My Favorite Year (1982) Movie Script

And now the purple dusk
Of twilight time
Steals across the meadows
Of my heart
High up in the sky
The little stars climb
Always reminding me
That we're apart
You wander down the lane
And far away
Leaving me a song
That will not die
Love is now the stardust
Of yesterday
The music of the years
Gone by
You don't get years
like that anymore.
It was my favorite year.
Look.. Look at that Buick.
See, that's what
I'm talking about.
In 1954, a Buick was a Buick.
It didn't look like a Chevy,
which looks like a Pontiac
which you can't tell apart
from an Olds. Like today.
This is the way people dressed
in 1954. Smooth, huh?
Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
In 1954, television was live,
and comedy was king.
Comic stars like Milton Berle,
Sid Caesar and Jackie Gleason
kept America
in front of their TV sets.
I was the freshman writer
on The Comedy Cavalcade
starring Stan "King" Kaiser,
Saturday nights at 8:00.
There. There I am. That's me.
Benjy Stone, the guy carrying
the guy with the sword.
The guy with the sword
is Alan Swann.
The greatest movie idol
of all times
and my personal hero.
That week, Alan Swann
was the guest star
on The Comedy Cavalcade.
This is where
we wrote the show.
30 Rockefeller Plaza.
"30 Rock," we called it.
Here I was, two years
after being asked
to leave Brooklyn College
and already I was earning
more money per week
than the entire fourth floor
of my mother's apartment house
on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.
Anyway, 1954, the week
Alan Swann was the guest star
on The Comedy Cavalcade was
a major turning point for me.
It changed me.
Hold it. Hold it.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Stay friends
- Good, huh?
- You talking to me, Sy?
Look who I'm asking.
- Sorry I'm late, Sy.
- The food. The food!
- Give me my food.
- The coffee shop was jammed.
"Fine, thank you, Sy.
And you?
Oh, really?
No, I didn't think so."
What is this? Tea?
I didn't order tea.
That's Herb's.
He had the tea and dry toast.
This is yours, Sy.
Extra-large coffee, six sugars
lightly toasted bagel,
heavy butter
schmear of cream cheese,
grape jelly, right?
Wait a minute.
Where is my crumb cake?
They were out.
Sidney put in a bear claw.
- Alice, what are we seeing?
- Clips from Swann's movies.
Clips from his crap.
Roll 'em, Herb.
This is Captain From Tortuga.
Captain from crap.
This is from Rapture.
You call what Swann does acting?
That's not acting.
That's kissing and jumping,
and drinking and humping.
I don't know why we're wasting
our eyesight on this crap.
Swann's never gonna
show up anyhow.
- We'll find him, Sy.
- What happened?
He landed fine last night.
- That much we know.
- So, where is he?
Where else?
Drinking and humping.
Crap. This is crap!
That was the best part.
There is no "best part."
Swann never made
a decent movie in his life.
Sy, that one,
Defender Of The Crown
is a classic.
And so is
Captain From Tortuga.
- Crap.
- What about Swords Of Glory?
- Crap.
- Amarillo?
- Crap.
- Sands Of The Sudan?
Crap. Benjy, you wanna see
movies, get a job as an usher.
The rest of us
are here to write professional
show business comedy.
In your case,
What's the matter, Herb,
you can't talk to a person
like a regular,
normal human being?
- No.
- Come on!
King wants us to see
a run-through
of the "Boss Hijack" sketch.
Hey, Janine.
When you gonna let me
get into your box?
Hey, kid, I read your
bullfighter sketch last night.
- You liked it?
- Dozed off halfway through it.
Hey, come on, don't get
the wrong idea, kid.
It's not that it wasn't funny.
It's just that it wasn't funny.
Sy, I read that sketch.
I thought it was terrific.
Then maybe you should be
head writer, Alice!
- I couldn't take the chance.
- What chance?
That I'd become like you.
Hold it!
Oh, uh, K.C.?
Lil, Mr. Silver wants to see
Helen's costume
for "The Three Musketeers"
Now he wants it
when I'm up to my ass
here in threads!
- Ugh.
- So, uh..
Let's just
have a quiet dinner tonight.
- Danny's Hideaway.
- Lil!
We'll split a Chateaubriand,
medium rare.
- I got it.
- Careful with the tiara, kid.
You break it, you bought it.
Then a hansom cab ride
through Central Park.
From there we hop over
to the Algonquin for a cordial.
And we end the night
at your place.
What do you think?
Benjamin, why would
I wanna go out with you?
Every time you come near me,
you embarrass or humiliate me.
I mean,
what do you want from me?
- What is the time?
- I don't know.
- Don't you have a watch?
- No.
I'm not allowed to wear a watch.
Why not?
I can't trust them.
One hand is shorter
than the other.
Do you have the time?
It's 9:25.
Are you late for something?
And I'm never quite sure
for what.
People, people!
I hate to break up
the Last Supper
but I wouldn't mind
seeing a run-through.
Sorry to tell you this, uh..
but King threw out
the monologue.
Leo, that monologue was good.
Check that! Perfect! I wrote it!
Here's where Sy Benson
draws the line.
- Sy, don't do anything crazy.
- King's gotta be taught.
First comes the word,
and the word was "funny."
The monologue stays, or I go!
Sy, maybe we can compromise.
No compromise.
Sy Benson has his integrity,
his pride.
King does that monologue
word for word or I walk. I walk!
Monologue's in.
- Good morning, King.
- Good morning, King.
- Hello, Stan.
- Yeah, good morning.
- King, about the monologue..
- Sy, do you smell something?
It's coming from the script.
Oh! It's your monologue.
Oh, what a stink burger!
I hate it.
It's not funny. It's out!
Hey, babe,
we're not married to it.
Monologue's out.
Sy Benson, a tower of Jell-O.
I, uh, think I went a little
too far with Sy just now.
I really hurt his feelings.
I gotta get him something.
Here's a hundred bucks,
get him something.
Tires are nice.
Get him a set of tires.
Call my brother in the Bronx,
he'll tell you where.
Boss Hijack sketch
from the top.
and cameras, please. Cameras.
Here we go.
Four, three, two..
And come in!
- Who owns the gray '51 DeSoto?
- The new guy, Harris.
You're parked
in Boss Hijack's spot.
You better move. The boss
has got some temper on him.
