FIRE BRIGADE/ OUR EAMONN
Animated sketch leads to little old Mrs. Little on the phone in her hall. She is a dear little old lady and lives in a rather fussy ducks-on-wall house.
Mrs. Little: (T.J.) Hello, is that the fire brigade?
Cut to the fire station.
First Fireman: (M.P.) No, sorry, wrong number.
He puts the phone back. Pull out to reveal four or five firemen in full gear, surrounded by fire-fighting equipment and a gleaming fire engine. One is sitting embroidering, one is stirring a saucepan. The first fireman goes over to a budgie cage in the corner.
Second Fireman: (E.I.) That phone's not stopped ringing all day.
Third Fireman: What happens when you've mixed the batter, do you dice the ham with the coriander?
First Fireman: No, no, you put them in separately when the vine leaves are ready.
The phone rings.
Second Fireman: Oh, no, not again.
Third Fireman: Take it off the hook.
The first fireman takes the phone off the hook. Cut back to Mrs. Little on phone. She looks at the receiver then listens again.
Mrs. Little: I can't get the fire brigade Mervyn.
Mervyn, her 38-year-old, 6' 8" son appears.
Mervyn: (J.C.) Here, let me try, dear. You go and play the cello.
Mrs. Little: Oh it doesn't do any good, dear.
Mervyn: Look. Do you want the little hamster to live or not?
Mrs. Little: Yes I do, Mervyn.
Mervyn: Well go and play the cello!
She looks helplessly at him, then goes into the sitting room. Mervyn dials.
Mervyn: Hello, hello, operator? Yes we're trying to get the fire brigade ... No, the fire brigade. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, what? ... (he takes one of his shoes off and looks in it) Size eight. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no of course not, Yes...
Mrs. Little appears, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief.
Mrs. Little: (touching Mervyn gently on the arm) He's gone, dear.
Mrs. Little: He's slipped away.
Mrs. Little: The sodding hamster's dead!
Mervyn: (broken) Oh no!! What were you playing?
Mrs. Little: Some Mozart concertos, dear.
Mervyn: What... How did he... ?
Mrs. Little: His eyes just closed, and he fell into the wastepaper basket. I've covered him with a copy of the 'Charlie George Football Book'.
Mervyn: (handing her the phone) Right, you hang on. I must go and see him.
Mrs. Little: There was nothing we could do, Mervyn. If we'd have had the whole Philharmonic Orchestra in there, he'd still have gone.
Mervyn: I'm going upstairs, I can't bear it.
Mrs. Little: (restraining him) There isn't an upstairs dear, it's a bungalow.
Mervyn: Damn. (he storms off)
Mrs. Little: (into the phone) Hello, I'm sorry to keep you waiting, It's just that... (she takes her shoe off and looks inside) size three, yes it's just - we've lost a dear one and my son was ... yes, that's right, size eight, yes and... Oh I see... yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, I see, yes, yes, I, I ... Yes, yes. No ... no... yes, I see. They can't get the fire brigade Mervyn - will the Boys' Brigade do?
Mervyn: (off) No! They'd be useless!
Mrs. Little: No, he doesn't want anyone at the moment, thank you. No, yes, yes, no thank you for trying, yes, yes, ... no, Saxones, yes, yes thank you, bye, bye.
As she puts the phone down the front door beside her opens and there stands a huge African warrior in war paint and with a spear and shield. At his feet are several smart suitcases.
Eamonn: (E.I.) Mummy!
Mrs. Little: Eamonn. (he brings in the cases and closes the front door) Mervyn! Look it's our Eamonn - oh let me look at you, tell me how... how is it in Dublin?
Eamonn: Well, things is pretty bad there at the moment but there does seem some hope of a constitutional settlement.
Mrs. Little: Oh don't talk. Let me just look at you.
Eamonn: Great to be home, Mummy. How are you?
Mrs. Little: Oh, I'm fine. I must just go upstairs and get your room ready.
Eamonn: It's a bungalow, Mummy.
Mrs. Little: Oh damn, yes. Mervyn, Mervyn - look who's here, it's our Eamonn come back to see us.
