The Lost Place

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Posted May 22, 2009 - 6:40 pm:

Here's something I pieced together from GoogleBooks, the frustrating search engine that sometimes provides only part of the text from a book or journal, either a "limited preview" (of pages) or a "snippet view" (of sentences). It's a children's play from a 1954 issue (I couldn't figure out the exact publication date) of Grade Teacher magazine. I had to make an occasional educated guess about word order. Missing parts of the text that I was unable to retrieve are indicated by a [?].

The play definitely has some "Quiet, Please" connections, especially the basic idea of "two lost children on an adventure" which resembles "The Time of the Big Snow."

________________________________________ _____

Grade Teacher
Published by CCM Professional Magazines, 1954


Wyllis Cooper, author of "The Lost Place." Mr. Cooper is known to millions of Americans for his twenty-five years of outstanding accomplishments in radio and television. As an executive of NBC and CBS and variously acting as writer, director or producer, he is responsible for "Lights Out," "The Army Hour," "Quiet, Please," "We, The People" and "Stage 13."

His work has always been characterized by a poignancy and deftness of touch too rarely found these days. To our everlasting gratitude Mr. Cooper has been willing to turn his talents to a new field--writing for children. This new play, "The Lost Place," is the first of what we hope will be many words from his pen for your benefit.
________________________________________ _____

[page 28]

The Lost Place

A Play for Radio or the Classroom


The Lost Place may be used as a radio or television play. If, however, you prefer to do it "live," the action is dictated by the dialogue.

Penny; Eric; Moon People

The stage set is simple; an incline, representing a little hill, is at the left and there is a cardboard or


clump of "rocks" near the top of the hill, big enough for several of the characters to disappear behind.

The background is gray, probably made of paper or muslin. Otherwise the set is
quite bare; imagination supplies everything else. Penny and Eric come slowly up the hill and halt near the rocks. They are dressed as space travelers and they carry ray guns and each carries a staff, something like a Scout's, to help them up the hill. They look around cautiously.

PENNY: Let's sit down, Eric. I'm tired.

ERIC: That was quite a hill, since we left our rocket ship.

PENNY: Yes, it was certainly steep. I never knew there are hills on the moon. Did you, Eric?

ERIC: No, I didn't. I wonder what's behind those rocks.

PENNY: Nothing, probably. There couldn't be people. We're the first people that ever got to the moon.

ERIC: Well, there better not be any back there (He looks toward the rocks and motions with his ray gun) because if there are, this old ray gun of mine would handle them!

PENNY: My ray gun would too.

ERIC: If you could hit anybody with it.

PENNY: How many people have you hit with a ray gun, Mister Man-on-the-Moon?

ERIC: I haven't shot at any yet. Wait till I do. (Penny laughs.)

PENNY: You suppose there could be anybody behind those rocks, Eric? (Eric jumps, because she has spoken so quickly, and he aims his ray gun at the rocks and puts an arm protectively around Penny.)

ERIC: You said there's nobody else here! (There is the sound of wind now and they cling together, a little frightened. Suddenly a doll drops on the ground beside them.)

PENNY (frightened): Who's that? (Eric is frightened, too. He tries to aim his ray gun but his hand wiggles.


[page 29]

ERIC: It's a Moon Person! Look out, Penny!

PENNY (looks again, and pushes Eric aside): No, it isn't, Eric.

ERIC (still frightened): Who is it, Penny? (But Penny pays no attention to him. She pushes Eric aside and goes to the doll and stops, looking at it.)

PENNY: Why, Brenda! Where in the world did you come from? I mean where in the moon? (She picks up the doll and holds it. She is glad to see it but Eric is still upset. The ray gun still shakes.)

ERIC: Look out, Penny! It's a Moon Person! Don't touch it!

PENNY (looks around at him, smiling): It isn't a Moon Person. It's Brenda! (She cuddles the doll and that makes Eric feel a little better. He comes up to her slowly and looks.)

ERIC: Who's Brenda? Where did she come from?

PENNY (pats Brenda): Brenda's my poor doll that was lost ever so long ago, when I was a real little girl! (To Brenda) How are you, Brenda? (But Brenda doesn't answer.)

ERIC: How did she get here, on the moon?

PENNY: I don't know, but here she is--and she was lost for so long! Oh, I'm so glad to see you, Brenda!

ERIC: Be careful, Penny. It may be a trap! (That doesn't bother Penny. She doesn't believe it.)

