Aging actor Booth Templeton is in his home when he hears the sounds of his young wife flirting with her new flame, Ed Page. Templeton's servant Marty comes in and Templeton concedes that his wife's infidelities have been common knowledge for a long time. As he takes his scheduled medication, he wonders if she's waiting for the day when his pills no longer work. Templeton prepares to go in for a day of rehearsals for his new play, against Marty's advice. He talks about how he'll go there and everyone will congratulate him and he'll go through another monotonous grind of rehearsals and performances. The only contentment Templeton remembers is with his first wife Laura, who died after seven years after marriage. He wonders why God took her from him and notes that he has nothing left now.
Templeton arrives at the theater to rehearse his new play but arrives late and is informed that the original director was fired and a new younger director, Art Willis, is in place. Templeton doesn't know him and meets with the backer, Sid Sperry, who wants Willis in. Templeton arrives and finds Willis taking control, much to Sperry's enjoyment. Willis gets word that Templeton is running late and talks about his lack of cooperation as Templeton listens in. Seeing Templeton present, Willis demands that Templeton acknowledge his demands. Panicking, Templeton runs outside and finds himself in 1927, over 30 years in the past. The crowd outside congratulate him on his performance in the new play, The Great Seed
, written by Barney Flueger. Templeton checks the date with a stage hand and is informed that his wife Laura wants to meet him at a local bootleg joint.
Templeton runs to the speakeasy and is let in by the owner Freddie, who Templeton knows to have died years ago. Freddie directs Templeton to Laura, who is drinking and celebrating with Barney. Templeton is astonished to see her and she assumes Templeton is wearing old-age makeup. He tries to get her to come somewhere alone with him so he can take advantage of his miraculous second chance, but she prefers to stay and have a good time. She fans herself with a script as he tries to explain what's happened and where he's from. They assume he's joking and insist on having a good time. Templeton wonders why she's different but she explains that she's always the way she was and they wonder what he expected. They laugh at him and Booth tries to force her to come with him. She calls him a silly old fool and dances to the band. When Booth tries to stop her, she slaps him and tells him they don't want him there. Templeton runs out, picking up the script, and as soon as he's gone everyone in the bar grows quiet and looks after him. Laura stands in the speakeasy as the lights fade out.
Outside, Templeton runs back past the crowds and goes into the theater. He finds himself back in his own time with Sperry and Willis talking about the play. Confused Templeton fans himself with Laura's script... which has the title What To Do When Booth Comes Back
The script describes everything that "Laura" and "Barney" said in the speakeasy. Templeton realizes they want him to live his own life in his own time, Willis asks if he's in or out, and Templeton takes command, insisting on respect from the younger man and overriding Sperry when he tries to assert his control. Willis, impressed, falls into line as Templeton meets with the cast and the first rehearsal begins.
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