WOR - Mon. Dec. 22, 1947 - 10:00-10:25 PM EST
MBS - Wed. Dec. 24, 1947 - 8:30- 8:55 PM EST
REH - Mon. Dec. 24, 1947 - 2:00- 5:00 PM EST (Studio 16)
8:00-10:00 PM EST (Studio 15)
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 "Berlin, 1945."
(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE)
ANNCR: This is Christmas Day two years ago. Christmas Day, 1945, in a ruined house in Berlin, in Germany.
Five soldiers around a table, beginning their Christmas dinner.
Staff Sergeant John Plattner was carving:
PLATTNER: I am a guy that strictly enjoys Christmas.
SCHULZE: I would enjoy it a lot more if I was at 504 North Monroe Street -
THE OTHERS: (TOGETHER) Peoria, Illinois!
SCHULZE: You guys come and see me sometime in Peoria. You'll find out.
LESTER: Listen. I tell you what. Next Christmas let's all go to Peoria and have Christmas dinner at Schulze's house.
GRIFFIN: That's a deal!
SCHULZE: We'll go skating out at Bradley Park - hey, I bet they're skating at Bradley Park right now.
GRIFFIN: It's 11:55 Berlin time -- seven hours' difference -- that makes it 04:55 in the morning in Peoria. So they're skating in Peoria at 04:55 in the morning.
PLATTNER: In Peoria, everybody's nuts. Who said white meat?
ALL: Me! I said white meat! Me, Sergeant!
PLATTNER: Don't anybody want a drumstick?
SOUND: (THE DOOR OPENS)
BELL: (AT THE DOOR) I want a drumstick.
OTHERS: Hiya, Lieutenant! Hi, Mister Bell! Merry Christmas, Lieutenant! Come on, sit down, lieutenant!
BELL: (CLOSING THE DOOR AND COMING IN) Merry Christmas, soldiers! Look at the turkey!
PLATTNER: I'd rather look at what's that under your arm, Lieutenant?
BELL: (SETTING DOWN BOTTLE) That, little kiddies, is the finest bottle of wine between here and Hoboken. Open it, somebody.
LESTER: Gee, lieutenant, only one?
BELL: Corporal Lester, there are times when you discourage me with your thirst. If you will walk outside to my jeep, as I was about to say, you will find seven more of the same.
SOUND: (HE GETS UP AND GOES)
GRIFFIN: If he'd get off his chair like that when I tell him to get on the morning report ...
SCHULZE: Sit down, lieutenant. Where did you get the wine, sir?
BELL: Well, if you mean where did I get the money, there was a crap game last night with some air force gentlemen, and I happened to hold some very excellent dice. My, my! What's that? Not cranberry sauce?
GRIFFIN: Schulze's uncle sent it to him. Canned.
BELL: (SMACKING HIS LIPS) Tastes like home.
PLATTNER: Now look, lieutenant. Don't pull rank.
BELL: Sergeant, I haven't had any cranberry sauce since Swamp Davis.
GRIFFIN: I don't like to think about that either, Lieutenant.
PLATTNER: You said a drumstick, lieutenant?
BELL: To start with, sergeant. Thanks. Mashed potatoes. What's this stuff?
SCHULZE: I think that's turnips.
BELL: Well, I'll even eat turnips. What you so quiet about over there, Corporal Morgan?
MORGAN: Me? I was just thinking, sir.
BELL: Well, stop it. Dangerous habit. Anybody opened that bottle yet?
GRIFFIN: In a minute.
SOUND: (THE CORK POPS)
GRIFFIN: Hold up your cup, lieutenant.
SOUND: (POUR WINE)
BELL: That's enough for a minute. Pass it along. Where's Lester with the rest of it?
SOUND: (THE DOOR OPENS)
LESTER: (AT THE DOOR) Somebody gimme a hand with the bottles.
SOUND: (TWO OR THREE SOLDIERS JUMP UP AND GO TO HELP HIM)
PLATTNER: Well, help yourselves to the stuff, guys. And holler when you want more turkey.