How bad can it be?
You're lucky we're
on the second floor here.
It slowed him down.
Somebody parked in my spot.
Move your car.
That blackout has got to come
a beat sooner.
Screams, I guarantee a scream.
Well, now all we need
is another 27 minutes
and we got a show this week.
Coming in, Sy!
- Swann here yet?
- He's on his way.
Alfie went to pick him up,
and then he's, uh...
Not here yet, right? Great.
Look real nice today, Alice.
You like the shoes I sent ya?
Oh, yeah.
Then why'd you send 'em back?
They were the wrong size.
And they were used.
Come on, come on,
roll this thing.
Benjy, lights!
Is this guy going to be funny?
He jumps around nice,
but is he going to be funny?
En garde!
Oh, good God! It's Renfield!
I thought he was dead.
Oh, yes! So he is!
Very good with the sword though.
Good morrow to you,
ladies and gentlemen.
He's plastered!
So are some of the finest
erections in Europe.
If I were truly plastered,
could I do this?
Signor Bumbacelli,
would you hold my sword?
Well, we know he can do that.
It's still ticking.
Alfie! Alfie! What happened?
To begin with, there was
some difficulty at the airport.
Mr. Swann here
has been reclassified.
- Reclassified?
- Yeah.
- As freight.
- Oh, boy.
Then Mr. Swann wanted
to make a couple of stops.
Alfie, I told you to take him
right to the Waldorf!
Whoa, I gotta slam
your brakes on, Mr. Silver.
When I'm driving Mr. Swann,
he's chief of the car.
And when the chief says
he wants to make some stops,
Alfie Bumbacelli
makes the stops.
And that's what I live by.
Well, at least we've got
plenty of time to replace him.
- Dump him.
- Leo.
Isn't there some way?
I mean, the man is a legend.
Stan, what do you think?
I don't know.
He is a legend.
One of the biggest stars ever.
He's one of a kind.
A guy like this
is irreplaceable.
Replace him, Leo.
- You can't.
- Too risky. He's out.
But, King!
You're right.
This is too risky.
You can't take a chance
with something like this.
But, King,
you're a big star now
and I'm sure
you always will be.
But suppose..
Just suppose..
And I know this is
never gonna happen.
But suppose, someday
you wind up like this.
I hope nobody does to you
what you're doing to him.
Dump him.
Who are you to
talk to me like that?
You little Jiminy Cricket
pest bastard!
All right,
he gets one more chance.
- No!
- Yes!
Yeah, but now you, you're gonna
be responsible for him.
Swann better be
at every rehearsal sober
or it's your ass,
you understand?
Now, see, Sy,
this kid's got balls.
A week's salary
Swann takes a dive.
- Hey, Swann dive.
- You're on!
Double the lad's bet for me,
you toad.
All right now, pick a card.
Go ahead. Any card.
Priscilla, come here.
Now put it back
in the deck, anywhere.
- How long you working here?
- About a year.
- You look real nice today.
- Thank you.
Here, write your address
down here, put it on my desk.
I'm gonna send you some steaks.
- Is that your card?
- Yeah, that's my card.
Mr. Silver, Boss Rojeck and
his lawyer are in your office.
It's about
the "Boss Hijack" sketch.
Where you going?
- With you.
- What for?
To meet Boss Rojeck.
Stan, what's the matter
with you?
You think he's here
because he likes
the "Boss Hijack" sketch?
You think he likes
being made a fool out of by you
in front of 20 million people
every week?
- I don't know.
- Stan.
He's here because he wants us to
drop the "Boss Hijack" sketch.
Think so?
Let's go find out.
All right, all right.
Maybe you better change first.
Well, that outfit
might set him off.
Mr. Rojeck, sir,
I think you've made
a wise decision
to come here.
I think this gentleman
will be able talk to us
about our problem
in a mature way.
I'm sure he'll see reason, sir.
There should be no problem
- Myron Fein.
- I'm Leo Silver.
This is King Kaiser.
- What do you say, Myron?
- My client, Karl Rojeck.
Karl? It's not "Boss?"
Stan! Uh..
We'll all be sitting now,
Mr. Rojeck.
I'm sure we're all aware that
my client, Mr. Rojeck,
is one of the most respected
labor leaders
in America today.
Oh, that's why
they subpoenaed him.
Mr. Kaiser, a subpoena
is not an indictment.
Now, it has come
to our attention
that on two separate occasions,
September 4th, 1954
and September 18th, 1954
a character referred to
as Boss Hijack
was portrayed
in your television program.
We feel that this character
to a great degree
is based upon my client.
That's you, Karl.
According to our lawyers,
your client is a public figure
and as such, uh,
has already forfeited
certain rights of privacy.
Granted. However,
even though
Mr. Rojeck concedes that point
he feels that the portrayal
of said character
is slanderous and defamatory
and done with malicious intent.
Therefore abrogating
the public figure defense
and rendering it.. wit, actionable.
Did you say that, Karl?
What a guy.
That's it.
I wanna clear
some things up here.
- Oh?
- This is a stupid show.
And that is a stupid,
stupid suit.
And I don't wanna
see it no more.
Hey, take it easy, Karl.
I mean, if you really don't
wanna see it no more..
- ...then don't watch.
- Stan!
Let me explain
something to you, Karl.
We're gonna keep on doing this
sketch. You know why?
Because it's funny.
And in my business,
you never cut funny.
Funny, huh? Let me tell you
about the business I'm in.
I'm in the removal business.
Now, if I were to feel
that this stupid thing
from this stupid show
was bothering me,
I'd remove it.
You see, it's gone.
And I feel good.
Now, that's how
the removal business works.
Do I make myself clear?
I think everyone understands,
Mr. Rojeck. Shall we please..
Hey, no, wait, wait, wait,
I'm not clear about
a couple of things here.
What you're saying is that
in this removal business
if something bothers you,
like, um.., say this.
Then you remove it.
Stan, that is a cashmere coat.
- Like that.
- Stan!
You know, you're right.
You do feel better.
I like the removal business.
I want you.
Come on. Come and get me!
Come on, come on, come on.
That's enough!
A fightin' is rounds.
This is Round 1.
So the first time
I drive him, is what?
Right before the war, 1938.
- Wow. That makes it 16 years.
- Yeah, we go way back.
