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A Night to Forget

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A Night to Forget
MS
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Posted 05/02/04 - 9:36 AM:

Okay, here's a transcript of "A Night to Forget":

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(SEVEN SECONDS' SILENCE)

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)

ANNCR: The Mutual Broadcasting System presents "Quiet, Please!" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper and which features Ernest Chappell. "Quiet, Please!" for tonight is called "A Night to Forget" ...

(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)

---

SOUND: (FOOTSTEPS, MAN CRASHES INTO SOME FURNITURE)

JOHN H.: Excuse me. It's dark in here.

SOUND: (ANOTHER CRASH)

JOHN H.: I can't find a - doggone light.

SOUND: (YET ANOTHER CRASH)

JOHN H.: Where's the lights?

ECHOING VOICE: There aren't any lights, John H.

JOHN H.: Who's that?

ECHOING VOICE: It's me.

JOHN H.: What'd you say about the lights?

ECHOING VOICE: I said there aren't any lights.

JOHN H.: There's GOT to be.

ECHOING VOICE: Not in here, John H.

JOHN H.: Well, isn't this Studio Fifteen?

ECHOING VOICE: You kidding? This is the morgue!

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) That was last night.

I - think it was a dream.

I remember I went to bed early because I had to get up so early this morning to get that stuff to Ted before he takes off for California. I - I drank a bottle of ginger ale with some lemon juice. I read Variety for about fifteen minutes. Then I went to sleep. Must have been, mmm, no later than ten-thirty. Then, THIS happened. I--

You know how it is sometimes when you get in a dream and you don't think you're dreaming and when you wake up you wonder whether it happened or not?

Well, I was walkin' down the hall to Studio Fifteen for this broadcast. And, when I went in, it was all dark. And I stumbled around, tryin' to find a light. I hit my shin on something. Then this voice in the dark talked to me.

ECHOING VOICE: You kidding? This is the morgue!

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) I'll be darned if I can figure it out. I THINK it was a dream all right. But my shin hurts where I barked it. Mm, it's all black and blue.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) I woke up. And I lay there quite a while -- you know, half dopey -- tryin' to figure it out. I turned the lights on finally and - I was right there in my room - with my shin hurting me. I know I hadn't been out of bed because I was all wound up in the covers.

And I - I couldn't get back to sleep again. You know how it is? You have a nightmare and you're afraid to go back to sleep 'cause you might have another one, uh, a worse one?

Well, listen.

(MUSIC ... OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) I was just lying there - in my own room, with the lights on - lookin' at the ceiling and tryin' to think. And it - began to get dark.

No, the - the lights didn't go out. I could SEE the lights. But it was dark. Everything just sort of - er, faded -- like in a movie, you know? And pretty soon it was - black dark. I tried to get up - but I couldn't. And I just - I just lay there, flat on my back - in the dark, in the silence. And I was scared.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT)

WOMAN'S VOICE: Doesn't he look nice?

MAN'S VOICE: Beautiful.

WOMAN'S VOICE: He's got that blue and white shirt on that I gave him.

MAN'S VOICE: I wish I could have got that tie from him in time. I always liked that tie.

WOMAN'S VOICE: It IS pretty. He certainly looks nice.

MAN'S VOICE: Certainly does.

JOHN H.: Uh, look. Will you two please get out of my room?

WOMAN'S VOICE: What'd you say, John H.?

JOHN H.: I - I said, get out of my room.

WOMAN'S VOICE: Why, THIS isn't your room, John H.

JOHN H.: Now, look--

MAN'S VOICE: Of course it isn't.

JOHN H.: Now, look, if I have to get up and chase you out of here--

WOMAN'S VOICE: Why, John H., you KNOW you can't get up.

MAN'S VOICE: Of course you can't.

WOMAN'S VOICE: You're dead, John H.

(MUSIC ... A SOMBER ACCENT, THEN OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) And then it - it got - well, "undark." And pretty soon it was just the same as it was before I - I fell asleep.

If I DID fall asleep.

Look, I'm a - I'm a hardheaded guy, even if I do work on super-- er, supernatural radio shows. You don't want to believe this stuff -- you'd go nutty.

Only-- Well, sometimes--

I - always sleep in pajamas. Both halves. I put on my pajamas when I went to bed last night. Red and white striped Textron.

Yeah.

Well, when I woke up -- or, when it got "undark" again -- I was wearin' a blue and white shirt I never saw in my life. And I was wearin' a hand-painted Countess Mara necktie that I never saw before either.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) So, this is TOO good. Somebody's playin' funny jokes on me. I love practical jokers -- in a pig's eye I do. Radio's full of practical jokers. All sorts of bum gags like Don Ameche used to do when he was a radio actor. You used to be readin' a commercial, giving a "this-a, that-a" -- Don'd come up behind ya and start to take your coat off. Well, you KNOW you can't stop. You're on the air and you have to make with this thing so you wiggle around, the first thing, he'd have your coat. Then he'd unbutton your suspender buttons. Take off your necktie. You can't do a thing but keep that ol' smile in your voice and go about "locked-in goodness" and "Please, Mrs. Housewife, buy the large economy size" and holding on to your pants with one hand and it's all very, very funny. Especially if the sponsor's sitting there in the booth lookin' at ya.

So, I say to myself, some practical joker--

Only I add a couple of adjectives to that.

(MUSIC ... OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) Only thing is -- how did he get the lights to go out?

I - I lie there a while and I think and I try to figure it out.

And I - I shut my eyes, I guess.

Anyway, when I opened 'em, it was dark again.

(MUSIC ... A MOODY ACCENT, THEN UNDER)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) I'm walking around in the dark.

And the ground is - is springy underfoot. There's a cool wind blowing.

What are those things? Those - those white things?

Why, they look like gravestones.

They ARE gravestones.

OLD MAN: Will you stand to one side, please, John H.?

JOHN H.: (STARTLED) Excuse me.

OLD MAN: I gotta get to work, see? This is an extra special rush job. I gotta get it done right away.

JOHN H.: Uh--

OLD MAN: Uh, you say somethin', John H.?

JOHN H.: Uh, I was - just gonna ask you -- what IS this place?

OLD MAN: My goodness, John H., this is a cemetery!

JOHN H.: Cemetery?

OLD MAN: Certainly. Would you move your foot a little?

JOHN H.: What am I doin' in a cemetery?

OLD MAN: What do people usually do in a cemetery, John H.?

SOUND: (METAL AGAINST STONE)

JOHN H.: Why - why, what are - what are YOU doing?

OLD MAN: Me? I'm just chiselin' your name on this gravestone.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) And there it was -- made out in chalk on the gravestone:

"John H."

And I shut my eyes.

When I opened 'em again, I was - I was lyin' on my bed.

I-- Well, you know what people mean when they say their - their mind reels? Boy, I do. I rubbed my eyes and it felt like sand on my fingers.

It wasn't sand, though.

It was marble dust.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) And - and, brother, I was shiverin'. This kind o' nightmare is a little TOO real. Then the telephone rang.

SOUND: (PHONE STARTS RINGING)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) And - so I got up to answer it. Mind you, I was awake.

Well, I KNOW I was.

Well, the lights were on.

I got up and I picked up the receiver.

SOUND: (PHONE PICKS UP)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) I said: "Hello? Hello?"

1st VOICE: Sure is too bad, isn't it?

2nd VOICE: Sure is. I never heard of such a thing.

JOHN H.: Hello?! Hello?!

1st VOICE: Poor old John H.

JOHN H.: This IS John H.! Hello?!

2nd VOICE: Poor old Al, I'd say. It's tougher on him than on John H.

1st VOICE: Al? Al who?

2nd VOICE: Al April. You know, the sound effects man.

1st VOICE: Oh! I didn't know his name.

JOHN H.: WHO IS THIS?! HELLO?!

2nd VOICE: Yes, he feels pretty awful about it.

1st VOICE: Well, I should think he would.

JOHN H.: Who is--?

1st VOICE: Killing a man.

2nd VOICE: He didn't mean to, you dope.

1st VOICE: I know it - but just the same-- Poor old John H. He didn't know it was loaded. I mean loaded with bullets. Matter of fact, there was just the ONE bullet.

2nd VOICE: One was enough.

1st VOICE: Right on the air, too.

2nd VOICE: Yeah. I bet that was the first time a radio audience ever heard a real killing! (LAUGHS)

1st VOICE: Yeah.

JOHN H.: Hello?! I wanna know who this is!

1st VOICE: Ah, what about his commercials? You know?

2nd VOICE: John H., you mean?

1st VOICE: Yeah.

2nd VOICE: Well, uh, I'm auditioning for the big one tomorrow.

1st VOICE: You ARE?

2nd VOICE: Yeah. They called me this morning.

1st VOICE: Gee. I wonder if I could get in on that.

2nd VOICE: Well, I don't know. I'm pretty sure they're going to pick me.

1st VOICE: I think I'll try anyway. Sure you won't mind?

2nd VOICE: No. Oh, no.

1st VOICE: Well, I'll see ya. Uh, poor old John H.

2nd VOICE: Yeah, too bad, wasn't it? So long.

SOUND: (THEY HANG UP)

JOHN H.: Who is that?! Hello?! -- Hello?! Hello?!

SOUND: (JOHN H. RATTLES THE HOOK)

OPERATOR: Yes, sir?

JOHN H.: You got me in on a crossed wire or something.

OPERATOR: Oh, no, sir.

JOHN H.: Well, when you rang me, I picked up the phone and I--

OPERATOR: Well, I'm sorry, sir, but I didn't ring you.

JOHN H.: What?

OPERATOR: Why, I haven't had a call for you all evening.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) Now, that wasn't a nightmare.

Or a dream.

THAT happened.

Even if the operator DID say she didn't ring me.

Whoever it was playin' a joke on me, they fixed it with the operator so she'd say that -- didn't they?

All right, that's the way I figured it, too.

So, this was about eleven-thirty. At half past twelve, the manager of the hotel called me on the phone.

MANAGER: I hate to wake you up at this hour of the night, John H., but I thought maybe Radio Registry or somebody might've called you and couldn't get you, see, and I know how important it is for people on the radio to get their calls and--

JOHN H.: What are you talking about?

MANAGER: Why, I just thought you might want to call Registry and see if they've been tryin' to get you, see?

JOHN H.: I don't get it.

MANAGER: Oh. Excuse me. See, uh, something happened to our telephones about ten o'clock and nobody's been able to get a call in or out of the hotel since then and I--

(MUSIC ... JAZZ ORGAN BRIDGE, THEN UNDER)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) Well, maybe my practical jokers might've got to the manager, too. But this morning, when I came downstairs, I - I found he wasn't kidding. The phones HAD been out for two hours and a half.

Mm, somethin' blew up in the switchboard or something.

And that's carrying a practical joke an awful long ways, isn't it?

Yeah. That's one night I won't forget, believe me.

Yeah, but I gotta stop this kind o' talk. And this kind o' thinking.

Ahh, I WILL forget it.

Heck, it was probably a lot o' nightmares.

I'm gonna stop drinkin' ginger ale before I go to bed. Yeah.

Well, anyway, I - I saw Ted and gave him the stuff and he got away to California okay. I - I sort of had a hunch that if this was a gag, Ted might've had a hand in it. So I made a few cracks but he didn't give it a tumble -- you know, like he would if he had anything to do with it? He can go just so far with a gag and then he can't keep his face straight. But he - he didn't fall for any o' my hints at all. So ...

Ah, man, I gotta forget it.

But, just for laughs, when I see that Al April, I'm gonna make him show me that sound effects pistol - (CHUCKLES) - believe me.

