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My Client Curley

The Columbia Workshop

My Client Curley

Mar 07 1940



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

AGENT

STINKY

FATSO

TIMES

POST

HERALD-TRIBUNE

WORLD-TELEGRAM

DAILY NEWS

BILL ROBINSON, tap dancer

BIDDER

CHILD

GIRL, secretary

DISNEY, movie producer

FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST

SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST

THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST

EDITORIAL

DEFENDER

VARIETY

LIFE

JACK KNELL, CBS newsman

MAN

WOMAN

SPOKESMAN

CONDUCTOR

MUSICIAN

AMALGAMATED PRESS

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, first lady

PHILATELIST

POLICE RADIO

WALTER WINCHELL, commentator

RADIO ANNOUNCER

FIND-CURLEYITE

WAITER

SHIPPER




ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, in the following play, any similarity to caterpillars, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


MUSIC: BRIEF INTRODUCTION ... A GENTLE ORCHESTRAL VERSION OF "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY," THE 1925 POPULAR SONG BY WALTER DONALDSON AND GUS KAHN ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Workshop presents "My Client Curley," a new radio play by Norman Corwin, based upon a short story by Lucille Fletcher Herrmann.


MUSIC: UP BRIEFLY, THEN OUT BEHIND--


AGENT: (NARRATES) There are some things a man doesn't like to talk about because they're-- Well, I'll just tell this story about my client Curley, and then I'll go back to the agent business and try to forget it. But if I should get a lump in my throat while I'm telling it, I hope you'll understand, because this whole thing was so recent, I still feel pretty upset about it. To make a long story short, I'm out walking one day in the suburbs where I live, when my attention is attracted by two kids sitting on the side of the road and one of them is playing a harmonica. They're bent over, watching something on the ground, and I, being curious, go over to see what it is. 


MUSIC: DURING ABOVE, FADE IN HARMONICA PLAYING "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY" ... STOPS WITH--


AGENT: Hiya, boys. What you got there?


FATSO: We got a trained caterpillar.


AGENT: Yeah? What's trained about it?


STINKY: He dances.


AGENT: (CHUCKLES) I don't believe it.


STINKY: He sure does!


FATSO: Give us a nickel and we'll show you.


AGENT: (GOOD-NATUREDLY) Oh, a racket, huh? All right, I'm a sucker. Here's two nickels.


FATSO: Thanks, Mister. Okay, play, Stinky.


MUSIC: HARMONICA PLAYS "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY" ... THEN IN BG


AGENT (BEAT, FASCINATED) Well, what do you know! (TO STINKY) Now stop.


MUSIC: HARMONICA STOPS


AGENT: I'll be darned. Stops right when you do.


FATSO: Oh, sure. That's the way Stinky trained him. Didn't you, Stinky?


STINKY: Aw, it was nothin'.


AGENT: (INTERESTED) Uh, play some more, Stinky.


MUSIC: HARMONICA PLAYS THE LAST HALF-CHORUS OF "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY" ... THEN OUT WITH A FLOURISH


AGENT: (LAUGHS WITH DELIGHT) Lies right down when you're finished!


STINKY: Sure, he's talented, ain't he? (TO CURLEY, AFFECTIONATELY) Come on up on my finger, Curley. Th-a-at's a boy!


AGENT: Say, does Curley dance to any kind of music?


FATSO: Nope. Only "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby."


AGENT: You mean to tell me he only dances to one tune?


STINKY: That's right. I tried lots more, but I guess he only likes that one.


AGENT: Well, why is that, do you suppose?


STINKY: Feller I know says he got a real musical ear.


FATSO: I guess that's what those two branches are on his head, huh? Musical ears.


AGENT: No, that's his antennae.


STINKY: Antenna? (LAUGHS) He ain't no radio set! (LAUGHS BEHIND--)


FATSO: (LAUGHS) That's a good one, Stinky!


AGENT: Say!


FATSO: What?


AGENT: I wonder if he's got any snake blood in him. You know there are some snakes that dance.


FATSO: No kiddin'?


AGENT: Sure. Here, let me take your harmonica a minute.


STINKY: Sure. Here ya are.


AGENT: Curley may be related to one of them Asiatic snakes or something. Lemme play it a minute.


MUSIC: HARMONICA PLAYS "THE STREETS OF CAIRO" A.K.A. THE SNAKE CHARMER SONG ... THEN STOPS


AGENT: Nope. Won't budge. I guess it's an American caterpillar, all right. 