You drive anyone else?
Sure, but when Mr. Swann's
in town, I drop everything.
Upstairs, boys,
all right?
La la la la lum pum pa
La la la la lum pum pa
La la la la lum pum pa
La la la la lum pum pa
La lum..
Wonderful to be alive.
Make sure he don't fall.
What is our estimated time
of arrival?
Go ahead and lash me,
you swine!
You'll not loosen my tongue!
Whoa! That's from
Captain From Tortuga.
Excuse me.
Had this made special
for when he travels.
Calls it his "Drunk suit."
I have to remind him to work
on some tear-away shoes.
Good idea.
Oh, my God, I'm blind.
I cannot see.
Help me get him into the tub.
I got him.
This is probably more
than $35 a night, huh?
- Try $250.
- $250 a night?
Well, what's that mean
to a guy like Alan Swann?
Nothing. When you ain't got
nothing, it don't mean nothing.
What are you talking about?
You're lookin' at tap city
in there.
That's his stockpile.
Grab 'em, will ya?
These must be
his drinking socks.
Who's this?
That's Tess, his daughter.
Daughter? I didn't know
he had a daughter.
- Where is she?
- She's in Connecticut.
He always has
one secret bottle
hidden somewhere
for emergencies.
Got 'em all now.
Nah, that guy never
actually shot him.
You see they was
supposed to have this duel.
And I think it was
over that Peron dame.
Anyhow, they both
showed up drunk, and, uh..
Swann sorta shot himself.
Pa-pa pa-pa pa pum pum.
Pa-pa pa-pa pa pum pum.
Pa-pa pa-pa pa pa pum pum.
Alfredo, my dear old chum.
Tell me, how in the name
of God did I get here?
- Begin at the airport.
- Oh, this is Benjy Stone.
One of the writers
from The Comedy Cavalcade.
How do you do?
Alfredo, we should pop in
and see these people.
Plenty of time tomorrow,
Mr. Swann.
And since this
is your first time
working in television,
they've asked me
to stay with you
and help you
over some of the rough spots.
Like showing up?
That's one.
Another is not passing out.
An honest one.
Signor Bumbacelli,
we'll be two for dinner.
Telephone the Stork Club.
You sure you mean
the Stork Club, Mr. Swann?
Certainly. It's been
a year and a half.
Surely they've repaired the wall
of the bandstand by now.
Would you like to talk about
the sketch before you leave?
On an empty stomach?
No. We'll talk over dinner.
Uh.. Me? You? The Stork Club?
Well, after that
rather eloquent speech
you made earlier this morning,
I didn't think you'd mind
having dinner with me.
You heard that?
But you were out.
There's out, and there's out.
I'd like to make
So, Stone, what sort of
heroic idiot am I this time?
- A musketeer idiot.
- I read that on the airplane.
Very funny, very good.
- I wrote that.
- Did you?
Bravo, Stone. Bravo.
Okay, Mr. Swann, table for two
at the Stork Club.
Let's move it.
Comedy is such a mystery to me.
I feel the way Edmund Kean did.
The great English actor?
On his deathbed,
Kean was asked how he felt.
He answered..
"Dying is easy.
Comedy is hard."
Ah, Mr. Swann.
It's a pleasure to see you, sir.
Pleasure to be seen.
Benjamin Stone, my colleague.
Alan! You look
absolutely marvelous.
As do you.
We must talk.
Thank you.
Mr. Swann.
Alan, good to see you.
- Call me, will you?
- Surely.
I'll call you.
- Welcome back, Mr. Swann.
- Curt.
- Can I get you something?
- Perhaps.
Uh, Curt..
Who is that gorgeous-looking
creature over there?
Oh, no, Mr. Swann.
This is exactly the way
it started last time.
In that case,
we'll just order dinner.
For now.
Victoria was the one
I should have married.
Apart from being the finest
actress I've worked with,
she was the most gracious
and intelligent woman
I've ever known.
Was it true the
two of you lived together
while you
were filming Rapture?
Lord knows, I was married to
almost all of her friends.
Why did you marry
so many of them?
Stone, I didn't marry
any of them.
They married me.
Excuse me, Mr. Swann.
I'm Alvin Horn.
My wife Ann and I
are celebrating
our 40th anniversary.
Congratulations, sport.
You certainly have
more staying power than I.
It would mean
so much to her if you could
stop on your way out
and just say hello.
Why wait?
Lead me to the fair Ann.
Stone... in a few minutes
I shall require a diversion.
Mr. Swann, my wife Ann.
Mr. Horn, may I have this dance
with your beautiful wife?
Of course.
Come back here!
Whoa! Whoa!
Is it always like this?
Somebody stole my girl.
To the question,
"What were you doing naked
in Central Park
in Bethesda Fountain
at 3:00 in the morning?"
Swann replied,
"The backstroke."
Now, is this your idea
of watching him, Benjy?
The police are treating it
like a parking ticket.
- It's no big deal.
- No big deal?
We got kids watchin' the show.
We're talkin'
generations to come here.
We're discussin' morals here!
You're not qualified
to discuss morals, Sy.
Up your hole with a Mello-Roll,
Alice. And yours, too, Herb.
Leo, it gets me sick to think
we got to put up
with some washed-up jaboney
who's gonna be
running around Central Park
with his schlong hangin' out!
My dear fellow, what I choose
to do with my schlong
is my business.
- How's business?
- Never better.
- Stone, good morning.
- Good morning.
- Morning, all.
- Morning.
- Good morning.
- Morning.
When King gets here, we'll read
through the musketeer sketch.
My assistant, K.C. Downing,
Mr. Swann.
- How do you do?
- Hello. Uh, oh.
Uh.. If there's
anything you need
uh, I can take care
of it for you.
Within reason.
Let's begin with some tea,
and see where that leads us.
- Ah, tea.
- Hmm.
Uh.. Oh, do you drink bags?
I mean, do you, I mean,
are these okay? Tea bags?
- Oh, surely, surely.
- Oh.
- Now...
- Good morning, Mr. Kaiser.
What do you say?
Oh, and, uh..
Good morning, uh, Mr. Swann.
Where's the musketeer set?
Okay, it isn't here.
That's where it is.
And they won't deliver it.
Rojeck did it.
Now are you happy?
- Rojeck?
- Yeah.
Oh, I've got a great idea.
