This Week in Milford

January 7, 2021

Vic “Shoehorn” Doucette Is Living Up To That Reputation.

Filed under: Gil Thorp — tdrewhardin @ 11:32 am

There was an early episode on the Dick Van Dyke Show where Dick is putting the finishing touches on a comedy sketch (he’s a comedy writer for the fictional Alan Brady Show) with his assistants, veteran comedy people Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie, when Mel Cooley (played by one of my favorite comedians, Richard Deacon-loved his cookbooks) , essentially Alan Brady’s right-hand man, brings in his cousin, Maxwell Cooley (played by Gavin McLeod, who would later show up as a regular on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and as lead man on The Love Boat) , who is a jewelry salesman and a bit of a huckster. Everything is pretty much for $35.00 to which Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) is totally oblivious.

What makes it funnier is Maxwell is trigger-happy to humor, laughing at anything even if it isn’t remotely funny. When Morey says that Maxwell will laugh at ANYTHING, he proves it by uttering flatly “Shoehorn”. Maxwell goes into hysterics, making the episode that much funnier.

So when I saw ol’ Shoehorn describing the action this morning, the first thing that came to mind was “Wait a minute, he’s just the PA announcer. He tells us who scored the basket. Who committed the foul. Who the officials are for tonight’s game”. Since when did he start doing play-by-play? Talk about shoehorning your way on the floor. But the Rogers Ram just got a foul tacked on him. What can you do about an ANNOUNCER charging in on the action? Take his hot dog away? Make him stand in the corner until he stops sounding like Dickie V.? Write “I will not say that Doug Guthrie is a Diaper Dandy” 100 times, typed and double-spaced?

Again, he sidetracked his way to class to lap up to Gil at the faculty lounge so he could get the announcer’s job. He was about as humble and contrite as your dog when you’re about to throw him a bone. Now he’s Chris Berman Incarnate. And like in the movie “Good Morning Vietnam” where Sergeant Major Dickerson asks the general what’s going to happen when Adrian Cronauer not only violates government regulations but draws a crowd in the process. That may be what we’re looking at here

“Vic, you’re only supposed to call the player’s name when he scores. Mark ‘Godleski’s Last Name Isn’t Damn’ is crossing a line. No Twix bars tonight.”

“Go to Hell, Coach. Talk to my agent. He’s over there kissing up to your wife.”

Today’s headline in the Milford Enquirer

“Varnish Breath Vic Doucette In Hot Water Again After Latest Gaffe!!!!!!!!”

sub headline

“Sources say Gutless Gil Thorp was a bit excessive. Displinary measures pending.”

Mel Cooley comes to Dr. Pearl’s office, bringing Max Cooley with him

“Hello, Mr. Cooley, who’s this gentleman?”

“Oh, this is my cousin, Max Cooley.”

“HAHAHA, pleased to meet you, Dr. Pearl.”

“Thank you. So what I can I do for you while I’m doing these Art Supplies Inventory-1987 reports?”


“Uh, would either you gentlemen care for some coffee. I still have some Maxwell House Decaf in the pot.”


“I’m sure glad we won yesterday. Mimi’s coaching saved the day. That time out settled the girls down.”


“And benching Corina fired up the team.”


“Mr. Cooley, does your cousin laugh at everything?”

“He’s just trigger-happy. But this’ll really make him laugh. Watch. ‘Gil Thorp’.”


“Dr. Pearl, it wasn’t THAT funny. I know Gil can be a joke, uh, well, never mind, my cousin is a jewelry salesman and he has top-of-the-line stuff…”

I swear, I am going to enroll in Winter Semester at Milford School of Art & Design. If Thorpiverse can’t draw the crowd any better than that hot fudge sundae smeared all over the bleachers in P1, I am gunning for a scholarship. I would hate to see what that glop looks like if it was colorized. Then again, maybe not. I saw enough of Clockwork Orange. At least they rated it X to give people a warning. Those bleachers are filled with the casualties when Patton headed off Erwin Rommel and his Nord Afrika Korps. Thank God we won or Luhm would be sweeping and mopping up dead bodies for the Axis powers.

Just give me Kiwi Black shoe polish, some White-Out, a couple of Bic Black Magic Markers, and voila, I have a studio audience to respond to Vic’s tarantellas. The guy at the bottom has to be Father Time, the beard drawn with a paintbrush with goathairs. Then there’s Captain Crunch who proves in P1 why he’s never sketched in black and white. Did you ever try his Peanut Butter Cereal in black and white? The analogy drives home the point. Cereal lacking food color schemes and Captain Crunch drawn with a welder’s pencil doesn’t mix. And who are those gentlemen sitting on Captain Crunch’s head? Members from The Dave Clark Five? Are they taking Vic “I Plead The Fifth” Doucette’s lead? Hey, rock stars are human and like to go to high school sports too; and if they’re drawn like they’re cheering on the team, not an outgrowth of Captain Crunch’s head or a miniaturized version of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, they’ll be Mudlarks for life. With a little help from our friends.

