Tim Russell: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the 12th floor of the Acme Building one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions Guy Noir, Private Eye...


Garrison Keillor: It was February and I was on the trail of a crook who'd pulled off a ukulele heist, a punk known as the Waikiki Kid -- (UKE STRUMMING) and I tracked him down to Honolulu and the beach (SURF, GULLS) and suddenly he turned on me --

TR: (RICO) Hey, you. The heavyset guy with the bad hair.
GK: Don't give me that--
TR: What you following me for?
GK: Take a guess, mister.

TR: Give me a hint.

GK: It begins with a u--

TR: What about me?

GK: It begins with the letter U--

TR: Is your name Guy Noir?
GK: Right.
GK: He caught me with a roundhouse left that sent me reeling backwards (FOOTSTEPS, STAGGERING) into a cabana (RIP CLOTH, SS SCREAM), knocking over a waiter with a trayfull of Mai Tais (TR FALLING, CRASH OF GLASSWARE) which tipped over the bar (BIG JUNK CRASH AND CLATTER) which brought down an awning (WOOD CRUNCHING, RIPPING, CRIES OF ALARM) onto a herd of flamingos (BIRD SHRIEKS) who flew into a bunch of dogs (DOGS BARKING) and their dogwalker (SS: Hey!) . I lay there on the sand for a minute as a flock of warblers circled my head (BIRDS) and churchbells rang for vespers. (BONGING) and the next thing I knew, I was in a hospital. (FOOTSTEPS, VOICE ON P.A. PAGING) A beautiful woman was leaning over me with a stethoscope to my chest.

Sue Scott: Ah, you're awake.

GK: I am and if my heartbeat is high, I can tell you why.

SS: I'm Dr. Olson, I'm the resident on duty. What's your name? (STING) Sir?

GK: Suddenly I couldn't remember.

SS: The police found you wandering by the lake. Your billfold was gone.

GK: The lake? Where am I?

SS: You're in Milwaukee.

GK: Not Waikiki?

SS: Milwaukee. Believe me, I would know the difference. (BRIDGE)

GK: They gave me some anti-amnesia medication and put me in therapy and got me a job as a night desk clerk at the Greyhound Hotel, upstairs from the bus depot -- (TR ON TINNY P.A.: Menomonee Falls, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton, Green Bay), a fleabag dive that smelled of bus fumes (BUS PULLS OUT) and the carpeting looked like old toupees. And the rooms were cheap, so it was full of musicians.

SS (DEEP): Hey. I need a new room key.

GK: You a singer?

SS (DEEP): Yeah, how could you tell?

GK: You forgot the key.

SS (DEEP): Oh. Very funny. Almost made me laugh.

GK: Here. Room 6B -- what brings you to town, sister?

SS (DEEP): I'm entering that big Pride of Milwaukee music contest.

GK: What music contest?

TR (FF): My music contest, sir--

GK: You-- who are you?

TR (FF): I'm the president of the Ausgesprechen Brewing Company. My great-great grandfather August came over from Bavaria and founded the company in 1881. He brought a suitcase full of special hops called (GERMAN) and that was what gave Ausgesprechen its unique flavor, that and the (GERMAN).

GK: So the family name is Ausgesprechen?

TR: No, it was Schiessenhosen.

GK: I see.

TR: We changed it to Olson.

GK: Olson.

TR: My sister was the doctor who treated you in the hospital. She told me all about your amnesia and asked me to help you out.

GK: I'm trying to remember who I am. It was something to do with the eye.

TR (FF): Uh huh. You don't look like an ophthalmologist.

GK: I don't know. Maybe I'm the man who invented iPods. I could be a billionaire and here I am a night clerk in a hotel.

TR (FF): Doubtful. Anyway I came over to help. I'd like you to judge our music contest. Look-- (LARGE SHEET OF PAPER, BEING HANDED OVER)

GK: The Ausgesprechen Pride of Milwaukee music contest -- first prize, $10,000 -- interesting--

SS (DEEP, SINGS): Just in time, you found me just in time...
Before you came my time was running low
I was lost them losing dice were tossed
My bridges all were crossed nowhere to go

TR (FF): Thank you. Very lovely. --We're holding auditions this afternoon. Come and listen-- I believe that music has the power to awaken parts of the brain that have fallen dormant. Look at Barry Manilow. And suddenly you'll hear a chord and you'll remember who you are. (STING) (BRIDGE)

GK: I could only hope he was right. --He took me down to the Milwaukee Theater where people were lined up around the block. --(MOB) There were saxophonists (SAX) and bagpipers (BAGPIPES) and a man with two ducks who sang 'Beer Barrel Polka" (DUCK DUET) and a dog who played the banjo (OH SUSANNAH ON BANJO, DOG BARKS) and a percussionist (DRUM BREAK) --

TR (FF): Here. In this way. (DOOR CLOSE, DRUMS STOP) (FOOTSTEPS) Anything ring a bell so far?

