Tommy -- Whose Mother Couldn't Love Him

MUSIC: "Doorway to Life" Theme ... "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

ANNOUNCER: The Doorway to Life is a happy childhood! To help you find this 
doorway for your child, the Columbia Broadcasting System invites you to listen 
to the case of Tommy, age six. "Tommy -- Whose Mother Couldn't Love Him"!




TOMMY: Yes, Daddy?

FATHER: Hey, Tommy, go get me a wet towel!

TOMMY: What's the matter, Daddy? Ya drunk again?

FATHER: (SNAPS AT HIM) Go get that towel, I tell ya!

TOMMY: (IN FEAR) I'm gettin' it, Daddy.


FATHER: (MOANS) Uh, ooh, my head. (CALLS) Hurry up there, Tommy! I'm burnin' 


TOMMY: Here, Daddy. I made it good and wet.

FATHER: (IN RELIEF) Aw, gee, Tommy. You sure know how to take care of your 
Daddy. I always say, you're the only regular one in the whole family.

TOMMY: Why didn't you come home, Daddy? I been waitin' every day for ya.


MOTHER: So, your found your way home, Tom Drake. I was hopin' I'd be rid of ya 
for good this time.

FATHER: Aw, shut up. Don't start your naggin'. Ah, go on, get outta here. Both 
of ya.

MAMIE: Mama? Mama, did you ask Daddy if HE took my silver bracelet?

FATHER: Oh, what's she talkin' about?

MOTHER: You know what's she talkin' about. And what about the clock? I suppose 
you sold that, too. Is that where ya got the money for a three day bath?

FATHER: Aw, don't worry, don't worry, you'll get your clock back. Kid'll get a 
bracelet, too. I got plenty of dough, plenty of dough.

MOTHER: Mm, don't talk so big. When they catch up with you this time, it won't 
be for six months. A fine father YOU are -- steals his own kid's bracelet!

TOMMY: Mom, please don't fight! Daddy couldn't help it!

MOTHER: Tommy, you shut up and get out of here! You're just like father, a 

TOMMY: He's NOT a good-for-nothin'! Don't you say--


MOTHER: Don't talk back to me!

FATHER: Hey, take your hands off of him! Come over to me, Tommy. I won't let 
that old witch hit ya.

TOMMY: You're just an old witch! That's what YOU are!

MOTHER: "Old witch," is it? Well, I'll show you!


MOTHER: (DURING SPANKING) You're gonna be just like your father -- a no good 
drunk! You look like him! You act like him! You're just a second Tom Drake!

FATHER: Keep your hands off of him! If you don't, I'll-- Stop hitting him!

MOTHER: (STILL SPANKING) You should have had more of this when YOU were a kid!

FATHER: Don't! Don't! Leave him alone!


TOMMY: Stop it, Daddy! Don't you dare hit Mama!

FATHER: For the last time--!

TOMMY: Don't!

MOTHER: Stop! Stop! Tom! Let go! (SCREAMS)

FATHER: I'll show ya!


MOTHER: (GROANS IN PAIN, WEEPS) Just like ya! Knock a woman down!


1ST COP: What's goin' on in here?

FATHER: Ahhh, what's it to you?

1ST COP: You Tom Drake?

FATHER: Yeah. Who are you?

1ST COP: Sergeant Hart, police headquarters. The Chief wants to see you, 

MOTHER: What did he do this time, Sergeant?

1ST COP: Plenty, ma'am. It seems that your husband likes to collect other 
people's jewelry.

2ND COP: Who beat ya up, lady?

MOTHER: Who do you think? My lovin' husband. I hope he gets all that's comin' 
to him.

TOMMY: Where you gonna take my Daddy?!

MOTHER: Shut up, Tommy!

1ST COP: Get your hat, Drake.

2ND COP: Well, he won't be beatin' you up for a while, anyway, ma'am.

MOTHER: Lot of good that'll do me. How are we gonna eat and pay the rent?

1ST COP: Ah, these your kids?

MOTHER: Yes, sir.

1ST COP: Well, just call the Child Welfare. They'll help you. That's what 
they're there for. Come on, Drake.

