Guy Noir script
Saturday, April 21, 2007
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Tim Russell (ANNC): 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 FADE)

Garrison Keillor: It was April, and spring came suddenly. On April 15. And in a carefree devil-may-care mood I filed for an extension on my income tax. And hoped for an extension on my income, too. It'd been slow in the investigative field until the phone rang yesterday (RING TWICE, PICK UP) Yeah. Noir here.

Sue Scott (ON PHONE): It's Emily Nesbitt from the "Radio Rodeo" show, Mr. Noir? Are you familiar with it?

GK: Of course. Saturday nights. Ole and Lena jokes and folk music. I used to listen to it back when I was convalescing from sunstroke. Is that show still on? Really?

SS (ON PHONE): It is but it may not be for long. Verb Darnell is missing.

GK: The longtime host of Radio Rodeo. The man with the slow voice.

SS (ON PHONE): That's him. He's disappeared. We checked with his rooming house and they say he left this morning.

GK: You sure it was him?

SS (ON PHONE): Tall guy, black suit, long face, red shoes.

GK: Sounds like him.

SS (ON PHONE): I'm worried about him. He's rather delicate. And he needs to take his medications.

GK: What's the problem?

SS (ON PHONE): He's an obsessive singer. If he gets off his meds, he starts singing the score of "West Side Story".

GK: Could be a problem. I'll do my best, Miss Nesbitt. (BRIDGE) I had a hunch that maybe one of Mr. Darnell's competitors might've done him in, so I dropped by the offices of the Glass Radio Corporation in the Glass House, a twenty-story luxury office tower, and I made my way (VOICES IN PASSING, CHECKING, GREETING WARILY) through a maze of security personnel and ID checks, receptionists, secretaries, production assistants, and producers, until finally (SUCTION CUPS) climbing up the exterior of the building with suction cups on my hands and feet I reached the office of the broadcasting tycoon, Ira Glass. Who doesn't look like he sounds on the radio. Older. And he's bald. Lots of gold chains. Cigar. (KNOCKING ON GLASS) He saw me there and motioned me toward his terrace (SUCTION CUPS) and I made it over there just as I was running out of suction.

TR (IRA GLASS): This is great. A guy climbing my building. Suction cups. Interesting choice. Fantastic. I'd love to do a story on you. We'll use it in our show on spiders. Or our show on pathetic desperate gestures that never pan out. One or the other. Anyway...

GK: I'm looking for the veteran radio host, Verb Darnell, Mr. Glass. Something tells me that you may have an idea where he went.

TR (IRA GLASS): Verb Darnell? How would I know? I never listen to that show. It's for people over fifty. My show is aimed at people in their twenties. The Internet generation. People who listen to my show while watching TV, writing e-mail, and talking on the phone. It's a whole other crowd. (HE TALKS INTO BRIDGE)

GK: People in their twenties. Maybe it was one of them. Young people trying to get a toehold in the radio business, seeing this helpless old guy on anti-vocal medication, and they kidnap him and come in to audition for his job. I headed for Coyote Radio. (BRIDGE)

SS: Thank goodness you got here, Mr. Noir. Ever since word got around that Verb Darnell was missing, people've been applying for his job—We have six in there now -

GK: The newspaper didn't report the kidnapping, so —one those six must be the perpetrator. (STING)

SS: You're swift today, Mr. Noir.

GK: Just doing my job, ma'am. I'm going in there and don't let anybody out until I know who did this. (STING) (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. DOUBLE LOCKS) Ladies and gentlemen, I am the program director here at Coyote, and we're going to audition hosts for the "Radio Rodeo" show to replace Verb Darnell, and how about we start with you—

ZARA & EMILY: Us?

GK: Sure. Why not. Let's start out by having you sing the famous "Radio Rodeo" theme song, okay? (PIANO)

ZARA & EMILY (SING):
When it's hog calling time on the prairie
Then it's hog calling time on the prairie
For it's hog calling time on the prairie
Cause it's hog calling time on the prairie.

