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Neat Strip

The Damon Runyon Theatre

Neat Strip 

Sep 11 1949 



CAST

ANNOUNCER

BROADWAY

VIOLA ROSE, who does a neat strip

RUBE GOLDEN, burlesque theater owner

DANIEL FRAME, a Yale man

MRS. FRAME, dignified, cultured

VOICE (1 line)

and various CROWDS




MUSIC: FANFARE


ANNOUNCER: The Damon Runyon Theatre! 


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: Once again, "Damon Runyon Theatre" brings you another story by the master storyteller, Damon Runyon -- and this one: "Neat Strip." And to tell it to you, here is Broadway.


BROADWAY: Thanks. (NARRATES) It is early of a Monday morning that I am sitting in Mindy's with Rube Golden who is what is called an impresario -- although I think that is a little out of line for a guy who owns nothing but a high-class burlesque show. Now, Rube is very sad because it seems that his star, Clara Uplington, leaves the show sudden to get married, thus leaving the runway of Rube's the-ay-ter real bare of talent. Rube is sitting with his head in his hands, and I am watching him, when all of a sudden we hear a doll's voice cut in as follows:


SOUND: RESTAURANT BACKGROUND (CROWD MURMURS, ET CETERA)


VIOLA: Ah, excuse me.


BROADWAY: Huh? You are addressing me, little miss?


VIOLA: I want to talk to Mr. Golden.


BROADWAY: Oh, this is Mr. Golden. But he is in no shape or form willing to talk to anybody. He has troubles.


VIOLA: Yes, I know. But I wonder if I could talk to him?


BROADWAY: Address him and find out.


VIOLA: Is it all right?


BROADWAY: I can say no more than try it.


VIOLA: Thank you. 


SOUND: VIOLA MOVES NEXT TO RUBE


VIOLA: Uh, Mr. Golden? (NO ANSWER) Mr. Golden?


RUBE: Go away. Get lost. Drop in the river. 


VIOLA: But, please, I'd like to talk to you.


RUBE: Broadway, please -- get rid of her.


BROADWAY: (TO VIOLA) Yeah, I am afraid Mr. Golden is in no mood for chitchat. He just loses his best attraction.


VIOLA: But that's what I want to talk to him about. I'd like to take Clara Uplington's place.


BROADWAY: You?! (AMUSED) Oh, ho! You are nothing but a kid.


VIOLA: I'm twenty-two!


BROADWAY: You do not look it.


VIOLA: Oh, but I am! I have my birth certificate and--


BROADWAY: (INTERRUPTS, GENTLY) Okay, okay, you are twenty-two. Now, you hear what Mr. Golden says. Please go away, huh?


VIOLA: I will not! I came here to talk to him and I will! (TO RUBE, PASSIONATE) Mr. Golden, unless you stop up your ears, you'll have to listen to me. I can dance, I can sing a little, and I've got talent!


RUBE: Take it away with you. I never see you before in my life.


VIOLA: I know, but please give me a chance in your show!


RUBE: No!


VIOLA: I'll make good!


RUBE: Oh, go away, I say.


BROADWAY: Look, Miss, er--? Miss, er--?


VIOLA: Uh, Viola Rose is my name.


BROADWAY: (DISBELIEF) For real?


VIOLA: Well, it's really Laura Perkins.


RUBE: (PIQUED) Laura? (THOUGHTFUL) Laura. Broadway, do you remember Laura Simmons?


BROADWAY: I do. There is a real attraction.


RUBE: (NOSTALGIC) Yeah, there will never be another Laura.


VIOLA: I want to get in your show.


RUBE: (SHRUGS) Eh! Everybody does. (BEAT) You say you are twenty-two?


VIOLA: Yes, uh huh, that's right!


RUBE: Okay. According to the insurance men, you will live to be sixty-five or so. That gives you forty-odd years to be a good kid and go away. 


VIOLA: Not until you've given me a chance! I'll sit right here and hang on to you if it takes forty-odd years! 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) With that, this doll sits down. Now, I got to admit that my eyes are not hurt by what I see. I never see a prettier face. Right now, she is a little sore, and her cheeks get pink and her big, brown eyes light up. Rube Golden gives her another look, as do seventy-five other citizens sitting around at Mindy's. Now, what happens later -- and how she gets mixed up with a Yale guy -- is quite a story. And one which I will tell you in a minute.


MUSIC: CURTAIN


[COMMERCIAL BREAK]


MUSIC: FANFARE


ANNOUNCER: And now back to "The Damon Runyon Theatre" and the famous story "Neat Strip."