Let's-let's just drop
drop the "Boss Hijack" sketch
this week.
Give me that set, do you
understand? I want that set.
I don't care if you have to
rent trucks, find drivers.
Get that set here! Build a set!
Steal a set! I don't care!
Nobody's gonna
tell King Kaiser that..
Okay, I'm gonna go back there
and get my script
and then I'll come back here
and we'll read
through the sketch
and then we'll work out
the set problem.
Okay, Leo?
Okay, everybody,
let's chase ten minutes.
Benjy Stone! Telephone!
You got..
- Hello?
- Benjamin, darling.
Ma, did you watch
the show Saturday night?
No, we watched
wrestling instead.
Of course, I saw the show.
- Well?
- Well, what else?
It was brilliant, darling.
Just one thing.
Who-who is this "Benjy Stone?"
Ma, don't start in.
Do you think.. Shh!
Do you think I'll ever see
the name Benjamin Steinberg,
a real name, go by
King Kaiser's face one day?
Look who's talking,
Mrs. Belle Carioca.
Carroca! Carroca!
Carroca! Carroca!
Rookie, shush.
See, now you upset
your stepfather.
Ma, could you just
call him "Rookie"
and not my stepfather
all the time?
Benjamin, darling..
Rookie, dust!
Before your beloved father
passed away
and eventually died,
he said to me..
"...after I go,
get someone to be with.
Someone nice. A pal."
So you went out and found
a Filipino bantamweight
named Rookie Carroca?
Rookie Carroca,
who held the title
for well over six months.
Until Manny Serpa turned him
into guava jelly at the Garden.
Serpa butted him.
I'll fight Serpa today,
and take him apart.
Do you hear
what you've started here?
- Ma!
- What?
Was there a reason you called?
Only to remind you
that you're coming here
for dinner tomorrow night.
Oh, no, ma, I can't make it.
Alan Swann's on the show
and they made me his keeper.
- Alan Swann from the movies?
- Yeah.
Rookie, Alan Swann
from the movies.
So bring him along!
Bring Alan Swann to Brooklyn?
Well, why not?
- What are you ashamed of?
- Everything!
And, Benjamin, when you
get here, be nice to my Rookie.
- He likes you.
- Yeah, and I like him.
I tell you what,
I'll bring him a present.
Does he need a new machete?
It's always in the eyes.
You. I would like
a word with you.
Oh, Benjamin, uh,
we're in the middle
of an interesting
conversation here.
Oh, I bet it's real interesting.
What's the subject of this
interesting conversation?
These eyes.
They're Merle Oberon's eyes.
Merle Oberon's?
Oh, and what's Merle
doing for eyes?
Using Katherine Hepburn's?
Uh.. Um..
Excuse me, Alan.
Excuse me, Alan.
Benjamin, what is
the matter with you?
If you're gonna fall
for every movie star
who comes on the show,
what kind of a future
are we going to have?
The same as we have now. None!
Give her a head start.
It gives her the illusion
she's being chased.
These cans say, "crushed."
Where the hell
are the pineapple girls?
Hey, I'm sorry.
I acted like a jerk.
You're being too easy
on yourself.
And where did you get the idea
that we have a future?
We have an understanding.
What understanding?
That I am hopelessly
in love with you
and you couldn't
care less about me.
Yeah. Yeah, you could say that.
Well, maybe this
will change your mind.
This belonged to my grandmother.
I want you to have it.
Oh, Benjamin,
I can't take that.
Fine! How about a car?
- Benjamin, the ring!
- It was glass.
Ah! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!
Sanctuary, my ass.
I'm sorry, ladies, there was...
Benjamin, would you
get out of here?
No, not until you tell me
exactly what was going on
between you and Swann.
Look, just get out of here!
- Hey, I'm in here!
- Wait!
- I was saving this for later.
- What are you doing?
- What's he doing?
- I'm proposing.
- What?
- What?
I'm proposing
that we live together
and if we like it,
we get married.
- Come on, say yes.
- Oh, God!
- Oh, my God!
- All right.
If that's too tough,
just nod your head.
- You get the hell outta here.
- Please, give me a word.
A sign, a sound.
That's not the sound
I was looking for.
All right, the hell with it,
I'm coming out now.
- Ah, Stone! Time for lunch.
- What? Uh, yeah.
Just going to the lavatory.
This is for ladies only.
And so is this, ma'am.
But every now and again,
I have to run
a little water through it.
No, Stone, I insist.
Lunch is on me.
I-I got it.
Stone, I want you to know
that this morning
I'd absolutely no idea
I was in the process
of inserting myself
into an arrangement
which already existed
between you and Miss Downing.
Would it have made
any difference?
Are you in love with the girl?
I think I am.
- I don't know what she wants.
- Romance, Stone.
That's the only thing that
you can be sure they all want.
I never met anyone like her.
She never met anyone like you.
Use that, cultivate it.
Right there is where I lost you.
Stone, women love
to be intrigued.
They enjoy unravelling
the mystery that is man.
But you must allow them
the freedom to discover you.
- Is that what you do?
- No.
I don't have that luxury.
Women who are interested in me
know exactly who I am
and what they want
and nine times out of ten
they get it.
- That's some courage.
- You'd be surprised.
You see, no matter what I do
I can never fulfill
their expectations.
Could I..
Could I have..
So, this is
the Benjy Stone version
of "Dinner and a movie," huh?
Doesn't Sy's office take on
a whole different
feeling at night?
Yeah, it gets worse.
Okay, here we go.
These are all dim sum,
Chinese dumplings.
These are pan-fried,
those are steamed.
They're good just with vinegar.
Chili sauce.
Stay away from this baby.
A couple of drops of this,
and your tongue
dials the fire department.
- You know how to use these?
- Uh, to make a sweater, yes.
- Okay, I'll show you.
- Okay.
Look, balance is everything,
one goes there,
the other one on top, like that.
Now, do exactly as I do.
Dim sum are too hard
to eat with chopsticks.
Don't make yourself crazy.
- Okay.
- Yup.
You really know this stuff.
Katherine, Jews know two things.
Suffering, and where to find
great Chinese food.
Too loud? What? What?
No, no. It's just,
it's really nice, you know.
You're just... sitting there,
having your dinner
wearing men's clothing.
Well... sort of.
