December 19, 2009
The Town Hall

New York City, NY

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Guy Noir

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(THEME)

TR: 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 UP AND OUT)

GK: It was the week before Christmas and I was in New York, where I had sublet a futon on East 14th Street and I'd found part-time employment sitting next to famous people at charity galas and Christmas dinners.

TR (BLOOMBERG): I am forced to attend twenty-one dinners a month, Mr. Noir. Twenty-one dinners. That's what happens when you're elected mayor of New York. You spend a hundred million dollars on your campaign and then you go to thousand-dollar-a-plate dinners and you sit next to some ambassador from Namibia who is upset about parking tickets. I am tired of making small talk. I'll pay you a hundred bucks to sit on my right and listen to me and ever so often you can lean over and tell me a story, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or the Ugly Duckling. Or the one about the angel bringing good tidings. I like that one too. Happy stories.

GK: So I became a dinner companion of famous celebrities.

TR (CLINTON): I have to attend a lot of dinners, Mr. Noir, and during the after-dinner speech, when they dim the lights, I'd like to lean up against you and catch some sleep. Okay?

GK: So I got a tuxedo and I became a pal to celebrities and that's how I met Louie Louie. He was at a dinner for the winners of the Wurlitzer Prize and he came along during the speech with a bag, picking up dinner rolls.

FN (INCOMPREHENSIBLE ON P.A.)

GK: The speaker was the publisher of the New York Times and Bill Clinton was asleep in my lap (TR SNORE) and suddenly this guy is at my shoulder.

MS: Hey, gimme your dinner roll.

GK: Who're you?

MS: Gimme that roll.

GK: Maybe I'm gonna eat it.

MS: I don't see you eating it.

GK: Maybe I'm saving it for later.

MS: Gimme his dinner roll then.

GK: This guy is a former President of the United States.

MS: Eh. Who cares? And gimme the fruit in the centerpiece.

(MS IS BUSY, GRABBING STUFF)

GK: There was a cornucopia centerpiece stuffed with oranges and bananas and apples and he emptied it as the speaker droned on (FN INCOMPREHENSIBLE) and he also took President Clinton's petit-fours. Hey---- what are you doing? who are you? (STING, BRIDGE) He handed me his card. “Louie Louie” ---- Fresh Fruit & Bread Pudding. An address in New Jersey. (STING) I called him the next day.

MS (ON PHONE): It's like this, Noir. People put on a fancy dinner for the visibility. The Cement Foundation. The Fund To Save The Spotted Owl. The Home for the Moody. Five-hundred dollars a plate. For that kinda dough, people expect a big meal. But because they're celebrities they can't eat cause they gotta keep their slim figures. So they eat a couple bites of arugula and they eat the parsley and that's all, and I come around and pick up the plate and I make beef stew out of the filet mignon and bread pudding and I make the fruit into fruit soup. I'm in the food salvage business. Excuse me----- mind if I put you on Hold.

GK: Well, I was just---- (CLICK)

NJ (SINGING):

I've got my arms around you.
To keep you from the cold.
I've got you ----- on Hold.
You're going to be all right.
On a winter night.
If the truth be told,
I've got you---- (CLICK)

MS: Sorry about that. ---- Listen. You're going to a lot of banquets ----- how about you come to work for me? You could collect the desserts and we'll make ‘em into tiramisu.

GK: I'm not gonna go around at a big dinner and collect desserts----

MS: You're in a tuxedo ---- people think you're a waiter----

GK: What if somebody catches me? Stealing desserts----

MS: I'll pay you three-hundred bucks a dinner.

GK: You'll pay me----

MS: Three hundred bucks.

GK: Well-----

MS: Excuse me. Let me put you on Hold. (CLICK)

NJ (SINGS):

----you ----- on Hold.
You'll be just fine.
Cause now you're mine.
If I may be so bold,
I've got you on Hold---- (CLICK)

MS: Yeah. I'm back. What do you say?

GK: Let me think about it.

MS: What's to think about? I'll meet you tonight at the Plaza. It's the Christmas dinner of the St. Andrew's Society. They're serving haggis. Nobody eats haggis. So we'll make it into sausage. (BRIDGE)

GK: So that evening I put on my tuxedo and I took the subway up to 59th Street and we got there (SFX: TRAIN STOPPING) The train sat in the station for a couple minutes and then came the announcement on the P.A. (FN INCOMPREHENSIBLE ANNOUNCE) and it was the same guy who spoke at the banquet. And finally the doors opened---- (SFX) and out I went ---- and people were pushing behind me (CROWD MUTTERING) and I went up the stairs and onto 59th Street (TRAFFIC, HORNS) except it wasn't ---- I'd gotten off at 42nd and I had to walk through Times Square----- (SIREN) (CROWD) (FN: Hey, check it out, check it out……) (BUS) ----and it started to get to me, the pushing and the shoving and the noise, and I called up Louie Louie and he was busy and he put me on Hold-----(CLICK, SILENCE)

NJ (SINGS):

I've got my arms around you.
And you'll never get old.
I've got you ----- on Hold.

GK: Hello------ hello----? Are you there?

SS (OPERATOR): This is a recorded message. The party you are trying to reach is unavailable to you at this time. Please hang up and try your call again later.

GK: I'm just trying to reach the woman who was singing----

SS (OPERATOR): This, as I just said, is a recorded message. The woman who was singing is not available at this time. Please hang up.

GK: I need to talk to that woman.

