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Extricating Young Gussie

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Extricating Young Gussie

by P.G. Wodehouse

Genre: Comedy
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


Well, you remember at Oxford I could always sing a song pretty well; so Ray got hold of old Riesbitter and made him promise to come and hear me rehearse and get me bookings if he liked my work. She stands high with him. She coached me for weeks, the darling. And now, as you heard him say, he’s booked me in the small time at thirty-five dollars a week.’

I steadied myself against the wall. The effects of the restoratives supplied by my pal at the hotel bar were beginning to work off, and I felt a little weak. Through a sort of mist I seemed to have a vision of Aunt Agatha hearing that the head of the Mannering-Phippses was about to appear on the vaudeville stage. Aunt Agatha’s worship of the family name amounts to an obsession. The Mannering-Phippses were an old-established clan when William the Conqueror was a small boy going round with bare legs and a catapult. For centuries they have called kings by their first names and helped dukes with their weekly rent; and there’s practically nothing a Mannering-Phipps can do that doesn’t blot his escutcheon. So what Aunt Agatha would say–beyond saying that it was all my fault–when she learned the horrid news, it was beyond me to imagine.


A Brit is sent to America to rescue his cousin from marrying into a (shudder-shudder) vaudeville family. The plot is woefully thin, and the dialogue isn’t as snappy as you’d expect from Wodehouse. Even more difficult is that the hero of the piece is none other than Bertie Wooster, of “Bertie and Jeeves” fame…but Jeeves has a single line in this story, and you’d probably be better off ignoring Bertie’s literary legacy. Another thought: you might be able to draw a parallel between the American trying to extract Gussie from his (shudder-shudder) British family. In the end, however, you’d probably be better rewarded finding a different Wodehouse story to adapt, especially as they’re beginning to come into the public domain with each passing year.


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