Memphis - The Movie
Saturday, June 16, 2001

(GK: Garrison Keillor; TK: Tom Keith; SS: Sue Scott: TR: Tim Russell)


GK: It's the must-see motion picture everyone is flocking to this summer. A motion picture so big, the critics can't find adjectives that fit----

TR: Really really big.

SS: Enormous.

TK: Monumental.

SS: Colossal.

TR: Epic.

SS: Infinite.

TR: A biggie.

TK: A great big one.

SS: A really big sucker.

GK: It's MEMPHIS: THE MOVIE¼¼(BIG THEME)---- Steamboats ply the big river (BOAT HORN, CHUGGING) as the Civil War draws to a close (TAPS) and finally good times return to the South----

TR (SOUTHERN BRENNAN): Cotton! Yessirree. Always a good year for cotton.

GK: And then the yellow fever strikes. (CHORDS)(COUGHING OF PATIENT IN BED.)

TR: How is he?

SS: I think the crisis has passed. I don't know what we'd have done if these ducks hadn't come.

TR: I noticed them, bringing medications to the ill.

SS: The fever is so contagious. Only the ducks are impervious to it.

TR: What kind of ducks are these?

SS: Notice the green stripes on their pinfeathers? That's why they're called Peabodies. (DUCKS) (MUSIC)

GK: Located on the Mississippi, beside an ancient glass pyramid, the city was forced to adapt to new ways. (SULTRY MUSIC)

SS (SOUTHERN): I'm going down to Beale Street, Big Daddy, and I'm intendin to smoke me a cigarette and listen to some of that what they call blues music.

TR (DADDY): But we're Baptists, Ginny Mae. We don't hold with the blues.

SS (SOUTHERN): Maybe we don't hold with the blues but the blues sure holds with us, Big Daddy.

GK: Beale Street. The Main Street of the Blues. And not far away a grateful city presents the ducks with the keys to the Memphis Ritz and it's renamed the Peabody Hotel---

TR (SOUTHERN): They want the penthouse for themselves. (DUCKS) Just be sure you don't give them any down pillows. They might be sleeping on a close relative.

GK: And a young truck driver from Tupelo arrives, intending to change music history. (TRUCK GEAR SHIFT)

TR (ELVIS): Quite a town. Maybe this is where I should attempt my synthesis of blues and country music. If only I could find someone who believed in me. (DUCK) Well, thank you, darling.

GK: But before he can record,(KLAXONS) alarms ring out---- (CRIES OF PANIC) (ROAR, APPROACHING) a wall of water a hundred feet high is sweeping along the Mississippi, pulled by the gravitational force of an asteroid approaching the earth(CRISIS MUSIC) ----

TR: The river is rising!

SS: Flee for your lives!!

TR: We've got to stop it!

SS: We could send a crew of ducks up in a rocket and try to destroy the asteroid.

TR: It's a crazy idea but it just might work. (MUSIC BUILD)(ROCKET THRUST)

SS: Can they do it?

TR: They've got to do it.


GK: The tidal wave gets closer and closer to the city of the glass pyramid, and yet, the heart will not be denied--- (ROMANTIC CHORDS)

SS: Hold me. Take me.

TR: But our whole world is just about to end!

SS: All the more reason to kiss me. (CHORD) (APPROACHING PLANES)

GK: But what is this? Dark dots in the western sky---- it's a Japanese sneak attack ---- hundreds of planes coming in low---- (GUNFIRE. TR JAPANESE CRIES. ARTILLERY. PLANE COMES IN ON STRAFING RUN, MACHINE GUNS BLAZING, EXPLOSIONS. CRIES OF PANIC.) ---- and then, from the roof of the Peabody Hotel (DUCKS), ducks run to their battle stations ---- (PLANE STRAFING, MACHINE GUN) (DUCKS) ---

TR: Ducks trying to shoot down fighter planes? It's impossible!

SS: You don't know those ducks. (MUSIC)

GK: Meanwhile the rocket blazes high in the sky.

TR (ELVIS): That asteroid---- looks like it's blowin up--- (SPACE EXPLOSION)

GK: And at the same time, on earth----(PLANES FADING)

SS: They're turning tail and heading west! What happened??

TR: We put out a call for all Memphians to switch on every laptop in the city and that interfered with the planes' navigational systems! And look----- it's the rocket crew----- parachuting to earth-----(DUCKS, FLAPPING, COMING IN FOR LANDING, TO CHEERS) Good work, you guys. (BIG THEME)

GK: The tidal wave fades away as the sun sets ----

TR: We'll call it¼.Sun Records!

GK: And once again Beale Street comes to life---- (GUITAR CHORDS) As high atop the Peabody Hotel, near the sleeping ducks (DUCKS SLEEPING)¼¼¼

TR (ELVIS): I have a dream, baby.

SS: Hold me. And tell me about it.

TR (ELVIS): I see a world where people of all kinds can get along with each other.

SS: That's so beautiful.

TR (ELVIS): And I see a chain of motels with these, like, really loud green marquees and stuff.

SS: Take me there.

TR (ELVIS): And I see this delivery service that can carry a letter or package anywhere in America overnight.

SS: How could you ever do that?

TR (ELVIS): You know how fast ducks can fly, baby? (DUCK)

GK: MEMPHIS: THE MOVIE¼¼¼coming soon to a drive-in theatre near you.

TR: (ANNC) No ducks were
harmed in the making of this movie. (QUACK)

GK: Children under 13 not admitted unless accompanied by money.

© Garrison Keillor 2001

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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