Casablanca: May 18th

Cast of Characters:


George Strait: Rick Blaine
Tina Fey: Ilsa Lund

Pernell Roberts: Victor Laszlo
Perry Como: Captain Louis Renault
Reggie Jackson: Sam
Pope John Paul II: Signor Ferrari
Concrete Cowboy: Ugarte

Frank Capra:
Narrator

With the Germans on the march across Europe, refugees flee to coastal ports in the hope of somehow escaping to the New World. Some through influence or bribery obtain exit visas. Others are doomed to wait in Casablanca.

Frank: At the heart of Casablanca is Rick’s Café Américain. A frequent nightspot for gamblers, thieves, and refugees. And owned by American expatriate Rick Blaine.

Cowboy: You know, Rick. When you first came to Casablanca, I thought…

George: You thought what?

Cowboy [sheepishly]: Hmm, what right do I have to think, huh?

Frank: Ugarte pulls out a chair to sit down, then hesitantly asks permission.

Cowboy: Too bad about those German singers, wasn’t it?

George: They got a lucky break. Yesterday they were the von Trapps, today they’re the grateful dead.

Cowboy: You’re a very cynical person, Rick. If you’ll forgive me for saying so.

George: I forgive you.

Cowboy: You despise me, don’t you?

George: If I gave it any thought, I probably would.

Cowboy: Oh, you object to the kind of business I do, huh?

George: I don’t mind a ticket scalper. But I object to a cut-rate one.

Cowboy: Well, after tonight, I’m through with the whole business. I am leaving Casablanca.

George: Who did you bribe for your visa? Renault or yourself.

Cowboy: Myself. I found myself much more reasonable.

Frank: Ugarte removes an envelope from his pocket and lays it on the table. But just as Rick reaches for it…

Cowboy: One moment, please. You know what these are? Two Golden Tickets to Hollywood – cannot be rescinded or even questioned. Tonight I’ll be selling these for even more money than I have ever dreamed of, and then adios Casablanca.

George: Why not use them yourself?

Cowboy [wistfully]: I thought about that, too. Maybe try out for a part with Cary Grant.

George: …or Bogart.

Cowboy: Or both.

George [dismissively]: Nah. It may be your birthday, but it’s not Christmas.

Cowboy: Will you hold them for me? Just because you despise me, you’re the only one in Casablanca that I trust.

George: Fine. I’ll hide them here in the piano. Because when the police come to search the café, that’ll be the last place they’ll think to look.

Frank: Just then, a flurry of knit tops and knee socks whirl through the café with pastel covered autograph books and glitter pens…

Teeny boppers (with a girlsih squeal): Aayyyiiiiiiiii! It’s Perry Como-ooooooooo!

Frank: …and carry off Ugarte.

Cowboy: Rick! Help me! Please do something! Riiiiiick…!

Frank: But as the doors slam shut and the echo fades, Rick mutters just loud enough for those around him to hear…

George: I stick my neck out for no one.

Frank: And no sooner does the café settle back into its own melancholy distraction, Capt. Louis Renault and a contingent of gendarmes abruptly enter.

Perry: Rick, there’s gonna be an important arrest here tonight. A little demonstration of the efficiency of my administration. Oh, don’t bother trying to warn him, we have all the exits covered.

George: You’re a little late, Louie. Ugarte was just carried off by a bevy of bobby-soxers.

Perry [feigning surprise]: He was? Poor fellow… he may have preferred to have been arrested.

George: Someone put into their pretty little heads that he was Perry Como.

Perry (with a shrug of C’est la vie): I thought it might amuse your guests.

George: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Ugarte was thrown out of mine.

Frank: Shortly afer which, Signor Ferrari, leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca and owner of the Blue Parrot, visits Rick:

John Paul: Are you a closed mouth man?

George: Naw, I like to talk.

John Paul: Better and better. Now, sir. I’ll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.

George: Swell. Shall we talk about the black bird?

Frank: Uhhhh… hold up there, Padre. I think your needle skipped a groove. We’re not doing The Maltese Falcon.

