Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 6, Episode 20 - Murray Takes a Stand - full transcript

Mr. Wessel is the new owner of WJM. He has a very strict "short and sweet" editorial policy, which affects Murray's copy more than anyone in the newsroom. Murray doesn't like that his stories are basically cut to two lines maximum. But when Wessel's policy starts to affect Murray's personal life - Wessel cut out Murray's favorite scene of a Marx Brothers movie aired on the station - he can't take it anymore. He calls Wessel late at night at home to give him a piece of his mind. Although in the cold light of day Murray regrets what he's done and can deny that it was him that called Wessel, he has to decide if he should stick to his original thoughts even though it may get him fired, or deny or apologize so that he can keep his job. Regardless, his friends at WJM provide solidarity with Murray, with one in particular who may unwittingly take the brunt of the pain. Meanwhile, Sue Ann does a salute to cheese, with Lou washing down the cheese with a bit too much wine.

♪ Who can turn the
world on with her smile ♪

♪ Who can take a nothing day ♪

♪ And suddenly make
it all seem worthwhile ♪

♪ Well, it's you, girl
and you should know it ♪

♪ With each glance and every
little movement you show it ♪

♪ Love is all around
No need to waste it ♪

♪ You can have the town
Why don't you take it ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪♪

Hi, guys. [Grunts]

Uh, what you doin'? Mr. Grant's
just making cuts in your copy.

- Cuts?
- Yeah, well, Murr, the new
station owner, Mr. Wessel,

sent us a 12-page memo saying
he wants the news to be brief.

From now on, we can't have a
story run more than two lines...

unless there's film to go
with it. That's impossible!

Yeah, well, I thought so,
too, but Mr. Grant's doing it.

Yeah, but that's crazy!

Look, take that story
about the bus strike.

You know, with the mayor arguing all
night with the bus company and the union...

and finally coming up with an offer
of an additional 85 cents an hour.

And having the union
turn it down and reject it.

And how it looks like we won't have
any public transportation for months.

Well, how you gonna
write that story in two lines?

Mayor talks. Union
balks. Public walks.

Lou, what are we running here...
a newsroom or a telegraph office?

I mean, the guy buys the station,
and right away he acts like he owns it.

You gonna let him
get away with this?

Murray, I hardly know the man.

With the previous owners, I could
step down to the bar and talk things out,

but this guy doesn't even drink,

and there's no
reasoning with a fanatic.

Lou, look. We gotta
stand up to him.

We have a good show here,
and we shouldn't let him ruin it.

Come on, Murr. Come on. Calm down. We've
been through this kind of thing before.

You know how it is. A new owner comes in,
wants to feel he's making a contribution.

So he starts throwing his
weight around. It'll pass.

Sure, sure.

Why, I remember when I was
working for the Detroit Free Press.

A new boss came in and
insisted that we all wear ties.

Huh? So, we got even.

One morning we all came in
wearing brand-new neckties...

and nothing else.

Got the picture
clearly? Yes, clearly.

There we were, all 14 of
us, standing at our desks.

- Standing?
- Well, those metal chairs
were cold.


Anyway, the boss came
in and took one look.

Believe me. She never
asked us to wear ties again.


Oh, there you are,
headline hunter.

I just finished
taping my special.

"The Joy of Cheese." Yeah.

And I brought you a tempting,
mouthwatering morsel.

[Murmurs] I guess you're
all busy with the news.

Yeah, Sue Ann. We're
not hungry. We're just busy.

As a matter of fact,
we're too busy to...

No one is ever too
busy for cheese.


We did a panoramic
treatment of world cheese.

Runny Brie, tangy Camembert,
loathsome Limburger.

[Chuckles] You should see my
studio. It's a smelly wonderland!

I want you all to
come down there.

I have a table spread
with gourmet fromage.

I'll decant a few bottles of an
amusing little off-year Bordeaux.

The blend of vintage wine and aged cheese
is one of nature's exquisite mysteries.

[Chuckles] Besides, we
can all get hammered.

How about it, Lou? Sue
Ann, I'd really love to, but...

Mary, how about you? No,
I don't think so, Sue Ann.

