I’d-a hammer out-a love between
(Phil does the Chuck Berry duckwalk. The audience
I’d ring-a-ding-ding out danger
If I had a song
(There is a huge round of applause for Phil.
M.C.: That’s Phil Buckley, not Butler. Sorry about that, buddy. Very funny routine.
(Lorraine looks at Phil in astonishment as he
TERRY: This guy’s a wild man.
LORRAINE: (confused) I can’t decide whether that was inspired or just pure nonsense.
PHIL: Does it matter?
LORRAINE: I don’t know.
(They all stand to leave. As everyone files out
(In front of the club Phil and Terry are watching Lorraine say goodbye to everyone and give out yellow flyers)
LORRAINE: Remember the meeting is here tomorrow at eight.
(Many people say that they’ll be there.
LORRAINE: I can’t believe you missed my songs.
PHIL: (abashed) Sorry.
(Lorraine steps up to Phil’s side and takes
LORRAINE: Goodnight Terry.
PHIL: Yeah, goodnight Terry. Nice meeting you.
(Terry sees what’s what)
TERRY: Yeah, you too. ‘Night, Lorraine.
(Terry leaves. Lorraine and Phil look at
LORRAINE: You hurt my feelings.
PHIL: Sorry. Did you like my song?
LORRAINE: Honestly, no.
PHIL: (hurt) You didn’t?
LORRAINE: You faked it.
PHIL: But they liked it.
LORRAINE: (confused) Hmmm . . .
PHIL: (grins) Me neither.
(He kisses her again. Just then the M.C. steps
M.C.: Is that you, Lorraine?
LORRAINE: Yeah, it is.
M.C.: Still recruiting for the cause?
LORRAINE: Up yours!
(He leaves. Lorraine and Phil kiss again,
LORRAINE: See you tomorrow?
(Lorraine walks away and Phil watches her
(The lights come up on Phil lying in bed asleep. The sound of the lawnmower engine slowly wakes him up. Phil wipes his face and it’s covered with drool)
PHIL: (to himself) I feel like I got hit on the head with a hammer.
(We can see the closed door to Phil’s bedroom, and we can hear Phil singing)
PHIL: (O.S./singing) If I had a h-h-hammer
Then I’d h-h-hammer all the ants
(Phil’s mother and his brother meet in the
MRS. BUCKLEY: (shrugs) I guess he had a good time last night.
DAN: Holy Toledo, I sure hope he doesn’t turn into a folkie.
MRS. BUCKLEY: (sighs) It might be good for him. He’s seemed awfully aimless lately.
DAN: (skeptical) Yeah, I guess. But Ma . . . ?
MRS. BUCKLEY: Yes?
DAN: (confused) Do people just change like that?
MRS. BUCKLEY: (shrugs) Sometimes, I suppose.
(His mother walks away. Dan considers her
PHIL: (O.S./singing) I’d h-h-hammer all the bugs
(The lights come up on Phil’s bedroom. Phil stands in front of his mirror with his guitar in hand, posing. He does his poor Ed Sullivan imitation)
PHIL: We have a really big shew. For all of you folk fans that like Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul & Mary, I now give you the new voice of the nation, Phil Buckley!
(Lights up on Phil’s father is sweeping the garage with a push broom while whistling “The Girl From Ipanema.” Phil comes walking up)
PHIL: Here, let me help.
MR. BUCKLEY: Excuse me?
PHIL: Let me help.
MR. BUCKLEY: (amazed) Huh. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you say anything like that
PHIL: (seriously) Look, dad, if we’re all gonna get by in this world then I guess we’d
MR. BUCKLEY: Right.
(He hands Phil the broom. Phil shrugs, takes
MR. BUCKLEY: So, how was your date last night?
PHIL: Good. Real good.
MR. BUCKLEY: And you got up and sang?
PHIL: Yep. And they liked me, too.
MR. BUCKLEY: Well, I’ll be damned. I’m really glad to hear it, Phil. So you’re going
PHIL: Dad, I am a musician.
MR. BUCKLEY: (shrugs) OK. All right. You sure got your money’s worth out of those
PHIL: (defensive) It was three weeks, OK? And I’d’ve kept it up, but my fingers hurt
(His father throws his hands up in
MR. BUCKLEY: All right, all right.