STINKY: Oh, sure.


AGENT: Look, fellers. I'll make you a proposition. How would you like to sell Curley?


FATSO: How much?


STINKY: Hey, wait a minute. I own Curley, and I don't wanna sell him.


AGENT: Why not, Stinky?


STINKY: (LOVES CURLEY, BUT ASHAMED TO CONFESS IT) Well, 'cause I-- Well-- Just because!


FATSO: (TO AGENT) You know why he don't wanna sell?


AGENT: Why?


FATSO: On account of he's stuck on him.


STINKY: Aw, shut up, Fatso!


AGENT: You mean you like Curley so much you don't want to part with him?


STINKY: (EMBARRASSED) I - I just don't want to sell him, that's all. Not even for a dollar. (AN AFTERTHOUGHT) Not even for two dollars!


AGENT: Well, of course, I don't think anybody'd ever offer you that much money.


STINKY: I don't care. He's my pet, and I want to keep him. I trained him from a pup!


AGENT: Now look, kiddo, I think you're a very bright and sensitive boy, and because of that, I'm gonna make you an immediate cash payment of five dollars for Curley!


FATSO: (EXCITED) Five bucks! Holy mackerel! Whadda ya say, Stinky? Huh?


STINKY: (ALMOST IN TEARS) Well, gosh-- I dunno.


FATSO: Take it, I'm tellin' ya! Take it! Now you can buy a bike!


STINKY: (RELUCTANT TO SELL) Well, that sure is a lot of money, but, y'see, I like Curley, and I guess Curley likes me, too; and when we're alone I talk to him, and he understands me. Curley likes to have me around. He's very intelligent, even though he don't look so smart.


AGENT: Oh, he looks smart, all right.


STINKY: Fatso or my old man or nobody else can't never get him to move. He won't do nothin' when they ask him. He lays down, just like on spite almost. (DEADLY SERIOUS) You know, if somebody took him away from me, Curley 'ould die.


AGENT: Ya think so?


STINKY: Sure. He's only human, ain't he? He'd absolutely die.


AGENT: Listen to me, Stinky. I'm gonna talk to you man to man. This caterpillar you've got is very valuable. He's worth a lot of money -- way more than five dollars, maybe.


FATSO: No kiddin'?


AGENT: Now this is what we're gonna do. Stinky, you're gonna stay with Curley and I'm gonna manage both of you. Curley'll be my client!


FATSO: What's that mean?


STINKY: What's a client?


AGENT: Well, you wouldn't understand very well. That's something I'll have to explain to your parents, because I've got to get their signatures on a long-term contract with options. You're a minor under the law, you see.


STINKY: (BEAT, APPREHENSIVE OF THE TERMINOLOGY). I didn't do anything wrong, did I?


MUSIC: LIVELY TRANSITION ... "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY" ... ORCHESTRA WITH HARMONICA COUNTERPOINT .. OUT BEHIND--


AGENT: (NARRATES) That was how it began. I get Curley under my management, and take him and Stinky with me. The first thing I do is start out after some publicity, and, boy, do those reporters eat it up! Front page, with pictures! Pictures of Curley, pictures of Stinky, pictures of me; pictures of my client dancing on a leaf, curling around the mayor's finger, climbing up a pretty model's leg, sitting in a tiny box at the opera. And headlines! Headlines, like this in the Times--


TIMES: Swing Caterpillar Sways to Strains of "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby"; Fred Astaire of Insect World Demonstrates Almost Human Sense of Rhythm.


MUSIC: ACCENT


AGENT: The Post!


POST: Curley in Custody of Stinky, Young Svengali of Caterpillars.


MUSIC: ACCENT


AGENT: The Herald-Tribune!


HERALD-TRIBUNE: Insect Phenomenon Learned to Truck in Truck Garden, Manager Avers.


MUSIC: ACCENT


AGENT: The World-Telegram!


WORLD-TELEGRAM: The Curley Crawl Becomes New National Dance Sensation.


MUSIC: ACCENT


AGENT: The Daily News!


DAILY NEWS: (LOUD) BUG CUTS RUG! (QUIET) Story on page two.


MUSIC: FINAL ACCENT ... TO A BIG FINISH


AGENT: (NARRATES) And sure enough, with all that publicity, things really begin happening. First, Bill Robinson introduces the Curley Capers at the Cotton Club!