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... BLUESY JAZZ, HEAVY ON THE CLARINET ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Like I say, this Viola Rose sits down like she is willing to spend several years if necessary. Rube takes another look at her and says:


SOUND: RESTAURANT BACKGROUND


RUBE: Look, kid, every doll wants to sing and dance. It is a disease with the fair sex. They all want to be on the stage. You are no different.


VIOLA: (IMPLORING) Oh, then give me a chance.


RUBE: You ever on the stage before?


VIOLA: (QUIETLY) No. Never.


RUBE: Okay. Then permit me to slip you some advice: go away and forget this.


VIOLA: But I can take Clara Uplington's place!


RUBE: (LAUGHS) Kid, she is thirty years in the business.


BROADWAY: Thirty years?! But Rube, she does not look more than thirty-eight.


RUBE: The next thirty-eight she sees will be on her son's birthday.


BROADWAY: My, my. And to think how young she looks from where I sit when I see her.


RUBE: Yes.


VIOLA: Look, we were talking about me. I can take Clara Uplington's place.


RUBE: You are never on the stage before and you wish to take the place of a doll who I pay four C's a week. No.


VIOLA: (A THREAT) Do you want me to prove I can do it?


RUBE: I do not wish you to do anything but take a subway. Here is a dime. 


VIOLA: All right, I'll show you!


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS VIOLA RISES


BROADWAY: (SURPRISED) Hey! What is she gonna do, Rube?


RUBE: (NERVOUS) Hey! Doll! Not here! 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS CONSTERNATION AS VIOLA CLIMBS UP ONTO A TABLE


BROADWAY: (WORRIED) Little miss? There is a draft in here!


VIOLA: I want to sing and dance, and I can! I'll show you! 


RUBE: She is going into a routine. Clara's routine!


BROADWAY: My, my -- this is awkward! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS TO VIOLA'S STRIP TEASE


BROADWAY: Rube, she is getting to a very dangerous spot in the routine!


RUBE: Okay! Okay! Stop it! Right there! Do not go further!


VIOLA: Well? Will you give me a chance?


RUBE: But, kid--


VIOLA: (DEFIANT) All right!


BROADWAY: There she goes again!


SOUND: CROWD REACTS TO VIOLA'S STRIP TEASE


RUBE: Okay! Okay! You win! Be at the the-ay-ter tomorrow morning at ten! 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Now, I watch Miss Viola Rose very careful-- Er, to see how good she is. And I will say that with a little more practice she will be sensational. Then it comes up a couple weeks later that I pass Rube's the-ay-ter and I see Viola Rose's name up in big letters. I go backstage, and there I run into Rube, who says:


RUBE: (CHEERFUL) Broadway, that night in Mindy's is the luckiest in my whole life. Why, Viola is a sensation, right off!


BROADWAY: She makes good, huh?


RUBE: Like a gold dollar. Of course, when she sings, it is a little like an old-fashioned coffee grinder with pebbles in it. 


BROADWAY: (CHUCKLES)


RUBE: But if customers want songs, they go to the opera. If they wish entertainment, they come here.


BROADWAY: She is as good as Clara Uplington, huh?


RUBE: Better! In fact, Broadway, in my book, she is "one and two" with Laura Simmons.


BROADWAY: Gee! Coming from you, that is giving her a breakaway start.


RUBE: (SAD) But I'm not going to keep her long.


BROADWAY: No? She is leaving?


RUBE: She is. But she does not know it. Come on.


BROADWAY: Where?


SOUND: RUBE AND BROADWAY'S FOOTSTEPS TO DRESSING ROOM, IN BG


RUBE: Her dressing room.


BROADWAY: Is it all right? I mean, maybe she is dressing. 


RUBE: Not yet.


BROADWAY: Oh. Why do you say you will not keep her long?


RUBE: Do you know the Golden Bird Club?


BROADWAY: I am never in there, because it is a little too high-class, er, for my financial condition.


RUBE: Well, they get in touch with me. They offer to pay Viola six hundred a week.


BROADWAY: My, my. For a doll who gets her start in Mindy's, that is quite a jump!


RUBE: Wait until she hears about it. 


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT ... KNOCK ON DOOR


VIOLA: (BEHIND DOOR) Who is it?


RUBE: Rube, honey. And Broadway.


VIOLA: (BEHIND DOOR, PLEASED) Ah! Come on in! 


SOUND: DRESSING ROOM DOOR OPENS


VIOLA: Oh, hello, Broadway. How are you?


