TR (ANNC): 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 trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was June and I was getting a lot of crank phone calls, some from my bank. I pretended not to comprende and they offered a translator. What language? They said. Egyptian, I said. I thought that'd give me a few days. Nope. Hours later. (TR ON PHONE, EGYPTIAN). Sorry, I said, German. This one came to the office. (FOOTSTEPS, TR GERMAN RISING FURY) I don't speak German but I understood him. So when I got a call offering me a job in Los Angeles I headed for the airport. (STING) It was a job for the Small Potato Growers of Minnesota.
TR (MIDWEST): We're trying to sell our produce in L.A. and they won't answer our letters.
GK: You're sending letters?
TR (MIDWEST): My secretary types them up. We've mailed eight or ten already.
GK: I'll straighten this out. (STING)
GK: Nobody in L.A. has written a letter in years. (CARS RACING PAST). Pasadena, yes. L.A., no. A big fast-paced city, and there I was trying to sell small potatoes. My first stop -- LARGE, the L.A.Restaurant Growers Exchange.
SS: I'm Melanie Dworkin, what can I do for you?
GK: I didn't want to think about that question. She was a beautiful tall woman in tight jeans and a green blouse cut so low, you could see her stockings.
SS: Let me be honest with you, Mr. Noir. Southern Californians are not potato people. We're legume people. We like potatoes the size of lima beans.
GK: I've got some very small potatoes.
SS: But they're Midwestern potatoes.
SS: Californians are afraid if they eat your potatoes, they'll look like Midwesterners.
GK: You mean big in the butt?
SS: Big butts. Little heads. Like pyramids. We want to be obelisks. (BRIDGE)
GK: So, I went to see a restaurant produce broker named Earl Dukes. He was working out of a one-bedroom apartment in Los Feliz. I rang the bell. (DOORBELL, CHIME)
MS (ON SPEAKERPHONE): Yeah, who is it?
GK: Guy Noir, Mr. Dukes.
MS (ON SPEAKERPHONE): Is this for tanning?
GK: No, it's about potatoes.
MS (ON SPEAKERPHONE): Cause for tanning, you use the back door.
GK: It's not about tanning.
MS (ON SPEAKERPHONE): And if it's an audition tape, just leave it in the box.
GK: No audition tape. We have an appointment.
MS (ON SPEAKERPHONE): Okay, come in. (BUZZER, DOOR OPEN) Hi. I'm Earl. You must be from Minnesota.
GK: Howdja know that?
MS: I donno, just a guess. Down Cougar. Down.
GK: He was a little guy in a puce shirt and magenta pants that looked like they came straight out of a dumpster.
MS: So what you here for?
GK: I'm selling potatoes. Remember?
MS: Oh right. Sure. Where are they?
GK: In boxcars, heading for California. Arriving Tuesday.
MS: Great. Here's the deal. Very simple. You give me possession Tuesday, I sell what I can, take 50% --
GK: Fifty percent.
MS: That's my cut.
GK: How about twenty-five?
MS: Can't go there.
MS: Tell you what. I'll do it for twenty and you sign a two-month sublet on this apartment.
GK: I donno.
MS: Come on. You need a place to stay. You're gonna make money on his deal, you'll become king of the new potatoes. You're never gonna find something this good at this price. Not in L.A. This place is a gem. You've got plush wall-to-wall carpet, you've got blinds that work (VERTICAL BLINDS PULL)-you've got a toilet that works-although there's a trick to it, come here, let me show you (FOOTSTEPS, HANDLE JIGGLING, DOG GROWL)
GK: You know -- I donno-
MS: You've got to stick your finger in where the handle should be-here, can you feel the catch there? Then you take your other hand and stick it in the toilet tank and pull up on that little chain, (CHAIN PULLS), and-(FLUSH)-see? No problem. I'll clear off a shelf for you in the kitchen. You can have the sofa. It's a fold-out. Very comfortable. Go ahead. Try it. Sleep like a baby.
GK: What about the bedroom?
MS: That's mine.
GK: So I'm only subletting half of the apartment?
MS: Exactly, cause I live here. Half and half. Brett, time's up.
