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.
GK: It was January and I was in San Francisco due to a clerical error by an airline agent.
TR (HIGH): Okay. One round-trip ticket to Fresno, California -- whoops -- how did this happen? I wrote the ticket out for San Francisco by mistake. You wanted to go to Fresno, right?n
GK: Well, I can be flexible. As long as you wrote it out--
TR: I can rewrite it. No problem.
GK: It's okay.
TR: You're sure? (BRIDGE)
GK: I was going to Fresno for a Public Symposium to Perpetuate the Proper Use of The Past Perfect Participle organized by a woman named Pat Pepperdine.n I was the security guy. My job: to pull aside and pat down the participants. Pepper them with questions. I told Miss Pepperdine that I was going to San Francisco instead.
SS: That's preposterous. We're expecting you in Fresno to help us prepare to prevent interlopers! Specifically, people who perpetually perpetrate inappropriate pluperfect participle principles.
GK: Ah yes, the old inappropriate pluperfect participle principle scam! How many perpetrators are you expecting?
SS:n Plenty. There's a particular popular preponderance of pompous people perplexed by the perfect passive participle as opposed to the pluperfect. And they don't know the past perfect progressive tense on paper from their posterior, per se.
GK: And why propose to hold the symposium on participles in Fresno?
SS: It's the Public Symposium to Perpetuate the Proper Use of The Past Perfect Participle--
GK: Right. Why Fresno?
SS:n Perhaps because people expected it to be in Poughkeepsie. Orn Punxatawny, Pennsylvania.
GK: Sounds tempting, but I can't come.
SS:n Very well. We had thought that we needed your perspective but now I see we were wrong.
GK: Well, you needn't--
SS: We had been prepared to pay a large bonus but now there is no need for that prosperity.
GK: Miss Pepperdine--
SS:n We had assumed that you were a professional who would keep his word, but apparently not.
GK: So I flew to San Francisco (JET LANDING) where the sun was shining and the weather was springlike, and where I soon got involved in the Case of the Missing Sea Lions. It all started when I found a message on voice mail -
SS (ON PHONE): You have one unheard message, sent today, at one-thirty-two p.m.
FN (ON PHONE): (SEA LION)
GK: It didn't sound like anyone I knew. I listened to it again.
SS (ON PHONE): You have one heard message, which you have neither saved nor discarded and which is simply hanging here like rotten fruit, sent today, at one-thirty-two p.m.
FN (ON PHONE): (SEA LION)
GK: My phone showed a 715 Area Code. That's Wisconsin.n A sea lion in Eau Claire was calling me for help. Or -- someone visiting the City from Eau Claire had been eaten by a sea lion along with his cellphone. I headed straight for Pier 39.
(TRAVELLING MUSIC, BRIDGE)
GK: Pier 39 is one of the places in San Francisco where the ratio of tourists to residents is about 20 to 1. The residents either work there, selling T-shirts and trinkets, or they're taking out-of-town guests to see Alcatraz, the thought of which makes a San Franciscan blanch. (BOAT HORN) That's the Alcatraz Ferry right there. A trip to Alcatraz is three hours wasted, a ferry trip to the island and back, and a look around the old prison, which is about as interesting as any set of abandoned brick buildings anywhere in America. San Franciscans are hoping the Indians who took it over years ago would come back and take it over again and keep it.
TR (RICO): Hey, keep your opinions to yourself, wise guy, unless you want a knuckle sandwich. You want a knuckle sandwich? Huh? You badmouth the Big House, you answer to me. Ya hear?
GK:n Vinnie the Con is the last living member of Al Capone's gang. He poses for pictures on Pier 39.n
TR (RICO): Five bucks apiece, seven bucks if it's in color, fifteen bucks for video.n I carry a tommygun and I wear a pair of concrete shoes.
GK: He works for Captain Courageous who operates the Trout Fishing In America pizza stand.
FN: It's the only herring pizza sold in the city of San Francisco. Some people do a salmon pizza, I'm the only one who does herring. Five bucks a slice. It's not bad.
GK: People like it?
FN: It's not bad.n
GK: Captain Courageous also has a basset hound who does a Tony Bennett imitation. (DOG SINGS "I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO") and a dolphin who juggles two cats and a Chihuahua (DOLPHIN, CATS, CHIHUAHUA) and other attractions to draw customers to his pizza stand.
FN: Don't forget the chimpanzee who plays the bagpipes.
GK: I was just coming to that. (CHIMP, BAGPIPES)
GK: And Captain Courageous is married to Starflower Moonbright, who sings Led Zeppelin songs with dulcimer on Pier 39.
SW WITH DULCIMER (SINGS "Black Dog Yodel"):
GK: She was from Wisconsin and it was her brother Earl who'd lost the cellphone to the sea lion--
TR (MIDWEST): He must've thought it was a fish or something.
GK: And that sea lion had swallowed the cellphone and that was what led to the sea lions' disappearance from Pier 39.
FN: We used to have fifteen-hundred of them here.
SS:n They've been here for years. Lying around off the end of the pier. Sea lions.
FN:n It was a big big draw for people from the Midwest.
SS:n You got sea lions, you got tourists. They came to take pictures and then they'd watch me pose as Cleopatra and put a dollar in the hat, they'd take the boat to Alcatraz--
FN: They'd buy a pizza with double herring and toss it to the sea lions.
SW: The day after Thanksgiving, they started leaving. Now they're practically gone, just a few of them left (SEA LIONS, OFF) and the tourists are gone, and I'm singing to nobody-- nobody-- n
nn (DULCIMER, SHE SINGS "BLACK DOG YODEL")
GK: The mystery of the disappearing sea lions had brought in a top sea lion expert from the Nationaln Mammal Administration.