PENNY: Don't be silly! I know my Brenda. (She pats Brenda) Don't I, Brenda?

ERIC: Well . . .

PENNY: Well, what?

ERIC: Just well.

PENNY: That's silly.

ERIC: No, it isn't silly.

PENNY: It is too.

ERIC: It is not.

(The voices are those of the Moon People who appear later.)

FIRST VOICE: It is too silly. (Eric jumps and turns around to look--not at the
rocks. Penny is frightened, too. She squeezes Brenda closer.)

ERIC (looks at Penny): Who said that?

PENNY (as mixed up as he is, and as frightened, looks at Brenda): I don't think Brenda did. Did you, Brenda? (Brenda doesn't answer.)

ERIC (looks closely at Brenda): It couldn't be Brenda, Penny. Dolls don't talk. Hardly ever.


PENNY (suddenly discovers something on the ground): Look! (Eric looks to see what Penny is looking at.) See, on the ground!

ERIC (holds up his ray gun): What--what is it?

PENNY (picks something up): Look!

ERIC: It's money!

PENNY: It IS money! We're rich, Eric!

ERIC (starts to reach over and pick up some more. Now we notice that the ground is covered with money): I always heard that the moon is made of green cheese.

FIRST VOICE: Leave that money alone! (They both look up suddenly.) That isn't your money. Put it back! Put it back! (They drop the money they have picked up.)

ERIC (speaks softly to Penny): Whose do you suppose it is?

FIRST VOICE: It's somebody else's. Everything here is somebody else's.

PENNY: Except Brenda! (She hugs Brenda closer.)

FIRST VOICE: Sure, Brenda's yours. But you lost her, you know.

PENNY: But I've found her again and she's mine!

FIRST VOICE: Well, then, take care of her.

PENNY: I'm taking care of her. (She's pats Brenda.) Aren't I, Brenda?

FIRST VOICE: Well, you didn't. You lost her.

PENNY (to Eric): I couldn't help it.

FIRST VOICE: You were careless!

PENNY: Well, I found her, so there!

FIRST VOICE: We let you find her.

ERIC (a little frightened as he asks): Who--who are you?

FIRST VOICE: Wouldn't you like to know?

ERIC: No, thank you. (And the voice laughs.)

PENNY (a little braver now that she has Brenda): _I'd_ like to know, please.

FIRST VOICE: We live here. (a little pause) We think this is our home.

PENNY: That's what I thought, but that doesn't tell me who you are. Please.

FIRST VOICE (now sounds impatient): We're Moon People, silly. (That reply doesn't make a hit with Eric.)

ERIC: You don't have to call her silly, you know!

FIRST VOICE: Well, she acts silly. (As Eric is about to say something more) Besides, we live here. We're allowed to say anything we want to.

PENNY: I'm sorry. I've never been here before, you see.

FIRST VOICE: We know that.

ERIC (nudges Penny): Tell 'em we'd like to see 'em, huh?

FIRST VOICE: I heard that.

PENNY: You mustn't make them mad, Eric.

FIRST VOICE: No, don't make us mad, Eric.

ERIC: How'd you know my name?

FIRST VOICE: We heard Penny call you Eric.

ERIC: Well, how did you know her name's Penny?

FIRST VOICE: Oh, we know almost everything.

PENNY: Well, could we see you, please? It's awkward talking to somebody you can't see.

FIRST VOICE: Oh, we can see you, Penny.

PENNY: I mean we can't see you, sir--or ma'am. As the case may be.

FIRST VOICE: It's neither. I think you might be frightened if you saw us.

ERIC (waves his ray gun): Don't worry; we can take care of ourselves!

FIRST VOICE: Don't make us lose our tempers, Eric. (There is a big laugh from the Moon People, which angers Eric.)

ERIC: What are you laughing at?

FIRST VOICE: Oh, you can't make us lose our tempers. We don't lose things--we find them, Eric.

PENNY (whispers to Eric): Brenda was lost, Eric.

FIRST VOICE: And we found her, didn't we?

ERIC: Well . . .

PENNY (believes what she has heard): I looked everywhere for her, Eric. And she WAS here!

FIRST VOICE: Of course, Penny. Everything that gets lost is here.

ERIC: Everything?

FIRST VOICE: Everything, Eric.

Turn to page 104

[page 104]

Continued from page 29

SECOND VOICE: Everything, Penny.

THIRD VOICE: Everything, Eric and Penny.

FIRST VOICE: Everything, Penny and Eric. Ladies first, remember.