It just doesn't seem right to gorge
on cheese when there are, you know,

mice going to bed hungry.

Oh, come on,
Mary. You'll love it.

One of the cheeses is bland,
American, untouched by human hands...

Not unlike you.

No, I don't think so, Sue Ann.

Oh, Mary, dear, I have
never taken no for an answer.

Or given it.

Honey, do you still feel terrible
about them cutting your copy?

Look, I don't want
to talk about it, Marie.

I don't think people should
bring their work to bed.

With the possible exception
of Masters and Johnson.

Anyway, I'm all set for
a wonderful evening.

I've got my favorite Marx Brothers movie
on. You wanna watch it with me, honey?

Oh, I don't know. I'm
kinda interested in my book.

Okay. You're gonna
miss a great one.

Oh, hey. They've come
to my favorite part already.

This is where Groucho
sings Captain Spaulding.

[Chuckles] I love this
more than anything.

Didn't he sing it
good tonight, honey?

They cut it. That weasel Wessel cut
the best part of that Marx Brothers movie.

Just so he could sell another
commercial. You know, that guy is crazy.

Not only is he ruining my work,
now he's ruining my pleasure.

Now, what do I do?

What do I do? Do I
just keep taking it?

Do I just keep taking it, or
do I draw the line someplace?

Well, what are you doing? I'm drawing
the line, Marie. I am drawing the line.

Honey, before you do anything,
shouldn't you think about it?

I don't wanna think about it.
If I think about it, I won't do it.

And this I wanna do.
Hello? Hello, Mrs. Wessel...

Uh, I'd like to speak
to Mr. Wessel, please.

This is Murray Slaughter
from the newsroom.

Uh, he can't be disturbed? Well, look.
I'd like to leave him a message, please.

Yes. Tell him... Tell him
not only is he ruining...

any sense of journalism
we have at the station,

but now he's screwed
up a Marx Brothers movie.

Tell him I think that
he is the worst kind of...

stupid Neanderthal
it has ever been my...

Oh, I'm sorry if
I'm going so fast.

I think he's the worst...

kind of Neanderthal...

No, I don't know how to spell
it either. Change it to "dumb."

Worst kind of dumb
idiot I've ever met.

Thank you very much. Yes,
it's been nice talking to you too.

Now what do I do? I'm wide
awake. I'm all stirred up, and...

Who can I talk to?

You know, that's what's wrong
with the whole world these days.

The guys up there... they don't
want to give you an answer.

Nobody wants to
assume any responsibility.

Who's the little man supposed
to turn to for satisfaction?

How about the little woman?


Come in.

Mr. Grant, I have
to talk to you.

You knock too loud, Mary.

I never noticed it before.

You have a very harsh knock.

Oh, well, I'm sorry. I'll try not to
do that. You should knock gently.

In fact, on a morning like this,

you should just
sort of rub the door.

Okay, I'll try that.

Rub it gently.
Gently. Gotcha. Okay.

Mr. Grant, uh... [Groans]

Just how under the
weather are you?

Oh, when I took off my pajamas this
morning, I found my suit on underneath.

What did you do last night?

I helped Sue Ann
finish off that cheese.

You didn't. Yeah,
there were 16 varieties.

And each one had to be
washed down with wine.

It had an interesting effect.

Towards the end, I discovered
that I could speak fluent French.

But I was having a
little trouble with English.

Well, I'm really sorry I
missed that. Oh, no. Don't be.

Don't be. You wanna know what
my mouth tastes like this morning?

[Sighs] Not particularly.

Picture, if you will,

the rope-soled sandal
of a French swineherd...

on a hot day in August.

Mr. Grant, are you trying to get back at
me for knocking too loudly on your door?

While the flies...
Okay! Mr. Grant, look.

I'm really sorry that
you're not feeling too well,

but I wanted to talk to
you about Mr. Wessel.

You just made me feel worse.

He has now got something he
calls a personnel utilization chart,

which I am supposed
to fill out each day.

He's a jerk. He's
worse than a jerk!


Yeah. Uh, this is Lou Grant.

Okay, I'll hold for
him. It's Wessel.

Well, you see.
That is so impolite.

He called you. Why should
he make you hold for him?

