Frasier s04e18 Episode Script

Ham Radio

Let me have a tall skinny to go, please, and you can keep the change.
Now, I've only got a moment.
I've taken on a very exciting project.
- Oh, really.
FRASIER: Yes.
You know, this is KACL's 50th anniversary.
I did a little research, found out that they used to specialize in live radio dramas.
So I'm putting one on.
- Surely you must remember them.
- Oh, sure.
Yes, people of Dad's generation would sit around at night, listening to the radio, absolutely mesmerized.
We were a simple people.
FRASIER: All right, Dad.
I spoke with the station manager.
He's given me 30 minutes to re-create the very first mystery KACL ever aired.
- "Nightmare Inn.
" - Oh, don't tell me, I know.
Bunch of people get caught in a storm, and everybody's wondering who's gonna be the first one murdered.
- Exactly! And I'm going to direct.
- Oh, so we can stop wondering.
You don't think he knows how to direct? No, the trouble is he doesn't know how to stop directing.
In our prep school production of Richard III, he drove the entire cast crazy with his constant critiquing.
I seem to recall a delay on opening night while our Richard chased Frasier around the dressing room, beating him with his hump.
Niles, it was just a little backstage horseplay to relieve tension.
- Thank you.
- You have an Orson Welles complex.
In the end, you'll be directing, you'll have rewritten the script and be playing the lead.
I have no intention of performing in it myself.
The only rewriting I've done is simply cutting, to get it down to 30 minutes.
- "Frasier Crane's Nightmare Inn"? - It's just a working title.
Well, that's our show for today, but let me remind you to tune in on Saturday night for KACL's presentation of "Nightmare Inn.
" Just set your dials for goose bumps.
Till then, this is Dr Frasier Crane reminding you that you'll never know what's lurking in the shadows.
[LAUGHING] Well, that should certainly comfort the woman who called in about her paranoia.
- Do we have a leading man yet? - No.
- Well, you could do it.
- Oh, don't be silly, Roz.
My God, it is a juicy part, does call for a strong voice, - but believe me, my hands are full.
- Oh, Frasier, I've had a quick peek at your script, and I think I'd be perfect as "Bull" Kragen, the brutish gamekeeper.
You know, Gil, I think that's just a bit too on the nose.
- Well, maybe.
- But you know what you could play? Yes.
Nigel Fairservice.
Drummed out of the Royal Air Force under mysterious circumstances.
With him playing it, they may not seem so mysterious.
I'll take it.
After all, Nigel does have that divine speech in the second act about his boyhood in Surrey: "Romping with his school chums in the fens and spinneys, when the twilight bathed the hedgerows like a lambent flame.
" Actually, I had rather a long peek at the script.
Gosh, we still have a lot of these supporting roles to cast.
Actually, I'm working on that.
Jennifer down in Accounting is married to a professional actor who specializes in dialects.
I'm thinking of asking him to play six or seven smaller parts.
Hey, doc.
Need one more for your play? Absolutely, Bulldog.
Just as long as you promise - to promote it on your show.
- Actually, I wasn't talking about me.
I was talking about a friend of mine, Maxine.
- Does she have experience? BULLDOG: Are you kidding? If she had a dollar for every minute she spent on stage Oh, wait a minute.
She does.
Well, we do still have the part of the maid.
She only has one line.
- Does it have any big words? - No, it's simple.
"Look out! He's got a gun.
" Maxine could knock that line right out of the park.
Well, okay, but you have to agree to play a part too.
We still need someone for the sinister silk merchant.
Okay, it's a deal.
And Maxine is gonna be so excited.
I gotta remember to pick her up one of those cute French maid outfits - on my way home from work.
- It's radio.
- She doesn't have to be in costume.
- Maybe here she doesn't.
- Well, we're getting there.
- Except for the lead.
I haven't found anyone remotely qualified to play a wily old Scotland Yard inspector.
You may be right.
I may have to bite the bullet.
- Take on the part myself.
IAN: Excuse me, Dr Crane.
Is it too late to read for the role of the inspector? I'm afraid the part has already been cast.
[DOORBELL CHIMES] DAPHNE: Come on in.
- Hi, Daphne.
GIL: Hello.