So then I went and did my commercial. The guy from the agency was there. He had the renewal of my contract with him so-- Well, anyway, after I signed it and he signed it, they're not gonna hold auditions for MY job tomorrow.

So, like they say on the radio, here we are at the bottom o' the well.

(MUSIC ... OUT)

JOHN H.: (NARRATES) This is no dream.

This is the hallway that goes down to Studio Fifteen.

And there's Miss Rose. "Hello, Miss Rose!"

Through the door.

There's the drinking fountain on the left.

And the lights are turned on -- it's bright.

Ah, I'm early today. (CHUCKLES) Wanna be here early so I can talk to Al April and look at that sound effects gun. I'm not dreamin' now. [?]

Studio Fifteen.

In the door.

Look in the control room.

Nobody there.

Hang up my coat.

Better go in the studio.

Here's the light switch. It's right where it always was.

And the lights go on.

Yeah, studio looks all right.

Nobody here yet.

MR. DEATH: You're late, John H.!

JOHN H.: (STARTLED) I'm not, either. Look at the clock. Oh. Who are you?

MR. DEATH: I'm Mr. Death. (PRONOUNCED "DEETH") I got your note and came right over.

JOHN H.: Note? What note?

MR. DEATH: Mm, the note you wrote me to meet you here tonight.

JOHN H.: I didn't write any note.

MR. DEATH: Why, you certainly did. I've got it right here in my briefcase. Yup, got it right here--

JOHN H.: I don't know what you're talkin' about, mister.

MR. DEATH: Ah, just a second. Oh, my goodness, I don't seem to have it after all. But I'm here, so that's all that matters, isn't it?

JOHN H.: What'd you say your name is?

MR. DEATH: Death! (PRONOUNCED "DEETH")

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER)

JOHN H.: Well, what'd you want? I'm - I'm on the air in just a little while.

MR. DEATH: Oh, it won't take long, John H. I've got the catalogue right here. And, uh, you can pick one out in no time. Ah, 'bout how high'd you want to go?

JOHN H.: What'd you say your name is again?

MR. DEATH: Death. (PRONOUNCED "DEETH") Ah! Here's the catalogue.

JOHN H.: How do you spell it?

MR. DEATH: Spell what?

JOHN H.: Your name.

MR. DEATH: Oh. Uh, D-E-A-T-H.

(MUSIC ... A SOMBER ACCENT, THEN OUT)

MR. DEATH: Er, shall we sit down here at the table where I can spread out the catalogue?

JOHN H.: Listen, Mr. Deeth or whatever your name is, this gag has gone just about far enough.

MR. DEATH: Why, what gag, John H.?

JOHN H.: Your gag. My friends' gag. I'm tired of it. Suppose you scram.

MR. DEATH: What are you talkin' about, John H.? I don't indulge in gags. Not in MY business.

JOHN H.: And what IS your business, Mr. Death pronounced Deeth?

MR. DEATH: I don't know whether you're tryin' some of your radio humor on me, John H. -- ya drag me all the way down from the Bronx to let you pick out a coffin.

JOHN H.: A coffin?

MR. DEATH: Ya think I'm in the grocery business?

JOHN H.: Listen, I--

MR. DEATH: Now, this one here you wouldn't want. Man as well-known and, uh, prosperous as you, John H., you - you wouldn't want to be found dead in this one! (LAUGHS) No, sir, you wouldn't be found dead in it -- eh?

JOHN H.: Look, buster, I don't WANT a coffin.

MR. DEATH: Ah, then why did you sign an order for one and pay a substantial down payment?

JOHN H.: I didn't.

MR. DEATH: All right, all right. Well, let's get this settled, uh-- Now, this model, uh -- Twenty-Three, code name: "Tired" -- this'll set you back, uh, four forty-one, uh, twenty-two cents. Tax included, of course.

JOHN H.: I don't want it.

MR. DEATH: Uh, somethin' a little more expensive perhaps, eh? Ah, here's a dandy! Code name "Sleepy"! Solid rosewood. Well, practically solid. Hand-polished silver alloy handles, nylon lining, in your choice of color--

JOHN H.: I don't want it!

MR. DEATH: Okay. Okay. Ahhhh! Well, what do you know about THIS for a coincidence?

JOHN H.: Huh?

MR. DEATH: By George, I didn't know THIS model was in the book! Lookit there!

JOHN H.: What?

MR. DEATH: Look at the code name!

JOHN H.: (READS SOBERLY FROM CATALOGUE) Code name ... "John H."

(MUSIC ... SOMBER ACCENT)

MR. DEATH: Man, is that a job! You know, I haven't seen this model yet. Look how it's streamlined. Plastics, too -- the latest thing. Real built-in factory-engineered dependability. Finest model we've ever made. And look! It's fireproof!

(MUSIC ... SLY ACCENT)

MR. DEATH: And that coincidence about the code name -- the, uh, the - the "John H." -- eh, well, you know what, John H.? You'll be the very first user of this latest model. Stand up!

JOHN H.: What for?

MR. DEATH: My goodness, this is a made-to-measure job, John H.! Nothin' too good for you famous radio people. Stand right up there. That's it. Now, let me see, uh, dimension A. My, you have broad shoulders, don't you? Here, let me put this down. There.

JOHN H.: Listen, mister, please, I--

MR. DEATH: I'm gonna get it absolutely right, John H.! I tell you, I can hardly wait to see ya in it! Stand still.

JOHN H.: Listen, this has gone far enough.

MR. DEATH: Just hold the tape measure. There, now. Let me see. Uh, uh, three inches above your head. Now, uh-- (BENDS, FROM BELOW) Six feet, four inches. (RISES) Ah! I didn't realize you were that tall, John H., uh -- How much do you weigh?

JOHN H.: (FINALLY ENTERS THE SPIRIT OF THE THING) Well, let's see, uh, I - I've lost seventeen pounds since I went on the diet.

MR. DEATH: My, my. You must tell me about that. If we have time. Seventeen pounds?

JOHN H.: Yeah.

MR. DEATH: And that makes it--?

JOHN H.: Uh, a hundred and ninety, uh, uh, one.

MR. DEATH: Oh, my gracious, I can save ya a little money, then! The oversized models carry a four per cent discount, ya see. The little ones are harder to make. You're very fortunate, John H. Now--

JOHN H.: Huh?

MR. DEATH: Uh, the plaque on the lid. See here?

JOHN H.: Yeah?

MR. DEATH: Yeah. Well, we can engrave that with any lodge emblem or, uh, you know -- Are you an Oddfellow or a Moose or anything like that? (LAUGHS) You ARE a big fella and I suppose you could say in slang that you're a big moose! (LAUGHS) Get it?

JOHN H.: No. The only thing I belong to is the Lambs.

MR. DEATH: Lambs? Lambs. Oh, my, John H., I - I really don't think we could do that. Er, y'see, we carry all the well known emblems in stock but, uh, the Lambs, we'd, uh, have to have that engraved and I'm terribly afraid there won't be time.

JOHN H.: Huh?

MR. DEATH: Well, you said it was a rush job, remember? Matter of fact, it's tonight, isn't it?

JOHN H.: What's tonight?

MR. DEATH: When you're to be killed. If I remember correctly, uh, said in your note with the order that a sound effects pistol was to--

JOHN H.: Mr. Deeth! Did - did I write that?

MR. DEATH: Well, I couldn't swear to it in court, of course, John H., but SOMEBODY wrote it and your name was signed to it.

JOHN H.: Well, look -- I'll write my name.

SOUND: (PEN TO PAPER)

JOHN H.: There. Uh, is that the signature?

MR. DEATH: (AFTER A BEAT) Absolutely identical, John H. Yes, sir, absolutely identical. I remember the curlicues on the "H."

JOHN H.: I - I don't understand this.

MR. DEATH: Ah, it's perfectly simple. You're going to die and you need a respectable, refined late model coffin, that's all.

JOHN H.: Are - are you sure I'm gonna die?

MR. DEATH: Cheer up, John H.! Of COURSE you're goin' to!

JOHN H.: You know, I - I heard that before.

MR. DEATH: Yeah, it's all over town.

JOHN H.: Tonight?

MR. DEATH: That's what you said.

JOHN H.: By a - by a shot from a - a sound effects pistol?

MR. DEATH: I saw it in your own handwriting.

JOHN H.: How did I - KNOW, Mr. Deeth?

MR. DEATH: (CHUCKLES) I'm sure I don't know, John H.

JOHN H.: Is - isn't there any way out of it?

MR. DEATH: Ah, don't ask me. I'm just a salesman. And you're just a customer. Not that I don't enjoy listenin' to you on the radio, John H., I really do. And I must say that you're gonna be a great loss to the, uh, uh-- Art? Science? Pro - profession? What - what - what do you call it?

JOHN H.: It's a living.

MR. DEATH: Ah, living. And, uh, now, it's a dying! (CRACKS UP WITH LAUGHTER) Mustn't mind my little jokes, John H.! (LAUGHS) I'm an inveterate joker! (LAUGHS)

JOHN H.: (HOPEFUL) Is this - one of your jokes?

MR. DEATH: (SUDDENLY GRAVE) Oh, no, John H. This - this is strictly business. Now, uh, eh, did - did you want to give me a check for the remainder now?

JOHN H.: Well, I--

MR. DEATH: I - I think possibly that'd be wisest, considering that, uh, well, you know how long it takes to get money out of an estate.

JOHN H.: Now, look, uh-- What if I don't die?

MR. DEATH: Oh, I wouldn't worry about that.

JOHN H.: Well, what if I don't?

MR. DEATH: Well, you will eventually, John H., and, uh, at least we'd have time to engrave anything you wanted on the plaque.

JOHN H.: Mm hmm.

MR. DEATH: So, uh-- Oh, I guess-- Excuse me. (QUIETLY) Is, uh, this the gentleman that's going to shoot you?

JOHN H.: Huh? Oh. Hello, Al.

AL APRIL: Hi, John H.! (CHUCKLES) Well, ya get killed again tonight. (CHUCKLES)

JOHN H.: I do, huh?

AL APRIL: Says here ya do.

JOHN H.: Uh, how - how do I get killed this time, Al?

AL APRIL: Get shot.

JOHN H.: I see. Excuse me. Mr. Deeth?

AL APRIL: Certainly.

MR. DEATH: (QUIETLY, TO JOHN H.) Is he the one?

JOHN H.: He - he's the sound man. Al April.

MR. DEATH: (AS IF APPRAISING AL) Uh huh. Uh huh. Verrrry interesting.

JOHN H.: (CALLS OUT) Uh, say, Al?

AL APRIL: Yeah?

JOHN H.: You - you ever have any accidents with those guns?

AL APRIL: (LAUGHS) Naw! How could ya?

JOHN H.: I don't know.

AL APRIL: Uh, what kind o' accidents?

JOHN H.: Really shootin' somebody.

AL APRIL: With these things? Heh! Naw. Look, in the first place, they're loaded with blanks. In the second place, there ain't any place for the bullet to come out - if there was one. And, in the third place, I always shoot 'em at the floor. So, how could I shoot somebody?

JOHN H.: I - was just wondering.

MR. DEATH: You know, I always wondered how ya do sound effects on the air. This is most interesting!

JOHN H.: This is Mr. Deeth, Al.

AL APRIL: How are you, Mr. Deeth? Your face looks familiar. You in radio?

MR. DEATH: Oh, my, no! I'm a salesman.

AL APRIL: Ohhh.

JOHN H.: Can - can I look at the guns, Al?

AL APRIL: Sure.

JOHN H.: Which one ya gonna use on the show?

AL APRIL: Uh, this one. Say, what's the matter with you, John H.?

JOHN H.: I'm a little nervous, I guess, Al.

