A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor

Guy Noir script
Saturday, September 3, 2005


Tim Russell: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions...Guy Noir, Private Eye. (THEME OUT)

Garrison Keillor: It was a slow summer in the detection business. And I was forced to take work that normally I would consider beneath my dignity —

Sue Scott: I met a wonderful wonderful guy, Mr. Noir, and something about him made me wonder if maybe he forgot to mention that he has a wife somewhere.

GK: Something tipped you off?

SS: There seemed to be a groove on his middle finger. And then there were those two kids standing behind him and whimpering.

GK: Ah. —(STING) Where did you meet him?

SS: At the State Fair. He's selling leeches. You know? To attach to your body? He's a doctor. He's got a Ph.D but— is there a period after each of the letters, P.H.D.?

GK: No, there's not.

SS: It didn't sound right to me.

GK: How much money did you give him?

SS: I didn't. I just gave him my mother's maiden name.

GK: Your mother's maiden name!!!! (STING) Why that's the code that unlocks your PIN numbers, your e-mail account, your — you're wiped out, ma'am — unless—

SS: Please. Help me. (STING, BRIDGE)

GK: So I headed over to the Minnesota State Fair to find me a leech salesman, but I got a little distracted —

Tom Keith (BARKER): Hey! You with the face! Come on over and throw a baseball, hit the target, win a stuffed animal. Come on. Give it a try. Three tries for a dollar. It's easy. You can do it. Come on. Whatcha got to lose? Win a prize, take it home to the little lady. (FADING)( Hey hey hey, come on, step right up....

TR (BARKER): Step right up, hurra hurra hurra, the show is continuous, the show never stops. Get yer tickets, just 75 cents, two bits for the kiddoes. It's the freak show, they're in here, they're under the tent, they're all alive. We've got midgets in here, we got ugly people, we've got a liberal in here, an authentic card-carrying liberal, you've read about them, come in and see one, he walks, he talks, he is a liberal. (FADING) Hurra hurra hurra.

SS: Hi, big boy. Come on in. Lots of room in here. And I have a place for you to sit down. (SEXY SAX)

GK: I turned and saw a pair of eyes so blue and lipstick so red and skin so white I almost saluted. Her shirt was so tight I could have counted her ribs if I had had the time and inclination, and her jeans clung to her as if they'd been sprayed on.

SS: Welcome to the Home Activities Building.

GK: A pleasure to meet you, ma'am.

SS: I can see that.

GK: I've never gone into the Home Activities Building before— I always thought it was just a lot of jams and jellies and pickles—

SS: It's about a lot more than that.

GK: I can see that now.

SS: They call me The Iron Woman. I love to iron. Do you have anything that needs ironing? (SAX STING, AND BRIDGE)

GK: When I regained consciousness I was walking (CROWD PASSING, BARKERS, TUMULT) by the Haunted House (GROANS, CRIES, EVIL LAUGHTER), and a high school marching band (MARCHING FEET, BASS DRUM) was going by and there was the bungee jump ride (WHOOSH, BOINGGGG, SCREAMS) and the High Striker (WHOMP OF HAMMER, UPWARD WHISTLE, DING) and the salad on a stick (CRUNCH) stand and a lot of food booths — (

TR: Hey! Right here! Get your deep-fried Lipitor on a stick! Get your Lipitor!) and the poultry barn (CHICKENS, ROOSTER) and the cattle barn (MOOS) and the sheep barn (SHEEP) and the swine barn (PIGS) where they were showing Chester Whites with a microchip imbedded between the shoulder blades so they can be controlled with a joystick (HOG SQUEAL) because they weigh 3,500 pounds and have a video camera mounted on the rear end for backing up (SFX BEEPING). Amazing. From there I walked through the elk barn (ELK) and the caribou barn (SAME) and the wapiti and eland barn (SAME) and the antelope barn (SAME) — those are antelope?

TK: Right.

GK: They look like caribou.

TK: Antelope.

GK: What's the difference?


GK: Somewhere between the antelope barn and the chainsaw booth (SFX) and the Veg-a-Matic demonstration—

SS: It slices, it dices, it chops, it purees, and when you reverse it — like this — you can get your e-mail and use a GPS to locate your children. (STING, BRIDGE)

GK: Somewhere in there I experienced State Fair overload and I started to hallucinate — (DREAM MUSIC) I saw a sign that said FOR HER and I saw the Home Activities goddess—

SS (BREATHY): Come in and let me show you my caramel roll.

GK: I did it — for her — and then I saw the sign didn't say For Her, it said 4-Her —

TK (TEEN): Hey mister?