John Paul: My apologies. I just saw so many familiar faces… .

George: Same bartender. Different Bar.

John Paul […without skipping a beat]: Rick, I’d like to buy your café.

George: It’s not for sale.

John Paul: What do you want for Sam?

George: I don’t buy or sell human beings.

John Paul: Too bad. They’re baseball’s leading commodity. Suppose we ask Sam?

George: Sam, Ferrari wants to buy your contract.

Reggie: I like it fine here.

John Paul: You haven’t heard my offer.

George: I need a bass player.

John Paul: And I’ll throw in a third base player, and a bubble gum card to be named later.

Reggie: I’ll take it.

George: He ain’t worth all that. What’s your angle?

Reggie: C’mon, Rick. I can still strike-out with the best of ‘em.

George: But you’ll never step to the plate in October again.

Reggie: Get me back to the New York and we’ll just see about that!

John Paul: Might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles.

Frank: Later that evening, an attractive couple arrive at Rick’s… Victor Laszlo, a Czech resistance leader and Miss Ilsa Lund. The young woman is so very beautiful that everyone stops to stare.

As Victor wanders off to meet up with a contact from the underground, Ilsa spies an old friend… .

Tina: Where is he?

Reggie: I don’t know. Maybe he’s over at the Blue Parrot recording another hit record.

Tina: You used to be a much better liar, Sam.

Reggie: Leave him alone, Miss Ilsa. You bad luck to him.

Tina: Play it again, Sam.

Reggie [reluctantly]:

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply as time goes by…

Tina: No, Sam. You know what I want to hear.

Reggie: I don’t think I remember it.

Tina: I’ll hum it for you. La-da da-da t-da…

Reggie [again, reluctantly]:

All my ex’s live in Texas…
And Texas is the place I’d really love to be
But all my ex’s live in Texas
And that’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee…

George [rushing over]: I thought I told you never to play that!

Frank: But Rick stops abruptly, as he is suddenly face to face with an old love. But quickly regains his composure, as Victor Laszlo and Captain Louis Renault approach.

George: Hello, Ilsa.

Tina: I wasn’t sure you were the same. The last time we met…

George: …it was Yankee Stadium.

Tina: How nice. You remember. But that was the day the Dodgers came to town.

George: Not an easy day to forget.

Tina: No.

George: I remember every detail. You wore blue. Sam wore pinstripes. It was a double-header.

Frank: Following a day with Capt. Renault and Major Strasser, Victor and Ilsa return to Rick’s.

Pernell: You see, here we are again.

George: I take that as a great compliment to Sam. [To Ilsa…] I suppose to you he means Yankee Stadium and happier days.

Tina: He does. Could we have a table close to him?

Pernell: …and as far away from them as possible.

Frank: A crowd of sandal-clad bell-bottom’d beatniks had invaded the night club.

Pernell: They act like they own the joint.

George: They keep talkin’ about taking over Paris, London, New York… .

Pernell: …like little Germans.

George: Well, the geography may be a little difficult, but –

Frank: Rick snaps for a waiter.

George: Oh, and I’ll have Sam play All My Ex’s Live in Texas. I believe that’s your favorite tune.

Frank: Before Sam can sit down at his piano, a distinctive clink-clink! betrays a coin dropping down through a steel slot. An inconsiderate moment later, the jukebox begins to squeal…

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk…
Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin’ ali-i-i-i-ve…

Pernell [leaping to his feet in outrage]: Bee-Gees!

Frank: Bounding onto the stage, he snaps up a Gibson acoustic five string.

Pernell: Play La Marseillaise! Play it!

Frank: But the orchestra looks to Rick, who shakes his head no. And the café grows nervously quiet.

Pernell [to Rick through the tense silence]: Did you have something else in mind?

 

Frank: The shrill of Capt Renault’s whistle pierces the smoke-filled air, as scared patrons scurry for the exit.

Perry: This café is closed! Everyone is to leave at once.

George: You can’t close me up! What’s the charge?

