Guy Noir script
Saturday, April 8, 2006
Listen

(GUY NOIR THEME)

Tim Russell: 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 UP AND OUT)

Garrison Keillor: It was spring in Minnesota, that time of year when an old man's fancy turns to thoughts of the importance of roughage in the diet. My cleaning lady Georgia had come after a six-month absence and so the office was looking good.

Sue Scott (DEEP): Some of those dust balls under the couch — they were moving, Guy — I could swear they were alive. Anyway, you owe me sixty bucks. Okay?

GK: Right. — I thought we were going to work out some sort of barter arrangement.

SS (DEEP): Barter?

GK: Right. I do some work for you—

SS (DEEP): You're going to clean my apartment?

GK: No, no. I'd do some snooping for you. Find out what you need to find out. Maybe locate somebody for you.

SS (DEEP): Yeah, how about you take both hands and locate your rear end and find your wallet, huh? Sixty bucks. (BRIDGE)

GK: Paying Georgia meant I wasn't able to put gas in the car and go over to Minneapolis for Vinaigrette Days, which my ex-girlfriend Sugar had invited me to.

SS (SUGAR, ON PHONE): I want you to meet Alan, Guy. He's the new man in my life. He's wonderful.

GK: Lovely. I'm happy for you.

SS (SUGAR, ON PHONE): He travels all over the country putting on food festivals. Vinaigrette Days in Minneapolis and next week we'll be in Florida for the Finger Food Festival and then Cleveland, Mississippi, for Dessert Days. He's so creative. And he's so smart and funny and positive and good-looking. And he's taught me to dance the tango.

GK: Well, he sounds wonderful.

SS (SUGAR, ON PHONE): So how are you, Guy? Have you met anyone?

GK: Oh yeah. Sure, yeah. Didn't I tell you about Megan? She's a swimsuit model and a CPA and her father owns a liquor store.

SS (SUGAR, ON PHONE): Very funny. I almost laughed.

GK: Anyway, I can't make it to Vinaigrette Days — I just got too much going on. You know.

SS (SUGAR, ON PHONE): Yeah, like what for example?

GK: Lot of things. Very hush hush. I can't talk about it, Sugar. The big wheels are cutting some deals and anybody who talks, he comes home in a box, if you get my drift.

SS (SUGAR, ON PHONE): Yeah, right. (BRIDGE)

GK: The truth was, I didn't have anything going on. Zero. Zilch. Squat. A big goose egg. Until the lady from Brad Paisley's office came by.

SS: Mr. Noir, I'm Lenore Pruitt, and I am with the Brad Paisley organization— you are familiar with Mr. Paisley.

GK: Yes, of course. Country music star. One of those country singers who actually sounds country. Hear him all the time on the radio. Guy in a big white hat.

SS: Recording is just part of the picture, Mr. Noir. Brad is also the top-selling recording artist in the field of cellphone tones.

GK: I see.

SS: You know. Your cellphone rings and instead of a ring it plays music and the music tells you who's calling.

GK: I don't get it.

SS: Here— listen. (GUITAR CHORD)

Brad Paisley (SINGS): It's your wife. Your soulmate, the love of your life. Think ha

Rich Dworsky: why were you out so late? Who were you with? Where did you go? Make sure you get the details straight.

GK: So that's on your cellphone?

SS: Yeah. You've got one for each person who calls you often. Like your boss, for example. (GUITAR CHORD)

BP (SINGS): Hey hoss—it's your boss. Son of a gun— what have you done? You're in trouble with the suits. Kneel down and start shining boots.

GK: So you know from the ring who's calling you?

SS: Exactly. Family members. People at work. Friends. You can have a customized tone for each one. Like this. (GUITAR CHORD)

BP (SINGS): It's your buddy Bruce. Better think of an excuse. Tell him your wife is mad and won't let you go. Which might be the truth you know.

GK: So how many of these can you get on one phone?

