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Nothing Behind the Door
episode #1

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Paul
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Posted 07/03/02 - 7:33 AM:

Announcer: The Mutual broadcasting system presents the first of a series of new and unusual dramatic programs, written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and featuring Ernest Chappell.

[Theme music in]

Chappell: Quiet please... Quiet Please!

[Theme music out]

Man: About 5800 feet above sea level -- a little house, maybe 20 feet long, 15 feet wide. It's made of corrugated iron sheets with a high peaked roof, sort of hangs over the edge of the mountain top, with nothing but the spikes of pine trees stretching all the way down to Pasadena, better than a mile below you. [music up and out] You ever get out to California? Well if you do get up there sometime and take a look at that little house. But look at it through the fence that surrounds it -- that's far enough. [???] You go out Foothill boulevard toward Pasadena, but you turn off on Angeles Crest highway at [La Kanada?]. Just keep on drivin' uphill, you'll get there, just keep right on going. The top of Mt. Wilson is the end of the highway. You ever look through a big telescope? At the sky at night? At the things up there? Things so far away you strain your brain just trying to imagine how far away they are.
Paul
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Posted 07/04/02 - 5:40 AM:

With nothing between you and them -- billions and billions of miles of nothing? I don't know what it does to you but brother, I freeze. Listen, do you know there are holes in the sky? No I mean it, I've seen 'em. There's a thing in the constellation Andromeda -- no no wait a minute, I'm not gonna get technical with you, just listen. There this thing, astronomers call it 'the horse head nebula'. You know what it is? It's a hole. It's a great big patch of nothing -- just nothing. There aren't any stars there, just... just a hole. No, nobody knows anything about it, astronomers look at it, they take pictures of it and there it stays. There it is now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and a million years from now... and it's been there always. Yes, it has. It's so far away that what you see now is the way it looked a billion years ago -- before there was anybody to see it, friend. And there's lots more of those places. So what's all this got to do with a little house on top of Mt. Wilson? I'll tell you.

[music up and out]

This was quite some time ago, I'd been living in California, see, for several years. I had a couple of buddies, had a nice little place near Van Nuys -- that was before the valley got to be so popular with movie people, radio comics, people like that. And it wasn't bad living alone, waking up in the middle of the night hearing the southern pacific [lark?] whistle for a crossing out around [Chatsworth?]... listening to a dog howling way out across the valley... going back to sleep. I don't get back to sleep so easy these days. [pause] Well, these people from Cleveland were out there, Aldo Manuchi and Hugh Grant. We used to be great friends, Aldo and Hugh and I, so nothing would do but they'd come to stay with me. It was all right, I had a dodge convertable, the boys got quite a kick out of California. That's how we came to go up to Mt. Wilson that day. Aldo and Hugh had been uh, you know, lookin' around for odd places, they had some ideas.

[4:06 into episode]
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Posted 04/17/03 - 12:56 PM:

The one day we were having breakfast and they were looking at an automobile club bulletin. Aldo said, "Let's go to Mount Wilson," so we did. So, we did.

I'd been up there once before. You know how it is in California--I knew everything. I thought I knew everything. I found out different.

We were inside the big dome where the hundred inch telescope is. It's like being inside a [pause] giant's watch. The telescope is in the middle--a big spidery framework with ladders climbing up all over it up under this dome. The tourists stand on the--kind of a catwalk around the edge while the astronomer explains a bunch of numbers the rest of us don't understand. There were just a few of us that day, standing close to a kind of pulpit listening with our mouth's open...yeah, it is like a pulpit. I got to thinking that day how the astronomer looked like a priest up there--nice, old, white-haired fella--like a priest. And I was thinking he was talking about the heavens too. I'd seen it all before, but my mouth was as wide open as Hugh's and Aldo's.

[astronomer speaking]

...as the earth is moving through space, too. It moves around the sun at the rate of about eighteen and one-half miles per second. [murmuring] So therefore, you see, we must--in order to keep this telescope focused accurately on the celestial object we are observing--neutralize those motions mechanically. The telescope itself, as you will observe, is controllable in any direction by this motor. Watch me demonstrate.

[sound of the motor moving]

[5:56 into episode]
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Posted 04/18/03 - 8:15 AM:

Astronomer: Notice the motion of the telescope [pause] and the final movement, the rotation of the entire dome exactly synchronized with the speed of the Earth through space. Watch through the shutters above your head...

[sound of the motor moving]

Aldo: Look at--Look at those.

Hugh: Yeah, I see.

Aldo: Look outside. We--We ain't moving, the sky is going by. Look at you!

Hugh: I see it.

Man: It's an optical illusion, Aldo.

Astronomer: No, it's not an optical illusion, in relation to space this spot we are on is standing still. Through these motions here in the dome, the mirror of the telescope is kept aimed exactly at one spot far out in space.

Hugh: What's space, mister?

Astronomer: It's [pause] nothing.

Aldo: What about the air?

Astronomer: There are a few miles of air, my friend, and then--Nothing.

Aldo: Huh.

Man: Well, stars.

Astronomer: Yes, the stars and the places where [pause; music up] there are no stars

[music down]

Man: My skin twitched a little when he said that, "...the places where there are no stars." Did yours?

[music up and out]

Man: Well, the show was over we went outside into the sunlight we walked across the long wooden bridge--there's a deep gully in front of the dome--and on the little path past the thing they call a ???-stat. A small dome on legs about a hundred feet high. Something they study the sun and sunspots and things like that with.

It was quiet up there along toward the middle of the afternoon, there was a chill in the air. We were just talking. It's an odd place and you get kind of impressed. The people impress you.

[music up and out]

The astronomers. They live up there all by themselves. They look at the sky. They see things. You always get the feeling they know a lot more than they're telling--like doctors, or [pause] like priests, I guess. I said that didn't I? Well, it's what they're like.

[8:16 into episode]
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Posted 04/18/03 - 10:22 AM:

The path leads through the woods--the biggest live oaks you ever saw--leads through the woods over to the old hotel. So I said, "Hey, how about a beer before we start down, uh?"

Aldo: A beer, that's for me.

Hugh: Can you get hard liquor up here, Ross?

Man: Well, I don't think so, anyway I wouldn't wanna drink, not with all that mountain road ahead of me.

Aldo: No, sir, don't you take that drink, Ross. I wouldn't wanna ride that road with anybody who's had a drink a liquor. Maybe you shouldn't have a beer even.

Man: Oh no, wait a minute, a beer won't hurt me.

Hugh: Hey, what's this fence for?

Man: Huh? I never noticed that before.

Hugh: That's quite a fence. You'd have a hard time getting over that.

Aldo: What would you want to get over it for?

Hugh: I don't know. What do you suppose is on the other side of ??? where they ??? tell these things.

Man: I-I don't see anything. 'Cept that little house out there on stilts.

Aldo: Yeah. Funny little place.

Hugh: Fence goes right around it.

Aldo: It got a gate?

Man: Aw, c'mon, let's get a beer.

Hugh: Nah, I wanna look at this, Ross.

Aldo: Probably they got something valuable in there.

Man: Sure, scientific instruments or something, this place is all full of that stuff.

Aldo: Hey Look! It's a sign.

Hugh: Huh?

Man: Where?

Aldo: Here.