SS (FLEXNER): Sea lions follow migratory patterns that are imprinted deep in their brains and that are susceptible to audio stimulation.
SS (FLEXNER): We have found that certain ringing sounds can disorient the sea lion and make him or her take off on a wild search for a mate.
GK: "Him or her"? I would think that sea lions are males.
SS (FLEXNER): Not necessarily.n The ones found in San Francisco are oftentimes in gender transition.n Such as that one there. (SEA LION, FALSETTO)
GK: That same day, I got a bulletin from the U.S. Coast Guard.
(TELEGRAPH BEEPS) (SHORT WAVE STATIC)
TR (ON SHORTWAVE): This is the Coast Guard, Point Reyes-- warning to ships masters --a pack of fifteen-hundred sea lions heading north toward Oregon-- repeat: forty-thousand sea lions--about 700 females, 700 males and 100 undecideds... (FADING)
GK: And suddenly the picture started to become clear.
TR (RICO): Oregon. They're stealing our sea lions.
SS: We're sunk. No more business. Pier 39 is all over and done.
FN: We can't give up. We can't. We gotta fight back. Mr. Noir? You gotta help us.
GK: I'm a private eye, mister. I work undercover. Not underwater. You're gonna have to replace those sea lions with something else. Beluga whales. Goldfish. Electric eels. The Loch Ness monster. The sea lions are gone.
TR (ARNOLD): Mister Noir. It's me, the Governator. California needs you. The tourist business is the backbone of San Francisco. Without it, we're just a bunch of big banks and software companies. Bring back those sea lions. That's an order. (STING)
GK: I've known Arnold since he first started out in the business. Before he became an action hero, Arnie Schwarz was trying to make it in musicals.
TR (ARNOLD): (SINGS) Tonight....tonight.....won't be just any night.....tonight there will be no morning star......
Tonight....tonight.....I'll see my love tonight.....and for me, things will be as they are....... (FADE)
GK: So as a favor to an old friend, I took on the case of the disappearing sea lions, and I talked to Earl whose cellphone one of the lions had swallowed.
TR (MIDWEST): Bought it a year ago. An iPhone. Paid good money for it.n Had all my pictures on it and everything.
GK: And what was the ring tone?
TR (MIDWEST): It was a tenor singing "Nessun dorma"--
GK: I see. "Nessun dorma" -- On a wild hunch, I called up the Oregonn Opera Company --
SS (ON PHONE): Oregon Opera Company - Ramona speaking. How may I assist you?
GK: She was so cultured you could've named a yogurt after her. -- Ma'am, are you missing a tenor, by any chance?
SS: (ON PHONE) As a matter of fact-- (STING)
GK: I knew it. And does your opera company have a major benefactor who just happens to be in PETA, Persons fofr the Ethical Treatment of Animals?
SS (ON PHONE): Why, it's funny you should ask-- (STING)
GK: I guessed as much. And would his name happen to be Ernest W. Anselmo?
SS (ON PHONE): No, it's Tony W. Sundstrom.
GK: Well, I got the middle initial right, anyway. (STING) I got Mr. Sundstrom on the horn and he spilled the beans.
FN: I saw the tragedy of those sea lions in San Francisco, forced to eat herring pizza and pose for pictures,n and I did what any ethical person would do. I set them free.
GK: Those sea lions were about as happy as any other sea lions, sir. The sea lion is not a joy-filled animal. This is the mating call of the sea lion. (SFX) Does that sound like a happy animal? No. And this is the panicky call of a sea lion. (SFX) Same as the mating call.
FN: I believe they'll be happier in Oregon.
GK: I doubt that. Anyway-- two can play that game, mister. (STING) So I hired me a tenor from the San Francisco Opera.
RM: Carouso is the name. Enrico Carouso.
GK:n People at the opera company say you're in trouble there.
RM:n I'm a tenor who actually can act as well as sing, that's my problem. I don't just stand there with my hand in my vest, I am very passionate about the story of the opera. I go in for realism. I like to wrestle the soprano to the floor and roll around with her. Some sopranos roll better than others.
GK:n Well, I need you to do me a favor, Mr. Carouso. I need you to stick your head underwater and sing "Nessun dorma".
RM: Sing "Nessun dorma" underwater? No way. You gotta be kidding.
SS (SULTRY): Did you say "No way"? If you do it, I'm going to roll around on the floor with you until you become a baritone.
RM: (UNDERWATER, SINGING): Nessun dorma.....nessun dorma......
GK: And suddenly the water of San Francisco Bay was white with froth as 1500 sea lions raced toward shore (SEA LION FRENZY, CONTINUES UNDER) -- they were heading straight for Pier 39 and unfortunately the Alcatraz ferry got in their way (BOAT HORN) and those sea lions got under the ferry and they carried it on their shoulders (SEA LIONS) toward Alcatraz Island and they slid the boat up onto shore (SEA LIONS, SLIDING AND GRINDING) and it caught fire (SFX) and the sea lions fled (SEA LIONS) and a few minutes later the boat blew up (SFX) and it opened up a major oil deposit under the Bay (GUSHER) and the gusher was capped and a well installed (WELL PUMPING) and this bonanza has been divvied up among the residents of the city -- thousands of dollars per resident per week -- and nobody need work again. And everybody's singing.
RM (SINGS "O SOLO MIO"):
nnnnnn O San Francisco
nnnnnn O Redwood Trees
nnnnnn I am a solo
nnnnnn O bring me please
nnnnnn A Giant Pizza
nnnnnn With extra cheese.
nnnnnn A glass of red wine
nnnnnn And I will sing
nnnnnn A giant pizza
nnnnnn With everythingn
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 OUT)