MUSIC: SOLO TAP DANCE ... THEN IN BG


BILL ROBINSON: Uh huh! Copacetic!


MUSIC: SOLO TAP DANCE OUT


AGENT: (NARRATES) Then Raymond Scott writes a song called "The Caterpillar Creep."


MUSIC: TWENTY SECONDS OF "THE CATERPILLAR CREEP" IN THE STYLE OF RAYMOND SCOTT'S JAZZ COMBO


AGENT: (NARRATES) Then half a dozen agencies bid for the rights to syndicate a comic strip.


BIDDER: Four hundred twenty-nine papers, five days a week, making a grand total of-- (FADES OUT QUICKLY)


AGENT: (NARRATES) Other companies pay me royalties for Curley balloons and spaghetti and dolls and toys and picture books and decorations on the outside of drinking glasses.


CHILD: (WHINING) Maw, buy me the glass with Curley's picture on it!


AGENT: (NARRATES) And to make a long story short, I get a vaudeville offer. The money begins to roll in; I hire an expensive suite and a secretary.


GIRL: (INTO PHONE) Curley Enterprises. Good afternoon!


AGENT: (NARRATES) I buy Stinky a bike and a new suit of clothes.


STINKY: Gee, thanks!


AGENT: (NARRATES) The publicity begins to pile up, and at the height of the excitement, I get a wire from Hollywood!


DISNEY: (FILTER) Offer ten thousand for Curley appearance in feature length cartoon. Stop. Propose using live character for first time among cartoon characters. Stop. Appreciate immediate answer. Would like to rush story and production. Cordially, Walt Disney.


AGENT: (THOUGHTFUL) Mm. (TO GIRL) Oh, er, Miss Neilson?!


GIRL: Yes?


AGENT: Take a wire to Walt Disney, Hollywood, California.


GIRL: Yes, sir.


AGENT: Curley price one hundred thousand.


GIRL: (BEAT) Is that all?


AGENT: Do you think I should ask for more?


GIRL: No, I mean is there any more to the wire?


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP


GIRL: (INTO PHONE) Curley Enterprises. --- Just a moment, please. (TO AGENT) Time Magazine on the line. Will you take it on the table phone?


AGENT: (MOVING OFF) Oh, sure. All right.


SOUND: RECEIVER UP 


AGENT: (SLIGHTLY OFF, INTO PHONE) Hello? --- Yeah. This is him. --- Well, you see-- Yeah. --- Uh huh. --- No, I discovered him in the boy's possession. --- That's right. (THE REST OF THE CONVERSATION OVERLAPS WITH GIRL BELOW, ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO END OF SCENE) No. --- No. -- Yeah, sure. --- No, he hasn't yet. --- Right. --- Oh, I keep him right here. --- Stinky looks after him most of the time. -- Yeah. --- What? --- No. Oh, no, no. --- I beg your pardon? --- Oh, by all means. -- From the very first, huh? --- That's right. That's right. --- No, not yet. --- Probably not for another week or two.


SOUND: SECOND PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP ... GIRL'S PERSPECTIVE


GIRL: (INTO SECOND PHONE) Curley Enterprises. --- Well, he's busy on another line. --- Who? --- Oh, yes. Well, he wanted me to tell you to order a special airmail daily shipment of willow leaves from Florida. (SOUND: THIRD PHONE RINGS) Oh, wait a minute, will you? (SOUND: FOURTH PHONE RINGS) (INTO THIRD PHONE) Curley Enterprises. --- Yes. Just a second please. I'm trying to get him; in a minute. (SOUND: FOURTH PHONE RINGS AGAIN, MORE PHONES START RINGING) (INTO FOURTH PHONE, FLUSTERED) Yeah, hello, Curley Enterprises. No. Yes. Well, just a minute. Please! Wait, just a second! Curley Enterprises. Yes. (GIVES UP, SHOUTS TO AGENT) You better hire more secretaries!


MUSIC: LIVELY TRANSITION ("YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY") ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


AGENT: (NARRATES) Well, things are going along in great shape and Curley's making us a bundle of dough, when all of a sudden I get three visitors I didn't figure on.


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: We have been reading about your wonderful specimen in the papers, and we have come to ask permission to examine it.


AGENT: Examine it? What for?


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: We are lepidopterists.


AGENT: Lepidopterists? But Curley's a caterpillar, not a leopard.