Mervyn appears. He still looks shattered by the death of the hamster.
Mervyn: Hello, Eamonn.
Eamonn: Hello, Merv.
Mervyn: How was Dublin?
Eamonn: Well as I was telling Mummy here, things is pretty bad there at the moment but there does seem some hope of a constitutional settlement.
The phone rings.
Mervyn: (answering phone) Hello, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes - what? what? ... (looking at Eamonn's bare foot) Size seven. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes .... it's the fire brigade, they want to know if they can come round Thursday evening.
Mrs. Little: Oh no, Thursday's the Industrial Relations Bill Dinner Dance. Can't they make it another day?
Mervyn: (into the phone) Hello, no Thursday's right out. Yes, yes, yes, yes... (fade out)
Fade up on a dinner-jacketed announcer sitting at a table with a bowl of flowers on it. A hand waves from inside the bowl of flowers.
Announcer: And so it was the fire brigade eventually came round on Friday night.
Cut to fire engines skidding out of the fire station and roaring away - speeded up. They skid to a halt outside the Littles' suburban house. Firemen pour out of the fire engine and start to swarm in through the windows. Cut to interior of Littles' sitting room. It is laid out for a cocktail party. Mervyn is in evening dress and is sitting on the sofa looking very depressed. Mrs. Little in a faded cocktail dress. Eamonn still in warpaint with spear and shield. The firemen appear.
Mrs. Little: Oh, so glad you could come. What would you like to drink? Gin and tonic? Sherry?
Firemen: (in unison) A drop of sherry would be lovely. (as she starts to pour drinks the firemen confide in unison) We do like being called out to these little parties, they're much better than fires.
The phone rings. Half the firemen go to answer it.
A Fireman: (off) Yes, yes yes.
Firemen: Well, how was Dublin, Eamonn?
Eamonn: Well, as I was telling Mummy and Mervyn earlier, things is pretty bad there at the moment but there does seem some hope of a constitutional...
Mrs. Little: (to camera) Look at them enjoying themselves. (shot of party in the hall; we can just see the fireman on phone; they keep looking at their shoe sizes) You know I used to dread parties until I watched 'Party Hints by Veronica'. I think it's on now...
Panning shot across mountains in CinemaScope format.
roller caption: THE BRITISH
ASSOCIATION WITH TRANSWORLD INTERNATIONAL
NIMROD PRODUCTIONS PRESENT
ARTHUR E. RICEBACHER
DAVID A. SELTZER PRODUCTION
CHARLES D. ORTIZ' ADAPTATION
THE PULITZER PRIZEWINNING IDEA
DANIEL E. STOLLMEYER
TO THE SCREEN FROM ROBERT HUGHES'S NOVEL
LOUIS H. TANNHAUSER AND VERNON D. LARUE
HINTS BY VERONICA SMALLS
LIFE INNIT-FOR-THE-MONEY LIMITED
TRUSTEES OF ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
NICE MR ROBINSON AT THE VET'S
AUNTIE BETTY IN AUSTRALIA
A CINEMASCOPE PRODUCTION
to Veronica in the 'Party Hints' set - a chintzy kitchen.
Veronica: (E.I.) Hello, Last week on 'Party Hints' I showed you how to make a small plate of goulash go round twenty-six people, how to get the best out of your canapés, and how to unblock your loo. This week I'm going to tell you what to do if there is an armed communist uprising near your home when you're having a party. Well obviously it'll depend how far you've got with your party when the signal for Red Revolt is raised. If you're just having preliminary aperitifs - Dubonnet, a sherry or a sparkling white wine - then the guests will obviously be in a fairly formal mood and it will be difficult to tell which are the communist agitators. So the thing to do is to get some cloth and some bits of old paper, put it down on the floor and shoot everybody. This will deal with the Red Menace on your own doorstep. If you're having canapés, as I showed you last week, or an outdoor barbecue, then the thing to do is to set fire to all houses in the street. This will stir up anti-communist hatred and your neighbours will be right with you as you organize counter-revolutionary terror. So you see, if you act promptly enough, any left-wing uprising can be dealt with by the end of the party. Bye...
Animation: a dozen Communist revolutions.