BROADWAY: Just fine, just fine! 


SOUND: DRESSING ROOM DOOR CLOSES


BROADWAY: And you?


VIOLA: Oh, wonderful. Sit down!


RUBE: Sure. 


SOUND: CHAIRS SCRAPE


RUBE: (HESITANT) Er, Viola, I - I gotta talk to you.


VIOLA: (WORRIED) Why? Is - is anything wrong?


RUBE: No, nothing. I - I pay you four C's a week, that right?


VIOLA: Yes. Oh, but if that's too much, I can--


RUBE: (INTERRUPTS) It is not enough. How would you like six?


VIOLA: (STUNNED, TINY) Me? Six hund--? Oh, no, Rube, I - I'm not that good.


RUBE: The Golden Bird Club thinks so.


VIOLA: The Golden Bird?


RUBE: You hear of it?


VIOLA: Sure. Lots of times. But I've never been there.


RUBE: You will. At six C's per.


VIOLA: I don't understand. I mean, I don't get it. 


RUBE: Look, they offer to buy your contract from me and up you two hundred fish on the week.


VIOLA: But that means I'll have to leave you.


RUBE: Sure.


VIOLA: I won't!


RUBE: You will. Look, I underpay you. I can still match that six C's and make money on the deal, but--


VIOLA: (INTERRUPTS, INSISTENT) I don't want any more money from you.


RUBE: It is not the money. It is the advancement.


VIOLA: Oh, but I like it here!


RUBE: That is not the point. From the Golden Bird, you can go into a big Broadway show. Look at all the dolls who do it before.


VIOLA: I don't care about them. You gave me a chance and--


RUBE: (INTERRUPTS) Sure. In burlesque. This gives you a chance for the big stuff. Am I right, Broadway?


BROADWAY: Rube is right, Viola. Maybe you kick around burlesque for some time, but who sees you? Nobody that counts. On the other hand, a lot of important citizens go to the Golden Bird. And from there on, who knows?


VIOLA: Ah, but - but, Rube--? What about your show?


RUBE: (REASSURING) Honey. I am in this business for thirty-five years. I lose one star after another, but sooner or later I come up with a new one. (LIGHTLY, WARMLY) Maybe I will find one again in Mindy's. Who knows? 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Well, it takes Rube a little while longer to talk Viola into the deal, but he does. And I hear that Viola is not at the Golden Bird very long before she is packing the customers in. Then, it comes up one night about a month later, and I am sitting in Mindy's when, all of a sudden, who comes in but Rube, and Viola is with him!


SOUND: RESTAURANT BACKGROUND ... CHAIRS SCRAPE AS RUBE AND VIOLA SIT


RUBE: (FUMING) High-class joint! The Golden Bird is supposed to be a high-class joint! Broadway, do you know what happens there?


BROADWAY: Surprise me.


RUBE: There is a table full of hotshot citizens from some rah-rah joint up the river, or 

down the river--


VIOLA: (ALSO MAD) Yale! They were from Yale! 


BROADWAY: Well! Education seems to be advancing. They are studying at the Golden Bird?


RUBE: Sure -- how to be high-class heels. One of 'em puts a lighted cigarette against Viola while she is dancing.


BROADWAY: (LOW, QUICK) What?! You all right, kid?


VIOLA: Oh, sure, sure, I'm all right. Just mad. Nothing like that ever happened while I was working for Rube. But in a high-class place where everybody has to dress in white tie and tails, it happened! Burlesque -- everybody looks down on us, but I'll take it any day. I'll take the whistles and the yells, and leave those characters at the Golden Bird have their broad A's and narrow minds. 


RUBE: I'm going back there and tear it apart! They tossed me out before I finished with those Yale citizens. 


BROADWAY: Yeah! Maybe you need some help. Now, I am not real hungry, so let us--


SOUND: CHAIRS SCRAPE AS RUBE AND BROADWAY RISE


VIOLA: Oh, sit down, both of you.


BROADWAY: Huh?

 

VIOLA: It's not worth it. 


SOUND: RUBE AND BROADWAY SIT


VIOLA: (TEARFUL) I won't go back again and I don't want either of you to get hurt. (STARTS TO WEEP)


RUBE: (SOOTHING) Aw, kid, don't. You come back to Rube at six hundred a week. You--


DANIEL: (INTERRUPTS, APPROACHES) I, uh-- I beg your pardon.


BROADWAY: Huh? Who are you? Where do you come from?


DANIEL: I - I should like to speak to Miss Rose.


