'RUSSIAN 42ND INTERNATIONAL CLAMBAKE'/ 'JACK IN A BOX'

 

 

Cut to the stage of a big Russian hall. A banner across the top of the stage reads 'Russian 42nd International Clambake'. At the back of the stage sits Mr. Pither with his bicycle. At one side of the stage, at an impressive table on a dais, are some very important Russian persons including generals. One of the generals addresses the audience.

 

General: (J.C.) ...Dostoievye useye tovarich trotsky borodina (etc.)

 

Subtitle: 'THIS IS THE MAN WHO BROUGHT OUR BELOVED TROTSKY BACK TO US'

 

General: Beluntanks dretsky mihai ovna isky Mr. Reg Pither.

 

Subtitle: 'FIRST MAY I PRESENT MR PITHER FROM WEST OF ENGLAND'

 

Pandemonium lasting for about ten seconds.

 

General: Shi muska di scensand dravenka oblomov Engleska Solzhenitzhin.

 

Subtitle: 'FORGIVE ME IF I CONTINUE IN ENGLISH IN ORDER TO SAVE TIME'

 

General: And now, Comrades, the greatest moment of a great day, the moment when I ask you to welcome the return of one of Russia's greatest heroes, creator of the Red Army, Lenin's greatest friend, Lev Davidovich Trotsky!

 

Gulliver appears looking as much like Trotsky as possible. He wears a uniform and has a beard and glasses. Pandemonium breaks out. He eventually quietens them by raising his hands for silence.

 

Gulliver: Comrades. Bolsheviks. Friends of the Revolution. I have returned. (renewed cheering) The bloodstained shadow of Stalinist repression is past. I bring you new light of Permanent Revolution (his movements are becoming a little camp and slinky). Comrades, I may once have been ousted from power, I may have been expelled from the party in 1927, I may have been deported in 1929 but (sings) I'm just an old-fashioned girl, with an old-fashioned mind. (a certain amount of confusion is spreading among the audience and particularly the general on the podium) Comrades, I don't want to destroy in order to build, I don't want a state founded on hate and division (sings) I want an old-fashioned house with an old-fashioned fence, and an old-fashioned millionaire.

 

From now on Gulliver continues exactly as Eartha Kitt. He has acquired a fur stole which he manipulates slinkily. The confusion is complete on the stage.

 

Pither: (voice over) Our friend Mr. Gulliver was clearly undergoing another change of personality.

 

 The General crosses over to Mr. Pither

 

General: So! You have duped us. You shall pay for this. Guards, seize him.

 

The guards seize the startled Pither and drag him away. The General returns to his seat and talks to another General next to him

 

General: Shall I seize him too?

 

Other General: (G.C.) No, I think we'll have to keep him, he's going down well.

 

General: He's more fun than he used to be.

 

Other General: He's loosened up a lot. This is an old Lenin number.

 

Cut to Mr. Pither sitting in a cell writing in his diary.

 

Pither: (voice over) April 26th. Thrown into Russian cell. Severely damaged my Mars bar. Shall I ever see Bude Bus station again? (two Russian guards throw the cell door open) Oh excuse me... (they grab him and march him out of cell)

 

Cut to exterior of a door leading out into prison yard. The door is thrown open and Pither is marched over and stood against a blank wall facing a line of uniformed men with guns, obviously a firing squad.

 

Pither: (voice over) What a pleasant exercise yard. How friendly they were all being.

 

A Russian officer approaches him

 

Officer: (J.C.) Cigarette?

 

Pither: (Cheerfully) Oh, no thank you I don't smoke.

 

Cut to a shot of the firing squad

 

Pither: (voice over) After a few minutes I perceived a line of gentlemen with rifles. They were looking in my direction... (cut to Mr. Pither against the wall looking behind him) I looked around but could not see the target.

 

Officer: Blindfold?

 

Pither: (Still very cheerful) No thank you, no.

 

Officer: (stepping clear) Slowotny! (the firing squad snaps to attention) Grydenka... (they raise their rifles) Verschnitzen.

 

Drum roll. The firing squad takes aim. A messenger runs frantically up.

 

Messenger: (G.C.) Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! (he hands the officer a paper)

 

Officer: A telegram? (examines it) From the Kremlin! The Central Committee! It says...'Carry on with the execution'. Verschnitzen... (The squad raise their rifles)

 

Pither: (voice over) Now I was really for it.

 

Cut to shot of officer with his hand raised. Drum rolls again. He brings his sword down. Volley of shots from the firing squad. The officer is looking in Pither's direction. Long pause.

 

Officer: (to soldiers) How could you miss?

 

Soldier: (E.I.) He moved.

 

Officer: Shut up! Go and practise. (to Mr. Pither) I'm so sorry. Do you mind waiting in your cell?

 

Pither is flung back in his cell by the guards, and the door slammed.

 

Pither: (voice over) What a stroke of luck. My Crunchie was totally intact. I settled down to a quick intermeal snack...