THIRD VOICE: Excuse me.

ERIC: Don't lose your politeness, you know. Don't ever lose your manners.

PENNY: They'd find them right away, Eric.

FIRST VOICE: Thank you, Penny.

ERIC: My father lost a dollar once. Did you find it?

FIRST VOICE: It's right here. But it's your father's.

ERIC: He said I could have it if I found it!

FIRST VOICE But you haven't found it, Eric. So it isn't yours, you know.

SECOND VOICE: . . . sir.

FIRST VOICE: Thank you. See?

ERIC: Won't you let us see you, whoever you are, please?

FIRST VOICE: Well . . .

SECOND VOICE: Well . . .

THIRD VOICE: Well . . .

ERIC: Please?

PENNY: They said "Well."

Turn to page 106

[page 106]

Continued from page 104

ERIC: Well.

ALL VOICES: Well . . .

PENNY: They're coming out! (So Eric lifts his ray gun against these terrible people.) Don't shoot, Eric.

ERIC: Well . . . (They wait a few moments and finally the Moon People come out from behind the "rocks." There are four of them, all wearing red wigs and silvery dresses or suits. Each carries a bag which is full of something. They all wear big glasses and they halt and stand in a line before Penny and Eric and stare at them solemnly.)

FIRST MOON PERSON: We won't hurt you.




ALL MOON PEOPLE: No, we won't hurt you! (Eric lowers his ray gun and they all look at each other.)


PENNY: Hello, I think.

ERIC: What do you want?

FIRST MOON PERSON: We don't want anything.

SECOND MOON PERSON: We've got so much. (Eric looks at the money on the ground.)

THIRD MOON PERSON (patting her bag): We get so much.

FIRST MOON PERSON: All the time.

THIRD MOON PERSON (to Penny): We're glad you found Brenda. (The others nod gaily.)

ERIC (not satisfied): What have you got in the bags?

FOURTH MOON PERSON: Things and stuff.

PENNY: Like what?


PENNY: Excuse me, _please_.


ERIC: Lost things!

PENNY: Brenda was lost . . .

SECOND MOON PERSON: Everything that gets lost comes here to the moon.

THIRD MOON PERSON: This is the place where lost things go when they're lost.

ERIC: Is the dollar my father lost here?


ERIC: What else?


SECOND MOON PERSON: Here's the ball game your school lost last week. (She pats her bag.)

THIRD MOON PERSON: Here's that place you lost when you dropped your book the other day in school.

ERIC: Goodness.

FOURTH MOON PERSON: Guess what I've got here. (She pats her bag.)


ERIC: Shake the bag. (The Moon Person shakes the bag, which rattles.) I know.

PENNY: What?

ERIC: The teeth I lost when I was a baby! Am I right? (The Moon People shake their heads.)

FOURTH MOON PERSON: But you've just lost your guess. (Puts it in the bag.)

PENNY: What, then?

ERIC: Please?

FIRST MOON PERSON: You've lost your way. (Penny and Eric look at one another.)

ERIC: Our way back home?

PENNY: Oh, no!

ALL MOON PEOPLE: Oh, yes! (A coin falls on the floor.)

FIRST MOON PERSON (looking at it): Somebody on the earth just lost another
dollar. See? (Eric and Penny pay no attention; they're too worried.)

ERIC: Have we really lost our way home?


PENNY: How are we ever going to get home?

FIRST MOON PERSON: Well, you came to the moon in a space ship, didn't you? (Penny and Eric nod but not very hopefully.) Well, then, why don't you go back in it?

ERIC: We don't know where we left it. We're strangers here, remember.

PENNY: And besides, if we do find it, we've lost our way home.

FIRST MOON PERSON: Oh, yes. Well, then, you'll have to stay here.

PENNY: On the moon?

ERIC: Forever? (All the Moon People nod.)

Turn to page 108

[page 108]

SECOND MOON PERSON: If you've lost your way, that's just too bad.

THIRD MOON PERSON: This is the place where things go that are lost, you know.

PENNY: Doesn't anyone ever get them back?

FIRST MOON PERSON: It's against the rules.

ERIC: But Penny found Brenda.

ALL MOON PEOPLE: Well . . . (They all shake their heads.)

PENNY: Do you have to be so terrible to us?

FIRST MOON PERSON: We're not terrible. We've just got a very important job to do.

SECOND MOON PERSON: You're lost, you know.

FOURTH MOON PERSON: Doesn't anybody know where you are?

PENNY: We didn't tell anyone where we were going.