TOMMY: Don't take my Daddy! Don't take my Daddy! Don't take my DADDY! (SOBS)


SOLEMN COMMENTATOR: Tommy might have overcome some of the handicaps of a poor 
environment if he had not resembled his father so much -- if he hadn't 
resembled the man his mother hated so bitterly. And she had good cause to hate 
him. He was brutal. He was a drunkard and a thief. And he certainly didn't try 
to make her or the children happy. Here was Tommy, the image of his father, a 
constant reminder to his mother of all the unhappiness that her husband had 
brought her. There was no way for her to get even with the man -- but Tommy 
was a child. Tommy was helpless. And so he became the scapegoat for his 
mother's hatred.

When Tom Drake went to prison, his wife obtained a divorce and remarried. 
Then, there was a new baby. And this made more complications for Tommy. He not 
only had his mother's hatred to contend with but he also had to adjust to a 
new family situation.



STEPFATHER: Mamie?! Ah, Mamie, have you any idea where your brother coulda 
went? I can't find him any place.

MAMIE: I don't know, Papa. I haven't seen Tommy all day long.

MOTHER: Didn't you find him, Joe?


MOTHER: Oh, dear, he's been gone since nine o'clock this morning and here it 
is after supper -- not a sign of him. (SUDDENLY) Mamie, I thought I told you 
to clear the table!

MAMIE: (IN FEAR) Y-yes, Mama.


MOTHER: Oh, Joe, I don't know what I'm gonna do with that boy. 

STEPFATHER: One thing I know -- whuppin' the tar out of him doesn't help. We 
tried that.

MOTHER: Every time that kid goes out, he gets into some kind of trouble.

MAMIE: And he's a SNEAK, too! Know what he did to me, Mama?

MOTHER: No, I don't know and I don't WANNA know.

MAMIE: He went and took--

MOTHER: Keep quiet, Mamie! Thought I heard somethin'. Mamie, go open the door 
and see if it's Tommy.

MAMIE: What are you gonna do to him tonight, Mama?

MOTHER: Plenty.


MAMIE: Here he is, Mama! He's been HIDING. I bet he's been LISTENING, too! You 
were AFRAID to come in -- weren't you, Tommy?

TOMMY: Oh, yeah? 


TOMMY: Who's afraid? I ain't done nothin'!

MOTHER: Stayin' away all day isn't nothin'? Don't you live here any more? 
Where you been all day?

TOMMY: Oh, just around.

MOTHER: Around where? Come over here and empty your pockets, all of them. 
Let's see what you STOLE today.

TOMMY: I won't! I ain't stole nothin'! Stay away from me!

STEPFATHER: You better empty them pockets quick or I'll do it for ya.

TOMMY: I ain't done nothin'! Let go of me! I didn't do nothin'!


MOTHER: Oh, now you woke the baby, too! Mamie, go in there and rock her until 
she goes to sleep again!

MAMIE: Why do I always have to rock her?


MAMIE: (TO THE BABY) Oh, quit your yellin'.


STEPFATHER: Well, a new cap pistol, a new top, new marbles. I bet you were in 
the five-and-ten again, weren't you?


STEPFATHER: Then where did you get 'em? I suppose you bought 'em, huh?

TOMMY: Yeah.

MOTHER: Where'd you get the money?

TOMMY: I ran errands for Mrs. Kent!

MOTHER: Now I know you're lyin'! She told me she hadn't seen ya all day. 
You're just like your father! That's how HE began -- takin' little things, 
then big things, and where'd it get him? In jail! How would you like that?

TOMMY: I don't care. I want my supper.

MOTHER: Well, that's too bad. You don't get any.

TOMMY: What do you wanna do?! Starve me?! I want my supper!

MOTHER: You're not gonna get a bite! Now, you march yourself up to bed.

TOMMY: If you don't give me somethin' to eat, I'll run away every day -- and I 
won't come back!

MOTHER: Oh, no, you won't. You won't run away. I know how I'm gonna keep ya 
home tomorrow!

TOMMY: How? Whatcha gonna do to me now?

MOTHER: You just wait and see! I know what I'm going to do!