LESTER: (NEARER) She'll open all the bottles, lieutenant?
BELL: (EATING) Sure.
PLATTNER: Set down before your turkey gets cold.
LESTER: (STRAINING WITH A BOTTLE) Ha! In the Army - a mess sergeant should talk like that.
SOUND: (CORK POPS)
GRIFFIN: Hey, not out of the bottle, Lester!
SCHULZE: Sit down, Lester.
LESTER: Well, I want some wine.
PLATTNER: Well, sit down and drink like people.
LESTER: (DRINKING) Gee, swell, Lieutenant.
BELL: It ought to be.
MORGAN: What kind is it, sir?
BELL: It's called Lachrymae Christi, Morgan.
MORGAN: Tears of Christ.
BELL: Yeh. I could eat some bread.
GRIFFIN: Here, lieutenant. Tears of Christ, huh?
PLATTNER: I drunk some of that once in Italy. Pour me some more.
MORGAN: I think we should drink a toast, lieutenant.
SCHULZE: I do, too.
LESTER: (DRINKING) Ah, now don't start that! Let's eat. I need some gravy, sergeant.
PLATTNER: There's plenty.
LESTER: Only toast I want to drink is when I climb off the ship at New York.
BELL: That's one we'll all drink. Fact, I'll drink it now. (HE DRINKS) Remember what we were doing last Christmas, lads?
(THE OTHERS AGREE)
MORGAN: That's what I was thinking about ... about a toast, sir.
(THERE IS A BRIEF PAUSE)
BELL: Yes. Yes, I think you're right, Morgan. Bill McAdams ...
PLATTNER: And Big Gil Corcoran.
GRIFFIN: And Ed Peterson.
SCHULZE: Francis Wachter.
LESTER: And that screwy kid Larry, what was his name? Paske.
MORGAN: And my brother.
BELL: I think we better stand up for that, gentlemen.
SOUND: (THEY STAND UP)
PLATTNER: You say the toast, lieutenant.
BELL: No. No, we'll ... just drink to 'em. To all of 'em.
(THEY DRINK, ALMOST SILENTLY)
MORGAN: (AFTER THE PAUSE) Amen.
SOUND: (THEY SIT DOWN, AND FOR A MOMENT THERE IS ONLY THE QUIET CLINK OF KNIFE AND FORK AGAINST PLATE.)
LESTER: I want some more turkey, sergeant.
(THE CONVERSATION COMES BACK NOW WITH SLIGHTLY FORCED LIVELINESS)
GRIFFIN: I sure remember my last Christmas back home.
SCHULZE: Mean at Swamp Davis, Griff?
GRIFFIN: Naw - home. Hollywood. Hey. We had a show that day - hour long, coast to coast.
LESTER: Say, what did you do on the radio, Griff? Sing?
GRIFFIN: Naw, I was a announcer.
BELL: You don't sound much like an announcer. How about that other drumstick, sergeant?
PLATTNER: Yes, sir! Reach your plate.
GRIFFIN: Want to hear me announce?
(BELL STARTS TO SAY "YES", BUT EVERYBODY ELSE YELLS "NO!")
GRIFFIN: (UNDAUNTED AND VERY ANNOUNCER) Good evening, friends of the radio music world. Tonight we are again privileged to present the Army Air Forces Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Major Eddie Dunstedter, direct from the Flying Training Command auditorium in Santa Anna, [sic] California.
Our program this evening includes "Si Mes Vers Avaient des Ailes" by Reynaldo Hahn, "La Creation de la Monde" by Darius Milhaud, selections from "Die Burger als Edelmann," by Richard Strauss, and to conclude, the inimitable folksong of our Russian allies, "Krrrrasny Sarafan."
(THERE IS AN ASTONISHED PAUSE, AND THEN)
SCHULZE: Did you hear what I heard?
LESTER: Hey, why'd you get out of a soft touch like that, Griff?
