Daddy Long Legs (2015) - full transcript

Based on Jean Webster's story of a young girl in an orphanage whose innate charm and self-confidence at first appeal to the sympathies of one of the institution's young sponsors, who, while...

(lively orchestral music)

(people chattering)

(quick orchestral music)

♫ A perfectly awful day

♫ The first Monday of every month

♫ Every floor scrubbed

♫ Every chair dusted

♫ A perfectly awful day

♫ Every bed without a wrinkle

♫ Every hair combed on 97 orphans

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ Has to bear the brunt of it all

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ The oldest orphan in the John Grier Home

♫ A perfectly awful day

♫ The trustees come to visit

♫ Taking tea breaks

♫ Having reports written

♫ They hurry away in the night

♫ For houses in the city

♫ And I watch them with 97 orphans

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ Never breaking free of this place

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ The oldest orphan in the John Grier Home

Little Tommy Dylan comes
singing up the stairs

♫ Jerusha Abbott, you are wanted

♫ In the office and you better hurry up

♫ Who wants me

♫ Mrs. Lippett in the office

♫ And I think she's really mad

♫ Where did I go wrong

♫ Were the sandwiches not thin enough

♫ Were there shells in the nut cakes

♫ Where did I go wrong

♫ Did a lady visitor see the hole

♫ In Susy Hawthorne's stocking

I hurry to the office.

The long lower hall is quite dark.

One last trustee is leaving
through the big front door,

his arm raised waving to
the automobile in the drive.

♫ A perfectly awful day

♫ A silhouetted figure

♫ Tall and gangly

♫ Shrouded in the darkness

♫ I cannot see his face

♫ But the headlights in the driveway

♫ Cast a shadow sharp against the wall

♫ Looking like a daddy longlegs

♫ The biggest one that I have ever seen

♫ A creeping crawling daddy longlegs

♫ And it makes me laugh

♫ On this awful day

♫ Me, Jerusha Abbott

♫ The oldest orphan in the John Grier Home

(audience applauding)


Mrs. Lippett!

I run down the corridor.

I step into the office.

Mrs. Lippett smiles at me.


She asks me to sit.

Stranger still.

She hands me a letter.

Strangest of all.

Who's it from?

Did you not notice the
gentleman who has just gone?

The spidery, I mean, tall man?

The letter is from him!

Open it and be grateful for the rare

good fortune that has befallen you.

Thank you, Mrs. Lippett.

For Miss Abbott.

(soft piano music)

351 Riverside Drive, Manhattan.

The further education
of Miss Jerusha Abbott

by Mr. John Smith, nine point plan.

Further education?

One, owing to the exceptional
talent that Miss Abbott

has shown in her original
and amusing essays,

Mr. Smith has decided
to send her to college.

Two, it is Mr. Smith's
plan that Miss Abbott

should educate herself to become a writer.

Three, Miss Abbott's board and tuition

will be paid direct to the college.

Four, she will receive in addition during

her four years of study,

a monthly allowance of $35.

This will ensure an equality
with her fellow students.

Five, Miss Abbott must write
a letter of acknowledgement

to Mr. Smith once a month.

Not thanks, thanks must
never be mentioned.

Six, Mr. Smith's name is
obviously not Mr. Smith.

(audience laughing)

But he prefers to remain unknown.

To Miss Abbott he will never
be anything but Mr. Smith.

♫ Who is this man

♫ Who has designed this uncommon plan

♫ To educate Jerusha

♫ However best he can

♫ How can this be

♫ Who would take on this uncertainty

♫ To educate Jerusha

♫ Who in heavens name is he

♫ I guess I'll never know him

♫ I guess I'll never even learn his name

♫ These are his orders

♫ This is his game

♫ I guess I'll never know him

♫ You mustn't know your betters

♫ But he will know me in letters

Seven, Miss Abbott's letters must tell

of the progress of her studies

and details of her daily life.

Such a letter she would write
her family, if she had one.

Eight, the reason for
the letters is to foster

Miss Abbott's facility
in literary expression.

Nine, Mr. Smith will never
answer Miss Abbott's letters,

nor take the slightest notice of them.

He detests letter writing and above all,

does not wish Miss Abbott
to become a burden.

♫ So though I might

♫ Thank him twice each and every night

♫ He will never answer

♫ No Mr. Smith will never write

♫ I guess I'll never know him

♫ Though I am rather curious to see

♫ What kind of man would educate me

♫ I guess I'll never know him

♫ You mustn't know your betters

♫ But he will know me in letters

(quick orchestral music)

♫ This man will never write me

♫ I cannot outguess him

♫ So how should I address him

- Dear kind trustee who
sends orphans to college.

(audience laughing)

- Here I am, after four hours on a train.

It's a funny sensation, isn't it?

- I never rode on a train before.

- College is the biggest
most bewildering place.

I get lost whenever I leave my room.

I'll write you a description later

when I'm feeling less muddled.

Classes don't begin until Monday morning,

but I wanted to write a letter
now just to get acquainted.

It seems queer to be
writing letters at all.

- I've never written more
than three in my life,

so please overlook if mine
are not the model kind.

- Before leaving the home,

Mrs. Lippett and I had
a very serious talk.

She told me how to behave
all the rest of my life

and especially towards the kind gentleman

who is doing so much for me.

She told me that normally Mr. Smith

only supports boys through college,

girls being a waste of his charity

as they tend to marry
themselves off to the first

unsuitable man and so fritter away

the education lavished on them.

(audience laughing)

So I must take care to be
a very respectful girl.

- But how can one be respectful

to a person who calls himself John Smith?

- Why couldn't you have picked out a name

with a little personality?

I might as well write letters
to dear, hitching post.

- Or dear, clothes pole.

- Anyway, I've been thinking
about you a great deal.

Having somebody take an interest

in me after all these years.

♫ I feel like I belong to somebody now

♫ A kind of family

♫ I feel like I belong to somebody now

♫ A guiding hand

♫ A soul that takes an
interest in my welfare

♫ A friend who takes
an interest in my life

♫ I feel like I belong to somebody now

♫ A kind of angel

♫ I feel like I belong to something more

♫ Than just a school

♫ But when I think of
you, I know so little

♫ I can only think of three things

♫ You're tall, you're
rich, and you hate girls

♫ I guess I could call you Mr. Girl Hater

♫ Mr. Girl Hater, but
that's too insulting to me

♫ It would never do

♫ Or I could call you dear Mr. Rich Man

♫ Thanks, Mr. Rich Man

♫ But that's too insulting to you

♫ And you might not be
rich for that much longer

♫ But I'm pretty sure you'll stay tall

♫ So I'll call you Dear Daddy Long Legs

♫ Oh Daddy Long Legs

♫ I'll keep calling you

♫ I hope you don't mind, Daddy Long Legs

♫ It's just a pet name

♫ We won't tell a soul, no

♫ The bell sounds, I must go

♫ Yours, Jerusha Abbott

♫ Whose education is underwritten

♫ By a man I lovingly call

♫ Mr. Hitching post, Clothes pole

♫ Daddy Long Legs, Smith

(audience applauding)

- P.S. I know I'm not to
expect any letters in return

and I've been warned not to
bother you with questions,

but tell me, Daddy, just this once.

- Are you awfully old
or just a little old?

(audience laughing)

- And are you completely
gray or just a little gray?

- It's very difficult thinking about you

in the abstract, like
a theorem in geometry.

Given you're a tall old
man who hates girls,

but is very generous to
one quite impertinent girl,

what do you look like?

♫ Somewhat amusing

♫ A semblance of style

♫ Certainly better than many a letter

♫ I've read in a while

♫ But what makes me chuckle

♫ Lo and behold

♫ She thinks I'm old

♫ And crusty too perhaps and cold

♫ She thinks I'm old

♫ A misconceit has taken hold

♫ Good punctuation

♫ The humor is quaint

♫ And reading her prose
I suppose is more fun

♫ Than say watching the drying of paint

♫ But it's sort of funny

♫ In its own sort of way

♫ She thinks I'm gray

♫ Why she thinks so I can't say

♫ She thinks I'm gray

♫ And no doubt withering away

♫ But I made it clear my obligation

♫ Does not include communication

♫ A girl could lead to aggravation

♫ Boys never question
their patron's appearance

♫ They'd never consider
such gross interference

♫ Boys are less trouble in my estimation

♫ My appearance should mean as little

♫ to her as hers to me

♫ Is she fair or dark

♫ Fat or thin

♫ Short or tall

♫ I've no idea and no wish to know

♫ What does it matter

She has a brain, that's what matters.

A brain and a wit and a
fearless turn of phrase.

This girl deserves her chance.

♫ A good education

♫ Is all that she'll need

♫ Then she'll go on to write

♫ A triumphant first novel

♫ The great literati will read

♫ She'll be the creme de le creme

♫ The talk of the town

♫ A prominent author of world renown

♫ While I look on from the side

♫ Glowing with pride

♫ Knowing how it all began

♫ Content to remain in the shadows

♫ A girl-hating gray old man

(audience applauding)

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

I love college and I know
thanks must not be mentioned,

so I won't mention them.

