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Sunset Boulevard

The Lux Radio Theatre

Sunset Boulevard

Sep 17 1951



CAST


The Lux Team:

ANNOUNCER, John Milton Kennedy 

HOST, William Keighley

LIBBY COLLINS, Hollywood reporter

IRENE MARTIN, intermission guest


Dramatis Personae:

JOE GILLIS

NORMA DESMOND

BETTY

MAX

SHELDRAKE

ARTIE

YOUNG GUARD

OLD GUARD

LIEUTENANT (2 lines)

CAPTAIN

DETECTIVE (2 lines)

and a few CROWDS




ANNOUNCER: Lux presents Hollywood!


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: Lever Brothers Company, the makers of Lux Toilet Soap, bring you THE LUX RADIO THEATRE, starring Gloria Swanson, William Holden, and Nancy Gates in "Sunset Boulevard." Ladies and gentlemen, your producer, Mr. William Keighley.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: THEME ... UP AND OUT


HOST: Greetings, from Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen. Sunset Boulevard, a busy thoroughfare in the heart of Hollywood, is far more typical of the motion picture capital than even Hollywood and Vine Streets. Here, you will find the site of the first motion picture studio, the swank offices of the actor's agents, the nightspots. And very far out, almost to the Pacific Ocean, the homes of the screen stars themselves. And this is where tonight's play takes place -- in the home of a famous, but forgotten, glamorous actress of the silent days. Recreating her original role is Gloria Swanson -- one of the most glamorous women of silent or talking pictures. Also playing his original role in this Paramount Picture, which, by the way, received eleven nominations for Academy Awards, is that excellent actor, William Holden -- and Nancy Gates, making her first appearance on our stage. Yes, Sunset Boulevard, with its many Lux girls traveling from studio to studio, is as representative of Hollywood as the Lux girls themselves. For in this capital of beauty, Lux Toilet Soap is a favorite complexion care. Now here's, "Sunset Boulevard," starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, William Holden as Joe Gillis, and Nancy Gates as Betty Schaefer, with John Wengraf as Max.


MUSIC: MAJESTIC INTRODUCTION ... THEN BRIEFLY GRIM AND OUT BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Twenty minutes ago, a murder was committed on Sunset Boulevard, at one of those great big mansions between Hollywood and the beach. You're going to hear a lot about it, because an old-time movie star is involved -- one of the biggest. The police haven't arrived yet. But they're on their way, I guess. The victim's body is still floating in the swimming pool. Nobody important, really. Just a movie writer with a couple of "B" pictures to his credit. The poor dope: he always wanted a swimming pool. Well, he got the pool -- only the price turned out to be a little high. 


MUSIC: BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Let's go back about six months and find the day when it all started. Things had been pretty tough. I hadn't sold a story in months. But I knew a big shot over at Paramount who always seemed to have liked me. And the time had come to take advantage of it. He was a smart producer, with a set of ulcers to prove it. (FADE OUT) 


SHELDRAKE: (FADE IN) All right, Gillis. You got five minutes. What's your story about? 


GILLIS: Well, it - it's about a baseball player, Mr. Sheldrake. 


SHELDRAKE: Oh?


GILLIS: The poor kid was once mixed up in a holdup. 


SHELDRAKE: Hm.


GILLIS: But he's trying to go straight. I, uh-- I submitted an outline a while back. I imagine your story department's got a report on it.


SHELDRAKE: Baseball story, huh?


GILLIS: Yeah, with a real good gimmick at the end.


SHELDRAKE: You got a title?


GILLIS: "Bases Loaded." And you got exactly the man for it right here on the lot -- Alan Ladd. Be a great change of pace for him.


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR  


SHELDRAKE: Come in, come in. 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS 


BETTY: Hello, Mr. Sheldrake. 


SHELDRAKE: Hello.


BETTY: On that "Bases Loaded," I have a two-page synopsis. You may want to look at it.


SHELDRAKE: Ah, thank you.


BETTY: Personally, though, I wouldn't bother.


SHELDRAKE: Oh? What's wrong with it?


BETTY: It's from hunger.


SHELDRAKE: (CLEARS THROAT) I'm sure you'll be very glad to meet Mr. Gillis. He wrote it. This is Miss Schaefer, from the reading department.


BETTY: (EMBARRASSED CHUCKLE) And right now I wish I could crawl in a hole and pull it in after me.