ERIC (sadly): I guess nobody knows.

FIRST MOON PERSON: Well, then, you're lost.

SECOND MOON PERSON: And you'll have to stay here.


FOURTH MOON PERSON: Like everything else that's lost.

PENNY: Won't we ever get to see our folks? (All the Moon People shake their heads and that makes Penny and Eric feel sad.)

FIRST MOON PERSON: Well, there's Rule 202.

PENNY: What's Rule 202?

ERIC: Please?

FIRST MOON PERSON: Well ... it says that if you find something somebody else has lost . . .

SECOND MOON PERSON: Not just money, Eric, that belongs to somebody else.

PENNY: What, then, please?

FIRST MOON PERSON: It has to be something very precious.

PENNY: Go on about Rule 202, please.

ERIC: Pretty please.

PENNY: With sugar on it.

FIRST MOON PERSON: What I was starting to say is, if you can find something . . . something very precious. . . . . something very, very precious that . . .

SECOND MOON PERSON: . . somebody else has lost . . .

THIRD MOON PERSON: . . . and never expects to find again . . .

FOURTH MOON PERSON: . . . . . and take it back to the one that lost it in the first place. . . .

FIRST MOON PERSON: . . . Then you can stop being lost yourselves, and go home. (Suddenly there is a great burst of happy laughter from somewhere. It startles
Penny and Eric.)


FIRST MOON PERSON: Nobody's laughing at you, Penny and Eric.

ERIC: What, then?

FIRST MOON PERSON: Something that was lost.

SECOND MOON PERSON: Something very precious.

THIRD MOON PERSON: Something they thought was gone forever.

FOURTH MOON PERSON: Something they wish they hadn't lost--something they want so much.

SECOND MOON PERSON: If they haven't forgotten it.

ERIC: What is it?

PENNY: Could we take it back? (The Moon People look at each other doubtfully.)

FIRST MOON PERSON: They thought they'd never get it back . . .

PENNY: Please? Please?


ERIC: What is it, please? (The Moon People consult each other. They finally nod as if they'd decided.)

FIRST MOON PERSON: It's happiness.

ERIC AND PENNY (both astonished): Happiness!

PENNY: But isn't everyone happy?

FIRST MOON PERSON (shakes head sadly): It's the happiness that so very many children lost in a great war.

SECOND MOON PERSON: Dreadful things happened to them. Some of them lost their homes, some lost parents, some lost brothers and sisters.

THIRD MOON PERSON: They lost all their happiness.

ERIC (getting a sudden idea): Couldn't we take back their happiness to them, then--please?

FIRST MOON PERSON: How could you take it back? (That stumps Eric, but Penny comes to the rescue.)

PENNY: I know!


PENNY: We could WISH their happiness back! I wish right now that those children could have back the happiness that they lost.

ERIC: I wish people would give them things . . .

Turn to page 110

[page 110]

PENNY: Things to eat . . .

ERIC: And friends . . .

PENNY: And play . . .

ERIC: And . . . just happiness! That's what we wish. (And suddenly the laughter fades out. The Moon People look delighted, but Penny and Eric are worried.)

PENNY: Where'd it go?

FIRST MOON PERSON: Where'd what go?

ERIC: The laughing. The happy laughing.

PENNY: The happiness, please. (They are pretty confused and disappointed, but the Moon People smile at them.)

FIRST MOON PERSON: Why, you wished it back. You wished the lost happiness back.

SECOND MOON PERSON: It's the way the rule says.


FOURTH MOON PERSON: And so you're not lost any more--and here's the way home you lost. (Tosses a long rope she had in her bag, out to one side.)

PENNY (to Eric): We can go home!

ERIC (to the Moon People): Oh, thank you--but listen! (What he hears is the same gay laughter heard before, but now it is a long way away and very much gayer.)

FIRST MOON PERSON: You see, the poor children are starting to find their happiness again. So good-by, Penny and Eric, and thank you. (Penny and Eric look at each other joyfully as the Moon People point to the rope. Far away is heard the motor of a space ship starting. All the Moon People wave good-by to Penny and Eric as they start away happily.)

EVERYBODY: Good-by! Good-by!

FIRST MOON PERSON: Oh, yes, and here's the dollar your father lost. Eric. He said you could have it, you know! (She picks up the dollar from the ground and hands it to Eric.)

PENNY: Be careful, Eric. Don't lose your balance. (Everybody laughs and we can hear best of all the distant laughter of the distant happy children.)


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