April 18, 1999

"IF I HAD A HAMMER"

By

Josh Becker

ACT ONE:

FRONT TITLES: The front title sequence is over a STOCK FOOTAGE montage of the big news events of 1958 through early 1964 set to The Weavers' version of "If I Had a Hammer": Elvis Presley, wearing an army uniform, waves as he boards an airplane for Germany; U.S. troops are shipped to Vietnam where fighting has begun in earnest; Chuck Berry is indicted for tax evasion; Little Richard quits music to become an ordained Seventh Day Adventist minister; Martin Luther King delivers his "I have a dream" speech to a Washington, D.C. civil rights rally; students hold a sit-in at a university; John and Jackie Kennedy sit in the back-seat of the presidential Lincoln-Continental cruising down the streets of Dallas; Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald; LBJ is sworn in as president; the Beatles arrive in America . . .

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:
A title reads: "Saturday, February 8th, 1964."

EXT. "STUDENTS FOR POLITICAL ACTION" OFFICE - DAY

The "Students For Political Action" office is a small storefront located in a downtown area. Poor, inner-city people fill the streets. A 21-year old beatnik boy named MAX, with a goatee and a beret, steps up to the front door, pulls out a key, goes to insert it into the lock and the door swings open. Max finds this somewhat surprising and enters.

INT. "STUDENTS FOR POLITICAL ACTION" OFFICE - DAY

Max steps into the ratty interior of the office -- old and broken office furniture, torn easy chairs with stuffing hanging out, a torn, yellowing poster on the wall announcing The Weavers reunion concert at Carnagie Hall -- and he finds the air full of cigarette smoke, which he waves away from his face. Max turns on the light.

In the very back of the office is LORRAINE DEMPSEY, an attractive, intense 19-year old girl with a short, boyish haircut, wearing a plaid skirt and a sweater. She cranks a mimeograph machine which on each revolution spits out a yellow flyer stating in big bold letters, "Free the Springfield Five!! Emergency Meeting Sunday at 8:00 P.M." Lorraine sees Max and blinks, a smoldering cigarette butt dangling from her lips.

                                                                 MAX
                                Lorraine, you're still here? That's exactly where I
                                left you last night.

Lorraine squints through the smoke wafting up into her eyes.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I'm ready, Max. Nothing can stop me now.

                                                                 MAX
                                You need to go to sleep.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (waves her hand)
                                Nah! I slept all the time when I was young.
                                                           (points)
                                I've made 500 flyers, you think that's enough?

                                                                 MAX
                                I should think so.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                And you'll help me hand them out?

                                                                 MAX
                                That's why I'm here.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Good. Y'know, Max, as I've stood here all night
                                cranking this machine, it came to me that we're
                                standing at a crossroads.

                                                                 MAX
                                A crossroads to what?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                To a new age.

                                                                 MAX
                                That's what they were all saying about Kennedy
                                and Camelot and all that, but look what happened.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                It's bigger than that.

                                                                 MAX
                                Yeah, I think you've been up too long.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Hopefully, it will be a time when stuff like this . . .
                                                           (waves flyers)
                                . . . won't happen anymore. I mean, if we don't do
                                something right away these five boys will spend the
                                rest of their young lives in jail.

                                                                 MAX
                                Hey, you don't have to convince me. But their pre-trial
                                hearing is Monday. If they go in there with some cracker,
                                redneck, court-appointed attorney, they'll get life for
                                sure.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I know! This could well be their last chance. That's
                                why it's so important and that's why I'm so nervous.
                                This is the first important political action that I've
                                personally organized. People just have to show up.

                                                                 MAX
                                I'll be there.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I mean, real people?

                                                                 MAX
                                Gosh, thanks a lot.
                                                           (Lorraine smiles)
                                Look, it's an important cause, why wouldn't they
                                show up?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (thinks)
                                Um . . . to make me look bad?

                                                                 MAX
                                Make you look bad to whom, if I may ask?


                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Myself.

