FBI script
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Listen

Garrison Keillor: It's been a long time since I was here in San Francisco and there is a reason I stayed away. I love the city, don't get me wrong, but whenever I've been here, people come up to me on the street and say—

Sue Scott: I know you, don't I? (TRAFFIC PASSING) Your face is so familiar.

GK: Oh?

SS: You're famous for something. What is it?

Tim Russell: Let the man be. He's suffered enough.

SS: I know you. You're Carson Wyler, aren't you— (STING)

GK: I became famous years ago when I was indicted for making false statements in a memoir. It was entitled Embarcadero Days and it's painful, a wound that will never heal— (TR FADING IN)

TR: Look at the jury, Mr. Wyler. Is it not true that you claimed to be from San Francisco, the son of a post-impressionist painter and lived near the Presidio? Yes, you did. And the fact is: you were born in Minnesota —it wasn't the Presidio, it was the prairie! And your father was not a post-impressionist, he was a postal worker. Is that not true, Mr. Wyler? (STING)

GK: Why did I do it? Lie about being from San Francisco, just to make myself seem hip? (STING) And then the conviction. (GAVEL BANG)

SS: Take him away. (BAILIFFS JABBER)

GK: And the ferry ride out to the Rock. (BOAT HORN, DISTANT ANSWERING HORN, SEAGULLS) Alcatraz. Cellblock 9. (BIG STEEL DOORS CLANG SHUT) It was the literary section of Alcatraz, what the cons called Writers Block. And my roommate was Truman Capote.

TR (CAPOTE): They say that In Cold Blood included dialogue that I couldn't possibly have known about and that I never acknowledged the big part that Harper Lee played in writing it. Well, fiddle de dee. Who cares what they think?

GK: It was rough at the Rock. No pencil or paper. You could only write by taking a toenail clipping and scratching the words into (SCRATCHING) the bottom of your tin plate. A lot of novelists became haiku poets.

TR (RICO): The blue herons......rise from the field of yellow blossoms. My heart is full.

Fred Newman (THUG): Hey. You call that a haiku? That ain't no haiku.

TR (RICO): Oh yeah?

FN: Yeah.

TR: Who says?

FN: Me. Benny. A haiku's got nineteen syllables. Not seventeen. Nineteen.

TR: You're full of it.

FN: Nineteen.

TR: Seventeen, you big phony.

FN: Who's callin' who a phony?

TR: Why you— (THEY SLUG IT OUT) (BRIDGE)

SS (DEEP): Wyler— I'm your therapist, Beatrice. Sit down on your bunk and tell me about your childhood.

GK: My therapist? But why do you have that length of rubber hose in your hand?

SS (DEEP): This is Alcatraz, Wyler. Therapy is different here. Tell me about your childhood and don't leave anything out. You hear? (BRIDGE)

GK: Back in my childhood in Minnesota, I listened to radio day and night, up in my room, on an Atwater Kent table model radio and it was all fiction, beautiful fiction.

(ORGAN THEME)

TR: And now.....Beanies, the nutritious breakfast cereal made from soybeans, brings you THE ADVENTURES OF SYDNEY GOLDSTEIN, LITERARY PRODUCER .......(ORGAN UP, AND UNDER) ...... Join us as we continue the story of a slender but emphatic woman, working from her office at Acme Arts & Lectures to fight for justice and the American Way.

(PHONE RING).

SS: Acme Arts and Lectures? .... Mr. Thoreau? (VOICE AT THE OTHER END). Thanks for calling back. Mr. Thoreau, I want you and Gore Vidal, Al Gore, Leslie Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, Greta Garbo, Gary Trudeau, Marcel Marceau, Marilyn Monroe, Larry, Curly and Moe, Beau Bridges, and you, Mr. Thoreau, for a show in San Francisco.

(STING AND BRIDGE)

GK: I was helplessly addicted to radio. I listened to one show after another. I loved them all.

(HOMEY ORGAN THEME)

SS (MOM): Walll-leeeeee! Wally Pickle!!!

TR: Yes, once again it's THE PICKLE FAMILY. And once again Sweetheart Condensed Milk takes you to the little stucco bungalow at 96 Sunshine Lane where Wally is standing in the front hallway, looking through the phone book.

FN (TEEN): Molly Perkins......45 Elm Street.......Aldrich 4147.......O gosh. I'm so nervous. What if she isn't home?

SS (MOM, OFF): Wally!!!! Come join us in the living room!!! Dad and I are having big martinis and saying nasty things about the Eisenhower administration.