TR (STONER): Man, that was great. Do I look brown, dude?
MS: You look great, Brett. You missed a spot on your back though. (SPRAY) There. Go back in and take another ten minutes.
TR (STONER): Don't want a bad tan line. (DOOR CLOSE)
GK: You're really running a tanning salon in your bathroom?
MS: It's nice. You lie in the tub, I got the lights all set up--
GK: Aren't there laws against this?
MS: There's laws against a lot of things. Want to try it? Give you a discount.
MS: Oh hang on. That's my client.
GK: You already got somebody tanning in the bathroom-- (FOOTSTEPS)
MS: This is a talent client. I'm an agent, too. (DOOR OPENS) Come on in, Serafima.
BR: Hi, Earl. Who's this?
GK: Noir's the name. Guy Noir. Formerly a private eye, now I'm in potatoes.
BR: Well, I used to be in El Paso, now I'm in L.A. Nice to meet you.
MS: Look, Serafima, I got your message, and what can I say? Things are slow. Everything gets really slow in the summer. And people are looking for romantic stuff -- torchy stuff -- they're not so interested in original material--
BR: Earl - I am a songwriter. That's what I do.
MS: I'm doing the best I can -- I'm mailing out your press kit every day, got the nice new 8x10 glossies'but it takes time, darling-
BR: Listen. If you don't believe in me, just say so --I'll find someone else.
MS: Listen, it isn't me. It's the market. It's just not there, sweetheart.
GK: What kind of songs you write, Miss--
BR: San Rafael. Serafima San Rafael. Used to be Marilyn Johnson, then I moved to L.A.
MS: Serafima is writing lifestyle songs.
GK: Uh huh.
BR: I was writing love songs and I got bored. You know? Same old story. Men, women, other women, heartbreak. What can you say? But bathrooms. I'm crazy about bathrooms. Bathrooms are forever.
(SHE SINGS, ACA)
A glass shower with a big showerhead
A six-foot tub like a deep waterbed
An electric rack that keeps the towels hot
I'd be happy whether you're here or not.
I don't need you
Long as I've got coconut oil shampoo
And the towels are bigger and fluffier and fresher
And there is excellent-- water pressure.
MS: I tried booking her into home shows but it was no go. (FOOTSTEPS, RATTLE DOOR) Hey Brett! Time's up! Put your clothes on. Let's go!
BR: I feel like I'm right on the verge of something, Mr. Noir.
GK: Uh huh.
BR: You know that feeling? That something wonderful is just waiting for you -- one day away, one bend in the road, and you'll be there -- you ever feel that way?
GK: No, I don't. In Minnesota the roads are straight. You can see for miles. And nothing's coming.
BR: A lot of women are fed up with romance but they love yoghurt. This is a song called Passion Fruit on the Bottom.
GK: Passion Fruit on the Bottom.
Call me up, I might not answer the phone
Cause I am sitting here all alone
Inviting my soul
With a great big bowl of yogurt.
It's Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey
Not too dry and not runny
It's low-fat so it's right in fashion
And there's fruit on bottom -- passion.
I would trade a romance with Bogart
For a bowl of yogurt
With fruit on the bottom -- passion.
GK: So you're serious about this, Miss San Rafael?
BR: The world isn't ready yet but it will be. Someday. Maybe tomorrow.
MS: Listen to me, babes, go back to the old show tunes --
BR: I'm done with that, Earl.
MS: We'll get you some new costumes -- we'll find you a pianist -- What do you say?
BR: I don't think you're hearing what I'm saying.
TR (STONER): How do I look now?
MS: You look naked.
TR (STONER): Am I tan? I don't feel tan.
MS: Get dressed, Brett. You owe me fifty bucks.
TR (STONER): Can you take Visa?