                                                                 MAX
                                Is that what this is all about, Lorraine? Looking good?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No, not at all. It's entirely about those five boys and
                                the injustice that's being done to them. I mean, if I
                                don't do something about it why should I expect
                                anyone else to do anything, right?

                                                                 MAX
                                Right.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                We all have to draw a line somewhere and say, "If you
                                go beyond that line you have to deal with me, too." At
                                least, that's what I think.

                                                                 MAX
                                Right. Me, too. You could always just tackle people
                                out in the street and drag 'em in kicking and screaming.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I might yet.

                                                                 MAX
                                I bet you would, too. But why do you do this,
                                Lorraine, staying up all night, burning it at both ends?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Someone's got to, right?

                                                                 MAX
                                Do they? Why?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Because if nobody cares the whole world will go to
                                hell.

                                                                 MAX
                                But, Lorraine, you can't save the whole world.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No, but I can try. And step one is getting everyone
                                to care about this issue, the Springfield Five.

                                                                 MAX
                                But you can't actually make anyone else care about
                                something, Lorraine. Not really.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Oh, sure you can. These are old, time-worn techniques
                                used by the wobblies before the war. But getting to
                                a whole group at once, that's the trick. That's where
                                songs come in.

                                                                 MAX
                                                           (skeptical)
                                Yeah, but even songs won't make someone care
                                if they don't.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                If it's the right song being sung the right way.

                                                                 MAX
                                I don't think that's true.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (off-handed)
                                Sure it is. Deep down I honestly think that people
                                really want to do what's right and actually do care,
                                they just need a little push in the right direction to get
                                them going, and that's where I come in.

Lorraine reaches into her sweater pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes, which she finds empty and crumples.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Gotta smoke?

                                                                 MAX
                                No. You're an idealist, Lorraine.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I'm more than idealist, Max, I'm an instrument of
                                God.

Lorraine checks out the overflowing ashtray and spots a long butt. She straightens it out and lights it, then takes a sip of coffee. She winces and sticks out her tongue.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Blah! How can coffee get colder than the room
                                it's in?

                                                                 MAX
                                I don't know. You going to the Purple Onion tonight?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Oh yeah, sure. Got to.
                                                           (she waves a pile of flyers)
                                I have to get every single person at the Purple Onion
                                tonight to come to my meeting Sunday. Those people
                                are what I have to work with; they're my building
                                materials and this meeting is my testing ground. If
                                I have to yell and scream, I'll do it. If I have to
                                whisper and sing songs, I'll do that.

                                                                 MAX
                                And you dig it.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Yeah, yeah, that, too.
                                                           (snaps her fingers)
                                That reminds me, have you got an extra guitar
                                pick?

                                                                 MAX
                                Not here. You can always use a matchbook.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                They shred. That's OK, I'll swing by the music
                                store.

Lorraine sits down and puts on her shoes. Max checks out her legs as she does this. Suddenly . . .

                                                                 MAX
                                Lorraine, you drive me crazy! Why won't you
                                go out with me?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Look, Max, you're my friend. Let's leave it at
                                that, OK?

                                                                 MAX
                                                           (frustrated)
                                But I don't want to leave it at that.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                If there was something here, Max, we'd know about
                                it by now, right?

                                                                 MAX
                                I know about it.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (shrugs)
                                It takes two to tango.

                                                                 MAX
                                But what can I do, Lorraine?

Lorraine smiles and hands Max a thick pile of flyers.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Here. Hand these out. See ya later, alligator.

Lorraine walks out of the office and Max watches her go, groaning audibly after she's left.

EXT. "STUDENTS FOR POLITICAL ACTION" OFFICE - DAY

Lorraine exits the office and strides up the street immediately attempting to hand out flyers.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Demand justice now! Free the Springfield Five!

Most people take the flyers that are offered to them, although many immediately discard them, some right on the street. When Lorraine sees this she goes over and picks the flyer back up.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (to herself)
                                Slob!

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. THE BUCKLEY HOUSE - DAY

This is a small house in a neighborhood of nearly identical homes. Big leafy trees line the shady street. A red 1960 Ford Falcon sits in the driveway. The distinctive sound of the Three Stooges playing on TV can be heard from within. A car pulls up in front of the house.