But I'm feeling sorry for
everybody who isn't a girl

and who can't be here.

- My room is up in a tower that used to be

the contagious ward before
they built the infirmary.

(audience laughing)

- After you've lived in
a dormitory for 18 years

with 20 roommates, it
is restful to be alone.

This is the first chance I've ever had

to get aquatinted with Jerusha Abbott.

I think I'm going to like her.

- There are two other freshmen

on the same floor as me named--

- Sallie McBride--

- And Julia Rutledge Pendleton.

- Sallie has red hair and a turn up nose

and is really quite friendly.

- Julia comes from one
of the first families

in New York and hasn't noticed me yet.

- Sallie is the most
entertaining person in the world.

- And Julia Rutledge
Pendleton, the least so.

- She believes that if
you are a Pendleton,

that fact alone admits you to heaven

without any further examination.

(audience laughing)

- [Both] Julia and I
were born to be enemies.

- You know, Daddy, it isn't the work

that's going to be hard
in college, it's the play.

Half the time I don't know what
the girls are talking about.

Their jokes seem to relate to a past

that everyone but me has shared.

It's a miserable feeling.

I've had it all my life.

♫ I am in a foreign world

♫ They speak a languages of their own

♫ Nobody knows where I
have come from, Daddy

♫ I can't help but feel alone

♫ I am in a foreign world

♫ I am different, I am strange

♫ I know that I should
try to fit in somehow

♫ But I don't I think that I can change

♫ And I know you won't believe it

♫ But I just want to be like other girls

♫ Wear fancy shoes like other girls

♫ Write a literary masterpiece

♫ For scholars to peruse

♫ Like other girls

♫ Sallie McBride is my best friend

♫ I told her that my folks had died

♫ 'Cause I can't tell her
where I come from, Daddy

♫ Is that the same as having lied

♫ For I have shut up the remembrance

♫ 'Cause I just wanna be like other girls

♫ Make lemon pies like other girls

♫ Cure disease and write a symphony

♫ And win the Nobel prize

♫ Like other girls

♫ I bought an evening dress

♫ Oh glory be

♫ You can't imagine how it feels

♫ Dressed in gingham all your life

♫ Wearing hand-me-downs from
girls who didn't like you

♫ It takes its toll, it takes its toll

♫ The bitterness of wearing
your enemy's clothes

♫ Eats into your soul

♫ I am in a foreign world

♫ I am different, I am strange

♫ I know that I should
try to fit in somehow

♫ But I don't I think that I can change

♫ And I know you won't believe it

♫ But I just want to be like other girls

♫ Get all dressed up like other girls

♫ Become a scientist, a motorist

♫ A suffragette, a Methodist

♫ A Fabian, a freudian,
the class valedictorian

♫ Or what else heaven knows

♫ Like other girls

♫ Like other girls

♫ Like other girls

(audience applauding)

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

I suppose you've been
waiting very impatiently

to hear what I am learning.

- Latin, Second Punic War.

Hannibal and his forces pitched camp

at Lake Trasimene last night.

They prepared an ambuscade for the Romans

and a battle took place at
the fourth watch this morning.

Romans in retreat!

♫ For French I have to
read The Three Musketeers

(speaking foreign language)

♫ Geometry, I've finished
cylinders, now doing cones

♫ And I'm learning all
about the human body

♫ Physiology is really complex

I hope you never touch alcohol, Daddy.

It does awful things to your liver.

(audience laughing)

And in a man of advanced
years, it could be fatal.

(audience laughs)

♫ And so it's good night, Daddy Long Legs

♫ Sweet Daddy Long Legs

♫ I'll keep calling you

♫ I hope you don't mind

♫ Daddy Long Legs

♫ It's just a pet name

♫ What else can I do

♫ You are such a dream come true

♫ Yours, Jerusha Abbott

♫ Not affiliated with the John Grier Home

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

Julia Pendleton dropped in this
evening to pay a social call

and stayed a solid hour.

- [John] She started on
the subject of family

and I couldn't switch her off.

- She wanted to know what
my mother's maiden name was.

- What an unfortunate question

to ask a person from an orphan asylum.

- I hadn't the courage
to say I didn't know.

- Mrs. Lippett got all our last names

from the telephone book.

Abbott is on the first page.

She got Jerusha from a tombstone.

- But I couldn't tell Julia that,

so I miserably plumped for the
first name I could think of.


- Then she wanted to know whether we were

the Massachusetts Montgomery's
or the Virginian kind.

- Her mother was a Rutherford.

The family came over on the ark.

(audience laughing)

- On her father's side, they
date back further than Adam.

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

the postman brought me
three letters today.

All bills, which is all I ever get.

Maybe one day I'll get a personal letter.

What would that be like?

I can only imagine.

- Oh, you never answered my question

and it was very important.

- Are you bald?

(audience laughing)

- I have planned exactly
what you look like,

very satisfactorily, until I reach the top

of your head and then I'm stuck.

- I can't decide whether
you have white hair

or black hair or sort
of sprinkly gray hair

or maybe none at all.

Please inform.

(audience laughing)

Oh and Daddy, did you
ever hear of Michelangelo?

- He was a famous artist who lived

in Italy in the Middle Ages.

The whole class laughed

because I thought he was an archangel.

- Doesn't he sound like one?

Even more embarrassing,

somebody mentioned Florence Nightingale

and I asked if she was a freshman.

- That joke has gone all over college.

- You wouldn't believe, Daddy,

what an abyss of ignorance my mind is.

- The things that most girls
with a properly assorted

family and friends and a
library know by absorption,

I've never even heard of.

♫ I didn't know that Henry VIII

♫ Was married more than once

♫ Or Shelley was a poet

♫ I didn't know Alexander the Great

♫ Had conquered most of Greece

♫ Or people came from monkeys

♫ I didn't know that the Garden of Eden

♫ Was all just a beautiful myth

♫ I never read Great Expectations

♫ Summer On The Lake

♫ Euripides' Electra

♫ I never met The Two Noble Kinsmen

♫ Or ever came across The
Merry Wives Of Windsor

♫ I always feel like
I'm Alice in Wonderland

♫ Stranded in Vanity Fair

♫ Once upon a time

♫ Oh captain, my captain

♫ I'm so many years behind

♫ I'm still so many years behind

♫ I didn't know that she'd be so clever

♫ I never dreamed of such imagination

♫ I never read thoughts so expressive

♫ I really must reread
The Count of Monte Cristo

♫ What am I thinking

♫ I'm missing appointments

♫ To read what she studied in French

♫ I'm baffled and perplexed

♫ Oh captain, my captain

♫ I really must get back to work

♫ I wonder what she'll write me next

♫ I'd never heard of Meg, Jo, Beth or Amy

♫ I'd never been to Dover Beach

♫ Or heard the phrase

♫ A man's reach should exceed his grasp

♫ I feel like The Idiot

♫ Or the Toilers Of The Sea

♫ Oh captain, my captain

♫ All the world is verse to me

♫ A lady with a lamp I see

♫ I'd never heard the Moonlight Sonata

♫ A Chopin Polonaise,
a Brandenburg Concerto

♫ I didn't know that Lillian
Russell triumphed on the stage

♫ Or Monet was a painter

♫ And you may laugh at me

♫ I thought George Elliot
was without question, a man

♫ I'm opening my mind

♫ Oh captain, my captain

♫ I'm so many years behind

♫ I'm still so many years behind

♫ Now, Daddy, I must sleep

♫ But I will think of you

♫ For, Daddy

♫ I know there is still
much catching up to do

- P.S. some of the girls
sell their textbooks

when they're through with them,

but I intend to keep mine.

Then after I graduate,

I shall have my whole education
in a row in the bookcase.

- So much easier and more accurate

than trying to keep it in your head.

Dead Daddy, Christmas
holidays begin next week.

The corridors are filled with trunks

and everybody is bubbling with
the excitement of going home.

Except me, of course.

- But I'm going to have
a beautiful vacation

with a whole library to be read

and three empty weeks to do it in.

I should be perfectly happy except for one

little threatening cloud on the horizon.

Examinations in February.

- Oh and don't forget
to answer my question.

- If you don't want
the trouble of writing,

have your secretary telegraph.

He can just say--

- Mr. Smith has white hair--

- Or--

- Mr. Smith has a little hair--

- Or--
- Mr. Smith is bald.

(audience laughing)

- Have a lovely Christmas,
Daddy, wherever you might be.

(soft piano music)

- Dear Daddy, it's Christmas Eve.

I'm up in my tower in the
gathering afternoon gloom.

- There are snowflakes the size of dinner

plates falling outside but
I'm very happy curled up

on the window seat with
my latest favorite book.

- Jane Eyre.

I sat up half of last night reading it

and I shall do the same tonight.

Those Brontes fascinate me.

Their books, their lives, their spirit,

where did they get it?

When I was reading about
little Jane's troubles

in the charity school,

I got so angry I had to
go out and take a walk.

- I'm not suggesting the John
Grier Home was like that.

We had plenty to eat and plenty to wear

and a furnace in the cellar.