TOMMY: (DESPERATE) Please don't make me wear it any more! Please!

MOTHER: (GLEEFUL) You'll stay in the back yard TODAY. You won't want anybody 
to see you all dressed up in your sister's clothes, will ya? You won't run 
away NOW. And you're gonna take care of the baby, too.


TOMMY: Oh, mama! Please! Give me my pants!

MOTHER: Nothin' doin'! And I'm lockin' the gate so you can't get out. 


MOTHER: (CHEERILY, TO THE BABY) Ahhh, look, Agnes! Look at the cute little 
girl who's gonna take care of ya today. She's gonna see that you don't fall 
and hurt yourself. Here's a ball to play with, darling.

TOMMY: That's mine! Gimme that ball!

MOTHER: That's not your ball! You stole it, anyhow. Now, you take care of your 
baby sister. (EXITING) And don't make her cry.

TOMMY: (SULLENLY, TO THE BABY) You're not my REAL sister. My dad's better'n 
your pop any day. Your pop's afraid of her. My dad ain't afraid of her. And I 
ain't either.

MAMIE: (TAUNTING) Hello, little girl! What's your name?

TOMMY: Mamie, you shut up and get out o' here! You go away from this gate!

MAMIE: I don't HAVE to! And YOU can't MAKE me! You're only a little girl with 
ruffles on her dress. (GIGGLES CRUELLY) You want my hair ribbon, too, little 

TOMMY: Mamie! You get out o' here!


TOMMY: Now look at your dress! Now I haven't got any ruffles!

MAMIE: (RUNNING OFF) Mama! Mama! Tommy's tearing my dress!

TOMMY: (STILL TEARING) That'll show her! She can't put Mamie's dress on me. 
I'm not a girl! She wouldn't do this to my daddy! He'd show her!

MOTHER: Tommy! What'd ya do to Mamie's dress? Oh, you tore it to pieces! 
Nothing but shreds!

TOMMY: (DESPERATE) Please give me my pants! I'll be good! I'll be good, Mama!

MOTHER: I know you'll be good now! You're going to get a LICKING!

TOMMY: Please give me my pants! I'll be good! I'll be GOOD!


SOLEMN COMMENTATOR: Well, Mrs. Wilkins whaled the tar out of Tommy. What good 
did it do? It relieved Mrs. Wilkins' feelings for the moment. But it only made 
Tommy more angry, more determined than ever to get even with his mother. He'd 
show her. He'd be a big, strong guy like his father. He'd be bad. Yes, Tommy 
knew how to get even with his mother.



MRS. KENT: Hello, Mrs. Wilkins?

MOTHER: Oh, it's you, Mrs. Kent.

MRS. KENT: There's something I've gotta talk to you about. It's Tommy.

MOTHER: What's he been up to now? No good, I'm sure.

MRS. KENT: Well, Tommy was helping me around the house and I give him a 
quarter. Then I went to the store but I left my handbag on the dresser. When I 
come back, a bill was missin' and Tommy was gone.

MOTHER: Tommy?! Come in here!

MRS. KENT: Tommy's a good boy, Mrs. Wilkins, but he can't go on takin' things.

MOTHER: He's just like his father. Tommy?! Come in here!

TOMMY: (RELUCTANT) I'm comin'.

MOTHER: What'd you do with the money?

TOMMY: What money? I didn't take any money.

MOTHER: Turn your pockets inside out and let me see.

TOMMY: I haven't got any money. See? I ain't got anything.

MOTHER: Where'd you spend it then? You been gone all day.

TOMMY: I didn't take her old five dollars.

MOTHER: How did you KNOW it was five dollars? That settles it! I'm gonna call 
the police and have you taken away!

MRS. KENT: Oh, Mrs. Wilkins, do you think it's the best thing to do? Tommy's--

TOMMY: (PANICS) No, mama! Please don't send me away! I didn't mean it! I 
couldn't help it!

MOTHER: Couldn't help it?! That's what your father always said! He couldn't 
help being a worthless, good-for-nothin' thief!

TOMMY: He wasn't! He was GOOD to me! And if you put me away, I-- I'm gonna be 
like my father anyway! He's better'n you are!