GRIFFIN: I popped a crooner in the eye. He was a master sergeant, so they shipped me. Is there any more wine?
BELL: After that, Griff, you rate a whole bottle to yourself.
GRIFFIN: Don't kid me, lieutenant. Thanks, Schulzey. (HE DRINKS)
SCHULZE: My last Christmas in Peoria -
PLATTNER: Best Christmas I remember was down at Bliss one year I was in B Troop of the Seventh Calv'ry, and they was a Mexican calv'ry outfit acrost the river at Juarez. They come over to play polo, and brought a bunch of their enlisted men along, and every single one o' them lads had a quart o' tequila in his saddlebags. You ever drink tequila, lieutenant?
PLATTNER: They was a Mexican sergeant, I can remember his name- Sargento Pablo Francisco Rafael de Rey y Jimenez, Junior. Taught me how to say Merry Christmas in Mexican. Felices Navidades.
SCHULZE: In Peoria, that time, with my Uncle Ed -
LESTER: I remember my last Christmas in the States. I pulled guard.
BELL: Where were you, Morgan?
MORGAN: Last Christmas? You know where I was, Lieutenant. At Vianden.
BELL: No, I mean in the States.
MORGAN: Well.. before I got in the Army, my last Christmas in the States was in jail.
LESTER: In jail?
MORGAN: In jail. I never told you guys that.
PLATTNER: Lots o' people been in jail. Slide the bottle over this way, Griff.
LESTER: What was you in for, Morgan?
BELL: Never mind, Lester!
MORGAN: Oh, I don't mind, lieutenant. (HE LAUGHS SHORTLY) It wasn't the first time. Thanks, sarge, a little more turkey, I guess. Why, I was a bum.
GRIFFIN: A hobo?
MORGAN: Strictly a hobo. I never had it so good as in the Army.
BELL: You sure didn't like the Army so well when I first joined the outfit, Morgan.
MORGAN: Yeh, I know. Got to be kind of different when my brother joined the outfit. I never knew him very well before. (HE TAKES A DRINK) Sure miss him.
MORGAN: I'm going to stay in. (PAUSE) Least I can do. Where was you, lieutenant?
BELL: When? Oh, my last Christmas home? (THE OTHERS SAY YES) Well, believe it or not, I was in high school.
PLATTNER: Ah, you're kidding, lieutenant!
BELL: No, I'm not. My last year. I was supposed to graduate in 1941. Huh, when my class graduated I was a tech sergeant at Camp Forrest, Tennessee..
LESTER: Well, where was you Christmas?
BELL: In a hospital with a broken leg. Played too much football.
PLATTNER: Did you ever know a Lieutenant Colonel at Forrest named Smith?
GRIFFIN: There was a million lieutenant colonels named Smith.
BELL: Fellow looked like Eisenhower. He was a a major then.
PLATTNER: That's the guy. When the Krauts was gonna assassinate Ike a couple three months ago, this Colonel Smith he personified Eisenhower.
MORGAN: Impersonated him, Plat.
PLATTNER: Played like he was him. He was a friend of mine.
SCHULZE: There was two companies from Peoria down at Forrest, lieutenant. Out of the 130th Infantry.
MORGAN: Where were you you last Christmas out of the Army, Schulze?
SCHULZE: (SHYLY) Gee. (A PAUSE) Dinny and I got married Christmas Eve.
LESTER: (AFTER A LITTLE PAUSE) Dinny!
SCHULZE: Her name's Celestine, but I always called her Dinny.
BELL: I didn't know you were married, Schulze.
SCHULZE: Sure, lieutenant. December 24th, 1941. D'I ever show you her picture?
BELL: No. (HE TAKES THE PICTURE) Say, she's a pretty girl.
LESTER: Lemme see, lieutenant.
SCHULZE: Red hair.
PLATTNER: Lessee. Looks like my youngest sister.
LESTER: Say, Griff, where was you Christmas?
PLATTNER: See the picture, Morgan.
