TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the empty streets, on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye --- (THEME UP AND OUT)
GK: It was a gray winter day in New York City but things were looking bright for me. I had found a niche for myself investigating holiday invitations for wealthy New Yorkers who didn't want to show up at a dinner party and find themselves in the same room with somebody they despised.
TR (KISSINGER): Thank you for saving me from going to that party on the Lower East Side last week, Mr. Noir. It was full of bitter old Democrats. Peaceniks. So I stayed home and rented a movie instead. The Terminator.
GK: Good holiday movie. Hope you enjoyed it.
TR (KISSINGER): Did you know that I do a terrific Arnold Schwarzenegger impression?
GK: No, I didn't.
TR (KISSINGER): I call people up on the phone and they think I am him. Would you like to hear it?
GK: Of course.
TR (KISSINGER): Hasta la vista, baby. It's me. I'm back.
GK: That's great. Perfect. (BRIDGE) I got a call one day from Julia Child who wanted me to investigate a party she'd been invited to at the home of the opera diva Renata Flambe.
TR (JULIA, ON PHONE): I don't want to sit next to any singers. They eat off other people's plates. I want to sit next to that pianist, Manfred Hatchet. What a hottie! Everytime I see him play at Carnegie Hall, I just want to rip that cummerbund right off him. (BRIDGE)
GK: So I headed over to the Fifth Avenue mansion of Renata Flambe. (TRAFFIC PASSING) From the stone turrets, the gnarled trees, the boulders, the fallen columns, the piazza with the stairway ----- you could tell she was an opera star. And there at the gate was, of course, a dwarf.
FN: Hi. I'm Miss Flambe's dwarf. Did you come to fawn and truckle and curry favor? Or merely to taunt me?
GK: Actually I came to check your plumbing. I heard you had a leak in the upstairs bathroom.
FN: We have fifteen upstairs bathrooms.
GK: Then I'd better get started immediately.
FN: This way. (DWARF WALK, DRAGGING A LEG) ----- (BRIDGE)
GK: He led me over a drawbridge and past a tavern full of drunken soldiers. (SINGING, CLINKING, BELCHING, LAUGHING) And a hapless maiden in a tiny bodice. (SS INNOCENCE) There was a thunderstorm. (SFX) And he led me into a hut. (THUNDER) And then into the living room and there was Miss Flambe, in her dressing gown, reading a review in the paper.
RF: Listen to this! ---- " corporate carpal tunnel Kung Pao celebrity solar gazpacho you totally owe me" ---- it makes no sense.
GK: I don't know. I'm the plumber.
RF: Listen to this. "Her vibrato has become relaxed." Can you believe that? "Her vibrato has become relaxed."
GK: Well, vibrations can be relaxing, I suppose---- but I'm only a plumber.
RF: "Her vibrato has become relaxed." What is that supposed to mean??? And "voice darkening with age" ----- what do they mean, "dark"? It's opera. Isn't that the point? James-----
FN: Yes, mistress. Your dwarf awaits your bidding. (CLICK OF HEELS)
RF: Punish them.
FN: Your word is my desire. I will send the flying dragon Hrothgar to rattle the window of the Arts Section. Go------ (DRAGON ROAR). Find the New York Times. (DRAGON ROAR) Tell them we may stop home delivery. (SHRIEK OF FLYING DRAGON, FLAP OF ENORMOUS WINGS)
RF: "Vibrato relaxed???" What does that mean? (SHE VOCALIZES, VIBRATOLESS) My vibrato is the same as it ever was. People come to my performances with little oscilloscopes and watch the sound waves and marvel at their consistency. "Relaxed." Ha! (BRIDGE)
GK: Miss Flambe was so worked-up over the review, she hardly noticed me. People never notice plumbers. You take a pipe wrench in your hand and wear your pants low so when you squat people can see your crack, and you can do anything and nobody notices you. Her publicity person Miranda walked in and the pianist Manfred Hatchet and nobody noticed me, squatting there in the corner, pretending to fix a radiator. To them, I was just another plumber with his butt hanging out.
SS: We have brilliant news for you, Renata. Manfred has finished his Christmas opera for you.
SS: It's called "The Return of the King". You'll play the lead role, Donna la Donna. Tell her about it, Manfred.
EA: It's sort of a combination of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and It's a Wonderful Life, with some Bizet and Wagner and a lot of small children and puppets and live animals. It's the Muppets Meets the Ring of the Nibelungs.
RF: I refuse to go on stage with a horse.
EA: How about two small ponies?
RF: Same thing.
EA: We'll move the ponies to a different scene. Then all you have to do is hold a cat in your arms as you sing "Nessun dorma"-
RF: I've always wanted to sing "Nessun dorma"----
EA: Most popular aria in the world. Tenor aria, but no problem. Here- try it. (PIANO)
RF (SINGS, TO PUCCINI'S 'NESSUN DORMA')
The fruitcake looks delicious
Is there enough for all the Rhinemaidens
And for Mimi and for Carmen.
EA: Plus "Che gelida manina" ----
RF (SINGS, TO "CHE GELIDA MANINA")
Make me a latte, Christina-----
EA: I got everybody in it, Rudolfo and Mimi and Carmen and Aida and Rhadames and Don Jose and Brunnhilde and it's Christmas so there's no killing, no poisoned goblet, and there's a lot of peasant dancing and a manger scene and a chorus line and it's an hour and five minutes.
RF: We can do three shows a day. Four on Saturdays.
EA: Madison Square Garden.
SS: Tour buses lining up.
RF: Pay-per-view television.
SS: DVDs and home videos.
EA: Souvenir sales. T-shirts. Action figures. Novelty cups with plastic Don Jose lids.