MOTHER: You see, Mrs. Kent? I always knew it was in him. I've got to put him 
someplace where he'll learn that he HAS to behave.

MRS. KENT: I hate to see him taken to the Juvenile Court, Mrs. Wilkins.

MOTHER: Well, maybe I won't have to. There was a lady at the Child Welfare. 
Maybe she'll know where to put him so he'll grow up right. I'm gonna talk to 
her first.


MISS TODD: But, Mrs. Wilkins, you MUST have patience.

MOTHER: Well, Miss Todd, you said that you people here at the Child Guidance 
Clinic could help Tommy.

MISS TODD: But it DOES take time.

MOTHER: Well, he's been here twice now and he hasn't changed a bit. I think 
he's just GOT to put some place, Miss Todd.

MISS TODD: Well, it would be better if you could keep him, Mrs. Wilkins. Dr. 
Higgins thinks that in time he may be able to do something for Tommy. 

MOTHER: Ohhh, that's not gonna help him, just seein' a doctor. Somebody's got 
to put a FEAR into him, that's what he needs. It's for his own good.

MISS TODD: Well, if you don't want to keep Tommy--

MOTHER: Oooh, I didn't mean that I wanted to get rid of him. I, uh, can't use 
big words and -- maybe I don't express myself very well but I told you all the 
bad things that he does--

MISS TODD: Yes, I know, Mrs. Wilkins. But many children are full of mischief. 
They don't mean any harm by it.

MOTHER: But Tommy DOES. You don't know him like I do. He's nice and polite 
here at the clinic. But you should see him at home. Just like his father. 
Looks like him. Acts like him. I'm afraid he's gonna grow up to BE like him -- 
a criminal.

MISS TODD: Aren't you expecting Tommy to act like his father because he looks 
like him?

MOTHER: Why, no. Not at all. He's got his father IN him and he can't help it. 
But I want him to be good and - I don't see ANY hope for him unless he goes to 
reform school.

MISS TODD: Mm, he's too young for that, Mrs. Wilkins. Perhaps the best thing 
to do is to find a good foster home for Tommy - with someone he can learn to 
trust and who would trust him. I think we have JUST the place for him. A Mr. 
and Mrs. Edgar Brown. Their son is married now. They've offered to take a boy. 
I think that that would be best for Tommy.

MOTHER: Well, I can't tell you people what to do but - I don't think'll it 
work. I know I can't handle Tommy and I don't think anybody else can. Of 
course, you can TRY - if you want to.



TOMMY: That's eight ringers for you, Papa Brown. You won. Don't we have time 
for another game?

MR. BROWN: (FRIENDLY BUT CONCERNED) No, I can't play horseshoes all day, 
Tommy. Got work to do. Besides, I'll only win again. Why do you always let me 
beat you?

TOMMY: You play better than I do, I guess.

MR. BROWN: Aw, no. I've seen you do much better with the kids.

TOMMY: Won't you get mad if I beat you?

MR. BROWN: No, of course not. That's part of the game.

TOMMY: Well, I get awful mad when the kids beat ME. Sometimes I hate 'em!

MR. BROWN: (CHUCKLES) I wouldn't hate you if you won. Now, uh, you try to beat 
me tomorrow, huh?

TOMMY: I sure will! (GENUINELY) You're okay, Papa Brown.


MRS. BROWN: Tommy? Tommy, I want you to go to the store.

TOMMY: Okay.

MRS. BROWN: Well, Edgar, I thought you'd gone.

MR. BROWN: Oh, Tommy wanted to play a game of horseshoes and I thought I'd 
just limber up a bit.

MRS. BROWN: (AMUSED) Limber up a bit. (CHUCKLES AFFECTIONATELY) Oh, uh, Tommy, 
I want you to get a quart of chocolate ice cream. Your mother said she might 
come by to see you. Here's the money.

TOMMY: Okay. Gee! Ice cream! (RUNNING OFF) I'll be right back!


MR. BROWN: You know, Mary. I can't figure out why that boy's mother had so 
much trouble with him. He's just a REAL BOY.