I mean, I-I really
like this guy.
I like this guy much better
than the other guy.
What other guy?
Oh, you know,
the guy in the tiara.
The mosquito who bothers you
in elevators.
Th-the person who runs down
the hallway with Scotch tape
all over his body.
A human fly.
- Do not think, uh..
- You think..
Oh. No, I was just gonna say..
Do you think there are..
...funny people,
and not-funny people?
Yes, definitely.
On the funny side, there are
the Marx Brothers, except Zeppo.
The Ritz Brothers,
no exceptions.
Both Laurel and Hardy,
and Woody Woodpecker.
On the unfunny side,
there is anybody
who has ever played
the accordion professionally.
And me.
You know, everybody who works
here is funny, except me.
No, you're funny.
Really? When?
Well, I'm sure
you could be funny.
You can tell a joke.
Anyone can tell a joke.
Not me.
Yes, you can. I'll teach you.
I'll tell you a joke,
and you tell it back to me.
Okay, I'll try.
First rule.
Never tell a joke sitting down.
You have to be on your feet.
And use your hands.
This guy walks into
a psychiatrist's office.
He has a duck on his head.
The psychiatrist says,
"Can I help you?"
The duck says, "Yeah,
get this guy off my ass."
Okay, now you try.
Okay, here goes.
- A man...
- Hold it.
"This guy."
It's better than, "A man."
- Oh, okay.
- Sorry.
- Um...
- And use your hands.
- Oh. Right.
- Sorry. Go ahead.
This guy, uh, walks into
a doctor's office...
- Psychiatrist.
- Psychiatrist.
Right, okay. Sorry.
Okay, I got it, I got it.
Uh.. This guy walks into
a psychiatrist's office,
wearing a duck.
Whoa, what? Wearing a duck?
- Wearing a duck, no.
- Oh.
He has a duck on his head.
I told you I wasn't
very good at this.
No. It's my fault.
- It-it-it's good.
- Yeah?
Uh, okay.
This guy walks into
a psychiatrist's office
with a duck on his head.
And the guy says
to the psychiatrist
"Uh, will you help me because
I have a duck on my head?"
- What's that for?
- Accordion lessons.
Well, that ends the dinner
portion of the evening.
And now, it's time
for the movie portion.
- Lord Drummond.
- Lord Drummond!
Ha ha! Drummond.
If it would put you at ease,
I could turn my back again.
- Shh.
- You will this day..
...taste my steel.
Then leave us not dally,
Drummond, for today
I have an engagement to mount
the throne of England.
- Over my dead body.
- Be quiet.
As you wish.
Are you gonna keep doing this?
- As you wish.
- Sir John!
- Benjamin!
- Shh.
I guess this is the kissing
portion of the evening.
I am arrogant
He's arrogant
He's arrogant
And I am Porthole
He's Porthole
He's Porthole
And I am Swann
He's Swann
He's Swann
It's one for all
and all for one
One for you and tea for two
Break it up!
Everybody. Okay. All right.
Now, hold it! Hold it!
Hold it! Hold it!
Wait a minute!
I want to say something.
Alan, um..
I wanna tell you that I was
a little worried about you.
Only a little?
I would have thought
my reputation
warranted major concern.
Yeah, you're right, um..
I was gonna dump you.
But, uh..
I'm glad I didn't,
because, uh..
Well, uh..
I've seen all your films
and, uh..
...I'm a fan.
And here we are,
working together
and it's, uh..'s been nice, because, uh..'re funny.
You're really funny.
Praise indeed, sire.
And may I say that other than
one remarkable season
with an English repertory
company, this is the most fun
and the hardest work I've done
since the world was young.
That's great. Really.
But, uh, one other thing.
You're gonna show up
tomorrow, too, right?
- Right, Swann?
- Right, Porthole.
But I needs must
take leave of you
for Stone and I journey
to dine in some
far-off land called Brooklyn.
Well, that's it.
Big day tomorrow.
Show day! Have a good night.
See you at 10:00 a.m.
- Goodnight.
- Okay, everyone.
- Goodnight, Leo.
- Take it easy, Eddie.
Nice work today.
Do it that good
on the show tomorrow.
- Are you all right?
- It's all right, I'm okay.
It's no problem.
It's nothing. A thing fell.
It's nothing.
Really, go home.
- Sure you're okay?
- I'm okay.
I want you to get some rest.
Everybody go home.
I'm all right.
I promise you, I'm all right.
Come on, let's go home.
Come on.
My God!
It's an accident, Leo.
That's it!
I'm not gonna let you do
the "Boss Hijack" sketch.
It's an accident, Leo,
an accident.
And we're doing
the "Boss Hijack" sketch.
Thanks for caring.
By the by, Stone,
where is this Brooklyn?
Another world.
Hop in!
Come on. Hop in.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah
Uncle Morty.
- How odd to find you here.
- Why?
I just caught the 7:45 elevator
down from six.
I assume Aunt Sadie
is here, also?
Not yet, but she'll be.
Uncle Morty,
say hello to Alan Swann.
I didn't catch the name.
Alan Swann.
Rookie Carioca.
There was a lethal bantamweight
called Carroca.
You're looking at him.
I saw you fight in San Diego.
- Sailor Donovan.
- Right.
- Took him out in three.
- Two.
Who knew the Chinaman
was a fighter?
To me he doesn't open a mouth.
Still in the fight game?
In a way.
I married Benjy's mother.
Benjamin darling, how wonderful
to have you to home.
I got to get back
to my meatloaf.
Mr. Swann, may I
present my mother.
Mrs. Belle Mae
Steinberg Carroca
of Brooklyn, New York,
and Miami Beach, Florida
for two weeks
each and every winter.
Benjamin, why didn't you tell me
your mother was so lovely?
- Oh, for me?
- No, for me.
- Mr. Swann.
- Alan, please.
- And what may I call you?
- How about, "Yours?"
Oh, Alan.
On behalf of everyone here,
I would like to welcome you
to our humble chapeau.
Two years at the Sorbonne,
she still gets it wrong.
- Al..
- Ma.
- What?
- It's not "Al."
If I bring Capone or Jolson,
then it's "Al."
Jolson's coming?
Alan, I want you
to feel perfectly free
to do whatever
you would normally do
in your own apartment.
Uh, something to drink
before dinner?
