Waiting for Baby (1941) - full transcript

Mr. Benchley examines the pressures faced by expectant fathers.


We read a great deal
of advice designed

for the expectant
mother, but nobody

seems to think it worthwhile
to give the expectant father

any advice.

Now as a matter of fact,
the expecting father

needs more advice than
the expectant mother,

because he is
strictly on his own.

He has no doctor to guide him.

And during that one day at least,
he is the forgotten man.

Good morning, Miss Benson.

Good morning.

A little excitement at
our house this morning.

Didn't get a chance to share it.

Yes, I know.

Here's a message for
you from the hospital.

Came just five minutes ago.

Now here we see some typical cases
of expectant fatherhood.

Those of you in the audience
who don't care to look

may close your eyes
until the scene is over.

We will signal the end of
this rather harrowing section

by the tapping of a bell.

Where is she?

Your name, please.

Who me?


Uh, Doakes.

Joseph Doakes.

Oh, yes, Mr. Doakes.

Would you wait right
in there, please?

The nurse will see
you in just a minute.

In here?

No, no.

In there, the waiting room.

Now all these four men
are running a temperature.

The tall man, because
he's been waiting longest,

is in the worst shape,
but the blood pressure of all four

of them is way, way up
for this time of day.

In other words, for lack of
good counsel and advice,

these expectant fathers
have allowed themselves

to become pathological cases.

Have you got the correct time?

Yes, thanks.

Would you mind giving it to me?

Oh, I'm sorry.

It's 20 minutes past.


Uh, 20 minutes 'till 10:00.

Uh, is that Eastern
Standard Time?

Why, yes, I guess it would be.

Yes, sure.

That would make 20 minutes
to 7:00 at the coast, wouldn't it?


No, no 20 minutes
to 9:00, to 1:00.

Ah, shut up.

Mr. Doakes?

Well, Mr. Doakes, I don't think
that you will have stay here.

You can come back around noon.

Everything's fine.

You mean I can go?

Yes, you can run along now.

We'll call up around
noon, and we'll

tell you when to come back.

This man, ordinarily a
very alert businessman,

has allowed himself to slip
mentally under a strain, which

is no greater than that to which men
are being subjected to all

over the world every day.

It's just a lack of
mental coordination.

That's all.

Oh, Mr. Doakes, any news?



Uh, no, no.

They'll call up at noon.

That's what she said.

Would you care to
go over the mail?

What mail?

The morning mail.

Here it is.

Dear Mr. Doakes, we
are writing to ask you

if you can see a way
clear to contribute

the same amount this year as--

That's the letter you just
received, Mr. Doakes.

Do you wish to dictate a reply?

I've got to get some air.


Back early, aren't you?

Quarter past 11:00.

For Pete's sake, stop looking
at that picture, will you?

I'm sorry.


There, there, old man.

He didn't mean it.

I did mean it.

Why Mr. Theakstis,
you're the father of a nice big girl.

Come on in and see her.

Mr. Doakes, what are
you doing back here so early?

Now we won't need
you until 3 o'clock.

Everything's fine.

3 o'clock?

Why that's this afternoon.

There's another phase
to this disintegration

of the expectant father.

From the preliminary daze
and hypnotic trance,

he sometimes develops into a
rather garrulous and frequently

tiresome character,
considering himself the center

of attraction wherever he goes.

Do you have any children?

Just a couple.

Just a couple?

Boy, that's a lot.

How'd you stand it?

Oh, it's not so bad,
once you get the hang of it.

Oh, once you the hang of it.

That's the thing.

I've got to learn how to get
the hang of it by 3 o'clock.

Well, well, congratulations.

Straight, dry.

Didn't get a chance
to shave today.

I guess that's right.

Expecting a baby this afternoon.

That's fine.

How's your wife now?

Oh, she's fine.


Give me that check,
will you, because I got to go.

Thank you.

At this point, the
expectant father

is not responsible
for his actions,

and he may walk as much as
10 miles without knowing it.

To complicate matters,
the world seems

to be filled with children.

Up to now, he
never noticed them.

Of course, the
percentage of twins

is very small and hardly
worth worrying about,

but then, on the other
hand, it can happen.

We now come to the
final and most harrowing

phase of our study.

The patient has a blood pressure
of a small donkey engine.


Mr. Doakes?

Who, me?

Will you please come with me?

Mr. Doakes?


Mr. Joseph Doakes?

There's a telephone
call for you.


Mr. Doakes, would
it be all right if I

went out for about an hour?

There doesn't seem to be
anything doing around here.

OK, OK, sure.


Thank you.

Small, isn't he?

No smaller than usual.

I guess you'd be small too,
if you were that age.

Want to hold him?

Oh, no, no thank you.

I've got one of
my own coming up.

Your name's Doakes isn't it?

Yes, Joseph Doakes.

My wife is here.

Well, this is yours.




So we see in rather
spectacular fashion

the ordeal through which
the expectant father must go.

Of course, this
man will recover.

There's nothing
organically wrong with him.

And in time, he
will come to enjoy

the blessings of fatherhood.



--Enjoy, actually
live to enjoy--