LESTER: Where was you, Griff?
GRIFFIN: Hollywood Canteen. Oh, boy.
LESTER: Gee, I bet! (RUEFULLY) I never was there. Was there movie stars?
GRIFFIN: Up to here.
LESTER: Betty Grable?
SCHULZE: In Peoria -
LESTER: Lana Turner?
GRIFFIN: Gee, I don't remember, Lester.
LESTER: Get him - he don't remember Lana Turner! Sarge, slice me off another slab o' white meat.
PLATTNER: Who's that at the door? (THEY ALL LOOK)
BELL: I didn't see anybody, sergeant.
LESTER: Prob'ly one of them hungry Joes from the first platoon. Lookin' for a second dinner.
PLATTNER: Well, nuts to him. Anybody else want some turkey?
SCHULZE: What we got for dessert, sarge?
THE OTHERS: Pie!!!
SCHULZE: What kind of pie, sarge?
PLATTNER: Well, sir. My mom wrote to me and asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told her - you know, kiddin' - I wanted one of her mince pies.
BELL: Now don't tell me your mother sent you a mince pie! That can't be done.
PLATTNER: Can't, huh?
LESTER: If it could, them guys back in Comzee'd steal it. They'd steal you eye-teeth.
MORGAN: Come on, sarge. Is the army puttin' out GI mince pies?
PLATTNER: This is no GI pie, Mac.
GRIFFIN: What is it, sergeant?
PLATTNER: Well, sir. My mom, she sent me a thing full of home-made mince-meat. Wrapped it up so's it looked like a section of stove-pipe so's it wouldn't run out - and by geeminy, it got here! (THERE IS AN INCREDULOUS CHORUS FROM THE OTHERS) Yes, sir, every step of the way from Massillon, Ohio.
BELL: Sergeant Plattner, if you are kidding us, I will personally turn you over the toughest MP outfit--
PLATTNER: I ain't kiddin', lieutenant.
BELL: And on the other hand, if you're not, I will see that you get a Bronze Star with three oakleaf clusters, if I have to whittle it out of the back end of the Colonel's jeep.
PLATTNER: Well, you get out your pocket-knife, lieutenant, 'cause it's settin' on top of the stove right now. Me and that lefthanded lad that use to be a baker, we made it this morning.
BELL: Morgan, pass the sergeant a bottle. What're you looking at?
MORGAN: Somebody at the door.
BELL: Go see who it is. (MORGAN GETS UP AND GOES) And somebody open another bottle. Sergeant, this is a fine dinner.
PLATTNER: (AWAY) Why don't you eat some of it, then, sir? You only et two drumsticks. Give him some, somebody.
SOUND: (DURING PLATTNER'S SPEECH THE DOOR HAS OPENED AND CLOSED)
MORGAN: (COMING BACK) I thought I saw somebody there, but there wasn't.
LESTER: I want some more gravy.
SCHULZE: Gee, lieutenant, I started to tell you about the Christmas I got married, in Peoria --
GRIFFIN: There is somebody at the door!
THEY ALL TURN TO LOOK
GRIFFIN: Don't look like a GI.
BELL: I'll see who he is. Sit still. (HE GOES TO THE DOOR; THE MICROPHONE REMAINS WITH HIM, AND THE VOICES OF THE OTHERS ARE HEARD DESULTORILY IN THE BG. HE OPENS THE DOOR)
BELL: You! (A PAUSE) You, there! Was machen sie hier? Komm' hier! Was wollen sie?
(IN THE BG WE HEAR PLATTNER SAY "IT'S ONE OF THEM DP'S")
BELL: Was heissen sie?
MAN: I'm sorry, sir.
BELL: Oh, speak English, huh?
MAN: Yes, sir.
BELL: Well, what do you want?
MAN: Nothing, sir. I was just looking around. At the... destruction. It's terrible.
BELL: Your home here?
MAN: No, sir.
BELL: Well, you got relatives here?
MAN: No. No, I have no relatives here.
