Guy Noir script
Saturday, January 29, 2005
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(GUY NOIR THEME)

Tim Russell: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions — Guy Noir, Private Eye —

(THEME OUT)

Garrison Keillor: I was at the Quagmire Theater having just seen most of the movie they're touting as the Movie of the Year, The Aviator, with my sometimes girlfriend Sugar —

Sue Scott (SUGAR): You didn't like it?

GK: Hoo boy. I'm just not that interested in Howard Hughes, I guess.

SS (SUGAR): It's nominated for Academy Awards!

GK: After an hour you want to say, "Howard, stop moping around. Go help the war effort. Get outside more. Get a better writer." —

SS (SUGAR): But it got good reviews—

GK: Critics. They find those people in bus depots — they know nothing.

TR: I beg your pardon — (TAPPING OF CANE, WOOF OF DOG) you didn 't care for the movie? I liked it. (WOOF)

GK: You're blind.

TR: So what? Blind people enjoy movies too. The pacing was good. (WOOF)

GK: How did your dog like it?

TR: He slept through it.

GK: I wish I could have but the airplanes kept waking me up.

Tom Keith: Hey you. (STING)

GK: It was a little guy with a ponytail and shades coming at me—

TK: What are you people using for butter on the popcorn? Vaseline? This is disgusting.

GK: Hey, I'm not the popcorn guy (HE TAKES A SWING, GK OOFFF, THEY EXCHANGE BLOWS) —(BRIDGE)

GK: We sort of waltzed around a few times and then the popcorn started popping (SFX) in the popper and he thought it was gunfire and he pulled out his heater and (GUNSHOTS) hot lead was flying (SS SCREAMS, PANICKY VOICES) and (GUNSHOTS) he shot out the big chandelier (GLASS BREAKAGE AND CHANDELIER FALLING) and then he dashed into the theater (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) and I followed him down the aisle (AIRPLANE ON MOVIE SCREEN) while Howard Hughes flew by on the silver screen and he ducked through a door (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) and down a hallway to a staircase and down to the basement (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) and there was no sign of him— (WALKING FOOTSTEPS). I looked in the empty rooms. There was nobody. Until I got to the last one. (DOOR OPENS SLOWLY)

SS: Hello, Mr. Noir. Come in. (STING)

GK: She was just a kid, no more than twenty, or thirty — forty, tops — in her black cape and her pillbox hat and her blue silk pantsuit. — I'm looking for the guy who took a shot at me in the lobby, Miss—

SS: Murdoch. Iris Murdoch. And this is my husband Rupert.

TR (MURDOCH): I've always wanted to meet you, Mr. Noir.

GK: Rupert Murdoch, the world's richest man, eh?

TR (MURDOCH): So they say. (HE CHUCKLES) Call me Rupe.

GK: How about I call you Murd?

TR (MURDOCH): My studio produced "The Aviator," Mr. Noir — did you enjoy the film?

GK: I loved it. DiCaprio has never been better. The script was a work of art. Scorsese's direction: perfection. I laughed, I wept, and rather than go to the men's room and miss a couple minutes I peed in my pants. It was a life-changing experience for me.

SS: Rupert and I have another movie in development called "The Cultivator"—

GK: "The Cultivator"— this wouldn't be about farmers, would it?

TR (MURDOCH): It would. It's a remake of "Giants In The Earth," except we're changing the Norwegians to Italians. And instead of South Dakota, it's Long Island. And instead of a blizzard, we have renovations and problems with contractors. But otherwise it's pretty faithful to the original.

GK: Mr. Murdoch, America's interest in the lives of farmers is less than America's interest in differential calculus. We hate heartwarming. We want to see men run down alleys and be shot and fall and knock over garbage cans.

TR (MURDOCH): Interesting.

GK: And just then the ponytail guy burst in—

TK: Hey, gumshoe, whadda you know about anything—

GK: It's you. The creep with the gun.

TK: Who's calling who a creep? Why you— (HE ADVANCES, SWINGS)

GK: I ducked as he swung and he hit Mr. Murdoch (KONK, TR WOOZY) and then Iris decked the guy with a karate move (SS CRY AND KICK, TK OOFFF AND FALL TO FLOOR) and Mr. Murdoch, slightly dazed—

TR (WOOZY): Oh dear.....I see lights — is it still Christmas? Muffy? Toodles?

GK: — handed me the keys to his Bentley.

