Friday, August 20, 2010

Viaduct skit script

Viaduct (transcribed by Borrik Svenson and Captain Dreadnaught)

Here is a transcript of the infamous "Viaduct" scene from the Marx Brothers movie Cocoanuts. What do you think? Borrik Svenson and I (Captain Dreadnaught) shed our blood, sweat, and tears over this. Actually, it's not quite a transcript. We changed it in quite a few places.

(Starts with Groucho walking on stage)

Groucho: (Looks to stage entrance) Come over here, I want to talk to you. (C enters) Now listen to me, I don’t want that red-headed fella running around in the lobby. If you want to keep him in your room, you’ll have to keep him in a trap.

Chico: I can’t catch him.

Groucho: Who is he?

Chico: He’s my partner, but he no speak.

Groucho: Oh, he’s your silent partner. Now I can let you have three lots bordering the front, or three lots fronting the border. That cost me $9000 and I’m going to let you have it for $15,000. Why? Because I like you.

Chico: I’m not going to buy anything.

Groucho: Why not?

Chico: I don’t gotta no money. I don’t gotta one cent.

Groucho: Then how are you going to pay for your room?

Chico: That’s your lookout.

Groucho: Oh, you’re just an idle roomer.

Chico: We come here to make money. We see the paper that says “Big boom in Florida”. So we come. We’re a couple of big booms, too.

Groucho: I’m gonna show you how to make some real money. I’m gonna hold an auction in a little while at Coconut Manor. You do know what an auction is, don’t you?

Chico: Sure. I come over from Italy on the Atlantic Auction.

Groucho: (after a pause) Let’s go ahead as if nothing happened. I said we’re having an auction at Coconut Manor, and when the crowd gathers around, I want you to mingle with them. Don’t pick their pockets, just mingle with them-

Chico: I’ll find time for both.

Groucho: So we can cut out the auction. If somebody says $100 you say $200. If they say $200 you say $300. Right?

Chico: So I speak up?

Groucho: So if nobody says anything, than you start it off.

Chico: Suppose they don’t say anything?

Groucho: Well, they’ll notify you. You fool! If they don’t say anything, you’ll hear them, won’t you? Well, don’t tell them! If we are successful in disposing of these lots, I’ll see that you get a nice commission.

Chico: And how about some money?(pats hand for money)

Groucho: Well, you can have your choice. You know what a lot is?

Chico: Yes. Too much.

Groucho: Not a whole lot, just a little lot with nothing on it.

Chico: Anytime you gotta too much, and you gotta a whole lot. OK, sometimes you have enough, sometimes you don’t have enough, and sometimes a whole lot. Sometimes you think it’s a little bit, but somebody else thinks it’s too much. Too much, a whole lot, a whole lot, too much, same thing.

Groucho: (after a pause) The next time I see you, remind me not to talk with you, will you? It’s gonna be a cinch explaining the rest of this thing to you, I can see that.

Chico: I catch on quick.

Groucho: That’s a rodeo you’re thinking of. All right, Einstein, here’s Coconut Manor. No matter what you say, this is Coconut Manor. Here’s Coconut Manor, here’s Coconut Heights, that’s a swamp, and over here where the road forks is called Coconut Junction.

Chico: Where do you have coconut custard?

Groucho: That’s on one of the forks. You probably eat with your knife, so you don’t have to worry about that. Here’s the main road leading out of Coconut Manor. That’s the road I wish you were on. Now over here is going to be an eye and ear hospital. That’s going to be a sight for sore eyes. Understand?

Chico: Yeah, that’s fine.

Groucho: Now, right over here is the residential section.

Chico: Oh, people live there, eh?

Groucho: No, that’s the stockyard. Now all along here is the riverfront. All along the river, those are all levies.

Chico: That’s the Jewish neighborhood?

Groucho: (after a pause)Why don’t we pass over that. You’re a peach, boy. Now here is a little peninsula, and over here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

Chico: Why a duck?

Groucho: (after a pause)I’m fine, how are you? I said this is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

Chico: All right, why a duck?

Groucho: I say that’s a viaduct.

Chico: All right, why a duck? Why a duck? Why not a chicken?

Groucho: Well, I don’t know why not a chicken. I’m a stranger here myself. I know that’s a viaduct. You try to cross over there on a chicken and you’ll find out why a duck.

Chico: But why-

Groucho: It’s deep water, that’s why a duck. Look here, suppose you were out horseback riding and you came to that stream and you wanted to ford over. But you can’t. It’s too deep.

Chico: What would you want with a Ford when you got a horse?

Groucho: (after a pause)Well, I’m sorry the matter came up. I just know that that’s a viaduct.

Chico: Listen. I catch on to why a horse, why a chicken, why a this, why a that, but I don’t catch on to why a duck.

Groucho: I was only fooling. I was only fooling. They’re going to build a tunnel there in the morning. Is that clear to you?

Chico: Yes, everything except for why a duck.

Groucho: Well, that’s fine. Now we can go ahead with this thing. Now in the morning, I’m going to take you to our cemetery. I’ve got a waiting list of fifty people at that cemetery just dying to get in. But I like you.

Chico: Yeah, you’re my friend.

Groucho: I like you, so I’m going to show you in ahead of all of them. I want to make sure that you get a steady position. And it’ll be horizontal. And remember, if somebody says one hundred…

Chico: I say two hundred.

Groucho: And if somebody says two hundred…

Chico: I say three hundred.

Groucho: That’s great. You know how to get down there?

Chico: No.

Groucho: (pointing off stage) You go down there, down that narrow path there, until you come to that little jungle there. You see it?

Chico: Yeah.

Groucho: Where all those thatch palms are? You see that little clearing in there with a wire fence around it?

Chico: Yeah, but why a fence?

Groucho: Oh no, we’re not going to go through all that again.

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