(GK: Garrison Keillor; TK: Tom Keith; SS: Sue Scott: TR: Tim Russell)


GK: It's the must-see motion picture everyone is flocking to this summer. A motion picture so big, the critics can't find adjectives that fit----

TR: Really really big.

SS: Enormous.

TK: Monumental.

SS: Colossal.

TR: Epic.

SS: Infinite.

TR: A biggie.

TK: A great big one.

SS: A really big sucker.

GK: It's MEMPHIS: THE MOVIEff(BIG THEME)---- Steamboats ply the big river (BOAT HORN, CHUGGING) as the Civil War draws to a close (TAPS) and finally good times return to the South----

TR (SOUTHERN BRENNAN): Cotton! Yessirree. Always a good year for cotton.

GK: And then the yellow fever strikes. (CHORDS)(COUGHING OF PATIENT IN BED.)

TR: How is he?

SS: I think the crisis has passed. I don't know what we'd have done if these ducks hadn't come.

TR: I noticed them, bringing medications to the ill.

SS: The fever is so contagious. Only the ducks are impervious to it.

TR: What kind of ducks are these?

SS: Notice the green stripes on their pinfeathers? That's why they're called Peabodies. (DUCKS) (MUSIC)

GK: Located on the Mississippi, beside an ancient glass pyramid, the city was forced to adapt to new ways. (SULTRY MUSIC)

SS (SOUTHERN): I'm going down to Beale Street, Big Daddy, and I'm intendin to smoke me a cigarette and listen to some of that what they call blues music.

TR (DADDY): But we're Baptists, Ginny Mae. We don't hold with the blues.

SS (SOUTHERN): Maybe we don't hold with the blues but the blues sure holds with us, Big Daddy.

GK: Beale Street. The Main Street of the Blues. And not far away a grateful city presents the ducks with the keys to the Memphis Ritz and it's renamed the Peabody Hotel---

TR (SOUTHERN): They want the penthouse for themselves. (DUCKS) Just be sure you don't give them any down pillows. They might be sleeping on a close relative.

GK: And a young truck driver from Tupelo arrives, intending to change music history. (TRUCK GEAR SHIFT)

TR (ELVIS): Quite a town. Maybe this is where I should attempt my synthesis of blues and country music. If only I could find someone who believed in me. (DUCK) Well, thank you, darling.

GK: But before he can record,(KLAXONS) alarms ring out---- (CRIES OF PANIC) (ROAR, APPROACHING) a wall of water a hundred feet high is sweeping along the Mississippi, pulled by the gravitational force of an asteroid approaching the earth(CRISIS MUSIC) ----

TR: The river is rising!

SS: Flee for your lives!!

TR: We've got to stop it!

SS: We could send a crew of ducks up in a rocket and try to destroy the asteroid.

TR: It's a crazy idea but it just might work. (MUSIC BUILD)(ROCKET THRUST)

SS: Can they do it?

TR: They've got to do it.


GK: The tidal wave gets closer and closer to the city of the glass pyramid, and yet, the heart will not be denied--- (ROMANTIC CHORDS)

SS: Hold me. Take me.

TR: But our whole world is just about to end!

SS: All the more reason to kiss me. (CHORD) (APPROACHING PLANES)

GK: But what is this? Dark dots in the western sky---- it's a Japanese sneak attack ---- hundreds of planes coming in low---- (GUNFIRE. TR JAPANESE CRIES. ARTILLERY. PLANE COMES IN ON STRAFING RUN, MACHINE GUNS BLAZING, EXPLOSIONS. CRIES OF PANIC.) ---- and then, from the roof of the Peabody Hotel (DUCKS), ducks run to their battle stations ---- (PLANE STRAFING, MACHINE GUN) (DUCKS) ---

TR: Ducks trying to shoot down fighter planes? It's impossible!

SS: You don't know those ducks. (MUSIC)

GK: Meanwhile the rocket blazes high in the sky.

TR (ELVIS): That asteroid---- looks like it's blowin up--- (SPACE EXPLOSION)

GK: And at the same time, on earth----(PLANES FADING)

SS: They're turning tail and heading west! What happened??

TR: We put out a call for all Memphians to switch on every laptop in the city and that interfered with the planes' navigational systems! And look----- it's the rocket crew----- parachuting to earth-----(DUCKS, FLAPPING, COMING IN FOR LANDING, TO CHEERS) Good work, you guys. (BIG THEME)

GK: The tidal wave fades away as the sun sets ----

TR: We'll call itf.Sun Records!

GK: And once again Beale Street comes to life---- (GUITAR CHORDS) As high atop the Peabody Hotel, near the sleeping ducks (DUCKS SLEEPING)fff

TR (ELVIS): I have a dream, baby.

SS: Hold me. And tell me about it.

TR (ELVIS): I see a world where people of all kinds can get along with each other.

SS: That's so beautiful.

TR (ELVIS): And I see a chain of motels with these, like, really loud green marquees and stuff.

SS: Take me there.

TR (ELVIS): And I see this delivery service that can carry a letter or package anywhere in America overnight.

SS: How could you ever do that?

TR (ELVIS): You know how fast ducks can fly, baby? (DUCK)

GK: MEMPHIS: THE MOVIEfffcoming soon to a drive-in theatre near you.

TR: (ANNC) No ducks were
harmed in the making of this movie. (QUACK)

GK: Children under 13 not admitted unless accompanied by money.

© Garrison Keillor 2001