GILLIS: (DRY) If I could be of any help, Miss Schaefer-- 


BETTY: I'm sorry, Mr. Gillis, I - I just didn't think it was any good.


GILLIS: Just what kind of material do you recommend? James Joyce? Dostoyevsky?


BETTY: Perhaps the reason I hated "Bases Loaded" is that I knew your name. I'd always heard that you had some talent.


GILLIS: That was last year. This year I'm trying to pay the rent. 


SHELDRAKE: That'll be all, Miss Schaefer, thank you very much. 


BETTY: Goodbye, Mr. Gillis. 


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES AS BETTY EXITS


GILLIS: Look, I - I don't want you to think I thought this was gonna win any Academy Award, but-- I'm over a barrel, Mr. Sheldrake; I need a job.


SHELDRAKE: I haven't got a thing. 


GILLIS: Any kind of assignment. Additional dialogue. Rewrite. 


SHELDRAKE: There's nothing. Honest.


GILLIS: Mr. Sheldrake--? (EXHALES) Well, could you - could you let me have three hundred bucks? It's for my car. They're after my car. I mean yourself, as a personal loan.


SHELDRAKE: Could I? Gillis, last year somebody talked me into buying a ranch in the valley. So I borrowed the money from the bank to pay for the ranch. This year I had to mortgage the ranch so I could keep up my life insurance so I could borrow on my insurance so I could pay the bank. ... (DRONING ON) Then there's a little matter called income tax. Now, in case you don't-- (FADE OUT) 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Well, that was that. I drove out of the parking lot. No place in particular. Just driving and trying to think things out. The time had come to wrap up the whole Hollywood deal and somehow get back to Ohio. I stopped for a traffic light. Behind me, in the mirror, I saw a very familiar car. Two gentlemen from the friendly finance company.


SOUND: CAR RUNNING ... IN BG


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I jumped the light and stepped on the gas. I was on Sunset Boulevard now, heading toward the beach. Suddenly a tire blew out.


SOUND: TIRE BLOWS


GILLIS: (NARRATES) There wasn't time to think twice. I turned off the road into a private driveway.


SOUND: CAR TURNS AND BRAKES TO A STOP ... CAR DOOR OPENS ... GILLIS' HURRIED FOOTSTEPS TO SHRUBBERY


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I ducked behind some fancy shrubbery and waited. (BEAT) I was safe. (BEAT) The house was a great big white elephant of a place. The kind crazy movie people built in the crazy Twenties. (BEAT) A neglected house gets an unhappy look. This one had it in spades: dismal and damp looking; all grown over with some devouring sort of ivy. I started wondering how anyone could ever--


NORMA: (INTERRUPTS, IMPERIOUS) You there! Why are you so late? 


GILLIS: (FLUSTERED) Oh, I, uh-- I beg your pardon, but I'm, uh, uh--

 

MAX: (ALSO IMPERIOUS) In here! Come in. 


GILLIS: I - (CHUCKLES IN EMBARRASSMENT) - just left my car in the driveway. I had a blow-out. I thought maybe I--


MAX: Go inside. 


NORMA: (MOVING OFF) Have him come up, Max. 


MAX: (STERN, TO GILLIS) Wipe your feet! Go on. You're not properly dressed for the occasion. 


GILLIS: What occasion? 


MAX: Go up the stairs. 


GILLIS: Now, suppose you listen to me for just a minute--

 

MAX: Madame is waiting. 


GILLIS: (PUZZLED) For me? (SHRUGS, UNCARING) Okay. 


MAX: If you need any help, call me. (FADE OUT)


GILLIS: (NARRATES) So I went up the staircase. It led to a huge bedroom. On a table covered with a Spanish shawl, was a monkey. A dead monkey. I guess I just stood there, staring. (FADE OUT) 


NORMA: (FADE IN) You should have been here hours ago. I put him there because he always liked to be near the fire. Well, I've made up my mind that he be buried in the garden. Uh, any city laws against that?


GILLIS: Uh, I wouldn't know.


NORMA: I don't care anyway. I want the coffin to be white. I want it specially lined with satin. White, or maybe deep pink. Now, I warn you. Don't quote me a fancy price just because I'm rich.


GILLIS: Look, you've got the wrong man, lady. I - I had some trouble with my car. I thought this place was empty--


NORMA: (OFFENDED) It is not. Get out.


GILLIS: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. (BEAT, REALIZES) Hey, excuse me. But haven't I seen you before?


