TR (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.
GK: It was April, and I was in New York City working for a big developer named Harold Hightower who is building the Hightower Tower, 238 stories, 18,000,000 square feet, which will have stunning views of the East River. When it's finished, airliners taking off from LaGuardia to the west will have to bank sharply to the right and make a 65 degree climb and all the passengers will have to be medicated.
FN (TYCOON): Don't forget the indoor submarine park with the food court and petting aquarium.
GK: He hired me, believe it or not, to park his car.
FN (TYCOON): Call me crazy but I cannot bear the thought of paying for parking. It makes me nuts.
GK: So he paid me to drive his Lamborghini around and find parking spots. I did that for a day and a half until one day, backing up —(REV ENGINE, LONG SCRAPE OF METAL ON METAL) I put a dent in the right rear fender and —
FN (TYCOON): Get out of here! You're fired! (WOP BOP BAM, DOWN THE STAIRS) (BRIDGE)
GK: Luckily I had an inexpensive time-share sublet in the Village — I sublet a futon, from 10 pm to 9 a.m. for $400 a week, so I was able to hold on until I found a new job.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Our company does guided tours for special clients, Mr. Noir. Individual tours. For high-profile people. Who want to blend in. Not look like a tourist.
SS (MIDWESTERN): They want to look like New Yorkers.
GK: Walk fast, wear black, don't make eye contact.
SS: Exactly. I have a very important client, Mr. Noir. Very high profile. I need to be able to trust you.
GK: Of course.
SS: It's his first time in New York, and he just celebrated his 81st birthday and this was his birthday wish.
GK: You mean—
GK: You're kidding.
SS: I'm not.
GK: The Holy Father?
SS: The very one. Except he's asking that you not call him Holy Father. He wants you to call him Benny. (STING, BRIDGE) (VOICES PASSING, DOG BARKS, BIRDS)
GK: I met the Pope behind the boathouse in Central Park. He wore a black turtleneck, blue jeans, red shoes, a Mets cap, and dark glasses. Your Holiness?
TR (GERMAN): SHHHHH. Call me Benny.
GK: I'm not sure I can, sir. How about I call you Pops?
TR (GERMAN): Okay.
GK: Just so you know, I'm not Catholic.
TR (GERMAN): It's okay.
GK: I'm not a good person. Just so you know. (DOG WALKER GOES BY) (WALKING SOUNDS)
TR (GERMAN): Hey—It's beautiful day today. Look at it. A day made for walking. (FOOTSTEPS) Oh boy. Feels good to get away from that Popemobile.
GK: What does it feel like to ride around in that?
TR (GERMAN): Hot, but like a fish tank. You feel like a guppy. It's so good to get out and walk.
GK: Good. (BIKERS, ROLLERBLADERS WHIR PAST) This is Central Park, we're heading south, that's Columbus Circle over there — 59th Street up ahead.
TR (GERMAN): Hey. I know, I know.
GK: You know?
TR (GERMAN): Ever hear of infallibility?
GK: Oh, right.
TR (GERMAN): It's all up here in the old (GERMAN WORD FOR BRAIN). Ah, I can't tell you what a pleasure this is. Get out of those heavy clothes. Just be me. Not have people kissing my ring all the time.
GK: Yeah, I imagine the ring kissing gets old pretty quick.
TR (GERMAN): It's not a great way to get to know people, the ring kissing. (BIRDS FLUTTER AROUND)
GK: I notice those birds all landing on your arms and shoulders.
TR (GERMAN): Yes, I seem to have that effect.
GK: A lot of white doves coming out of nowhere. (DOVES FLUTTER).
TR (GERMAN): Luckily I don't attract pigeons.
GK: Here's the subway entrance, Pops. Let's head downtown. (BRIDGE) We got aboard the No. 1 downtown at Columbus Circle (FN: WATCH FOR THE CLOSING DOORS, PLEASE) and the train was crowded, people were standing six inches away from the Holy Father and nobody did a double take. That's New York for you.
SS: Hey excuse me. Does this go to Brooklyn?
TR (GERMAN): No, my child.
SS: Oh. Okay.
FN: Excuse me, everybody. Yes, i know, you look at the styrofoam cup in my hand and you're thinking, "he is about to sing to us." And you are right. But if i reach my goal of five dollars before we get to 34th street, then i will not sing. —now there is a matching grant so whatever you give will be matched dollar for dollar. —
GK: We got off in Chelsea (TRAFFIC, VOICES) and we walked around the corner and found a coffee shop and went in— (ESPRESSO)
TR (GERMAN): Ah. (INHALE) What a beautiful smell. (FOOTSTEPS, VOICES) Coffee in Rome—bleaughhh. And Vatican coffee—(GERMAN DEPRECATION). Take it from me, nuns do not like to make coffee.
GK: There's your menu up there, Pops. Just make a choice.
TR (GERMAN):Aha. (HE MUTTERS TO HIMSELF) Venti — is that Latin for something?
GK: Yes. It means "over-priced milk"—
SS: Yeah, what can I get for you, love?
TR (GERMAN): I would like the mocha. (GERMAN -CH) A great big mocha.
GK: A little tiny espresso for me, please.
SS: Coming up. (ESPRESSO) That'll be 8 dollars please. TR (GERMAN, ALARM): Eight dollars for two coffees? (OUTRAGED GERMAN GIBBERISH)
GK: Don't worry about it. (TO SS) Sorry. He hasn't been out in a while.
SS: Say, don't I know him? His face is so familiar. Is he on television?