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: Ah, no, no, no, no, my dear man. Lepidoptery is a branch of entomology dealing with the insect order of which your, er -- shall we say "client"? -- is a member.


AGENT: Well, I'm sure Curley don't want to be examined by nobody.


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: Oh, now, come, come! If this caterpillar is as remarkable as the newspapers say, then you certainly owe science the courtesy of permitting an examination.


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: Exactly.


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: Yes, it would be nothing short of criminal to withhold such knowledge from science.


AGENT: (GRUDGINGLY) Well-- If you want to put it that way--


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: It will take no more than two minutes.


AGENT: Oh -- I suppose it's all right. Uh, come with me, please. 


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OF MURMURING LEPIDOPTERISTS AS THEY MOVE FROM ONE ROOM TO THE NEXT ... DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES


AGENT: Hello, Stinky.


STINKY: Hello.


AGENT: This is Master Stinky, gentlemen -- discoverer and trainer of my client. He guards Curley all the time.


LEPIDOPTERISTS: (AD-LIB GREETINGS) How do you do, my boy?


STINKY: Pleased to meet ya!


AGENT: Well, there he is in that box. Uh, please be careful how you handle him.


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: (PICKS UP CURLEY, PLEASED) Ahhh! Here you are!


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: (IMPRESSED) Oooh. (CHUCKLES) My! Muscular little fellow, isn't he?


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: (EXAMINING) Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Yes. Normal mandible. Unusually conspicuous first maxillae.


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: I say, watch out there, Doctor, he's trying to bite you!


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: (SURPRISED) Huh! Never been attacked by a caterpillar before! Astounding!


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: Oooh. Oh, my. See here, Doctor? Just notice this remarkable elongation of the abdominal feet.


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: Oh, yes, yes, quite. And doesn't this feature make you think of the Aglais antiopa?


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: Incredible!


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: Look here! Isn't this remarkable?! Why, I've never seen such ocelli except in the Melanargia galathea. And the chitinization--!


AGENT: No kiddin'?


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: (TO AGENT) Well, sir! Congratulations! This is a remarkable specimen, even before we test its reactions to musical stimuli.


AGENT: Oh, gosh, thanks.


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: It is of the ordinary genus Papilio rutulus, mind you, but it has the most extraordinary features.


AGENT: Thanks very much.


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: But--! (CHUCKLES) We feel that the specimen would be much more valuable to society if you, instead of exhibiting it for commercial purposes, were to, uh, loan or donate it to the Museum of Natural History, where it could be further studied by the leading entomologists of the world.


AGENT: Aw, but I--


SECOND LEPIDOPTERIST: Yes, and when it dies, we can dissect it, and--


STINKY: (HORRIFIED, TEARFUL) No! No! They're not gonna take him away! Don't let 'em take Curley! Why, Curley's gotta stay with me! (CONTINUES TO CRY AND PROTEST INDECIPHERABLY IN BG)


THIRD LEPIDOPTERIST: Don't cry, my boy, we're not going to hurt him.


FIRST LEPIDOPTERIST: An insect like this occurs probably once in a million years -- and surely, for the sake of a few dollars, you're not going to risk injuring him by overwork.


AGENT: (OFFENDED) Are you accusing me of sacrificing Curley's health for profits?! Why, that's ridiculous! Curley is--!


SOUND: KNOCKING ON DOOR ... ALL FALL SILENT


AGENT: Yes? Come in.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


GIRL: Just got another wire from the coast! Disney's raised his offer to twenty thousand!


AGENT: (EVEN MORE OFFENDED) Twenty! Tell him a hundred thousand or nothing!


MUSIC: BRIEF ACCENT/TRANSITION


AGENT: (NARRATES) Well, the papers get hold of the lepidopterists' story, and there's another pile of publicity. It gets to be a moral issue, with preachers delivering sermons, and all like that. I'm attacked editorially for exploiting caterpillar labor.


EDITORIAL: (FADES IN) -- and in a nation faced by pressing legislative issues, striving to keep clear of foreign entanglements, and confronted on every hand by economic problems, what is it that occupies the concentration of millions from coast-to-coast? A caterpillar! And why is this? Because of the shameless exploitation of a little unsuspecting boy and a harmless insect by a mercenary agent who has turned to his own greedy personal advantage a natural phenomenon which belongs nowhere else but in a museum. The press at large is to be condemned for encouraging this Simon Legree, this Fagin, this veritable slave-trader to continue his career of rank exhibitionism, unabashed and in the full glare of wide publicity-- (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) But on the other hand, I'm defended as an individualist who refuses to submit to regimentation.