And Marcell Irby is tall but he can’t be wearing platform shoes. He and his buddies are in a powwow to discuss how they mutated to 8 feet tall all of a sudden. Maybe those Captain Crunch Nutrament bars had a little too much chocolate in them. And the water in the water bottle tasted a little funny. You sure they got the water from the locker room sink? And WHY are these Jolly Green Giants standing there. A foul was announced, not the History of Rogers Rams Athletics. I don’t see a movie screen anywhere, unless it’s under the bleachers where the Dave Clark Five is sitting.

“Now Dr. Pearl, this same necklace was worn by Empress Mudlarkia. She ruled in the Late Egyptian Reign.”

“Oh my goodness, Maxwell, it’s so adorable. How much are you willing to charge?”

“I’m getting a tax break so I’ll let you have it, with a discount, for $39.99.”

“Oh, Maxwell, you drive a hard bargain. Very well, I shall take it.”

“My suppliers cut me some slack. Milford Flea Market, I mean, my wholesale dealer was in a generous mood this week.”

The whole episode was about Rob buying a jewelry gift for his wife, Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) from Maxwell and Rob’s gesture is well-intentioned but heads horribly in the wrong direction. The necklace is about the gaudiest, tackiest piece of work known to mankind. It is onerous and bawdy and when Laura puts it on, she is trying to be nice but it’s obvious to everybody but Rob that she doesn’t like it and who can blame her.

What makes it funnier is that Maxwell convinces Rob who goes right around to try to convince Laura that this necklace was once worn by some empress from a famous dynasty or kingly lineage or bloodlines from some obscure royalty, which was the point. It could have been worn by the Queen of Hearts and she shouted “Off with his head!!!!!!!!!!!!” anytime anyone laughed at her pendant and Laura wouldn’t care. Laura wouldn’t wear this at Gil’s funeral.

But Laura doesn’t know how to tell Rob that she hates it and Rob’s neighbors just compound the problem, Jerry wanting to buy this for Millie, although Millie eggs on Laura to come clean with Rob, to no avail.

“Oh, Laura, I know I should tell Gil he got these cuff links out of the garbage cans in the alley but I’ve been trying to summon up the courage for 60 years to tell him he can’t coach.How do I tell him to use a tie to wrap his leadership in a Glad Lawn & Leaves Bag?”

And Thorpiverse and I take separate paths when describing a fast break. That’s when you get the rebound, then pass the ball downcourt before the other team can set up their defense. Usually we’re talking 3-on-1, i.e., 3 Mudlarks versus 1 Rogers Ram or 2-on-1, i.e., 2 Mudlarks etc. Yeah, assuming those 3 gentlemen in the foreground in P2 are all Rogers Rams, granted they’re still out of position and they didn’t slide their feet but I bet Laura’s necklace they’d been down the other end long before they ran the break. Hard to slide your feet when you’re standing there clueless looking at Thomas Muench (assuming again) as if you forgot he’s not on your team and you’re wondering why your teammate is shooting at the opponent’s goal. Wait a minute (looking at own uniform) , his uniform color doesn’t match mine. He must be the opponent. I guess I should guard him. I was wondering why my coach was shouting obscenities in 12 different languages.

And a fast break usually results in an easy lay-up or dunk. Running 12-footers are nice but if the 12-footer and the fast break are one and the same, the Mudlark comeback trail is going to get ragged. Well, unless those bowling pins are still stationary, then Muench can shoot withbthe least amountvof resistance. No sense in worrying whether a bowling pin will violate the vertical plain or kill the break. Milford will literally win in a walk.

If ya buy a gold-plated watch from the garbage man that th’ Mayor of Milford threw out cuz it had scratch marks on th’ cover but ya want ta want ta work third shift at Milford Foundry in style and impress th’ boss man with a gilded piece of attire, ya might be a redneck.

And who is that person in the corner????

I immediately ruled out ANYONE playing for Rogers Rams who’s playing in the game. If he’s taking a piss behind the scorer’s table while Thomas “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One” Muench is running the break, sit him. If he’s with the Mudlarks, Gil will take appropriate action. And I have property on Mudlark Lark Driving Range if you honestly believe that. Anyone who lets Richard Petty run more races than fast breaks probably won’t bother to check to see if the Mudlark zipped up his shorts after peeing a river behind the bleachers.

And many high school stadiums have bleachers on the basket side so I cut some slack but anybody who is familiar with Thoroiverse knows Lobachevsky’s Theorem is liberally applied when it comes to stadium design.

