Movies, September 24, 2011

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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GK: People often ask me, How do you manage to do all the things that you do? And the answer is simple, powerful pharmaceuticals. (LOW BASS HUM)

SS: Here's your pills, Mr. Wyler. Remember, no operating heavy machinery and no jumping off the roof and flapping your arms.

GK: I promise.

SS: You may feel like you can fly but you can't. Okay?

GK: Right. Got it. (BRIDGE) I do this show on Saturdays and on Sundays I play 18 holes of golf (SWING, CLICK, MURMURS OF ADMIRATION) and I lift weights (SFX) and I take my Lamborghini out (FAST CAR), and then I take the late flight to L.A. (SFX) so I can be at the studio by 6 a.m. to shoot my latest picture.

TR: Morning, Mr. Wyler.

GK: Morning, Walter. So—- we all ready to shoot? I'm all ready for the underwater scene.

TR: I see that. You've been working out. Your abs are like cast iron.

GK: Well, my fans expect me to be physically beautiful, Walter.

TR: I've never seen a man in such a tiny thong swimsuit.

GK: It's a gift from a fan. Woven from the cotton in an aspirin bottle.

TR: Well, anyway we rewrote that scene. It's not underwater.

GK: No?

TR: Visibility underwater is poor. People wouldn't be able to see you.

GK: Oh. Right.

TR: So instead of you on the ocean floor, fighting off a giant stingray and defending a young woman whose foot is pinned under a rock, you'll be on a combine in North Dakota which tips over and you crawl out from under the burning wreckage and you see oil seeping up from the ground and you realize that your family is suddenly wealthy and won't lose the farm after all and your mom can get the operation she needs and Melissa will be able to take tap lessons—-

GK: And what am I wearing?

TR: I donno. Bib overalls. A feed cap. Workboots.

GK: I thought I was going to be in a swimsuit.

TR: We decided to go in a different direction.

GK: In the script that I saw, I kill the stingray and free the young woman and bring her up on the beach and I give her mouth to mouth resuscitation as the sun sets and we get married and live in a grass hut.

TR: It just didn't seem plausible to us, so we're making you a soybean farmer whose daughter has dreams of making it on Broadway.

GK: My who?

TR: Your daughter—

GK: I have a daughter?

TR: Yeah. Melissa.

GK: I've never played a father before. I've always played a bare-chested hunk with a faint grin on his lips as he faces the hail of deadly laser rays.

TR: Well, your last picture tanked and the studio lost 57 million dollars.

GK: On "Moby Dick"? It was a great picture.

TR: Did you read the reviews?

GK: I don't read reviews. The picture was too edgy for some people. The idea of Ishmael being played by a woman. And me killing the whale with a Swiss Army knife and looking at her and saying, "Call me, Ishmael" and she did. She called me when she was cornered by a shark and I killed the shark and lay her on the beach and gave her mouth to mouth resuscitation.

TR: Anyway, this picture is set on a farm in North Dakota and ----- I want you to meet Melissa. ---- Melissa, come here and meet Mr. Wyler.

MF: Hi.

GK: Walter----

TR: She's your daughter and she has a dream of making it big on Broadway.

GK: Walter, I don't work with kids. It's in my contract.

TR: She's very talented, Wyler. She's going to make a huge difference on this picture.

GK: That's what I'm afraid of. Look at her. Red hair. Freckles. Big grin. Probably sings, too.

MF: (SINGS) The sun'll come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar---- (STOPS)

GK: Please. When she is on the screen, nobody is going to even notice me. I'll be a piece of furniture. She's going to walk away with the picture.

TR: Well, somebody's got to.

GK: I can't believe you're doing this to me.

MF: I'm a big fan of your work, Mr. Wyler. I was at the dinner where you got the Lifetime Achievement Award---- (GK GROAN)----

GK: So what is she going to do in the movie.

TR: She drives off a band of marauders and she saves the cattle in a blizzard and a plane crash lands in the cornfield and there's a Broadway producer on it and he walks up to the farmhouse and she's singing-----

MF (SINGS):

Let me plant a field of corn one April day in early morn
And if that corn becomes corn chowder, I'm happy, so happy.
Let me sing a lovely hymn that makes you hear the seraphim
And if I get to sing it louder, I'm happy

GK: And what do I get to do?

TR: You sit at the kitchen table and you grin and you slap your knee and you say, "By gosh, I knew Melissa had talent" and when she leaves to get on the train to go to New York, you give her a hug and say, "You're going out there a kid with a smile in your heart but you're coming back a Broadway star".

GK: That's it??

TR: And you wave goodbye with your hanky as the limousine drives her away. And you listen to her on the radio when she makes her debut.

MF (SINGS):

Somewhere just north of Fargo
There's a place
Where I spent every summer
Back in my childhood days

There I woke every morning
At the lake
To the smell of the bacon
Coffee and pancakes

Somedays I'd like to go back there
and see the white clouds in the air above me
At night we light the oil lamps
With Mom and Dad and Gram and Gramps
and they all love me

Somewhere north of Fargo
There's a farm
Where I lie in the night and hear chickens in the barn----
If chickens fly then why can't you and I?

GK: So, the movie came out and she got the rave reviews and I was a footnote and my days of stardom were over.

TR: We'll call you if we have anything for you, Mr. Wyler.

GK: Okay. See you soon, Walter.

TR: As I say, we'll call you if we need you.

GK: Okay. (BRIDGE) People ask me how do you manage to do all the things you do and I say, pharmaceuticals.

SS: This is a powerful sedative, Mr. Wyler. It won't make you sleepy but it'll make you just plain not care so much.

GK: Good.

SS: If you find yourself feeling tense and anxious, just take one of these happy pills.

GK: The green ones.

SS: Right, they'll perk you up and you'll start singing and dancing.

GK: Too late for that. I'll just stick with the sedatives. Thank you.

TR: A message from the Pharmaceutical Institute, a member of the Federated Organization of Associations. (GONG)

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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