NORMA: Get out!


GILLIS: You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.


NORMA: I am big. It's the pictures that got small. ...


GILLIS: (DRY) Yeah, I - I knew there was something wrong with them.


NORMA: They're dead. They're finished. There was a time when they had the eyes of the whole wide world. But that wasn't good enough for them! Ho ho, no! They had to have the ears of the world, too. So they opened their big mouths, and out came talk, talk.


GILLIS: Yeah, well, that's where the popcorn business comes in. You buy yourself a bag and plug up your ears.


NORMA: Look at them in the front offices -- the master minds! They took the idols and smashed them. The Fairbankses, the Gilberts, the Valentinos. And who have you got now? Some nobodies.


GILLIS: (AMUSED) Well, don't blame me. I'm not a producer, just a writer. 


NORMA: You are? (WITH CONTEMPT) Writing words, words. More words! Well, you've made a rope of words and strangled this business! 


GILLIS: Ssh! You'll wake up the monkey.


NORMA: Get out! (CALLS) Max! 


GILLIS: Okay, okay, I'm going. 


NORMA: Just a minute, you. A writer, you said. 


GILLIS: (BEAT) Well?


NORMA: Are you or aren't you?


GILLIS: Oh, sure, sure. The last story I sold was about Okies in the Dust Bowl. But you'd never know, because when it reached the screen, the whole thing played on a torpedo boat. ...


NORMA: I happened to have written a script myself. It's the story of Salomé. I - I think I'll have DeMille direct it.


GILLIS: And you'll play Salomé?


NORMA: Who else?


GILLIS: Only asking. I, uh-- I didn't know you were planning a comeback.


NORMA: I hate that word. It's a return! A return to the millions of people who have never forgiven me for deserting the screen.


GILLIS: Fair enough.


NORMA: (WITH GREAT RELISH) Salomé -- what a woman! What a part! The Princess in love with a Holy man. He rejects her, so she demands his head on a golden tray, kissing his cold, dead lips. 


GILLIS: (DRY) They'll love it in Pomona. ...


NORMA: They'll love it every place! Read it! Read my manuscript. Read the scene just before she has him killed!


GILLIS: Now, look. Never let another writer read your material, Miss Desmond. He may steal it.


NORMA: I'm not afraid. (CALLS) Max?! 


MAX: Yes, Madame?


NORMA: The young man is staying for a while. Get some champagne. (FADE OUT) 


MUSIC: IN AND BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) So I started to read. Sometimes it's interesting just to see how bad bad writing can be. This promised to go the limit. She sat in front of me, coiled up like a watch spring, defying me not to like what I read. Or maybe begging me, in her own proud way, to like it. It meant so much to her. It was sure a cozy set-up: that bundle of raw nerves, and Max, and the dead monkey. Later on, just for comedy relief, the real guy arrived with a little coffin. It was all done with great dignity. He must have been a very important chimp. (BEAT) It got to be evening. I was feeling a little sick at my stomach, what with the champagne and that tripe I had been reading. By then, however, I had started making up a little plot of my own. (FADE OUT) 


NORMA: (IMPATIENT) Well? Well, you're not going to stop reading? 


GILLIS: This is fascinating. 


NORMA: Of course it is. 


GILLIS: All it needs is maybe a little more dialogue.


NORMA: What for? I can say anything I want with my eyes.


GILLIS: Well, it certainly could use a little editing.


NORMA: I will not have it butchered!


GILLIS: Oh, of course not. Just a touch here and there. You can find somebody.


NORMA: Who? I'd have to have somebody I could trust. Uh, when were you born? I mean, what sign of the zodiac?


GILLIS: I don't know.


NORMA: What month? What date?


GILLIS: Oh, December. December twenty-first.


NORMA: Sagittarius. I like Sagittarians. You can trust them.


GILLIS: Thank you.


NORMA: (COMES TO A DECISION) I - I want you to do this work.


GILLIS: Me? (CHUCKLES) Oh, no, I'm busy. I - I've got a job.


NORMA: I don't care.


GILLIS: And I'm pretty expensive. I get five hundred a week.


NORMA: I wouldn't worry about money. I'll make it worth your while.


GILLIS: Well, maybe I'd better take it home and look it over there.


NORMA: Oh, no. I won't let it out of my house. You'll - you'll have to work here.


GILLIS: Well, it's getting kind of late. 