GK: You sing that so well, a person might think you've been practicing...

ZARA & EMILY: Didn't need to. We've been listening to that show since we were young uns. Our daddy listened and so did we. Why every time we'd hear old Verb say Howdeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee — we'd just perk right up and reach for the molasses.

GK: There's something not quite genuine about you two.

ZARA & EMILY: We just want to continue on in Verb's footsteps and try to help people get along with each other and make the world a better place for all of God's creatures.

GK: Oh yeah? Where were you on Friday morning at approximately 11:45? Anywhere near the corner of Oak Street and Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway? Huh?

ZARA & EMILY: Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin. Is that named for the town of Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin in Maine? The one on the Penobscot Peninsula?

GK: I don't know. No idea.— How about you, sir? Let me hear you sing the theme song...

JARYD:
When it's hog calling time on the prairie
Then it's hog calling time on the prairie
For it's hog calling time on the prairie
Cause it's hog calling time on the prairie.

GK: Where you from, son? You're not from around here.

JARYD: Louisiana's my home but that ribbon of highway is my home, the highway that goes everywhere and nowhere. I'm a restless fugitive just trying to put more distance between me and something back there that's just too painful to discuss. Something from when I was a young un.

GK: Kind of a philosopher, huh? You wouldn't by any chance have been around Oak Street and Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway in the past 24 hours?

JARYD: Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin...how do you spell that?

GK: Answer the question, mister.

JARYD: No.

GK: Well, we'll see about that. — How about you?

POWDER KEG: Want us to sing that theme song? Okay.

POWDER KEG SING:
When it's hog calling time on the prairie
Then it's hog calling time on the prairie
For it's hog calling time on the prairie
Cause it's hog calling time on the prairie.

GK: Says here you're Ivy League and yet you go for bluegrass.

POWDER: If George Bush can do it, so can we.

GK: What you want to get on the radio for?

POWDER: We want to take our music to a wider audience and we want to cultivate brand loyalty in that wider audience so that they cannot live without our music and other products that we have to sell.

GK: So you want to earn a lot of money.

POWDER: We have college loans to pay off.

GK: All right. And you're fans of the show?

POWDER: Ever since we were young 'uns.

GK: I don't think there's any such thing as young uns in upstate New York, is there? I believe the word would be youths.

POWDER: Our business model says to say young uns. It played well with focus groups.

GK: Ever been around Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway recently?

POWDER: Where is Piscadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway?

GK: It's near Penobscot Place.

POWDER: Never heard of it.

GK: Okay. How about you guys?

KARG BROS: We just want to go on doing what Verb was doing and bring a little sunshine into the lives of listeners who suffer from chronic moodiness.

GK: You listened to the show?

KARG BROS: Since we were young uns. We were angry young uns and at the treatment center they made us listen to it.

GK: And it cured you?

KARG BROS: It helped focus our anger.

GK: Try the theme song. KARG BROS SING:
When it's hog calling time on the prairie
Then it's hog calling time on the prairie
For it's hog calling time on the prairie
Cause it's hog calling time on the prairie.

GK: Not bad. And where were you on Friday at 11:30? Near the corner of Oak Street and Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway? Huh?

KARG BROS: We've never been anywhere near Oak Street and Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway. We seldom go outdoors. Light changes give us really big mood swings.

GK: You sure about that?

KARG BROS: We wouldn't even know where Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway is.

GK: Okay, Next.

DAISY MAY & SETH:
When it's hog calling time on the prairie
Then it's hog calling time on the prairie
For it's hog calling time on the prairie
Cause it's hog calling time on the prairie.

GK: Not bad. So I suppose you've been listening to Verb Darnell since you were little, too.

DAISY MAY & SETH: Nope.

GK: Or since you were young uns.

DAISY MAY & SETH: Never heard it before in our lives.