INT. THE BUCKLEY HOUSE/LIVING ROOM - DAY

DAN BUCKLEY, a 14-year old wearing a Boy Scout uniform, sits watching the Three Stooges on TV and laughing. The doorbell rings. Dan dashes over and opens the door. Two other 14-year old boys in Boy Scout uniforms come bursting in and they all begin talking at once. Dan and his pals leave.

MR. BUCKLEY and MRS. BUCKLEY enter the living room. Phil's Dad is wearing a bowling shirt and holds a bowling ball up in front of his face.

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                Be careful with that in the house.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Hon, please, I've got to get in the proper frame
                                of mind, OK?
                                                           (chuckles)
                                Get it, "frame" of mind? Bowling. Frame

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                That's great, dear, you're another Red Skelton.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                                           (imitates Red Skelton's lisp)
                                Good night and God blesh.
                                                           (looks around)
                                Where's Phil?

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                                           (shakes her head)
                                Still in bed.

Mr. Buckley looks at his watch and frowns.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                It's after ten, what's with him?

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                You tell me. Ever since he graduated high school
                                and started work, he's changed. He just doesn't
                                seem to give a damn about anything anymore. I
                                don't know what to do with him.

Mr. Buckley considers this for a moment, then exits the living room.

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE PHIL'S ROOM - DAY

Phil's Dad steps up to a closed bedroom door, tries the doorknob and finds it locked.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Phil? You up?

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                Yeah.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Aren't you supposed to be at work?

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                I got the day off.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                How come?

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                It just happens that way sometimes.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Huh. Well, why don't you get out of bed.

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                Why? What's the difference?

Mrs. Buckley steps up beside her husband.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Because it's a beautiful day.

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                It's a beautiful day here in my bed, too.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                I don't like this behavior, Phil.

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                Yeah?

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Yeah. So get your ass out of bed!

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                Yeah, yeah, I will.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Do it soon.

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                All right. OK.

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Y'know, Phil, if you waste this day, you'll never
                                get it back.

                                                                 PHIL (O.S.)
                                Yeah? Big deal.

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                                           (to her husband)
                                You see?

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                Yeah, I see.

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                What can we do?

                                                                 MR. BUCKLEY
                                How the hell am I supposed to know?
                                                           (he kisses his wife)
                                I gotta go. See ya.

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                Bye.

Phil's Dad and Mom exit and we stay on Phil's closed bedroom door.

INT. PHIL'S BEDROOM - DAY

PHIL BUCKLEY, a tall, handsome, eighteen-year old boy with a crewcut, lies in bed in his boxer shorts smoking a cigarette. Phil wears a can opener on a shoelace around his neck. The ashtray beside his bed is overflowing with smashed butts. Phil smokes languidly, the smoke drifting up from his nose. There are ashes on his chest, but he doesn't notice.

Phil reaches under the bed and comes out with a can of beer. He opens it with his can opener, guzzles, winces, grins and belches.

Phil glances over at the wall beside him. There are many photos of Elvis cut from magazines, as well as pictures of Tuesday Weld, Chuck Berry, Bobby Darin and Mickey Mantle. Phil suddenly sits up, reaches over and grabs an acoustic guitar that's leaning against the wall and begins strumming it.

Phil plays a variety of tunes and rhythms in a half-assed fashion, but nothing sounds very good. He glances over at a book on his desk, "Beginning Guitar." Phil opens the book and begins to play. He's doing OK until he attempts to make a specific chord and, sadly, his fingers don't want to stretch that way.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Ouch!

Phil shuts the book. He walks over to his dresser, steps in front of the mirror, crosses his arms, lowers his chin and proceeds to do a poor Ed Sullivan imitation.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Tonight we have a really big shew. I mean,
                                a really, really big shew. Let's all give a very
                                warm welcome to the talented, amazing, one-
                                of-a-kind Phil Buckley!
                                                           (he imitates the fans cheering;
                                                           smiling humbly he picks up his
                                                           guitar and imitates Elvis)
                                Thank you. Thank you very much. I'd like
                                to play my newest song which has been
                                number-one on the hit parade for over three
                                months . . .