But there was one deadly likeness,

our lives were absolutely monotonous.

- You see, Daddy, I
think the most important

quality for any person
to have is imagination.

It helps people put themselves
in other people's shoes.

It makes them kind and
sympathetic and understanding.

It ought to be cultivated in children.

- But the John Grier Home
stamped out the slightest

flicker of imagination that appeared.

Duty was the one quality it encouraged.

- I don't think children should know

the meaning of that odious word.

They should do nothing from
duty and everything from love.

- It's almost dark now.

I close my eyes halfway and
peer though the falling snow

and wonder if I can almost see you looking

back at me and I--
- I send you my love.

- I send you my love.


- P.S. maybe it isn't proper to send love.

If it isn't, please excuse.

But I must love somebody at Christmas

and there's only you and Mrs. Lippett

and I can't love her.

(audience laughing)

So you see, you'll have to put up with it.

♫ Isn't it baffling

♫ Curious post-script

♫ What is she thinking of

♫ Why is she sending me love

(quickening piano music)

♫ Isn't it amusing, I
have read every last book

♫ But I can't help feeling

♫ There's something I still overlook

♫ So I search the page for
what's hidden from view

♫ What does she mean by love

♫ It's lost on me

♫ I only wish I knew

♫ I've read the works of Shakespeare

♫ I can quote Lovelace and Gray

♫ But maybe I don't understand
what they're trying to say

♫ So I search the page

♫ Is there something I've missed

♫ What does she mean by love

♫ It's just a word, but one that I resist

♫ Childhood memories

♫ Long ago feelings

♫ All that's lost in the past

♫ Love is not meant to last

♫ Jerusha

♫ Jerusha

♫ What am I afraid of

♫ It's just a line that she sent

♫ Written in haste, I can't
bother to know what she meant

♫ But I search the page
for what words might reveal

♫ What does she mean by love

♫ And what does she intend to make me feel

- Dearest Daddy Long Legs,

I have some awful, awful,
awful news to tell you.

This is the sunniest most
blinding winter afternoon

with icicles dripping from the fir trees

and all the world bending
under a weight of snow.

Except me and I'm bending
under a weight of sorrow.

- I flunked mathematics
and I flunked Latin prose.

I am tutoring in them and will take

another examination next month.

- I know you'll be disappointed.

Will you forgive me if I
promise never to flunk again?

Please tell me you forgive me.

Yours, in sackcloth.

(audience laughing)

- Dear Mr. Smith, this
is a letter in the middle

of the month and the middle of the night

because I'm so, so lonely
and I can't sleep a wink.

I've been in the infirmary for six days

now with severe tonsillitis
and a miserable fever.

- Though I don't know why
I'm bothering to tell you.

You are probably the horridest
one of all those horrid

trustees and the only reason
you are educating me is not

because you care about me,
but for the sense of charity.

♫ You never answer any of my questions

♫ You never show the
slightest bit of interest

♫ In my life, in my letters or my feelings

♫ You are not the man
that you appear to be

♫ And I don't know a
single thing about you

♫ Not your name, nor your
face, nor your family

♫ Do you care if I'm
living or I'm breathing

♫ Do you dare to toss it all away

♫ Every word I say

♫ Just because you pay for me

♫ Are they for me

(soft piano music)

♫ I'm a beast

♫ I'm a burden, Daddy

♫ Please forgive what I said

♫ I was mean

♫ I was mad

♫ Oh, but, Daddy

♫ I'm no good at being bad

♫ I was hurt

♫ I was wounded, Daddy

♫ I believed you didn't care

♫ Oh, I cried all night long

♫ Oh, but, Daddy

♫ I'm so happy being wrong

♫ I thought I imagined you, Daddy

♫ And now I know your technique

♫ You don't have to answer my letters

♫ If you burn the one

♫ I sent last week

♫ You are real

♫ You're a person, Daddy

♫ And I pledge with all my heart

♫ I will make a success

♫ Oh, 'cause, Daddy

♫ I'm unhappy being less

♫ Daddy

♫ I want so much

♫ To impress

(audience applauding)

- From the desk of Mr. Jervis...

(audience laughing)

Manhattan, April 1st.

April Fools' Day, how appropriate.

(smooth instrumental music)
Dear Miss Abbott,

I put pen to paper with some trepidation,

but with a feeling after your last letter

that I really do owe you
some sort of response.

♫ I want to write you back

♫ But I don't know what to say

♫ How can I explain

♫ That I'm not really

♫ Old

♫ And I'm not at all

♫ The man that you'd imagine

♫ No, I'm not at all

♫ The man you would expect

♫ But, Jerusha

♫ Would you object

Of course I write in
contravention of my own rules

of engagement which forbid any sort

of communication from me to you.

But only last month I
was guilty of sending you

a bouquet of flowers so perhaps
the damage is already done.

♫ And it's getting very hard

♫ To abstain from a response

♫ Especially for a man
who loves to correspond

♫ For I long to interject my observations

♫ I'm bursting with opinions and advice

♫ But, Jerusha

♫ Would they suffice

I shall motor up to the college one

of these afternoons and introduce myself.

But I must warn you.

♫ I'm not good at friendship

♫ I'm not good at attachment

♫ Or family

♫ Or commitment

♫ I roundly despise my relations

♫ You're acquainted already with Julia

♫ Who I blame for my low expectations

(audience laughing)

♫ Jerusha

♫ So perhaps it isn't wise

♫ To reveal myself just yet

♫ Why not meet you first

♫ As the man I really am

♫ Why not introduce myself

♫ As Julia's Uncle

♫ Daddy just for now

♫ Remains discrete

♫ So, Jerusha

♫ When shall we meet

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

did you ever see this college?

It is a heavenly spot in May.

All the shrubs are in blossom
and the trees are dressed

in their loveliest young green

and the grass is dotted
with yellow dandelions

and hundreds of girls in blue
and white and pink dresses.

And oh, Daddy, what a day we've had today.

A strange man was sighted on campus.

Nobody knew who he was at first.

Humanity here is so exclusively female

that any unknown male specimen
is practically a scandal.

(audience laughing)

- The man in question is
a Mr. Jervis Pendleton.

- Of the house of Julia?

- Her uncle, in short.

- Or in long I should say.

He's as tall as you, Daddy.

- Being in town on business,

he decided to run out to the
college and call on his niece.

- He's her father's youngest brother,

but she doesn't know him very intimately.

It seems he glanced at Julia as a baby,

decided he didn't like her and
has never noticed her since.

(audience laughing)

- Julia and Sallie had lessons
they just couldn't cut.

- So Julia begged me to look
after him for the afternoon.

I said I would though my heart sank,

because I don't care much for Pendletons.

Anyway, it turns out
he's as sweet as a lamb.

He's a real human being.

(audience laughing)

Not a Pendleton at all.

With a sweet, dark face and
the funniest underneath smile

that never quite comes
through but just wrinkles

up the corner of his mouth.

♫ He reminds me of you

♫ In much younger days

(audience laughing)

♫ Softly eccentric

♫ And set in his ways

♫ He reminds me of you

♫ It's funny and yet

♫ How can he really remind me

♫ Of someone that I've never met

♫ And P.S. I wish you and I

♫ Could be friends

♫ Wouldn't that be a lovely surprise

♫ 'Cause P.S. how sweet
to be writing to you

♫ If I knew the color of your eyes

♫ We went for tea

♫ At an outdoor cafe

♫ Oh, and his eyes are
both blue by the way

♫ We talked and we talked

♫ You should have been there

♫ And then he went on

♫ About Melville and Whitman

♫ I'm floating on air

♫ And P.S. I blushed
when he offered his arm

♫ And we walked under fair weather skies

♫ And oh, how I wish that
you'd been with us too

♫ And I knew the color of your eyes

♫ He made it seem like I'd
known him from long ago

♫ Laughed at my jokes

♫ Though they scarcely seemed apropos

♫ I'm feeling more like a girl

♫ And less like a child

♫ Oh, what a man

♫ I'll never forget

♫ But really the only man I've ever met

♫ Then he took the train

♫ And I heaved a sigh

♫ And Julia got angry

♫ 'Cause he left without
even saying goodbye

♫ And P.S. it's late
and I can't get to sleep

♫ So I'll lay out my soul on the line

♫ What do I care if
there's blue in his eyes

♫ If someday you're looking into mine

♫ One day, you'll be looking into mine

(audience applauding)

- P.P.S. I looked in
the mirror this morning

and found a perfectly new dimple

that I'd never seen before.

It's very curious, where
do you think it came from?

- P.P.P.S all through the day yesterday,

Mr. Pendleton looked at me
as if he really knew me.

Almost better than I know myself.

- But he doesn't know
anything about me, really.

You're the only man that knows me.

Though I don't know you at all.

- Mr. Jervis Pendleton is
a puzzle and that's a fact.

- He seems so sophisticated and assured,

a proper Pendleton.

- But when he laughs, he
becomes like a little boy

and not a Pendleton at all.

- But then he gets embarrassed
that he's let himself

be young and he hides
inside his older self again.

What shall we think of Mr. Pendleton?