DEFENDER: (INCREASINGLY SAVAGE AND INTENSE) A man owns a clever bug. He has the right to manage that bug. There is no question about his status as manager of that bug. Yet he is asked to release his client for scientific purposes. He refuses. He has a right to refuse! Nobody denies that right! Yet in certain quarters of the press he is attacked, his character is slurred, aspersions are cast upon him, he is looked upon as a pariah, as a Philistine! Indeed, one of our esteemed contemporaries compares him with Simon Legree and Fagin -- merely because he insists upon his constitutional guarantees! We say it is consoling to find a man, in this day of reckless encroachment upon the individual, who will stand up and fight for his rights! We wish him well! We stand behind him, foursquare, our feet firmly implanted in the soil from which his bug has sprung, to support his defiance of those who would turn back the progress-- (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) The American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution send Curley an engraved silver-plated twig and a miniature flag to put on top of his box. The Maharajah of Lahore sends him some willow leaves from the sacred willow trees of the temple.


STINKY: Gee, look! A package from a place named Lakeshore with a lot of funny-looking stamps.


AGENT: Lahore, not Lakeshore.


STINKY: C'n I have the stamps?


AGENT: Yeah -- here y'are. 


SOUND: HANDS OVER STAMPS


AGENT: (NARRATES) I sign Curley up for a super-special movie short, and it sweeps the box offices of the country in spite of terrible weather, including blizzards and rainstorms. Variety reports:


VARIETY: Bliz and Driz Fail to Fizzle Biz as Bug Wows B.O. from N.Y. to L.A.


AGENT: (NARRATES) Life Magazine runs a Margaret Bourke-White picture of Curley on the cover, with the caption:


LIFE: (UNOSTENTATIOUS) Curley.


AGENT: (NARRATES) CBS does a pickup direct from Curley's box, bringing the sound of Curley eating dinner.


KNELL: This is Jack Knell speaking to you from the headquarters of Curley Enterprises, where we have a microphone buried among willow leaves, to pick up the sound of the world's leading insect danseur, busy eating dinner after a hard day's work of exhibiting his talents to the press. (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) The New Yorker comes out with a cartoon showing Martha Graham nibbling willow leaves.


MAN: (LAUGHS) Did you see this cartoon in the New Yorker?


WOMAN: Lemme see. (BEAT) Well, what's funny about that?


MAN: Well, for heaven's sake, don't you get the point?


WOMAN: No.


MAN: Well, don't you know who Martha Graham is?


WOMAN: Yes.


MAN: Well, you know who Curley is, of course?


WOMAN: The caterpillar.


MAN: Yes. Well, now, you see, Curley lives on willow leaves, and-- (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) Walt Disney raises his bid to fifty thousand, but I still hold out for a hundred thousand; Grover Whalen invites Curley to do an English country dance on the cover of the Magna Carta at the World's Fair; and, to make a long story short, everything's going along hunky-dory until one day some more public-spirited guys get ahold of Curley -- only this time they're not scientists, but musicians.


SPOKESMAN: (FADES IN) And therefore, in the interests of music, we of the committee feel that you would be rendering an invaluable service to musical knowledge if you would permit us to test the effects of classical music on your client.


AGENT: But what good'll that do anybody?


SPOKESMAN: Why, it may open up an entirely new field of psychology in relation to music. The world knows very little about the musical instincts of animals, and nothing at all about insects.


AGENT: But you're wasting your time. Curley dances to only one tune.


SPOKESMAN: Have you tried other tunes?


AGENT: Why, sure. Tell him what you've played, Stinky.


STINKY: I played "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More"--


AGENT: Yep.


STINKY: Uh, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"--


AGENT: Uh huh.


STINKY: Uh, let me see. "The Beer Barrel Polka"--


AGENT: That's right.


STINKY: Uh, "Shine on, Harvest Moon"--


AGENT: Mm hm. 


STINKY: Uh, "The Music Goes Round and Round"--


SPOKESMAN: Ah, but no classical music!


AGENT: Sure we did. I myself played "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life," by Victor Herbert.


SPOKESMAN: But you haven't tried any symphonies, have you?


