Episode 99, scene 2:

     Dialog between Matthew Swain and Ralph Colby.

MS:  Hello Elliot, Ralph.
RC:  Hello, Mr. Swain.
MS:  Do you know who just arrived in that helicopter?  Vincent Markham's 
     brother, Kenneth Markham.
EC:  What a way to travel.
MS:  How's the family?
RC:  They're all right.  Mr. Swain, you don't happen to know anybody 
     who could use a man for odd jobs or whatever.
EC:  Ralph was telling me about it.
MS:  Not off hand.  But if I do hear of any, I'll let you know.
RC:  I'd appreciate it.  Any thing that pays and is honest.  I'm not particular.
     Thanks.
       [Ralph leaves.]
MS:  Come on in.
       [Matthew and Elliot go in the Clarion office to chat.]
EC:  Ralph Colby is a skilled loom operator with 20 years of experience.
MS:  I know.
EC:  What is he supposed to do, when the only mill in town fires him,  
     and now he has to make a choice?  He can either leave Peyton Place 
     and live somewhere else or he can stay here and earn a living as an 
     unskilled laborer if he's lucky enough to find the work. 
MS:  That's what happens in a one-industry town.  We have to look at 
     the positive side.
EC:  Is there one?
MS:  We've come a long way, thank heaven, since the days of the 
     depression in the 30's.  Now we have unemployment insurance, 
     workman compensation, instead of charity and bread lines. 
EC:  That doesn't solve the basic problem.  How do you tell a man of 45 
     or 50 that he has to start all over again? 
MS:  What's your alternative?  Keep the man on the payroll when he's not 
     needed? 
EC:  It's not only Ralph.  They fired 14 others at the same time.
MS:  All right.  That means that's 15 that you don't need.  But you have 
     to add their cost to your price.  So your price goes up.  While the 
     price of the other mills go down.  And before you know it your mill 
     is shut down and everyone's out of work. 
EC:  All right.  So you don't keep him on the payroll and you are able to 
     compete.  And now the other mill starts to automate like the one in 
     White River.  Now how do you continue to compete without firing more 
     workers? 
MS:  You feel very strongly about this, don't you?
EC:  Yes, I do.  What difference does it make if everyone is out of work 
     when the mill shuts down.  Or whether the mill can be operated by 
     one man pressing a button on a computer.  Matt, a town isn't a 
     factory, it's people. 
MS:  And somewhere between the two extremes people will find a workable 
     compromise, if they remain objective. 
EC:  I can't.  One man out of work.  One life, one family threatened.  
     One is one too many.  Matt, you love this town as much as I do, or 
     more.  Write an editorial.  Make them open their eyes. 
MS:  I remember someone else who wanted me to write an editorial to open 
     people's eyes.  I told her, "You write it and I'll print it."
EC:  You mean Allison?
MS:  She was also championing the under-dog.  A prison parolee.
EC:  Yes, I know.  I read it.
MS:  Then I'll say the same thing to you that I said to her.  You write it, 
     I'll print it. 
EC:  A letter to the editor?
MS:  That's right.  Dear sir, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Signed, a 
     reader. 
EC:  You're on.  Signed, an indignant reader, Elliot Carson. 


Episode 99, scene 2              HOME