♫ I see my name upon the page

♫ She writes of me in such detail

♫ Am I just fostering her education

♫ Or reading someone else's mail

♫ I know things I shouldn't know

♫ It isn't fair what I have done

♫ But I can't help myself

♫ She's so enthralling

♫ And so I read another one

♫ And I scarcely can believe it

♫ For she will never be like other girls

♫ Settle for less like other girls

♫ Be invasive or conniving

♫ Or a damsel in distress

♫ Like other girls

♫ Like other girls

♫ Like other girls

- Daddy Long Legs, help!

I've just had a letter from Mrs. Lippett.

She hopes I'm behaving
in a manner that would

do credit to the John Grier Home.

And since I've no place to go this summer,

she orders me back to the
asylum to work for my board

till college opens in the fall.

I hate the John Grier Home!

I'd rather die than go back!

Yours most truthfully.

- Dear Miss Abbott,

Mr. Smith instructs me to tell

you that he would be pleased--

- If you would agree to spend

the summer at Lock Willow Farm.

Address and directions are enclosed.

He trusts you will find the
accommodation acceptable.

- Please acknowledge by return.

Yours et cetera, secretary to Mr. Smith.

(audience laughing)

- Dear sweet Daddy Long Legs,

you are such a brick!

- Brick!

(audience laughing)

- I am so, so happy to accept your offer

to spend the summer at Lock Willow Farm.

Though I'm scared that
Mrs. Lippett will stretch

out a long arm and grab me back.

- Lock Willow.

- What a lovely name for a farm.

- I don't really know what a farm is,

I've never been on one in my life.

But I know I'm going to love it.

I'm going to love being free.

(soft instrumental music)

- Oh Daddy, happy day!

I'm here, I'm on a farm.

- And it's heavenly.

- The house is square and old.

- A hundred years or so.

- It sits on the top of a hill.

- Surrounded by hemlocks.

- And maples.
- And murmuring pines.

- It looks way off over
miles of green ridges,

to another line of hills.

- The people here are Mr. and
Mrs. Semple who farm the land

along with a hired girl called Carrie

and two hired men,
Amasai and Old Ira Hatch.

I'm eating more than
I ever did in my life.

For supper last night we had ham and eggs

and biscuits and honey and jelly cake

and pie and pickles and
cheese and cups of tea.

- [Jerusha] I confidently
expect to become very fat.

- My room is big and square and empty

with adorable old fashioned furniture

and windows that have to
be propped up on sticks.

- And a large pine table.

I'm going to spend the summer

with my elbows spread out
on it, writing a novel.

- Dear Daddy, Sundays in
Lock Willow are proving

to be a real test of character.

But today was the worst so far.

- We hitched up the wagon
and drove to church,

where the minister encouraged
us to abandon all thoughts

of earthly joy for fear
of eternal hellfire.

(audience laughing)

- I find it isn't safe to discuss
religion with the Semples.

- Their God, whom they inherited

from their remote Puritan ancestors,

is a narrow, unjust, irrational, mean,

revengeful, bigoted, person.

Thank heaven I didn't
inherit my God from anyone.

I'm free to make mine up as I wish him.

He's kind and sympathetic and imaginative

and forgiving and understanding
and he has a sense of humor.

- I like the Semples immensely

but they are better than their own God.

I told them so and they
are horribly troubled.

They think I'm blasphemous.

- And I think they are!

- We came home from church
in a resentful silence.

- When we got back to the farm,

we found that buttercup, one of the cows,

had gotten to the orchard last night

and eaten dozens of apples
until they went to her head.

Now she's dead drunk
and it's all my fault.

I was the one that left the gate open.

- And this afternoon I was
collecting eggs in the hayloft

when I fell off a beam, cut
my knee on a pitchfork--

- And broke every egg in my basket.

- I ran back to the house

and slipped in a mess
by the farmyard gate.

- I was wearing my best Sunday shoes.

The ones you bought me.

And they'll never be the same again.

- Did you ever hear of such a
discouraging series of events?

- I didn't get to work on my novel

until halfway through the afternoon.

But when I finally got to my table,

I had such a nice surprise.

- [Jervis] There in
the middle of the page,

was the biggest most beautiful

daddy longlegs I've ever seen.

I mean a real one, Daddy,
of the eight legged sort.

I picked him up very carefully by one leg

and dropped him out of the window.

He floated on the wind like a feather

and landed gently on a
clump of honeysuckle.

- As I watched him go,
I thought about today.

You know, Daddy, it isn't the big troubles

in life that require character.

Anyone can rise to a crisis and face

a crushing tragedy with courage,

but to meet the petty hazards
of the day with a laugh,

I really think that requires spirit.

(soft instrumental music)

♫ I've discovered, the
secret of happiness is

♫ Learning how to glide

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Just enjoy the ride

♫ Don't let the journey
be tainted by pride and

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Not to mourn the past

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Not to run too fast

♫ You can still beat them
by coming in last 'cause

♫ The secret, the secret of happiness is

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Not to be afraid

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ All illusions fade

♫ Don't fear the future,
you'll just be delayed, 'cause

♫ The secret, the secret of happiness is

♫ Living in the now

♫ Living in the time it takes
to blink, I think, is how

♫ We're meant to be living

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Following my will

♫ I've discovered, the
secret of happiness is

♫ That we can run that hill

♫ Happiness comes when
we learn to be still, and

♫ The secret, the secret of happiness is

♫ The secret of happiness is clear

♫ The secret of happiness is near

♫ The secret of happiness is here

(audience applauding)

- Daddy, today I made a
truly amazing discovery.

I was searching in the
attic for something to read

when I came across a stout wooden box

with a skull and crossbones
painted on the top,

like a pirate's treasure chest.

- I opened it up and
inside there was a pile

of very thumbed illustrated
boys adventure stories.

One was called On The Trail,

and scrawled across the
front cover in a funny,

little boy hand were the words.

- [Both] If this book should ever roam,

box its ears and send it
home to Jervis Pendleton.

- I ran downstairs to
show it to Mrs. Semple

and she told me that the Pendleton family

used to own this farm and Julia's uncle,

whom she calls Master Jervie.

- Master Jervie.

(audience laughing)

- Spent a summer here once
after he'd been very ill.

He was 11 years old and
his mother had just died.

After that, he came back year after year

for all his summer holidays.

Then later after he'd grown
up and inherited the farm,

he gave it to Mrs. Semple for being

a second mother to him all that time.

- [Both] Isn't that a wonderful story?

- But it makes me wonder about you,

even more than I did before.

(audience laughing)

Did you know Mr. Pendleton yourself?

Or more likely his father,

or even his grandfather I suppose.

(audience laughing)

How old are you, Daddy?

I know you won't tell me, but
you can't stop me wondering.

♫ Where are you now

♫ How goes your day

♫ And is your head sporting silver or gray

♫ What are you like

♫ Who could you be

♫ 'Cause I have imagined a kindly old man

♫ Of at least 83

♫ And what would I think

♫ If I knew who you were

♫ On my own I can only surmise

♫ But if we could meet

♫ It would lift my heart so

♫ And I'd know the color of your eyes

- Dear Miss...


I've been meaning to write to you

for quite some time but with no success.

It felt rather dishonest writing
to you as Jervis Pendleton

when all your letters were being

written to me as Daddy Long Legs.

So I put it off.

I shouldn't have done.

But I did.

Your discovery of my
connection to Lock Willow

has made a confession
all the more necessary

but I still don't know
whether to write to you

as Jervis telling you I'm Daddy,

or Daddy telling you I'm Jervis.

Either way, I fear I shall be a terrible

disappointment to you.

♫ What can I say

♫ What would make sense

♫ I've made a mess of
things at your expense

♫ My little deceit

♫ Is haunting me now

♫ And all I want is to tell you the truth

♫ But I just don't know how

♫ 'Cause what will you think

♫ When you know who I am

♫ When you've seen through
my foolish disguise

♫ I'm so excited

♫ And how can I manage to soften the blow

♫ When you know the color of my lies

♫ I'm curious

♫ I'm absentee

♫ What are you like

♫ You mustn't see the man I am

♫ When will I know

♫ The man I'll never be

♫ The color of your eyes

(audience applauding)

- Dear Daddy

♫ I'm really turning into somebody now

♫ A proper sophomore

♫ I'm really turning into so much more

♫ Than just a girl

♫ It's lovely looking
down on all the freshmen

♫ A hopelessly ignorant lot

♫ I'm really turning into somebody now

♫ A modern woman

♫ And who do you suppose I'm rooming with

♫ Sallie McBride

- And Julia Rutledge
Pendleton, it's the truth!

♫ A Pendleton is rooming with an orphan

♫ What a democratic country this is

(audience laughing)

Sallie is running for class president

and unless all signs fail,

she's going to be elected.

- Such an atmosphere of intrigue.

You should see what politicians we are.

- Oh I tell you, Daddy, when
we women get our rights,

you men will have to
look alive to keep yours.

(audience laughing)

♫ I'm really turning into somebody now

♫ An academic

♫ Courses in romantic poetry

♫ And Latin verse

♫ I'm mixing salt with hydrochloric acid

♫ And geometry is really complex

Listen to what I've learned.