FRASIER: Bulldog, Gil.
Right on time, good.
We have to be on our toes tonight, we have a professional actor with us.
Mel White, - our man of a thousand voices.
- Oh, it's a huge pleasure.
Mel is going to play Hans, the German butler, both McCallister sisters, and Peppo the dwarf, "a little man with a big secret.
" The same guy's playing all those parts? Yes, he's also playing "Bull" Kragen, the gamekeeper, and O'Toole, the handyman.
Are you up to it? Just so they don't all talk at once.
[FRASIER LAUGHING] Isn't it lovely to be working with a professional? - Hold it.
Bulldog, where's Maxine? - She's home with food poisoning.
It's nothing serious.
I think she just wrestled in some bad Jell-O.
Well, never mind.
She just has one line, anyway.
"Look out! He's got a gun.
" You think you You might be up to that this evening, Daphne? - Oh, I'll try.
FRASIER: Good.
Frasier, one of Nigel's lines seems to be missing.
Yes, I had to cut the play by 20 minutes, Gil.
Yes, yes.
But that line so neatly defined Nigel's character.
Saying "gesundheit" after the butler sneezes? It shows he's a caring person.
- It's cut, Gil.
Learn to let go.
- Oh, very well.
As long as I still have that delicious speech about my boyhood in Surrey.
- Yes, that's still in.
- "Romping with my school chums - in fens and spinneys" - Yes, yes, that one! Yes, thank you.
All right, now, I fear we may be running just a bit long still.
So I've asked Daphne to time us this evening, and also, Noel hasn't rounded up all the sound effects yet, so I'm gonna have Daphne read those directions as well.
Now, that's a lot of responsibility on you, are you sure you're up to it? All right.
Start the watch.
Stage direction.
- "Sound of door opening.
" - Inspector, thank God you've come.
Stop the watch.
Roz, I have a line here that says, "When she opened her lips, I caught a hint of some exotic accent.
" You'll notice it does not say, "When she opened her lips, cheese fell out.
" Okay, and start the watch.
This is a grisly business, Miss Thorndyke.
"Sound of door closing.
" I can't believe any of my guests could be a multiple murderer.
That's easy for you to say, but my job is to suspect everyone.
Please introduce me to your guests.
This is the silk merchant, Mr Wang.
[BULLDOG LAUGHS] Stop the watch.
- What's your problem? - "Wang"? You gotta give me another name.
I'll crack up every time I hear that.
All right.
All right.
How about "Wing"? All right? That's a great old Chinese name.
All right, everybody, change Wang to Wing in your scripts.
Sound of people changing Wangs to Wings.
From your line.
Start.
This is the silk merchant, Mr Wing.
Did you see anything suspicious, Wing? Oh, me no lookee.
Me go beddy-bye, chop-chop.
Stop! Chinese Embassy on line one.
- You can't say that.
FRASIER: It's all right.
I'll just adjust his dialogue later.
All right.
Start.
I'm Nigel Fairservice, inspector.
I was strolling in the garden - when this dreadful tragedy occurred.
- Did anyone see you? Several people.
Hans, the German butler [IN GERMAN ACCENT] Ja, I saw him.
Stop.
You know, that's wonderful, Mel but he sounds to me just a bit more Austrian than German.
I've done that accent both on Broadway and the London stage.
Yes, well, perhaps they have different standards than I have.
All right, everyone.
From the beginning once again.
Now, this time, please, people, dig in, and try to find the reality.
From the dwarf's entrance.
And so the case was closed.
And with a grateful shudder, I swore I'd never return to Nightmare Inn.
Stop.
Time? - That's 32 minutes, 40 seconds.
- Damn! I'll trim some more before we try again.
- Again? We did this four times! - We'll do it till I'm completely satisfied.
Oh, which reminds me, Mel I'm still not entirely happy with the second McCallister sister.
Oh? Well, she doesn't sound spinsterish enough to me.
I see.
You also told me that my gamekeeper sounded too cultured, that my Irishman sounded more Protestant than Catholic, and that my dwarf was too tall! Let me try Hans again and tell me how my German is sounding.
[IN GERMAN ACCENT] I quit! - Well, oh, wait! You can't Sound of door slamming.