(Phil throws down the broom and stomps
(The lights come up on Phil’s mother at a table making lunch while Phil lectures her)
PHIL: Is it right for a woman to make less money doing the same job as a man?
MRS. BUCKLEY: Of course not.
PHIL: That’s right. And is it right for Negroes to have to sit at the back of the bus?
MRS. BUCKLEY: Well, no.
PHIL: That’s right, no. It’s time to stand up and let our voices be heard.
(His mother scoops gobs of mayonnaise
MRS. BUCKLEY: So you sang a song last night?
MRS. BUCKLEY: How’d it go?
PHIL: (casually) Great. They loved me.
MRS. BUCKLEY: (surprised) Really? That’s very nice.
(Phil turns and walks away)
PHIL: Oh yeah, they’re a good crowd.
(Lights up on Phil and Dan playing catch with mitts and a hardball)
DAN: (fascinated) Really? How?
PHIL: It’s very complicated and you probably won’t understand, but it’s what’s called
PHIL: I don’t know, but a bunch. So then, after they stopped rock & roll by sending Elvis
DAN: Really? That’s creepy. What else did they do?
PHIL: They set Lee Harvey Oswald up as a patsy, then had Jack Ruby shoot him to shut
(Dan is horrified)
DAN: Do mom and dad know this?
PHIL: (shrugs helplessly) Probably not. They accept anything they’re told. Just like
(Dan looks around in utter paranoia; black
(Lorraine and Max, the beatnik, carry folding chairs into the Purple Onion)
MAX: (shakes his head) Wow! That’s some car your Dad’s got. A real Jew canoe.
LORRAINE: That’s not nice.
MAX: Lorraine, time to get a sense of humor. I was kidding.
LORRAINE: Disparaging remarks about religion aren’t funny.
LORRAINE: Where were you last night?
MAX: I hung out with some buddies, why?
LORRAINE: You said you were coming to the Purple Onion?
MAX: I didn’t make it.
LORRAINE: Then why’d you say you were coming?
MAX: Lorraine, I don’t owe you anything. I’m here setting up chairs out of a sense
LORRAINE: I just don’t like it when people say things and don’t do them, that’s all.
MAX: Yeah. Well get used to it.
(Max and Lorraine continue to silently set up
(Phil is getting dressed and rehearsing in front of the mirror)
PHIL: (to himself) And I say, the Springfield Five must be freed or none of us is safe.
MRS. BUCKLEY: (offstage) Yes.
PHIL: Have I got any clean socks?
MRS. BUCKLEY: (offstage) In the laundry room.
(Phil exits his bedroom; black out)
(The lights come up on Phil’s family in the exact same positions as last night, seated at TV tables watching TV. Phil steps into the living room once again dressed up and ready to go out, guitar case in hand. Dan looks at Phil and shakes his head sadly)
DAN: You’re not going back to the Purple Onion again, are you?
PHIL: What if I am?
DAN: (total disdain) Nothin’. Only Ed Sullivan is about to go on now and The Beatles are gonna be on show tonight, that’s all.
(Phil is stricken)
PHIL: The Beatles. Uh! I have to see them!
DAN: So sit down.
PHIL: But I told this girl I’d go to her stupid meeting. She gave me three flyers.
(He pulls out the three yellow flyers. Dan points
DAN: (grins fiendishly) Ha-ha!
(Phil is paralyzed)
MR. BUCKLEY: Now Phil, you told this girl you’d attend the meeting.
MRS. BUCKLEY: That’s right, Phil. And what about the rights of the Negroes and
(Dan looks right at Phil and speaks flatly)
DAN: The Beatles, Phil. “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,” “I Wanna Hold Your
PHIL: (immobilized) Uh . . .
(The lights come up as Lorraine comes rushes into the Purple Onion in a fluster, her arms loaded with grocery bags, as well as her guitar. The M.C. is waiting for her impatiently)
M.C.: For God’s sake, Lorraine, I’m gonna miss Ed Sullivan.
LORRAINE: Oh, for goodness’ sake, Ed Sullivan is just an old gossip columnist.
M.C.: (befuddled) There are times, Lorraine, when I don’t understand you at all.