AL APRIL: Mm. (CHUCKLES) Thought you was on the wagon. (CHUCKLES)

JOHN H.: Well, I am. I - I'm just a little nervous, I guess. Let's see the bullets.

AL APRIL: Hey, they're not bullets. Blanks.

JOHN H.: Well, the blanks.

AL APRIL: Mm, here.

JOHN H.: (AFTER A BEAT) How do you load it?

AL APRIL: Ahh, give it to me. (PAUSE) There!

JOHN H.: Ah. Can I shoot it?

AL APRIL: Mm, sure. What'd you wanna shoot it for?

JOHN H.: Well, I - I gotta make sure o' somethin'.

MR. DEATH: John H. is sure he's gonna be shot tonight.

JOHN H.: That's right, Al. I - I just wanna test out these shells.

AL APRIL: Well, that's silly because-- Ooh, go ahead. But don't point it at me.

JOHN H.: I thought you said you couldn't shoot anybody with it.

AL APRIL: Well, you know, the wadding. It stings -- kinda.

JOHN H.: You - you'd use these same shells on the show, huh?

AL APRIL: Mm, sure. Whatcha scared of?

JOHN H.: I just - I just, uh-- I got a hunch, Al.

AL APRIL: Well, those are the same shells I'll use on the show. Go ahead and shoot. I'm gonna get set up.

JOHN H.: Okay, Al. You asked for it.

AL APRIL: Hey! Don't point that gun at me!

SOUND: (GUNSHOT)

AL APRIL: Ahh! Doggone it! Hey, I TOLD you about that wadding! It stings, doggone it!

SOUND: (GUNSHOT)

AL APRIL: (GASPING, CHOKING)

JOHN H.: I'm sorry, Al.

AL APRIL: You - you shot me!

SOUND: (BODY FALLS TO THE FLOOR)

JOHN H.: (TRIUMPHANT) There, Mr. Deeth.

MR. DEATH: (ASTONISHED) Why, John H.! You killed him!

JOHN H.: (COOLLY) That's right. So I'm not gonna die after all. Take your coffins and get out of here!

MR. DEATH: (MUCH AMUSED) Why, don't be silly, John H.! Of COURSE you're gonna die!

JOHN H.: I am not!

MR. DEATH: Why, certainly you are! You murdered poor Al in cold blood! And they'll send YOU to the electric chair!

JOHN H.: Yeah? (LAUGHS) How they gonna do that? They won't have any witnesses! Except you!

MR. DEATH: Why, John H.! How foolish! What about the people listening to ya on the radio? Goodness, John H.! Don't you KNOW - you're on the air?!

(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)

ANNOUNCER: The title of the "Quiet, Please!" story you have listened to is "A Night to Forget." Wyllis Cooper writes and directs "Quiet, Please!" and John H., the man who spoke to you, was Ernest Chappell.

CHAPPELL: And James Monks played Mr. Death. (PRONOUNCED "DEETH") Al April was played by Murray Forbes (AMUSED) and, uh, sound effects on the show were played by Al April.

Others in the cast were Jack Tyler, Kermit Murdock, Lon Clark and Polly Cole.

Original music for "Quiet, Please!", as usual, is played by Albert Buhrmann.

Now, for a word about next week's "Quiet, Please!", here's our writer-director, Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: Tonight's show was the fortieth in this series of "Quiet, Please!" Next week, for the forty-first, I think I'll call the show - after the name of our series. Let's call it "Quiet, Please."

CHAPPELL: And so until next week at this same time -- and "Quiet, Please" -- I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell.

ANNOUNCER: "Quiet, Please!" comes to you from New York. This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.

(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)






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Posted 05/05/04 - 9:20 PM:

Transcript of Wyllis Cooper's "The Coffin in Studio B" from a 13 July 1946 broadcast of "Lights Out" -- This was a tricky one to transcribe because of some overlapping dialogue plus an all-male cast with similar voices.

__________________________________

NARRATOR: Lights out ... everybody.

SOUND: (GONG ... WIND BLOWS)

NARRATOR: This is the witching hour.

SOUND: (DOG HOWLS OVER THE WIND)

NARRATOR: It is the hour when dogs howl --

SOUND: (CLOCK CHIMES, DOG HOWLS AND BARKS)

NARRATOR: -- and evil is let loose on a sleeping world.

SOUND: (THUNDER)

NARRATOR: Want to hear about it? Then ... turn out your lights.

SOUND: (NOISES OUT ... GONG)

ANNOUNCER: The National Broadcasting Company brings you "Lights Out" -- a revival of the eight best stories in the series which many of our listeners will remember. Wyllis Cooper is your author and Albert Crews your director. Sit in the dark now and listen to ...

NARRATOR: Lights out.

SOUND: (GONG ... THEN SILENCE)

ED: And, uh, what will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: Something very unpleasant, my dear chap.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: For example, it is quite possible that I will kill you.

ED: (EXHALES) You amaze me.

FRITZ: Oh, no, no, no, I assure you, I'm quite serious.

ED: Impossible.

FRITZ: Not impossible at all.

ED: May I ask just how you propose to, uh -- end my life, shall I say?

FRITZ: I shall cut your throat. Neatly -- and, as the books have it, with dispatch.

ED: (CHUCKLES) You've been reading books, then?

FRITZ: We're wasting time. What's the answer?

ED: The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Cut. Look, uh -- I don't want to throw you up on this first reading but, uh, not much is coming through in here. I don't know just how to say it but, uh, it just doesn't jell for some reason or other. Now, let's think about these lines. Oh, let's hold it a minute.

FRITZ: What's the matter, George? Who is it? Me or Ed?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, I - I hate to throw you up on this first reading but, uh, Fritz, I think it's you. Something wrong. Let's see. The attack on the part or maybe you're throwing those lines away without any sincerity. There's no menace in the part, you see what I mean? Well, look, uh, let me come on out.

ED: (AFTER A BEAT) Ah, hammin' again, eh, Fritz?

FRITZ: Okay, character. Let it alone. I'm havin' enough trouble.

ED: (DRYLY, TO GEORGE) Look, he can act. Honest, George. Fella's got a card.

GEORGE: (APPROACHING) All right, uh, let's can the funny stuff, Ed. We got some work to do and I want you to just pay attention if you don't mind.

ED: All right.

GEORGE: Uh, look, Fritz, uh...

FRITZ: Yeah?

GEORGE: How do you feel in this thing?

FRITZ: I don't know. It's not-- It's not right. I don't know what to do, though.

GEORGE: Well, you don't sound convincing, you see my point?

FRITZ: Yeah.

GEORGE: Er, you got any ideas on how you might do it?

FRITZ: No-- Oh, wait a minute. Wh-what about dialect? I could do a little German. I could--

GEORGE: German? Wait a minute. No, no, no, I don't think I want any German on this thing. I hear too much o' that. Uh, uh some Austrian? No, no, that's-- No, no, that's too close to German.

FRITZ: I don't know--

GEORGE: How's your French? How's your French? Let's see how your French is.

FRITZ: (RELUCTANT) Oh, it's all right, it's all right.

GEORGE: No, no, no. Look, I don't want-- I don't want to make him too definite, see? He should be a kind of a combination, a lot of menace in there, quiet, but - I gotta believe the guy. Make 'em, uh-- Let's see, what's that word? I want him, uh--

FRITZ: Continental. Continental.

GEORGE: That's it! Uh, just-- not - not too much now. Just a whiff of it, okay?

FRITZ: I know - Continental. Let me try it. Yeah. Right.

GEORGE: Well, try it now. From the top, huh? Let's go.

ED: Okay. (AFTER A PAUSE, IN CHARACTER) And, uh, what will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: (CONTINENTAL) Something very unpleasant, my dear chap.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: For example, it is quite possible that I will kill you.

ED: You amaze me.

FRITZ: I assure you, I'm quite serious.

GEORGE: Okay, hold it.

FRITZ: How's it doin' now? How's it sound?

ED: Are you asking me or the director?

GEORGE: Well, it sounds a lot better than it did before. I think you'll work into it. Yeah, well, look, uh, yeah, Fritz, I think that'll do it. Er, uh, what do you say we put it up on the mike and let's see how it sounds. Take that whole scene over.

FRITZ: How is it for age, George?

GEORGE: (RETREATING TO CONTROL ROOM) Oh, the age is okay. I want a little bit of age, not too much age.

FRITZ: All right. Just a little -

GEORGE: Just about right.

FRITZ: - a little older?

GEORGE: Right on the nose the way you had it.

FRITZ: All right.

SOUND: (CONTROL ROOM DOOR)

ED: (YAWNS) Rehearsals, rehearsals. Well, it beats digging ditches for a living, I guess.

FRITZ: Oh, does it?

ED: Or so they tell me.

FRITZ: Well, anyway, it's cold in here. Thank the Lord for air conditioning.

ED: I wish it was nine-thirty.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay, characters. Now, uh, give me that "AFRA Number Five" now, will ya? And, uh, let's hear it again, uh, from the top.

ED: (IN CHARACTER) And, uh, what will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: Something very unpleasant, my dear chap.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: For example, it is quite possible - I will kill you.

ED: You amaze me.

FRITZ: I assure you, I'm quite serious.

ED: Impossible.

FRITZ: Not impossible at all.

ED: May I ask just how you propose to -- end my life, shall I say?

FRITZ: I shall cut your throat. Neatly -- and, as the books have it, with dispatch.

ED: Oh, you've been reading books, then?

FRITZ: We are wasting time. What's the answer?

ED: The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

GEORGE: (FILTER, UPSET) Look, Fritz, you sound about as much like a murderer as-- Oh, I give up!

FRITZ: Well, for the love of Mike, George, what do you want me to do? Growl?

GEORGE: (FILTER) No, no. I don't want you to growl! But I do want you, if you won't find it too inconvenient, to act just a little bit like a murderer. You know, a murderer -- a guy that, uh, kills people.

FRITZ: Yeah.

ED: He wants you to make faces, Fritz.

FRITZ: Ah, shut up.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Wait. Um, I'll come out there again.

ED: (SYMPATHETIC, TO FRITZ) How ya doin', kid?

FRITZ: (DISCOURAGED) I give up, I don't know what the man wants.

SOUND: (CONTROL ROOM DOOR OPENS)

GEORGE: (APPROACHING) Now, listen - sweetheart - have you the faintest idea how a guy acts when he's goin' to kill somebody? Have you?

FRITZ: No. But I got a hunch I'm gonna know about it in a minute.

GEORGE: Oh, well, that'll be swell. Because the way you're doing it now, a guy'd think that you were Ed's brother or something.

FRITZ: Oh, George--

GEORGE: Now, listen, get it through your thick skull that we got a show in a few minutes. We're going on the air -- radio, remember, ya see? You're supposed to be a murderer!

FRITZ: I know but it's gonna come a lot easier if you don't gimme a--

GEORGE: Oh, you can't take it, huh?

FRITZ: (DISMISSIVE) Oh, nuts!

GEORGE: All right, well, let's try it again. Uh, take it from that line, um, oh, "The - the answer is the same as it has always been," Ed. Go on, will ya?

ED: (WEARILY) All right. (IN CHARACTER) The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refu--? Pardon me. (IN CHARACTER) You refuse, then?

SOUND: (STUDIO DOOR OPENS)

HORACE: Hey, George!

FRITZ: Oh, for--

ED: Now what?!

GEORGE: Well, what do you want?

HORACE: There's an old gent out here wants to see you.

GEORGE: What's he want?

HORACE: I don't know.

GEORGE: Well, tell him to go away. No, no, wait, uh, who is he?

HORACE: I don't know. (TALKS TO OLD GENT UNDER FOLLOWING) What is it you're--?

