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"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of
written by Mark Twain
adapted to radio drama by Kathleen Chamberlain
Synopsis of the
Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain,
travels to the gold mining town of Angel=s
Camp, California. A friend had asked him to look up Simon Wheeler and ask about a man named
Leonidas W. Smiley. After meeting Simon Wheeler, Clemens realizes that his
friend was probably playing a joke on him and that Leonidas W. Smiley never
existed. Clemens suspects that his friend had expected Simon to go on for hours
telling the escapades of an infamous local character. Simon did just that.
Clemens found Simon, fat and bald-headed,
exactly where his friend said he'd be
comfortably by the barroom stove of the old, dilapidated tavern. When asked
about Leonidas W. Smiley, Simon commenced a narrative describing the escapades
of a one-time resident of Angel=s
Camp by the name of Jim Smiley. Simon described Smiley as someone who would bet
on anything; he would even switch sides, to get a bet going.
One of Jim Smiley=s
activities involved a horse that from all appearances was slow and sickly.
Everyone called the horse AThe
Fifteen Minute Nag.@
She looked so bad that the other horse owners would give her a head start in a
race and then overtake her. In the end, though, Jim=s
horse would get excited and win the race.
Another of Smiley=s
enterprises was his little bull pup by the name of Andrew Jackson. Andrew
Jackson looked as if he couldn=t
get up enough energy to walk, let alone fight. Jim easily set up regular fights
for Andrew Jackson. Now, it so happened that Andrew Jackson=s
pet hold was to get the other dog by the hind leg and hold on until his opponent
gave up and quit fighting. Finally Jim, by mistake, matched Andrew Jackson with
a dog that had no hind legs. When Andrew Jackson discovered this he gave up, and
the other dog beat him. When it was all over, Andrew Jackson just limped off and
lay down and died of a broken heart.
last story of Jim=s
escapades concerned a pet frog that Jim had trained. Daniel Webster, the frog=s
name, was a very talented frog. He could catch flies on command, and he was a
champion jumper. Jim won many contests with Daniel Webster. One day, however,
Jim struck up a bet with a stranger who didn=t
have a frog. Because Jim would do anything to strike up a bet, he went into the
swamp and captured a frog for Daniel to jump against. While he was gone the
stranger poured bird shot into Daniel Webster=s
mouth. When Jim returned and the contest was started, Daniel Webster was unable
to jump. The stranger won, of course, and left town counting his winnings. When
Jim picked Daniel Webster up and discovered what the stranger had done, he took
off after the stranger madder than a wet hen.
Simon was called away, and Clemens took the
opportunity to depart, but before he could make his escape good, Simon cornered
him again and started a new story about Smiley=s
one-eyed cow with a tail like a banana.