Man: Aw, c'mon.

Hugh: Nah, wait, what's it say?

Aldo: It says, "The public is forbidden to pass beyond this fence under severe penalty."

[music up]

Hugh: Is that all?

[music down]

Aldo: Yeah.

Hugh: What you suppose they got in that place?

Aldo: I don't know.

Man: I don't care.

Hugh: Hey, there's a door up at the end of that trestle. Maybe we could get back and get in through that other shed where that trestle starts, huh?

Man: What do you want to go in there for? Aw, c'mon, we gotta get going--

Hugh [interrupting]: I'm just curious. You know what I mean--place might come in handy.

Aldo: Oh, yeah.

Hugh: See? Especially if they keep everybody out like this.

Aldo: Well, the thing must be full of stuff, Hugh, like Ross said--scientific stuff.

Hugh: Yeah, it might be, it might not be. Hey, here comes that fellow that made the schpiel up there.

Aldo: Better ask him, he'd know.

Man: He won't tell you.

Hugh: Well, we'll find out. Hey, fella!

Astronomer: Ah, yes?

Hugh: Hey!

Astronomer: Were you talking to me?

Hugh: Yes, what's in that funny looking building?

Astronomer: Over there?--Nothing.

Hugh: Yeah?

Aldo: What's the idea of the fence, then?

Astronomer: We don't want people to go in there.

Hugh: I'd sure like to see what's in there.

Astronomer: I said there's nothing in there.

Hugh: You sure, mister?

Astronomer: Yes, I'm absolutely sure.

Man: Well, could we get a pass to go in there, maybe?

Astronomer: No, you saw the sign, didn't you?

Hugh: Yeah, it said something about, "...penalty of the law."

Astronomer: You didn't read it very carefully.

Aldo: He didn't read it, I did.

Astronomer: Read it again.

Aldo: Allright. [from a distance] "The public is forbidden to pass beyond this fence under severe penalty."

[music up and out]

Astronomer: See?

Man: I see what he means. He didn't say anything about the law.

Astronomer: Ah, that's right. Well then, [pause] there are other penalties.

Hugh: Ah, tough guy, huh?

Astronomer: No, not at all.

Aldo: Well, what does it mean then?

Astronomer: I'll give you a little friendly advice. I wouldn't try to find out if I were you.

Hugh: Oh? Is that so?

Astronomer: Yes.

Man: Do you really know what's in there, mister?

Astronomer: Yes, I do.

Aldo: What?

Astronomer: Nothing.

Hugh: OK, lads, let's go get that beer!

[music up and out]

[11:30 into episode]
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Posted 04/29/03 - 9:18 AM:

Man: Well, of course you know what was up, you're way ahead of me, my Cleveland pals weren't in California just for a vacation. There was a bank I'd had my eye on for a while out in Pacific Palisades. It wasn't the first bank Aldo Manuchi, Hugh Grant, and I had worked a deal on. I didn't go much for this place up on Mt. Wilson with nothing in it and a fence around it. Aldo and Hugh--well, after all, could you find a better place to stash some dough? Nobody could get in they said, and if we could--[pause]. Well, so, I bought the idea, finally.

Now to make a long story short, we took it was, I think, $53,000 out of the bank. 53, 54, ah, what's the difference? It's all gone now.

[music up and down]

It's a long drive from Pacific Palisades over Sunset Blvd.; then up Beverly Glenn to the Valley; through the ??? to Sunland; down past the cemetary on Mt. Pelier Blvd to where you turn off on the Angelo Express Highway. A long drive, especially at one o'clock in the morning. That was when we pulled out of Pacific Palisades. It was summer. It--ah--after you turn on the mountain road, you're not allowed to smoke. You see a fire warden might come along and those guys can tell somebody smoking in a car a half mile off. They throw you in the can for it. Forest Fires.

Now, we didn't want anybody stopping us. It was risky enough anyway because, practically, nobody ever drives up there late at night--Uh--Early in the morning, I mean.

Well, we didn't meet anybody. All three of us were jittery with no cigarettes. That road--it's tough enough in the daylight--??? in the dark. It was half past four when we got to the top. The hotel was dark. Cabins were dark. Look at the sky. Why it's just like ??? in the dark. Why, you could almost reach up and touch it.

I remembered the old guy in the hundred inch dome--"Nothing between us and the stars". Down below--and if you ever go up there at night, you know what I mean--just like looking down at the stars. The lights of seventeen, eighteen, nineteen towns: Pasadena, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Van Neis, San Fernando, Culver City, Santa Monica...Hmmm, makes my hair stand on end when I think of it. Well, I haven't seen it since [pause] nevermind how many years

[music up and behind]

[14:08 into episode]
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Posted 04/29/03 - 11:08 AM:

Man: Well, [pause] we stumbled through the pitch dark. We got off the path three times and nearly fell down the hill and ???. You still couldn't light a cigarette. ???.

[music up and behind]

Hugh Grant was in front, then me, then Aldo. We each had briefcases. Hugh had a big pair of spring wire cutters that'll go through a steel cable. All of a sudden he bumped into the fence--

Hugh: [Yeowh]

Aldo: What's the matter?

Hugh: The fence!

Man: Hey, where are you?

Aldo: [uh] Stand still, will you?

Hugh: It's dark.

Aldo: Shut up. Listen for a minute. Hear anything?

Hugh: No.

Man: No.

Aldo: See anything?

Man: Nope.

Hugh: Look!

Aldo: What?

Hugh: The dome over there.

Aldo: You see somebody?

Man: No.

Hugh: Them two big windows up there with that big round dome, looks like somebody watching us.

Man: Sure does.

Aldo: Aww, cut it out. I'm gonna try the fence with the cutters.

Man: Want a flashlight?

Aldo: Ga--Jimminey--NO!

Man: I wish we--

Aldo: What?

Man: Aw, forget it, I just don't like that place.

Aldo: Get out of the way.

Hugh: Want us to help you?

Aldo: Just keep outta the way!

[ping]

Aldo: I think that--

Man: That wire made enough noise to--

Aldo: All right, all right, I'll try another strand.

[ping]

Aldo: Now see if you can slide under there, one of ya.

Man: Me.

[grunting]

Hugh: Nah, can't make it yet.

Aldo: Well, I'll try another. Look out for your arm, there.

[ping]

Aldo: Now try.

Man: Ah, wait'll I take off my coat. All right, it's off, let's see.

[grunting]

Aldo: How about it?

Hugh: He's through.

Aldo: All right, go ahead.

Hugh: Me?

Aldo: You!

[grunting]

Hugh: Cut another strand, chief.

[ping]

Aldo: Can you make it now?

Hugh: I guess so.

[grunting]

Man: Where are you Aldo?

Aldo: Right here! C'mon Joe. Hey, grab the briefcases ???.

Man: Comin' up.

[grunting]

Hugh: I got 'em.

Aldo: Here I come.

Man: Set?

Hugh: All set.

Man: I'm all set.

Man: I'm as all set as I ever will be, I figure. I don't like any part of this place. I don't like the dark. I don't like the stars up above us. I don't like the lights down below. I don't like the silence. I don't like climbing around the top of a mountain with nothing under me but thin air for a mile or more.

All I can hear is Hugh and Aldo in front of me, tramping through the weeds, cursing when one of 'em whacks a shin against a sharp rock.