FRITZ: How can I keep in character--?

ED: Oh, I don't know, sometimes I wonder--

HORACE: Oh. (CALLS) Uh, he says he wants to see Ed, not you.

ED: Who is he?

HORACE: He won't give his name.

GEORGE: Probably some guy that you owe money to.

ED: You should talk. (CALLS TO HORACE) Well, look, tell him-- Well, listen, we're right in the middle of a rehearsal.

GEORGE: Go ahead and talk to him, Ed. We can smoke a cigarette or play tiddlywinks.

ED: (SCOFFS) Ohhh.

GEORGE: But, listen, you tell him to make it snappy! We got a show to get on!

ED: All right, all right. (CALLS) Tell him to come in here, Horace.

HORACE: Go right in, Mister.

SALESMAN: (APPROACHING) Why, there you are, Mr. Henley. Good evening, sir. Good evening.

ED: Why, uh, I don't believe I've ever--

SALESMAN: (CHUCKLES) Don't know me, heh? Well, I know YOU, Mr. Henley. Mr. ED Henley, yes, sir.

GEORGE: He owes the old guy dough, all right.

FRITZ: (LAUGHS)

ED: I'm afraid I don't know you, sir.

SALESMAN: I, er, come up to show you my book. I - I figured you'd like to have a look at it now while you have the chance -- just in case you had any choice. (CHUCKLES) Folks don't often have the choice, you know.

ED: Choice? Uh, choice of what?

SALESMAN: Now, here. Let me show you the book.

SOUND: (SETS BOOK ON TABLE)

SALESMAN: Er, I won't be a minute.

SOUND: (FLIPS THROUGH PAGES OF BOOK)

SALESMAN: I don't like to disturb your work, you know, but - it's got to be done, I guess. Now, this one here--

ED: Ye gods! Coffins!

FRITZ: What?

GEORGE: Coffins?

ED: Look! It's a catalogue o' coffins!

SALESMAN: (CORRECTS HIM POLITELY) Caskets.

ED: Huh?

SALESMAN: Yes, that's right. Yes, sir. The neatest line of caskets in the country. Handle nothing but the best. No, sir. Now, looky here. This number -- A-Fourteen-Thirty-Six, ain't it? -- Yes. Uh, all gray silk, solid silver handles--

ED: Say, listen, what IS this?

SALESMAN: Or this model -- A-Fifty-Four-Ninety-Nine -- in mahogany. This--

GEORGE: Uh, wait a minute, mister, uh, what's this all about?

SALESMAN: Why, I just figured Mr. Henley'd kind o' like to pick hisself out a casket.

GEORGE: Well, uh, who are you?

SALESMAN: So I brought up the book here to show him. I got my tape measure right here in my pocket.

FRITZ: Ahhh, it's a rib, George. Somebody sent him up here.

GEORGE: Heh. Oh, yeah?

SALESMAN: Oh, no. Nobody sent me. I just thought Mr. Henley--

GEORGE: Well, look, Mr. Henley's busy. We're rehearsing a radio show here and we've got just a few more minutes before we go on the air so if you don't mind--

SALESMAN: I know, I know. You're rehearsing "Lights Out." I know all about it. Listen every Saturday night. I like it. All about ghosts and corpses and things. Yes, sir. (CHUCKLES)

GEORGE: Oh, well. Well, that - that - that's fine but, uh, we've got work to do now.

SALESMAN: Well, well, I'll get right out of here -- uh, just as soon as Mr. Henley makes up his mind. Now, this A-Fourteen-Thirty-Six that I was showing you--

ED: Listen, mister, I don't want to buy a coffin. I got no use for one, do you get me?

SALESMAN: Solid silver handles!

ED: George, this guy's screwy.

SALESMAN: Oh, no, no, no, no. No, sir! Now, wait. I got some pictures here in colors if you like something a little fancier. Now, just a minute now till I find it.

SOUND: (FLIPS THROUGH PAGES OF BOOK)

GEORGE: (WHISPERS) Fritz?

FRITZ: (WHISPERS) Yeah?

GEORGE: (WHISPERS) Go get Horace and have him get this old gent out o' here. I think the old guy's crazy.

FRITZ: (WHISPERS) Yeah, yeah. Okay.

GEORGE: Uh, mister, did, uh, somebody send you up here to see Ed Henley?

SALESMAN: Send me? No, sir. I told you, I - I thought it up my own self. Now this here H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Two with the bronze plate on top. How do you like that? Pretty nifty, isn't it? Hm? Yes, sir!

ED: Listen, I've told you. I don't want a coffin--

SALESMAN: Or -- you CAN have it with solid silver plate, if you like that better.

GEORGE: If, uh, I were you, Ed, I'd get the one with the silver plate.

ED: Huh?! Oh! Yes. Yeah, I rather like that one with the silver plate. Mm hm. That's the one, all right.

SALESMAN: The H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Two-A with solid silver plate. Yes, sir! Well, that's all I wanted to know. Yes, sir. That's what I come up here for.

SOUND: (PICKS UP BOOK)

SALESMAN: Well, thank you kindly, Mr. Henley. I think you'll find it very satisfactory.

ED: I'm sure I will.

SALESMAN: And thank you, sir. I'll be going now. Thank you ever so much. Sorry to interrupt you.

GEORGE: Well, uh, uh, good-bye.

SALESMAN: (LEAVING) Good-bye, gentlemen! Thank you very much, Mr. Henley.

SOUND: (STUDIO DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES)

GEORGE: Well! I wonder what goes with that guy.

ED: Whose idea was that?

SOUND: (DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: ... in here, Horace.

GEORGE: It's, uh, it's all right, uh, Fritz. He's gone now.

FRITZ: What?

GEORGE: We don't need you, Horace.

HORACE: Huh?

FRITZ: Where'd he go?

GEORGE: Well, he just went out that door a minute ago. Didn't you see him?

FRITZ: No.

HORACE: He musta went the other way.

GEORGE: He went out that door right there.

HORACE: Oh. Well, that's funny. Uh, we didn't see him.

ED: Listen, Horace, was that YOUR idea?

HORACE: Mine? Well, gosh, no.

FRITZ: Hey! I know. It was one of the announcers.

HORACE: Wisecrackin' guys.

ED: I don't think it was so funny myself. Not at this time o' night with nobody else in the whole place.

FRITZ: How'd you get rid of him, Ed?

GEORGE: Heh. Oh, the old guy was showing us coffin after coffin and I suggested to Ed that he buy Number H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Three-A.

ED: With solid silver plate!

FRITZ AND HORACE: (LAUGH)

GEORGE: So he said "Okay" and scrammed. Leave it to me to handle the screwy guys. I've had experience enough producing shows around here.

ED: Oh!

FRITZ: Thank you, dear.

HORACE: You birds want me any more?

GEORGE: Uh, no. No, Horace. Uh, thanks. Oh, if you see old Joe Coffin-Seller again, though, tell him we're not in the market. Now, come on, let's get to work.

ED: All right.

FRITZ: Yeah, it's about time.

ED: Where do we start?

GEORGE: Uh, there on, uh, page six, line five. "The answer is the same--" and so on, you know.

ED: All right. (IN CHARACTER) The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then, huh?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: (BREAKS CHARACTER BRIEFLY) Mm, I'll get that the next time through. (IN CHARACTER) Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

GEORGE: (INTERRUPTS) No! "You force ME to become a murderer"!

FRITZ: You FORCE me to become a murderer!

GEORGE: (INHALES UNHAPPILY) Go on.

FRITZ: (BREAKS CHARACTER) I don't know.

ED: (CONTINUES SCENE, IN CHARACTER) You know the penalty for murder in this country.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES)

ED: Put down that knife.

FRITZ: You have had your last chance. (CHUCKLES)

ED: No. No, don't kill me.

FRITZ: I warned you.

ED: Don't! No! No!

FRITZ: I warned you but you would not listen to me.

ED: Help! Help!

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS)

GEORGE: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut!

ED: Now what?

GEORGE: Now, listen, er, we've gotta plant that knife somehow.

FRITZ: Oh, holy smokes, George, I can't say "I am now about to stab you with this here repulsive knife," can I?

GEORGE: Ah, well, that's the trouble with writers -- no imagination. Let me see now--

ED: I could say "Drop the knife" again.

GEORGE: No, no. Let me think.

FRITZ: (AFTER A PAUSE) Tick tick tick tick tick--

GEORGE: Shut up.

FRITZ: Sorry.

GEORGE: Oh, I got it. Oh, look, why do sound effects guys have to go on vacations? Is there a knife out there someplace?

FRITZ: I don't know. I'll look over here. Let's see.

SOUND: (POKES THROUGH SOUND EFFECTS EQUIPMENT)

FRITZ: (FROM OFF) Yeah. Here's one.

GEORGE: Well, what kind is it?

FRITZ: Pocket knife. Think I'll just drop it in my pocket, too. I've been wantin' a knife like this.

GEORGE: Well, let's see it.

FRITZ: Uh uh uh, I got ten dibs on it.

GEORGE: Well, now, look, you hold it up close to the microphone and open it. Make it click. And I'll go to the control room and listen.

FRITZ: (MOCK BRITISH ACCENT) Very well, Orson.

ED: It'll probably sound like a door opening.

FRITZ: So what? It's more than the door opening gag we got sounds like.

GEORGE: (FILTER) All right, uh, let's hear it now. Open it up.

SOUND: (KNIFE OPENS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) No. Not so loud. Try it again.

SOUND: (KNIFE OPENS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Now, uh, Fritz, you put that effect in just as you start to struggle. Give him the cue, Ed.

ED: Ah, what? "No, no, help, help"? That business?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Yes, yes.

ED: (IN CHARACTER) No! No! No! Help! Help!

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES)

SOUND: (KNIFE OPENS)

FRITZ: You would not listen to me.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Stab him! Stab him!

FRITZ: Oh! Oh, yeah. Okay.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS ... PAUSE)

GEORGE: (FILTER) You, uh, better fall down on the floor, Ed. It'll sound better.

ED: Why is it I always have to do the falls?!

GEORGE: (FILTER) Go on, go on!

ED: Aw, nuts!

SOUND: (BODY FALLS)

ED: (FROM THE FLOOR) Okay?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Now, uh, how are we gonna ring that gong? Oh, I don't see why we can't get some help on this show.

FRITZ: Why don't you get Horace?

GEORGE: (FILTER) That's an idea. I'll go get him.

ED: (YAWNS) Ohhhh, gosh, I'm tired. I was here at nine this morning for an audition and I haven't even had time to get any dinner.

FRITZ: Actors -- the idle rich.

ED: Says you. Say, who do you suppose sent that dilly old bird up here?

FRITZ: I don't know. Lot o' funny jokers around this shop.

ED: Well, it was a good gag for this show, I guess. 'Cept I don't suppose it'll be so funny for the old gent when he finds out it was a gag.

FRITZ: Yeah, I don't imagine it's a very good racket, runnin' around peddling coffins.

ED: I never even knew they peddled coffins that way.

FRITZ: Neither did I.

SOUND: (STUDIO DOOR OPENS)

HORACE: (PROTESTS, TO GEORGE) I was readin'--

ED: (REFERS TO GEORGE, IRONIC) The genius.

FRITZ: Yeah.

GEORGE: You'll have plenty of time to catch up on your reading after the show's over. I want you to sock that gong.

ED: All ya gotta do is take the little club and clout the gong when George points at you, Horace.

FRITZ: If George points at you, Horace.

GEORGE: Listen, who's producing this show?

ED: I sometimes wonder.

HORACE: Uh, where's the stick to hit it with?

FRITZ: You are practically standing on it.