Um, some soda water?
Rookie, a glass of Seltzer!
- Pic k it up!
- Excuse me.
Excuse me, Mr. Swann.
I hate to impose, but I wonder
if you would mind signing...
An autograph?
If you don't mind, make it
to Sadie and Morty Kronsky.
That's with a "K."
The rest is the way
it's usually spelled.
That's probably Aunt Sadie.
Why don't you go open
the door for your wife?
Thank you, Mr. Swann.
- Alan.
- Thank you.
Your Seltzer. A little liver?
Oh, oh, uh, no, thank you.
Oh, Sadie, you look beautiful.
What a lovely dress!
You like it?
I only wore it once.
Come and get it!
Dinner is served.
Rookie, your Meatloaf Mindanao
was superb.
That takes two days
to prepare, you know?
Really? Tell me, what was that
rather pungent taste?
- Parrot.
- Oh!
And they're not
easy to work with.
They put up some squawk.
I can imagine.
Um, what was that dish?
Filipino pork and beans.
Where was the pork?
You can't! There's Jews here.
So, I guess if you want
to be technical...
What's the difference?
So, Mr. Swann.. that we sat nice,
broke bread together,
shared a glass of wine,
I feel I know you a little.
Morty, I feel
I know you even better.
Then you won't mind
if I ask you a question.
- Uncle Morty!
- What are you worried?
It's not personal.
What was I,
born in Minsk or Pinsk?
I know my way around.
Morty, ask your question.
That paternity rap
a couple of years ago..
- Did you schtup her?
- Morty!
Did you go all the way? What!
- Uncle Morty!
- What!
- What! What do you want?
- It's all right. It's all right.
It's all right.
Morty, I hope this doesn't
lessen your opinion of me,
but the answer is "No."
You see..
...people like me,
we're targets.
I'm blamed for a lot of things
I had absolutely nothing
to do with.
On the other hand,
because of who I am,
I get away with murder
in other areas.
I suppose it all balances out
in the end.
Does it really, Swannee?
Ma, he's an actor, not a river.
...can I talk frank to you?
- Certainly, Belle.
- Uh-oh.
Take a good look here.
This. This.
This is good.
Sitting around
with people you love.
Some you just like,
others maybe you could
live without, excuse me.
Sharing stories.
Sharing warmth.
This is real life, Alan.
And this is what you need.
A home.
And a family.
And children, huh?
Hey, who knows?
Unfortunately, Belle,
that part of my life
hasn't worked out too well.
Though I did produce a perfectly
glorious little child.
Her name is Tess.
Ah, see? You're a daddy,
and this I didn't even know.
So, where is she?
She lives with her mother
in Connecticut.
I haven't seen her
in over a year.
A year?
Shame on you, Swannee.
Yes, you're right, Belle.
Shame on me, indeed.
Well, time to go.
What a divine evening.
We must do this again real soon.
Say, at the turn
of the century?
Rookie, Sadie, Morty.
- Goodbye, Mr. Swann.
- Belle.
Oh, Alan.
Mr. and Mrs. Kessler,
apartment 4B.
God bless you, Mr. Swann.
Mr. and Mrs. Berkowitz,
apartment 2A. We love you.
Nathan and Lily Cantor.
Second floor front.
Pleasure to have you
in the building.
Scalfoni, 1R.
You're the best!
How did you get
into the building?
I'm the super.
- Goodbye, sir.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye!
- Goodbye.
Dr. Bumbacelli, my medication.
Your medication.
Oh, uh, uh, Mr. Swann,
uh, big day tomorrow.
Show day.
Uh, and, you know, uh,
I'm-I'm supposed to watch you.
Good, watch this.
Want to see it again?
Stone, you can either
watch me or join me.
One of them is more fun.
You were a hit in Brooklyn.
Want to try the Bronx next?
No. 1030, Park Avenue.
The Downings'.
Uh, no, please, no.
Uh, let's not go there.
- Why are we going there?
- Why?
To re-weave the fabric
of your relationship
with the fair K.C.,
that's why.
This surprise visit
should do it.
No, I-I don't think so,
Mr. Swann.
K.C. Downing's parents
are having a big party.
Besides, they're not gonna
let us up in that building.
Ever done any mountaineering?
Now, all we have to do
is to get from here.. there.
It won't work.
It worked perfectly well
in A Slight Case Of Divorce.
That was a movie.
This is real life!
What is the difference?
Oh, no!
It's stuck.
What we need
is something like a rope.
- Let's not do this.
- Oh, Stone!
I've done it a hundred times.
What was that, a stunt?
Wait, wait, wait, wait.
Wait a minute, wait a minute,
wait, wait, wait, wait.
Let's just go back
the way we came
and go through her front door.
Dull! Boring!
Old hat.
Stone, the cardinal rule.
They always love a big entrance.
I assure you.
Does anybody die
in these movies?
Of course not.
It's just fun.
- Fun?
- Fun!
He thinks this is fun!
I'm going down now.
When I arrive, I shall
hold the rope taut
and you can just shimmy down.
I'm not shimmying down anything.
It's too dangerous!
Nonsense! Not when you've been
instructed by Niblik.
Who the hell is Niblik?
Niblik is my Sherpa guide
from the Himalayas.
The Himalayas?
The Himalayas!
Look, there's the door.
Come on, let's go give it a try.
Ah! It's open!
Ah! Oh-ho! I killed him!
I'm supposed to take care of him
and I killed him!
Oh, God!
The bond issue is a fraud.
The company went bankrupt.
They looked solid.
- But they went belly-up.
- Uh, excuse me.
Have you seen that film, uh..
- Defender Of The Crown.
- Just like that!
The film!
Defender Of The Crown.
Have you seen it?
Starring, uh,
what's that guy's name?
Uh.. Alan, uh..
- Alan, uh..
- Swann!
- Yeah, Alan Swann.
- Alan Swann.
Bill, I think Alan Swann's
beneath us.
Of course, he's beneath us,
he's an actor.
No, I mean, I think Alan Swann's
beneath us right now!
Harry, get the hell out here!
Alan Swann is hangin' from..
...something from the roof!
- Pull!
- Pull him up.
- Pull!
- That's it!
- Pull!
- Pull him up!
Good evening,
do you have a light?
Help me! Help me!
Well done!
We have just dropped in
to see the Downings.