AGENT: Why, Disney's trying to get us for a Silly Symphony right now. His latest offer--


SPOKESMAN: No, no, no, no; I'm afraid you don't understand. Let me explain what we propose to do. We get Curley in a studio with an orchestra and go through a careful series of tests, using selected symphonic music of dance-like tempi. Now, by the choice of representative works, we can quickly establish-- (FADES OUT)


SOUND: RAP OF CONDUCTOR'S BATON


CONDUCTOR: All right, all right, I know you're tired, gentlemen. We've now been through sixty-seven pieces already. But let's try a few more, and then we'll quit till tomorrow.


MUSICIAN: (OFF) Hasn't the caterpillar moved at all?


CONDUCTOR: No. So far he hasn't budged once, but maybe we'll get him with the Habanera from "Carmen."


SOUND: RAP OF CONDUCTOR'S BATON


MUSIC: ORCHESTRA PLAYS HABANERA FROM BIZET'S CARMEN ... FOR ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS ... THEN OUT WITH--


SOUND: RAP OF CONDUCTOR'S BATON


CONDUCTOR: Stop, stop, stop. All right, let's try Number, er, Sixty-Nine, Rosamunde Ballet.


MUSIC: ORCHESTRA PLAYS SCHUBERT'S BALLET FROM ROSAMUNDE ... FOR ABOUT TEN SECONDS ... THEN OUT WITH--


SOUND: RAP OF CONDUCTOR'S BATON


CONDUCTOR: Stop, stop. Next, Number Seventy -- Strauss's "Perpetuum mobile."


MUSIC: ORCHESTRA PLAYS STRAUSS'S PERPETUUM MOBILE ... FOR ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS ... THEN FADES OUT WITH--


AGENT: (NARRATES) For two and a half days this went on, and finally, after the two hundred and second try, something happened that really made the papers sit up and take notice all over again. The Amalgamated Press next day carried this story:


SOUND: FADE IN TELETYPE MACHINE ... THEN BEHIND--


AMALGAMATED PRESS: Curley, the terpsichorean caterpillar, today staggered scientists and musicians when he suddenly went into a stately dance upon hearing the second movement of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. The movement, marked Allegretto Scherzando, was the two hundred and third musical sampling performed in an effort to determine whether the super-caterpillar could, or would, dance to anything besides the song, "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby." The insect further astonished observers by dancing in a contrapuntal manner to an arrangement of melodies from both the song and the movement. Scientists are unable to explain the phenomenon. 


SOUND: TELETYPE FADES OUT WITH--


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... ORCHESTRA PLAYS SECOND MOVEMENT OF BEETHOVEN'S SYMPHONY NO. 8, ALLEGRETTO SCHERZANDO ... IN BG


AMALGAMATED PRESS: The management of the caterpillar announced meanwhile that Curley will appear as the lead in a ballet entitled "Extravaganza for Insects Only," by William Saroyan, and that Curley will also be seen soon in a dance recital at Carnegie Hall.


MUSIC: UP BRIEFLY, FOR TRANSITION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


AGENT: (NARRATES) Well, then things really begin to break for us. Mrs. Roosevelt writes about it in her column, "My Day."


ELEANOR: It is not often that a creature smaller than one's little finger can completely captivate the imagination of millions, yet such is the remarkable truth about the caterpillar named Curley. And only today I was telling the President that it has been many years since the country has become so interested in-- (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) There's talk among stamp collectors of issuing a special Curley stamp.


PHILATELIST: And since the Curley stamp would be the only insect subject in existence, its value to philately would naturally assume prodigious proportions-- (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) Scientific societies offer to investigate Curley's genius. And would you believe that the annual convention of the American Lepidopterological and Entomological Academy even invites Stinky to lecture before it?


STINKY: (ECHO; NERVOUSLY, NOT AN ORATOR) Uhhh, so I - I says to my mother, "Ma, can I have a penny? I want to buy a piece of candy!" So, uh, my - my mother says yes, and she gives me the penny. Er, er-- So, uh, on the way to the store, I, uh-- I see a caterpillar. And, uh, he's, uh, crossin' the road. So, uh-- So I - I stopped to watch it, see? And then I - I picked it up, and then I - I started to whistle a song. And it, um-- It happened to be "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby." Um--


AGENT: (NARRATES) And all this time the money keeps coming in. We're getting along fine, although it costs a lot to keep up my expensive offices and staff of secretaries, but I'm figuring on getting the big dough -- the hundred thousand from Disney -- and then retiring, see? Well, to make a long story short, there are a couple of exchanges of telegrams and phone calls, with me holding out for my price, and then one night Disney wires:


DISNEY: (FILTER) Will meet your price of hundred thousand. Please fly out with Curley next plane.