MAN: Few enough friends, I am afraid, sir.
BELL: Well, I - uh - you hungry?
MAN: I... don't think so.
BELL: Well, look, you better not hang around. The MP's are tough babies. You got an identity card?
BELL: What are you - a DP?
BELL: Displaced person?
MAN: Yes. Yes, I suppose you might say I am a displaced person.
BELL: Well, look. Wait a minute. (CALLS) Hey, you men! (THE CONVERSATION IN THE BG STOPS) You got any objections if I bring this man in for a slice of turkey and a drink of wine? (WE GATHER THAT THEY SAY THEY HAVEN'T. BELL SPEAKS SOMEWHAT APOLOGETICALLY TO THE MAN) You see, even though I'm an officer, I'm the guest of these boys, and ... you know. I have to ask them.
MAN: You are young for an officer.
BELL: Yeh. Wars don't seem to care how old you are. Come on in.
MAN: Thank you. I am a little tired.
BELL: (CLOSING THE DOOR) Cold, too, huh?
MAN: Yes. It is very cold. (THEY WALK BACK TO THE TABLE)
BELL: I hope you men don't mind --
GRIFFIN: Course not, lieutenant! Sit down, Mac.
MORGAN: Pour him some wine, Schulze.
SCHULZE: (POURING WINE) Merry Christmas, Mister.
MAN: Thank you.
LESTER: Yeh, Merry Christmas, if possible, Mister.
MORGAN: Merry Christmas.
PLATTNER: (COMING BACK) Mery Christmas, sir.
MAN: Thank you. Thank you. It is good to sit down with friendly people.
BELL: Well, you're among friends for a while, Mister. So have fun while you can. Sarge, how about some turkey for our friend?
PLATTNER: Yes, sir! Light or dark, sir?
MAN: Just a little, if you please. You must not be so generous.
PLATTNER: Plenty for everybody! Who else wants some more?
GRIFFIN: A little more for me, sarge.
BELL: Open some more wine. Our friend here's cold.
MAN: I'm not so cold now, thank you.
BELL: Drink up. Pass him the potatoes, Morgan.
MORGAN: Here y'are, Mister.
LESTER: Your home near here, Mister?
MAN: No. My home was a long way from here.
LESTER: You ain't a Kraut then.
SCHULZE: German, he means.
MAN: No. I am not a German.
LESTER: Well, your face looks awful familiar. Haven't I seen you around here sometime?
MAN: I don't know.
LESTER: Have you been around here?
MAN: Occasionally, yes.
PLATTNER: Will you shut up, Lester, and leave the man eat?
LESTER: 'Scuse me.
GRIFFIN: I'm awful full.
MORGAN: Best Christmas I've had since I left home ... long time ago.
GRIFFIN: Me too.
MAN: It could be that the presence of a guest contributes to your feeling of well-being.
BELL: You know, I think that's right.
PLATTNER: Sure. You know what it says in the Bible - it is more blessed or something to give than to receive. Have some more, mister.
MAN: Thank you.
LESTER: (WHISPERING TO BELL) Lieutenant, I've seen that guy somewhere before.
SCHULZE: (IN A THOUGHTFUL WHISPER) I think I've seen him, too, Lieutenant. But I can't think where.
BELL: Shut up and be your age, Lester.
LESTER: (WHISPERS AGAIN) But what if he's a spy, Lieutenant?
BELL: Oh, cut it out!
MAN: You men have been together for a long time in this war?
PLATTNER: Yes, sir. We're all that's left of the original outfit. We all started out together in the States, and we said we'd eat dinner in Berlin ...
GRIFFIN: There was a lot more of us then, Plattner.
PLATTNER: A lot more. A lot of good guys. Well, but - here we are in Berlin, and we are havin' dinner, ain't we?
MAN: It almost seems as if you were all spared for something more than merely fighting a war.
LESTER: (WHISPERS) See? Askin' questions. I tell you, Lieutenant, I've seen him before!