NORMA: Are you married, Mister--? 


GILLIS: Uh, the name is Gillis. Single. 


NORMA: Where do you live? 


GILLIS: Hollywood. Alto Nido Apartments. 


NORMA: There's something wrong with your car, you said. 


GILLIS: There sure is.


NORMA: Why shouldn't you stay here? 


GILLIS: Ah, look, I'll come back tomorrow. I--


NORMA: Nonsense. There's a room over the garage. Max will take you there. (CALLS) Max! Max! Come here! (FADE OUT)


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I felt kind of pleased with the way I had handled the situation. Sure, I'd work on her script. Meanwhile, my car would be safe and the money prospects looked very good indeed. (FADE OUT)


MAX: This garage room has not been used for a long time.


GILLIS: Well, I guess it's okay for one night. (BEAT) She's quite a character, isn't she?


MAX: She was the greatest of them all. You wouldn't know. You are too young. In one week, she received seventeen thousand fan letters.


GILLIS: Yeah. I sure turned into an interesting driveway. 


MAX: You did, sir. Good night, Mr. Gillis. 


MUSIC: IN AND BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: I pegged him as slightly cuckoo, too. A stroke, maybe. Come to think of it, the whole place seemed to have been stricken with a kind of creeping paralysis -- out of beat with the rest of the world, crumbling apart in slow motion. When I woke up the next morning, all my belongings were there. Suitcases, books, even my typewriter. I threw on some clothes and ran over to the house. (FADE OUT) 


MAX: (FADE IN) Of course your things are there. I brought them myself.


GILLIS: (UPSET) Is that so?! Well, who said you could? Who asked you to?


NORMA: I did. It seemed like a good idea, if we are to work together.


GILLIS: Well, there's nothing in the deal about my staying here. 


NORMA: You'll like it here. Besides, you can't work in an apartment where you owe three months' rent. 


GILLIS: I'll take care of that.


NORMA: It's all taken care of. Max, unpack Mr. Gillis' things. 


MAX: It has been done, Madame. 


GILLIS: Well, pack 'em up again! I didn't say I was staying!


NORMA: (AN ULTIMATUM) Then suppose you make up your mind. Do you want this job or not?


GILLIS: (BEAT, NARRATES) Yes, I wanted the job. I wanted the dough. But it wasn't so simple getting some coherence into those wild hallucinations she called a script. And what made it even tougher was that she was around all the time -- hovering over me, afraid I'd do some injury to that precious brainchild of hers. (FADE OUT)


NORMA: (FADE IN) What are those papers on the floor?


GILLIS: Oh, just a scene I threw out.


NORMA: What scene?


GILLIS: Well, the one where you go to the slave market. It's better to cut directly to John the Baptist.


NORMA: Cut away from me?


GILLIS: Well, honestly, they don't want to see you in every scene.


NORMA: Don't they? Then why do they write me fan letters every day? Why do they beg me for my photographs? Why?! Because they want to see me -- me! -- Norma Desmond!


GILLIS: (RESIGNED) Okay, okay. 


NORMA: Put those pages back there, where they belong. (FADE OUT) 


MUSIC: IN AND BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) So I put them back. You don't yell at a sleepwalker. He may fall and break his neck. That was it. She was still sleepwalking along the giddy heights of a lost career -- plain crazy when it came to that one subject: her celluloid self, the great Norma Desmond. 


MUSIC: OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) It wasn't all work, of course. Sometimes there'd be little bridge games at the house. Friends of hers, actors. Dim figures you might still remember from silent pictures. I used to think of them as her waxworks -- fragile and old. They'd come and they'd go, quietly like ghosts. They never spoke to me. I don't believe they even asked her who I was. On other nights, Max would operate a motion picture machine. We'd see a movie, right in her living room. A silent movie. I guess I don't have to tell you who the star was. They were always her pictures. That's all she wanted to see. (FADE OUT) 


NORMA: (FADE IN) Still wonderful, isn't it? And no dialogue. We didn't need dialogue. We had faces! Oh, those idiot producers. Those imbeciles! Haven't they got any eyes?! Have they forgotten what a star looks like?! I'll show them! I'll be up there again! So help me! (FADE OUT)


GILLIS: (NARRATES) One morning, Max came in with bad news for me. The men from the finance company had paid us a visit. They'd found my car and towed it away. (FADE OUT)


NORMA: (FADE IN) Don't be ridiculous, Joe. They took your car. It's not a matter of life and death.