Phil sits down on the bed, strums his guitar, but still isn't getting the sound he wants. He thinks for a second, then puts down the guitar and digs through one of his dresser drawers. He comes up with a cheap old microphone with a strange, multi-pronged plug on the end. Phil considers this situation for a moment, then produces a Boy Scout knife and deftly cuts off the plug. He then splits the wire and shaves off the insulation.

Phil takes the mike over to his record player and connects the bare wires to the back of the amplifier. Suddenly, feedback fills the room. Phil's eyes light up.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Boss!

He moves the mike away from the amp, then blows into it and hears his amplified breath through his speakers. Phil takes the microphone and shoves it into the hole of his guitar and presto! It's electric! Now he really starts to rock and it's clear that Phil is not particularly talented, simply enthusiastic. He does the Chuck Berry duck-walk across his room, guitar wailing.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Phil's Mom is doing the dishes. She hears the strange, electronic noise and looks all around.

                                                                 MRS. BUCKLEY
                                What on Earth?

INT. PHIL'S BEDROOM - DAY

Phil's a rock & roll maniac playing to thousands of adoring fans and everything's terrific
until -- sproing! -- one of his guitar strings breaks. Phil frowns, setting down his guitar. He scrutinizes the money on his dresser -- he has one dollar to his name. Nevertheless, a guitar with a broken string seems like a fairly useless item. Phil stands up, finally motivated to do something. He puts his guitar in it's battered old case and begins putting on his clothes.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:


EXT. CITY STREETS - DAY

Phil walks along the street carrying his guitar case. Phil isn't paying any attention to anything going on around him. He's got a tune in his head and a vague, amused look on his face. He occasionally makes an Elvis Presley-style hip gyration accompanied by a grunt and we realize that Phil's still on The Ed Sullivan Show in his head. He adds the crowd reaction sounds, cheering and laughing.

The beatnik kid MAX from the "Students for Political Action" office offers Phil a flyer.

                                                                 MAX
                                Free the Springfield Five! Let justice be done,
                                man. Meeting on Sunday at the Purple Onion.

Phil waves it away entirely uninterested.

                                                                 PHIL
                                No thanks.

INT. MUSIC STORE - DAY

This is the all-purpose variety of music store that sells most every sort of instrument and all the accessories. Lorraine stands before a large variety of guitar picks holding her guitar and deliberates. She chooses a pick, checks its thickness, then drops it back in its bin. Finally, Lorraine makes her decision, chooses a pick, then steps over to the counter and pays the portly, middle-aged CLERK a quarter.

Lorraine strolls over to the sheet music. She flips through until she finds something she likes and pulls it out -- it's Woody Guthrie's song "This Land is Your Land." Lorraine plays the first several chords, humming the tune. Something else catches her attention and she walks to another part of the store, stepping behind a big display case filled with woodwind instruments.

Just then Phil steps up in front of the woodwind case, then crosses to the acoustic guitar section where Lorraine just stood. He finds the guitar string he needs and it costs fifty cents, half of his accumulated wealth. Phil resigns himself to this inevitability and replaces his broken string. He sees the portly Clerk watching him and smiles at the guy. The Clerk smiles back.

Lorraine hands a yellow flyer to an OLD BLACK WOMAN, who puts on her glasses and looks at it with interest.

Now Phil attempts to tune his guitar. He does a rather half-assed job, shrugs -- that's good enough -- then spots the open sheet music in front of him of "This Land is Your Land." Phil concentrates deeply, furrowing his brow, and painfully strums and sings the first few chords of the song.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (singing)
                                This land is your land
                                This land is my land
                                From California
                                To the New York Island
                                From the redwood forests
                                To the Gulf stream waters
                                This land was made for you and me --

Lorraine steps up from behind and proclaims . . .

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I love this song!