The area of the convex
surface of the frustum

of a regular pyramid is half the product

of the sum of the perimeters of its bases

by the altitude of
either of its trapezoids.

It doesn't sound true, but it is!

Oh, and Daddy, guess what?

♫ Sallie McBride invited me

♫ To spend the whole Christmas

♫ With her in Massachusetts

♫ Isn't that lovely

♫ I am so excited to go, you have no idea

♫ They are such a close knitted family

♫ Dear Daddy Long Legs

♫ How will I fit in

- [Jervis] Families, I never
dreamed they could be so nice!

- Sallie has a father and
a mother and a grandmother

and the sweetest little
three year old baby sister

and a medium sized brother
who forgets to wipe his feet.

- And a big, good-looking
brother named Jimmie,

who's a junior at Princeton.

♫ I've been here for just about a week now

♫ And guess what Sallie's family did

♫ They threw me a ball in my honor

♫ It was the first ball I'd attended

♫ With long white gloves

♫ And white satin shoes

♫ I led the cotillion

♫ With Sallie's brother, Jim

♫ If you could see me dance with him

♫ Dear Daddy Long Legs

♫ The sight of Jerusha and Jimmie McBride

Would you be terribly displeased, Daddy,

if I didn't become a
great author after all,

but just a plain girl?

- Dear Daddy, Julie's
desirable uncle came to see us

this afternoon and brought a
three pound box of chocolates.

(audience laughing)

- Then he stayed for tea in the study,

though we had an awful lot of
trouble getting permission.

Julia had to swear before a notary public

that he really was her uncle.

- Sallie said the Dean
would never have allowed

it if she'd chanced to see how youngish

and good-looking Uncle Jervis is.

- I told him I'd spent the
summer at Lock Willow Farm.

He was surprised I knew the place.

- But remembered it very well himself.

- We had a beautiful gossipy time about--

- The Semples--
- And the horses--

- And the chickens--
- And the cows--

- And the frogs--
- and the sweet little skunks.

- Sweet little skunks?

- He even remembered the
pirate chest in the attic.

- And the boys' adventure stories.

- He asked if they still kept--

- [Both] Doughnuts--

- In a yellow crock with
a blue plate over it

on the bottom shelf of the pantry.

- [Both] And they do!

- I called him Master Jervie to his face

and he didn't appear insulted.

Julia said she's never
seen him so amiable.

But Julia hasn't a bit of tact,

and men, I find, require a great deal.

They purr if you rub them the right way

and spit if you don't.

(audience laughing)

Oh and Daddy, here's the best part.

Mr. Pendleton has invited Julia and Sallie

and me to New York next Friday.

- Julia will be staying
with her family, naturally.

- But Sallie and I are going to stop

at the Martha Washington Hotel.

I've never been in a hotel in my life!

- [Jervis] Did you ever hear
of anything so exciting?

- I don't believe I'll ever go to heaven,

I'm just getting everything
I want down here.

(cheery instrumental music)

♫ The lights are bright
in the New York night

♫ There's a bustle on the street

♫ And you feel alive
but you don't know why

♫ And you're dizzy from the heat

♫ The traffic moves in rhythm
with your own heart beat

♫ When you woke today you didn't know

♫ What the world is all about

♫ You could never see
the way you saw before

♫ And now there isn't any doubt

♫ The city's full of questions
that you must find out

♫ Let me show you my Manhattan

♫ It's mesmerizing, a metropolitan dream

♫ You would thrive in my Manhattan

♫ A thousand lights for you to see

♫ All the things you'll be

♫ Let me show you my Manhattan, Jerusha

♫ And a trolley car and a two cent plane

♫ Then Julia buys a hat

♫ So were running late for a play at eight

♫ About a Danish autocrat

♫ A town that never sleeps,
can you imagine that

♫ Let me show you my Manhattan

♫ It's captivating

♫ The New York Times at your door

♫ You would flourish in Manhattan

♫ There's so much wonder in the air

♫ Nothing can compare

♫ Let me show you my Manhattan, Jerusha

- Mercy daddy, isn't New York big?

Do you mean to tell me you
live in all that confusion?

It will take me months to
recover from two days of it.

Oh and Daddy, isn't Shakespeare wonderful?

Master Jervie took us to see Hamlet.

- If you've never seen it on
the stage, you really must.

It's perfectly corking.

- I've been hearing about
Shakespeare all my life,

but I had no idea he really wrote so well.

- I've always suspected he
went largely on his reputation.

♫ You are welcome in Manhattan

♫ It's waiting for you

♫ Rendezvous in Time Square

♫ Take a chance on my Manhattan

♫ Fifth Avenue

♫ The Algonquin

♫ Is the rage, Crusoe on the stage

♫ Write a page about Manhattan

♫ The plaza, rubbing elbows with the queen

♫ While having drinks
with Oscar Hammerstein

♫ The Belasco and The Met

♫ Coney island

♫ The sights you will not soon forget

♫ There's J.P. Morgan

♫ Just hop on the Ninth Avenue Line

♫ This city could be yours and mine

♫ My Manhattan

♫ Your Manhattan

♫ Your Manhattan

♫ Our Manhattan

(audience applauding)

- Fergussen Hall, June the 2nd.

Mr. Daddy Long Legs Smith.

- [Both] Sir.

- Having perfected the science of dividing

a thesis under different headings,

I will now adopt the same
form for my letter writing.

All necessary facts are included

without unnecessary verbiage.

- One, we had written
examinations this week in,

A, Chemistry,

B, History.

- Two, we had junket for
dessert tonight, flavored with,

A, vanilla,

B, nutmeg.

- Three, I am writing a special essay

on the sources of Shakespeare's plays.

- Four, Louisa McMahon slipped

and fell this afternoon
at basketball, and she,

A, dislocated her shoulder,

B, bruised her knee.

(audience laughing)

- Five, I have a new hat trimmed with,

A, blue velvet ribbon,

B, two indigo quills,

C, three red pompoms.

- Six, it is half past nine.

- [Jerusha] Seven, good night.

- P.S. oh and Daddy, you'll never guess

the nice thing that has happened.

- Mrs. McBride invited
me to spend the summer

in the Adirondacks with the whole family.

Jimmie McBride is going to
have some college friends

visiting so we shall have
plenty of men to dance with.

(audience laughing)

Dear Miss Abbott,

Mr. Smith prefers that you should

decline Mrs. McBride's invitation.

- Why, why, why, Daddy?

Mrs. McBride wants me, really and truly.

I'll be a help.

It's a fine chance for
me to learn housekeeping.

Every woman ought to understand it

and I only know asylum-keeping.

And she wants me as a
companion for Sallie.

We're planning to do such
a lot of reading together.

And Jimmie McBride is going to teach me

how to ride on horseback
and paddle a canoe and shoot

and fish and everything
I've always wanted to do.

Please let me go, Daddy.

I've never wanted anything so much.

- Miss Abbott,

Mrs. Smith has made his decision.

You will return to Lock Willow,
the same as last summer.

(soft piano music)

- Sir,

regarding yours of the 7th.

In compliance with the instructions

received through your secretary,

I leave on Friday next to spend

the summer at Lock Willow Farm.

I remain yours et cetera.




♫ It's been nearly two months now

♫ Since I wrote you last

♫ You can't imagine my regret

♫ Still, it wasn't nice not to write

♫ I won't see Sallie in the summer

♫ I know you must have had your reasons

♫ I know you didn't mean to hurt me, Daddy

♫ I don't know why you behave as you do

♫ Just a line on a card that denotes

♫ Where you have ordered me to

♫ You don't try to imply there's a why

♫ I wouldn't venture a guess

♫ I couldn't know someone less

♫ I've imagined you so many ways

♫ You are kind, you are tall, you are old

♫ But in all those pondering days

♫ I'd not imagined you heartless and cold

♫ I thought you cared, I confess

♫ I couldn't know someone less

♫ And I'm here on a farm in the country

♫ Sleep in a wooden bed

♫ Mrs. Semple is really quite simple

♫ Sees that the cows are fed

♫ Tomorrow we may paint the barn

♫ A different shade of red

♫ There's an ice cream
social at the school house

♫ I wish I were dead

♫ If I could travel to places in books

♫ I could see with my eyes

♫ How Milton's heaven looks

♫ But I am here watching days slip away

♫ Adrift in my own discontent

♫ Though you've shown me kindness

♫ And changed my life, I must confess

♫ Why would you set me free

♫ Only to imprison me

♫ I couldn't know

♫ Someone less

(audience applauding)

- Dear Jerusha, enough is enough.

No more duplicity.

No more deceit.

The man you think you know as Mr. Smith,

or Daddy Long Legs, as you
so wittily nominated him,

is none other than me, your
friend, your good friend,

your dear friend...

(audience laughing)


It is I, not Daddy Long Legs,
who read your funny essay,

dragged you from the
orphanage, sent you to college,

paid for your clothes, your food,

your books and everything
else you possess.

(soft piano music)

I'm afraid Daddy Long Legs is
a figment of your imagination,

just as Mr. Smith was a figment of mine.