TR (WOOZY): Here. I'm going to go lie down for a minute. (BRIDGE)

GK: And I discovered that Mr. Murdoch's key chain contained more than just keys. (STING) It contained a small flashlight that when I shone it into people's eyes, they did whatever I told them to do. I discovered this when I was helping Mrs. Murdoch with her contacts which popped out of her eyes when she kicked the guy with the gun. — Here, let me see if they're in straight—

SS (TRANCELIKE): Rule me, master. Make me yours. Bend me to your will.

GK: Huh? I'm just shining a light in your eyes— hold still—

SS (TRANCELIKE): I want to kneel at your feet — I want to kiss the tassels of your loafers. (BRIDGE)

GK: With that tiny flashlight, I discovered, I could make anyone do my bidding. — The Fox Network, Mr. Murdoch—

TR (MURDOCH): Yes sir.

GK: Change it.

TR (MURDOCH): Right away, sir.

GK: To the Foxcroft Network.

TR (MURDOCH): Brilliant.

GK: Devoted to old English costume dramas. Jane Austen. Galsworthy. E.M. Forster. Those people. Tweedy old people with picnic hampers and suspenders and tea trollies and Corgis.

TR (MURDOCH): Yes, sir. Lovely idea. Brilliant. (BRIDGE)

GK: I went into the movie business then. I made a movie called "The Radiator" which started out to be a movie about Minnesota in January. (BLIZZARD, WOLF)

SS: Are we lost?

TR: Guess so.

SS: Maybe there's a house nearby.

TR: I don't think so.

SS: What are we going to do? It's sixty below zero and we're sitting here in an overturned car in the ditch with the motor running and it's getting dark and the car is filling with deadly carbon monoxide.

TR: I don't have all the answers, Luellen. Just because I'm a licensed psychologist and a high school guidance counselor doesn't mean I've got the inside track on everything.

SS: Earl, we've got to do something—

TR: Luellen, face it. We're goners. In another five minutes, we'll be sitting here frozen like a couple of walleye fillets.

SS: I'm not going to let it happen, Earl. (HEROIC MUSIC BUILDS) I want to live. I have goals. Dreams. Things I want to do in my life.

TR: Like what, for example?

SS: I want to start a journal. And I want to enter— and win — a bake-off. And—

TR: What else?

SS: I want to be able to play the jug. (BRIDGE)

GK: So she rescues them. She opens the car door and climbs out (BLIZZARD, WOLF) and she walks across the frozen tundra to a Unitarian monastery, the monastery of St. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, where she is rescued by dachshunds (SNIFFING, WOOFING) with little flasks of a very robust and yet very subtle and memorable Pinot Noir, and she and Earl wait out the blizzard in the company of these devout humanists.

ALL (SINGING): Just a closer walk with whoever you are
Spirit of love, may you be somewhere in or around me...
Daily walking — as each person's conscience tells him or
her to walk—
Let it be, or if not, then let it not be.

GK: Then bidding farewell to the Unitarians, the couple head for home— but go only a few miles before —

SS: Stop! (BRAKES)

TR: What the heck is it?

SS: I need to write in my journal.

TR: Oh. (MUSIC UNDER)

SS: "The utter bleakness of the landscape around me, including my husband, only tells me that I must take charge of my destiny. Too long have I drifted along passively, fulfilling the needs of others. Tomorrow I will begin baking. And I will purchase a jug." (BRIDGE)

GK: The bake-off is an amazing event. It's a sort of congress of large white people.

ALL (FINGER SNAPPING): When you are white
You are white all the time
You're very uptight
And you drink a white wine

When you are white
An average white man
You get a bright light
And work up a tan.

And when it comes to beat,
It's sheer frustration,
You've got two left feet
No syncopation,
Cause you're Caucasian...(FADE, FINGER SNAPPING UNDER....)

GK: And of course LuEllen wins.

SS: (JUMPING UP AND DOWN) I can't believe it! I can't believe it! Me! The winner!!! A million dollars!!! Three million if you count the book contract and the endorsements!!! I'm so happy!!!!

TR: So what are we going to do with it, honey?

SS: (CHILL PAUSE) What do you mean "we"?

