"The Diamond Ring" is the Christmas episode of the sitcom The Real McCoys, aired in the show's fifth season (which was also notably its last season on ABC before it switched over to CBS for its final season). The story borrows a bit from The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry.
The story begins as Kate McCoy drives into the local town (the series is set in California's San Fernando Valley when it was still mostly rural) and visits the gift shop owned by friendly Mister Schneider, who shows her a number of potential gifts for her family, each of which shows her worries about the cheapness of some and the undue expense of others. She briefly coughs, brushing it off as nothing and telling Mister Schneider she will come back.
Back on the farm, Kate's husband, Big Luke (who is called such because his parents also gave his much younger brother the name Luke), is discussing presents with his grandfather Amos, hoping to coordinate against duplication; the cheapness of Amos' proposed gifts makes certain of that. When Luke proposes to take seventy-five dollars that he earned doing outside jobs and buy Kate an actual diamond ring (he had been unable to give her either an engagement or wedding band), Amos objects to this huge (by 1961 standards) expenditure. At Schneider's shop, a 900 dollar ring is quickly overlooked for one that is much smaller, but closer to Luke's price range. Grandpa Amos again objects when Luke bypasses a ten-dollar zircon, larger than the diamond he chose, but in his mind not the real diamond Kate deserves.
Working in the kitchen, Kate finds the certificate of authenticity for the ring's diamond, and realizes what Luke has done. Taking the ring back to Schneider's, Kate talks him into exchanging down to the zircon, which allows Kate to purchase gifts for her family that she intended, including an electric razor for Luke, a radio for farmhand Pepino, a bracelet for Luke's sister Hassie, an electric blanket for Amos, and a wristwatch for Little Luke. Back home, Kate finds it not so easy to talk Luke out of being concerned for her continued cough and cold symptoms. When the doctor comes, he confirms that it is a case of tonsillitis they had delayed acting on, but now requires immediate action. The doctor, a local known to the family, agrees to delay his bill, but says the hospital will require immediate payment. Luke and Grandpa immediately move to take a loan based on what they believe to be a real diamond ring. A quick assessment of the zircon has them believing they were swindled.
At the shop, Schneider confesses Kate's scheme, and kindly allows them a week's credit to pay for the gifts, in effect loaning them the money himself. Luke and Amos argue over returning the expensive gifts Kate got them, but Luke feels this would hurt Kate. The two plan to take out a crop loan to repay Schneider.
Come Christmas morning, everyone is delighted with the gifts they received, but Amos keeps fumbling his words over the electric blanket that he knew was coming and knows how it was obtained. He and Luke argue in the kitchen when Grandpa refuses to pretend be both happy and surprised. A further complication arises when Kate reveals she had an insurance plan, which has now sent her a check to pay for her hospital stay. When Amos again botches the effort to keep who knew what a secret, Luke still wants to take out a crop loan, so that they can both pay back Schneider and get Kate the real diamond she wants and deserves. Kate shuts this down, telling Luke that the way in which the zircon became hers makes this a much more special ring and a special Christmas than a real diamond ever could. The couple exchange a Christmas kiss while Amos tears up.
The episode was made available on The Real McCoys: Complete Season #5 manufacture-on-demand DVD set, released by SFM Entertainment on August 26, 2014.
|Walter Brennan||Amos McCoy|
|Richard Crenna||Luke McCoy|
|Kathleen Nolan||Kate McCoy|
|Michael Winkelman||Little Luke|
|Steven Geray||Mr. Schneider|
|Stanley Farrar||Dr. Talmadge|