- So, what do we do now, boss? - Not to worry.
I have a plan.
ROZ: Oh, yeah, right.
We're supposed to do this thing tomorrow night.
Where are you gonna find an idiot willing to take six dialect parts unrehearsed? Niles.
The sound of ominous organ music indicating trouble ahead.
GIL: Oh, there's your brother.
How is he enjoying the prospect of playing six parts? Actually, he doesn't know about it yet.
If he did, he never would have agreed.
Frasier.
You were going to messenger the script to me - this morning.
- I'm so, so sorry, I was tinkering with it until the last minute.
But not to worry, your natural talent will carry you through.
All right, look, take a look at this.
Noel will give us a demonstration of the sound effects.
What have you got? Okay.
This is my door sound, my thunder screen, balloons for gunshots, and this plays various kinds of organ music.
[ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING] - Oh, yes.
- That's great.
I've also got a gravel box, bells, a rain stick and coffee thermos.
- What does that do? - Keeps my coffee warm.
- Everybody, this is Maxine.
- Oh, hello, Maxine.
Welcome.
Hi.
I need a quiet place to work on my part.
Oh, you got it, baby.
Why don't you go up here in the booth.
FRASIER: Bulldog? Work on her part? It's just one line.
Yeah, but she's got that condition, what do you call it? It begins with a "dis.
" Dis, dis? Distemper? Dyslexia.
That's it, she's dyslexic.
- And you tell me that now.
- No, no.
Hey, she'll be great.
It's me I'm worried about.
I've got some serious butterflies going here.
But you're on radio all the time.
Yeah, but that's me being me.
This is acting.
It's It's scary.
Listen, that's all a part of the thrill of the live performance, butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, scratchy throat, pounding heart.
- I suppose you have all of those.
- I do now.
Sorry I'm late, Frasier.
I just spent two hours in the dentist's chair.
- An emergency.
- What is the matter? Novocaine.
He said it would wear off by now.
Oh, I keep biting my lip.
Dear God.
We've got 60 seconds.
Well, I don't even know who I'm playing.
Don't worry, I'll cue you as we go along.
- Shouldn't I prepare a little? - Now, listen, your natural spontaneity is your best asset as an actor.
What was it the Yale Daily News said about your Tartuffe? Oh, who remembers? That I had the magnetism of Marlon Brando, the charm of Danny Kaye and the range of Laurence Olivier.
All right, everyone.
Places, please.
- Hurry up, it's starting! - All right.
FRASIER: Good evening.
This is Frasier Crane welcoming you to KACL's re-creation of the original Mystery Theatre.
I already know the plot, but I'll try not to blurt out the name of the murderer.
Great.
As a cop, I hated it when people did that.
FRASIER: In all my years at the Yard, I doubt I'd ever seen a fouler night than that on which I was called out to investigate a double murder at the old inn on the moors.
The door was answered by Miss Carlotta Thorndyke.
Her face was unfamiliar, and when she opened her lips, I caught a hint of some exotic accent.
Inspector Ow.
Thank God you've come.
This is a grisly business, Miss Thorndyke.
I can't believe any of my guests could be a multiple murderer.
That's easy for you to say.
But my job is to suspect everybody.
Please introduce me to your No, no.
Never mind.
I know your guests by reputation.
This must be Mr Wing, the silk merchant.
Did you witness anything suspicious, Wing? Of course, the inscrutable and mute Mr Wing who wears a bell on his hat.
Did you witness anything suspicious, Wing? No, eh? I'll remember you said that.
I'm Nigel Fairservice, inspector.
I was strolling in the garden when this dreadful tragedy occurred.
- Did anyone see you? - Several people.
Hans, the German butler.
Ja, I saw the gentleman.
O'Toole, the gardener.
Aye, 'twas himself and no mistake.
As well as Prudence McCallister.
Yes, I was taking a breath of air.
I tried to shake Nigel's alibi, but each witness was adamant.
- O'Toole: - Faith, and it's true.
- Hans: - Jawohl.
- Miss McCallister: - Oh, mercy, yes.
There remained one suspect whose whereabouts had not yet been established.
Peppo the dwarf, a retired circus performer.