PLATTNER: I don't get it, Mister.
MORGAN: Fighting this war has done something for us, I guess. (A PAUSE) Though I wouldn't do it again for a lot of money.
MAN: What has it done for you, then?
MORGAN: Oh, I don't know. I guess you get to feel different about .. people ... after you've been through what we have.
MAN: Yes, I can understand that.
PLATTNER: I bet you can. I bet you've been through a lot, too.
LESTER: Was you a soldier?
THERE IS A PAUSE. THEN:
LESTER: What's everybody so quiet about? A minute ago everybody was hollerin' and yellin' ...
PLATTNER: Everybody's full.
SCHULZE: No, 'tain't that, Plattner. It just kind of feels like Christmas.
BELL: (REFLECTIVELY) That's right, Schulze.
SCHULZE: Like I remember on Christmas, when we used to go to church in Peoria.
MORGAN: No, like Christmas afternoon... I remember ... (HE FALLS SILENT)
PLATTNER: Everybody feelin' good ... kind of likin' everybody.
MORGAN: Peace on earth. (A LONG PAUSE) Peace on earth.
MAN: And good will to men.
SCHULZE: We ought to've gone to church this morning.
LESTER: I went to church.
BELL: (SURPRISED) You did!
LESTER: Yessir. (SOMEWHAT APOLOGETICALLY) I got up early, and I went out, and I run right into the chaplain. What could I do?
SCHULZE: I sort of wish I'd gone.
LESTER: Even sung Christmas carols. (HE STARTS TO SING "ADESTE FIDELIS", AND AWKWARDLY THE OTHERS JOIN IN. AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAROL, THERE IS A SILENCE. THEN LESTER SPEAKS AGAIN) Mister, that's an awful ugly scar you got on your hand there.
MAN: Yes. It was ... very painful, once.
PLATTNER: Lessee. Say, it sure is. The Krauts do that to you?
LESTER: You speak awful good English.
MAN: I speak several languages.
BELL: Lester, will you let the man alone.
LESTER: Lieutenant, I want to know who he is and what he's doing here! I know I've seen him someplace -
MAN: Yes, I think you have seen me somewhere.
LESTER: But where? Where, for -
BELL: I know where I saw him before.
MAN: Do you?
BELL: In the hospital when I had the broken leg, and it was Christmas and I prayed -
MORGAN: I know where I saw you.
MAN: Yes. I remember.
MORGAN: In the snow, back of Diekirch, and I was kneeling beside my brother the night he was killed.
SCHULZE: I saw you on the transport when we were on the way over here.
GRIFFIN: It was in the mission Carmel...
MAN: Yes. I saw you there.
PLATTNER: Once when I was walking guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington, at night...
MAN: I was there..
LESTER: Was you at church this morning?
MAN: I saw you there.
LESTER: Well then, who are you? Wait a minute, now, don't go yet. Wait and have another drink of wine.
MAN: Yes, I will drink a cup of wine with you, and then I must go.
LESTER: Lemme open a new bottle.
SOUND: (POP OF CORK: HE POURS)
LESTER: Drink up.
MAN: (DRINKS) Now good-bye, my friends.
LESTER: No. Hey, no. Stay with us. Please stay with us.
MAN: No. I must go.
LESTER: But listen why? Why do you have to go?
MORGAN: Lester, the whole world's waiting for him..after all, it's his birthday, you know.
(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADES FOR)
ANNOUNCER: You have listened to "Quiet, Please" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. The Displaced Person was Ernest Chappell.
CHAPPELL: And the others were -
The music for "Quiet, Please!" is composed and played by Albert Buhrmann. Now, for a word about next week's "Quiet, Please!" here is our writer-director Wyllis Cooper.
CHAPPELL: And so until next week at this time I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell.
(MUSIC ... THEME FADE FOR)
ANNCR: "Quiet, Please!" comes to you from New York. (PAUSE) Stay tuned to this station for Billy Rose Pitching Horseshoes.
This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.