HORACE: Huh? Oh.

GEORGE: All right, now. Now, look, I'll go in the control room and you guys go on into the fight. Now, you watch me, Horace, and when I point, you sock that gong.

HORACE: Okay.

FRITZ: Ah, George, listen, do we have to go through the whole thing again? My throat--

GEORGE: No, no, no. Just the struggle part. Now, wait till I get in.

SOUND: (CONTROL ROOM DOOR OPENS)

ED: (ENCOURAGING) Hit it a good bat, Horace.

HORACE: (WITH A CHUCKLE, AMUSED TO BE IN SHOW BIZ) Okay.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay, struggle.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS, BODY FALLS ... A PAUSE)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, pay attention, dummy! Will ya hit that gong?!

HORACE: Oh! Oh.

SOUND: (HITS GONG POORLY)

HORACE: Excuse me, I was watchin' Ed and Fritz.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, look, you watch me from now on. I'll give you the cues and you do 'em. You got it?

HORACE: Okay.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Go ahead, struggle.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS, BODY FALLS ... A WELL-HIT GONG)

HORACE: Okay?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Now, uh, you do it just like that on the air. Ya got it?

HORACE: Okay!

SOUND: (DISTANT PHONE RINGING)

HORACE: Oh, I gotta go, George -- the phone's ringin' in the lobby!

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, hurry up. We're practically on the air.

HORACE: (LEAVING) [?]

ED: Ohh, I wish I had a cigarette.

GEORGE: (FILTER) No smoking in the studios.

ED: Speak when spoken to! I was talkin' to Fritz.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Oh, well. There's still no smoking in the studios.

FRITZ: Oh, brother. Want to go get somethin' to eat after the show, Ed?

ED: Oh, not me. I'm gonna be dead.

FRITZ: I'm draggin', too. I'm goin' sailin' with Jake tomorrow.

ED: Oh, are ya?

FRITZ: Yeah. (YAWN) [?]

HORACE: Okay, George, I'm back.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, look, uh, come on, will ya? Come on.

HORACE: Hey, you know who that was?

FRITZ: Sure, somebody wantin' to know what time Fred Waring's on.

HORACE: No. No, it wasn't.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Come on, will ya can the guessing games? Let's go.

HORACE: It was the old coffin guy! He wanted to know if Mr. Henley wanted a silver or a bronze plate on his coffin!

FRITZ: What'd you tell him?

HORACE: Silver, I said. Nothin' cheap about Mr. Henley, I said. (LAUGHS)

FRITZ: Wooo wooo!

ED: Listen, you oughtn't to kid the old guy like that. He's just a poor, harmless old bird. Besides, the first thing you know, somebody'll be knockin' at my door, deliverin' a coffin and collectin' money for it.

FRITZ: Tryin' to collect, you mean.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Now, listen, you lugs, if you wanna play comedy, you put the bite on Don McNeill, will ya? You're wasting your time over on this side. Now, uh, let's go to work. Now, if that old guy calls again, you tell him to go jump in the lake. Now, come on, look at page ten. We won't have time to take it in dress. Top of the page. I want, uh, running footsteps, all three o' you, cross the studio floor, up the stair steps. You stop and run back down. You got it? On my cue.

SOUND: (HURRIED FOOTSTEPS ACROSS FLOOR, UP STAIRS, STOP, RUN BACK DOWN)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Hurry up now. Now, uh, take the knock on the door and the footsteps coming in -- it's bottom of page eleven. You do the knock, Ed. Horace you open the door. And, Fritz, you do the footsteps. You got it? On my cue.

SOUND: (KNOCK, DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Keep it that way. She's comin' right up now. Fritz, uh, you do the wind machine.

FRITZ: Right. Right, George.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Ed, you do the chimes.

ED: Okay.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Horace, you sock that gong.

HORACE: Right, George.

GEORGE: (FILTER) On your toes, now. At my cue, Fritz. Quiet, everyone. Five seconds.

NARRATOR: (AFTER A FIVE SECOND PAUSE) Lights out ... everybody.

SOUND: (GONG ... WIND BLOWS)

NARRATOR: This is the witching hour.

SOUND: (DOG HOWLS OVER THE WIND)

NARRATOR: It is the hour when dogs howl --

SOUND: (CLOCK CHIMES, DOG HOWLS AND BARKS)

NARRATOR: -- and evil is let loose on a sleeping world.

SOUND: (THUNDER)

NARRATOR: Want to hear about it? Then turn out your lights.

SOUND: (NOISES OUT ... GONG ... KNOCK AT DOOR, FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: Ah, good evening, my dear friend.

ED: Good evening, Doctor.

FRITZ: Won't you come in?

ED: Thank you.

SOUND: (DOOR CLOSES)

FRITZ: Here, let me take your coat and hat.

ED: Ah, certainly. Here you are, Doctor.

FRITZ: Well, won't you come in and sit down?

SOUND: (CLOSET DOOR CLOSES)

ED: Thank you.

FRITZ: Well?

ED: It's all taken care of.

FRITZ: Really?

ED: Quite.

FRITZ: You have the proof?

ED: Well...

FRITZ: Of course you realize, my dear friend, I cannot be expected to carry out our little arrangement unless I have proof.

ED: Yes, I was reasonably sure of that.

FRITZ: And - so?

ED: There is a hat, crumpled in the left hand pocket of my overcoat.

FRITZ: A hat?

ED: His hat. I think you'll find that it has a bullet hole through the crown and, uh, there are several blood stains.

FRITZ: Oh, fine. Uh, you don't mind if I look for myself?

ED: Ooh, of course not. That's why I brought it, you see.

FRITZ: Yes, yes, yes.

SOUND: (CLOSET DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: (FROM OFF) Ah! Apparently, a very neat job.

SOUND: (CLOSET DOOR CLOSES)

ED: I specialize in neat jobs, Doctor.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) Do you mind telling me how it was done?

ED: Not at all. I waited for him in the driveway of his house. Cold, too, tonight.

FRITZ: Mm.

ED: He left his car at the gate and walked up to the house.

FRITZ: Hm.

ED: We had planned on that, you remember?

FRITZ: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

ED: And when he came close enough, I - I shot him.

FRITZ: Oh. (CLICKS HIS TONGUE IRONICALLY) So noisy.

ED: There was a silencer on the revolver.

FRITZ: Ah! Thoughtful of you.

ED: I'm always thoughtful, Doctor.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) Excellent.

ED: I even stepped close enough to him to - ensure powder burns.

FRITZ: Better and better.

ED: And the revolver is there without the silencer to - to make it look like suicide. So...

FRITZ: I congratulate you, my dear friend.

ED: Thank you. I am - conscientious.

FRITZ: Are you conscientious enough to remember what I asked you to bring?

ED: Yes. Quite.

FRITZ: May I have it?

ED: I think not.

FRITZ: What'd you say?

ED: I came here tonight merely to thank you, Doctor, for your - cooperation. I find myself a richer man.

FRITZ: I hope you are joking, my friend.

ED: Not at all.

FRITZ: You don't want to give up the packet of jewels?

ED: I couldn't have put it more neatly myself, Doctor.

FRITZ: Mm hm. I see. You have not forgotten that I paid you a sum of money to perform this - service for me?

ED: Five hundred dollars.

FRITZ: That is correct.

ED: That is why I came here.

FRITZ: I'm afraid I don't understand.

ED: To return the five hundred dollars. You see, Doctor, I have decided to keep the jewels instead.

FRITZ: I see. (CHUCKLES) Would you care for a drink?

ED: Brandy, perhaps.

FRITZ: If you like.

SOUND: (RETREATS, MIXES DRINKS)

FRITZ: Water?

ED: Uh, thank you, no.

SOUND: (MIXES DRINKS)

FRITZ: Mm hm. Your health.

ED: If you don't mind, Doctor -- let us exchange glasses.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) You are a remarkably suspicious man.

ED: I have to be. If you please.

FRITZ: Oh, quite.

SOUND: (EXCHANGE OF DRINKS, DOCTOR SMASHES GLASS ON FLOOR)

ED: (AMUSED) I thought so, Doctor. Well, to your good health. (DRINKS, EXHALES) And, now, I'll be going, if you don't mind.

FRITZ: Oh, must you go, really?

ED: Yes. Uh, here are your five hundred dollars.

FRITZ: My offer is still good.

ED: Your offer?

FRITZ: Five hundred dollars for eliminating this man and bringing me the jewels from his pocket.

ED: Oh! I'm sorry not to be able to accept your offer, Doctor. I've made other arrangements, you see.

FRITZ: May I point out that you left your revolver at our friend's side?

ED: May I point out that it is extremely possible that I have another?

FRITZ: Possible?

ED: Probable.

FRITZ: Mm. Shall we have another drink?

ED: May I pour?

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) If you like.

SOUND: (MIXES DRINKS)

ED: There.

FRITZ: That's enough. Thank you. Now, shall we discuss this further?

ED: I'm afraid there's very little to discuss, Doctor.

FRITZ: If you do not mind, I would--

ED: No. No, there is nothing to discuss. I'm grateful to you, my dear doctor, for putting me in the way of earning the very comfortable sum that these jewels will bring. I'm equally grateful to you for your hospitality. But I really must go.

FRITZ: Oh, I beg of you. Let me point out that a gentleman of your reputation might have some difficulty in disposing of the jewels.

ED: There are ways.

FRITZ: Would it not be a great deal safer for you to take the five hundred dollars with no further risk -- than to keep the jewels and run the risk -- of hanging?

ED: I'll take the risk. Besides, if anything unpleasant DOES happen to me in the course of disposing of the jewels, I can always remind my captors of the part that you played in this little affair -- you see?

FRITZ: I'm afraid you will have a very difficult time proving that.

ED: Mm, perhaps. But I'll run the risk. Good night now.

FRITZ: Don't hurry, I beg of you. I should dislike to have any unpleasant happening.

ED: You forget that I have a revolver, Doctor.

FRITZ: That - is a lie.

ED: I wouldn't take a chance if I were you, Doctor.

FRITZ: I'm not taking a chance. I know you have no revolver.

ED: Really?

FRITZ: Really.

ED: Interesting. How?

FRITZ: A very simple process of deduction. There is none in your overcoat -- I could tell by the weight of it.

ED: Ah, but there is.

FRITZ: Ah! Thank you. I was rather certain that it was there.

ED: You--

FRITZ: And so I took the liberty of locking the overcoat in the closet when I got up to inspect our friend's hat. Checkmate, my dear friend?

ED: Stalemate, I think. I still have the jewels.

FRITZ: And I warn you for the last time to give them to me.

ED: I'm sorry.

FRITZ: It'll be a great deal better for you if you would, you know.

ED: What will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: Something very unpleasant, my dear friend.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: It is quite possible I will kill you.

ED: (EXHALES) You amaze me.

FRITZ: I assure you, I am quite serious.

ED: Impossible.

FRITZ: It is not impossible at all.

ED: May I ask just how you propose to, uh -- end my life, shall I say?

FRITZ: I shall cut your throat. Neatly, and, as the books have it, with dispatch.

ED: (CHUCKLES) You've been reading books, then?

FRITZ: Come, we are wasting time. What's the answer?

ED: The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

ED: You know the penalty for murder in this country, Doctor?

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES)

ED: Put down that knife!

FRITZ: You have had your last chance.

ED: No. No, don't kill me.

FRITZ: I warned you.

ED: Don't! No! No!

FRITZ: I warned you. You would not listen to me.

ED: Help! Help! Help!

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS)

ED: (SCREAMS)

FRITZ: Ed? Ed?!

ED: (COUGHS, MOANS) You -

FRITZ: Ed?!

