'Spotlights & Shadows' by Sandra Grabman


Who On Earth



Albert Salmi

Peggy Ann

Pat Buttram

No Retakes!

Lloyd Nolan


“‘Impossible’ is
Just a
Frame of Mind”

“A Book That’s
Meant to Be”

“A Day in the
Life of a

“Problems Are
for Creativity”

“It’s Not
All Bad, Folks”


“House of Esther”

Spotlights & Shadows Credits Fan Forum Fan-Fiction DVDs

Lighthearted Scenes
Created for Albert Salmi
By His Fans

Albert had a wonderful sense of humor, but he very rarely had a chance to show it to us. Let’s be his script writers and give him some roles that he could’ve really had fun with!

Poems and Sketches:
Ballad of Albert
Albert Settles Actors’ Residuals
Albert on The Beverly Hillbillies
Jonny Cobb Sketch
Cliffordville Sketch
Albert and Dino

Cliffordville Revisited
The Devil and Mr. Feathersmith
Power Play Revisited
Something Big – Revisited

Would you like to write a comedy scene for Albert? Feel free to contribute your ideas. Contact Sandra Grabman at srgrabman@cableone.net.

The Devil and Mr. Feathersmith

By Klaus D. Haisch


Bill Feathersmith

Time: 1963

Place: a large building in New York City

At 2:00 o’clock that afternoon, Mr. Bill Feathersmith had called in the $3-million note on the “Dietrich Tool & Die Company.”

It was now 10 p.m., and a somber, sullen Feathersmith was sitting alone in his office on the top floor, having a few drinks, and reminiscing. Just then, a humble janitor walks into the room, to clean up.

“Oh, sorry, Mr. Feathersmith,” he excuses himself. “I didn’t know you were here.”

“Well, I am here,” snaps Feathersmith. “Who are you?”

“Hecate, custodian of the top 3 floors.”

Normally, Feathersmith wouldn’t talk to the janitor. In fact, Hecate had been there for 34 years and Feathersmith never even noticed him before. But Feathersmith was feeling melancholy and wanted someone to talk to.

“You have a drink, Hecate, custodian of the top 3 floors,” he offers.

“Thank you, no, sir,” says Hecate timidly. “I’m a reformed alcoholic. I haven’t touched the stuff in 20 years.”

Feathersmith just goes “hmm.” Then he bites the end off a big cigar, and slowly lights it, enjoying the full flavor as he takes the first few, big puffs. He starts talking slowly, “I was born in the Old West, in 1888. I was one of the sons of that famous outlaw Jonny Cobb, by his favorite wife, Polly Standall.”

Polly Standall

Feathersmith looks out the window, and continues, “The earliest memory I have is my 3rd birthday, my daddy Jonny Cobb got me a small pony. We were out on his ranch. But just then, a posse rode up. They started shooting, and daddy shot back. They arrested him, and said they were gonna hang him.”

He turns to look at Hecate, “The next thing I know, my stepmom is packing up. Daddy’d told her, ‘The Wild West is no place to raise a kid,’ and she was to take me to Indiana and raise me right.

“We got on the Transcontinental Railroad, and went all the way to Cliffordville, Indiana.” He pauses to reflect, “On a train. Trains have always meant a lot to me.”

Feathersmith picks up the pace of the narrative, “Well now, it turns out they never did hang ole Jonny Cobb. He spent about 6 months in jail, but they had to release him for lack of evidence. Some say folks were too scared to testify against him. But I never saw him again.

“I still remember my stepmom so well – a tall, blonde, buxom lady who always wore red, name of Shirleena Salmi.


“She was Finnish, and we moved to a small, Finnish neighborhood in Cliffordville. The Christian folk in Cliffordville said she was never legally married to Jonny Cobb, him being a bigamist and already having 2 wives, Polly & Carrie Standall. She remarried.

“I remember, when I turned 6, Shirleena walked me to school. It was around the end of August that year. But I could hardly speak English, only Finnish. The principal told her, ‘Bring him back when he can speak English.’ I still remember Shirleena, she yelled at the principal, and called him a stupid old coot, and said that was why kids went to school in the first place: to learn English – reading, writing and arithmetic.

“The first grade teacher, Miss Helen Foley, now she was a wonderful woman. She promised she’d come over to our house every day after school, and tutor me in English, and she did. When the 2nd semester started in January, I started going to school – and was one of the top pupils. And I’ve strived to get to the top and stay there ever since.”