Hugh?: [eh!] Geez!

Man: All I can see is two black shapes in front of me. The blackest shape, that's the building with the house with nothing in it. Aldo and Hugh are panting. [Hugh: Come on Aldo!] That's the sixty-eight hundred feet, you know, your breath is pretty short. It's tough going, especially when you're dragging a briefcase full of money, too. You're scared and tired. Then, all of a sudden, we're at the building, alongside one of the struts that hold up the little trestle.

[In the background, Hugh: Boost me up, Aldo.] Aldo boosts Hugh up. He's a little guy [grunting in the background], but he's spry. Spryer than I am up there a mile in the air. I guess he's not as scared as I am. So I look up and he's sprawled on the trestle with nine million stars behind him reaching down to me--

Hugh: Grab my hand, Russ.

Man: I scrambled up, I'll never know how I made it, either. There we are in the second ???.

Aldo: Keep quiet a minute and rest. I'm knocked out...

Hugh: Yeah.

Aldo: Do ya-do ya hear anything, Hugh?

Hugh: Just the wind.

Aldo: Russ?

Man: Nah, I thought I heard som'n. Guess it's just the wind.

Hugh: Yeah, just the wind.

Man: So we stood up. So Hugh walked the rest of the way down the little trestle. We followed him, stumbling over the planks, and there was the door.

[noises]

Man: We rattled the bar on it. It was padlocked. So Hugh took the big cutters and he wrenched away at the bar. [screech of metal on metal] We shivered there in the cold and waited to see if anybody heard us. [whispering]There wasn't a sound. [regular tone of voice]So Hugh tried again. [sound of metal on metal] And the bar fell off [crash]. [whispering]And we kept still for half a minute. [regular tone of voice] And then--

Aldo: Open the door.

[creaking of door being opened]

Hugh: Hey where's the flashlight.

Aldo: Wait!

Hugh: Ah, nobody can see us. We just put our fingers over it and turn it in the...

Man: OK

Aldo: I don't see anything.

Man: The guy said there was nothing in there.

Aldo: I can't see a thing.

Hugh: Open up the light a little more.

Man: I got it open.

Hugh: It's all black in there--

Aldo: Yes. There's something the matter with the light!

Man: No there ain't. Look!

Aldo: Turn that light off me!

Man: Fine. Look now when I shine it inside.

Aldo: Nothing! There's gotta be something in there.

Man: "Nothing," the man said.

Hugh: Can't even see the floor.

Aldo: Well, I'll find out if there's anything in there.

Man: No, don't go in. You can't tell what's liable to be--

Aldo: Well, look here, I'll toss a briefcase in.

Man: No, no! Throw the wire cutters in.

Aldo: Where are they?

Hugh: Here.

[crash]

Aldo: God Almighty! Look out will ya? Keep still! You'll wake up the dead.

Hugh: Aw, nobody heard us, I guess.

Aldo: Short on luck tonight.

Hugh: No kiddin'.

Aldo: Aw, gimme them cutters.

Hugh: Sure.

Man: Here.

Hugh: Shine the light in there. Sure can't see anything, can ya?

Aldo: Throw 'em in.

Hugh: Well, then, get out of the doorway. Keep the light in there.

Aldo: Go ahead. Throw 'em against the far wall.

Man: All Right. Look out!

[pause]

Man: Where'd they go?

Aldo: Tossed 'em hard enough t' bounce. Move the light around, I can't see a thing.

Man: I can't either. There oughta be--the light just kinda seems to st--

Hugh: Aw, cut it out. There's probably some kind of stuff on the floor.

Aldo: Powder! Maybe they fell into it.

Hugh: Here, stand to one side, Russ.

Man: What you gonna do?

Hugh: Well, I'm goin' in to look around. You got a gun Aldo?

Aldo: Yes. This little thing'll do.

Hugh: All right, c'mon. Russ, you stay here and watch and listen.

Man: I wouldn't go in there if I was you.

Aldo: Nobody asked you to.

Hugh: I'm going, c'mon Aldo.

Aldo: Hey, listen, you!

Hugh: You, got the screamin' meamies, too? Now, c'mon with that gun, there's nothing in there.

Man: Look you, c'mon, let's get out of here.

Aldo: Aw, shut up!

Hugh: Eh, might as well take a gun, too. You can stick it in there. Now, go ahead Aldo with the light.

Aldo: You go first.

Hugh: All right.

Aldo: Now stand there and keep your ears--hey, Hugh, where are ya?

Man: I can't see him. Listen, Aldo, don't go in there.

Aldo: I got to. Hey, Hugh! Hugh? Where are ya?

Man: Listen, Aldo--

Aldo: You keep your eyes and ears open, we'll be right back. Hey, Hugh? You all right? I'm comin' in Hugh! Hugh?

Man: Aldo!

Aldo: What's in there? Hey, Hugh! OK Russ, something's the matter with him. Here I come! Hugh! I'm gonnna--

Man: Hugh! Hey, Hugh! Aldo! Hey, what's in there, you two? Hugh!

[footsteps and the music comes up and down]

[21:58 into episode]
bfish
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Posted 04/29/03 - 12:39 PM:

Astronomer: I can see you. You can stand up now. They won't come out, I assure you.

[footsteps, sound of door closing]

Astronomer: Come on, son, stand up.

Man: I've got a gun.

Astronomer: No, you haven't. Stand up.

Man: When my friends come out...

Astronomer: They're not coming out, dear friend. Stand up.
You wouldn't believe me when I told you--

Man: What's in there? [pause] What's in there, I said!

Astronomer: I told you there's [pause] nothing behind that door.

Man: My friends went in there!

Astronomer: They're not there now. There's nothing in there. Do you understand me? There's NOTHING in there.

Man: [menacing] Listen--

Astronomer: No, you listen! I--though, I suppose, it would do no good to tell you--

Man: Tell me what?

Astronomer: I'd better show you.

Man: Show me what?

Astronomer: Come with me.

Man: No.

Astronomer: Come with me.

Man: I won't! You've got to--[footsteps receding music coming up] Wait! [more footsteps, music louder] Wait for me! [footsteps continue and music is louder still]

Man: [music fades a bit, footsteps continue] Across the little trestle; away from the door he closed on my friends; through another door [door closes] into a long shed of dark. And I was glad I couldn't see the stars. Out another door [door closes] at the end of the shed. Down a path past the heliostat reaching up into the sky, shining in the starlight looking like one of those visitors from Mars you heard about on the radio. [pause] Across the little wooden bridge with the two eyes of the hundred inch dome staring down at me and a cold wind coming up the other side of the mountain. [pause] Up a ramp [pause] into the dome itself [pause] and up the iron stairs...

Astronomer: Follow me.

Man: A little yellow light at the head of the stairs and then out on the catwalk in the dark with the floor forty feet below us. Up another ladder. My legs are getting tired. Up...

Astronomer: Follow me.

Man: [panic or desperation coming into the Man's voice] Up another dizzy ladder. And another. And across another spidery walk.

Astronomer: Here. Sit in this seat.

[music fades out]

Man: I can't speak. My throat is dry. My legs are trembling. I'm icy cold in that great dome that far above the floor--I can't tell ya--

Astronomer: [kindly] Sit still, you won't fall.