VIOLA: (INDIGNANT) Well, look! Look who it is!


RUBE: (LIKEWISE) Broadway, it is one of the Yale citizens. 


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS RUBE RISES


RUBE: (ANGRY, TO DANIEL) Why, you--!


DANIEL: Now, wait a minute, please! Let me say something! I came here to apologize!


RUBE: I don't care what--


VIOLA: (INTERRUPTS) No, never mind. Go back to your comic friends!


DANIEL: They're not my friends. I just happened to meet them at the Golden Bird.


RUBE: You'd better be at it before I forget I am with a lady. Also, I am not outnumbered here.


BROADWAY: Yeah, you better go, mister. 


DANIEL: Not until I've apologized for what happened. Let me sit down.


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS DANIEL SITS


RUBE: Get up and out!


VIOLA: No!


RUBE: Huh? But this guy-- 


VIOLA: Let's see what he has to say, Rube. Let's see if he can think up an excuse for the 

rah-rah boy who did it to me!


DANIEL: I have no excuse, Miss Rose. There is none for such conduct. It was not only brutal and nasty, it was stupid. Please don't judge all of us by the distorted sense of humor of one fool.


RUBE: (SARCASTIC) That is a pretty bunch of words.


DANIEL: I'm apologizing to Miss Rose, not to you!


RUBE: Okay, wise guy. Get up.


DANIEL: (EXASPERATED) Oh, look, if it'll make you feel better, take a swing at me.


RUBE: Get up! 


VIOLA: Rube!


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS DANIEL RISES


RUBE: Put up your hands!


DANIEL: I told you, take a swing at me. Get it off your chest. Go on.


RUBE: Put up your dukes!


VIOLA: Rube, sit down! If you don't, I won't go back to your show!


RUBE: I-- (GIVES IN) Okay, Viola.


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS RUBE SITS


RUBE: But this citizen better not hang around.


BROADWAY: Is he one of the guys who puts the punch on you, Rube?


RUBE: I do not know.


BROADWAY: Well, his knuckles are skinned like he lays five against somebody's teeth.


RUBE: Nobody hits me, not in the teeth.


BROADWAY: Well, if he does not hit you, who does he hit?


DANIEL: Oh, look, forget about that.


RUBE: Saaaay! Those knuckles look like you-- Who did you hit, mister?


DANIEL: That's beside the point.


VIOLA: (EXHALES, REALIZES) Did you--? Did you hit the man who--?


RUBE: Well, well, well! I think maybe that is it.


DANIEL: (EMBARRASSED) Ah, I'm afraid I lost my temper.


VIOLA: (EXHALES) For me?


DANIEL: I-- (CHANGES SUBJECT, CHEERFUL) Well, look, I've got an idea. The evening's still young. Why don't we make a party of this? I mean, consider it my treat.


RUBE: Nothing doing. It is on me.


DANIEL: Oh, but, I insist, and-- Oh, I'm Daniel Frame, Junior.


BROADWAY: Daniel Frame? My goodness!


VIOLA: Daniel Frame?


RUBE: Frame? That name is very familiar.


BROADWAY: Since it is a name that is attached to about eighty zillion bucks, it should be very familiar, and not breed contempt at all.


DANIEL: Oh, please -- don't blame me for my father's money. (TO VIOLA) Now, what do you say? Do we make a party of it?


VIOLA: Well, I - I'd love to, but--


DANIEL: But what?


VIOLA: But I-- What would your friends say if they saw you with a - a--?


DANIEL: (SURPRISED) Well, you're an artist. Why, I've watched you night after night at the Golden Bird. I - I was going to send my card around to your dressing room, but--


VIOLA: But what?


DANIEL: (EMBARRASSED) Well, I didn't know what you'd say, or how you'd take it. Now this thing tonight seems like a - a twist of fate.


VIOLA: (EXHALES, QUIETLY, WARMLY) You really think so?


DANIEL: (QUIETLY, WARMLY) You bet I do. Now: do we have a party?


RUBE: Daniel, you are a good guy. We have the party. 


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS RUBE RISES


RUBE: Let us go.


BROADWAY: Er, Rube, er, sit down.


RUBE: (DOESN'T GET IT) We are going on a party.


BROADWAY: We will discuss business.


RUBE: What business?


BROADWAY: (CHUCKLES, LOW) Take a good look at them. 


RUBE: (BEAT, THEN CHUCKLES QUIETLY, LOW) I wonder if they know we are still here.