♫ I am just a fool

♫ An imposter and a fake

♫ Like the Lady of the Lake

♫ I'm drowning in the waves of my deceit

♫ But rescued by your
face each time we meet

♫ If I tell you the truth at last

♫ Would I lose your esteemed affection

♫ Would you hate me and curse my name

♫ I'd only have myself to blame

♫ So why upset you now

♫ When we can still be friends

♫ As the truth just slightly bends

♫ I'm happy in my mad hypocrisy

♫ Pretending I'm the man I'll never be

Dear Miss Abbott,

I've just heard from Julia

that you are in Lock
Willow for the summer.

By an extraordinary coincidence,

I'm about to visit an ailing elderly aunt,

uncle, aunt, who lives just north of there

and I'll be motoring back home
in just over a week's time.

So I hope you don't mind my dropping in

and seeing the Semples and
sharing the place for a few days.

What a pleasure it will
be to see Lock Willow

again after so many years.

And you too, of course.

- Well Daddy, you'll never, never,

never guess who's arrived at Lock Willow.

- [Both] Master Jervie!

(audience laughing)

- And such a nice time we're having!

At least I am, and I think he is, too.

For he's been here 10 days already

and doesn't show any signs of leaving.

(audience laughing)

He still looks like a true Pendleton,

but he isn't in the least.

He's just as simple and
unaffected and sweet as can be.

- Such a lot of adventures we're having!

- We've explored the country--

- For miles and miles--
- And I've learned to fish--

- With funny little flies--
- Made of feathers and twine--

- And shoot with a revolver--
- And paddle a canoe--

- And ride on horseback.

(audience laughing)

- On Sunday, we scandalized
the Semples by skipping church.

- We climbed Sky Hill instead.

- That's a mountain near here.

- Not an awfully high mountain perhaps,

no snow on the summit.

- At least you're pretty breathless

when you reach the top.


- We stayed at the top for the sunset

and built a fire in some
rocks and cooked our supper.

- We came down by moonlight.

It was so beautiful.

- We laughed and joked
and talked the whole way.

- He's read all the books I've ever read

and lots of others besides.

(soft piano music)

- Before we got home, we
got caught in a rainstorm

and ran like crazy children

and took shelter in a grove
of gigantic old pines.

- We sat in silence till the rain stopped

and the moon sailed back out
over the scudding clouds.

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Not to run too fast

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Not to mourn the past

♫ Nothing of any importance can last

♫ I imagined

♫ The secret of happiness was

♫ The art of compromise

♫ But I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Looking in her eyes

♫ Happiness comes as a total surprise

♫ And

♫ The secret, the secret of happiness is

♫ Living in the now

♫ Living in the time it takes to blink

♫ I think is how

♫ We're meant to be living

♫ I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ All the stars that shine

♫ But I've discovered

♫ The secret of happiness is

♫ Something more divine

♫ That her happiness is
more precious than mine

♫ And the secret, the
secret of happiness is

♫ The secret of happiness is clear

♫ The secret of happiness is near

♫ The secret of happiness

♫ Is here

(audience applauding)

- Dear, dear Daddy,
I'm so happy to be back

at college and working again.

Though I got a lot
accomplished at Lock Willow.

Six short stories and seven poems.

Those I sent to magazines all came back

with the most courteous promptitude.

But I don't mind, it's good practice.

And now Daddy, news from
the groves of Academe!

I've elected economics this year.

- [Jervis] A very illuminating subject.

- And when I finish that--

- I'm going to take Charity and Reform.

- Then, Mr. Trustee, I'll know
just how to run an orphanage.

- And just you wait to see
the asylum I'm going to run.

- It's my favorite play at
night before I go to sleep.

- I plan my orphan's lives
down to the slightest detail,

their meals and clothes and lessons--

- And punishments,

for even my superior
orphans are sometimes bad.

- [Jervis] But anyway, I'm
going to make them happy.

And here's another thing--

- Don't you think I'd
make an admirable voter,

if women had their rights?

I was 21 last week.

This is an awfully wasteful country

to throw away such an honest--

- Educated--
- Conscientious--

- Intelligent--
- Citizen--

- As I would be.

- Oh and that reminds me!

At church yesterday, a
preacher from Georgia

said we girls must take
care not to develop

our intellects at the expense
of our womanly natures.

- It's always the same!

Why on earth don't they
go to men's colleges

and urge the students there
not to allow their manly

natures to be crushed by
too much mental activity?

- P.S. Julia has invited me to spend

Christmas in New York with her family.

Fancy Jerusha Abbott
of the John Grier Home

sitting at the tables of the rich.

I'd rather go to Sallie's
but Julia asked me first.

(soft piano music)
- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

Christmas with the Pendletons
was such an illuminating time,

but I'm glad I don't
belong to such a family.

The material atmosphere of
that house was crushing.

I never heard one word of real talk

from the time we arrived until we left.

I don't believe an idea
ever entered the front door.

(cheery piano music)

♫ Perfectly awful days

♫ Christmas in Manhattan

♫ Such pretension

♫ And pointless conversation

♫ Perfectly awful days

♫ The air of self-importance

♫ I was drowning in social obligation

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ Had to bear the brunt of it all

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ The only orphan on the Upper East Side

If I ever marry and have a family,

I'm going to make them as exactly

like Sallie and Jimmie as I can.

Not for all the money in
the world would I ever

let any children of mine
develop into Pendletons.

I saw Master Jervie only
once when he came for tea

but I didn't have a chance
to speak to him alone.

He was so uneasy, not himself at all.

- His relations seem to freeze his blood.

- Julia's mother says he's unbalanced

and it all comes from
him being a bachelor.

She introduced him to
dozens of eligible heiresses

but he turned up his nose at all of them.

- Julia's aunt says he
was sweet on one of them

for a while but she threw him over

for an English Duke
and he never recovered.

(audience laughing)

- Julia's grandmother
suspects he's a socialist.

She can't even imagine where
he picked up his queer ideas.

He sometimes forgets to shave-

- And he throws away all of his money

on every sort of crazy,

Liberal reform instead of
spending it on sensible

things like yachts and
automobiles and polo ponies.

- You know, Daddy, I think
I'll be a socialist too.

You wouldn't mind, would you?

I probably am one by rights.

I'm sure I belong to the Proletariat.

♫ Now Daddy I must sleep

♫ But we shall wait and see

♫ Just what type of socialist I'm to be

- Dear Comrade,

(audience laughing)

Hooray, I'm a Fabian!

- That's a socialist
who's willing to wait.

- We don't want the social revolution

to come tomorrow morning.

It would be too upsetting.

- We want it to come very gradually

in the distant future when we shall all

be prepared and able to sustain the shock.

- In the meantime, we
must be getting ready,

by instigating industrial,
educational and-

- [Both] Orphan asylum reforms.

- Yours, with fraternal love,


- Dear Daddy, such a busy time.

Vacation in 10 days,
examinations tomorrow.

Lots of studying, lots of packing,

though the outdoors is so lovely

that it hurts you to stay inside.

- Julia is going abroad
this summer, to Paris,

and wants me to go with her.

And Sallie and Jimmie want me to go

with them to the Adirondacks.

So what do you think I'm going to do?

You may have three guesses.

- Paris?
- Wrong.

- The Adirondacks?
- Wrong.

I'll tell you, Daddy, is you promise not

to make a lot of objections.

And I warn your secretary ahead

of time that my mind is made up.

- I'm taking a job.

- Living with Sallie and Julia has been

an awful strain on my stoical philosophy.

They've both had things since
the time they were babies.

The world, they think, owes
them everything they want.

And maybe it does, for it seems to pay up

whenever they need it.

But as for me, it owes me nothing

and it's time to start
paying back my debt.

So I shall teach French
and Algebra this summer,

and begin to support myself.

- My Dear Jerusha,

I've just heard from Julia that

you decline her invitation to Paris.

Are you insane?

Foreign travel is a crucial
part of your education,

and Paris the most
dazzling city in the world.

Quite apart from anything
else I shall be there myself

and I'm sure we could slip away

from our Pendleton chaperones

and have the odd dinner together
at some cozy little bistro.

Write to me by return telling
me you've changed your mind.

Jervis Pendleton.

- Dear Mr. Pendleton,

a change of mind is out of the question.

I have secured a holiday situation

with a Mrs. Charles Paterson

and her sweet little daughter, Florence.

Yours, Jerusha.

- Jerusha, you are quite the most silly,

foolish, irrational, quixotic, idiotic,

stubborn child I've ever met.

You really must learn to take

the advice of those who are older

and wiser than you are.

Please reconsider your ludicrous plan.


Dear Miss Abbott,

Mr. Smith strongly objects

to your wasting your precious time

and talent on a pointless
display of independence.

(audience laughing)

He would far prefer you to take up

the Pendleton's very kind offer

of a trip to Paris where your writing

career would be nourished by contact

with the most refined company imaginable.

Yours, et cetera.

- Dear Daddy, too late I'm afraid.

I'm here at the seaside
stuffing first declension

nouns into little Florence Paterson.