Give me that phone.

Hello, Mr. Wessel. One
moment. I'll see if he's in.

♪♪ [Humming]

♪♪ [Humming]

♪♪ [Both Continue Humming]


Hi. What can I do for you?

Yes. Yeah, mm-hmm. There's a
Murray Slaughter working here.

Wh-What do you
mean, "Not anymore"?

Mr. Grant, what is it? Shh.

He did what?

Oh, no. Listen, Mr. Wessel.
There must be some mistake.

That doesn't sound like Murray.

No. Listen. I'll tell
you what I'll do.

I'll talk to him and
have him call you back.

But believe me. It must
have been somebody else.

He's... He's just not the type.

Believe me. It simply
could not have been Murray.

[Mouthing Word] Yeah.

Yeah. Good-bye.

What is it? [Laughing]

That son of a gun, Murray!
[Groans] What did he do?


He called Wessel at home
in the middle of the night...

to chew him out about something.

Murray did that?

Isn't it wonderful? That
Murray is a real man!

And what he did took real guts!

Yeah, that-that's terrific.
But what's he gonna do now?

Beg for forgiveness.

Murray, I want to
ask you a question.

And I've got a 16-cheese headache,
so don't play games with me.

Did you call old man Wessel at home
late last night and try to pick a fight?

Uh, yes. Yes, I did, Lou.
You did? Old man Wessel?

- The high command
el supremo?
- Yeah, that's the one.

You called him at home, woke him
out of a sound sleep to-to pick a fight?

Hot spit, Murray. I didn't
think you had it in you.

Well, he just called,
and he wants to fire you.

Mind you, I'm not saying
I condone your actions.

Murray, whatever possessed you?

Well, the last straw was
when he cut the late movie.

You called him over a movie?

Mmm. That was
irresponsible behavior, Murray.

Childish and irresponsible.

It wasn't the Three
Stooges, was it?

No. Well, then it was really
childish and irresponsible.

He's right. I realized that this
morning. Now, Lou, what should I do?

Just... Just apologize.
Tell him you're sorry.

Ask him to forgive you.
Are you telling me to crawl?

Nah. Beg.

Beg? Yeah.

I'm not gonna beg
any man for a job.

Mr. Wessel, please. This is
Murray Slaughter in the newsroom.

- Murray, don't be crazy.
- Hello, Mr. Wessel.

I understand you have,
uh, certain complaints

about a phone call
you received last night,

and I... I... I don't blame you.

No, uh, I don't know who
would do a crazy thing like that.

I understand the nut... He
was even using my name.

Uh, yes. Well, I can understand
how you would feel that way, sir.

Uh-huh. And, yes, I would too.

Well, I'm very happy
we cleared this up.

It's very nice to talk
to you, sir. And, uh...

Just keep up the good work.

It was the thing to
do, Murray. Absolutely.

[Mary] I mean, this wasn't a joke
anymore. He's a powerful man.

I'm with Mary. He might
very well have fired you.

You've got to think
of your family first.

You did the right
thing. Believe me.

Right. That's exactly what
I would've done, Murray.

I wish you hadn't
have said that, Ted.

Mr. Wessel again, please.
This is Murray Slaughter.

No, Murr, don't. Hey, Ted was
just... He didn't... Murray, don't do it.

Mr. Wessel, I was lying a minute
ago. I did make that phone call.

Now, look. I know it probably
showed bad judgment on my part,

but you have to understand,
I was really upset.

Uh, yes, I understand.

- Uh, well, thank you
for talking to me.
- What'd he say?

He said that, uh, it's all right for me to
say whatever I want to say to him today,

uh, but it wasn't last night...

That makes sense. Last
night, you called him at home.

And last night, you
called him pretty late.

And last night,

I was still working for him.

Is'll work itself out. It's
not gonna be your last day.

Mr. Grant is in there
talking to Wessel right now.

Now, you know he's gonna
straighten everything out.

So long, Murray.

Mary, I did everything.
I even called him "sir."

The last guy I called
"sir" was Patton.

That was only
after he slapped me.

Well, all I can say is you
two were the greatest.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Save that speech, Slaughter.
I'm gonna wear the guy down.