There are no Downings here.
- No Downings here?
- No.
The Downings
are downstairs on 14.
Close, Stone. Very close.
Mr. Swann... I think
I'm going to be unwell.
Stone, ladies are unwell,
gentlemen vomit.
- Mm-hmm.
- Oh!
Alfredo, you needn't wait,
we shan't need the car anymore.
We're going to throw up
in the park, and then walk home.
Mr. Swann,
may I tell you something?
Benjy Stone is not
who he seems to be.
Who is, Stone, who is?
But I'm not even Benjy Stone.
I'm Benjamin Steinberg.
I changed my name
'cause I thought it wouldn't
look good on the screen.
- I'm a phony.
- Because you changed your name?
What's in a name?
A rose by any other name
would wither and die.
I'll give you a name.
Clarence Duffy.
Clarence Duffy?
Who's Clarence Duffy?
He's a young man
from the West of Scotland.
Middle class, Irish descent
whose father was
a grammar school teacher.
His mother looked after
her garden, her husband
and their only son.
At the age of 18,
he joined the navy.
One year later,
he jumps ship at Liverpool.
Has notions
of becoming an actor.
Finishes up
in English "B" movies.
Six months later, Lou Goldmark
of Paramount Studios
announces his find,
a dashing new English actor
to star in Paramount's
next big adventure film..
Swords Of Glory.
- Clarence Duffy?
- One and the same.
Then you're not Alan Swann.
Oh, yes, I am.
You're the only living soul
who knows it.
It dies with me, Clarence.
At least you're an actor, actors
are supposed to make up names.
It's not just making up
a name, Stoneberg.
The studio made up
an entire life for me
and I let them do it,
and now I can't tell
where the bogus one ends,
and the real one begins.
Nothing about me
is what it seems to be.
Even the reason I'm doing
your Comedy Cavalcade program
is not because I wanted to.
It's a deal I made
with my new partner,
the Internal Revenue Service.
If I do the show, and give them
half the proceeds,
they promise not to throw me
out of the country.
That dies with me, too, Duff.
Tonight, your mother said,
"Shame on you."
And she was right.
I'm fed up with people letting
me get away with things
and everybody does.
My friends, my agent,
my manager, my doctors
my former wives,
even my daughter.
Haven't we walked enough
for one night?
- No, no.
- The horse, Stoneberg!
No, no, no, no. No. No.
You'll get 30 years for this.
Hey! Hey!
Who's Tess?
Tess is his daughter.
Tess is his daughter
in Connecticut.
He went to Connecticut
on the day of the show.
That bastard
went to Connecticut!
He's in another goddamn state!
I got to go down to the show
and tell Leo.
So he can fire me.
I'm a dead man.
I can't go like this.
I have to get dressed.
Don't forget your sweater.
Take me back.
Great! Air day,
and our guest star is no-show.
Hey, Leo. He's on the cover
of TV Guide this week.
Why is this sketch in here?
We did this sketch last week,
but it's right in here.
Right in my script.
Now, why, Leo?
Why? Why is it in my script?
That is last week's script.
Oh. That's why it's in here.
And now you'll find
this week's script
in your dressing room, Stan.
- That's good. That's good, Leo.
- Okay.
They're not serving tongue
at lunch today, are they, Leo?
No tongue on show day.
Twice they served tongue
on show day,
twice the opening sketch died.
No tongue, get it? No tongue!
Benjy, you were
supposed to be watching Swann.
I was.
I even stayed
in his suite last night.
But when I woke up today,
he was gone.
He said he was going
to see Tess.
Irish dame. Figures.
They love their booze.
- She's 12.
- Fine.
Now, we can throw in
statutory rape.
Tess happens to be his daughter.
Alfie, where is he?
He's in his dressing room.
- Drunk!
- He's takin' a nap.
I'm gonna see what kind
of a nap he's taking.
- I don't think so.
- Yeah, better let him rest.
He's got to be ready
for a run-through in an hour.
- Can he make it?
- He'll make it.
Look, I know
it's none of my business
but could you tell them
to go easy on him?
I mean, it ain't
been his best day.
- Is he okay?
- He's all right.
You should have seen her.
Twelve, and already
a heartbreaker.
What did he say to her?
Never got out of the car.
And don't say another word
for 86.4 miles.
I clocked him.
I didn't look in
the rearview, neither.
I give him his privacy.
All right, we open on a tight
to King and Cubby.
- All right.
- And then we widen out.
We're set to open the house.
Fifteen minutes, everyone.
Fifteen minutes.
How you doin', Alan?
Look, I don't want you
to worry about a thing.
Bad rehearsal, good show.
We got a great cast,
we got a great crew
and it always works.
Just remember,
we're gonna have fun, right?
And you! You look great.
- What's he wearing this for?
- The, uh, musketeer sketch.
- Are you in the right outfit?
- I am.
Then what am I doing in this?
Uh, I don't know.
Wait, which sketch is first?
The first sketch that I'm in
is the musketeer sketch.
I'm in that, too.
I'm in the wrong outfit.
And look how I find out.
I got to find out from,
uh, from this guy.
Who are the geniuses
who are supposed to tell me
which sketch comes
first on my show
and which outfit
I'm supposed to be in, huh?
Where are they?
Somebody tell me
which sketch comes first!
Wardrobe! Wardrobe!
- Leo, Leo!
- Listen to this.
He thinks he's in
the wrong costume.
Every week, same thing.
He's so crazy.
Oh, God, somebody
help me with my costume!
- Take it off!
- No!
- Come on.
- No! Leave me alone!
- The Hijack sketch...
- What? What?
- The Hijack sketch comes first.
- Which one?
The Hijack sketch.
It comes first.
I knew it.
- I knew it, Leo.
- Yeah.
- Don't worry about a thing, pal.
- All right, okay.
- I knew it.
- Yeah, yeah.
You can't write comedy
in California.
It's not depressing enough.
You look great.
How do you feel?
I feel surprisingly well, Stone.
Thank you.
So well that I am
going to make a prediction.
Now, usually it takes me two
or three takes just to warm up.
But tonight, I predict
we'll get it on the first take.
We always get it
on the first take.
- We have to.
- You do?
Sure, this is live television.
What does "Live" mean?
It means, at the exact moment
you are cavorting and leaping
around that stage over there,
twenty million people
are seeing it.
