer.

RILEY: But you're payin' Junior five dollars. I'll do it for two fifty.

DIGGER: No. No, I don't approve of price-cutting. I tried it once in my business. It was disastrous! A customer came along, I offered to do the job for a hundred. My competitor cut to the price to fifty. I got angry and went down to twenty-five. He went down to ten. One thing led to another. We started calling each other insulting names. He kept throwing dirt in my face, and I kept throwing dirt in his face. Nobody was throwing dirt in the customer's face.

RILEY: But, Digger, I'll do the job for two fifty… uh, two dollars!

DIGGER: No. No, Riley. And if you ask me, I don't think it's very nice of you to compete with your son, Junior.

RILEY: Now, look, Digger. I didn't come here for a lecture. And if that's gonna be your attitude, you and me are through. Even if you wanted to, I don't want you for my customer.

DIGGER: I'm sorry, dear chum. As far as I'm concerned, there are no hard feelings. And believe me, I always want you for my customer. Well, cheerio. You'd better be shoveling off.


WILLIE: And what'd Joey say? Why the meeting, Junior?

JUNIOR: I don't know. He just said be at the house in-aw, here comes Joey now. Hiya, Joey.

JOEY: Hi, fellas.

JUNIOR: Well, what's up, Joey? Why'd ya' call the meeting? Is somethin' wrong?

JOEY: Plenty. You know that weed killer your father made us buy?

JUNIOR: Well, what about it? It worked good. It kills the weeds.

JOEY: It works too good. It not only kills the weeds, it kills the grass.

JUNIOR: You're kidding!

JOEY: Honest. I went to Petersen's house. You should see that lawn. There just isn't any grass! Just a couple of patches here and there, and checked out all the other lawns. They're just as bad.

JUNIOR: Holy smoke, all of 'em?!

JOEY: All of 'em.

JUNIOR: What'll we do?

JOEY: Mr. Petersen says we have to put in a lawn or he'll make trouble for us.

WILLIE: Gee, we'll hafta work for weeks and we won't make a cent!

JOEY: Well, we'll lose money! It's all your father's fault, Junior. He got us to use that cheap weed killer.

JUNIOR: Gee, guys, I'm sorry.

JOEY: Well a lotta good that does us.

WILLIE: Gee, what'll we do?

JOEY: Well, watch it, here comes your old man. The big brain.

JUNIOR: Cut it out, Joey.

RILEY: Well, well, well, if it isn't the big businessmen.

JUNIOR: Aw, lay off, will ya', Pop?

RILEY: Well, what's the matter, boys? Why the long faces? You look worried.

JUNIOR: Why shouldn't we?

JOEY: It's all your fault, Mr. Riley.

WILLIE: On account of you, we'll probably lose all our customers.

RILEY: Oh, so you found out about the jam I got you into, huh? (LAUGHS) I didn't expect you to cave in this fast. (LAUGHS) Now look, I don't wanna be too tough on you. I think you've learned your lesson. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll come back in the organization.

JUNIOR: You wanna come back?

RILEY: On one condition. That I'm the boss. I decide who gets what. What profits there are. I have full responsibility. And as far as you're concerned, you fellas have just got jobs. You're workin' for me, okay?

JUNIOR: But, Pop, there's somethin' you oughta know.

RILEY: Oh, I don't wanna know nothin'. Yes or now?

JUNIOR: But, Pop, we just-

WILLIE: Shut up, Junior!

RILEY: Is it a deal?

JUNIOR: You'll have to pay for all the damages if you're boss.

RILEY: What damages?

JUNIOR: That weed killer of yours ruined all the lawns.

RILEY: (LAUGHS) Oh, I'm surprised at you, Junior. Just because you don't want me runnin' things, you make up a cock and bull story like that and expect me to fall for it? (LAUGHS) Well, I'm just a little bit to smart for ya'. (LAUGHS)

JOEY: That's right, Mr. Riley. No use tryin' to fool you.

RILEY: Aw, you bet there isn't.

JUNIOR: But, Pop-

WILLIE: Quiet, Junior. That's right. You're too smart for us dopey kids.

RILEY: Yep. Well, whadaya say, fellas? Is it a deal? Am I the boss?

JOEY: Yes, sir, Mr. Riley!

RILEY: Willie, I'm the boss?

WILLIE: Oh, sure!

RILEY: Junior?

JUNIOR: Okay, if that's what you want… Boss.

RILEY: (LAUGHS) Now, just so that there's no misunderstanding, I got a little agreement here that I want you to sign. Okay, here's a pen.

JOEY: Okay.

RILEY: Oh, no, wait a minute! No, no, read it. I want you to know what you're signin' so you won't say that I tricked ya'. This paper just says that I have full charge and absolute control.

JOEY: That's okay by us.

RILEY: Uh-huh.

F/X: Signing contract

JOEY: There. Sign, Willie.

F/X: Signing contract

RILEY: Now you, Junior.