She is rather dim I'm afraid,
and uncommonly spoiled.

She's never had to concentrate

on anything more difficult
than ice cream soda.

But I'm writing my novel
for three solid hours

before breakfast every morning,

so please have no worries
about my literary career.

Of course I wanted to go to Paris

with Julia and Master Jervie,

and if he hadn't been so dictatorial

I might have changed my mind,

but to be called a silly, foolish,

irrational, quixotic,
idiotic, stubborn child,

that was what made up my mind.

Please don't be cross with me, Daddy.

It's bad enough I've
quarreled with Jervie.

Have a lovely summer, wherever you are.

Loving you always,

- Jerusha,

(speaking foreign language)

Just got back from Paris.

What a fascinating city and how sad

the lives of those who never see it.

Now what do you think?

I'm looking at my diary
and I see the first week

of September is remarkably
empty so I could

just squeeze in a visit to Lock Willow.

I assume you'd be free to join me.

No answer necessary.

I'll see you there.


- Dear Daddy,

A horribly complacent little
note from Master Jervie,

expecting to see me in
Lock Willow in September

and a lovely long letter from Sallie

inviting me to Camp
McBride for the same time.

Must I ask your permission to go?

Or may I now do as I please?

Yes, I'm sure I can.

I'm nearly a senior now, you know.

Anyway, I want to see Sallie
and I want to see Jimmie,

and I want Master Jervie
to arrive at Lock Willow

and find me not there.

I must show him that
he can't dictate to me.

No one can dictate to me but you, Daddy,

and you can't always.

I'm off to the woods!
- Miss Abbott!

Mr. Smith positively
forbids you to fritter

away any more of your time in a purely

social excursion to the Adirondacks.

- Sorry, Daddy, but your
letter didn't come in time.

(audience laughing)

If you wish your
instructions to be obeyed,

you must have your secretary
write more promptly.

The woods are fine, and so is the camp,

and so is the weather,
and so are the McBrides,

and so is the whole world.

I'm very, very happy.

- Jerusha,

I'm afraid I can't join you
in Lock Willow after all.

I've been invited by
some very close friends

to go yachting at Rhode Island.

Have a lovely summer and enjoy the farm.


- Dear Daddy,

Why do you think of this?

A note Master Jervie sent to
Lock Willow but forwarded here.

He's sorry but he finds
he can't join me there.

He's going yachting with
some friends instead.

But all this time he knew
I was with the McBrides,

for Sallie told Julia and Julia told him.

You men ought to leave
intrigue to us women.

You haven't a light enough touch.

(audience laughing)

Oh, there's Jimmie calling
for me to go canoeing.


(audience laughing)

(soft music)

♫ Completely deflating

♫ I've been hung out to dry

♫ I wanted my cake

♫ But instead she will make

♫ Me eat helpings of more humble pie

♫ And whether it's Jervis who writes

♫ Or Daddy's decree

♫ She falls rather short of obeying me

♫ And now there's Jimmie McBride

♫ There by her side

♫ I'm ashamed of the man I've become

♫ Angry words on a page that betray

♫ All the lies I've spun

♫ I must leave you to find your own way

♫ To fail or succeed

♫ Nonetheless

♫ I've lost my heart, I confess

♫ And it seems I've turned into

♫ Someone I could not know less

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

Back at college and a senior!

Also editor of the Monthly.

I love my student life

but this year's different
because it's the last.

The swift hand of time is dragging

me forward at a terrible speed.

No news from Master Jervie.

I fear he won't forgive me
for ignoring him this summer.

But I can't think of him now.

I must work and write and devote myself

to you and all that you've done for me.

Oh, Daddy!

A blight has fallen over my career!

I've been writing my novel
all through the summer

and two weeks ago I
sent it to a publisher.

♫ A perfectly awful day

♫ My book has been rejected

♫ It's insipid

♫ And lacks imagination

♫ The plot is overwrought

♫ The characters are shallow

♫ And the humor

♫ Is hopelessly sophomoric

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ Wounded to the core of her soul

♫ Poor Jerusha Abbott

♫ Might as well be affiliated

♫ With the John Grier Home

I took my manuscript walking
with me yesterday afternoon

and when I came to the boiler house,

I went in and asked the janitor

if I might borrow his furnace.

He politely opened the door

and with my own hands I chucked it in.

I felt as though I had
cremated my only child.

- I'm so glad Master Jervie
couldn't see my disappointment.

For this is one blow I can
only share with you, Daddy.

- I went to bed last
night utterly rejected.

I thought I would never
amount to anything,

and that you had thrown
away your money for nothing.

But what do you think?

- I woke up this morning with

a beautiful new plot in my head

and I've been going about all
day planning my characters,

just as happy as I could be.

- Master Jervie would be proud of me.

- Never give up, he always used to say.

Though he seems to have given me up now.

- Daddy dear,

please observe the postmark.

Sallie and I are at
Lock Willow for Easter,

tramping over the hills
and reading and writing.

We climbed to the top
of Sky Hill this morning

where Master Jervie and I
once cooked our support.

It doesn't seem possible it
was nearly two years ago.

- I could still see the
place where the smoke

of our fire blackened the rocks.

It made me quite lonely
to be there without him.

- Lonely and a little frightened.

How is that man?

I mustn't wonder.

I'm progressing with my book.

I'm eating it up in chunks.

I've caught the secret.

Master Jervie is right about most things

and he was certainly right about this.

You are most convincing when you write

about the things you know.

And this time it is something
I know, exhaustively.

Guess where it's set?

- In the John Grier Home.

- And it's a good, Daddy.

It's just about the tiny little

things that happened everyday

and it's going to get itself
finished and published.

You see if it doesn't.

If you just want a thing hard enough

and keep on persevering--

- [Both] You get it in the end.

- I've been trying for four
years to get a letter out of you

and I haven't given up hope yet.

Graduation is three weeks
from next Wednesday.

You will come and make my
acquaintance, won't you?

I shall hate you if you don't.

(audience laughs)

- Sallie's inviting Jimmie McB,

and Julia's inviting Master Jervie.

- I'll finally see him again,

but he won't be there for me.

He cares nothing for me any
more, I'm sure of that now.

So who is there for me to invite?

Just you and Mrs. Lippett
and I don't want her.

You have to come, Daddy.

To be proud of me.

Just this one.

(bright piano music)

♫ Why does it feel like I'm flying

♫ Somebody wake me at last

♫ For I'm right on the edge

♫ Of the wide, wide world

♫ As I look at so many faces

♫ In a place I never dreamed I would be

♫ There is one empty chair

♫ That I simply can't bear to see

♫ And I'm fighting back the tears

♫ Yes, I'm fighting back the tears

♫ On graduation day

♫ Still this is rather amazing

♫ Summa Cum Laude and all

♫ But it won't mean a thing

♫ If everyone's legs are small

♫ And I'm fighting back the tears

♫ Yes, I'm fighting back the tears

♫ On graduation day

♫ I'm here, Jerusha

♫ I'm standing in front of you now

♫ I'm here, Jerusha

♫ I just look like a person you know

♫ I'm here, Jerusha

♫ I'm here, Jerusha

♫ And I'm fighting back the tears

♫ Yes, I'm fighting back the tears

♫ On graduation day

♫ Well this is your loss, Mr. Clothes Pole

♫ Well here I am

♫ Mr. Girl Hater

♫ Dear Mr. Smith

♫ Right before your eyes

♫ Or whatever you're called

♫ You did not show

♫ I'm right here

♫ You are not here and now I'm

♫ Fighting back the tears

♫ Fighting back the tears

♫ Breaking through my fears

♫ For I will stand out from the crowd

♫ And you have made somebody proud

♫ And make somebody proud

(audience applauding)

- Jerusha Abbott, Bachelor
of Arts, Class of 1912.

Summa Cum Laude, valedictorian!

You did it!

I helped a little,

but it was only money.


Money, it seems, that has
now outlived its usefulness.

So, Mr. John Smith,

philanthropist and
octogenarian, rest in peace.


(soft piano music)

It bites the hand that dispenses it.

It corrodes the heart of the giver,

however pure his motives.

If he truly cares for the person he helps,

how can his money ever be enough?

It builds a wall of gratitude that

can never be climbed...

From either side.

♫ Charity, oh charity

♫ Now what can I do

♫ Once I gave to those in need

♫ Now I'm in need of you

♫ Charity, oh charity

♫ I cannot believe

♫ How easier it is to give

♫ Than to let yourself receive

♫ For what you have given me

♫ Came out of the blue

♫ What you have done for me

♫ I never could do

♫ Charity

♫ Just who is helping who

♫ You are free to go your way

♫ Whatever path you choose

♫ The love I've lost in you, my friend

♫ Was never mine to lose

♫ For what you have given me

♫ Came out of the blue

♫ What you have done for me

♫ I never could do

♫ Charity

♫ Just who is helping who

♫ Just who is helping who

(audience applauding)

- Dear Daddy Long Legs,

I'm educated.

My diploma is in a bottom bureau

drawer with my two best dresses.

I'm here at Lock Willow for the summer.

Forever maybe.