ED: You - you stabbed me, Fritz! (MOANS)

FRITZ: Oh, my God! Horace! Horace, look! Look! The knife slipped! I didn't mean-- I cut him! I didn't mean to cut him! I cut him!

ED: (MOANS)

SOUND: (BODY FALLS TO FLOOR)

HORACE: Blood! You've REALLY killed him, Fritz!

FRITZ: (HORRIFIED) I-- Oh, no. No, I - I didn't--

SALESMAN: (APPROACHING) Well, I just got here in time, didn't I? Yes, sir! Model H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Two with silver plate for Mr. Henley!

FRITZ: Nooooo! (WEEPS)

SALESMAN: Yes, sir! Just bring it right in, boys! Mr. Henley's all ready for it! (CHUCKLES)

SOUND: (GONG)

ANNOUNCER: You have just heard "The Coffin in Studio B" -- the second in a summer revival series of "Lights Out." In tonight's cast, you heard Bob Murphy as Ed, Sherman Marks as Fritz, Don Gallagher as George, Jack Bivans as Horace, and Charles Eggleston as the - coffin salesman. Come next Saturday night, we have a yarn cooked up for ya that we think you'll like. We call it "The Haunted Cell" and I rather think you'll get a chill or two when the ghost of a condemned man starts working on the guilty conscience of one of the toughest hoodlums in town. Why don't you sort of plan to listen in for -- "Lights Out"? This series is produced and directed by Albert Crews.

NARRATOR: All right. You can turn them on now.

SOUND: (GONG)

ANNOUNCER: This is NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.

SOUND: (NBC CHIMES)
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Posted 05/05/04 - 9:20 PM:

Transcript of Wyllis Cooper's "The Coffin in Studio B" from a 13 July 1946 broadcast of "Lights Out" -- This was a tricky one to transcribe because of some overlapping dialogue plus an all-male cast with similar voices.

__________________________________

NARRATOR: Lights out ... everybody.

SOUND: (GONG ... WIND BLOWS)

NARRATOR: This is the witching hour.

SOUND: (DOG HOWLS OVER THE WIND)

NARRATOR: It is the hour when dogs howl --

SOUND: (CLOCK CHIMES, DOG HOWLS AND BARKS)

NARRATOR: -- and evil is let loose on a sleeping world.

SOUND: (THUNDER)

NARRATOR: Want to hear about it? Then ... turn out your lights.

SOUND: (NOISES OUT ... GONG)

ANNOUNCER: The National Broadcasting Company brings you "Lights Out" -- a revival of the eight best stories in the series which many of our listeners will remember. Wyllis Cooper is your author and Albert Crews your director. Sit in the dark now and listen to ...

NARRATOR: Lights out.

SOUND: (GONG ... THEN SILENCE)

ED: And, uh, what will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: Something very unpleasant, my dear chap.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: For example, it is quite possible that I will kill you.

ED: (EXHALES) You amaze me.

FRITZ: Oh, no, no, no, I assure you, I'm quite serious.

ED: Impossible.

FRITZ: Not impossible at all.

ED: May I ask just how you propose to, uh -- end my life, shall I say?

FRITZ: I shall cut your throat. Neatly -- and, as the books have it, with dispatch.

ED: (CHUCKLES) You've been reading books, then?

FRITZ: We're wasting time. What's the answer?

ED: The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Cut. Look, uh -- I don't want to throw you up on this first reading but, uh, not much is coming through in here. I don't know just how to say it but, uh, it just doesn't jell for some reason or other. Now, let's think about these lines. Oh, let's hold it a minute.

FRITZ: What's the matter, George? Who is it? Me or Ed?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, I - I hate to throw you up on this first reading but, uh, Fritz, I think it's you. Something wrong. Let's see. The attack on the part or maybe you're throwing those lines away without any sincerity. There's no menace in the part, you see what I mean? Well, look, uh, let me come on out.

ED: (AFTER A BEAT) Ah, hammin' again, eh, Fritz?

FRITZ: Okay, character. Let it alone. I'm havin' enough trouble.

ED: (DRYLY, TO GEORGE) Look, he can act. Honest, George. Fella's got a card.

GEORGE: (APPROACHING) All right, uh, let's can the funny stuff, Ed. We got some work to do and I want you to just pay attention if you don't mind.

ED: All right.

GEORGE: Uh, look, Fritz, uh...

FRITZ: Yeah?

GEORGE: How do you feel in this thing?

FRITZ: I don't know. It's not-- It's not right. I don't know what to do, though.

GEORGE: Well, you don't sound convincing, you see my point?

FRITZ: Yeah.

GEORGE: Er, you got any ideas on how you might do it?

FRITZ: No-- Oh, wait a minute. Wh-what about dialect? I could do a little German. I could--

GEORGE: German? Wait a minute. No, no, no, I don't think I want any German on this thing. I hear too much o' that. Uh, uh some Austrian? No, no, that's-- No, no, that's too close to German.

FRITZ: I don't know--

GEORGE: How's your French? How's your French? Let's see how your French is.

FRITZ: (RELUCTANT) Oh, it's all right, it's all right.

GEORGE: No, no, no. Look, I don't want-- I don't want to make him too definite, see? He should be a kind of a combination, a lot of menace in there, quiet, but - I gotta believe the guy. Make 'em, uh-- Let's see, what's that word? I want him, uh--

FRITZ: Continental. Continental.

GEORGE: That's it! Uh, just-- not - not too much now. Just a whiff of it, okay?

FRITZ: I know - Continental. Let me try it. Yeah. Right.

GEORGE: Well, try it now. From the top, huh? Let's go.

ED: Okay. (AFTER A PAUSE, IN CHARACTER) And, uh, what will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: (CONTINENTAL) Something very unpleasant, my dear chap.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: For example, it is quite possible that I will kill you.

ED: You amaze me.

FRITZ: I assure you, I'm quite serious.

GEORGE: Okay, hold it.

FRITZ: How's it doin' now? How's it sound?

ED: Are you asking me or the director?

GEORGE: Well, it sounds a lot better than it did before. I think you'll work into it. Yeah, well, look, uh, yeah, Fritz, I think that'll do it. Er, uh, what do you say we put it up on the mike and let's see how it sounds. Take that whole scene over.

FRITZ: How is it for age, George?

GEORGE: (RETREATING TO CONTROL ROOM) Oh, the age is okay. I want a little bit of age, not too much age.

FRITZ: All right. Just a little -

GEORGE: Just about right.

FRITZ: - a little older?

GEORGE: Right on the nose the way you had it.

FRITZ: All right.

SOUND: (CONTROL ROOM DOOR)

ED: (YAWNS) Rehearsals, rehearsals. Well, it beats digging ditches for a living, I guess.

FRITZ: Oh, does it?

ED: Or so they tell me.

FRITZ: Well, anyway, it's cold in here. Thank the Lord for air conditioning.

ED: I wish it was nine-thirty.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay, characters. Now, uh, give me that "AFRA Number Five" now, will ya? And, uh, let's hear it again, uh, from the top.

ED: (IN CHARACTER) And, uh, what will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: Something very unpleasant, my dear chap.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: For example, it is quite possible - I will kill you.

ED: You amaze me.

FRITZ: I assure you, I'm quite serious.

ED: Impossible.

FRITZ: Not impossible at all.

ED: May I ask just how you propose to -- end my life, shall I say?

FRITZ: I shall cut your throat. Neatly -- and, as the books have it, with dispatch.

ED: Oh, you've been reading books, then?

FRITZ: We are wasting time. What's the answer?

ED: The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

GEORGE: (FILTER, UPSET) Look, Fritz, you sound about as much like a murderer as-- Oh, I give up!

FRITZ: Well, for the love of Mike, George, what do you want me to do? Growl?

GEORGE: (FILTER) No, no. I don't want you to growl! But I do want you, if you won't find it too inconvenient, to act just a little bit like a murderer. You know, a murderer -- a guy that, uh, kills people.

FRITZ: Yeah.

ED: He wants you to make faces, Fritz.

FRITZ: Ah, shut up.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Wait. Um, I'll come out there again.

ED: (SYMPATHETIC, TO FRITZ) How ya doin', kid?

FRITZ: (DISCOURAGED) I give up, I don't know what the man wants.

SOUND: (CONTROL ROOM DOOR OPENS)

GEORGE: (APPROACHING) Now, listen - sweetheart - have you the faintest idea how a guy acts when he's goin' to kill somebody? Have you?

FRITZ: No. But I got a hunch I'm gonna know about it in a minute.

GEORGE: Oh, well, that'll be swell. Because the way you're doing it now, a guy'd think that you were Ed's brother or something.

FRITZ: Oh, George--

GEORGE: Now, listen, get it through your thick skull that we got a show in a few minutes. We're going on the air -- radio, remember, ya see? You're supposed to be a murderer!

FRITZ: I know but it's gonna come a lot easier if you don't gimme a--

GEORGE: Oh, you can't take it, huh?

FRITZ: (DISMISSIVE) Oh, nuts!

GEORGE: All right, well, let's try it again. Uh, take it from that line, um, oh, "The - the answer is the same as it has always been," Ed. Go on, will ya?

ED: (WEARILY) All right. (IN CHARACTER) The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refu--? Pardon me. (IN CHARACTER) You refuse, then?

SOUND: (STUDIO DOOR OPENS)

HORACE: Hey, George!

FRITZ: Oh, for--

ED: Now what?!

GEORGE: Well, what do you want?

HORACE: There's an old gent out here wants to see you.

GEORGE: What's he want?

HORACE: I don't know.

GEORGE: Well, tell him to go away. No, no, wait, uh, who is he?

HORACE: I don't know. (TALKS TO OLD GENT UNDER FOLLOWING) What is it you're--?

FRITZ: How can I keep in character--?

ED: Oh, I don't know, sometimes I wonder--

HORACE: Oh. (CALLS) Uh, he says he wants to see Ed, not you.

ED: Who is he?

HORACE: He won't give his name.

GEORGE: Probably some guy that you owe money to.

ED: You should talk. (CALLS TO HORACE) Well, look, tell him-- Well, listen, we're right in the middle of a rehearsal.

GEORGE: Go ahead and talk to him, Ed. We can smoke a cigarette or play tiddlywinks.

ED: (SCOFFS) Ohhh.

GEORGE: But, listen, you tell him to make it snappy! We got a show to get on!

ED: All right, all right. (CALLS) Tell him to come in here, Horace.

HORACE: Go right in, Mister.

SALESMAN: (APPROACHING) Why, there you are, Mr. Henley. Good evening, sir. Good evening.

ED: Why, uh, I don't believe I've ever--

SALESMAN: (CHUCKLES) Don't know me, heh? Well, I know YOU, Mr. Henley. Mr. ED Henley, yes, sir.

GEORGE: He owes the old guy dough, all right.

FRITZ: (LAUGHS)

ED: I'm afraid I don't know you, sir.

SALESMAN: I, er, come up to show you my book. I - I figured you'd like to have a look at it now while you have the chance -- just in case you had any choice. (CHUCKLES) Folks don't often have the choice, you know.

ED: Choice? Uh, choice of what?

SALESMAN: Now, here. Let me show you the book.

SOUND: (SETS BOOK ON TABLE)

SALESMAN: Er, I won't be a minute.

SOUND: (FLIPS THROUGH PAGES OF BOOK)

SALESMAN: I don't like to disturb your work, you know, but - it's got to be done, I guess. Now, this one here--

ED: Ye gods! Coffins!

FRITZ: What?

GEORGE: Coffins?

ED: Look! It's a catalogue o' coffins!

SALESMAN: (CORRECTS HIM POLITELY) Caskets.

ED: Huh?