GILLIS: Well, it is to me. That's why I took this job!


NORMA: Now you're being silly. We don't need two cars. We have a car. And not one of those cheap new things made of chromium and spit. An Isotta-Fraschini. Have you ever heard of an Isotta-Fraschini? All handmade. Cost me twenty-eight thousand dollars. (FADE OUT)


GILLIS: (NARRATES) So Max got the old bus down off its blocks and polished it up again. It was upholstered in leopard skin, and had one of those car phones, gold-plated. (FADE OUT)


SOUND: FADE IN ... RUNNING AUTO BACKGROUND


NORMA: That's a dreadful shirt you're wearing, Joe.


GILLIS: Yeah? What's wrong with it?


NORMA: Nothing, if you work in a filling station. And I'm getting rather bored with that same sport jacket, and the same baggy pants. (INTO CAR PHONE) Max?!


MAX: (FILTER) Yes, Madame? 


NORMA: Take us to a good men's shop in town. The very best. Take us there now!


GILLIS: But I don't need any clothes, and I certainly don't want you buying them for me.


NORMA: Why begrudge me a little fun? I just want you to look nice. And, um, must you chew gum?


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT


MUSIC: IN AND BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) The last week in December, the rains came. It came right though the old roof of my room over the garage. So she had Max move me into the main house. I didn't much like the idea. But it was better than sleeping in a raincoat and galoshes.


MAX: You should be quite comfortable here, Mr. Gillis.


GILLIS: Uh huh. Whose room was this?


MAX: It was the room of the husband. Or the husbands, I should say. Madame has been married three times.


GILLIS: Oh. Hey, what's the matter with the door? There isn't any lock.


MAX: There are no locks anywhere in this house, sir.


GILLIS: How come?


MAX: Madame has had some moments of melancholy. There have been some attempts at suicide.


GILLIS: Oh.


MAX: We have to be very careful. No sleeping pills, no razor blades. We turned off the gas in Madame's bedroom.


GILLIS: Why? Her career? She got enough out of it. She's not forgotten. She still gets those fan letters.


MAX: Those letters? I would not look too closely at the postmarks.


GILLIS: (BEAT, REALIZES) You send them. Is that it, Max?


MAX: I'd better press your evening clothes, sir. Mr. Gillis has not forgotten Madame's New Year's Eve party. (FADE OUT) 


GILLIS: (NARRATES) No. No, I hadn't forgotten the party. I dreaded it. But I was curious as to who would be there. I heard voices; Max, ushering in the orchestra. A little later on, they started to play.


MUSIC: ORCHESTRA PLAYS A TANGO ... IN BG


GILLIS: I went downstairs. This was the night I was to find out how she felt about me. I'd been an idiot not to have sensed it coming. That sad, embarrassing revelation. She was dancing alone, a tango. And then she saw me and came over to the foot of the stairs.


MUSIC: UP, FOR A CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: In just a moment, we'll return with Act Two of "Sunset Boulevard." Now here's Libby Collins with the Lux Movie News of the Week.


LIBBY: With big news, John, about a top movie, one that will start people talking about awards and Oscars. It's Paramount Pictures' "A Place in the Sun."


ANNOUNCER: Oh, that's based on Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy," isn't it?


LIBBY: Yes, it is. The book is counted a great American classic, and the picture is great, too. With two such stars as Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters playing two girls in love with the same man -- he's Montgomery Clift -- you can imagine the drama unfolds into a passionate true-life story that's really moving.


ANNOUNCER: I certainly found "A Place in the Sun" a great love story. The contrast between the two girls: Shelley, the lonely little factory worker, and Elizabeth, the wealthy society girl. But in real life, both girls are so beautiful.


LIBBY: Well, why shouldn't they be, John? Especially when they're both--


ANNOUNCER: (INTERRUPTS) I know, Libby. Both Lux girls.


LIBBY: (CHUCKLES) Didn't their close-ups show you two beautiful examples of Lux-lovely complexions?


ANNOUNCER: (YES) Mm hm


LIBBY: You know, Elizabeth Taylor tells me she never skips her Lux Soap facials for a single day. This is what she says about Lux: "I work the creamy Active Lather well into my skin, rinse with lots of warm water and a dash of cold, then I pat gently with a soft towel to dry. It's wonderful the quick new beauty these facials give my skin."