GK: Huh? What?

TK (TEEN): That's my goat you got your arms around. (GOAT)

GK: Oh. Sorry. My mistake. (TK TEEN FADE: Geeze. Weirdos...) (BRIDGE)

GK: I needed to be alone for a moment and the only way to do that was to go sit in a PortaPotty, so I did. And it was lovely in there. The Fair seemed far away. I leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes and took a deep breath. (CELLPHONE RING. SECOND RING. THIRD. PICK UP) Yeah, Noir here.

TR (ON PHONE): Guy Noir?

GK: Right.

TR (ON PHONE): Are you alone in there?

GK: Who is this?

TR (ON PHONE): And this is Guy Noir I am speaking to?

GK: Yes, sir. What's going on here?

TR (ON PHONE): My name is Hugh Mungus, I'm with MSFSD.

GK: I see.

TR (ON PHONE): What does I.C. stand for?

GK: Interstate Commerce.

TR (ON PHONE): Okay. I'm with Minnesota State Fair Security Detail, and I'm calling from a cellphone, Mr. Noir. I'm just outside your PortaPotty. I'll knock three times. When you open the door, I'll say the code word, Cheese Curds. And you say, Deep Fried. And then turn around counter-clockwise three times and say, Rah rah rah for Ski-U-Mah.


TR: Cheese curds.

GK: Deep fried.

TR: Turn around clockwise.

GK: I will not turn around clockwise.

TR: Please. Turn around three times.

GK: I refuse to turn around three times.

TR: You've got to.

GK: Who says?


GK: Rah-rah-rah for Ski-U-Mah. There. Three times. I hope you're happy. (WOOF) Who's the old lady with the walker?

SS (OLD LADY): Don't you touch me or I'll throw you to the ground and put my foot on your Adam's apple so hard you won't want to eat for a week.

TR: This is Evelyn, she's a member of our State Fair SWAT team.

GK: Undercover, huh.

TR: Nine hundred highly-trained counterterrorist agents disguised as elderly people but their walkers are actually rocket launchers.

GK: Really?

TR: Show him, Evelyn—

SS (OLD): Okay. See? I just raise my walker up over my head and —(FOUR ROCKET BLASTS INTO THE SKY)

GK: My gosh.

TR: That's a bulletproof shawl she's wearing and the handbag contains extra ammo and those knitting needles can be thrown with deadly accuracy for up to 100 feet.

GK: So what do you need me for, Mr. Mungus?

TR: We're in the midst of an orange alert.

GK: An orange alert at the Fair?

TR: We think there is a truckload of oranges at one of the orangeade stands that contains oranges that have not gone through a metal detector. N.S.O. Non-secured oranges. And we also have an HHHHA.


TR: A 4-H Alert.

GK: Aha.

TR: They're reporting a USA. An Unconfirmed Suspicious Activity. A man putting his arms around a goat.

GK: I'll go check it out right away. (BRIDGE) I headed for the exits — I'd had enough of the Fair — but who should I see on the way out but that leech salesman. (TK BARKER, OFF) He had a booth over by the Horticulture Building.

TK (BARKER ON SMALL P.A.): If you're feeling tired, gloomy, rundown, why not try leeches. Giant bloodsucking leeches can relieve excess pressure when your bodily fluids are out of balance. They're just 50 cents apiece. Costs less than going to a movie.

GK: Hey, you—

TK (BARKER): What?

GK: I'm from the FDA, mister.

TK (BARKER): Oh yeah?

GK: Yeah. The Fearless Detective Agency. Take that— (THEY FIGHT, SWINGING, BIG KA-POWS, OOFS.) He had me down on the ground and he was just about to stick this big slimy gray thing on me when an old man came by with a walker—

TR (OLD MAN): Hey, what's going on?

GK: Cheese curds!

TR (OLD MAN): Cheese curds?

GK: Rah rah rah for Ski U Mah.


GK: And in two seconds, there were about twenty elderly people on the scene (GEEZER CRIES) and they were whacking that guy with their walkers (FIGHT SCENE, GEEZERS, WHACKING) and rockets were going off (ROCKETS) and I was out of there, on a bus headed for downtown. Got off and walked into the Five Spot and there was Jimmy behind the bar.

TR (JIMMY): Hey Guy— how's it going?

GK: Oh, about the same. Can't complain. TR (JIMMY): Smells like you've been to the State Fair.

GK: Yeah, I dropped in for a few hours.

TR (JIMMY): So how was it?

GK: Aww, you know. Same old Fair. Never changes. (THEME)

SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but on the 12th 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)

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).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy