In this episode (see below for ordering information), a prominent local woman named Mrs. Webster is going to be putting on a pageant about the town’s founding and is contacting several family’s with boys Dennis’ age to find a boy to star in the pageant with Dennis’ favorite TV cowboy, Whip Crawford (played by Brad Johnson). As Dennis preps for the visit (through voluntarily clean-up) we learn that he has developed this habit of standing on people’s feet while he talks to them.
Both Henry and Alice caution Dennis to be on his best behavior while Mrs. Webster visits, not to call her fat or mention her weight, and not to spill anything. He tells Mrs. Webster all about his clean clothes and underwear and the family’s bathing habits in order to impress the guest. Both Alice and Henry are on pins and needles throughout the visit. In fact, Henry ends up spilling coffee (or tea) on Mrs. Webster trying to keep Dennis from spilling ice cream on her. The Alice mentions that Mrs. Webster “carries a great deal of weight in this community” and Dennis apologies on her behalf and says his mother didn’t mean to call her fat. When Henry later says “That’s very big of you,” Dennis criticizes him for the fat comments and then tells Mom and Dad that “I behaved pretty well, but I certainly don’t know what got into you two.”
This is an episode that Mr. Wilson does not appear in, but Mrs. Webster makes the pageant rehearsal a lot of fun with her animated stage directions and flexible attitude. (She lets Dennis teach the Indians how to attack by sneaking up from behind instead of creeping up in plain sight, and he also tells her how to make gun noises (Ka-POW! not BANG!)
When Whip Crawford doesn’t show up, Dennis goes to find him and we find out the Whip is a tenderfoot. When Dennis stands on his feet he cringes but tries to keep on a brave face because reporters are watching him. Dennis ultimately gets him to come to the play house in order to get rid of Dennis and save face. However, the play is not part of the program minus the rehearsals.