ANNOUNCER: Lots of lovely women agree with Elizabeth Taylor. And every woman who wants a lovelier complexion should try this famous Hollywood beauty care: daily Lux Soap facials. Lux Active Lather cleanses so thoroughly, but so gently, it leaves your skin softer and smoother. See how easy it is to be Lux lovely. You'll understand why nine out of ten screen stars are Lux girls. (BEAT) And now, here's Mr. Keighley, our producer.


HOST: Act Two of "Sunset Boulevard," starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, William Holden as Joe, and Nancy Gates as Betty.


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) If there had been any hope of ducking that New Year's Eve party, believe me, I wouldn't have been there. As it was, I had put on that dinner jacket from the best shop in town and went downstairs. (FADE OUT)


MUSIC: FADE IN ORCHESTRA, WHICH PLAYS A TANGO, IN BG


NORMA: Joe, you look absolutely divine. Turn around. 


GILLIS: Oh, please. 


NORMA: Come on! (BEAT) Perfect. Wonderful shoulders. And I love that line. 


GILLIS: Oh, it's all padding. Don't let it fool you.


NORMA: (LAUGHS) Cute. You know, this floor used to be wood, but I had it changed. Valentino said there's nothing like tile for a tango. You tango, don't you?


GILLIS: Not on the same floor with Valentino! (BEAT) Norma, it's - it's late. What time they supposed to get here?


NORMA: Who?


GILLIS: The other guests.


NORMA: There are no other guests. This is for you and me, Joe.


GILLIS: Oh?


NORMA: Hold me tighter.


GILLIS: Okay.


NORMA: You think this is all very funny.


GILLIS: (CHUCKLES) A little.


NORMA: Be patient, Joe. You'll think it's nice, not funny. You'll think it's very nice. (FADE OUT) 


MUSIC: FADE OUT ORCHESTRA ... FADE IN NARRATIVE UNDERSCORE BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) So we danced -- Norma Desmond and I -- in a room big enough for a softball game, to the music of a twenty-piece orchestra.


MUSIC: FADE OUT UNDERSCORE ... FADE IN ORCHESTRA, WHICH CONTINUES IN BG


NORMA: (DRUNKENLY) What a wonderful year it's going to be, Joe. What fun we'll have. I'll fill my pool for you. Or I'll open my house in Malibu, and you can have the whole ocean. And when our picture's finished, I'll buy you a boat and we'll sail to Honolulu.


GILLIS: Oh, stop it. You're not gonna buy me anything any more. 


NORMA: Don't be silly. I'm rich, Joe. I'm richer than all this new Hollywood trash. I've got a million dollars. 


GILLIS: Keep it.


NORMA: I own three blocks downtown. I've got oil in Bakersfield -- pumping, pumping, pumping. What's it for, but to buy us anything we want?


GILLIS: Cut out that "us" business.


NORMA: What's the matter with you?


GILLIS: Has it ever occurred to you that I may have a life of my own? That there may be some girl that I'm crazy about?


NORMA: Who? Some car hop? Some dress extra from Central Casting? 


GILLIS: What I'm trying to say is that I'm all wrong for you. You want a Valentino, somebody with polo ponies, a big shot-- 


NORMA: (UPSET) What you're trying to say is, you don't want me to love you, is that it? Well, say it. Say it! Say it


SOUND: NORMA SLAPS GILLIS IN THE FACE


GILLIS: (BEAT, NARRATES) She left the room and rushed upstairs, and the orchestra kept playing. Well, I'd had enough. I grabbed my coat and left. 


MUSIC: ORCHESTRA FADES OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I thought about a friend of mine, Artie Green, an assistant director. There was bound to be a New Year's shindig going on in his apartment. I walked down to the Boulevard and hitched a ride into town. (FADE OUT)


SOUND: FADE IN PARTY CROWD


MUSIC: LIVELY PARTY PIANO PLAYS, IN BG


ARTIE: (IN A PARTY MOOD) Well, what do you know?! Joe Gillis!


GILLIS: Hi, Artie.


ARTIE: Where ya been? I dropped by your place a couple of weeks ago and the landlady said--


GILLIS: Well, I - I moved out -- to a deep freeze.


ARTIE: (AMUSED) Oh.


GILLIS: Look, I'll give you a full report later. Meantime, could I, uh, stick around here for a while?


ARTIE: Oh, this'll go on all night. 


GILLIS: No, I mean, uh, could you put me up for a week or so? 