GK: What makes you want to be on the radio?

DAISY MAY & SETH: Because we're tired of living at home and doing podcasts from our bedroom. Playing music for tiny audiences of 20-year-olds who all think they're more talented than you are and they send you flaming e-mails and try to hack your website and take it down. People who say they're your friends on MySpace and then they turn on you and give you bad reviews. People our age are mean, Mr. Noir. We want to reach out to older folks. Like our grandpa. He loved our music. Deaf as a post but he loved it. Loved everything we did. Unfortunately he died when we were young uns. So— we want to get into broadcasting.

GK: So let me ask you—

DAISY MAY & SETH: You're wondering if we were on Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway Friday morning at 11:30.

GK: Around 11:30...

DAISY MAY & SETH: No, we weren't.

GK: Okay. How about you?

CHRIS: What about me?

GK: Sing the theme song.

CHRIS: I don't want to.

GK: Sing it.

CHRIS: Let's see you make me.

GK: I'm not going to ask twice, mister. Sing it. If you know what's good for you.

CHRIS: (SINGS)
It's time to feed the pigs on the prairie
So they can get rather huge
Then we'll shoot them in the head with a rifle
And cut em into pieces for you.

GK: A protest singer, eh?

CHRIS: Who wouldn't be in this lousy world you and your generation left us?

GK: Me?

CHRIS: You and all the other narcissistic oppressors like you in the boomer generation. Destroying a planet so you can live in ease and comfort. You disgust me.

GK: Where were you on Friday at 11:30? Near the corner of Oak Street and Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway?

CHRIS: Nobody but unprincipled preppies and prosperous prepubescent Presbyterians over on Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway.

GK: That's easy for you to say.

CHRIS: I want to host "Radio Rodeo" so I can change this world, mister.

GK: Maybe you should lower your sights and just try to change a little bit of it. Such as the part along Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway.

CHRIS: Don't be preposterous.

TR (OFF): Did somebody mention Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin Parkway?

GK: Why...it's Verb Darnell.

SS: Verb!!! What happened?? We were worried sick!

GK: You look like somebody hit you upside the head, Mr. Darnell.

SS: You almost missed your show! Where were you?

TR (SLOWLY, MIDWEST): Well... I've got this new phone I bought that is really nifty, especially this GPS function, but I didn't realize it was programmed for the southern hemisphere so it was opposite of the way I ought to go, so I was heading north, instead of south, which was where I wanted to be going...(HE CONTINUES...FOOTSTEPS)

GK: I left Mr. Darnell and went out to make a call (DOOR CLOSE, TR STOP) and there in the lobby was Ira Glass. —Yes, sir— Nice to see you.

TR (GLASS): Great to see you. Hey listen. Do you think I need to see a speech therapist?

GK: No, not all.

TR (IRA GLASS): Because I did a show about vulnerability, last week and a lot of people thought it was about Albania. This is American Life. We make you feel like one of us, except not as sweet. Not that we'd say it, but you know it.

(HE TALKS FASTER, MORE CLIPPED, GIBBERISH) — (FAST FOOTSTEPS)

SS: Mr. Noir, come quick...I need you.

GK: I'm right there. (FAST FOOTSTEPS, TWO)

SS: He's off his medications.

GK: Where are the pills?

SS: I don't know. (DOOR OPEN) Oh dear...

TR (MINN, SINGING): See the pretty girl in that mirror there: Who can that attractive girl be?

SS: Sit down, Mr. Darnell.

TR (SINGING): Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty dress,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!

GK: Easy, sir. Easy.

TR (SINGING):
I feel stunning
And entrancing,
Feel like running and dancing for joy.

(BRIDGE)

GK: I left Coyote Radio and came back to the office. How some people manage to stay in radio for all those years is beyond me. I'd rather hear from people in their twenties. But that's just my opinion, I guess.

(THEME) TR (ANNC): 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.

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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