 

The cell door is flung open and Mr. Pither is bundled out by the guards. Pause. Shots. He is bundled back in again. The officer appears at door.

 

Officer: Next time. Definitely! (to aide) Now then, how many of them have been injured? Oh God...

 

Pither: (voice over) As I lay down to the sound of the Russian gentlemen practising their shooting, I realised I was in a bit of a pickle. My heart sank as I realised I should never see the Oakhampton by-pass again...

 

Mix to Pither's sleeping face, waking up, shaking himself in disbelief at finding himself in a beautiful garden, with the sun shining, the birds singing. He is in a deckchair, and his mother, having poured him a jug of iced fruit squash, is gently nudging Pither to wake him.

 

Mother: (E.I.) Come on, dear. Wake up dear.

 

Pither: Mother!

 

Mother: Come on dear.

 

Pither: So, it was all a dream.

 

Mother: No dear, this is the dream, you're still in the cell.

 

Mix to Pither waking up in the cell. The officer is shaking him awake. He is carrying a rifle.

 

Officer: OK, we're going to have another try. I think we've got it now. My boys have been looking down the wrong bit, you see (pointing to a bit of the rifle)

 

Pither: Oh no, look, you've got to look down the bit there (pointing to a different bit)

 

Officer: Oh I thought you had to look down that bit.

 

Pither: No, no, you've got to look down that bit, or you won't hit anything.

 

Officer: Alright, we'll give it a whirl. Guards, seize him. (they take him out)

 

Officer: (as he leaves) Listen. You've got to look down this bit.

 

As they leave, we can see on the wall of the cell a poster, saying: 'Saturday Night at the Moscow Praesidium, starring Eartha Kitt, with Burgess and Maclean. "A Song a Dance and a Piece of Treachery". Marshal Bulganin and "Charlie", Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Leningrad has never laughed so much.'

 

Mix through to stock film of the Kremlin. Dubbed over laughter and applause. A cheerful band sing.

 

Mix through to stage where someone dressed as Marshall Bulganin, is standing with a little real ventriloquist's dummy. He gets up, takes his bow and walks off as the curtain swings down. Lots of applause and atmosphere. A slimy Russian compère comes on smiling and applauding.

 

Compère: (E.I.) Osledi Osledi.

 

He tells a quick joke in Russian, and roars with laughter. Laughter from audience. He holds up his hands and then becomes very sincere, saying obviously deeply moving, wonderful things about the next guest, whom he finally introduces.

 

Compère: Eartha Kitt!

 

 Gulliver comes on-stage in the full Eartha Kitt outfit - white fur stole, slit skirt and jewellery. He mimes to the voice of Edward Heath.

 

Heath's Voice: Trade Union leaders - I would say this - we've done our part. Now, on behalf of the community, we have a right to expect you, the Trade Union leaders, to do yours. (etc.)

 

Unrest in the audience as they recognize him. They start shouting 'sing "Old-Fashioned Girl"' and throwing vegetables. Slow motion shot of a tomato hitting Gulliver. He is seen to be holding a turnip.

 

Gulliver: That turnip's certainly not safe. (looking round and seeing where he is) Oh no! Mr. Pither! Mr. Pither!

 

He runs off-stage, pursued by the guards. Cut to the stage-door of the hall. A sign on the door says 'Next week Clodagh Rogers'. Gulliver out, and then through the streets, hotly pursued by soldiers and secret service men, firing after him.

 

Gulliver: (calling) Mr. Pither! Mr. Pither!

 

Dramatic music plays as Gulliver is pursued down a street, and through a dockyard. Finally he stops by a high stone wall.

 

Gulliver: Mr. Pither!

 

Pither's Voice: Here!

 

Gulliver looks round and then rapidly climbs up and over the wall. He drops down to find Pither standing on the other side.

 

Pither: Gulliver.

 

Gulliver: Pither! What a stroke of luck.

 

Pither: Well yes and no.

 

He indicates with his head. Cut to show that both of them are standing in front of a firing squad. The officer is heard as before. The squad runs towards them with fixed bayonets.

 

Caption: 'SCENE MISSING'

 

Cut to Cornish country lane. A road sign says 'Tavistock 12 miles'. Pither stands beneath with Gulliver and his bicycle.

 

Pither: Phew, what an amazing escape. Well goodbye, Reginald.

 

Gulliver: Goodbye, Mr. Pither, and good luck with the tour!

 

They shake hands. Gulliver strides off. Pither mounts his bike and rides off into the distance. Music swells. Roll credits. Cut to a field with hedgerow behind. The first animated monster peeks over the hedge.

 

First Monster: Hey, I think he's finally gone!

 

Second monster appears.

 

Second Monster: Ooh yes!

 

They hop over the fence into the field.

 

First Monster: Ready, Maurice?

 

Second Monster: Right-ho, Kevin. Let's go.

 

First Monster: All right, maestro, hit it!

 

We hear Clodagh Rogers singing 'Jack in a Box'. The two monsters jump up and down enthusiastically if not gracefully. Fade out.

 

 

 

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