FN (TEEN): In a moment, Mother!!! (DIALING ROTARY PHONE) Molly's family is so normal. Not like my extreme liberal parents at all. (PHONE RING AT OTHER END)

SS (MOM, OFF): Come, Wally!! Daddy is going to read to us from The Nation magazine!

(PICK UP AT OTHER END)

TR (MOM, ON PHONE): Perkins residence. Mrs. Perkins speaking.

FN (TEEN): Mrs. Perkins, it's Wally. Wally Pickle.

TR (MOM, ON PHONE): Wally!! How good to hear your voice!! We were just discussing you at the American Legion Auxiliary meeting today.

FN (TEEN): Oh? Really?

TR (MOM, ON PHONE): We were wondering if you could lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance at Flag Day this year.

FN (TEEN): Oh, gosh. Gee, I'd love to. But what if my parents found out? They'd be peeved, to put it mildly!!! (STING, AND BRIDGE)

GK: Real life held little appeal for me. Anoka, Minnesota, was a lumbering town, and when I say "lumbering," I mean large men moving slowly. (JOWLY MURMURS) Cars stopped at stoplights, pedestrians crossed, the Do Not Walk sign came on, the pedestrians stood on the corner and waited. That kind of a town. If you looked at a dog and said, Sit, it sat. (WOOF) Paperboys threw the paper up on the porch (BIKE PASSING, FLIGHT OF PAPER, THUMP) and the stories were always positive and upbeat, and nobody was ever late to school. (SCHOOL BELL) We all sat in our seats, hands folded, hair neatly combed and parted, and our schoolwork was done on time. Except mine.

SS (TEACHER): Carson, you haven't filled in your state capitals. Why not?

GK: I've been sick, Mrs. Moehlenbrock.

SS (TEACHER): Oh? What seems to be the matter?

GK: I'm hopelessly addicted to radio. I'm a radiohead. I can't get enough of it.

(WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE, THEN FADE)

TR: A sense of remorse, a need to be polite, and a hearty 'Goodness gracious!' The Old Lutheran!" (WILLIAM TELL, CONT'D) Return with us now to the plains of Nebraska and the thrilling days of yesteryear.... The Old Lutheran Rides Again! (ENGINE OF OLD PICKUP TRUCK REVS)

TR (OLD): Come on, Betsy!!! Don't quit on me now!!! Gotta get to town before the ACLU comes and shuts down the Christmas concert— (PICKUP TRUCK DRIVES PAST)

SS: Who was that man with the scarf covering his fae?

FN: Him? That was....The Old Lutheran! (MUSIC OFF)

GK: I lay in bed pretending to be sick (DRY COUGH) and listening to show after show. My favorite show was on Sunday night....

(BIG MARTIAL STING)

TR: I WAS AN A UNITARIAN FOR THE F.B.I. (sfx: SQUEAL OF TIRES, CORNERING. GUNSHOTS)

(SECOND BIG STING)

TR: The true story of Eddie Taconic who for nine long years went undercover as a Unitarian for the F.B.I...... (BIG STING) Spreading its tentacles across America, the Unitarian conspiracy reaches into every city and town, and so the Federal Bureau of Investigation persuaded young Eddie Taconic to go undercover....to parrot the secular humanist line.....even though it broke the hearts of his parents.

SS (SOBBING): Why? Why have you turned against us? Why, Eddie?

GK: My own Ma and I couldn't tell her. That was the hard part. I had to keep my cover.

TR (DAD): Come to the revival meeting tonight. Please.

GK: There is no Trinity, Dad. (THEY GASP) It's all a fake, don't you see?

SS: I never dreamed I'd hear my own son say these words.

TR (DAD): You've betrayed us. Going off on those peace marches! Picketing government offices! You're a disgrace, Eddie! Leave us! We'll never speak your name in this house again! (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSE) (FOOTSTEPS)

FN: This way, Eddie— I got a car waiting for you over here. (FOOTSTEPS).

GK: Okay Charlie.

FN: You look like your crying - you okay?

GK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

FN: Here's the car, Eddie. (CAR PULLS UP AND STOPS, DOOR OPENS) Good luck.

TR (NIXON): Get in, Eddie.

GK: Why— it's Vice-President Richard Nixon—

TR (NIXON): Don't worry. I'm not a crook. (HE CHUCKLES) Get in. (DOOR CLOSES, CAR PULLS AWAY). How's it going, Eddie?

(INTERIOR OF MOVING CAR)

GK: My parents are old, Mr. Vice-President. They're good Baptist people, just like me. But they think I've lost my faith. It's killing them.