MRS. BROWN: Tommy?! Oh, Tommy, your mother's going now. Come and say goodbye 
to her.

TOMMY: You gonna go so soon, Mom? Gee, ya hardly been here at all.

MOTHER: I only came by to see how you were behavin'. Mrs. Brown's been tellin' 
me what a good boy you've been.

TOMMY: I HAVE been good, Mama Brown, haven't I?

MRS. BROWN: Yes, you have, Tommy. We get along fine. 

MOTHER: (SKEPTICAL) Then you haven't done any of the bad things you used to do 
at home?

TOMMY: (MILDLY DEFENSIVE) Oh, I wasn't so bad.

MOTHER: (WITH AN EDGE) Oh, you weren't? Well, you just made a nervous wreck 
out of me and I couldn't even keep ya. I'm tellin' ya now, if you start 
runnin' away and stealin' again, Mrs. Brown won't keep ya either. Then you'll 
have to be put away for good.

MRS. BROWN: I think Tommy's going to be all right now.

MOTHER: (INSISTENT) Well, he's only been here a month. He's still on his best 
behavior. You wait and see, Mrs. Brown. There's a DEVIL in that boy and you 
better watch him! Well, I have to go. Goodbye, Tommy, you be good.

MRS. BROWN: Goodbye, Mrs. Wilkins.


TOMMY: (DARKLY) I hope she NEVER comes back.

MRS. BROWN: Why, Tommy. She's your mother.

TOMMY: (SOFTENS, BUT ONLY A LITTLE) Well, I hope she never comes back talking 
like THAT.

MRS. BROWN: Well, you just go on being a good boy and she won't. Oh, say, you 
left your chemistry set here on the table.

TOMMY: (SUDDENLY SULLEN) Well, what of it?

MRS. BROWN: Take it to your room, please.

TOMMY: I don't HAVE to. I don't have to do anything if I don't want to.

MRS. BROWN: (FIRMLY) Tommy. Take it and put it on the shelf in your room where 
it belongs.


MRS. BROWN: Tommy! Tommy, what's the matter with you? You knocked it out of my 
hands when I was trying to help you. (SIGHS) Go get the dustpan.

TOMMY: I won't! You're just like all the rest of 'em. Always wanna boss me 
around! You can't boss ME, see? I can be bad if I want to!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy, you know you can't behave like that here.

TOMMY: (SAVAGELY) Aw, you shut your trap!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy!

TOMMY: Blabber blabber blabbermouth! Blab blah!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy, come back here!

TOMMY: Try and make me!


MRS. BROWN: Tommy, where are you going?!

TOMMY: None of your business!



MR. BROWN: Aw, come on, Mary. It's eleven o'clock. You'd better go to bed.

MRS. BROWN: Oh, Edgar, that poor boy out on the streets at this hour. I-- Oh, 
I couldn't sleep anyway. You go on up. I'll sit here in the kitchen and wait 
for him.

MR. BROWN: Well, I'll turn out the light. Maybe you can nap a little bit.

MRS. BROWN: All right, dear. 


MR. BROWN: Good night, Mary. And don't worry. He'll come home.




TOMMY: (DARKLY) You old sneak! Hidin' in the dark to catch me, weren't ya?

MRS. BROWN: Oh, no, no, Tommy, I wasn't hiding. (CHUCKLES) I guess I must have 
fallen asleep. Well, where are your shoes?

TOMMY: I took 'em off and left them in the hall. I didn't want to wake you up.

MRS. BROWN: Now, that was VERY thoughtful of you, Tommy. Uh, did you have any 

TOMMY: No, ma'am. Gee, it's nice and warm in the kitchen, ain't it?

MRS. BROWN: Mm hm. I've been, uh, keeping your supper warm for you. Go on, sit 
down there at the table.


TOMMY: My mother never used to give me any supper when I ran away.

MRS. BROWN: No? Well, here it is right now. And here's your milk.


MRS. BROWN: Um, where'd you go when you ran out this afternoon?

TOMMY: Oh, I just walked and walked. And then I didn't have any carfare to get 


TOMMY: Mm, boy! Chicken!