No better application than P2. At the outset, the bleachers appeared to be mainly courtside. But today, if that schmuck in the corner is sitting in the bleachers, Muench is running the break towards the vomitory of the stadium. He’s taking pretty good aim in that direction anyway, the way his hair is flying. Who made the outlet pass, the stadium ushers?

And who IS that guy, if he’s not a fan in the stands? Maybe the Unabomber is in the building taking in the game before he plants a stick of dynamite under the drinking fountain. Maybe it’s the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The catch-as-catch-can artwork has finally met its match. Talk about abusing your Crayola’s. It could be Don Noort. Hey, at least he’s a basketball fan, not the mystery face in some Ryman Auditorium photo from 1948. Unless he likes Mudlark Basketball games and Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff.

I know!!!!!!!!!!! It’s Gil Thorp taking in the game. Wait a minute, he’s the coach. He’s taking in the game, if nothing else.



“Nope, sorry, Vic. Gotta do better if you want to do PA stuff. You have until Friday.”

“I’ll dunk my head in Brylcream every time I laugh.”

“I have plenty in my footlocker in my office. Here’s a hall pass.”


No Thomas “Crunch and” Muench?

No Thomas “Jefferson” Muench?

No Thomas “Jefferson Wrote The Declaration of Independence While Sitting On A Bag of Lay’s Sour Cream, Chester Cheetah’s Head, And Some Crunch And” Muench????

You’re slipping, Shoehorn.

Then there’s the crowd. One of those is a gimme. Silhouette #1 is truly pumping his fist and cheering his Mudlarks to victory. I won’t press my luck and say he’s directing it at Gil and his sterile coaching methods. And I’ll be nice on Silhouette #2. I could say, judging by the cap, that it’s a farmer getting an early jump on Spring and spreading seed on his fields despite snow sloshing in some of the furrows. No, he is wearing a Mudlarks Rule!!!!! on his top and keeping his dentures from slipping out in front of any fast break that Muench executes towards the Roger Rams that have their feet nailed to the parquetry. Hold that tiger and your bicuspids.

Silhoutte #3 is interesting. She is either part of a tree stump or a nun who wears bridal veils to ward off the glare of the scoreboard. She gets excited as long as she doesn’t get sunburnt. Ol’ Shoehorn certainly knows how to foment a rebellion with the Shadow People. I be sure to get the Shadow People vote when I’m running for office. You need those Swing States.

Rarely do I make political messages but to those of you who seized the US Capitol in the name of your cause, shame on you. You have ceased to become Americans. I will always endorse your beliefs and give you my blessing, even if I don’t agree with it as long as your protest is peaceful as the Constitution guarantees with Right to Peaceful Assembly.

If it’s violent, I want no part of it. As The Beatles sang, when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out. Count me out of this one.

Frank Zappa was right. Register to vote.

We have voting booths. We have our court system. We have more government agencies than you can fathom. And you can argue that they don’t do any good. But neither does violence. What if violence directly affected my family? What if they were inside the Capitol? I’m holding you responsible. Again, shame on you.

As Dirty Harry once said, I may not always like the system, but until there’s changes that make sense, I’m sticking with it.

Please move to another country should you continue this travesty. And it is a farce.

“And time out is called out on the floor. Milford cuts it to one with 2:13 remaining. The Rogers Rams want to talk it over. And as long as Shoehorn isn’t talking over me, that’ll be even better. This is Marty Moon, not Shoehorn, and you’re listening to WDIG, a division of Learfield Sports.”

At the Shaw domicile one late evening

“Honeyyyyyyyyyy, I’m hornnnyyyyyyyyyyyy. It’s time for beddy-byyyyyyyyyyyyyy. It’s time for-Darling, I don’t mean to be rude but what is that necklace doing on the coffee table? Wasn’t that at Milford Peddler’s Mall last week?”

“Woman, that is where you are wrong. Yes, I did buy it at the Peddler’s Mall, but no, it wasn’t worn by just anybody. Queen Elizabeth, when she was clearing up space at Westminster Abbey, sold it on the open market. I was fortunate to get her prized possession before some 90-year-old with a cane got to the table. Sometimes ya gotta win the foot race with Grandma Moses if you want the finer things in life.”

“Honey, I could go down to Milford Dollar General Store and buy something like this. I saw a replica on a table next to the milk cooler.”

“Mrs. Shaw, I’m surprised at you. You don’t know royalty if it ran you over with a horse carriage. Queen Elizabeth wore this exact thing during her Corination ceremony. The lady at the booth said the Queen just gave it up because Prince Charles needed room for his Black Sabbath albums. He still treasures the time he bought “War Pigs” when he was cruising St. John Wood and he spotted an independent record seller.”

“I think the Peddler’s Mall is just handing you a line. They’ll say anything to get what’s been rotting in the attic off their hands.”