BROADWAY: (LOW) As far as they are concerned, we are in Flatbush. Let them go, Rube. Fate does not need us to do any more twisting. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) The way Viola and Daniel Frame look at each other is like waffle syrup. It does not take much to guess that they are in another world, all alone. But later, I begin to wonder how this will come out, because Daniel Frame, Jr. comes from a family that brushes off the Plymouth Rock for the Pilgrims to land on. And Viola Rose may be an artist, but, er, in a somewhat limited sense, indeed. Anyhow, I figure I will wait and see. I do. And what happens I will tell you in a minute.


MUSIC: CURTAIN


[COMMERCIAL BREAK]


MUSIC: FANFARE


ANNOUNCER: And now back to "The Damon Runyon Theatre" and the famous story "Neat Strip."


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... BLUESY JAZZ, HEAVY ON THE CLARINET ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Like I say, Viola Rose and Daniel Frame begin a duet -- and I wonder where the first sour note will come in. Although Daniel is getting an education at Yale, it seems he comes to New York to attend classes at Rube's the-ay-ter, and I know that sooner or later, word is gonna get back to his ever-lovin' parents. Then what happens? So it comes up one night and I am in Mindy's when in comes Viola. This time she is alone, and sits down and says:


SOUND: RESTAURANT BACKGROUND


VIOLA: Broadway?


BROADWAY: Yeah?


VIOLA: I'm pretty much in love.


BROADWAY: (CHUCKLES) That is yesterday's newspaper.


VIOLA: I know. And he loves me.


BROADWAY: Ah, I will wait until you get around to some news that is news.


VIOLA: I'm not doing anything wrong, am I?


BROADWAY: In what way?


VIOLA: By being in the show.


BROADWAY: Look, kid, that is the way you earn a living. I can name ten, twenty dolls who never earn a dime in their lives, but they have got fur coats and big cars.


VIOLA: That's the way I think.


BROADWAY: You are worried about Daniel's folks, huh?


VIOLA: Ah, no, not his father.


BROADWAY: You meet him?


VIOLA: No, but some of those New England citizens are our best customers at the theater. No, it's his mother I am afraid of.


BROADWAY: I see what you mean.


VIOLA: Daniel wanted to tell his mother and father, but I wouldn't let him.


BROADWAY: Why not? It seems to me that the sooner this thing is out in the open, the better it will be for everybody. 


VIOLA: I - I told him to wait.


BROADWAY: Hmm. Does Daniel ever say anything about your act?


VIOLA: Only that he's afraid I might catch cold. That runway gets pretty drafty. He's awfully sweet about being concerned for me.


BROADWAY: Well, Viola, it seems you have got a problem. Of course, if you quit--


VIOLA: (QUICKLY) Oh, no! I won't do that. Rube's been good to me. Gave me a break when I-- Oh, but you know that.


BROADWAY: Sure.


VIOLA: Oh, Broadway, he's having trouble.


BROADWAY: Oh? In what way?


VIOLA: Well, the police commissioner's starting a clean-up campaign -- no more of my act or any like it.


BROADWAY: Well, with that out, what is left?


VIOLA: I don't know. But we're trying something different tonight!


BROADWAY: Now, that will be very interesting. What?


VIOLA: I'm going to do my act with clothes! 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) What Viola says is true, because I hear later that day that there is a clean-up campaign on. I go to Rube's show that night and it is packed. Everybody is there to see Viola Rose do her act. It is the same way the next night, and the next. Every night for a week. Then it comes up a certain evening, and I am backstage talking to Rube, and the scene is as follows:


SOUND: BURLESQUE THEATER BACKGROUND (MEN CHEER AND WHISTLE) 


RUBE: She is wowing them again, Broadway!


BROADWAY: I do not understand it, Rube. First, they pay to see her dance with very little on in the way of warm clothing, now they still pack in and she has got on more clothes than an eskimo.


MUSIC: GENTLE STRIP TEASE ACCOMPANIMENT, IN BG


RUBE: (LAUGHS) Optimists! They are all optimists! They wait for her to do her old act. She is a great artist, Broadway. She keeps them guessing.


DANIEL: (ENTERS, CHEERFUL) Oh, hello!


RUBE: Well, Mr. Frame!


DANIEL: Hello, Broadway.


BROADWAY: How are you? And how is Yale? 


DANIEL: Fine. Rube, this is wonderful! She's wonderful and I've got a great idea.


RUBE: Idea? For what?


DANIEL: Wait till she comes off.