TOMMY: This is good! Don't you lock the door at night? Somebody could sneak in 
and steal things.

MRS. BROWN: Well, I didn't lock it on purpose, Tommy. I knew you'd be home.

TOMMY: When your boy was little, was he ever as bad as me?

MRS. BROWN: Mmmm, he was bad sometimes. But he was never as bad as you were 
this afternoon.

TOMMY: I don't know WHAT makes me so bad. It comes all of a sudden. Is Papa 
Brown mad at me?

MRS. BROWN: No, Tommy. He WAS sorry that you ran away but he didn't get "mad." 
Well, you aren't eating, Tommy. I'll bet you're sleepy.

TOMMY: (YAWNS) I guess I am. I never was so sleepy in my whole life.

MRS. BROWN: (CHUCKLES WARMLY) Well, you'd better go on to bed. 

TOMMY: You can spank me now if you wanta.

MRS. BROWN: Spank you? Oh, ho, no, Tommy. Come on, let's go to bed.

TOMMY: Gee, you're a funny mother.


SOLEMN COMMENTATOR: Yes, to Tommy, Mrs. Brown was a funny sort of mother. She 
didn't get angry. And she didn't punish him when he was bad. He would have 
felt better at that moment if she HAD spanked him. He would have felt that he 
had paid for being bad. And, strangely enough, he would have felt that Mrs. 
Brown cared for him. His own mother had always punished him. All mothers were 
SUPPOSED to punish their children. Tommy couldn't understand Mrs. Brown. He 
was suspicious of her goodness. Of course, he wanted affection but he couldn't 
believe it would last. He was certain that, someday, Mrs. Brown would get so 
angry with him that she would send him away -- maybe today, maybe tomorrow. He 
wanted to know the worst. So he kept on rebelling and defying Mrs. Brown, 
trying her patience again and again.



MRS. BROWN: Hello, Tommy!

TOMMY: (REBELLIOUS, DEFIANT TONE) Okay, where'd you put my top?!

MRS. BROWN: Why, I haven't seen it, Tommy. You had it last. Isn't it up in 
your room?

TOMMY: No, I been lookin' for it for two days. You come help me look for it.

MRS. BROWN: Oh, I can't do it now, son. I've got all your shirts and blue 
jeans to iron. Tommy! Don't lean against the ironing board like that. You 
almost knocked it down.

TOMMY: Well, I want my top! All the other kids are playin' with THEIR tops! 
And I want mine! You musta put it somewhere!

MRS. BROWN: Look, I told you once, I haven't seen your top. Tommy, get your 
hand off the ironing board! I don't want to burn you.

TOMMY: Well, gimme a dime. Gimme a dime to buy another one!

MRS. BROWN: Oh, no. You've had your allowance. Don't tell me you've spent it 

TOMMY: Yes, and you don't give me enough allowance anyway!

MRS. BROWN: Twenty-five cents a week is enough for any nine-year-old boy!

TOMMY: 'Tis not! And you'd better give me a dime!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy, get away from this ironing board or I might burn you.

TOMMY: No, you won't! You're too dumb! I'll burn you first!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy! Oh! Oh, my hand. Oh, Tommy, you deliberately pushed the 
iron right into my hand. Hurry, get the Vaseline from the cupboard.

TOMMY: Get it yourself! You wouldn't do anything for ME so I won't do anything 
for YOU!

MRS. BROWN: Go to your room, Tommy. Go on. And get away from that table and 
leave my purse alone.

TOMMY: You won't give me a dime so I'm gonna take it!

MRS. BROWN: Oh, no, you're not! Put my purse down!


TOMMY: There! Take your old purse!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy, if you keep this up, you cannot stay in this house.

TOMMY: So, you don't want to keep me, either, huh? Well, I don't care! I'm 
gonna be bad any place I go!

MRS. BROWN: But you don't really WANT to be bad, Tommy!

TOMMY: (TEARFUL) Yes, I do! I wanna be just like my father! And he was a bad 
man! He was VERY bad! I'm gonna show everybody! I'm gonna be just as bad as he 
was! (SOBS)

MRS. BROWN: Oh, stop that, Tommy! I've heard enough.