SS: Hundreds. Have one for your mother, your dotty old uncle, your neighbor— this is one for your teenage daughter. (GUITAR CHORD)

BP (SINGS): It's your daughter. Take a big deep breath. Stay calm. Don't yell. Be wise — just like the Bible saith.

GK: Well, that's interesting. What can I do for you, Miss Pruitt?

SS: Brad is involved in so many things right now — recording, publishing, petrochemicals, iron ore mining — but his big dream is to direct a movie. And that's what he's doing right now.

GK: Good.

SS: It's a $221 million World War II epic about a West Virginia boy named Dennis Day who is in the Army and he takes part in the invasion of Normandy and his name stenciled on his jacket is D. Day and he sees this and he realizes that it's an omen and he's going to become a star and as he goes ashore, he's carrying a guitar instead of a rifle and he's writing a song and a German bullet blows a hole in the fingerboard and he puts his finger over the hole and he plays a chord he's never played before and then he's captured by the Germans and a Colonel Machenspracht hears him sing and he has a friend in Nashville and that's how the kid gets his start in the music business.

GK: And that's the story?

SS: It's got a lot of action scenes. It's very exciting.

GK: So how can I help?

SS: He needs an assistant director. Somebody to yell at people and tell them to shape up or else. You see, Mr. Paisley suffers from a politeness problem. As a result, we've got six thousand people milling around the middle of North Dakota waiting to be told what to do.

GK: He's shooting the invasion of Normandy in North Dakota?

SS: They can do a lot with computer graphics these days. (BRIDGE)

GK: So I flew to Grand Forks. The Red River was at flood stage (MEN'S VOICES, BUSY. CONSTRUCTION. SAW, HAMMER. BULLDOZER. WALKIE-TALKIE.) That was going to be the Atlantic ocean. They were building the set. And overhead the dive bombers were rehearsing. (DIVE BOMBER) And there was Mr. Paisley setting up a scene. (FOOTSTEPS)

SS: Brad, it's Guy Noir— he just arrived—

BP: Mr. Noir, thanks so much for coming. I appreciate it.

GK: You're welcome. Glad to do it.

BP: I guess Miss Pruitt told you what we need here.

GK: She said you need somebody to be the bad guy and yell at people.

BP: Yeah. I just wasn't brought up to do that, you know. I come from a Please and Thank You sort of family. I go to restaurants and I have to ask the waitress to tell me that I'm excused and I can leave the table.

GK: Somehow I thought that country singers were rough and tumble and like to pick people up by their collars and whup em.

BP: You can hurt your fingers by whupping.

GK: Oh yeah?

BP: I've known guys who did some whupping and they woke up the next morning and picked up a guitar and they couldn't form a G chord.

GK: You don't say.

BP: And if you can't play a guitar, how can you be a country singer?

GK: Good question.

BP: You get to whupping people, and bust a finger, first thing you'll be standing on stage in a tuxedo holding the microphone in your hand and singing "My Way".

GK: Not a good move.

BP: My fans wouldn't go for that.

GK: Probably not.

BP: So I need you to yell at people for me.

GK: It'd be my pleasure.

BP: We've got two-hundred-twenty-one million dollars riding on this picture and if it bombs, I'm going to have to go back to driving around in a camper and playing in roadhouses and selling my CDs off the front of the stage out of a cardboard box.

GK: I'll do my best for you, Mr. Paisley.

BP: Okay— this is the scene where Dennis Day gets separated from his unit and he arrives at the French farmhouse and they take him in and hide him in the cellar and, as it turns out, the old farmer used to play with Django Reinhardt, so he and Dennis Day are playing music and then you walk in— Dorothy—

SS: Right. I walk in with the chicken under my arm.

BP: And you're an exchange student from Wheeling, West Virginia, who got trapped here by the war and you've been fighting with the French Resistance and you and Dennis Day find out that his grandmother was your aunt Rhody's best friend in high school.