RUBE: Okay. (DELIGHTED) Broadway, there are ten gendarmes in that audience just waiting to close me up and arrest her. But they are fooled! 


MUSIC: ACCOMPANIMENT ENDS


SOUND: MEN APPLAUD AND WHISTLE ... THEN IN BG


BROADWAY: Here she comes!


VIOLA: (ENTERS) Rube! Rube, ring it down! Put on the blackout!


RUBE: Okay. (CALLS) Cue for the blackout!


DANIEL: Oh, Viola, you're wonderful! You keep them on the edges of their seats, even--!


VIOLA: And they keep waiting and waiting! (LAUGHS)


DANIEL: (LAUGHS) Yes! Listen, let's go someplace where we can talk. I've got an idea. Come on, Rube, Broadway; I want you in on this, too.


VIOLA: In my dressing room. But what are you talking about? What idea?


DANIEL: Mm, you'll see. There'll be no trouble at all now. Wait till Mother sees you do your act now.


VIOLA: Mother? Your mother?


DANIEL: Sure. Here.


SOUND: DRESSING ROOM DOOR OPENS


BROADWAY: You say your mother, Mr. Frame?


SOUND: DRESSING ROOM DOOR CLOSES, CUTTING OFF APPLAUSE AND WHISTLING, BEHIND--


DANIEL: It's perfect. Why, all you do now is dance -- and good, too.


RUBE: What are you talking about?


DANIEL: (DELICATELY) Well, you see, my mother-- I was afraid she'd be a little -- (EXHALES) -- worried about Viola catching cold. Mother's always been a bug about that sort of thing and--


VIOLA: Get to the point, Daniel. What do you want to say?


DANIEL: Well, look, I'll tell Mother, then next week I can bring her here to see ya.


VIOLA: Here?


DANIEL: Why not?


VIOLA: (WORRIED) I - I can think of a lot of reasons. But, Danny -- not yet.


DANIEL: But why not? There's nothing wrong with your act. Nobody'll be able to find anything the matter [with it.]


VIOLA: I - I'm scared stiff!


DANIEL: (PLEADS) Rube. Broadway. Help me. Talk to her. 


RUBE: Maybe he has got something, Viola.


BROADWAY: Sure. Why, the way you do your act now, it is practically a surefire bet for a Sunday School picnic.


VIOLA: But - but what if she finds out what it was before?


DANIEL: How?


VIOLA: Oh, I - I don't know, but some way, I guess.


RUBE: Look, honey, there is not a chance. Why, she sees you, she falls for you, and before you can say "Take it off!", you and Daniel'll be married without his mother ever knowing a thing.


VIOLA: But it doesn't seem fair that way. I think she should know!


DANIEL: (TENDERLY) Viola? Do you love me?


VIOLA: (EXHALES) Of course I do.


DANIEL: Then, that's that. Rube, I'll bet this is the first time you'll play to a society leader from New England!


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Well, it seems like a very good plan, and Viola says she will go through with it. So, it comes up one night the next week, and there I am sitting in the audience in Rube's the-ay-ter, wondering how this will come out. I keep looking around for Daniel Frame and his mother, but I do not see them and it is coming up time for Viola's act when the scene is as follows: 


SOUND: BURLESQUE THEATER BACKGROUND (MEN CHEER AND WHISTLE)


MRS. FRAME: I beg your pardon.


BROADWAY: Hmm?


MRS. FRAME: I said, I beg your pardon.


BROADWAY: Are you talking to me? 


SOUND: CHEERS AND WHISTLING FADE OUT BEHIND--


MRS. FRAME: Yes. I wonder if you could tell me when Miss Rose's act goes on.


BROADWAY: Oh. Next.


MRS. FRAME: Thank you.


BROADWAY: You are welcome.


MRS. FRAME: You seem to be looking for someone. I can move over one seat, if you like, and make room. 


BROADWAY: No, no, thank you. I am just looking around.


MRS. FRAME: I see. 


SOUND: MEN CHEER AND WHISTLE


MUSIC: GENTLE STRIP TEASE ACCOMPANIMENT, IN BG


MRS. FRAME: This, I take it, is to be Miss Rose's act?


BROADWAY: Huh? Oh, sure. Yeah, yeah. This is her act.


MRS. FRAME: She's quite a pretty girl, isn't she?


BROADWAY: Oh, she is one hundred percent.


MRS. FRAME: Dances quite well, too.


BROADWAY: Yeah, we like her. Um, do you mind if I ask you a question?


MRS. FRAME: No, of course not. What is it? 


