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Molly and the Movie Star is part of the Short Stories collections featuring Molly McIntire.

Characters

Only in Molly and the Movie Star

Story Summary

Molly bursted into the kitchen with some exciting news: her class was collecting money to buy a war bond at the big rally a week from Saturday, and Molly was going to hand the money over to Melody Moore. Molly's Mom is impressed, and Mrs. Gilford asks who Melody Moore was. Molly gasps, surprised Mrs. Gilford didn't know the very famous movie star. Molly explains that Melody Moore was coming to their town for the rally to help make everyone feel patriotic and happy so they buy war bonds, and everyone was going to go see her. Mrs. Gilford began to state war bonds were a good thing and Molly interrupts, saying proudly that her explanation of what war bonds were was the best in the class, hence why she was chosen to present the money. Mom compliments Molly, but Mrs. Gilford states she didn't see why the rally had to be a 'flim flam shows with glamor girls singing and all', and that people should buy war bonds because it was the right thing to do.

Molly explains that each student in the class had to turn in a dollar, and that she already had fifty cents in her bank she could use. Mom suggests Molly could use her movie money from the next two weeks to get the rest, but Molly insists she had to go to the movies tomorrow because Melody Moore was in it. Molly says she'll earn the money another way, by putting on a show, painting the garage, but Mrs. Gilford suggests she could do chores. If Molly mopped the kitchen, sort the laundry, polish the silver and rake the Victory Garden, that would be worth fifty cents.

Molly frowned, thinking chores were dull and wanting to do something exciting to earn the money. Mom was already agreeing to Mrs. Gilford's idea before Molly could say anything, so Molly reluctantly agrees. Molly figures the chores would be easy anyway.

Molly went to the movies the next day with Susan and Linda, very happy she hadn't given up her movie money. It was a fun experience for Molly, and almost everyone went to the movies on Saturday afternoon. They saw a movie with Melody Moore in a nurse's uniform and Molly thinks how she couldn't wait to meet her.
Molly and the Movie Star 1

Molly at the movie theater

The girls walked back to Molly's house after the movie, and Mrs. Gilford asks them how the movie was. Molly says that Melody Moore was great, and she was so brave when she was taking care of the soldiers in the field hospital. Linda says she loved it when she and the other nurses sang and danced for the soldiers, and all three girls sing the song from the movie, 'I'm a soldier in the army of love'. Mrs. Gilford mutters that singing and dancing nurses were nonsense.

Susan mentions she didn't get why Melody Moore didn't tell the tall soldier she loved him before he left and instead hid a letter in his sock in his duffel bag. Molly exclaims you can't go around blabbing that you love someone, and hiding the letter was much more romantic. Susan says she was worried the soldier was going to fall in love with the nurse with nail polish who kissed him before he left. Molly say of course he wouldn't, because he loved Melody Moore from the moment she did that special salute, which Molly imitates. Linda compliments Molly's salute and Susan sighs that Molly was so lucky to meet Melody Moore at the rally.

Mrs. Gilford reminds the girls the point of the rally was to raise money for war bonds, not to oogle movie stars. Mrs. Gilford brings up that Molly hadn't even begun to earn the money she's supposed to give for the fund, and Molly assures her she'll do the chores starting tomorrow. The next day, Susan invited Molly and Linda over to listen to Melody Moore records, and Molly didn't start her chores until Monday after school. The chores were off to a bad start, as the wind kept blowing the leaves Molly raked back into the garden. When Mrs. Gilford came to check in on her, Molly crossly states she shouldn't be working outside in this weather, fearing she'd get a cold and that Melody Moore couldn't see her with a red nose. Mrs. Gilford tells Molly to rake harder, that should warm her up.