Exactly where were you when the murders occurred, Peppo? Peppo! Where were you? I was at the movies.
At the movies, you say? Well, one quick phone call can verify that.
What's this? Dear God! The phone lines have been cut.
[ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING] Now we're really stranded.
Totally and completely isolated from any contact with the outside world.
[PHONE RINGS] Studio Five.
Sorry.
The phone lines have been repaired, you say? Hello? Wait! They've gone dead again.
Who knows what other surprises this night may bring.
I don't remember the plots of these things being so goofy.
Mr Wing wasn't mute last night.
Six different roles in six different accents? I've half a mind to walk out.
Yes, I'm sorry, Niles, but you're doing brilliantly.
Except your Your Hans could be a bit gruffer.
- Don't direct me.
- I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
You're right.
Right now, frankly, I'm just a bit more worried - about being over time.
Gil! GIL: Yes? At the bottom of page 14, listen, after you're shot, just say, "I'm dying.
" Cut the rest.
- That's my boyhood-in-Surrey speech.
- Yes, I know.
- You can't cut that, you can't.
- Stop whining.
We have a play to do.
I don't care anymore.
All right.
Please, quiet, everybody.
Ten seconds.
Oh, Maxine, be sure to watch out for your cue, and please, people, let's pick up the pace! [ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING] "Nightmare Inn.
" Act Two.
I was baffled.
They all had alibis.
Suddenly Miss Thorndyke pointed, her eyes wide with alarm.
There's someone outside the window! FRASIER: Why, yes, Miss Thorndyke.
It appears to be [CALLIOPE MUSIC PLAYING] the ice cream truck.
But never mind that.
Suddenly the storm put the lights out.
And we were left in darkness.
Then, a scream.
Ah! Look out! He's got a nug! A gun! A gun is what he's got! When the lights came back up, a smoking gun lay on the table.
The maid lay dead, unable to name her killer, and Nigel Fairservice lay mortally wounded.
I'm dying.
Poor man was gone.
Never again to revisit the scene of my boyhood in Surrey.
Romping with my school chums in the fens and spinneys Just then, the lights went out again! Nigel Fairservice was shot again.
Only grazed me.
When the twilight bathed the hedgerows like a lambent The final bullet blew his head clean off his shoulders.
All right, people, let's try to keep calm.
Although it's hard when the killer is among us.
Heigh-ho, I'm Nigel's brother, Cedric.
I haven't seen him since our boyhood.
We'd romp And so died the last surviving member of the Fairservice family.
Boy, I sure didn't see that one coming.
[KNOCKING] GIL: Hello, I'm the ice cream man.
Years ago I went to school with Nigel Fairservice.
We used to romp in the fens and spinneys [BALLOON POPS] This is turning into a bloodbath.
See, that's why I prefer TV.
You want to be able to see that stuff.
By this time, I was more baffled than ever, so I played a hunch.
Hans, may I see your fingernails? - Why? - They seem a bit ragged - for a butler.
- All right, all right, I'm not what I appear.
None of us is.
I'm not a butler.
I'm not even German.
[ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING] Sit down, inspector.
You're about to hear a fascinating tale.
Each of us holds a piece of the puzzle to relate to you.
When we've finished, you'll know the full, dark secret of Nightmare Inn.
Are you sure we should, Hans? Be quiet, Mother.
[ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING] Mother and I moved here when I was a small boy after the tragic death of my father.
I kept the pain of that loss buried deep within me like a serpent coiled within a damp cave.
Okay, that's it.
Never mind all that.
I'm just going to take this gun off the table.
Sorry about that, O'Toole.
I guess we'll never hear your fascinating piece of the puzzle.
Or yours, Kragen and Peppo.
Could the McCallister sisters stand back-to-back? I'm short on bullets.
Thank you.
- What was your name? - Miss Thorndyke.
Thank you.
And also Mr Wing.
And, of course, one final bullet for myself, so the mystery will die with me.
Ha.
Well, then that pretty much wrapped things up.
Hans was a mass murderer, to the surprise of everyone.
Case was closed.
And with a grateful shudder, I swore I'd never return to Nightmare Inn.
[ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING] Well, we still have nine minutes remaining.
Perhaps we could have a little post-play discussion.