TOMMY: You shut up, you old rat! There! 



TOMMY: That's what I think of you!

MRS. BROWN: Tommy. You hit me.

TOMMY: I don't care! I'm gonna be bad! And I hope they send me to the electric 


MRS. BROWN: Miss Todd, I don't see how I can keep Tommy any longer.

MISS TODD: Oh, I know how difficult it must be for you, Mrs. Brown. We told 
you we expected Tommy to go through a period of bad behavior.

MRS. BROWN: Well, yes, but what I can't understand is that he was so good the 
first weeks we had him.

MISS TODD: Well, can you recall when his bad behavior started? Did anything 
happen to set him off?

MRS. BROWN: Well, I remember the first time he ran away. His mother'd been to 
visit him and, of course, she told me the bad things that he'd done. This made 
Tommy so mad at her that he just went into a tantrum and stormed out of the 

MISS TODD: Well, you see, Mrs. Brown, Tommy loves his mother, no matter how 
bad she is to him. And he still can't accept the fact that she's given him 
away. His bad behavior now is to test YOU. To find out whether you're going to 
give him away, too.

MRS. BROWN: Well, I don't see how I can stand it any longer. I'm just not 
strong enough.

MISS TODD: Well, if you could possibly keep him, Mrs. Brown, I can't begin to 
tell you how important it is for Tommy. If YOU reject him, he'll feel that no 
one can ever love him. Then he'll believe that his mother was right -- that he 
was born a bad boy. And he'll be convinced there's no use even trying to 

MRS. BROWN: Oh, I WOULD like to keep Tommy. There are times when he's so sweet 
and affectionate, I - I feel very close to him. Then again, he frightens us so 
much that I'm not sure it's even safe to keep him.

MISS TODD: Tell me, how does he behave when he comes home after his visits to 
the clinic? After he's seen Dr. Higgins?

MRS. BROWN: Oh, I meant to tell you about that. He's much better then.

MISS TODD: I'm glad. You see, Dr. Higgins feels that Tommy is really improved. 
And he thinks that you deserve most of the credit.


MISS TODD: You've given him love, done things for him. Tommy needed a father, 
too. Even if he can't show it yet, he's found what he needed in you and Mr. 

MRS. BROWN: Oh, I'm not sure, Miss Todd. And it's very hard to punish him, 
he's so strong. (CHUCKLES) And, truthfully, I don't really want to.

MISS TODD: (CHUCKLES) Mrs. Brown, it's very important that you DON'T punish 
him at this time. You see, when Tommy's bad, he feels guilty. He really feels 
ashamed of himself. And punishment wipes out these feelings. Then he can start 
all over again being bad. You were bad to him, he'll be bad to you. And so it 
continues -- a vicious circle. If you act like a policeman at this time -- if 
you punish him or threaten him with a punishment -- he'll never feel the need 
to be responsible for his actions. He won't develop a conscience. He'll never 
develop an adult sense of responsibility. He will never grow up.

MRS. BROWN: Then -- would it mean reform school?

MISS TODD: Yes. And probably worse. But if we can help him to accept you as a 
mother, Tommy will be a different boy.


SOLEMN COMMENTATOR: A few weeks after Mrs. Brown's talk with Miss Todd, Tommy 
visited his mother and stepfather. It was a very important day in Tommy's 


STEPFATHER: (ANNOYED) Tommy, will you get your head out of my paper? Can't you 
wait until I'm finished?

TOMMY: I only wanted to make sure of the date.

STEPFATHER: What difference does it make to ya? It's the twenty-sixth.

TOMMY: Mama! It's the twenty-sixth of March today!

MOTHER: (SNAPS AT HIM) And tomorrow's the twenty-seventh. So what?

TOMMY: Don't you remember?

MOTHER: Oh, don't bother me now. I've got to get supper ready. Get away from 
the stove. Mamie?! Get plates out and set the table!

TOMMY: Mamie, do you know what the twenty-sixth of March is?

MAMIE: No, I don't, Smarty! And I don't care!


MAMIE: Hmm... Is it some president's birthday?