MS: Look. I've taken your Visa in the past, Brent, and nothing happened. Okay? (PHONE RING) Excuse me. Business phone. (PICK UP) This is Celebrity Bus Tours, Mr. Duke speaking, how may I help you? (VOICE AT OTHER END) Yes, the Shangalanglang Tour is still set for Tuesday the 10th. (VOICE) Yes, all of the original Shangalanglangs will be on the bus except for Johnny who became a priest. (VOICE) Right. Ronnie and Lonnie and Sean and Donnie will all be on the bus and available for pictures. (VOICE) No, they will not perform. (VOICE) Thank you very much. (HANG UP) -- Go get dressed, Brett.
TR (STONER): I just feel so good like this.
MS: Go feel good someplace else. Noir-- what about it? You in or out?
GK: I'm thinking.
BR: I'm out, Earl. You're getting me no work, I've taken a new direction and you don't believe in it, so, goodbye.
MS: Connie, we go way back, don't do this to me now.
BR: I'm finished with you, Earl.
SS (MIDWESTERN, OFF, PANTING): Hi!!!! Hi there!!!! The door was open so I came right in. I saw your ad for career counseling so I just came over-- Oh my. My goodness.
MS: Go put your clothes on, Brett.
TR (STONER): What? Oh hey.
SS (MIDWESTERN): My heavens. This isn't one of those pornographic pictures, is it?
MS: Right through there, ma'am. I'll be with you in a minute.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Oh lord of mercy.
TR (STONER): How about I go home and get the money and come back, okay?
MS: Fine. Go.
TR (STONER): It may not be today.
MS: Go, Brett.
TR (STONER): I could leave you my shoes for security.
BR: I wrote a song about shoes -
Whenever I get the blues
I go shopping for shoes.
Looking for comfort and luxury
Somewhere there's a pair of slingbacks for me--
BR: Things are gonna turn around for me. You'll see. You're gonna see me on TV next year getting Best Female Vocalist and you're gonna wait for me to say, Thank you Earl for believing in me, and you know something -- you're gonna wait a long long time.
MS: Aw'Don't let the door hit you on the way out. (PHONE RING, PICK UP) Celebrity Bus Tours, Mr. Dukes speaking. (VOICE) Yes, the Brandon Dillinger Cruise around Santa Monica Bay has been rescheduled for July 21st. (VOICE)
SS (MIDWESTERN): Brandon Dillinger. I know that name. You mean THE--
MS: The one who played Chipper on "Surfer Boy"- That's a picture of him there--
SS (MIDWESTERN): The fat man with the ponytail and the leather vest? Well, people change, I guess.
BR: Before I leave, I'd like my 8x10 glossies, Earl.
MS: Pay me the $900 bucks, babe, and they're yours.-- I got a sublet agreement for you right here, Noir. Sign on the dotted line and that's $300 damage deposit.
GK: I thought I got the sublet as partial payment for the new potatoes.
BR: Did you say new potatoes?
GK: I did.
BR: I've got a song about new potatoes.
FN (DEEP, OFF): Hey! Earl! Where are you?
MS: In here, Brandon.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Oh my gosh. Brandon Dillinger. Be still my beating heart.
FN (DEEP): Who are all these people?
MS: Just some clients. How's rehab?
FN (DEEP): I don't know. I'm taking a break.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Mr. Dillinger, my name is Lois Larson and I am your biggest fan. Would you mind if I take a video of you with my cellphone--
FN (DEEP): Huh?--
SS (MIDWESTERN): Sing the theme song-
(FN DEEP SIGH)
SS (MIDWESTERN): Just once. Please.
Here comes the boy who rides the big surfboard
He's tall and tan and very well adored
The girls all love him cause he's strong and brave
He rides the waves, he rides the waves.
SS (MIDWESTERN): Oh, darn. I didn't have it on record. Could you do it again?
FN (DEEP): Earl, I need to call AA, I think.
TR (STONER): Do I look tan to you?
FN (DEEP): Not really. You look brown, like an old banana.
GK: Speaking of brown, I gotta go sell some potatoes.
BR: Let's go, Mr. Noir.
BR: You've got a product to sell, I've got a song that can sell it. (SINGS)
They're the vegetable of status
They grow in the ground
They're about an inch around
They are stylish -- oh very
And they come from the prairie.
GK: I think this could be a beautiful friendship.
TR (ANNC): 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 trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir, Private Eye.