SS: Right. And I say, "Do you know a song called 'Go Tell Aunt Rhody'"

BP: Exactly. And that's where we're going to start — you've just said that — and there's artillery and bombing outside and he and Henri are playing 'Go Tell Aunt Rhody' and there's a knock at the door and it's the Gestapo and Colonel Machenspracht comes in and hears the song and immediately he is moved and he puts his pistol back in the holster and he breaks down, weeping.

TR: And then what?

BP: Well—

TR: I've got an idea. How about I come through the door and I yell (GERMAN OUTBURST) and then I see the guitars and I laugh, like this (GERMAN LAUGHTER) and I get up on top of the table and I do a little dance. And I sing. (GERMAN SINGING) —

BP: Well— I can see that— sure— that could be interesting.

GK: Brad? Excuse me.

BP: What?

GK: A word with you over here, Brad. (FOOTSTEPS) Listen— pal— a word to the wise: never ask an actor what he wants to do.

BP: No?

GK: Bad idea. Actors are always going to think up a bigger part for themselves. And while you're talking about this, you've got six-thousand extras out there in costume ready to do D-Day. Just feeding them and housing them is costing you a half-million a day.

BP: Okay.

GK: You've got to be firm. You want me to tell people what you want, fine, I can do that. Okay?

BP: Okay. (FOOTSTEPS AND STOP) Okay, if it's all right with you guys, let's try rehearsing the scene, okay? Cue the artillery. (TK SERIES OF RELAY COMMANDS) Cue the dive bombers. (TK SERIES OF RELAY COMMANDS) Okay— action. (ARTILLERY, DIVE BOMBERS, MACHINE GUNS, OFF)

SS: Do you know a song called "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" by any chance, Mr. Day?

Pat Donohue: Call me Dennis.

SS: Okay, I will.

PD: "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" was one of Django Reinhardt's big hits, if I remember correctly, Henri—

TR: (LONG FRENCH)

PD: What did he say, Dorothy?

SS: I believe he said that his wife is inside a suitcase at the train station.

PD: Well, let's play it for her, Henri. (GO TELL AUNT RHODY, FAST SWING VERSION)

(POUNDING ON DOOR)

SS: Oh dear— someone must know we're here. (CHICKEN FLURRY) By the sound of those large hairy fists on the door, I am almost certain that they intend us ill. Come, let us flee through the secret tunnel. (WOOD BREAKAGE) Oh oh. Too late.

TR (GERMAN) (FOOT STOMPS, THEN STOP) Go Tell Aunt Rhody! Ach, mein herz! (GERMAN EMOTION, THEN SOBBING)

BP: Okay! Cut! Beautiful. That was really good.

SS: Would you mind if when I say, "Come let us flee through the secret tunnel" — I say, "Come let us create a beautiful secret place in this violent world where music and creativity can thrive and where the human spirit cannot be extinguished"?

BP: Well— is that what you feel your character would be saying?

GK: Brad— we need to talk. (BRIDGE)

(HUBBUB OF VOICES)

Tom Keith (ON BULLHORN): Okay— this is the big invasion scene, so I want everybody to listen up— unit A— to the boats! (MARCHING FEET) Unit B— take your positions in the water. (MARCHING FEET)

TR: Cue the landing craft! (SS RELAY ORDERS)

GK: Everybody's in position, Brad. Ready for your cue.

BP: Okay, this is the big one, people. Everything is riding on this. We've got a hundred planes in the air. Artillery. Tanks. Machine guns. Mortars. And meanwhile, you, sir, are driving your little red Peugeot along the beach with your arm around her —

TR (FRENCH): Oui, oui. Would it be all right if I sing to her during the scene?

BP: Is that what you feel your character would be doing?

TR (FRENCH): Yes, I think he should be singing "La vie en rose".

BP: Okay, fine.

GK: Brad—

BP: So if you want to get in the car now—

SS (FRENCH): Do you want me in this yellow dress?

BP: I think so. Why? Is there a problem?