F/X: Signing contract

RILEY: Now, that does it. Now let this be a lesson to you kids. If you wanna get somewhere in business, it ain't luck, it ain't tricks, it's brains that does it!

JOEY: Yeah! You taught us a lesson all right.

MR. PETERSEN: (FROM A DISTANCE) Hey there, Joey, I wanna talk to you!

JOEY: Uh oh, it's Mr. Petersen.

MR. PETERSEN: (COMING CLOSER) Well, Joey, what are you gonna do about my lawn? I advise you-

RILEY: Now, now, now, now. Just a minute, Mister. If you got somethin' to say about your lawn, you better talk to me.

MR. PETERSEN: What have you gotta do with it?

RILEY: Well, I have full charge and responsibility.

MR. PETERSEN: Oh, is that so?

RILEY: Yeah, these kids just work for me. I got a paper to prove it. There, see? (LAUGHS)

MR. PETERSEN: Well, I'm very glad to hear that.


MR. PETERSEN: I just spoke to my lawyer, and I found ya' can't sue a minor. But seein' you're in charge, I wanna tell ya' somethin'. I'm not only speakin' for myself, but for ten other people, as well. Unless you repair the damage your phony weed killer did to our lawns, we're gonna drag you into court and make ya' pay through that big fat nose of yours! Goodbye!

RILEY: (YELLING AFTER HIM) Wait! I'm a minor! Wait! They did it! The kids did it! I didn't do it!

JOEY: But, Mr. Riley, you're the boss.

RILEY: Well-

WILLIE: Yeah, you're it.

RILEY: Well, you… why, you… you swindlers. You tricked me! Why didn't ya' tell me about the weed killer?

JUNIOR: I told ya', Pop. Ya' wouldn't believe me!

JOEY: Yeah! You were too smart for us! Let this be a lesson to ya', Mr. Riley. If you wanna get somewhere in business, it ain't luck, it ain't tricks, it's-

RILEY: I know, I know. It's brains. And believe me, I wish I knew where to get some.


ANNOUNCER 1: The Rileys will be back in just a moment, but right now…

(SUNG) You can travel fifteen thousand miles

To far off lands and distant isles

From tropic sun to arctic snows

I'ts Pabst Blue Ribbon the whole world knows

In Napoli where Nick and Tony

Enjoy fine beer and macaroni

You'll always get a welcome smile

When you ask this question

In Italian style

What'll you have?

Pabst Blue Ribbon

What'll you have?

Pabst Blue Ribbon

What'll you have?

Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

ANNOUNCER: Yes, wherever you travel-to Europe, the Far East, South America, or right here in the good ol' USA, you'll find folks enjoying that international favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Remember, the quality that has carried Pabst Blue Ribbon around the world is yours for the asking. The next time the waiter asks you, "What'll ya' have?" tell him you want the world's number one favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Finest beer served. Anywhere.


RILEY: But Peg, you don't seem to realize the spot I'm in. Every night when I come home, dead tired, I'll have to put in a couple of hours on those lawns, and all day Saturday, and Sunday, and holidays, and my two weeks vacation next summer-


RILEY: Well what's there to laugh about?

PEG: Well, I think it's very funny. I don't wanna be an I-told-you-so, but, uh, I told you so.

RILEY: Yeah, so, all right, you told me so. But I wouldn't be in this jam if it wasn't for that Joey. At least my junior warned me, but I didn't listen. That Junior's okay. He plays square. He's a real honest kid. He tried to do me a real good turn, and I'll never forget it. Now I wonder how I can trick him into doing those lawns for me… What if I tell him that I'm sick and the doctor won't let me get up out of bed…


F/X: Lawnmower

ANNOUNCER: (CHUCKLING) And friends, do you hear what I hear? A lawnmower! And Chester A. Riley!

RILEY: (SINGING) What'll ya' have? Pabst Blue Ribbon. What do I need? Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer…

(SUNG) Smoother, smoother, smoother flavors. That's the sparkle millions favor. Taste that smoother, smoother flavor. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

ANNOUNCER 1: What'll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon!


RILEY: This is Riley, alias William Bendix. And so they were married. But John and Mary didn't' live happily ever after. Quarrels over money almost separated them, and so they asked family service for help in budgeting. Now John and Mary are on their second honeymoon, thanks to Family Service, just one of a hundred fifty-five agencies supported by your community chest contribution. Give enough to do enough. Pledge now to your community chest. No other gift does so much for so many.


ANNOUNCER: Pabst Blue Ribbon invites you to join us again next week to hear The Life of Riley, starring William Bendix as Riley. The script is by Alan Lipscott and Ruben Schiff. Music by Lou Koslov. Mrs. Riley is Paula Winslow, Digger O'Dell is John Brown, and Junior is Bobby Ellis.


ANNOUNCER: The Life of Riley is brought to you by the Pabst Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and sent your way with the best wishes of Pabst Blue Ribbon dealers from coast to coast. See ya' next week! Jimmy Wellington speaking.