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The Proud Pagliacci Recap

At the Middleton ranch, Greencrest Acres, Fritz Phieffer is preparing to go into town to meet his old friends at the circus. His friend, manservant Jeff, is helping him and warns that if Mr. Middletown notices that Fritz is gone then there'll be hell to pay. Fritz figures that he'll be back before then, just as Middleton's young daughter Marcy comes along. The horse trainer tells Jeff that her horse is saddled and Jeff can get it to her. Jeff goes out and Marcy demands to know where Fritz is. She points out that Fritz isn't supposed to leave unless her father gives him permission.

At the circus, Corky complains that Bimbo has gotten dirty again. Fritz arrives and Joey runs over to greet him. Joey introduces Corky, and explains that Fritz told him everything that he knows when he was the greatest equestrian clown in the business. They go over to see Tim, who is working with Curly to check a wild horse. Fritz says that he's no longer with a circus, and Joey believes that he's a farmer. Tim asks Fritz about his opinion on his new horse, Diablo, and Curly tries to ride it. Diablo throws Curly after a minute, and Curly warns Tim that the horse is a killer. Fritz figures that no one will ever ride a horse like that, and says that he has a big meeting with the farm board.

Marcy is running her horse and Fritz tells her that she's fine. She orders him to saddle Midnight for him, and insists that she gives the orders when her father isn't there. Fritz still refuses and Marcy promises to tell her father when he gets back. Once she rides off, Joey and Corky ride up to pay Fritz a surprise visit. Joey explains that they were held over another night so they came out to see him. Fritz tries to get Joey away, and Joey reluctantly agrees. Joey asks to see the big house, and Fritz reluctantly goes but insists that they have to hurry.

As Corky looks at a cow, Marcy rides over and laughs when Corky slips in the mud. She introduces herself and says that his clothes are funny, and he offers to get her free tickets. Marcy says that her father has lots of money and she doesn't like circuses, and Corky mentions the wild horse.

Fritz and Joey come out of the house, and Marcy comes over and demands to know why Fritz was in the house. She tells Fritz to tell the truth, and Fritz admits that he doesn't own the farm. Marcy orders him to saddle Midnight, but he still refuses and she storms off. Corky tells Fritz that it doesn't make any difference to them, but he says that he wanted them to think that he's still famous like he was when he was a headliner.

Marcy takes a saddle over to Midnight, but the horse runs out when she opens the gate. Fritz sees Midnight as he breaks through a fence, injuring his leg. Mr. Middleton rides up to it and Marcy claims that Fritz left the gate open. Fritz doesn't remember for sure, and Marcy says that Fritz told Corky and Joey that he owns the place. Middleton figures that Fritz is lying or forgetful, and tells him that he's fired.

At the circus, Tim tells Curly to saddle Diablo for the show. Joey comes over and tells Tim what happened with Fritz.

Jeff tells Middleton that Fritz wasn't near Midnight when it busted loose. Middleton admits that he was rough on him, and Jeff says that Fritz was a big man in the circus and a proud man now, and just putting on to his friends. Middleton agrees to talk to Fritz again.

Tim tells Joey that he can't hire every out-of-work actor. Joey offers to let Tim use his salary to cover Fritz until he makes money, and Tim agrees to hire him and pay for him out of the circus funds.

That night, Fritz puts on his clown outfit again. Corky, Marcy, and Middleton come in and Middleton asks to talk to Fritz. While Corky shows Marcy around, Middleton gives Fritz six months' pay to tide him over. Fritz says that he doesn't need it because he already has a job, and he doesn't want charity. Middleton wishes him good luck and leaves.

Corky takes Marcy to Diablo, and she says that she could ride him. Middleton calls Marcy over, and she asks to stay and see the circus. Corky wonders what she's up to, and Marcy claims that she changed her mind.

The show begins and Tim introduces Fritz. Fritz rides in and does a new routine. It doesn't go well, and Tim points out that the crowd is ridiculing him. Marcy tells her father that Fritz can't do anything, and Tim figures that Fritz is too old to do the act. Fritz falls off the horse, and Joey runs to help his friend. Tim introduces the trapeze act, and Marcy goes to Diablo's stall. Once Curly walks off, Marcy approaches Diablo.

Corky brings Fritz some water, and Fritz admits to Joey that he can't do his act anymore. Joey tells him that they can rig up some new acts, but Fritz figures that he'd be expected to do his old act. They'd be disappointed and so would he, and breaks into tears.

Marcy gets onto diablo and the horse starts bucking. It breaks out of its stall and rides into the main tent, and Fritz runs over, grabs her, and gets her off. The crowd applauds and Tim tells Fritz to take a bow. Afterward, Middleton comforts Marcy. Fritz comes in and assures Marcy that he's okay, and she admits that she let Midnight loose ad blamed it on Fritz. Middleton asks Fritz to forgive them, and he says that for one moment he was the big headliner like the all days. He wants to quit with that memory, telling Tim that he couldn't do it again. Fritz admits that he still loves Marcy and always has, and they hugged. Middleton asks Fritz to come back to his home, and Fritz agrees.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 16, 2017