The days passed and the indoor chores didn't go much better. Mrs. Gilford made Molly polish the silver twice because of how streaky it was, and Molly had to mop the kitchen twice because she forgot to rinse it the first time. Molly thinks how Melody Moore never had to do housework, and Molly began to sing one of Melody Moore's songs, using the mop as a makeshift microphone. Molly stopped when she saw Mrs. Gilford in the doorway watching her. Mrs. Gilford sternly says the trouble with Molly was that she was so caught up with her imaginary movie friends she couldn't keep her mind on the task before her. Molly thinks how the trouble with Mrs. Gilford was that she had no imagination and she only cared about boring things like scrubbing the floor. Molly thinks how Mrs. Gilford could never be like a heroine in a movie and that she was incapable of doing anything brave or dramatic.

On Friday, Mom asks Mrs. Gilford how Molly did with the chores. Molly stood still, unsure what Mrs. Gilford would say. Mrs. Gilford mentions that Molly hadn't sorted the laundry yet, and Mom turns to Molly to ask if she would sort the laundry after school. Molly says yes, and Mom gives the quarters for her bond money. At school, Molly added her dollar, and her teacher Miss Campbell replaced the change with bills and placed them in an envelope. She handed the envelope to Molly, saying that the class was trusting her with the Molly, and they were all proud she would represent them at the war bond rally. Molly put the envelope in her bag and kept it secure and next to her all day during school, at Susan's house listening to records after school, and on the way home for dinner.

When Molly returned home, Mrs. Gilford gave Molly a grim look, saying she forgot to sort the laundry. Molly apologizes for forgetting, and Mrs. Gilford states she hoped so. Mrs. Gilford announces she was going now, and Jill would be in charge until her mother got home tonight, which would be very late. She instructs Molly to sort the laundry after dinner, and put everything that needed to be mended in the basket so Molly's mother could drop it off at her house on the way to the rally. Mrs. Gilford states she had no wish to go to that circus of a rally, and tells Molly it would do her good to have a task tonight to keep her mind off this 'Melanie Moon' nonsense. Moly attempts to correct the actress's name, but Mrs. Gilford simply says 'whatever' as she leaves.

After dinner, Molly's siblings went to the living room to listen to the radio, leaving Molly alone in the kitchen to sort the laundry. Almost all of Ricky's socks had holes and were put into the mending pile. Molly examined one sock with a hole in it, thinking it was good the sock Melody Moore hid her love note in didn't have a hole like this one. Molly suddenly gets the idea to hand the war bond money to Melody Moore in a sock tomorrow so she would know she had seen her movie. Molly could perform her salute and Melody Moore would love it and say 'Molly McIntire, you're a star!'
Molly and the Movie Star 2

Molly puts the bond money into the sock

Molly ran upstairs with one of Ricky's socks that didn't have a hole, folded up the war bond money envelope and put it in the sock. Molly thought it was perfect, and she practiced handing the sock over to Melody Moore and saluting in front of her mirror. Molly put the money sock on the chair with her clothes so she would not forget it the next morning, and she went to bed humming 'I'm a soldier in the army of love'. Molly was too nervous to sleep well, and she was half-awake when her mom came in to kiss her goodnight. When Molly woke up the next morning, her mom had already left for the rally.

Molly jumped out of the bed, exited to meet a movie star. Molly took a look at her chair and froze in horror when she realized the money sock was gone. Molly frantically searched her whole room, but found nothing. Molly ran into Ricky's room to search his sock drawer, shouting for him to wake up and asking if he took one of his socks from Molly's room. Ricky says no, and Molly dashes downstairs before he can ask what's going on. Molly ran to Jill to ask abut the sock, explaining she had put the bond money in it. The whole family search every nook and cranny for the sock, but it was nowhere to be found.

Molly moans, not knowing what she was going to do. Ricky says Molly would just have to go to the rally and explain what happened, and Molly says she would rather die then tell Melody Moore what she did. Jill suggests she write a confession note, and Ricky says Molly could hide it in a sock, to which Molly and Jill yell no. Molly doesn't know what to tell her class, knowing they would hate her for losing the money. Ricky suggests for Molly to offer to pay them back, calculating that if Molly didn't go to the movies for four years she would earn the $20 back. Molly sighs that after all of this, she'll never want to go to the movies again for the rest of her life.