AGENT: (NARRATES) Wow! Am I excited! I rush into the next room, where Stinky and Curley are sleeping!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


AGENT: Stinky! Wake up! We're rich! We're practically millionaires!


STINKY: (WAKES, SLEEPILY) What's the matter?


AGENT: Aw, come on! Get your clothes on! Hurry! You're gonna take a long airplane ride with me and Curley! 


STINKY: Huh?


AGENT: And, boy, I'm gonna buy Curley the juiciest willow leaf he ever ate in his life! Aw, now I'm gonna tell the news to Curley. (AT CURLEY'S BOX) Here you are, little fella, here you-- (FREEZES, THEN PANICS) Where is he? Why ain't he in his box? Where's Curley? (CALLS) Curley?!


STINKY: I put him to bed all right. Ain't he in his box?


AGENT: Quick! Look all around the room!


STINKY: (CALLS) Curley? (CALLS INDECIPHERABLY BEHIND--)


AGENT: Under the carpet, under the bed, on the walls! Everywhere! And be careful where you walk!


STINKY: Oh, yeah. (CALLS) Hey, Curley! Come back here! Curley! Where are you, Curley? (CALLS INDECIPHERABLY BEHIND--)


AGENT: Curley! Curley! (DESPERATELY) Curley, listen! (SINGS, WITH TERROR-STRICKEN VOICE) "Yes, sir, that's my baby--"


STINKY: (SINGS, WITH CRACKED VOICE) "--No, sir, I - I don't mean maybe--" (SINGS AND CALLS BEHIND--)


AGENT: (SINGS WEAKLY) "Yes, sir, that's my baby now-- Yes, sir--" (EMOTIONAL OUTBURST) Curley! Curley, I love you! Where are you?!


STINKY: Curley, don't leave us! (SINGS AND CALLS BEHIND--)


AGENT: A hundred thousand bucks, Curley! (SINGS VEHEMENTLY) "Yes, sir, that's my baby--!" Hey. Hey! Hey, Stinky!   


STINKY: What?


AGENT: Here. Come here and take this flashlight and look for him along the corridor. Ask the manager to let you look at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Meanwhile I'll phone the police!


STINKY: Okay. (MOVES OFF, SINGING, CRYING, AND CALLING)


SOUND: PHONE RECEIVER UP ... CRADLE JIGGLES


AGENT: (INTO PHONE) Operator! Operator! Get me police headquarters! Operator!


SOUND: FADE IN POLICE SIREN ... THEN FADES OUT BEHIND--


POLICE RADIO: (FILTER) Calling all cars. Calling all cars. Be on the lookout for a dancing caterpillar. Be on the lookout for a dancing caterpillar. C-A-T-E-R-P-I-L-L-A-R -- caterpillar. That is all!


SOUND: RAPID BEEPS OF MORSE CODE ON TELEGRAPH KEY ... FADES OUT BEHIND--


WINCHELL: Flash! The Federal Bureau of Investigation will neither deny nor confirm rumors that Curley, the one-hundred-thousand-dollar caterpillar, was kidnapped! G-men are investigating closely!


MUSIC: SINGLE CHIME


RADIO ANNOUNCER: (VERY CULTURED) Ladies and gentlemen, we have been requested by the civic authorities to make the following announcement. Whenever you hear the song "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby," unquote, will you please watch very carefully, wherever you may be, for a dancing caterpillar in your vicinity. This announcement is in reference to Curley, the famous caterpillar whose recent career has-- (FADES OUT)


AGENT: (NARRATES) The whole country searches in vain. Nobody's seen Curley. The police throw out a dragnet. Posses are formed. Radio stations play "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" at intervals throughout the day, and ask all listeners to be on the lookout for a dancing caterpillar. Curley fans from all over send in money for a Find-Curley Fund.