SS: Parents need to entertain their kids.
RF: Everyone's been desperate for a Christmas opera for years. The opera audience is aging. We've had to cut Wagner in half ---- the audience can't stay up that late anymore. (KNOCKS ON DOOR)
SS: Come in. (DOOR OPEN) Oh--- Renata, your masseur is here.
TR (ARNOLD): Hello. I'm baaaack. I have come all the way from California.
RF: Fine, but why are you wearing the suit and tie?
TR (ARNOLD): I got a job in Sacramento.
RF: But why? A job doing what?
TR (ARNOLD): I'm not sure yet.
RF: I thought you liked it in L.A.
TR (ARNOLD): I do, but I got in trouble. I was massaging these women and they didn't know it--
RF: Say-- you---
RF: Yes-- Go get me a nonfat mocha decaf low-viscosity free-range venti latte.
RF: And while you're at it, move my car.
GK: Move your car?
RF: It's parked on the street. Gotta move it in ten minutes. Alternate side of the street rules. You know.
GK: You own a mansion, you park your car on the street?
RF: I'm a New Yorker. What can I say? It's an orange Dodge Dart. On East 101st.
GK: East 101st!!!
RF: The walk will do you good. ------ Oh I love this scene where I'm dancing with Rudolfo around the Christmas tree and the magic fire comes out of the Christmas stocking and the soldiers come in and find the King under the bed. (SINGING, TO "LA DONNA E MOBILE)
Fa la la la lala
Fa la la la lala
Fa la la la la
Fa la la la la
Fa la la la lala
Fa la la la lala
I'm a soprano
And I'm singing your aria. (BRIDGE)
GK: I headed off to get her car and (TRAFFIC. HORNS. PASSERSBY.) I got there just as the tow truck was pulling away, dragging the Orange Dart behind it. (TRUCK ENGINE, CLINK OF DRAGGING CAR) Stop! Wait! I'm going to move that car!
SS (NYER): Too late, pal! See you in the impound lot!
GK: Wait, where is that?
SS: Who knows? Somewhere near Syracuse. (TRUCK REVS, HONKS, DRIVES OFF) (BRIDGE)
GK: I called up Henry Kissinger to see if he could help.
TR (KISSINGER, ON PHONE): Towing? I don't have any influence there, I'm sorry. I'm a Republican. The Department of Motor Vehicles and Parking Enforcement is run by Stalinists.
TR (KISSINGER, ON PHONE): Stalinists and members of the Baath Party and a few North Koreans. Which reminds me, I have to go move my car.
GK: After that, I called Julia Child back.
TR (JULIA, ON PHONE): How're you coming on that party?
GK: You got your wish, Miss Child. You're sitting next to Manfred Hatchet.
TR (JULIA, ON PHONE): Oh, I can't wait! I'm going to go pick out something slinky to wear. (BRIDGE)
GK: I dropped in at a little joint called the See Ya Later Diner. (DOOR OPENS, JINGLE. FOOTSTEPS. DOOR CLOSE.)
FN (HOBO): Hey mister- how about a buck for something to eat?
GK: Sure. Here.
FN (HOBO): Thanks. How about another buck for something better to eat?
GK: You know anything about towing?
FN (HOBO): You mean cars?
FN (HOBO): You mean for parking violations?
FN (HOBO): Same thing happened to me. Christmas, 1973. I had my own radio show. I was doing great. Then my car got towed. Snow emergency zone. Bus splashed me. Wife left me. Show got cancelled. My whole life started to unravel. Here I am.
GK: Well, thanks for the encouragement.
SS (WAITRESS): Two for lunch?
GK: Actually it's just me.
SS: Alone, alone, all, all alone; alone on a wide, wide sea. Right? Coleridge.
GK: Whatever you say.
SS: I all alone beweep my outcaste state.
SS: Good. -- How about ---- "One is never alone who carries great works of literature in her head."
GK: Virginia Woolf.
SS: No. Me. Lindsay Jacobs.
GK: English major, huh?
SS: How could you tell?
GK: Well, you're a waitress, for starters.
SS: You want to hear our specials?
GK: I'll just have the soup. And a crust of bread.
SS: It's your life. (BRIDGE)
GK: And just then the composer, Manfred Hatchet, walked in. (DOOR OPEN, JINGLE CLOSE) He looked around for a moment. Saw me. Thought about trying to make an escape. And then came over. (FOOTSTEPS) Have a seat.
EA: You're not really a plumber, are you?
GK: No, and you're not really a composer.
EA: How'd you know?
GK: Your hair isn't composer hair.
EA: Not long enough?
GK: It's funny hair. Comedian hair. You used to do standup, right?
EA: Darn. You got me.
GK: I could tell by looking at you.
EA: Reminds me of the one about the bumblebee who was looking around for some food and another bumblebee said, "Hey, there's a big bar mitzvah party a couple blocks from here. Outdoors. All you can eat. But put this on your head. It's a yarmulke. So they don't think you're a wasp."
GK: Very funny.
EA: Knock knock.
GK: Who's there?
GK: Fornication who?
EA: Fornication like this, you should wear a black tie.
GK: Is that all?
EA: One more. There was this drummer in the orchestra who had a terrible terrible sense of rhythm and all of the musicians hated playing with him and finally one day they stole one of his drumsticks and the drummer said, "At last! I've been promoted to conductor!"
GK: Listen. Your secret is safe with me, on one condition.
EA: What's that?
GK: There's a dinner party tomorrow evening at Miss Flambe's. There's a very famous woman who's going to sit next to you. Her name is Julia.
GK: Make sure you wear a cummerbund, okay?
GK: And good luck with the opera. (THEME)
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Guy Noir, Private Eye --- (THEME UP AND OUT)