(BRIDGE)

GK: And she buys a Lamborghini (CAR RACING ALONG ROAD) and she drives very fast along winding mountain roads — for some reason we're not in Minnesota anymore — we seem to be in California — we'll have to clear this up in post-production — and there's a herd of caribou (CARIBOU) that surrounds her and a jet fighter plane (FLYOVER) scares them away and then for some reason we're aboard a submarine (KLAXON,

TK: Dive, dive) with a bunch of Navy seals (SEALS) and they fire two torpedos (TWO BIG UNDERWATER WHOOSHES) that destroy the enemy oil refinery (BIG MUSHROOMING EXPLOSION) and the heat of the explosion creates a force field (ENERGY WAVES) that makes the earth wobble in orbit (JIGGLING OF GLASSWARE) and there's panic in large cities (ALARMS, SHOUTS, HONKS) and somehow the budget grew from five million to five hundred million but I was enjoying being a movie mogul and going around in leather pants and a black silk shirt half unbuttoned and dark glasses, flicking a riding crop against my jodhpurs (OUTDOOR AMBIENCE) — What are those old Curtiss biplanes doing here?

TR: I thought you wanted them.

GK: Those are from some other movie. Get rid of them. Blow them up.

TR: Yes, sir. (FOOTSTEPS, EXPLOSIONS IN DISTANCE, SHOUTS)

GK: And what are all these elk doing here? (CARIBOU)

SS: Those are caribou, sir.

GK: Don't tell me those are caribou. Those are elk. Get me caribou. (ELK, SHOUTS OF HERDSMEN) And what are those lepers doing? (MOANING AND GROANING) I didn't order lepers. I said leopards. The cats. Two leopards. (LEOPARD SNARL) Right. That's what I want. Ditch the lepers. (MOANING AND GROANING) Put em on a bus or something. (TR SWEDISH) What's the Viking doing here? We cut the pillaging scene.

SS: There were two pillaging scenes. You only cut one. (TR SWEDISH)

GK: Well, cut the other one and get rid of him.

SS: You don't want pillaging? I sort of liked the pillaging. I thought it gave us some texture at that point.

GK: Texture! What are you talking about?

SS: It gave the story a whole new arc. A bigger arc.

GK: You're fired. (SS IS SEIZED, PROTESTING, BY THUGS) Take her away. Put her on a bus or something. Who're you?

TK (DOG): I'm the new screenwriter, Mr. Noir.

GK: You!!!!

TK (DOG): Yes, sir.

GK: But you're a dog.

TK (DOG): My name is Sam. Sam Shepherd.

GK: How do you write? Laptop?

TK (DOG): A dog doesn't have a lap. I have to hold a pencil in my teeth and poke at the keys of a p.c.

GK: No wonder the rewrites have been so slow.

TK (DOG): I'm doing the best I can.

GK: Now I know why you changed the main character's name to Roof.

TK (DOG): Is that an unusual name? Roof?--

GK: It's fine.

TK (DOG): I could change it. It doesn't have to be Roof.

GK: What would you change it to?

TK (DOG): How about Ruth? Or Ruff?

GK: No. Leave it.

TK (DOG): You like Roof?

GK: It's okay. But what happened to the woman in the Lamborghini — the story sort of jumped the tracks there, didn't it? -- are those elk? (ELK)

TR (OFF): We took away the caribou and brought in elk.

GK: That is exactly the opposite of what I told you to do. I told you to ditch the elk and bring me caribou.

TR (OFF): I thought you wanted elk. (ELK)

GK: The script says caribou. Doesn't it?

TK (DOG): Right. "A herd of caribou surrounded the Lamborghini as it raced northward along the California coast."

GK: Why are we in California at that point?

TK (DOG): Where do you want to be at that point?

GK: I'm asking you. You're the writer. And are there caribou in California? —Look out— in the ditch! (PLANE STRAFING LOW, MACHINE GUN) What was that? Who ordered the fighter planes? Here's another. (PLANE STRAFING LOW, MACHINE GUN) What's going on here? There isn't a battle scene in the script. Where's the director?

TK (DOG): Maybe this is when the force field changes and there's panic in large cities—

GK: Look out— (PLANE COMES IN LOW) Get me the director!

SS (WALKING UP): All ready with the invasion, Mr. Noir.

GK: What invasion?

SS: D-Day at Normandy.

GK: The script calls for D-Day??? Why? Where's the director? (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

TR: Mr. Noir — I'm the d-d-d-d-d-d-director?

GK: You're the director?

TR: That's me. D-d-d-d-d-d-donald D-d-d-d-d-odd—

GK: Mr. Dodd, did you tell them we were going to shoot D-Day—

TR: D-d-d-d-didn't you want us to shoot D-d-d-d-d-dDay?

GK: The lady in the Lamborghini is in California, Mr. Dodd. D-Day is in France. Normandy. The script calls for Doris Day.