The board is cheap, the surroundings quiet

and conducive to a literary life.

I'm mad about my book.

I think of it every waking
moment and dream of it at night.

Master Jervie wrote me a very sweet letter

in the week after graduation,

full of warm wishes for the future.

He seems to have recovered his old,

lovely, sunny, funny self.

But there's still something missing

and I can't work out what it is.

Oh, and Jimmie McBride is dropping

by sometime during the summer.

He's connected with a bond house now

and goes about the country
selling bonds to banks.

He's combining the Farmers
National and me on the same trip.

I used to think you might come

motoring through Lock Willow one day.

(gentle instrumental music)

But when you didn't come to my graduation,

I gave that up as a hopeless
dream and buried it forever.

♫ I have torn you from my heart

♫ I have stripped myself of any

♫ Pointless expectations

♫ That you will ever change your ways

♫ I have torn you from my life

♫ I have washed my hands of ever

♫ Hoping you will be there

♫ When I most need a friend

♫ But you'll never be there, Daddy

♫ On that I can depend

♫ Charity

♫ I have torn you from my soul

♫ You have hurt me for the last time

♫ Charity

♫ And I won't go on bleeding

♫ You'll never hear another plea

♫ Oh, charity

♫ Yes, you've got your freedom, Daddy

♫ But you don't have me

♫ Who is helping who

♫ I too am free

♫ Who is helping who

♫ I too am free

♫ Just who is helping who

- Dear Mr. Smith,

I ought to let you know
that I'm thinking of moving.

Sallie is going to do settlement
work in Boston next winter.

I'm thinking of going with her.

We could have a studio together.

I could write while she, settled.

- I really am a writer now.

And to prove it, here's
a check for $1,000.

- It seems so funny, me
sending money to you.

Where do you think I got it?

- I've sold my story!

- It's going to be published

serially in seven parts
and then in a book!

I owe you $2,000 more.

The rest will be coming in installments.

Don't be horrid please, about taking it.

I owe you more than money

and I will continue to pay

all my life in gratitude and affection.

Once I've paid off my debt to you,

all my future royalties will
go to the John Grier Home.

If the book does really well,

they'll make me a trustee, just like you.

Then you'll have to meet me.

(audience laughing)

You see, Mr. Smith, I've
got it all worked out.

My first duty as a new trustee will be

to reform the asylum under new management.

You will help me, won't you?

Mrs. Lippett must be
replaced by someone generous

and clever and sweet-natured.

Don't you think Sallie McBride
would be the perfect choice?

P.S. I've left the check blank for you

to fill in your real name, whatever it is.

♫ I hold my breath

♫ As I read her words

♫ I can't believe my eyes

♫ I always knew

♫ She would have her day

♫ Still it takes me by surprise

♫ Here's Jerusha Abbott, author

♫ On the rise

♫ And I'm swept away

♫ By a wind of change

♫ My path is now assured

♫ She's free to live how she wants to live

♫ Now her future is secured

♫ As her loyal readers

♫ Follow every word

♫ I am beaming in Manhattan

♫ Intoxicated with unspeakable joy

♫ I'm in heaven in Manhattan

♫ But with caution to be sure

♫ For there's one thing more

♫ There's a question in Manhattan

♫ For Jerusha

- Dear Daddy, something has happened!

I know I washed my hands of you forever,

but I need advice!

I need it from you and from
nobody else in the world.

You know I've always had a
special feeling towards you,

but you won't mind, will you,

if I tell you I have a more special

feeling towards another man?

♫ He reminds me of you

♫ So proper and such

♫ I suppose you half expected as much

♫ We think the same thoughts

♫ We share the same dreams

♫ And when we're laughing

♫ I swear time stands still

♫ At least that's how it seems

♫ But Daddy, I'm sure

♫ I have wounded his soul

♫ My poet, my mentor, my muse

♫ 'Cause P.S. last night

♫ Jervis asked for my hand

- Marry me, Jerusha.

Give me your heart.

You know you have mine.

♫ Oh why, why did I refuse

Now he's gone away imagining

that I want to marry Jimmie McBride.

I don't in the least.

Jimmie's a lovely boy, but
he isn't grown up enough

and I don't think he ever will be.

The truth is, Daddy, I
care for Mr. Pendleton

too much to let him marry me

because I know he would regret it

in the future and I couldn't stand that.

It just doesn't seem right that a person

of my upbringing should marry
into such a family as his.

And I couldn't bring myself to tell him

about the John Grier Home, that...

I don't know who I am.

My family may be dreadful, you know?

And his family is so proud
and I'm so proud, too.

I've been thinking very hard about it.

Of course he is a socialist,

and has unconventional ideas.

Maybe he wouldn't mind
marrying an unknown orphan

as much as some men might.

Perhaps when two people
are exactly in accord,

and always happy when together
and lonely when apart,

they ought not to let anything

in the world stand between them.

Of course I want to believe that.

Suppose I go to him and
tell him that the problem

isn't Jimmie, it's the John Grier Home.

Would that be a dreadful
thing for me to do?

It would take a great deal of courage.

I'd almost rather be
miserable the rest of my life.

But, oh Daddy, (sniffling)

I miss him, and miss him, and miss him.

The whole world seems empty
and aching without him.

I hate the moonlight
because it's beautiful

and he isn't here to see it with me.

But maybe you've loved somebody, too,

and you know how I feel?

If you have, I don't need to explain.

If you haven't,

I can't explain.

Daddy, what shall I do?

Please let me see you.


- My dear young lady,

please come to see me next

Wednesday afternoon at four o'clock.

I hope you will have no difficulty

making your way to the above address.

I'm afraid, however, that
you may find me deficient

in the sort of wisdom that you seek.

I am, in fact, rather unpracticed
in matters of the heart.

As I fear you will discover
when we finally meet.


- Your.

- [Both] Daddy Long Legs.

(soft piano music)

♫ I've discovered the
secret of happiness is

♫ Wednesday afternoon

♫ I've discovered the
secret of happiness is

♫ That I will see you soon

♫ A man as obscure

♫ As the man in the moon



Mr. Smith!

What are you doing here?

Do you know Mr. Smith?

Or whatever he's called?

- I do.

- So you know about me then?

You know about the John Grier Home?

- I do.

- How long have you known?

Don't tell me, you can't be...

His secretary?

(audience laughing)

- Well, not exactly.

- Where is he?

- He's right here.

I'm afraid.

- You?


You read my letters?

All my letters?

The ones about you?

(audience laughs)

They were private letters!

- I know.

- They were letters to him, not you!

- I know.

- He would never have done such a thing!

You're not ever old.

(audience laughing)

- Guilty, guilty as charged.

♫ I'm a beast

♫ I'm a disappointment

♫ And I've earned your contempt

♫ I was rash, I was wrong

♫ Oh Jerusha, I'm no good at being strong

- How strong did you have to
be to pick up a fountain pen?

♫ So many times I wanted to tell you

♫ But I lost my nerve

♫ Now I feel your scorn and frustration

♫ It's a bitter blow I well deserve

♫ I'm a beast

♫ I was overzealous

♫ Guess I have a jealous heart

- How could you possibly imagine

I would ever marry Jimmie McBride?

♫ I was daft, I was blind

♫ But Jerusha, I never meant to be unkind

Well anyway, it was all your fault.

- My fault?

- I never intended to pay
the least attention to you.

I said so in my perfectly
sensible nine point plan.

And you started sending me

all those ludicrously expressive letters,

and my curiosity got the better of me.

I had to see who this impetuous,
delightful creature was.

And I couldn't very well dress
up as a bald old coot of 83.

So I went as myself.

(audience laughing)

Such as I am.

- Go on.

(audience laughing)

- I would never have done such a silly,

foolish, irrational, quixotic, idiotic,

stubborn, childish thing if I
had any idea, any idea at all,

that I would fall completely,

madly and hopelessly in love with you.

(soft piano music)

♫ All the clues were there

♫ Right before my eyes

♫ How could I be so surprised

♫ And yet it appears I never knew

♫ All this time

♫ Daddy has been you

♫ How was I so blind

♫ That I could never see

♫ You were always here with me

♫ And yet it appears I never knew

♫ All this time

♫ Daddy has been you

♫ Yes, you lied

♫ And betrayed my trust

♫ And you made me appear so foolish

♫ And though it seems I'm the last to know

♫ I'd be a fool to let you go

♫ Life may not last long

♫ My life will never
last without your love

♫ And hearts might not play fair

♫ I know it wasn't fair

♫ But a love like ours is rare

♫ And what I thought

♫ Impossible

♫ Is true

♫ All this time

♫ I've been in love with you

♫ And it seems as I say these words

♫ That I am writing my first love letter

♫ It surprises me even now

♫ And makes me laugh

♫ That I know how

♫ So with all my heart

♫ Racing as it soars

♫ I am most sincerely yours

♫ Jerusha

♫ Who will keep her Jervie strong

♫ And forgives her Daddy Long Legs

♫ For not being old

♫ Or gray

♫ Or bald

♫ And for hiding from her

♫ So long

(audience applauding)

(soft instrumental music)