Man: Why did--wha--

Astronomer: Sit still, I say. You have to be shown.

Man: Wait. [Sound of the dome's motor humming]

Astronomer: Magnetic declination. [Sound of the motor] You can look now.

Man: Look, at what?

Astronomer: Look through the telescope.

Man: No!

Astronomer: Look, son. [pause] What do you see?

Man: Stars, millions of stars...

Astronomer: Wait. [sound of the motor humming] Look again. [pause] What do you see?

Man: Nothing. Nothing!

Astronomer: Wait. [sound of motor] Now?

Man: [calmly] Stars again. Millions. No, a black cloud.

Astronomer: Now?

Man: [whispers] Nothing.

Astronomer: That nothing you see is a million light-years away.

Man: What is it?

Astronomer: There's nothing there to see. My friend, there are scores of places in this universe where, [pause] there's nothing. Far places. Near places. Do you understand what I mean?

Man: Is-Is that what you meant when you said--

Astronomer: When I said, "There's nothing behind that door"? Yes.

Man: Well, Where--where--

Astronomer: Your friends? Your over-static(???) friends? I don't know, perhaps--take your eye from the telescope. Wait.

[sound of the motor]

Astronomer: Look now, if you dare.

Man: Well, what--?

Astronomer: Look!

[music crescendo]

Man: Yes. You've guessed what I saw. You've guessed what I saw clawing through black clouds of nothing. You've guessed what eyes I saw. I saw NOTHING.

[music up and down]

Man: Yes, the little house is still there on Mt. Wilson. You can go look at it if you want to, but don't go too close. Maybe somebody will tell you it's just a place where they store equipment. Maybe. Why do they keep the door locked then? Well, just one other thing: Don't you go around opening doors you don't know anything about. There might be NOTHING behind one of them!

[music up and behind]

Announcer: You have just heard "Quiet, Please" which is written and directed by Willis Cooper. The man who talked to you is Ernest Chapell.

Chapell: And the man who played Aldo Manuchi is Martin Lawrence, Pat O'Malley was Hugh Grant, and James Van Dyke, the Astronomer. The music was composed and played by Jean Perazo (???). And now for a word about "Quiet, Please," for next week, here is our writer/producer Willis Cooper.

[somebody says "Go"]

Willis Cooper: I've written what I think is an exciting and unusual love story for next week, Chappy. You will welcome, as our guest, the charming star of stage and radio, Claudia Morgan.

Chapell: "Quiet, Please" for next week is entitled, "I've Been Looking for You." [music up in background] Until next week, then, Quietly yours, Ernest Chapell.

Announcer: [music up and into background]This is the mutual broadcasting system.

[music out]
Paul
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Posted 05/05/03 - 12:05 AM:

http://www.quietplease.org/scripts.php?id=1
Paul
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Posted 04/12/08 - 3:02 AM:

Illustration I stumbled across: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080323.html
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Posted 05/19/08 - 3:23 PM:

"QUIET, PLEASE"

Wyllis Cooper

June 8, 1947

Recording June 3, 1947

Studio 6 - 100 - 530

["Nothing Behind the Door"]

[page 1]

(MUSIC ... THEME)

ANNCR: Quiet, please.

SOUND: (A QUIET CLOCK TICKING)

ANNCR: (ON CUE) Quiet, please.

SOUND: (FADE THE CLOCK-TICKING OUT SLOWLY FOR)

ROSS: (CHAPPELL FADING IN) It's something like sixty-eight hundred feet above
sea-level; a little house maybe twenty feet long and fifteen wide. It's made
of corrugated iron sheets, with a high peaked roof, and it sort of hangs over
the edge of the mountain - top, with nothing but the spikes of pine-trees
stretching all the way down to Pasadena, better than a mile below you.

There's a sort of trestle that extends out to the little house from the
mountain-top itself; the house is built on steel girders set into the solid
rock. There's one door in the house: a door at the end of the trestle.

Just one door.

And there's a big high wire fence all around the place: at least there used to
be, and I hope it's still there. There's no gate in that wire fence, if it's
still there. There's no way to get into that enclosure around the little iron
house. There was a way, but it's closed off now. Do you ever get out to
California? If you do, go up there sometime and take a look at the little
house. But look at it through the fence. That's far enough. You go out
Foothill Boulevard toward Pasadena, but you turn off on Angeles Crest Highway
at La Canada, and you just keep on driving uphill.

[2]

You'll get there. Just keep right on going: the top of Mount Wilson is the end
of the highway. That's where the big telescope is: the biggest in the world
till they got the Big Eye operating, down on Mount Palomar, near San Diego.
There's a lot of people waiting to have a look through that big new one, but
I'm not one of them. I <u>looked</u> through a telescope once at the sky.

You ever look through a big telescope? At the sky, at night? At the things up
there? Things so far away you sprain your brain just trying to imagine how far
away they are? With nothing between you and them? Billions and billions of
miles of nothing? I don't know what it does to you but, brother, I
<u>freeze</u>.

Listen, do you know there are <u>holes</u> in the sky? I mean it. I've seen them.
There's a thing in the constellation Andromeda - no, I'm not going to get
technical with you; just listen. There's this thing - astronomers call it the
Horse Head Nebula. You know what it is? It's a hole. It's a great big patch of
nothing. Just <u>nothing</u>! There aren't any stars there; there's just a <u>hole</u>. No,
nobody knows anything about it. Astronomers look at it, they take pictures of
it, and there it stays. There it is now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and a
million years from now, and it's been there always.

[3]

Yes, it has; it's so far away that what you see now is the way it looked a
billion years ago. Before there was anybody to see it, friend. And there's
lots more of those places.

[4]

So what's all this got to do with the little house up on top of Mount Wilson?

I'll tell you.

This was quite some time ago. I'd been living in California, see, for several
years. I had a couple of bucks; had a nice little place near Van Nuys - that
was before the Valley got to be so popular with movie people and radio comics
and people like that, and it wasn't bad, living alone; waking up in the middle
of the night hearing the Southern Pacific Lark whistle for a crossing out
around Chatsworth, listening to a dog howling 'way out across the valley. And
going back to sleep.

I don't get back to sleep so easy these days.

Well, these people from Cleveland were out there. Aldo Manucci and Hugh Grant.
We used to be great friends, Aldo and Hugh and I; so nothing would do but
they'd come to stay with me. It was all right. I had a Dodge convertible and
the boys got quite a kick out of California. It isn't like Cleveland. So we
did a lot of driving around - and we got a lot of kicks. You know, up to the
desert to see the Joshua-trees; down to Laguna to go swimming; Arrowhead; out
to the Lion Farm on Ventura Boulevard. We even went to the Bowl and listened
to the Symphonies under the Stars. Stars.... I never want to see the stars any
more. I saw 'em once too often.

[5]

We were just like any appleknockers that come out from the East; we went
everywhere and looked at everything, and got a bang out of it.

That's how we came to go up to Mount Wilson that day. Aldo and Hugh had been -
you know - looking around for odd places; they had some ideas; and so one day
we were having breakfast and they were looking at an Automobile Club bulletin,
and Aldo said let's go to Mount Wilson. So we did.

So we did. I'd been up there once before, and you know how it is in
California: I knew everything.

I thought I knew everything.