FIND-CURLEYITE: (SLIGHT ECHO, INTENSE ORATORY) And I am privileged, as president of the Find-Curley Club, to announce to the members that the Find-Curley Fund has reached the impressive and staggering total of twelve thousand, three hundred and eighty-five dollars and fourteen cents, with the entire South yet to be heard from!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS AND APPLAUDS


FIND-CURLEYITE: And I am positive--! I say, I am positive that every mother's son of you -- yes, and every father's daughter -- will pledge his or her heart and hand to the one main and permanent objective -- that Curley may be found!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS, WHISTLES, AND APPLAUDS EVEN LOUDER ... OUT FOR--


AGENT: (NARRATES, MISERABLY) But nobody finds Curley. And now that he's gone, I begin to realize how much I loved that bug. I begin to understand why it was Stinky couldn't bear to sell him to me, way back in those happy days. I can't bear thinking of willow leaves. I find myself hating all birds and looking suspiciously at cats. And I take to drinking. 


SOUND: CLINK! OF GLASSES ... CLASSY DINING ESTABLISHMENT BACKGROUND


WAITER: What will it be for you, sir?


AGENT: A triple zombie.


WAITER: A triple? Are you sure you--?


AGENT: (INSISTS) A triple zombie!


WAITER: Yes, sir. 


AGENT: (NARRATES) And even Stinky tries to drink his way out of his grief. 


WAITER: And what will it be for you, young man?


STINKY: A cup of coffee -- and make it black!


WAITER: Are you sure you want--?


STINKY: (INSISTS, TEARFUL) Black coffee!


WAITER: Yes, sir. 


SOUND: BACKGROUND OUT


AGENT: (NARRATES) Meanwhile, sympathizers from all over the world, including Scandinavian countries, send me caterpillars, hoping maybe they've found Curley and are eligible for a reward offered by the Find-Curley Club!


SHIPPER: Mister, here's another barrel of caterpillars from Australia. Where'll I put it?


AGENT: Give it to the zoo.


SHIPPER: Which zoo, Mister?


AGENT: (EXPLODES) Any zoo, any zoo! As long as you get it out of here!


SHIPPER: Okay, Mister.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


AGENT: (NARRATES) Days go by. Weeks go by. I send Stinky home.


STINKY: (SADLY) Goodbye.


AGENT: Goodbye, Stinky. (BEAT) Well, at least you got a nice suit of clothes on you, and a fine automobile, and a chauffeur to drive you home in it.


STINKY: I'd rather have Curley back again.


AGENT: Yes. I know. Well-- Goodbye.


STINKY: G'bye.


AGENT: G'bye.


STINKY: G'bye. 


SOUND: TRANSITIONAL PAUSE


AGENT: (NARRATES) And then one day I'm sitting in my place, playing sadly on the piano with one finger, as is my wont.


MUSIC: SOLO PIANO ... AMATEURISHLY PICKS OUT MELODY OF "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY" WITH ONE FINGER ... OUT WITH--


AGENT: (NARRATES, EXCITED) All of a sudden, out from under the music rack - creeps Curley! (BEAT, QUIETLY SHAKEN) Only he's changed. He's different. He's not dancing any more. He's — he's a butterfly.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... ORCHESTRA QUIETLY PLAYS BEETHOVEN ... IN BG


AGENT: (TO CURLEY, TENDERLY) Curley! Hello, Curley. You're a big boy now, ain't you? (NARRATES, LOW) He flutters his wings a little when I say that, and I stroke his antennae, which are now very long and beautiful. I see he's getting restless for the outdoors, where he no doubt hears the call of his mate. So I sing a farewell to him. 


MUSIC: ORCHESTRA STOPS FOR-- 


AGENT: (SINGS SOFTLY) "Yes, Sir, that's my baby. No, sir, don't mean maybe--" (NARRATES) He flutters around my head, and then flies over to a picture of Stinky on the bureau. And then flutters back to me. And after one long look at me, he flies out of the window, never more to come back again.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... ORCHESTRA PLAYS A SLOW REPRISE COMBINING BEETHOVEN AND "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY" ... THEN IN BG


AGENT: (NARRATES) To make a long story short, I sit down, and I feel like crying. In fact, I do cry. Yeah, who would ever think that a grown man would ever cry about a caterpillar? But I did, and I ain't ashamed to admit it. 


MUSIC: OUT


AGENT: Well-- That's the story - of my client Curley.


ANNOUNCER: You have been listening to "My Client Curley," written and produced by Norman Corwin and based upon the original short story of Lucille Fletcher Herrmann. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.


MUSIC: FINALE ... A LIVELY SMALL COMBO JAZZ ARRANGEMENT OF "YES, SIR, THAT'S MY BABY"


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