SALESMAN: Yes, that's right. Yes, sir. The neatest line of caskets in the country. Handle nothing but the best. No, sir. Now, looky here. This number -- A-Fourteen-Thirty-Six, ain't it? -- Yes. Uh, all gray silk, solid silver handles--

ED: Say, listen, what IS this?

SALESMAN: Or this model -- A-Fifty-Four-Ninety-Nine -- in mahogany. This--

GEORGE: Uh, wait a minute, mister, uh, what's this all about?

SALESMAN: Why, I just figured Mr. Henley'd kind o' like to pick hisself out a casket.

GEORGE: Well, uh, who are you?

SALESMAN: So I brought up the book here to show him. I got my tape measure right here in my pocket.

FRITZ: Ahhh, it's a rib, George. Somebody sent him up here.

GEORGE: Heh. Oh, yeah?

SALESMAN: Oh, no. Nobody sent me. I just thought Mr. Henley--

GEORGE: Well, look, Mr. Henley's busy. We're rehearsing a radio show here and we've got just a few more minutes before we go on the air so if you don't mind--

SALESMAN: I know, I know. You're rehearsing "Lights Out." I know all about it. Listen every Saturday night. I like it. All about ghosts and corpses and things. Yes, sir. (CHUCKLES)

GEORGE: Oh, well. Well, that - that - that's fine but, uh, we've got work to do now.

SALESMAN: Well, well, I'll get right out of here -- uh, just as soon as Mr. Henley makes up his mind. Now, this A-Fourteen-Thirty-Six that I was showing you--

ED: Listen, mister, I don't want to buy a coffin. I got no use for one, do you get me?

SALESMAN: Solid silver handles!

ED: George, this guy's screwy.

SALESMAN: Oh, no, no, no, no. No, sir! Now, wait. I got some pictures here in colors if you like something a little fancier. Now, just a minute now till I find it.

SOUND: (FLIPS THROUGH PAGES OF BOOK)

GEORGE: (WHISPERS) Fritz?

FRITZ: (WHISPERS) Yeah?

GEORGE: (WHISPERS) Go get Horace and have him get this old gent out o' here. I think the old guy's crazy.

FRITZ: (WHISPERS) Yeah, yeah. Okay.

GEORGE: Uh, mister, did, uh, somebody send you up here to see Ed Henley?

SALESMAN: Send me? No, sir. I told you, I - I thought it up my own self. Now this here H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Two with the bronze plate on top. How do you like that? Pretty nifty, isn't it? Hm? Yes, sir!

ED: Listen, I've told you. I don't want a coffin--

SALESMAN: Or -- you CAN have it with solid silver plate, if you like that better.

GEORGE: If, uh, I were you, Ed, I'd get the one with the silver plate.

ED: Huh?! Oh! Yes. Yeah, I rather like that one with the silver plate. Mm hm. That's the one, all right.

SALESMAN: The H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Two-A with solid silver plate. Yes, sir! Well, that's all I wanted to know. Yes, sir. That's what I come up here for.

SOUND: (PICKS UP BOOK)

SALESMAN: Well, thank you kindly, Mr. Henley. I think you'll find it very satisfactory.

ED: I'm sure I will.

SALESMAN: And thank you, sir. I'll be going now. Thank you ever so much. Sorry to interrupt you.

GEORGE: Well, uh, uh, good-bye.

SALESMAN: (LEAVING) Good-bye, gentlemen! Thank you very much, Mr. Henley.

SOUND: (STUDIO DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES)

GEORGE: Well! I wonder what goes with that guy.

ED: Whose idea was that?

SOUND: (DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: ... in here, Horace.

GEORGE: It's, uh, it's all right, uh, Fritz. He's gone now.

FRITZ: What?

GEORGE: We don't need you, Horace.

HORACE: Huh?

FRITZ: Where'd he go?

GEORGE: Well, he just went out that door a minute ago. Didn't you see him?

FRITZ: No.

HORACE: He musta went the other way.

GEORGE: He went out that door right there.

HORACE: Oh. Well, that's funny. Uh, we didn't see him.

ED: Listen, Horace, was that YOUR idea?

HORACE: Mine? Well, gosh, no.

FRITZ: Hey! I know. It was one of the announcers.

HORACE: Wisecrackin' guys.

ED: I don't think it was so funny myself. Not at this time o' night with nobody else in the whole place.

FRITZ: How'd you get rid of him, Ed?

GEORGE: Heh. Oh, the old guy was showing us coffin after coffin and I suggested to Ed that he buy Number H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Three-A.

ED: With solid silver plate!

FRITZ AND HORACE: (LAUGH)

GEORGE: So he said "Okay" and scrammed. Leave it to me to handle the screwy guys. I've had experience enough producing shows around here.

ED: Oh!

FRITZ: Thank you, dear.

HORACE: You birds want me any more?

GEORGE: Uh, no. No, Horace. Uh, thanks. Oh, if you see old Joe Coffin-Seller again, though, tell him we're not in the market. Now, come on, let's get to work.

ED: All right.

FRITZ: Yeah, it's about time.

ED: Where do we start?

GEORGE: Uh, there on, uh, page six, line five. "The answer is the same--" and so on, you know.

ED: All right. (IN CHARACTER) The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then, huh?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: (BREAKS CHARACTER BRIEFLY) Mm, I'll get that the next time through. (IN CHARACTER) Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

GEORGE: (INTERRUPTS) No! "You force ME to become a murderer"!

FRITZ: You FORCE me to become a murderer!

GEORGE: (INHALES UNHAPPILY) Go on.

FRITZ: (BREAKS CHARACTER) I don't know.

ED: (CONTINUES SCENE, IN CHARACTER) You know the penalty for murder in this country.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES)

ED: Put down that knife.

FRITZ: You have had your last chance. (CHUCKLES)

ED: No. No, don't kill me.

FRITZ: I warned you.

ED: Don't! No! No!

FRITZ: I warned you but you would not listen to me.

ED: Help! Help!

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS)

GEORGE: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut!

ED: Now what?

GEORGE: Now, listen, er, we've gotta plant that knife somehow.

FRITZ: Oh, holy smokes, George, I can't say "I am now about to stab you with this here repulsive knife," can I?

GEORGE: Ah, well, that's the trouble with writers -- no imagination. Let me see now--

ED: I could say "Drop the knife" again.

GEORGE: No, no. Let me think.

FRITZ: (AFTER A PAUSE) Tick tick tick tick tick--

GEORGE: Shut up.

FRITZ: Sorry.

GEORGE: Oh, I got it. Oh, look, why do sound effects guys have to go on vacations? Is there a knife out there someplace?

FRITZ: I don't know. I'll look over here. Let's see.

SOUND: (POKES THROUGH SOUND EFFECTS EQUIPMENT)

FRITZ: (FROM OFF) Yeah. Here's one.

GEORGE: Well, what kind is it?

FRITZ: Pocket knife. Think I'll just drop it in my pocket, too. I've been wantin' a knife like this.

GEORGE: Well, let's see it.

FRITZ: Uh uh uh, I got ten dibs on it.

GEORGE: Well, now, look, you hold it up close to the microphone and open it. Make it click. And I'll go to the control room and listen.

FRITZ: (MOCK BRITISH ACCENT) Very well, Orson.

ED: It'll probably sound like a door opening.

FRITZ: So what? It's more than the door opening gag we got sounds like.

GEORGE: (FILTER) All right, uh, let's hear it now. Open it up.

SOUND: (KNIFE OPENS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) No. Not so loud. Try it again.

SOUND: (KNIFE OPENS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Now, uh, Fritz, you put that effect in just as you start to struggle. Give him the cue, Ed.

ED: Ah, what? "No, no, help, help"? That business?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Yes, yes.

ED: (IN CHARACTER) No! No! No! Help! Help!

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES)

SOUND: (KNIFE OPENS)

FRITZ: You would not listen to me.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Stab him! Stab him!

FRITZ: Oh! Oh, yeah. Okay.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS ... PAUSE)

GEORGE: (FILTER) You, uh, better fall down on the floor, Ed. It'll sound better.

ED: Why is it I always have to do the falls?!

GEORGE: (FILTER) Go on, go on!

ED: Aw, nuts!

SOUND: (BODY FALLS)

ED: (FROM THE FLOOR) Okay?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Now, uh, how are we gonna ring that gong? Oh, I don't see why we can't get some help on this show.

FRITZ: Why don't you get Horace?

GEORGE: (FILTER) That's an idea. I'll go get him.

ED: (YAWNS) Ohhhh, gosh, I'm tired. I was here at nine this morning for an audition and I haven't even had time to get any dinner.

FRITZ: Actors -- the idle rich.

ED: Says you. Say, who do you suppose sent that dilly old bird up here?

FRITZ: I don't know. Lot o' funny jokers around this shop.

ED: Well, it was a good gag for this show, I guess. 'Cept I don't suppose it'll be so funny for the old gent when he finds out it was a gag.

FRITZ: Yeah, I don't imagine it's a very good racket, runnin' around peddling coffins.

ED: I never even knew they peddled coffins that way.

FRITZ: Neither did I.

SOUND: (STUDIO DOOR OPENS)

HORACE: (PROTESTS, TO GEORGE) I was readin'--

ED: (REFERS TO GEORGE, IRONIC) The genius.

FRITZ: Yeah.

GEORGE: You'll have plenty of time to catch up on your reading after the show's over. I want you to sock that gong.

ED: All ya gotta do is take the little club and clout the gong when George points at you, Horace.

FRITZ: If George points at you, Horace.

GEORGE: Listen, who's producing this show?

ED: I sometimes wonder.

HORACE: Uh, where's the stick to hit it with?

FRITZ: You are practically standing on it.

HORACE: Huh? Oh.

GEORGE: All right, now. Now, look, I'll go in the control room and you guys go on into the fight. Now, you watch me, Horace, and when I point, you sock that gong.

HORACE: Okay.

FRITZ: Ah, George, listen, do we have to go through the whole thing again? My throat--

GEORGE: No, no, no. Just the struggle part. Now, wait till I get in.

SOUND: (CONTROL ROOM DOOR OPENS)

ED: (ENCOURAGING) Hit it a good bat, Horace.

HORACE: (WITH A CHUCKLE, AMUSED TO BE IN SHOW BIZ) Okay.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay, struggle.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS, BODY FALLS ... A PAUSE)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, pay attention, dummy! Will ya hit that gong?!

HORACE: Oh! Oh.

SOUND: (HITS GONG POORLY)

HORACE: Excuse me, I was watchin' Ed and Fritz.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, look, you watch me from now on. I'll give you the cues and you do 'em. You got it?

HORACE: Okay.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Go ahead, struggle.

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS, BODY FALLS ... A WELL-HIT GONG)

HORACE: Okay?

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Now, uh, you do it just like that on the air. Ya got it?

HORACE: Okay!

SOUND: (DISTANT PHONE RINGING)

HORACE: Oh, I gotta go, George -- the phone's ringin' in the lobby!

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, hurry up. We're practically on the air.

HORACE: (LEAVING) [?]

ED: Ohh, I wish I had a cigarette.

GEORGE: (FILTER) No smoking in the studios.

ED: Speak when spoken to! I was talkin' to Fritz.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Oh, well. There's still no smoking in the studios.

FRITZ: Oh, brother. Want to go get somethin' to eat after the show, Ed?

ED: Oh, not me. I'm gonna be dead.

FRITZ: I'm draggin', too. I'm goin' sailin' with Jake tomorrow.

ED: Oh, are ya?

FRITZ: Yeah. (YAWN) [?]

HORACE: Okay, George, I'm back.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Well, look, uh, come on, will ya? Come on.

