SOCIETY FOR PUTTING THINGS ON TOP OF OTHER THINGS/ ESCAPE (FROM FILM)
Cut to a hallway in which a
middle-aged man in dinner dress is putting down the telephone rather furtively.
He leaves the booth and goes through a door into a large room where a banquet is
in progress. There are tables on three sides of a square and he joins the head
table which faces as it were downstage. He sits beside other middle-aged and
rather elderly men all of whom are the city of London ex-public school type. As
he sits, the toastmaster standing behind speaks.
Man: (T.J.) Sorry chaps, it was my
Toastmaster: (E.I.) Gentlemen, pray
silence for the President of the Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of
There is much upper class applause
and banging on the table as Sir William rises to his feet.
Sir William: (G.C.) I thank you,
gentlemen. The year has been a good one for the Society (hear, hear). This year
our members have put more things on top of other things than ever before. But, I
should warn you; this is no time for complacency. No, there are still many
things, and I cannot emphasize this too strongly, not on top of other things. I
myself, on my way here this evening, saw a thing that was not on top of another
thing in any way. (shame!) Shame indeed but we must not allow ourselves to
become too despondent. For, we must never forget that if there was not one thing
that was not on top of another thing our society would be nothing more than a
meaningless body of men that had gathered together for no good purpose. But we
flourish. This year our Australasian members and the various organizations
affiliated to our Australasian branches put no fewer than twenty-two things on
top of other things. (applause) Well done all of you. But there is one cloud on
the horizon. In this last year our Staffordshire branch has not succeeded in
putting one thing on top of another (shame!). Therefore I call upon our
Staffordshire delegate to explain this weird behaviour.
As Sir William sits a meek man rises
at one of the side tables.
Mr Cutler: (J.C.) Er, Cutler,
Staffordshire. Um ... well, Mr Chairman, it's just that most of the members in
Staffordshire feel... the whole thing's a bit silly.
Cries of outrage. Chairman leaps to
Sir William: Silly! SILLY!! (he
pauses and thinks) Silly! I suppose it is, a bit. What have we been doing
wasting our lives with all this nonsense? (hear, hear) Right, okay, meeting
adjourned for ever.
He gets right up and walks away from
the table to approving noises and applause. He walks to a door at the side of
the studio set and goes through it. Exterior shot: a door opens and Sir William
appears out of it into the fresh air. He suddenly halts.
Sir William: Good Lord. I'm on film.
How did that happen?
He turns round and disappears into
the building again. He reappears through door, crosses set and goes out through
another door. He appears from the door into the fresh air and then stops.
Sir William: It's film again. What's
He turns and disappears through the
door again. Cut to him inside the building. He crosses to a window and looks
out, then turns and says...
Sir William: Gentlemen! I have bad
news. This room is surrounded by film.
Members: What? What?
Several members run to window and
look out. Cut to film of them looking out of window. Cut to studio: the members
run to a door and open it. Cut to film: of them appearing at the door hesitating
and then closing door. Cut to studio: with increasing panic they run to the
second door. Cut to film: they appear, hesitate, and go back inside. Cut to
studio: they run to Sir William in the centre of the room.
Man: We're trapped!
Sir William: Don't panic, we'll get
out of this.
Sir William: We'll tunnel our way
Barnes: (M.P.) Good thinking, sir.
I'll get the horse.
Sir William: Okay Captain, you detail
three men, start digging and load them up with cutlery, and then we'll have a
rota, we'll have two hours digging, two hours vaulting and then two hours
Barnes and others carry a vaulting
horse into shot. The members start vaulting over it. Two Gestapo officers walk
Mr Cutler: All right, Medwin, let's
see you get over that horse. Pick your feet up, Medwin. Come on, boy!
First German Officer: (Ian Davidson)
Ze stupid English. Zey are prisoners and all they do is the sport.
Second German Officer: (T.G.)
worries me, Fritz.
First German Officer: Ja?
Second German Officer: Where's
the traditional cheeky and lovable Cockney sergeant?
Man: (donning tin helmet and putting
on a Cockney accent) Cheer up, Fritz, it may never happen (sing) Maybe it's
because I'm a Londoner...
Second German Officer: Good.
Everything seems to be in order.
The Gestapo officers leave. Mr Cutler
runs up to Sir William.
Mr Cutler: Colonel! I've just found
another exit, sir.
Sir William: Okay, quickly, run this
Everyone: If we could run that way.
.. (he stops them with a finger gesture) sorry.
Animation: A bleak landscape. A large
foot with a Victorian lady on top of it comes hopping past. A door in a building
opens and the society members (real people superimposed) run out, along the
cartoon, and disappear, falling into nothingness. Cut to section of an
oesophagus. The members (now animated cut-outs) fall down it into a stomach
where they are joined by various large vegetables. Pull back to show that this
is a cutaway view of an Edwardian gentleman. He belches.
Animation Voice: Oh, I'm terribly
sorry, excuse me.
He moves through a door marked 'GENTS'. We hear a lavatory flushing. Cut to café: announcer at table as before.
Announcer: (J.C.) Ah, hello. Well they certainly seem to be in a tight spot, and I spot... our next item - so let's get straight on with the fun and go over to the next item - or dish! Ha, ha!