I found out different.

We were inside the big dome where the Hundred-Inch telescope is. It's like
being inside a giant's watch. The telescope is in the middle, a big
spidery framework with ladders climbing all over it up under this dome.
The tourists stand on a kind of a catwalk around the edge while the
astronomer explains as much as thinks the appleknockers'll understand. There
was just a few of us that day, standing close to the little kind of pulpit
listening with our mouths open. It <u>is</u> like a pulpit. I got to thinking
that day how the astronomer looked like a priest up there; a nice old white-
haired fellow like a priest ... and I was thinking he was talking about
the heavens, too. I'd seen it all before, but my mouth was as wide open as
Hugh's and Aldo's.

[6]

ASTRONOMER: (RESONANCE) ... ... the earth rotates, you know; all twenty-four
thousand miles of its equator, once in twenty-four hours. A given spot on the
earth's surface is moving at the rate of a thousand miles an hour at the
equator. And the earth is moving through space, too: it moves around the sun
at the rate of about eighteen and a half miles per <u>second</u>. (THERE IS A
SMALL MURMUR FROM THE AUDIENCE AT THIS) So therefore we must, in order to keep
this telescope focussed accurately on the celestial objects we are observing,
neutralise those motions mechanically. The telescope itself, as you will
observe, is controllable in any direction by this motor. Watch it, if you
please.

SOUND: (A VERY SMALL AC MOTOR HUM, FAIRLY HIGH-PITCHED, BEGINS)

ASTRONOMER: Notice the motion of the telescope.

SOUND: (THE MOTOR CONTINUES UNTIL CUED OUT)

ASTRONOMER: Now I shall open the shutters of the dome, through which the
telescope points.

SOUND: (ANOTHER, HEAVIER MOTOR STARTS AND STOPS ON CUE)

ASTRONOMER: And the final movement: the rotation of the entire dome, exactly
synchronised with the speed of the earth through space. Watch through the
shutters above you, please.

SOUND: (ANOTHER MOTOR STARTS; A DEEPER-TONED ONE NOW. IT CONTINUES)

MANUCCI: (OVER THE MOTOR, ON CUE) Lookit. Lookit, Ross.

ROSS: I see.

[7]

MANUCCI: Look outside. We -- we ain't movin'. The <u>sky's</u> going by! Lookit,
Hugh!

GRANT: I see it.

ROSS: It's an optical illusion, Aldo.

ASTRONOMER: No, it's not an optical illusion. In relation to space this spot
we are on <u>is</u> standing still. Through these motions here in the dome, the
mirror of the telescope is kept aimed exactly at one spot far out in space.

ALDO: What's space, mister?

ASTRONOMER: It's......nothing.

GRANT: What about the air?

ASTRONOMER: There are a few miles of air, my friend...and then...nothing.

MANUCCI: Huh.

ROSS: The stars.

ASTRONOMER: Yes; the stars.

ROSS: Sure.

ASTRONOMER: And the places where there are no stars.

(MUSIC ... CUTS IN AND HOLDS FOR A MOMENT, THEN FADES)

ROSS: My skin twitched a little when he said that; did yours? Well; the show
was over, and we went outside into the sunlight. We walked across the long
wooden bridge -- there's a deep gully in front of the dome -- and down a
little path past a thing they call a coelostat: a small dome on legs about a
hundred feet high, all painted with aluminum paint (everything's painted with
aluminum paint up there) -- a thing they study the sun and sunspots and things
like that with.

[8]

It was quiet up there, along toward the middle of the afternoon, and there was
a chill in the air, although it was hot down below. And the squirrels frisked
around underfoot, and I pointed out a deer -- it's wild up there, you know.
And we were just talking -- it's an odd place, and you get kind of impressed.
Not only with the things they have up there, the telescopes and the odd
buildings, and the view you get through the trees -- on a good clear day you
can see all the way out to Santa Monica.... but the people impress you. The
astronomers. They live up there, all by themselves, and they look at the sky,
and they see things. You always get the feeling they know a lot more than
they're telling. Like doctors....or like priests, I guess. I said that, didn't
I? Well, that's what they're like.

The path leads through the woods -- the biggest live oaks you ever saw -- over
to the old hotel. So I said

Say what about a beer before we start down, huh?

MANUCCI: A beer, that's for me.

GRANT: Can you get any hard liquor up here, Ross?

ROSS: No, I don't think so. Anyway, I wouldn't want a drink; not with all
that mountain road ahead of me.

MANUCCI: No, sir; don't you take no drink, Ross. I don't want to ride that
road with nobody's had a drink a liquor. Maybe you shouldn't have a beer
even.

ROSS: Beer won't hurt me.

GRANT: What's this fence for?

ROSS: Huh. I never noticed that before.

[9]

GRANT: That's quite a fence. Have a hard time getting over that.

MANUCCI: What would you want to get over it for, Hugh?

GRANT: I don't know. What you suppose is on the other side, they got this
heavy fence?

ROSS: I don't see anything. Except that little house out there, on stilts.

MANUCCI: Funny looking place.

GRANT: Fence goes right around it.

MANUCCI: Ain't there a gate?

ROSS: Oh, come on, let's get a beer.

GRANT: No, I want to look at this, Ross.

MANUCCI: Prob'ly they got something valuable in there.

ROSS: Sure; scientific instruments or something. This place is all full of
that stuff.

MANUCCI: Hey, look. A sign.

GRANT: Where?

MANUCCI: (GOING AWAY) Here.

ROSS: Come on.

GRANT: Wait. What's it say?

MANUCCI: (OFF) The public is forbidden to pass beyond this fence under severe
penalty. The Carnegie Foundation.

GRANT: That all?

MANUCCI: Yeh.

GRANT: What you suppose they got in that place?

ROSS: I don't know; I don't care.

[10]

GRANT: There's a door up there at the end of that trestle. Maybe we could go
back and get in through that other shed where the trestle starts, huh?

ROSS: What you want to go in there for? We got to get going.

GRANT: I'm just curious. You know what I mean? That place might come in handy.

MANUCCI: Oh. Yeah.

GRANT: See? 'Specially if they keep everybody out like this.

MANUCCI: But the thing might be all full of stuff, Hugh. Like Ross said:
scientific stuff.

GRANT: Might be, and might not be. Hey, here comes that fellow that made the
spiel up there.

MANUCCI: Well, ask him. He'd know.

ROSS: He won't tell you.

GRANT: Well, we'll find out. Hey, fella.

ASTRONOMER: (COMING UP) How are you?

GRANT: Hey.

ASTRONOMER: (UP; STOPS) Were you talking to me?

GRANT: Yeah. What's in that funny-looking building?

ASTRONOMER: Over there? Nothing.

GRANT: Yeah?

MANUCCI: What's the idea of the fence then?

ASTRONOMER: We don't want people to go in there.

GRANT: I'd sure like to see what's in it.

ASTRONOMER: I said there's nothing in there.

GRANT: You sure, mister?

ASTRONOMER: Yes; I'm absolutely sure.

ROSS: Could we get a pass to go in there?

[11]

ASTRONOMER: No. You saw the sign, didn't you?

GRANT: Said something about penalty of the law.

ASTRONOMER: You didn't read it very carefully.

MANUCCI: He didn't read it. I did.