BROADWAY: You do not seem like the kind of a dame-- Er, uh, lady -- who comes here.


MRS. FRAME: (QUIETLY AMUSED) What makes you think a lady wouldn't come here?


BROADWAY: (CHUCKLES) I guess you have got me there.


MRS. FRAME: The patrons seem to like this young lady.


BROADWAY: Oh, they do!


MRS. FRAME: She's really graceful. It seems very odd that the patrons should appreciate this sort of an act. I always thought they had different tastes.


BROADWAY: Lady, like they say in books, there is no accounting for tastes.


MRS. FRAME: I suppose not. Am I wrong, or do I sense some - some kind of curious expectancy among these patrons? That man over there, for example. Now, he looks as though-- Well, expectant.


BROADWAY: Lady, you do not know how much! But I think he will be disappointed.


SOUND: A LITTLE CONSTERNATION IN THE CROWD


MRS. FRAME: (SHARPLY) What's that?


BROADWAY: Huh, sounds like somebody having trouble in the back. Do not pay any attention--


VOICE: (OFF) Hey, fire! Hey! There's a fire out here! 


MUSIC: STOPS WITH--


SOUND: THE CROWD PANICS, CONTINUES IN BG


BROADWAY: Fire?! We gotta get out of here! Come on, lady, I will help you!


MRS. FRAME: (COOL, FIRM) Just a moment! Sit down!


BROADWAY: Huh?!


MRS. FRAME: I said, sit down! Don't get panicky. 


BROADWAY: Lady, if you wish to stay here and become a toasted bun, okay. Me, I am leaving!


MRS. FRAME: The fools, they'll all be killed. Why doesn't that girl on stage do something?


BROADWAY: Lady, please! Leave go of my arm!


MRS. FRAME: Wait! (CALLS, TO ORCHESTRA LEADER) Music! Music! Play! Go on, play! (TO BROADWAY) You, come with me.


BROADWAY: Me? Where to?


MRS. FRAME: That girl doesn't know what to do; she's frightened out of her wits. Well, don't stand there -- get me to the stage!


BROADWAY: Lady, I--


MRS. FRAME: Get me to the stage, I said! Everyone's going toward the exits. We can get to the stage. Quickly!


BROADWAY: Okay, okay! (TO CROWD) Let us through! Come on, break it up! Let us through!


MRS. FRAME: (TO CROWD) Be seated, all of you! (CALLS) Music! Play something! Play this girl's number! Go on! 


MUSIC: GENTLE WALTZ FOR STRIP TEASE ACCOMPANIMENT


BROADWAY: Okay, here is the stage, now I am leaving!


MRS. FRAME: You wait here! (TO VIOLA) Young lady! Miss Rose!


VIOLA: (CONFUSED) Wh-what?


MRS. FRAME: Don't just stand there! Do something!


VIOLA: But what?


MRS. FRAME: Can't you do anything that'll keep these idiots in their seats?


VIOLA: Why, only one thing!


MRS. FRAME: Then go ahead! Go on, quickly, before it's too late!


VIOLA: All right! (CALLS, TO ORCHESTRA LEADER) Butt, louder! Hit it harder! 


MUSIC: LOUDER, IN BG


MRS. FRAME: (PAUSE) Good.


BROADWAY: (WORRIED) Viola! That is your old act! Hey, you - you better--


MRS. FRAME: Let her alone. (TO VIOLA) Go on, young lady! Continue! 


SOUND: PANICKED CROWD SUBSIDES BEHIND--


MUSIC: ACCOMPANIMENT UP, TO FILL A PAUSE, THEN CHANGES TO BLUESY JAZZ BEHIND BROADWAY-- 


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Well, Viola Rose goes into her old act. And I have got to say that this time she does it better than any time before. First one guy sees her, then another. And it is not long before every citizen in the place stops right where he is, fire or no fire, and watches Viola. And she keeps right on and on until the fire department gets there. And it is a good thing they arrive when they do, because Viola is just about out of ideas. When the danger is past, I look around for the old doll who drags me up to the stage. But she is gone. Then it comes up later in Viola's dressing room, and the scene is as follows:

 

VIOLA: (CRYING) Oh, Broadway, it was terrible. I don't know how long I could have gone on.


BROADWAY: (SOOTHING) Kid, you do all right. You save a lot of lives.


DANIEL: (ENTERS) Viola! Viola! Oh, honey! Honey, are you all right?


VIOLA: Oh, yes, Danny, sure.


BROADWAY: She is more than all right. Do you know what she does?


