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Sunday, July 05, 2020

Mission: Improbable [content warning: sex, violence, bad puns]

(Opening music plays: Theme to "Peabody's Improbable History")

Peabody: Hello, everyone. Peabody here, and this is my boy, Sherman.

Sherman: What are we going to do today, Mr. Peabody?

P: Today, Sherman, we are going back to the Whitechapel district of London, in the year 1888, to pay a call upon that notorious cut-up, Jack the Ripper.

S: I'll set the WABAC machine!

[Business with WABAC]

P: And here we are. And there, unless I'm very much mistaken--which I never am--the gentleman with the high neckline and narrow lapels is Mr. Ripper himself.

(Jack is the typical upper-class English twit we've seen in other Jay Ward cartoons, vaguely reminiscent of young David Niven.)

S: Gosh, Mr. Peabody! He's just standing there! He's not ripping anybody!

P: Give him time, Sherman, give him time. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

(they wait)

P: That's enough time, Sherman. Let's go give history a helping hand, shall we?

S: Let's shall!

P: We can work on your English later.

S: What are you going to do, Mr. Peabody?

P: As history suggests, Jack was a misogynist with a maniacal hatred of women of the street. Therefore, we shall introduce him to such a woman and let nature take its awful course.

(A strumpet shows up, and Peabody instructs her.)

P: Here, madame, is a pretty penny for you, if you will go up to that gentleman and whisper filthy nothings in his ear.

Strumpet: Coo lumme, pet!

(She walks up to to him and whispers in his ear. Disappointingly, his reaction consists of manifesting a bunch of hearts and blushing slightly, then following her offstage.)

P: Alas, Sherman, our first gambit has failed.

S: What'll we do now, Mr. Peabody?

P: We wait, Sherman.

(Five minutes later, the twit returns from his assignation and stands on the corner again.)

P: And now, let's see if we can poison his mind against that lady of the evening. Oh, sir!

J: Oh, I say, what, wot?

P: Are you aware that the young woman you were dallying with just now is a harlot?

J: I beg your pardon?

P: A harlot. A naughty lady. A tuppence tart.

J: Oh, I say! I gave her thruppence! (goofy smile) But it was worth fuppence and a ha'penny! (more hearts emit)

P: Ah, but she doesn't care with whom she cohabits, and is even now sharing her possibly diseased charms with other gents.

J: Oh, well, jolly old fortunes of war, wot? Share the wealth, wot?

P: But aren't you just a bit irate, or murderously jealous?

J: I should say not! Easy come, easy go!
(He resumes standing aimlessly and Peabody returns to Sherman.)

S: What now, Mr. Peabody?

P: What indeed, Sherman! This is a poser. If Jack the Ripper fails to rip, history itself will be the poorer for it!

S: Gosh!

P: Gosh, indeed. Indeed, gosh! Let me think.

(Sherman assumes a posture of silent, alert readiness, as befits a well-trained boy.)

P: Sherman, I have it!

S: The plague?

P: No, an idea. According to the best historians--I include myself among their number--Jack the Ripper, in addition to his day job of ripping, was also a frustrated surgeon.

S: He was?

P: He positively was. And therefore, I shall appeal to his medical nature. (to Jack) Oh, sir!

J: You rang?

P: Are you aware that the saucy bit of crumpet with whom you have been cavorting is in urgent need of medical attention?

J: Good heavens!

P: And if you don't operate at once, her appendix and spleen may both burst forthwith?

J: I? Operate? But, my dear sir, I have no idea what to do!

P: Just follow my instructions, and all will be copacetic. Come along, there's no time to lose!

(They dash around the corner to where the Strumpet is back to soliciting.)

P: There she is. Quickly, hold this ether-soaked cotton in front of her nose for five seconds!

J: It smells fascinating. What a bouquet! (starts to sniff at it)

P: Stop! Do as I say, or I'll summon a bobby!

J: Oh, very well. (He knocks out the Strumpet.)

P: Now, gather her up, and follow me into this secluded alley. You will follow my directions to the letter!

J: Oh, quite. Pip pip.

P: (voice over) For the next thirty minutes, I directed that hapless drone in a series of the most horrific indignities a human being has ever perpetrated on another. At the end of the time, the hapless fille de joie was a lifeless, bloody husk, and Jack the Ripper was born!

J: Say, that was ripping fun! I think I'll do it again! And again!

P: Stout fellow. Think of it as cleaning the streets!

(Jack dashes off like a maniac, brandishing his blade.)

S: Gosh, Mr. Peabody, that was terrible!

P: Yes, Sherman, our job here is done. Back... to the WABAC machine, and home!

(back in Peabody's penthouse)

P: Well, Sherman, did you learn anything today?

S: History is gruesome?

P: Did you happen to notice anything about the procedure you witnessed?

S: History is stomach-turning?

P: Did you chance to observe the instrument being used?

S: He was an upper-class British twit, wasn't he?

P: I mean the instrument that he was using on the luckless trollop.

S: Gosh, no, Mr. Peabody! I just assumed he used a scalpel.

P: One might guess so, but the actual implement was more of a colloquial hand blade, popular in the 19th and early 20th century.

S: You're not going to say what I hope you're not going to say, are you, Mr. Peabody?

P: Why, Sherman, even one of your rudimentary perceptive abilities should have been able to discern the familiar form of a... Jack... knife!

S: Oh, Mr. Peabody!


(closing music)

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