ASTRONOMER: Read it again.

MANUCCI: Wait. (HE MOVES OFF AND READS) The public is forbidden to pass beyond
this fence under severe penalty. (HE MOVES BACK) See?

ROSS: I see what he means. It didn't say anything about the law.

GRANT: Oh.

ASTRONOMER: That's right.

GRANT: Well, then?

ASTRONOMER: There are other penalties.

GRANT: Oh. (A LONG PAUSE) Tough guy, huh?

ASTRONOMER: No. (PAUSE) Not at all.

MANUCCI: Well, what does it mean, then?

ASTRONOMER: I'll give you a little friendly advice. I wouldn't try to find
out if I were you.

GRANT: Oh, is that so?

ASTRONOMER: Yes.

ROSS: Do you really know what's in there, mister?

ASTRONOMER: Yes.

ROSS & GRANT: What?

ASTRONOMER: Nothing.

THERE IS A LONG PAUSE.

GRANT: Okay, lads, let's go get that beer.

(MUSIC ... TAKES THEM AWAY AND FADES)

[12]

ROSS: Well, of course, you know what was up. You're 'way ahead of
me. My Cleveland pals weren't in California just for a vacation. There was a
bank I'd had my eye on for a while, out in Pacific Palisades, and it wasn't
the first bank that Manucci and Hugh Grant and I had worked a deal on. I
didn't go much for this place up on Mount Wilson with nothing in it and a
fence around it, but Aldo and Hugh -- well, after all, could you find a better
place to stash away some dough? Nobody could get in, they said -- and if we
could, well -- so I bought it finally. Well, to make a long story short, we
took, I think it was fifty-three thousand dollars out of the bank. Fifty-
three, fifty-four, what's the difference? It's all gone now.

It's a long drive from Pacific Palisades over Sunset Boulevard, then up
Beverly Glen to the Valley, through Van Nuys to Sunland, and down past the
Sanitarium on Foothill Boulevard to where you turn off on the Angeles Highway.
'Specially at one o'clock in the morning; that was when we pulled out of
Pacific Palisades. It was summer, and after you turn on to the mountain road
you're not allowed to smoke. See, a fire warden might come along, and those
guys can tell somebody smoking in a car a half mile off. They throw you in the
can for it. Forest fires. So we didn't want anybody stopping us -- it was
risky enough anyway, because practically nobody ever drives up there late at
night -- or early in the morning, I mean.

[13]

Well, we didn't meet anybody, and all three of us were jittery with no
cigarettes, and that road -- it's tough enough in the daytime, but in the
dark!

It was half past four when we got to the top. The hotel was dark; the cabins
were dark, but the sky! It was just like solid with stars. And you could
pretty near reach up and touch 'em. I remembered the old guy in the hundred-
inch dome: nothing between us and the stars. And down below -- well, if you've
ever been up there at night you know what I mean. Just like looking down on
stars. The lights of seventeen, eighteen towns -- Pasadena, Los Angeles,
Hollywood, Van Nuys, San Fernando, Culver City, Santa Monica. Well, it makes
my hair stand on end when I think of it -- and I haven't seen it for -- well,
never mind how many years.

Well.

We stumbled through the pitch dark.

We got off the path three times and nearly fell down hill. And brother, that'd
be a fall.

We still couldn't risk a cigarette.

It was dark.

Hugh Grant was in front, then me, then Aldo. We each had brief-cases. Hugh had
a pair of those big spring wire-cutters that'll go through a steel cable.

And all of a sudden we bumped into the fence.

GRANT: Ouch.

ROSS: Matter?

GRANT: The fence.

[14]

MANUCCI: Where are you? (HE BUMPS INTO ROSS)

ROSS: Stand still, will you?

MANUCCI: It's dark.

GRANT: Shut up. Listen for a minute.

THERE IS SILENCE FOR A LITTLE.

GRANT: Hear anything?

MANUCCI: No.

ROSS: No.

GRANT: See anything?

ROSS: (LOOKS AROUND) No.

MANUCCI: Look.

ROSS: What?

MANUCCI: The dome over there.

GRANT: See somebody?

MANUCCI: No. (HE TRIES TO CHUCKLE) Them two big windows up there. With that
big round dome looks like somebody watchin' us.

ROSS: It s-sure does.

GRANT: Ah, cut it out. I'm going to try the fence with the cutters.

MANUCCI: Want the flashlight?

GRANT: You chump! No!

ROSS: I wish we....(HE STOPS)

GRANT: What?

ROSS: Forget it. I just don't like that place, though.

GRANT: Get out of the way.

MANUCCI: Want some help, Hugh?

[15]

GRANT: Just keep out the the way. (HE STRAINS WITH THE CUTTERS.)

SOUND: (THE WIRE GOES "TWANG!")

GRANT: Wait. (A PAUSE) Hear anything?

ROSS: That wire made enough noise to -- (HE STOPS)

GRANT: All right, all right. (PAUSE) I'll try another strand.

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN. NOT SO LOUD THIS TIME)

GRANT: That's better. (PAUSE)

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN)

GRANT: See if you can slide under there, one of you.

MANUCCI: Me. (HE STRUGGLES) Nope, can't make it yet.

GRANT: I'll try another. Look out for your arm there.

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN)

GRANT: Now try.

MANUCCI: Wait'll I take off my coat. (A PAUSE) Now, let's see. (HE STRUGGLES)

GRANT: How about it?

ROSS: He's through.

GRANT: All right, go ahead.

ROSS: Me?

GRANT: You.

ROSS: Well, I -- cut another strand, Hugh.

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN)

GRANT: Make it now?

ROSS: I guess so. (HE STRUGGLES) Yeh. (OFF A LITTLE) Where are you, Aldo?

MANUCCI: (OFF A LITTLE) Right here. Come on, Hugh. Hey, slide the brief-cases
through first.

GRANT: Coming up. (PAUSE) Got 'em?

[16]

MANUCCI: Got 'em.

GRANT: Here I come. All set?

MANUCCI: All set.

[17]

ROSS: I'm all set. I'm as all set as I ever will be, I figure. I don't like
any part of this place. I don't like the dark. I don't like the stars up above
us. I don't like the lights down below. I don't like the silence. I don't like
climbing around the top of a mountain with nothing under me but thin air for a
mile or more. All I can hear is Hugh and Aldo in front of me, crackling
through the weeds, cursing when one of them whacks a shin against a sharp
rock. All I can see is two black shapes in front of me, and a blacker shape
that's the building, the little house with nothing in it. Aldo and Hugh are
panting; it's sixty-eight hundred feet up, you know, and your breath is pretty
short. It's tough going, especially when you're dragging a brief case full of
money, too, and you're scared and sweating and tired. And then, all of a
sudden, we're under the building, alongside one of the struts that hold up the
little trestle.

GRANT: Boost me up, Aldo.

ROSS: And Aldo boosts him up. Hugh's a little guy, and he's spry. He's spryer
than I am, up there a mile in the air; and I guess he's not as scared as I am.
So I look up and he's sprawling on the trestle with nine million stars behind
him, and he's reaching down to me.

GRANT: Grab my hand, Ross.

ROSS: So I scramble up, and I'll never know how I made it, either. But there
we are, and in a second, Aldo is up there with us.