TOMMY: No. It's mine.

MAMIE: Mama, Tommy's lyin' again, ain't he?! He says today's his birthday!

TOMMY: But it IS, Mama. Don't you remember? The twenty-sixth of March.

MOTHER: Oh, I remember the day you were born, all right. I almost DIED. And 
where was your father? In jail!

STEPFATHER: Then you're, uh, ten years old, Tommy. 'Bout time you started 
behavin' yourself.

TOMMY: Mamie, you didn't put down a plate for me. Mama, can't I stay and have 
supper with YOU tonight?

STEPFATHER: It's six o'clock, Tommy. You'd better be startin' home to Mrs. 

TOMMY: Mama, just this once -- because it's my birthday.

MOTHER: Stop talkin' to me about your birthday. Here, here's a cookie -- now 
go where ya belong.

TOMMY: (UPSET) I don't WANT your old cookie!

STEPFATHER: That's a nice way to talk to your mother!

TOMMY: (TEARFUL) She's not my mother! She's not my mother!

MOTHER: Get out of here! Don't you come back! I told you to go where you 

TOMMY: All right, I WILL go! And I'll NEVER come back!




PATROLMAN: (FRIENDLY, WITH IRISH ACCENT) Hey, sonny, what's the matter? What 
are ya cryin' about?

TOMMY: All right, go ahead, copper. Put me in jail. I don't care.

PATROLMAN: I don't want to put you in jail. Now, what are ya cryin' about? 
Somebody hit ya?


PATROLMAN: You got a bellyache?


PATROLMAN: Do you belong around here?


PATROLMAN: Well, now, where DO you belong?

TOMMY: Nowhere. (SOBS)

PATROLMAN: Well, kid, you better come along with me. We'll find out where ya 



PATROLMAN: Ah, good evening, ma'am. I got a little feller--

MRS. BROWN: Oh, Tommy! Where have you been? We've been waiting supper for you. 
(NOTICES THE PATROLMAN) Oh. Good evening, officer. Tommy hasn't done anything, 
has he?

PATROLMAN: Oh, no, no, lady. He just got lost. I guess everything's all right 

MRS. BROWN: Oh, yes. Yes, thank you, officer. Good night. Well, come in, 


MRS. BROWN: Uh, there's a surprise in the dining room for you, son. Close your 
eyes. Come on.


MRS. BROWN: You can open your eyes now.

TOMMY: A - a birthday cake! And - and - and my name on it, too! Gee!

MR. BROWN: "Gee" yourself, Tommy. Do you like it?

TOMMY: Do I! Gee, Mama Brown, you're the best mother I EVER had!


MR. & MRS. BROWN: (SINGING) Happy birthday to Tommy! Happy birthday to Tommy!


SOLEMN COMMENTATOR: At last, Tommy was ready to accept a new mother. He had 
broken the bond that tied him to the mother who couldn't love him and had 
rejected him. But Tommy isn't going to be a model child, by any means. There 
are many stormy days ahead of him. But he IS on his way to a more normal, a 
happier, life. It's too bad that Tommy had to be taken away from mother. But 
she could not be convinced that there was any good in him. And that it was 
possible for him to LOOK like his father, yet not ACT like him. Children DO 
NOT inherit criminal tendencies. Such tendencies develop out of unfortunate 
circumstances. Tommy's case is proof that, even with a bad start, a child, if 
given affectionate care and understanding, can become an accepted member of 


ANNOUNCER: "Doorway to Life" is written by William Alland and Virginia Mullen 
and produced and directed by William N. Robson. Heard in tonight's story were 
Johnny McGovern as Tommy, Sarah Selby as the Mother, Ann Morrison as Mama 
Brown, and Bill Johnstone as the Commentator. CBS invites you to tune in again 
next week at this time for "The Story of Jean, Age Seven -- a Child with 
Infantile Paralysis Whose Parents Did Not Know How to Help Her."


ANNOUNCER: "Doorway to Life" is based upon authentic case histories which have 
been approved by a committee of recognized authorities on child care, composed 
of psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers and educators 
-- and is a feature production of CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.


Originally broadcast: circa 1947-1948