Phil turns around and checks Lorraine out. He smiles his coolest smile.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Really? No kidding? Me, too.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (excited)
                                Really? Come on, let's play it together.

Lorraine begins playing the song and Phil very hesitantly follows along, glancing frequently at the lyrics.

                                                                 LORRAINE & PHIL
                                                           (singing)
                                As I went walking
                                That ribbon of highway
                                I saw above me
                                That endless skyway
                                I saw below me
                                That golden valley
                                This land was made for you and me

                                This land is your land
                                This land is my land
                                From California
                                To the New York Island
                                From the redwood forests
                                To the Gulf stream waters
                                This land was made for you and me

                                I roamed and rambled
                                And I followed my footsteps
                                To the sparkling sands
                                Of her diamond deserts
                                While all around me
                                A voice was sounding, sayin',
                                This land was made for you and me

                                The sun came shining
                                And I was strolling
                                And the wheat fields waving
                                And the dust clouds rolling
                                As the fog was lifting
                                A voice was chanting
                                This land was made for you and me

Suddenly, everybody in the store, including the old black woman and the clerk, joins in for the finale.

                                                                 EVERYBODY
                                This land is your land
                                This land is my land
                                From California
                                To the New York Island
                                From the redwood forests
                                To the Gulf stream waters
                                This land was made for you and me
                                This land was made for you and me

Everybody laughs, then returns to their business. Lorraine turns to Phil.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Wow! Did you see the way the music draws
                                people in? It's fantastic.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Yeah, it sure is. So, you like music, eh?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Yes, very much. Do you?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Oh, yeah. Uh, my name's Phil, what's yours?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Lorraine.
                                                           (he puts out his hand to shake
                                                           and she hands him a yellow flyer)
                                There's a really important meeting tomorrow
                                night for the Springfield Five.

Phil takes the flyer looking confused.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Is that a new band?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No! Don't you read the newspaper?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Sure, but I must've missed it.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                It's been the headline for the last week.

                                                                 PHIL
                                The neighbor's dog grabs our paper all the time
                                and chews it up. What's going on?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                The Springfield Five are five colored boys that were
                                arrested for no good reason as they were driving
                                down south to a civil rights rally. We're trying to
                                get them out of jail.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Oh. OK. Tomorrow night, huh?


                                                                 LORRAINE
                                At 8:00.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (frowns)
                                But tomorrow's Sunday, y'know.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Yeah? So?

                                                                 PHIL
                                So, Ed Sullivan's on Sunday at eight.

Lorraine grimaces with disdain.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Oh, that's too bad. I'm talking about real
                                problems in the real world here.

                                                                 PHIL
                                I know, I'm just telling you that that's not a good
                                time for a meeting.

Lorraine looks stricken.


                                                                 LORRAINE
                                You think? I printed 500 flyers.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (shrugs)
                                It may not mean anything, y'know, maybe he
                                hasn't got anyone good on the show this week.

Lorraine suddenly looks like she's got a headache. She reaches into her sweater pocket and finds it empty.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Have you got a cigarette?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Sure. Wanna get a cup of coffee to go with it?

Lorraine looks him up and down.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (grins)
                                OK. Caffeine and nicotine are my favorite food
                                groups.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Don't forget beer, it's just like liquid bread.

Lorraine laughs and she and Phil exit.

INT. COFFEE HOUSE - DAY

Phil and Lorraine both drink mugs of coffee and smoke cigarettes.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Well, I worked for a while at a crisis phone line,
                                but I got really tired sitting up all night listening
                                to drug addicts moan about not scoring and
                                pretending to be a marriage counselor. I didn't
                                really feel like I was part of the fight.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (Phil nods, mesmerized)
                                Right.

Lorraine really looks at Phil.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Do you know what I mean?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Sure.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Really?

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (shrugs)
                                No, not really.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Haven't you ever had a feeling of pure empathy?