Perry: I’m shocked! Shocked! …to hear country music being played in here!

Pernell: Here’s your banjo.

Perry: Oh, thank you.

Frank: Unable to secure exit visas from Signor Ferrari and the black market, Victor returns to Rick under the cover of darkness to persuade him to use the Letters of Transit himself to smuggle Ilsa out of Casablanca. But while there, Victor Laszlo is arrested.

Later, Rick stops by Capt. Renault’s office.

Perry: I’ve often wondered why you never returned to America. Is it because they won’t let you play the Grand Ol’ Opry? or guest host Hee Haw? I like to think you killed disco – it’s the romantic in me.

George: Louie, you’re subtle, but not very funny. Yes, I have the Golden Tickets and I plan on using them myself.

Perry: Wait! Don’t tell me… they were hidden in the piano.

George: I’m leaving Casablanca tonight and I’m taking a friend with me – one you’ll appreciate.

Perry: Ilsa Lund.

George: That oughta put your mind at ease about me helping Victor Laszlo.

Perry: You didn’t come here to tell me this. You have the Golden Tickets. You can fill in your name and hers and leave any time you please.

George: We have legal right to leave, that’s true. But people have been held in Casablanca in spite of their legal rights.

Perry: You want me to release Victor just to catch him later trying to buy the Golden Tickets?

George: I’ll make the arrangements with him right now.

Perry: I think not. I have him in jail now. Why should I release him just to arrest him again?

George: Because if you don’t, I’ll tell everyone you play the banjo.

Perry: Rick, I’m going to miss you. Apparently you’re the only one in Casablanca with less scruples than I.

Frank: But Rick double-crosses Capt. Renault, and at gunpoint takes him, Victor, and Ilsa out to the airport. The runway is cloaked in fog. A plane idles nearby. And of course… in black & white.

Pernell: Well, Ilsa… I guess this is good-bye.

Tina: I’m sorry it had to end this way, Victor.

Pernell: Take good care of her, Rick.

George: We’ll always have Paris. You’ll love Texas this time of year.

Tina: Texas?

George: Uh, yeah… Paris, Texas.

Pernell: There’s nothing for you in Hollywood. Except maybe the odd sitcom, Saturday Night Live, or impersonating some political hopeful. Then if you’re lucky, you’ll host a Hollywood award show.

Tina: C’mon, Victor! Let’s crank this bird up and get outa here!

George: Well, you win, Victor. She’s all yours.

Pernell: Uh, still…. there shoulda been a way for me to lose.

Tina: Whatta y’mean by that?

Pernell: Wait, Tina! I mean… Ilsa! I was just kidding. George, you can’t do this to me! We had a deal! Tinaaaaaaaa!

Frank: The plane quickly evaporates into a moonless night, as Rick and Capt. Renault walk off into the fog.

Perry: How extravagant you are – throwing away women like that. Someday they may be scarce.

George: I’m thinking of going back to the States. Maybe… write some music, play some concerts, get back out on the road. All I need are need some ideas for songs.

Perry: Well, I might be persuaded to whip up a couple of exit visas. If we leave tonight, we should make Amarillo By Morning.

George: Better make that Tennessee… All my ex’s live in Texas.

Perry: Or maybe go west. I hear Arizona has some lovely Ocean Front Property.

George: Louie, this looks like the beginning of a –

Frank: Suddenly from out of the fog, a crush of squealing teeny-boppers appear.

Perry: Run, George! Run!

George: This isn’t over! I know who you are! And I’ll get you for this!

Frank: …and as Rick and Capt. Renault are chased by the bobby-soxers into the Moroccan night, two shadows emerge from the fog…

Cowboy: Sounded like those silly girls were screaming for Brooks & Dunn?

Humphrey Bogart: Here’s a Merry Christmas to you, kid.


Robin Hood: May 18th
Kneel, Robin. I knight thee… Baron of the Baritones, Earl of the Opry, and the Knight of Nashville.

High Noon: May 18th
They asked about the noon trains and now they’re mad. Why? We don’t have a noon train.