TR (NIXON): Someday the world will know that — you helped us defeat the Unitarian conspiracy to eliminate Christmas and indoctrinate schoolchildren with liberal values--

GK: Somehow I was hoping to do more with my life.

TR (NIXON): Like what, Eddie?

GK: I was hoping to go on the radio someday and say funny things that make people laugh and bring happiness into their lives.

TR (NIXON): Funny things like what, Eddie?

GK: Like the penguin joke.

TR (NIXON): Is this going to be a rip-snorter? If so, I'd better pull over (CAR PULLS OVER AND STOPS) so I don't lose control and run into a lamppost. Okay. Go ahead.

GK: Well, there were two penguins standing on an ice floe, and one of them said, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo," and the other said, "What makes you think I'm not?" (PAUSE)

TR (NIXON): That's it? That's the joke?

GK: Yes.

TR (NIXON): I think you make a better Unitarian than a comedian, Eddie. Come on— (BRIDGE, AND UP)

GK: I spent so much time listening to radio that my reading skills deteriorated and I was unable to graduate from high school—

FN: We're putting you in a special class, Carson. We'll be teaching you a useful vocation. You can either study metalworking, or assembly line, or building maintenance, or excavation — or radio.

GK: Radio???? I can go into radio???

FN: Yes. It's a vocation that requires very little in the way of literacy or small motor skills. Mainly the ability to project an inane cheerfulness no matter what.

GK: I can do that! I'm sure I can! (BRIDGE) So I went into radio. Just about the time radio went to pieces. All the old shows died and in their place came DJs playing one record after another.....

TR (TOP 40): NUMBER TWENTY-FOUR ON TODAY'S COUNTDOWN......(RADIO SFX, BELLS, SIREN, ETC)......IT'S THE PERCALES! SINGING......"PUT YOUR SHOES IN MY CLOSET".....

(FN SAXOPHONE PICKUP AND INTRO....)

SS (SINGING, DIANA ROSS-LIKE): Put your shoes in my closet.....put your socks in my drawer......put your head on my pillow......and please don't snore. (FN FALSETTO: and please don't snore .......) (MUSIC UNDER.....)

GK: It was all gone, the cowboys, the private eyes, the glamour, the suspense, done in by greedy capitalists who sucked all the life out of radio and gave us the pablum we call broadcasting today. And that's what drove me to write a memoir that was a tissue of lies.....about San Francisco (FOGHORN) and growing up in North Beach in a coffee shop (ESPRESSO SEQUENCE) in a neighborhood of Italians (TR ITALIAN) and my dad a post-impressionist painter—

FN (DEEP, SLOW): Hey. Far out. (THWOP OF WET PAINT AT CANVAS) Blue. Love it. (MORE THWOPS) Groovy.

GK: And then I found that you can listen to all of those old radio shows again on the Internet. All of the hours I wasted as a child are now available for me to waste again.

(MILITANT THEME)

TR: I WAS A UNITARIAN FOR THE FBI (STING)

GK: I sit and I listen to Amos and Andy (

TR: Hey, what you still hangin around heah for, Amos? I thought you and Andy was going up to the Lodge to git away from Miz Sapphire.) and I listen to Fibber McGee and Molly (TR: I'll just look in the closet here, Molly— SS: McGee! Don't open that door! VERY LONG SUSTAINED JUNK SPILLAGE WITH SPINNING HUBCAP AT END) and Jack Benny (FN: Your money or your life? TR BENNY: I'm thinking about it.) I It's pathetic, a guy living for radio, but it's all I have.

(FOGHORN) (CHORDS)

TR: They were successful writers until they violated the law and wrote untruths and they found themselves here......on The Rock.....in a special wing all their own. (FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE, ECHOING) Welcome to— Writers' Block. (BIG DOOR SLAMS SHUT) (FOOTSTEPS)

FN: In there, Wyler. Meet your new roommate. (DOOR SLAM)

TR: (SWEDISH)

GK: Can I have a radio?

FN: Here. Be my guest.

GK: Let's see what on....(TUNING DIAL)

(FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE, ECHOING)

TR: Welcome to— Writers' Block. (BIG DOOR SLAMS SHUT) (FOOTSTEPS)

FN: In there, Wyler. Meet your new roommate. (DOOR SLAM)

TR: SWEDISH

GK: Can I have a radio?

FN: Here. Be my guest.

GK: Let's see what on....(TUNING DIAL)

(BAND BUTTON)

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»

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