GK: No, he's on radio.
SS: Oh. No wonder I don't recognize him.
GK: That would be why. (FOOTSTEPS) Over here, Pops. (SCRAPE OF CHAIRS, SITTING DOWN, CUPS ON TABLE, ETC)
TR (GERMAN): It's good to get out among the people and find out these things. — (SIPS) Being Pope means you hang out with management a lot. You lose touch. —Who's this here?
FN (MAURICE): Hey there. How we doing today? Looky here. I got watches I got blenders I got dvds, I got fish in a bag. I got novelty hats that light up, I got silk scarves I got keychains — lookit here — see— the hula lady's brassiere light up when you jingle your keys— cool, huh? Okay I got vegetable peelers-look at how this baby can peel an apple, huh?
TR (GERMAN): What is that key chain? That's very interesting.
GK: I don't think you want that, Pops.
FN (MAURICE): Everybody wants a keychain that lights up. Here. See? She's a mermaid. You put your key in the transmission and she wiggles. Cute, huh?
TR (GERMAN): I could use this for the Popemobile.
GK: Pops, you don't need that.
TR (GERMAN): Mr. Noir—
GK: A hula girl who lights up?
TR (GERMAN): It's a joyful thing—
FN (MAURICE): Let the man have his hula girl if that's what he wants. Ten dollars.
GK: Ten dollars!!! Get out of here.
FN (MAURICE): Okay, for you—six dollars.
GK: Six dollars for that???
FN (MAURICE): Okay, look. Just for you, and don't let this get around — I'll take fifty percent off. Three dollars. Final offer.
TR (GERMAN): I'll take it.
TR (GERMAN): Wait a minute. I don't have any money on me.
GK: It's a piece of junk.
TR (GERMAN): I left the money in my Pope pants.
GK: You want to borrow three bucks, I'll lend it to you, but—
SS (DEEP WHISKEY): Hey. You're the Pope. Right? You're the Pope.
GK: Lady, this is my Uncle Benny from Weehawken. Don't bother him. Please.
SS (DEEP WHISKEY): Weehawken!!! That's where I'm from.
GK: Well, he's not exactly from Weehawken proper—
SS (DEEP WHISKEY): He's the Pope. Hey, listen— I got twelve Camp Fire Girls out in the van —they'd love to meet you— stay right here, okay?
TR (GERMAN, SOTTO VOCE): What is this,Camp Fire Girls?
GK: It's like nuns, except younger and they build fires.
SS (DEEP): You stay right here, okay? I'll be right back. But don't go away, okay?
TR (GERMAN): We'll be right here.
SS (DEEP): Boy, the looks on their faces. Wait'll I tell em. The Pope's here. Boy, they're not gonna believe it. —Hey. Wait just a minute. —Hey hey hey hey. —This isn't some kind of a joke, is it—Huh?
TR (GERMAN): A joke?
SS (DEEP): You're an actor, right? This is some sort of a stunt and there's a secret camera filming this. Right?
TR (GERMAN): No, my child. I am Pope Benedict.
SS (DEEP): Oh yeah. Right. And I am St. Catherine of Siena. Listen to me, you two. Going around playing jokes on people in New York is a good way to get your face slapped.
GK: Lady— please—
SS (DEEP): Boy, you sure had me there for a minute. But you know something? You don't really look like him. And your accent is wrong.
TR (GERMAN): My accent is wrong?
SS (DEEP): You don't have it. Nice try though. Better luck next time. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
TR (GERMAN): Interesting. She couldn't believe her own eyes. She looked at me and saw who I am and then decided it couldn't be true so she decided not to believe what she knew was true. — I can use this for my sermon on Sunday.
GK: Pops, it's up to you, but don't blow your cover, okay? Cause once you're recognized, then that's the end of the tour, we'll be mobbed, they'll have to send in a chopper.
TR (GERMAN): A chopper?
GK: A helicopter. (CELL PHONE, RING IS VOCAL: SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS)
TR (GERMAN): Ah. It's my cellphone. Scusi. (PICKUP) Yes? (VOICE AT OTHER END) Uh huh. (VOICE AT OTHER END) Yes… (VOICE AT OTHER END) Okay— (VOICE AT OTHER END) Okay. Bye bye. (HANG UP) Excuse me. Somebody wanting me to do a TV show.
GK: What do they want you to do on TV ?
TR (GERMAN): The Boston Pops. They want me to do The Pope at the Pops.
GK: The Pope at the Pops.
TR (GERMAN): They'll call it "Cooking with the Pope at the Pops". Their people talked to my people. Interesting proposition.
GK: What's the Pops proposing, Pops?
TR (GERMAN): I come on and prepare popovers.
GK: So you'd cook?
TR (GERMAN): Popovers and hush puppies. With peppers and paprika. Baked in papyrus.
GK: Preposterous. You and the Pops?
TR (GERMAN): Me and the Pops and some puppets.
GK: Puppets making popovers?
TR (GERMAN): Probably. On paper it sounds promising. Could be very popular. But I said no.
TR (GERMAN): They want pipers.
TR (GERMAN): Part of the deal.
GK: Scottish bagpipers?
TR (GERMAN): No, from the Peloponnesus.
GK: The Pope at the Pops with Puppets and Peloponnesian Pipers.
TR (GERMAN): Making popovers.
GK: So you said no—
TR (GERMAN): It just seemed improper.
GK: What about the rights?
TR (GERMAN): They want to own Pope at the Pops in perpetuity.
TR (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.
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).