SS (FRENCH): I just feel that with the red car, the yellow dress is going to be— (FRENCH DERISION)

GK: Brad—

BP: Well, if you'd rather be wearing something else—

SS (FRENCH): I was thinking something more orange.

BP: That's fine.

GK: Brad, you've got planes in the air...artillery...

BP: I just want to do this right...

GK: Of course, but — there are men in the boats...

BP: Art is in the details.

GK: Yes, but you've got an army out there—

BP: You think orange? Or what about green?

SS (FRENCH): I'm just not sure what my motivation is here. Where am I going with him in the red car? Who are we?

GK: Lady, you're in the background. You don't need motivation.

SS (FRENCH): I need to know who I am and why I am with him.

GK: You're with him because we're telling you you're with him.

SS (FRENCH): Are we a romantic couple? Or just friends? Or what?

GK: Listen. Shut up and get in the car.

TR (FRENCH): You can't speak to her like that. "Shut up"? What way is that to talk?

GK: Listen, if you're looking for a whupping, I'm the one to do it.

BP: No, but I think this is a very valid point she's making. Yes, they are in the background, but in a way, they represent the normal world of the everyday, so I think —

GK: Brad—

BP: What?

GK: Duck— (DIVE BOMBER. ARTILLERY. HUBBUB. BIG EXPLOSIONS) (BRIDGE) I was up in North Dakota for a month and I yelled at people for awhile and then it seemed pointless so I just stood around watching the chaos. He was a very nice man, I'll say that for him. The movie came out, and it was called "The Girl In The Green Dress," and it was four hours long and it opened in six theaters, and it closed after a week, and a week after that I got a check for $500 for my services and it bounced. Oh well. And a year later I walked into the Five Spot. (MUSIC BRIDGE. DOOR OPEN, JINGLE, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS.)

TR (JIMMY): Hey Guy

GK: Jimmy how's everything

TR (JIMMY): Not so bad. You?

GK: Aw, just got those old springtime blues.

TR (JIMMY): Yeah, I know what you mean.

(BAND STRIKES UP)

GK: Hey, who's the guy at the microphone?

TR (JIMMY): He's a singer.

GK: I didn't know you had live music in here.

TR (JIMMY): Usually we don't, but — he seemed kind of hard up, so—

BP (SINGS): Please help me I'm falling
From a high point
Cause I made a movie
That stank out the joint.
The critics were savage—
They skinned me alive.
So please buy my CDs
For six ninety-five.

(BAND VAMPING UNDER)

GK: I used to know him, Jimmy. I worked with him once on a movie.

TR (JIMMY): What happened?

GK: He had a vocal problem. He was soft-spoken. Too nice.

TR (JIMMY): There's a lot of that going around now.

GK: He had lovely manners and look where they got him.

TR (JIMMY): You've gotta be ready to whup people if you want to get ahead in this world.

GK: Yeah, but you could bust a finger and then you wouldn't be able to stir a martini the way it needs to be stirred.

TR (JIMMY): Well, you got a point there.

BP (SINGS): I was doing good singing
And I had great respect
But my big ambition
Was to direct.
I grabbed for the brass ring
And fell on my face.
Could you buy me dinner?
Could I sleep at your place?

(BAND VAMPING UNDER)

GK: Here, I'll buy one of those CDs. Here's a ten. Keep the change.

BP: Thanks. Appreciate it.

GK: You sound great —

BP: Thanks. Your face is sure familiar.

GK: Yeah. I get that a lot. — You write this song yourself?

BP: I didn't write it, mister. I lived it.

(SINGING): I was making a movie
Had my name on a chair.
Had publicity people
Had beautiful hair.
And then came the premiere
And I had to leave town.
When you reach the top, boys,
There is no way but down.

When you reach the top, boys,
There is no way but down.

(THEME)

TR: A dark night in the city that keeps its secrets, where one guy is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions Guy Noir, Private Eye. (MUSIC 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