GRANT: Now keep quiet a minute and rest. I'm knocked out.

[18]

MANUCCI: Yeah. (PANTING)

(THERE IS A PAUSE)

MANUCCI: You hear anything, Hugh?

GRANT: Just the wind, Ross?

ROSS: I...no, I thought I heard something, but I guess it's the wind.

GRANT: Listen.

(A PAUSE)

GRANT: It's the wind. (A SHORT PAUSE) Well?

ROSS: So we stood up.

So Hugh walked the rest of the way down the little trestle. We followed him,
stumbling over the planks, and

there was the door.

So we rattled the bar on it, and it was padlocked.

So Hugh took the big cutters, and he wrenched away at the bar.

SOUND: (SOUND OF WRENCHING WITH CUTTERS)

[ROSS:] And we shivered there in the cold, waiting to see if anybody heard us.

There wasn't a sound, so

Hugh tried again

SOUND: (SOUND OF WRENCHING WITH CUTTERS)

[ROSS:] and the bar fell off

SOUND: (BAR FALLS OFF)

[ROSS:] and we kept still for a minute. (PAUSE) And then

GRANT: Open the door.

SOUND: (THE DOOR RASPS OPEN AND CLANGS BACK AGAINST THE WALL)

[19]

GRANT: Where's the flashlight?

MANUCCI: Wait.

GRANT: Nobody can see us. Put your fingers over it and turn it in there.

MANUCCI: Okay. (A PAUSE) I don't see anything.

ROSS: The guy said there was nothing in there.

GRANT: I can't see a thing. Open up the light a little more.

MANUCCI: I got it open. It's all black in there.

GRANT: There's something the matter with the light.

MANUCCI: No, there ain't. Look.

GRANT: Turn that light off me!

MANUCCI: Well, look, now when I shine it inside.

ROSS: Nothing.

GRANT: Well, there's got to be <u>something</u> in there.

ROSS: Nothing, the man said.

MANUCCI: Can't even see the floor.

GRANT: Well, I'll find out if there's anything in there.

MANUCCI: (HASTILY) No! Don't go in! You can't tell what's liable to be...

GRANT: Well, look out. I'll toss the brief-case in.

ROSS: No!..throw the wire-cutters in.

GRANT: Where are they?

MANUCCI: Here. (HE DROPS THEM WITH A CLANG)

GRANT: For the love o' - look out, will you? Keep still! You'd wake up the
dead -

(THEY KEEP SILENT A MOMENT)

GRANT: (RELUCTANTLY) Well, I guess nobody heard us. We're shot with luck
tonight, no kidding. Gimme them cutters.

[20]

MANUCCI: Here.

GRANT: Shine the light in there. (HE LOOKS) Sure can't see any thing, can ya?

MANUCCI: Throw 'em in.

GRANT: Get out of the doorway. Keep the light in there.

MANUCCI: Go ahead. Throw 'em against the far wall.

GRANT: All right. Look out. (HE TOSSES THE HEAVY CUTTERS INSIDE. THERE IS NO
SOUND AT ALL)

MANUCCI: (AFTER A PAUSE) Where'd they go?

GRANT: I tossed 'em hard enough to - move the light around. I can't see a
thing.

MANUCCI: I can't either. They ought to be - (HE LOOKS HARD) the light just
kind of seems to stop -

GRANT: Oh, cut it out. There's prob'ly some kind of stuff on the floor -
powdered, maybe, and they fell into it - here, stand to one side, Ross.

ROSS: What are you going to do?

GRANT: Why, I'm going in and look around. Have you got a gun, Aldo?

MANUCCI: Just this little thirty-two.

GRANT: All right, come on. Ross, you stay here and watch. And listen.

ROSS: I wouldn't go in there, Hugh -

GRANT: Nobody asked you to. I'm going. Come on, Aldo.

MANUCCI: Listen, Hugh.

GRANT: Have you got the screamin' meemies, too? Come on, with that gun.
There's nothing in there.

ROSS: Look, Hugh, let's get out of here.

[21]

GRANT: Ah, shut up. Here, might as well take the dough, too. We can stick it
in there - go ahead, Aldo, with the light.

MANUCCI: You go first.

GRANT: Ah! All right! Now stand there and keep your ears (HE IS CUT OFF
SHARPLY)

MANUCCI: Hey, Hugh, where are you? I can't see him.

ROSS: Listen, Aldo, don't go in there ---

MANUCCI: I got to - hey, Hugh! (NO ANSWER) Hugh! Where are you?

ROSS: Listen, Aldo -

MANUCCI: Keep your eyes and ears open, now. We'll be right back. Hey, Hugh,
are you all right? I'm comin' in, Hugh! Hugh!

ROSS: Aldo --

MANUCCI: What's in there? Hey, Hugh! Okay, Ross, something's the matter with
him. Here I come. Hugh! I'm gonna - (HE IS CUT OFF SHARPLY. THERE IS A LONG
SILENCE)

ROSS: Hugh! Hey, Hugh! (NO ANSWER) Aldo! Hey, what's in there, you two? Hugh--
(HE HEARS FOOTSTEPS SLOWLY APPROACHING, AND HE FALLS SILENT.)

(THE FOOTSTEPS COME UP CLOSE AND STOP)

ASTRONOMER: I can see you. (THERE IS A LITTLE MOVEMENT FROM ROSS) You can
stand up now. (NO ANSWER) They won't come out, I assure you.

SOUND: (HE WALKS A FEW STEPS & CLANGS THE DOOR SHUT)

[ASTRONOMER:] Come on, son. Stand up.

ROSS: I've got a gun.

[22]

ASTRONOMER: No, you haven't. Stand up.

ROSS: When my friends come out -

ASTRONOMER: They're not coming out, my friend. Stand up.

(ROSS LABORIOUSLY GETS TO HIS FEET.)

ASTRONOMER: You wouldn't believe me when I told you.

ROSS: What's in there? (NO ANSWER) What's in there, I said?

ASTRONOMER: I told you there's....nothing behind that door.

ROSS: My friends went in there --

ASTRONOMER: They're not there now. (PAUSE) There's nothing in there. Do you
understand me? There's nothing in there.

ROSS: Listen.

ASTRONOMER: No. You listen. I - No, I suppose, it will do no good to tell
you.

ROSS: Tell me what?

ASTRONOMER: I'd better show you.

ROSS: Show me what?

ASTRONOMER: Come with me.

ROSS: No.

ASTRONOMER: Come with me.

ROSS: I won't! You've got to - (HE STOPS)

SOUND: (WE HEAR THE ASTRONOMER WALKING SLOWLY AWAY)

ROSS: Wait!

SOUND: (THE FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE)

ROSS: Wait for me!

SOUND: (THE FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE, AND THE MUSIC PICKS THEM UP...HOLDS...AND
FADES BEHIND)

(MUSIC: ... HOLDS... FADES BEHIND)

ROSS: Across the little trestle away from the door he closed on my friends.

[23]

ROSS: Through another door....

SOUND: (CLANG)

ROSS: into a long shed in the dark.

And I was glad I couldn't see the stars.

Out another door at the end of the shed.

SOUND: (CLANG)

ROSS: ..down the path past the coelostat reaching up into the sky, shining in
the starlight, looking like one of those visitors from Mars you heard about on
the radio. Across the little wooden bridge...