TR: Oh. D-d-d-d-d-d-d-doris D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d....

GK: Day. Doris Day. She's riding a caribou and singing.

Prudence Johnson: (SINGS) Que sera sera, whatever will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera sera.

GK: See? That's what the script calls for. D-Day and Doris Day are two very different things, Mr. Dodd.

TR: I can see what you mean. Am I d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d

GK: Are you dismissed? I don't know. Miss Beach— How many ships do we have out there?

SS: Sixty ships. Two hundred thousand sailors and marines. Planes, tanks, Jeeps. Plus the Germans.

GK: No wonder we're over budget. How many Germans?

SS: (OFF) How many Germans?

TR: (GERMAN QUESTION) (GERMAN QUESTION REPEATED IN ANOTHER VOICE) (GERMAN QUESTION REPEATED IN A THIRD VOICE)

GK: Never mind. Well, as long as you've got all those people here already — I guess we may as well go ahead and shoot it. Sorry, Miss Day.

PJ: Hey— que sera sera. Whatever—

GK: I'm just not sure at this point how we work it into the story.

TK (DOG): We could have some sort of time warp when the force field is thrown off by the explosion of the oil refinery.

GK: Well, that makes sense. Sure. But get rid of those caribou— (CARIBOU) and get me some wapiti.

TR (OFF): You said caribou!

GK: I don't want them. Get them out of here. The light's changed. The caribou are too dark. I need 400 head of wapiti. (CARIBOU) We'll re-shoot the Lamborghini scene as soon as we shoot the invasion of Normandy — (TR SHOUTING ON P.A., PLANES FLYING OVER, ARTILLERY, BOAT HORNS, MARCHING FEET) .....and right then, as we were about to shoot D-Day, I noticed something missing — Miss Beach—

SS: Yes, sir.

GK: My car keys. Where are they?

SS: You must've set them down somewhere.

GK: Stop the invasion — I have to find my car keys! (TR & TK REPEAT ORDER IN SERIES OF VOICES: Stop the invasion.)

SS: Where did you last see them?

GK: I don't know. I've been so busy with the caribou.

SS: What did they look like?

GK: They're the keys to Rupert Murdoch's Bentley and they have a little flashlight hanging from the key ring.

SS: Maybe you dropped it someplace.

GK: I need that flashlight. (FOOTSTEPS)— and suddenly people didn't do what I wanted anymore.

TR: Hold it right there, sir. I'm gonna have to see some identification.

GK: You know me, Al — it's Guy. The big enchilada—The Chief. The guy in the black parachute pants.

TR: Let's see a photo ID, pal—

GK: It's me. The boss man. Al— Al, don't. (STEEL DOOR CLOSES, AND CLANKS SHUT) He closed the studio gate and I tried to climb over it and (SIREN) the cops came. I had just spent 500 million dollars on a motion picture and I got stuffed into a cop car. (VOICES,

TR: Watch your head.) (BRIDGE. END OF AMBIENCE NO. 1.) And off to the slammer I went. Into a holding cell with a guy named Guido.

TR: Something wrong?

GK: No. Just feeling the strangeness of it all.

TR: Well, that's no reason to stare at me.

GK: Sorry.

TR: It isn't polite. And wouldja mind not breathing at me? The smell of cheese and onions is something fierce. You ever hear of mouthwash?

GK: It was gourmet blue cheese from Switzerland that cost $45 an ounce and they were fresh organic green onions flown in from Mexico.

TR: Big deal.

GK: Two hours ago I had hundreds of people at my beck and call, spending money hand over fist, and fist and now I'm sitting in a cell with a mouth breather. Arrested on charges of loitering and irrelevancy.

TR: They got me on a charge of stealing some guy's car keys.

GK: What car keys?

TR: A Bentley, I guess. I donno. I didn't get to drive it.

GK: Was there a flashlight on the key ring?

TR: Yeah—

GK: A little flashlight?

TR: Yeah—

GK: What happened to it?

TR: Got it right here.

GK: Lemme see it.

TR: Not so fast.

GK: I just want to look at it.

TR: Just wait your turn, okay? Get your mitts off it.

GK: Sorry. — (CLICKING) Does it work?

TR: Naw. Bulb is burnt out.

GK: Oh.

(THEME)

SS: A dark night in a city that keeps its secrets, but one guy is still trying to find the answers, Guy Noir, Private Eye.

(MUSIC OUT)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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