You'll be back
here in a few days,

'cause basically, it was
just a little misunderstanding.

You'll see. Wessel will change his
mind. Just a difference of opinion.

People have these disagreements all
the time, and they forget them quickly.

For example, last week Mary and I
had a big argument over... nothing.

Some feature story.
Dumb argument.

That's right, Mr. Grant.
That's a perfect example.

Afterwards, Mary admitted that she
was wrong, said that she was sorry,

and that was that...
Finished, forgotten, over.

Well, that's not exactly right.

- What isn't right?
- Well, I said I was sorry
we had the argument.

I didn't say that I
was, you know, wrong.

Well, you were. The
point I'm trying to make...

I don't think a question of
right or wrong entered into it.

We just... The question of
right or wrong didn't enter into it...

because you were wrong.
That's why it didn't enter into it.

I wasn't wrong. It was simply
a case of tabling the argument.

Oh, we didn't table
anything! You lost!

Why can't you admit it when you're
wrong? I wasn't wrong, Mr. Grant.

Just because you can yell louder
than I do doesn't make you right.

Guys, stop arguing. Is this
any way to say good-bye to me?

Murray, it's not good-bye. I thought
at least you'd give me a little hug.

Choke back a few
tears. Oh, come on!

You know, make your
voice tremble the way you do.

And, Lou, I thought you'd
be clapping me on the back,

telling me everything
was gonna be okay.

- And then...
- Biting his knuckle?

Right. I mean, aren't you
even gonna do that for me?

No, Murray, because you're
going to be back here in a few days.

Of course you are. Well...

- So long.
- So long.

See you... soon.

Oh, Mr. Grant. [Crying]

Everything's gonna be okay.

[Doorbell Rings]

Mary, hi! Hi, Murr. I hope you don't
mind my just dropping in like this.

But I really wanted
to talk to you.

Look, you don't have to
make an excuse for dropping in.

Marie and I love it. We never
have any surprise visitors.

Well, I mean, ordinarily,
I wouldn't just drop in.

Oh, hi, Mary. My
gosh, what a surprise.

Come on in. Sit down. You
know, nobody ever drops in on us.

How are you, Marie?
You know, Mary,

I used to think having Murray around the
house all the time would drive me crazy.

But it's just wonderful. I'm not
at all tired of having him around.

I've only been home one day.
Really? It seems so much longer.

[Doorbell Rings]

Now who do you suppose that
would be? Nobody ever drops in on us.

So you mentioned. Hi.

Cheer up, welfare
family. Relief is at hand.

Hello, Marie. Hi, Sue Ann.

Hello, Mary. Hi.

Sue Ann, what are
you doing with, uh...

Now, Murray, you and I may
have had our differences in the past,

but I believe friends
should be supportive.

Now, you're facing unemployment, and
I have a studio full of slightly-used food.

Sue Ann, we can
really get our own food.

Oh, plucky little
spouse. [Chuckles]

Just what have you brought
these plucky little people, Sue Ann?

Enough escargot for an army,

doilies from my macramé special,

uh, croûtons, half a squid,

the leftovers from my "31
Things You Can Do with Tapioca."

I just thought of 32.

Oh, good. And...

A crisis really brings
out the best in people.

Mmm. I bet you were great in
the San Francisco earthquake.

[Doorbell Rings] Now who
do you suppose that could be?

They never have visitors.

Oh, hiya, Lou. What's the
occasion? Hiya, Murray.

Well, we figured this is a time
for a guy's pals to rally around him.

Right! Hi, Marie.

Hi, Lou.

Hi, Murray. Hi,
Mary. Sue Ann. Hi.

Uh, well, um, can I
get anybody anything?

[Chuckles] Some squid? A doily?

You, uh, you know what?

It just occurred to me that
we're all coming over here to help,

and the place where we really
could have helped is back in the office.

- Well, how do you mean, Lou?
- What's happened to Murray
could happen to any of us.

You know, that's absolutely right.
I mean, we all have a stake in this.

If Murray can be fired for
making just one tiny little error,

well, then where is the
security for the rest of us?

No, Mary's right.
But, look. This is my

fight. And I don't want
you to get involved.