“Mrs. Shaw, if you don’t believe me, I have the Queen’s signature blazed on the back of the necklace. Ain’t no way she could fake that. Now put this on so I can get my dander up and get that feeling of ecstasy with royalty.”

“Do you honestly believe this crossed the ocean and found its way to some huckster at a garage sale? I’m not wearing a piece of trash to so I can be in Fantasyland.”

“Now why would I not believe the lady at the booth? How do you know she’s not the Queen’s second cousin? Hey, George Harrison lived in Illinois for years right under our noses.”

“Because I found this Milford Blow Torch Consortium tag in the box.”

“And I couldn’t get my money back. And to think, I almost bought Elvis’ shaving kit in the same aisle. But there’s one place where you have a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your performance. That’s right, the Milford Men’s Clinic will cheerfully refund your money if you don’t have the time of your life. And you don’t need to talk to the lady at the booth about that or your erectile problems. Get away from the rummage sale and experience real pleasure only at the Milford Men’s Clinic. Don’t sell your manhood at a garage sale. Let The Clinic restore the fun in your life without the used parts.

Don’t even go there, Gang. That is NOT the Planet of the Apes in behind ol’ Shoehorn. They were at the last game.

But God bless you, Gang.

And to conclude the Dick Van Dyke episode, Rob’s parents come over for a visit and Mom Petrie falls head over heels over Laura’s necklace. Mom is also trigger-happy like Maxwell Cooley, only she WEEPS over the silliest issues. She LOVES that bawdy necklace, which Laura gladly hands over, saving the trouble of telling Rob that she abhors it

“The Milford School Board has extended Gil’s coaching contract for another 60 years.”


So Gil and Mimi have Dad and Mom Petrie over for dinner while Rob and Laura head to their second honeymoon

“Oh, here’s this Coaching Medal I won when the Mudlarks won the State in ’75. You can have it, Mom Petrie.”


“And this MVP Trophy that Jerry Pulver won will be a nice addition to your China cabinet.”


“And I would have put Mimi’s coaching accomplishments in Girls Basketball in your suitcase but I didn’t want to be rude and false advertise.”


Mel Cooley and his cousin in Ms. Rizk’s room




  1. Our good friend billytheskink pointed out in comments yesterday how terrible it sounds for a PA announcer to do play by play. I’m agreement with that. Is Milford’s Vic Doucette going to be corrected for this faux pas?

    Real life Vic Doucette talked about amping up the PA announcing style for the Michigan Miracle league, which is totally cool . Milford’s Vic is out of line, but maybe Gil and Co. will let it slide just to piss off Marty Moon.

    Comment by nedryerson — January 7, 2021 @ 11:58 am

  2. tdrew, I remember than Dick Van Dyke Show episode and specifically the shoehorn bit. I must have really steeped in those syndicated reruns in my childhood. Still the gold standard for TV sitcoms.

    I just put together over the weekend that the producer of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Sheldon Leonard was also a well known actor in the 30s and 40s and played lots of heavies. I saw him in one of the Thin Man movies that I often escape into when the run them on New Year’s Eve. The reason why the name was so familiar to me was that it was on the screen after Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, Gomer Pyle, I Spy and more.

    Comment by nedryerson — January 7, 2021 @ 12:11 pm

  3. Yes, Sheldon Leonard was essentially the classic wise guy with ‘that voice’ in movies and tv shows, just like the “Fat Tony” from The Simpsons, long before Joe Mantegna was born.

    Comment by Moon Mullins — January 7, 2021 @ 12:34 pm

  4. I hope Vicky D sticks around for awhile to do girls sports, baseball, and football, etc. He could spice up the games with more nick names e.g. “…and an easy 2 for Corinnnnaa “Peppermint Patty” Kahhh-reeena…” or “…. Chaaaaarrrrrlie “fuck-up the fumbler” Roooooohhhhh” drops another one”

    Comment by franku2016 — January 7, 2021 @ 1:01 pm

  5. I was just coming here to say that Vic just crossed the line PA announcers should never cross, but I should have known that everyone else here shared that observation.

    I will say that this is not on the level of one high school football game I went to where the announcer did the whole “He’s at the 50, the 40, the 30, HE COULD GO ALL THE WAY!” every breakaway run, but it’s up there with the really dumb way the guy who did the football PA at my high school would drop corny recurring bits (like “self-tacklization” when a player slipped) he cribbed from Dave South, the terrible (but apparently endearing) long time radio play-by-play broadcaster of Texas A&M football.

    Comment by billytheskink — January 7, 2021 @ 3:04 pm

  6. I’ll channel some OB. GIL, YOU IDIOT !!!

    Comment by Jive Turkey — January 7, 2021 @ 6:56 pm

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