Feathersmith takes a drink, and looks at Hecate. “How about you, Hecate? You ever hear of Jonny Cobb, and that owlhoot that used to ride with him named Moon?”

Hecate, who had been listening patiently and interestedly the whole time, says with a bit of pride, “Why, that’s a real coincidence, Mr. Feathersmith. You see, my daddy was Moon. And he, too, moved to Cliffordville, with me and my mom. I was only 2 at the time and, like you, I never knew my dad, either. Moon was just his nickname, but we went by the last name Hecate, which means moon. I didn’t even know he was my dad. I just heard tell that I was a relation of Mr. Moon, who used to ride around in the Old West with Jonny Cobb himself. I finally met my dad in 1932 and we reconciled. He tried to make it up to me, that he had been gone for most of my life, leading an outlaw life. We finally developed a good father/son relationship. He died 24 years ago.”

Bill Feathersmith

Feathersmith squints at Hecate, “How come I don’t remember seeing you back in Cliffordville, Hecate?”

Hecate says softly, “Well, I guess cause you lived in the Finnish section of town. And I’m a couple of years younger than you; when I went to first grade, you were already in the 3rd grade. But I remember you.”

Feathersmith goes “hmm” again. “So, here we are, Hecate. The sons of Jonny Cobb and Moon, living in the big city.” He looks at Hecate’s assortment of mops and brooms and dustpans. “Each with his own particular function.” He gets up, puts on his hat, and starts to walk out the door. “Well, good night, Hecate, custodian of the top 3 floors. Maybe we’ll reminisce again someday.”

As he walks out the door, Hecate figures it’ll be another 34 years before Feathersmith ever talks to him again.

Feathersmith takes the elevator down. It stops on the 13th floor, and he walks over to room 1350. He confronts the woman inside, who identifies herself as Miss Devlin.

Feathersmith is feeling very nostalgic and melancholy tonight, and repeats to her everything he’d told Hecate.

Miss Devlin asks him, “How’d you like to relive your entire life? Start all over again?”

Feathersmith says, “That would be wonderful. I am 75 years old. All I’ve got to look forward to is another 10-15 years, while I keep getting older. All the thrills and joys of living life, struggling to get ahead, are behind me. But what are we talking about? How do you propose to have me relive my life?”

Miss Devlin waves her hand, and a filing cabinet materializes out of nothing.

Mr. Feathersmith says, “You. . . you’re the Devil.”

Miss Devlin laughs softly, “The Devil, you say.” She pulls out a manilla folder which has everything Feathersmith ever did in his life recorded in it.

“I suppose,” says Feathersmith, “the usual price is the soul.”

“That’s a part of the transaction. Your soul, which is teetering on the edge of being lost anyway, and some money.”

“And in return?” asks Feathersmith.

“And in return,” says Miss Devlin, with a fiendish grin on her face, “you get 7 fabulous wishes. I think I know what your first wish is going to be.”

“To be sent back to 1910, of course.”

“And how would you like to get there?”

“On a train, of course – like I arrived there the first time, when I was 3.”

“All very easily arranged,” she says, as she pulls a huge contract out of thin air.

“Now,” says Feathersmith, “what is this about 7 wishes?”

“Oh, that’s a bonus, Mr. Feathersmith. And strictly for your benefit. Your first wish will to be go back into time. If, for some reason, things don’t turn out 100% to your liking, you can call on me, and be instantly brought back here to 1963.”

“And why would things not turn out to my liking?” he snaps at her.

“Why, no reason in the world, Mr. Feathersmith. In fact, as I was going to say, it is far more likely you will want to stay back there permanently. And so, every month, you get to make one additional wish.”

“Additional wishes, eh?”

“For example, suppose after a month you wanted to see your father, Jonny Cobb. I could arrange that. Or, suppose after a month, you wanted to marry Joanna Gibbons. . .”

“You think I need to wish to make Joanna marry me?” he snaps at her. “I get what I go after!”

“Of that I have no doubt, Mr. Feathersmith,” she says with a smile on her face. “It’s all spelled out in this contract. 7 wishes. Each one guaranteed that if things don’t turn out 100% to your liking, you can return here and try again. And, should you stay in the past, you can make additional wishes anytime within one month. . .”

“Never mind all that.”

“I suggest,” Miss Devlin says, “that you read the contract carefully, and even have your attorney look it over.” A shudder runs through her body. “I had to say that – I am obliged, by the Armistice Agreement, which dates back 6,000 years, that we have with The Man Upstairs – to say you should read it over. So you look before you leap, so to speak.”