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (thinks, then shakes
                                                           his head)
                                I'm not sure. What's empathy?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                It's like sympathy, only you don't feel bad for
                                someone, you feel bad with them.
                                                           (Phil digests this)
                                Haven't you ever felt that way?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Oh, yeah. "Lassie" does that to me almost every
                                week.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (shakes her head)
                                TV again! Jesus!

                                                                 PHIL
                                You don't like TV?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No, I don't. I think it makes people apathetic.

                                                                 PHIL
                                It's just entertainment.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                And some entertainment has value. But mindless
                                entertainment is useless. What are some of your
                                interests?

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Me? Oh, well, I have a wide range of interests.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (nods)
                                Really? Like what?

Phil suddenly feels cornered.


                                                                 PHIL
                                Well, like everything.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (skeptical)
                                Everything, huh? Interested in paleontology?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Do you know very much about paleontology?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (smiles)
                                No.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (grins)
                                I'm the foremost authority.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                OK. So, what's your favorite subject?

                                                                 PHIL
                                You mean like in school?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No, I mean like in life.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Oh, that. Well . . . uh . . . music, I guess.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                You sure don't sound convinced.

                                                                 PHIL
                                No, I am. Music. Definitely. I wanna be a
                                musician.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (surprised)
                                Really?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Yeah.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                You know, it's really hard to be a musician.
                                I take guitar lessons twice a week and that's
                                not nearly enough.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (skeptical)
                                Well . . . It all depends on what you're after,
                                right?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (confused)
                                What do you mean?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Well, that's if you want to be, say, a good or
                                great musician.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (nods)
                                Right.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Well, Bobby Darin doesn't really have a great
                                voice, but he's a very successful singer. Or what
                                about Bob Dylan? He can't sing at all.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Yeah, but he's a great song writer.

Phil waves his hand in total deprecation.

                                                                 PHIL
                                You can hire guys to do that.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Yeah, so . . . ?

                                                                 PHIL
                                So, you don't necessarily have to be good to
                                be famous. Look at Dean Martin.

Lorraine consider this for a second, then dismisses the whole thing.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                That's silly. Of course you do. What are you
                                talking about? If it's not their musical ability then
                                it's their presentation. It's gotta be something.
                                                           (Phil nods, good point;
                                                           Lorraine remembers)
                                Oh, y'know, tonight's Hootenanny night at
                                the Purple Onion, you have to come.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (confused)
                                Hootenanny? Is that like when you square-
                                dance and stuff?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (laughs)
                                No. Hootenanny night means that it's open
                                microphone for anyone that wants to get up
                                and sing or play or read a poem or do anything.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (nods)
                                Will you be there?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (smiles and nods)
                                Yes, I will. I'm going to sing a song tonight.
                                You really should come, I mean, if you actually
                                want to be a musician and all.

                                                                 PHIL
                                Right. I do. And I will.

Lorraine suddenly stands.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I've gotta go. So, will I see you tonight at the
                                Purple Onion?

                                                                 PHIL
                                Sure. Absolutely.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (smiles)
                                Great. Will you sing a song?

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Do I have to?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No, you don't have to do anything you don't
                                want to do. None of these people are professionals,
                                it's just a hootenanny. But let's face it, Phil, if you
                                can't sing at a hootenanny you'll never be famous
                                as a musician.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (nods)
                                Right.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (smiles)
                                OK. See ya there if you're there.

                                                                 PHIL
                                I'll be there. Nice meeting you.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                You, too.

Lorraine departs. The Waitress steps up and hands Phil the bill, which is 42 cents. He leaves his entire 49 cents.

                                                                 PHIL
                                                           (smooth)
                                Keep the change, sweetheart.

The WAITRESS snorts and Phil leaves.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. "STUDENTS FOR POLITICAL ACTION" OFFICE - DAY

Lorraine stands in front of the office handing out yellow flyers and demanding Justice!

A big, green 1963 Cadillac Sedan deVille with very pointy fins pulls up in front of her and stops. The car's electric window comes down revealing a good-looking couple in their early 40s. They are Lorraine's MOM and DAD.

                                                                 MOM
                                Get in the car, dear, before someone mugs
                                you.