SS (OPERATOR): You know, the whole reason for this being a recorded message is so I don't have to deal with bozos like you who don't understand when a party is unavailable. She's unavailable. Get it? You can't talk to her. So buzz off. (ANGRY BUZZ) ----- (SING, BRIDGE) I made my way toward the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street at Fifth Avenue and walked along the line of horse-drawn carriages (HORSES WHINNYING, CHUFFING) -----

TR: (ADENOIDS) Hey, how about a ride around the park. Just fifty bucks.

GK: Fifty bucks! For a ten minute carriage ride.

TR (ADENOIDS): Yeah, but you also get a performance. I got a couple of singing ducks. (DUCKS) They sing “White Christmas” underwater.

GK: I'm not interested.

TR (ADENOIDS): Just listen to ‘em. See? I stick their heads in a bucket of water. And they sing. (DUCKS SING, UNDERWATER, “WHITE CHRISTMAS”) You're never gonna hear this anywhere else----

GK: Thanks for the reassurance.

TR (ADENOIDS): There's more.

GK: Listen---- it's great. I gotta run. (TRAFFIC, BRIDGE) I went in the Plaza Hotel and I found out it was the wrong hotel.

SS: The St. Andrews dinner isn't here at the Plaza. It's at the Milford Plaza. On Eighth Avenue. Near Times Square.

GK: Okay. Thanks.

SS: This is the Plaza. You want the Milford Plaza. Or maybe the Montclair Plaza in Montclair, New Jersey.

GK: Okay. Thank you.

SS: We used to have them here at the Plaza, but it's fifteen-hundred bagpipers playing “Joy to The World” ---- you ever hear a Christmas carol played by fifteen-hundred bagpipers?

GK: Never.

SS: Consider yourself lucky. (BRIDGE)

GK: So I headed for the Milford Plaza where there were no bagpipers, but there was a juggler. He was working to a large empty room and he was juggling Chihuahuas (SFX) Then he juggled the Chihuahuas and a chainsaw (SFX) And then he did a Chinese torch (POOF) and one Chihuahua and a chainsaw (SFX) ---- and then a chainsaw, a Chinese torch, two chinchillas and a box of tschotchkes (SFX) ------ and then a chicken, a chainsaw, a small child, some small change, and a set of chimes (SFX) ----- and just then (PHONE RING) Louie Louie called me.

MS: (PHONE) Hey, I'm at the Plaza, where are you?

GK: Trying to find you.

MS: The dinner's starting in fifteen minutes. I need you here.

GK: Where?

MS: At the Plaza.

GK: I went there. You weren't there.

MS: I'm here. What you telling me? That I'm not here? I'm here. Whatcha talking about?

GK: I went there. And then I went to the Milford Plaza and you weren't there either.

MS: You saying I'm not here? Of course I'm here. You're the one who isn't here, pal. Where are you? ---

GK: Would you mind putting me on Hold? Please.

MS: What you want to be on Hold for?

GK: I just want to. Please.

MS: Listen. I got a big celebrity dinner here and they're serving prime rib and nobody's eating. We're gonna clean up.

GK: Put me on Hold.

MS: Everybody's here. I got Doris Day, Gladys Knight, Dawn Upshaw, Madonna, Monica Lewinsky, Robert Pinsky, The Minsk Ballet, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Jon Bon-Jovi, Jane Fonda, Rhonda Fleming, Flem Snopes, Snoopy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Huey Dewey and Louis, David Bowie, Johnny Yuma, Uma Thurman, 2 Live Crew, Rod Carew, Wally Ballou, The Tennessee Two, The Three Tenors, The Four Tops, the Dave Clark Five, the Six Fat Dutchmen, Dutch Schultz, Sholem Aleichem, Shemp, Moe and Larry, Harry Shearer, Weird Al Yankovic, Al Franken, Frankenstein, Andy Stein, Tyne Daly, Ponce de Leon, Leon Russell, Tim Russell, they're all here---- all the famous----- where are you? Excuse me. Gotta put you on Hold. (CLICK)

GK: Hello?

NJ: Are you supposed to be on Hold?

GK: I think so.

NJ: Oh. I wasn't sure. Who are you?

GK: Noir. Guy Noir. Nobody in Hold ever asked me my name before. What's your name?

NJ: Norah.

GK: I have a cousin named Norah. Norah Noir.

NJ: My name is Smith.

GK: Nice to meet you, Norah Smith. Where are you?

NJ: Norway.

GK: So you do the Hold from there----

NJ: Yeah.

GK: You don't sound Norwegian.

NJ: People tell me that. Well---- I've got to go back to work. Nice talking to you.

GK: Would you mind singing to me again?

NJ: That's my job. (SHE SINGS)

I've got my arms around you.
Like a sheep in the fold.
I've got you ----- on Hold.
You're going to be nice and warm.
Through the storm.
It's under control.
I've got you----on Hold. (CLICK)

GK: And that was when the bagpipers came down the street. Fifteen hundred pipers, led by a drum team. (DRUMS, ROLLING MARCH) Fifteen hundred bagpipers playing “Joy To The World” ----- it was remarkable. (AUDIENCE…….) And then they all walked into the Plaza. It was the U.N. Plaza. People from all over the world stood there listening. And when fifteen hundred bagpipers stop playing “Joy To The World” there is no silence like that. It's a silence you can stand and listen to for a long time. It's a silence you can lean against and not fall down. (FAINT WIND. DISTANT SHIP'S HORN. DISTANT HORSE HOOVES TROTTING ON STREET. DISTANT SCREECH OF SUBWAY TRAIN BRAKES.) (THEME)

TR: 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.

(MUSIC OUT)

(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).

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