Murray's right. Listen to Murray.
We can learn a lot from Murray.

Good thinking,
Murray. No! Mary's right.

It's everybody's fight!
You know what else I think?

I think we should give
Mr. Wessel an ultimatum.

If Murray goes, then we all go.

[Marie] Oh, Mary. [Ted Whimpers]

That's a wonderful thought,
but you just can't do that.

Yeah, Murray's right. It can't
be done. Just can't be done.

It's-It's-It's... It's bad
planning. It's poor thinking.

It's just... It's just bad.
Ted, sit down and shut up.

Wessel can't take my news writer and fire
him just because of one lousy phone call.

Murray, honey, we have the
greatest friends in the whole world.

Well, I know that. But I don't want
them to lose their jobs because of me.

Well, it's too late now.
We're all in this together.

- Right?
- Absolutely. If Murray goes, we all go.

- Right?
- Oh, right.


I'm prostrating myself
before you guys,

because I want you to
know I'll do anything for you.

[Sobbing] But I
just got married!

I've got responsibilities, Lou.

You don't know the whole truth. Otherwise,
you wouldn't ask me to risk my whole job.

I'm not as... young
as I told you I was.

Georgette's folks have no money!

I mean, so...
Where would I turn?

So where would I go, Lou?

I don't want to go back
to being a disc jockey.

I can't talk fast
enough anymore.

Please. Please. [Sobbing]

Don't make me do it. Please!


O-Okay, Ted. Ted, we'll
try to do it without you.

So, what's to eat?

Okay, all set. Well, listen.

Brace yourself. It may
get a little rough up there.

When Lou Grant gets in
a fight, the gloves are off.

I don't know how Wessel will
react. He may yell and scream.

We'll yell and scream.
It may get ugly.

We'll get ugly. He may threaten
violence. He may even send in his goons.

We'll send in our goons.
I told you. I'm not going!

Think he'll really
have goons? Nah.

I was just saying that to make
sure you were ready for anything.

Oh. But don't worry.
He doesn't scare me.

The only one who should
be scared is Wessel,

because we're not
just threatening to quit.

We're not? No. We're gonna
hit him with both barrels.

I'm gonna accuse him of stuffing
commercials down the public's throat,

of violating the First
Amendment with censorship.

I'm gonna file a
complaint with the F.C.C.

He's not just dealing with a
couple of cub reporters, Mary.

I'm gonna make this
a constitutional issue.

I've got friends. Wait till you
see the publicity we're gonna get.

We're gonna be on the front
pages, maybe Time magazine. Oh!

I wouldn't be surprised if we
ended up on national television.

Wow. I, uh...

I can't let you two
go into this alone.

Let's go see
that capitalist pig.

Uh... Uh, what about your
responsibilities? What about your wife?

So? She'll have to
get a job. Big deal.

Let's go meet the foe. We've
got to stick together on this.

Like the three musketeers...
Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Ted, they were ducks.

The three musketeers were ducks?

[Sighs] Come
on. Let's get goin'.

[Phone Rings]

Yeah? Hold it, Mary.

Yeah, Murray. You did?

No kidding? That's
great! That's great!

Okay. I'll see you in
an hour. What? What?

We don't have to stick
our necks on the line.

Murray got together with
Wessel and he got his job back!

Oh, Mr. Grant, that's
wonderful! [Grunts Loudly]

Ted... We gotta stop Ted. What?

Oh, yeah. Ted! Uh...

The, uh, elevator doors
have already closed.

Ted went up to tell off the
boss, and he doesn't have to!

Mr. Grant, Ted's been up
there with Wessel for four hours.

I-It's okay, Mary.
It's okay. It's okay.

I think... I think Ted might
have become a man today.

Oh. I guess, once he got
started, there was no stopping him.

Boy, I thought Murray had guts.
Yeah, but it could end up just like Murray.

No, no, no. Wessel can't fire
him. Ted has a long-term contract.

He must be
enjoying a good fight.

But for four hours, Mr. Grant. What can
Mr. Wessel be doing to him for four hours?

You guys, I haven't got all day.
We gonna talk to Wessel or not?