GK: I'm afraid not. I'm as confused as ever.

TR (FF): Okay. Have a seat here. --Bring in the first contestant. (FN REPEATS COMMAND. THEN FOOTSTEPS, LONG WALK, AND STOP) Your name?

Fred Newman: Ty Norris.

TR (FF): And that is your instrument?

FN: Yes. I play the air wrench.

TR (FF): What are you going to play on the air wrench?

FN: Clair de lune.

TR (FF): Go ahead.


TR (FF): Okay. Thank you. Thank you. (MUSIC STOPS) Thanks. We'll let you know.

FN: I have a second piece, called "Nora".

TR (FF): Sorry. Thanks. -- Send in the second contestant! (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH) Your name, sir?

Rich Dworsky: Gray Norquist. And for my first number, I'd like to sing "Voodoo Child" by Jimi Hendrix.

TR (FF): Go right ahead, Mr. Norquist.


TR (FF): Good. Thanks. Thanks very much. (MUSIC ENDS)

RD: There is more.

TR (FF): There's always more. Thank you. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY) So-- anything happening up in the old noggin, sir?

GK: Gray Norquist, somehow sounds familiar. But it's something to do with eye.

TR (FF): Maybe the FBI.

GK: I don't think so.

TR (FF): Cosmetics. Eye shadow.

GK: Shadow. Yes, something about shadows.(DOOR OPEN, FAST FOOTSTEPS) Who's this?

TR: Get out of here, lady. Beat it.

SS: I'm a contestant. I want to play the banjo. (BANJO)

TR: It's my competitor, the lady from Blanche Brewing. Miss Hattendorf.

SS: Listen to me-- you've been bad-mouthing my beer long enough!

TR: Who's bad-mouthing who? Your beer tastes like mouthwash. Everybody knows it.

SS: I'm going to win your contest and show you who's who.

TR: I don't think so--

SS: Why you--

GK: And she grabbed a fire extinguisher (SHOOTING EXTINGUISHER) and then he pulled out a custard pie (TR HEAVES, SPLORT) -- hey, hey, hey-- (SS & TR FUMING AND MUTTERING) this is a theater-- it's not day care. What is going on here?

SS: He makes the worst beer ever to come out of Milwaukee.

TR: At least mine tastes like beer.

SS: You creep.

TR: She's one of those little boutique breweries, think they know it all.

SS: Look at his new ad campaign --"Ausgesprechen Beer. Not just for breakfast any more." Boy--

TR: It's the most popular beer in Milwaukee.

SS: Popular among men with low IQs. His beer contains testosterone.

TR: It does not.

SS: They lace it with male hormones, so after you've had two or three cans of Ausgesprechen, even if you're a graduate student in quantum field theory, you stand by the bar and you go (MALE HONKING-- Hey! Hiyo! ETC)

TR: It's not true.

GK: You don't put testosterone in your beer?

TR: Never.

GK: What kind of beer do you brew, ma'am?

SS: Blanche Beer. I wanted to put out a beer for women, a beer that has a nice fresh yummy flavor.

TR: Yummy--

SS: We make an organic beer that is green -- it contains chlorophyll and it makes your breath smell good. And it's low calorie and it contains vitamin C and aloe. And antacids. It won't make you belch!

TR: That's right. It makes you wanna throw up.

SS: Liar, liar--

TR: And it tastes like mouthwash.

GK: Sir, please--

SS: Some old coots in the brewing field think that beer can go on and on the same as it always has been and that's not true. We're innovators, at Blanche Brewing. We've started a new line of fruit beers -- banana beer and pineapple and apricot and tangerine.

TR (FF): You're making me sick.

SS: We've started a new line of aromatherapy beers-- lavender, olive, and rosemary-- You drink them in a bathtub, surrounded by candles. They're very powerful. We call it Bon Soir Beer.
TR (FF): Bon soir!!! French beer?? You gotta be kidding.

GK: Bon soir -- something familiar about that.

SS: Yeah, well, here's my banjo number. (BANJO PLAYS "OH SUSANNAH)

TR: Okay. Thank you. Beat it. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: And then the next contestant moved in. Carrying a ukulele. (UKE) It was him. I recognized the ukulele. (UKE STRUMMING) I recognized the broken capillaries in his nose. --Hey. I thought you'd left.


GK: He threw a right to my jaw and I sat down, my head spinning--there were six of him, and I waited until the other five disappeared. And then I remembered. Noir. Guy Noir. Where am I?

SS (BREATHY): Where are you? You're on Waikiki Beach.

GK: Waikiki? (SURF, GULLS) Not Milwaukee?

SS (BREATHY): Watch me, sir. The hands speak a language. (SINGS) They call me Hula Lou, the only kind of girl who would be true. Wicky wacky George Pataki Walkie Talkie in Milwaukee wicky woo.


SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, and one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions...Guy Noir, Private Eye.