“I can make up my own mind, Miss Devlin.”

“That’s what I like about you, Mr. Feathersmith, your self-assurance.”

“Now, you said that along with my soul, this is also a cash transaction?”

“Yes, indeed, Mr. Feathersmith. You will go back in time to 1910, and start all over again, and with $1,412 in your pocket.”

“Ha,” scoffs Feathersmith. “That’s about a thousand bucks more than I had in 1910, when I was 22. I’ll really shoot to the top this time.”

“So,” says Miss Devlin, “just make your first wish.”

“Okay, Miss Devlin, try THIS. . .
1) You send me back in time, send me back to the Cliffordville of 1910, but I want to look exactly as I did then.
2) I want to have a memory of everything that’s occurred in the last 53 years, I don’t want that memory impaired one bit.
3) I want that town exactly as it was, with the same people that I remember.
4) I want it to happen right away.
THAT is my wish!”

“Splendid, Mr. Feathersmith. Now, all you have to do is sign this Power of Attorney, which is attached to the Contract, and in exchange for this useless thing called the soul (ugh), and the bulk of your money which you will have a wonderful time earning again, you will get 7 fabulous wishes, each one guaranteed to be exactly what you wished for.”

Mr. Feathersmith signs. Miss Devlin reaches up, and out of nothing a large, burning stamp appears. She plunges the stamp onto the Contract, it makes a large imprint of the Devil’s pitchfork, and sulfurous smoke streams out of the imprint.

“Mr. Feathersmith,” she says with an impish grin, “do you want to add anything to your first wish? If you like, I can arrange it so that Joanna falls madly in love with you, without the ritual courtship. I could even change her from the nice girl she is into an uninhibited woman who’ll love you like the Devil every night.”

Feathersmith grins, “You are bad.”

“Why, thank you.”

“But no, thanks. I want to work for everything. That’s the fun of it – that’s the kick.”

“I wish for you everything you have coming to you.”

“Bless you, Miss Devlin.”

“Watch it,” she scowls. Her voice gets seductively tender again, “Now, you will arrive in Cliffordville, in the year 1910. On a train. And this time, with $1,412 in your wallet, knowledge of all the inventions and stocks of the future, and your whole life to live over.”

“I’m off,” says Feathersmith, as he walks out the door.

Mr. Feathersmith arrives in Cliffordville, 1910. However, things go awry. The “beautiful banker’s daughter” Joanna he’d remembered is a chatterbox with a voice as irritating as fingernails running across a chalkboard. He buys the Widow Turner’s land – 1,403 acres with oil underneath it – but forgets that the oil is 6,000 feet below ground and won’t be accessible until 1937, when a new self-starter drill is invented. On top of all that, even though he’d wished “to look exactly as I did then,” he forget to stipulate that he wanted to be 22 years old again.

Broke, lonely, frustrated, old, and almost dying of a heart attack from all the failures, he calls on Miss Devlin to end wish # 1, and he is instantly teleported back to 1963.

Feathersmith confronts Miss Devlin. Feathersmith is angry, but she remains calm; in fact, the madder Feathersmith gets, the calmer she gets.

“As I said,” Miss Devlin says rationally, “you get 7 wishes. All this is easily rectified.”

“Okay, Miss Devlin,” he sputters, “for my 2nd wish I want to try again, but with these 2 addendums – THIS time I want the body of a 22-year-old, AND I want Joanna to be shy and quiet.”

“Anything else you want to change? You don’t have to wish to relive your life, you know.”

“No,” says Feathersmith, “other than those 2 new addendums, I want to try reliving my life again, just like I did the first time.”

She smiles, “Wishes always require a bit of fine-tuning.” (Oh, she’s thinking to herself, she’s going to have a lot of fun with him.)

Wish #2. . . . .

Wish #1Wish #2Wish #3Wish #4Wish #5Wish #6Wish #7

Would you like to tell Klaus how much you enjoyed his version of this story? He’s an Albert fan, too. Drop him a line at Kdhaisch@AOL.com.

Would you like to write a comedy scene or a script for Albert? Feel free to contribute your ideas. Contact Sandra Grabman at srgrabman@cableone.net.

Spotlights & Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story, by Sandra Grabman, is available in both print and audio formats. Read by author Michael Hoctor, the unabridged audiobook runs 6 hours and 58 minutes.

Print edition ~

eBook edition ~

Audiobook ~