Lorraine sighs and gets in the back seat of the car.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (sarcastically)
                                Thank God, saved at last.

INT. CADILLAC - DAY

Lorraine's Dad guns it and the car pulls away quickly. Dad glances back at Lorraine.

                                                                 DAD
                                Did you forget you were having lunch with us?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                No, I didn't. I tried to, but I couldn't.

Her Mom looks back at her.

                                                                 MOM
                                What have you got on your hands?

Lorraine looks at her hands and sees purple stains.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Ink.

                                                                 MOM
                                                           (smiles)
                                It's just your shade.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Yes, it is nice, isn't it?

                                                                 DAD
                                So, did you get an early start on solving the world's
                                problems today?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                As a matter of fact, I did. I think I'll be having a very
                                big meeting Sunday night.

                                                                 DAD
                                I hope you do. But honestly, Lorraine, do you really
                                think a bunch of college kids meeting in a low-rent
                                downtown office are going to get those five Negro boys
                                set free?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I certainly hope so. If nothing else it will raise people's
                                awareness of the problem. A line has to be drawn
                                somewhere.

Mom turns to Dad.

                                                                 MOM
                                How did she turn out this way?

                                                                 DAD
                                It's got to be your fault, I'm never home.

                                                                 MOM
                                You can say that again.

Lorraine points at herself.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I'm my own fault. And where are we going for
                                lunch, if I may ask?

                                                                 DAD
                                The club.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (sighs)
                                Unmitigated decadence, and the food's not very
                                good.

                                                                 MOM
                                You were such a happy little girl, Lorraine. What
                                happened?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I developed a social conscience.

                                                                 MOM
                                Well it certainly hasn't made you any happier, I can
                                tell you that. Why don't you go away to Europe
                                for a while -- say a year -- and make up your mind
                                there?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I live here in America, mom. The problems of
                                America are my problems. And my mind is made
                                up.

                                                                 DAD
                                Your mom's not kidding, Lorraine. You want to go
                                to Europe for a year, see the sights, go to school,
                                don't go to school. Anything you want, just say the
                                word.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Oh, Dad, please.

                                                                 DAD
                                You were accepted to the University of Florence,
                                weren't you? You loved Italy when we all went
                                there a few years ago. You ran around the house
                                talking Italian for months.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (sighs wearily)
                                This is such a bore.

Lorraine's Mom and Dad look at each other and shake their heads.


                                                                 DAD
                                So, Lorraine, how many people are you expecting
                                at this rally of yours?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                I don't know. About a hundred, I'd say.

                                                                 DAD
                                Well, how many chairs did you rent?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Fifty, but there's twenty or thirty chairs there and
                                I figure some people can stand.

                                                                 DAD
                                How're you getting the rented chairs there?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (exasperated)
                                Dad, please, I'll work it out.

                                                                 DAD
                                Look, you want to be an organizer and organizers
                                bring in the people. If they don't bring in a decent
                                crowd, you'll have to admit, they're not worth much
                                as an organizer, right?

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                                           (begrudgingly)
                                Yeah, I suppose.

                                                                 DAD
                                OK, how about this? If less than fifty people show
                                up to your meeting, you consider doing something
                                else. Anything else. More than fifty and I'll shut up,
                                for a while. What do you say? But you have to give
                                me a fair count.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                All I did was agree to go to lunch, I'm not here to
                                negotiate any deals.

                                                                 DAD
                                Just think about it, OK? That's all I ask.

                                                                 LORRAINE
                                Whatever you say.

Lorraine sighs deeply, lost in the vast expanse of the back seat. Her hand goes into her sweater pocket, but she still doesn't have any cigarettes.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

Next Page >

1   2   3   4

 

[ Questions or Comments ]


BECKERFILMS SITE MENU

[ Main ]  [ Film & TV Work ]  [ Screenplays [ Old Stuff ]
[
Reviews ]  [ Articles, Essays & Stories ]  [ Ask the Director
[
Favorite Films ]  [ Scrapbook ]  [ Links (& Afterword) ]  [ Web Team ]