As soon as Molly's note was ready, the family left for the rally. Molly was now dreading the rally, and as she took her seat she was both hot with shame and cold with fear. She read over her note to Melody Moore, which requested she didn't read the message out loud and explains that she lost the money. Just then, an army jeep stopped at the edge of the field, and the crowd cheered as Melody Moore stepped out, looking as beautiful as she did in the movies. She went up to the stage, where she and the band performed 'I'm a soldier in the army of love'. Everyone sang along except for Molly, who felt miserable.

Melody Moore quiets down the crowd, saying how she knew everyone in town wanted to buy a war bond, especially the children of Willow Street School, and asks the crowd to give the kids a hand. The kids began to go up the stage to hand over the war bond money, starting with the kindergartners. Melody Moore gave a kiss to the first grader who wanted over the money, and the crowd laughed and cheered at the second grader who shook Melody's hand for too long, and then it was Molly's turn. As the crowd quieted and the band began to roll their drums, Molly wished the world would end now.
Molly and the Movie Star 3

Mrs. Gilford rushes in with the war bond money sock

A land jeep honk startled Molly, and everyone looked over to see a jeep honking wildly, trying to move its way through the crowd. Molly gasped when she saw Mrs. Gilford was in the jeep, asking herself what on earth was she doing here. Mrs. Gilford looked like a fearless general of an invading army, standing next to the jeep's driver waving something over her head. Mrs. Gilford calls for "Miss Moon" to stop immediately.

The jeep pulled up, and Mrs. Gilford strode up to the stage with determination. She nods briefly at Melody Moore, asking 'Miss Moon' to give her a moment. She then headed over to Molly to hand her Ricky's sock, explaining that Molly's mother had picked up this sock by mistake and brought it to her house for mending. Mrs. Gilford knew how important it was as soon as she saw it. Molly, floored with joy and relief, whispers a thanks to her. Mrs. Gilford smiled and nudged Molly towards Melody More, telling her that her movie star was waiting.

Molly and the Movie Star 4

Molly salutes with Melody Moore

Molly flew across the stage to hand Melody Moore the sock, who laughed as she pulled out the envelope. She smiles at Molly, saying she was a real fan and asks for her name. Melody Moore thanks Molly by name, and adds to thank her grandmother too. Molly explains that Mrs. Gilford wasn't her grandmother, but her friend. Molly thinks how good old Mrs. Gilford came to her rescue, like a heroine in a movie, as she smiled at her. Molly turned back to Melody Moore and performed the salute, and the actress performs the salute as well. The audience exploded in applause and Melody Moore says "Molly McIntire, you're a star!"

Meet The Author

The author, Valerie Tripp, says how much she loved the movies as a child and how she can imagine Molly's excitement about meeting Melody Moore.

Looking Back: Movies in 1944

Discusses the movie industry during World War II. Topics covered:

  • The role movies played in cheering up children during the war
  • Amenities and services movie theaters provided, with chandeliers, plush carpeting, and ushers
  • Common movie theater snacks that were hard to obtain, such as candy and popcorn
  • Performances and contests before the main movie
  • Various genres of movies commonly screened for audiences, such as cartoons, westerns, serials, adventures, or science fiction
  • Wartime movies and propaganda screened in theaters
  • Newsreels updating the progress of the war during the intermission
  • Fan clubs and fan magazines, like Modern Screen, about movies and movie stars
  • Movie stars' roles in rallying support for the war effort, from selling War Bonds and providing encouragement to civilians

Activity: An Afternoon at the Movies

For An Afternoon at the Movies a list of movies is given that were very popular in the 1940s such as Cinderella, National Velvet, and Lassie Come Home. Also, the activity teaches you how to pop popcorn in a pot on the stove, like Molly did in the 1940s.

References

  1. It was reprinted again in the Sept/Oct 1996 issue.
  2. The portraits say that Molly is still nine, so it must be sometime before her birthday.

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