Wait a minute.
Wait a minute!
Mr. Swann, you're white.
You mean it all goes
into the camera lens
and then just spills out
into people's houses?
Why is it nobody
had the goodness to
explain this to me before?
It's nothing to worry about,
Mr. Swann.
Our audiences are great.
What audience? Audience.
You knew there was an audience.
What did you think
those seats were for?
I haven't performed in front of
an audience for 28 years.
Live work.
I played a butler.
I had one line!
- I forgot it.
- Look, don't worry.
This is gonna be easy.
For you, maybe, not for me.
I'm not an actor,
I'm a movie star!
Five minutes to air. Ready
for the "Boss Hijack" sketch.
- Oh, shut up!
- No, you can do it.
I need time to think.
I need time to think.
Oh, Holy Mother.
I need time to think!
- Is that "Think" or "Drink"?
- Yes!
- Well.
- Oh, look at that.
He's got the jitters.
Ladies and gentlemen,
a scarce second ago
Alan Swann had a full-fledged
anxiety attack.
An inch away from
a complete nervous breakdown.
And this one has the nerve to
describe it as "The jitters."
- What are you doing?
- Drinking and leaving.
Uh, the musketeer sketch
is on after the Hijack sketch.
I'm not doing
the Muscatel sketch.
- The musketeer sketch.
- I'm not doing either.
- Ouch.
- Ow.
Wasn't that Alan Swann leaving?
Obviously he's still
in the throes of the jitters.
- Get out of my way, Sy.
- Not until you pay up.
- Benjy, what happened?
- Swann's gone.
Can't speak, talk later.
You little smart ass,
son of a bitch, bastard!
You're through here!
I'm telling King.
Where's K.C.?
- Everything okay?
- Uh-huh.
Thank you, Harmonaires,
thank you.
This is places, people.
Come on, people,
let's hurry up.
Dancers, opening dancers.
You should be
in your starting places.
Hurry along. Thank you.
- Who are you?
- Huh?
Oh yeah, Phil somebody, right?
Yeah, I know you. Go ahead.
Doin' a good job, Phil.
- Oh.
- Sy, Sy, I'm sorry.
Help, help, help.
We need some help here.
Look, Sy, you shouldn't
sneak up on a guy like that.
I know you can't hear me, pal.
But when you wake up,
I'm gonna give you a nice raise.
Get him some first aid.
What a putz.
Terrible. Terrible.
You're not Alfredo.
Mr. Swann.
Oh, my God, it's Stoneberger.
Will you ever let me alone?
As soon as you finish the show.
I'm not doing the show.
I want to go to the Waldorf!
You have to do the show.
If you don't,
they'll deport you.
It doesn't matter.
That's a sad sight.
You're a sadder sight.
All you end up doing
is making anyone
who cares for you unhappy.
You know what they say
about me, Stoneberg.
You can depend on Alan Swann,
he will always let you down.
Did you tell Tess that?
Oh, that's right, you couldn't
get out of the car.
Alfie, take this bum
to the Waldorf.
Ladies, ladies,
let's go, let's go.
Nancy, you have a nice show.
Sy, didn't I tell you
not to sneak up.. Oh!
Mr. Rojek wanted you
to have that.
- Ah!
- And that.
We have ten seconds to go,
just in case..
Nine, eight, seven, six..
This is NBC, the National
Broadcasting Company.
- Cue music. Ready one.
- Up!
- Ready two. Cue announce.
- Two!
Ladies and gentlemen
it is Saturday night at 8:00.
The National Broadcasting
Company presents
The Comedy Cavalcade.
Starring King Kaiser.
With his special
guest star, Alan Swann.
Now, it's roll film!
Take it!
When you eat lunch too quickly,
as this fellow had,
then you're apt to be cranky
'cause your stomach feels bad.
I'm afraid.
I'm afraid.
That's why I couldn't get out
of the car to see my Tess.
My child.
Alan Swann, afraid?
The Defender of the Crown?
Captain from Tortuga,
The Last Knight
of the Round Table?
Those are movies.
Damn you, look at me!
I'm flesh and blood,
life-size, no larger.
I'm not that silly
goddamned hero! I never was!
To me, you were.
Whoever you were
in those movies,
those silly goddamned heroes
meant a lot to me.
What does it matter if it
was an illusion? It worked.
So don't tell me
this is you life-size.
I can't use you life-size.
I need Alan Swanns
as big as I can get them.
And let me tell you something.
You couldn't have convinced me
the way you did
unless somewhere in you,
you had that courage.
Nobody's that good an actor.
You are that silly,
goddamn hero.
Calm down, back here.
We're on the air!
Come back, go get some help!
You're fired!
- Who owns the gray '51 DeSoto?
- The new guy, Harris.
You're parked
in Boss Hijack's spot.
Better move.
What the hell is that?
You're lucky we're
on the second floor.
It slowed him down.
You're very lucky
we're on the second floor.
It r... really
slowed him down.
One. Where's King?
Cue King, cue him.
Well, what's it gonna do?
- Gonna, kinda.. Slow him down.
- Slow him down.
Holy Jesus.
Boss Hijack?
- One!
- What is this?
- What's happening?
- Three.
Don't come in here.
Hey, hey, hey, hey-oh.
Ha, ha, hey, hey, ho.
Ooh, hey.
Ooh, ooh, ha, hey.
- Three.
- What's happening?
- Two.
- What is happening?
- One.
- What's happening?
What the hell is happening?
What the hell is happening?
Rojeck's men are killing King!
What is Swann doing
in the balcony?
Get a light on him,
get a light on him.
In the balcony,
he's in the balcony.
Three, good!
Will you hold my sword?
Thank you very much.
Loosen up on three. And three.
Oh, God, this makes me happy!
- Two.
- Do as I told you.
What took you so long?
Ladies and gentlemen,
Alan Swann.
And one.
The way you see him here,
like this..
...this is the way
I like to remember him.
I think if you had
asked Alan Swann..
what was the single most
gratifying moment in his life,
he might have said
this one, right here.
The next day, I drove up to
Connecticut with him and Alfie.
This time
he knocked on the door.
And when he and Tess
saw each other,
it was like
they'd never been apart.
Like Alfie says..
"With Swann, you forgive
a lot, you know?"
I know.