(He gives her the key to the club and tries for a
(The lights come up on Phil still standing there looking at his family and his family sitting there looking back at him. The opening title music for “The Ed Sullivan Show” begins and Phil’s guitar case hits the floor. Phil seats himself on the couch beside his brother. Blue light flickers on their faces as we hear The Ed Sullivan Show begin)
ED SULLIVAN: (offstage) Tonight we have a really big shew, with Topo Gigo, the Italian mouse, the St. Petersburg ballet, and for you youngsters out there—
(Lorraine is just finishing setting up. She has all 50 folding chairs unfolded and arranged in rows, piles of flyers lined up on a table, several jugs of cider and paper cups. She gives every-thing a final inspection, straightening this, turning that. She sighs, looking around expectantly, glancing down at her watch)
(Phil and his family stare at the TV. A piece of classical music ends)
(The crowd goes completely insane. Paul’s first bass note
(—Lorraine sits among 49 empty folding chairs looking down at the yellow flyer announcing the meeting. Nobody showed up for her meeting. She crumples up the flyer and throws it away. Lorraine looks very frustrated and lights a cigarette. Finally, she stands up knocking over her chair. She goes over to the table, takes all the flyers and throws them in the trash, then a bowl holding five pounds of potato salad, too. Lorraine picks up her guitar and exits. A second later all the lights go off)
(Lorraine steps out of the Purple Onion and locks the door. Just then Phil comes running up, guitar case in hand. He sees Lorraine and smiles)
PHIL: Hi. Am I late?
LORRAINE: (laughs) Are you late?
PHIL: Am I?
LORRAINE: (flatly) You missed it. It’s over.
PHIL: (casually) Whoops. Sorry about that. Did it go all right?
LORRAINE: Look around. You see anyone else?
PHIL: (looks around) Uh . . . no. Break up early?
LORRAINE: (flatly) Yeah, it broke up early.
PHIL: So, you wanna get a cup of coffee?
(Lorraine laughs sardonically)
LORRAINE: You don’t give a shit at all, do you?
PHIL: About what?
LORRAINE: About anything.
PHIL: (offended) Hey! I care about a lotta stuff.
LORRAINE: Like what?
PHIL: Well, like music.
LORRAINE: Ha! You can’t even play the Goddamn guitar. I mean, for Christ sake, how
PHIL: I told ya, it’s possible.
LORRAINE: So is getting hit by a meteor. Y’know, you’re what the world is coming to,
PHIL: What’s gotten into you? I thought we had a really good time last night.
LORRAINE: (pointing) You didn’t show up to my Goddamn meeting!
PHIL: I said I was sorry.
LORRAINE: So what? Does saying your sorry push the erase button or something? I just
PHIL: (uncertain) What?
LORRAINE: Drop dead!
PHIL: Where are you going?
(Lorraine stomps away, disappearing into
PHIL: (to himself) Huh.
(Just then Terry comes running up from the
TERRY: Did I miss the meeting?
PHIL: We both did.
TERRY: Did you see The Beatles on Ed Sullivan?
PHIL: Oh yeah, they were boss!
TERRY: I’m never cuttin’ my hair again.
PHIL: Boy oh boy, those girls were really screaming, huh?
TERRY: Man, they were crying. I’ve never seen anything like it.
TERRY: I like John.
PHIL: Really. I like George. He sure can play that guitar.
(They both looked totally geeked up)
PHIL: You just missed Lorraine. She threw a hairy fit at me for missing the meeting.
(Terry waves his hand disdainfully)
TERRY: The Springfield Five. I mean, who gives a crap? Not me.
PHIL: (chuckles) Not me, either.
TERRY: Wanna come over my place? We could smoke some more reefer, y’know,
PHIL: Really? Cool.
TERRY: Cool’s out, man. No one’s saying it anymore.
PHIL: Really? No kidding? What’re they saying instead?
TERRY: Tuff. T-U-F-F. It’s really tuff, y’know.
PHIL: (nods) OK. Cool. I mean, Tuff.
(They both exit. We stay on the dark and empty
Last Saturday night I got married
(The lights on the stage inside the club slowly
Sometimes I live in the country
You caused me to weep
(The light slowly fades on the Four Feathers until
Stop your ramblin’
(The lights slowly fade on the Purple Onion. One of
(The stage goes black)
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