DANIEL: Oh, yes, I know! Honey, you - you might have been killed.


VIOLA: Oh, I'm all right, Danny.


BROADWAY: I wonder what becomes of the old dame who thinks of the idea.


VIOLA: (STOPS CRYING, WARMLY) Oh, she was wonderful! I wouldn't have thought of it, but she--


DANIEL: What are you talking about?


BROADWAY: Some old doll is sitting next to me and--


MRS. FRAME: (INTERRUPTS, COOLLY) Good evening, Daniel.


DANIEL: (STUNNED) Uh-- Mother?


MRS. FRAME: I got here before you did, so I went into the theater. I'm glad I did.


BROADWAY: (QUIETLY) Mother? This is your mother?!


DANIEL: (EXHALES, AWKWARDLY) Yes. Uh, Mother, this is, uh--


MRS. FRAME: Miss Rose. I know. I - I saw her act.


VIOLA: (REALIZES, WITH DREAD) You - you saw me do that?


MRS. FRAME: Yes, I did. Daniel, I thought you said she was just "a dancer."


DANIEL: (WEAKLY) Why, she is, Mother. Why--


MRS. FRAME: What she did, she seemed to do quite expertly. As though she had quite a bit of experience.


DANIEL: Now, listen, Mother--


MRS. FRAME: I believe it's referred to as a "strip tease."


VIOLA: (DEFIANT) Sure, that's it! That's it!


DANIEL: (CAUTIONS) Viola--


VIOLA: So she saw me! All right, I'm not ashamed of it! 


MRS. FRAME: You know, I rather suspected the patrons in the audience were expecting something. Now I know what it was. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) With that, we all look at Daniel's mother. And she keeps looking at Viola Rose. I want to sneak out and get away, because I do not want to look at Viola's face, or Daniel's. Then something happens. And what the payoff is, I will tell you in a minute.


MUSIC: CURTAIN


[COMMERCIAL BREAK]


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... BLUESY JAZZ, HEAVY ON THE CLARINET ... THEN BEHIND BROADWAY--


BROADWAY: (NARRATES) Just when I am ready to take the wind and say goodbye to everybody and leave them standing there looking at each other, Rube Golden turns up, and what happens is this:


RUBE: (ENTERS, HAPPY) It is wonderful! It is wonderful! At first, they want to throw a pinch on me and Viola for her act, but the fire marshal says, if it is not for Viola-- (SEES MRS. FRAME, STOPS SHORT) Vi-- Hey. Where does she come from?


DANIEL: (AWKWARDLY) Uh, Rube, I, er-- Mother, may I present Mr. Golden? Mr. Golden, this is my mother, Mrs. Daniel Frame, Senior.


RUBE: (WITH HIDDEN DELIGHT) Well, well, well. So you are his mother!


MRS. FRAME: (THE SAME) I'm happy to know you, Mr. Golden.


RUBE: Are you kidding?


MRS. FRAME: You should be proud of this young lady, Mr. Golden. She saved a lot of lives with her act.


RUBE: And, uh, how do you feel about it, Mrs. Frame?


MRS. FRAME: Well--


DANIEL: Mother--


MRS. FRAME: Oh, be quiet, Daniel, and take that silly look off your face. Comfort your fiancée.


DANIEL: (SURPRISED) F-fiancée? (PLEASED) Mother!


VIOLA: (STUNNED) Did - did you say, "fiancée"?


MRS. FRAME: (WARMLY) Yes, I did.


VIOLA: (PLEASED) Oh!


BROADWAY: Well! Mrs. Frame, you are a good Joe!


MRS. FRAME: (NEARLY LAUGHING) Mr. Golden?


RUBE: (LIKEWISE) Yeah, Mrs. Frame?


MRS. FRAME: This girl needs quite a lot of work. Her act needs polishing. Of course, she did a very neat strip, but-- (SLYLY) Who is the best you ever saw?


RUBE: (LAUGHS HEARTILY) Like I always say, Laura Simmons is the best! And where do you keep yourself for all these years, Laura?! 


MUSIC: BIG CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: And so ends the famous Damon Runyon story "Neat Strip." Listen in again next week for: 


MUSIC: FANFARE ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: "The Damon Runyon Theatre"!


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL PAUSE ... THEN IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: "The Damon Runyon Theatre," with John Brown as Broadway, is directed by Richard Sanville, and the stories adapted for radio by Russell Hughes. Vern Carstensen is in charge of production. This is a Mayfair Production. 


MUSIC: BIG FANFARE FOR ENDING 

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