HORACE: Hey, you know who that was?

FRITZ: Sure, somebody wantin' to know what time Fred Waring's on.

HORACE: No. No, it wasn't.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Come on, will ya can the guessing games? Let's go.

HORACE: It was the old coffin guy! He wanted to know if Mr. Henley wanted a silver or a bronze plate on his coffin!

FRITZ: What'd you tell him?

HORACE: Silver, I said. Nothin' cheap about Mr. Henley, I said. (LAUGHS)

FRITZ: Wooo wooo!

ED: Listen, you oughtn't to kid the old guy like that. He's just a poor, harmless old bird. Besides, the first thing you know, somebody'll be knockin' at my door, deliverin' a coffin and collectin' money for it.

FRITZ: Tryin' to collect, you mean.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Now, listen, you lugs, if you wanna play comedy, you put the bite on Don McNeill, will ya? You're wasting your time over on this side. Now, uh, let's go to work. Now, if that old guy calls again, you tell him to go jump in the lake. Now, come on, look at page ten. We won't have time to take it in dress. Top of the page. I want, uh, running footsteps, all three o' you, cross the studio floor, up the stair steps. You stop and run back down. You got it? On my cue.

SOUND: (HURRIED FOOTSTEPS ACROSS FLOOR, UP STAIRS, STOP, RUN BACK DOWN)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Hurry up now. Now, uh, take the knock on the door and the footsteps coming in -- it's bottom of page eleven. You do the knock, Ed. Horace you open the door. And, Fritz, you do the footsteps. You got it? On my cue.

SOUND: (KNOCK, DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS)

GEORGE: (FILTER) Okay. Keep it that way. She's comin' right up now. Fritz, uh, you do the wind machine.

FRITZ: Right. Right, George.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Ed, you do the chimes.

ED: Okay.

GEORGE: (FILTER) Horace, you sock that gong.

HORACE: Right, George.

GEORGE: (FILTER) On your toes, now. At my cue, Fritz. Quiet, everyone. Five seconds.

NARRATOR: (AFTER A FIVE SECOND PAUSE) Lights out ... everybody.

SOUND: (GONG ... WIND BLOWS)

NARRATOR: This is the witching hour.

SOUND: (DOG HOWLS OVER THE WIND)

NARRATOR: It is the hour when dogs howl --

SOUND: (CLOCK CHIMES, DOG HOWLS AND BARKS)

NARRATOR: -- and evil is let loose on a sleeping world.

SOUND: (THUNDER)

NARRATOR: Want to hear about it? Then turn out your lights.

SOUND: (NOISES OUT ... GONG ... KNOCK AT DOOR, FOOTSTEPS, DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: Ah, good evening, my dear friend.

ED: Good evening, Doctor.

FRITZ: Won't you come in?

ED: Thank you.

SOUND: (DOOR CLOSES)

FRITZ: Here, let me take your coat and hat.

ED: Ah, certainly. Here you are, Doctor.

FRITZ: Well, won't you come in and sit down?

SOUND: (CLOSET DOOR CLOSES)

ED: Thank you.

FRITZ: Well?

ED: It's all taken care of.

FRITZ: Really?

ED: Quite.

FRITZ: You have the proof?

ED: Well...

FRITZ: Of course you realize, my dear friend, I cannot be expected to carry out our little arrangement unless I have proof.

ED: Yes, I was reasonably sure of that.

FRITZ: And - so?

ED: There is a hat, crumpled in the left hand pocket of my overcoat.

FRITZ: A hat?

ED: His hat. I think you'll find that it has a bullet hole through the crown and, uh, there are several blood stains.

FRITZ: Oh, fine. Uh, you don't mind if I look for myself?

ED: Ooh, of course not. That's why I brought it, you see.

FRITZ: Yes, yes, yes.

SOUND: (CLOSET DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: (FROM OFF) Ah! Apparently, a very neat job.

SOUND: (CLOSET DOOR CLOSES)

ED: I specialize in neat jobs, Doctor.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) Do you mind telling me how it was done?

ED: Not at all. I waited for him in the driveway of his house. Cold, too, tonight.

FRITZ: Mm.

ED: He left his car at the gate and walked up to the house.

FRITZ: Hm.

ED: We had planned on that, you remember?

FRITZ: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

ED: And when he came close enough, I - I shot him.

FRITZ: Oh. (CLICKS HIS TONGUE IRONICALLY) So noisy.

ED: There was a silencer on the revolver.

FRITZ: Ah! Thoughtful of you.

ED: I'm always thoughtful, Doctor.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) Excellent.

ED: I even stepped close enough to him to - ensure powder burns.

FRITZ: Better and better.

ED: And the revolver is there without the silencer to - to make it look like suicide. So...

FRITZ: I congratulate you, my dear friend.

ED: Thank you. I am - conscientious.

FRITZ: Are you conscientious enough to remember what I asked you to bring?

ED: Yes. Quite.

FRITZ: May I have it?

ED: I think not.

FRITZ: What'd you say?

ED: I came here tonight merely to thank you, Doctor, for your - cooperation. I find myself a richer man.

FRITZ: I hope you are joking, my friend.

ED: Not at all.

FRITZ: You don't want to give up the packet of jewels?

ED: I couldn't have put it more neatly myself, Doctor.

FRITZ: Mm hm. I see. You have not forgotten that I paid you a sum of money to perform this - service for me?

ED: Five hundred dollars.

FRITZ: That is correct.

ED: That is why I came here.

FRITZ: I'm afraid I don't understand.

ED: To return the five hundred dollars. You see, Doctor, I have decided to keep the jewels instead.

FRITZ: I see. (CHUCKLES) Would you care for a drink?

ED: Brandy, perhaps.

FRITZ: If you like.

SOUND: (RETREATS, MIXES DRINKS)

FRITZ: Water?

ED: Uh, thank you, no.

SOUND: (MIXES DRINKS)

FRITZ: Mm hm. Your health.

ED: If you don't mind, Doctor -- let us exchange glasses.

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) You are a remarkably suspicious man.

ED: I have to be. If you please.

FRITZ: Oh, quite.

SOUND: (EXCHANGE OF DRINKS, DOCTOR SMASHES GLASS ON FLOOR)

ED: (AMUSED) I thought so, Doctor. Well, to your good health. (DRINKS, EXHALES) And, now, I'll be going, if you don't mind.

FRITZ: Oh, must you go, really?

ED: Yes. Uh, here are your five hundred dollars.

FRITZ: My offer is still good.

ED: Your offer?

FRITZ: Five hundred dollars for eliminating this man and bringing me the jewels from his pocket.

ED: Oh! I'm sorry not to be able to accept your offer, Doctor. I've made other arrangements, you see.

FRITZ: May I point out that you left your revolver at our friend's side?

ED: May I point out that it is extremely possible that I have another?

FRITZ: Possible?

ED: Probable.

FRITZ: Mm. Shall we have another drink?

ED: May I pour?

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES) If you like.

SOUND: (MIXES DRINKS)

ED: There.

FRITZ: That's enough. Thank you. Now, shall we discuss this further?

ED: I'm afraid there's very little to discuss, Doctor.

FRITZ: If you do not mind, I would--

ED: No. No, there is nothing to discuss. I'm grateful to you, my dear doctor, for putting me in the way of earning the very comfortable sum that these jewels will bring. I'm equally grateful to you for your hospitality. But I really must go.

FRITZ: Oh, I beg of you. Let me point out that a gentleman of your reputation might have some difficulty in disposing of the jewels.

ED: There are ways.

FRITZ: Would it not be a great deal safer for you to take the five hundred dollars with no further risk -- than to keep the jewels and run the risk -- of hanging?

ED: I'll take the risk. Besides, if anything unpleasant DOES happen to me in the course of disposing of the jewels, I can always remind my captors of the part that you played in this little affair -- you see?

FRITZ: I'm afraid you will have a very difficult time proving that.

ED: Mm, perhaps. But I'll run the risk. Good night now.

FRITZ: Don't hurry, I beg of you. I should dislike to have any unpleasant happening.

ED: You forget that I have a revolver, Doctor.

FRITZ: That - is a lie.

ED: I wouldn't take a chance if I were you, Doctor.

FRITZ: I'm not taking a chance. I know you have no revolver.

ED: Really?

FRITZ: Really.

ED: Interesting. How?

FRITZ: A very simple process of deduction. There is none in your overcoat -- I could tell by the weight of it.

ED: Ah, but there is.

FRITZ: Ah! Thank you. I was rather certain that it was there.

ED: You--

FRITZ: And so I took the liberty of locking the overcoat in the closet when I got up to inspect our friend's hat. Checkmate, my dear friend?

ED: Stalemate, I think. I still have the jewels.

FRITZ: And I warn you for the last time to give them to me.

ED: I'm sorry.

FRITZ: It'll be a great deal better for you if you would, you know.

ED: What will you do if I won't?

FRITZ: Something very unpleasant, my dear friend.

ED: For example?

FRITZ: It is quite possible I will kill you.

ED: (EXHALES) You amaze me.

FRITZ: I assure you, I am quite serious.

ED: Impossible.

FRITZ: It is not impossible at all.

ED: May I ask just how you propose to, uh -- end my life, shall I say?

FRITZ: I shall cut your throat. Neatly, and, as the books have it, with dispatch.

ED: (CHUCKLES) You've been reading books, then?

FRITZ: Come, we are wasting time. What's the answer?

ED: The answer is the same as it has always been.

FRITZ: You refuse, then?

ED: I refuse, yes.

FRITZ: Very well. You force me to become a murderer.

ED: You know the penalty for murder in this country, Doctor?

FRITZ: (CHUCKLES)

ED: Put down that knife!

FRITZ: You have had your last chance.

ED: No. No, don't kill me.

FRITZ: I warned you.

ED: Don't! No! No!

FRITZ: I warned you. You would not listen to me.

ED: Help! Help! Help!

SOUND: (STRUGGLE, GRUNTS AND GASPS)

ED: (SCREAMS)

FRITZ: Ed? Ed?!

ED: (COUGHS, MOANS) You -

FRITZ: Ed?!

ED: You - you stabbed me, Fritz! (MOANS)

FRITZ: Oh, my God! Horace! Horace, look! Look! The knife slipped! I didn't mean-- I cut him! I didn't mean to cut him! I cut him!

ED: (MOANS)

SOUND: (BODY FALLS TO FLOOR)

HORACE: Blood! You've REALLY killed him, Fritz!

FRITZ: (HORRIFIED) I-- Oh, no. No, I - I didn't--

SALESMAN: (APPROACHING) Well, I just got here in time, didn't I? Yes, sir! Model H-Sixty-Seven-Eighty-Two with silver plate for Mr. Henley!

FRITZ: Nooooo! (WEEPS)

SALESMAN: Yes, sir! Just bring it right in, boys! Mr. Henley's all ready for it! (CHUCKLES)

SOUND: (GONG)

ANNOUNCER: You have just heard "The Coffin in Studio B" -- the second in a summer revival series of "Lights Out." In tonight's cast, you heard Bob Murphy as Ed, Sherman Marks as Fritz, Don Gallagher as George, Jack Bivans as Horace, and Charles Eggleston as the - coffin salesman. Come next Saturday night, we have a yarn cooked up for ya that we think you'll like. We call it "The Haunted Cell" and I rather think you'll get a chill or two when the ghost of a condemned man starts working on the guilty conscience of one of the toughest hoodlums in town. Why don't you sort of plan to listen in for -- "Lights Out"? This series is produced and directed by Albert Crews.

NARRATOR: All right. You can turn them on now.

SOUND: (GONG)

ANNOUNCER: This is NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.

SOUND: (NBC CHIMES)
 
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