SOUND: (HOLLOW FOOTSTEPS)

ROSS: ....with the two eyes of the hundred-inch dome staring down at me, and a
cold wind coming up from the other side of the mountain.

Up the ramp and into the dome itself.

Up the iron stairs.

SOUND: (UP THE IRON STAIRS)

ASTRONOMER: (OFF) Follow me.

ROSS: A little yellow light at the head of the stairs, and then out on the
catwalk in the dark, with the floor forty feet below us.

Up another ladder, and my legs are getting tired.

Up.

ASTRONOMER: Follow me.

ROSS: Up another dizzy ladder.

Another.

Across another spidery walk.

ASTRONOMER: Here. Sit in this seat.

[24]

ROSS: I couldn't speak. My throat is dry. My legs are trembling. I'm icy cold
in that great dome, how far above the floor I can't tell.

ASTRONOMER: Sit still, you won't fall.

ROSS: Why did you...

ASTRONOMER: Sit still, I said. You'll have to be shown. Wait.

SOUND: (THE FIRST MOTOR STARTS)

[ASTRONOMER:] Magnetic declination.

SOUND: (THE SECOND MOTOR STARTS)

[ASTRONOMER:] You can look now.

ROSS: Look! At what?

ASTRONOMER: Look through the telescope.

ROSS: No!

ASTRONOMER: Look, son. (ROSS INHALES SHARPLY) What do you see?

ROSS: Stars. Millions of stars.

ASTRONOMER: Wait.

SOUND: (THE MOTOR CHANGES PITCH)

[ASTRONOMER:] Look again. (PAUSE) What do you see?

ROSS: (AFTER A PAUSE) Nothing. (PAUSE) Nothing!

ASTRONOMER: Watch.

SOUND: (MOTOR LOUDER)

[ASTRONOMER:] Now?

ROSS: Stars again. Millions - no - a black cloud.

ASTRONOMER: Now?

ROSS: Nothing.

ASTRONOMER: That nothing you see is a million light-years away.

ROSS: What is it?

ASTRONOMER: There's nothing there to see. My friend, there are scores of
places in this universe where there is nothing. Far places, near places...do
you understand what I mean?

[25]

ROSS: (AFTER A PAUSE) Is...is that what you meant when you said -

ASTRONOMER: When I said there is nothing behind that door? (PAUSE) Yes.

ROSS: Where - where -

ASTRONOMER: Your friends? Your misguided friends? I don't know. Perhaps. Take
your eye from the telescope. Wait.

SOUND: (THE MOTORS WHINE LOUDLY)

ASTRONOMER: Look now. If you dare.

ROSS: What -

ASTRONOMER: Look.

(MUSIC ... COMES UP WITH A SCREAM AND HOLDS ...CUT OFF SHARPLY)

ROSS: Yes.

You guess what I saw.

You guess what I saw, clawing through black clouds of nothing.

You guess what eyes I saw.

I saw <u>nothing</u>.

Yes, the little house is still there, on Mount Wilson.

You can go look at it if you want to.

But don't go too close.

Maybe somebody'll tell you it's just a place where they store equipment.

Maybe.

Why do they keep the door locked, then?

Well.

Just one other thing.

Don't <u>you</u> go around opening doors you don't know anything about.

[25]

There might be nothing behind one of them.

(MUSIC ... UP TO FINISH)

ANNCR: The man who talked to you was Ernest Chappell.

The others were: Aldo Manucci, Morton Thompson.

Hugh Grant, Pat O'Malley. The Astronomer, James Van Dyk.

The music was composed and played by Eugene Perrazzo.

"Quiet, Please" is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper.

And it will be back on the air next week at the same time.

(MUSIC ... THEME)

ANNCR: THIS IS THE MUTUAL BROADCASTING SYSTEM.
sirdle
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#12 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/05/11 - 7:34 PM:

Paul wrote:
Announcer: The Mutual broadcasting system presents the first of a series of new and unusual dramatic programs, written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and featuring Ernest Chappell.

[Theme music in]

Chappell: Quiet please... Quiet Please!

[Theme music out]

Man: About 5800 feet above sea level -- a little house, maybe 20 feet long, 15 feet wide. It's made of corrugated iron sheets with a high peaked roof, sort of hangs over the edge of the mountain top, with nothing but the spikes of pine trees stretching all the way down to Pasadena, better than a mile below you. [music up and out] You ever get out to California? Well if you do get up there sometime and take a look at that little house. But look at it through the fence that surrounds it -- that's far enough. [???] You go out Foothill boulevard toward Pasadena, but you turn off on Angeles Crest highway at [La Kanada?]. Just keep on drivin' uphill, you'll get there, just keep right on going. The top of Mt. Wilson is the end of the highway. You ever look through a big telescope? At the sky at night? At the things up there? Things so far away you strain your brain just trying to imagine how far away they are.


Not sure if you are interested, but in the first pair of square brackets [???], Chappell repeats the words "Through the fence."

In the second set of brackets, the city name is "La CaƱada". (It is a city along Foothill Blvd just below Angeles Crest Highway.)
sirdle
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#13 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/05/11 - 7:41 PM:

Paul wrote:


[music up and out]

This was quite some time ago, I'd been living in California, see, for several years. I had a couple of buddies, had a nice little place near Van Nuys -- that was before the valley got to be so popular with movie people, radio comics, people like that. And it wasn't bad living alone, waking up in the middle of the night hearing the southern pacific [lark?] whistle for a crossing out around [Chatsworth?]... listening to a dog howling way out across the valley... going back to sleep. I don't get back to sleep so easy these days. [pause] Well, these people from Cleveland were out there, Aldo Manuchi and Hugh Grant. We used to be great friends, Aldo and Hugh and I, so nothing would do but they'd come to stay with me. It was all right, I had a dodge convertable, the boys got quite a kick out of California. That's how we came to go up to Mt. Wilson that day. Aldo and Hugh had been uh, you know, lookin' around for odd places, they had some ideas.

[4:06 into episode]


In the first set of square brackets [lark?] is correct. The Southern Pacific Lark was a passenger train that made the L.A. to San Jose run from 1941 to 1968.

In the second set of square brackets [Chatsworth] is correct. Chatsworth is a community in the Northwest part of the San Fernando valley between L.A. and San Jose. The Lark would have traveled through Chatsworth on its way to Ventura and then on up the coast.
sirdle
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#14 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/05/11 - 8:07 PM:

bfish wrote:


Man: Well, the show was over we went outside into the sunlight we walked across the long wooden bridge--there's a deep gully in front of the dome--and on the little path past the thing they call a ???-stat. A small dome on legs about a hundred feet high. Something they study the sun and sunspots and things like that with.

[8:16 into episode]


???-stat is a coelostat - a type of solar telescope.
sirdle
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#15 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/05/11 - 8:18 PM:

bfish wrote:


Hugh: That's quite a fence. You'd have a hard time getting over that.

Aldo: What would you want to get over it for?

Hugh: I don't know. What do you suppose is on the other side of ??? where they ??? tell these things.

Man: I-I don't see anything. 'Cept that little house out there on stilts.

Aldo: Yeah. Funny little place.


[11:30 into episode]


I think this might be "What do you suppose is on the other side of... where they got that [???] fence?"
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