ARTIE: Well, sure, Joe, sure. (MOVING OFF) Just stand by, kid. I'll get you a drink. 


BETTY: (APPROACHES) Hello, Mr. Gillis. 


GILLIS: Oh, hello. 


BETTY: Betty Schaefer, remember? Sheldrake's office. 


GILLIS: Oh, yes. 


BETTY: I've been hoping I'd run into you, Mr. Gillis. 


GILLIS: What for? To recover that knife you stuck in my back? 


BETTY: Well, I - I did feel a little guilty. So I got out some of your old stories. 


GILLIS: Why, you sweet kid. 


BETTY: Please, I - I would like to talk to you. (MOVING OFF) Come on, let's - let's go in the kitchen. 


SOUND: PARTY NOISE (AND PIANO) CONTINUES IN BACKGROUND


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I didn't pay much attention to what Betty was trying to tell me. Too much noise, too many people having a good time. But suddenly, I knew I was feeling good again, and that she was part of that feeling. I told her to wait for me; I'd be right back. I had to make a phone call. (FADE OUT)


SOUND: PARTY NOISE (AND PIANO) RECEDES A LITTLE, BUT CONTINUES IN BACKGROUND


MAX: (FILTER) I'm sorry, Mr. Gillis, but I cannot talk to you now.


GILLIS: Yes, you can. Now look, Max. I want you to get out my old suitcase and pack all of my old--


MAX: (FILTER) I have no time to do anything now. The doctor is here.


GILLIS: Doctor? What's going on?


MAX: (FILTER) Madame got - the razor from your room. And she cut her wrists.


SOUND: PHONE DISCONNECTS AS MAX HANGS UP


GILLIS: Max--? Max? Hello, Max?!


SOUND: GILLIS JIGGLES THE PHONE CRADLE ... RECEIVER DOWN ... PARTY NOISE FADES UP A LITTLE


ARTIE: Hey! Hey, Joe! Where you goin'? (NO ANSWER, TO BETTY) What did you do to him, honey? Scare him or something?


BETTY: (MYSTIFIED) Who was he talking to, Artie? Why would he leave like that? 


ARTIE: I don't know. How do you like that guy? (FADE OUT)


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: GILLIS' FOOTSTEPS APPROACH


MAX: Thank you for coming back, Mr. Gillis.


GILLIS: How is she?


MAX: The doctor says she will be all right. Be careful, Mr. Gillis. Be careful what you say to her.


MUSIC: IN AND IN BG


GILLIS: Norma?


NORMA: Go away. Don't look at me. Go away and let me alone.


GILLIS: What kind of a silly thing was that to do?


NORMA: To fall in love with you? That was the idiotic thing.


GILLIS: It sure would have made attractive headlines: "Great Star Kills Herself for Unknown Writer."


NORMA: Great stars have great pride. Go away. Go back to that girl of yours. (SOBS, IN BG)


GILLIS: Look, I - I was making that up because I thought the whole thing was a mistake. I didn't want to hurt you. You've been good to me, Norma. You're the only person in this stinking town who has been good to me.


NORMA: Then why don't you just say thank you and get out? 


GILLIS: Not until you promise to act like a sensible human being.


NORMA: (SOBS, TEARFUL) I'll do it again. I'll do it again. I'll do it again. (WEEPS, IN BG) 


GILLIS: Norma. (BEAT, FOR A HUG) Happy New Year, Norma. 


NORMA: (STOPS WEEPING; LOVINGLY) Oh, Joe. Joe. Happy New Year, darling. 


MUSIC: SWELLS FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) By the following day, if it hadn't been for her bandaged wrists, no one would have dreamed that here was a woman who'd tried to kill herself. (FADE OUT)


NORMA: (FADE IN) Immediately, Max. Immediately. Take this script over to Paramount and be sure you deliver it to Mr. DeMille in person.


MAX: Very good, Madame.


GILLIS: You're really gonna send it to DeMille?


NORMA: Well, this is the day. This is the day, Joe. Look. Here's the chart - from my astrologer. She's read DeMille's horoscope. She's read mine.


GILLIS: Did she read the script? ... Norma, scripts don't sell on astrologers' charts. 


NORMA: But, darling, I'm not just selling the script. I'm selling me. DeMille always said I was his greatest star. 


GILLIS: (GENTLY) When did he say it, Norma?


NORMA: Well, all right, it was quite a few years ago. But the point is, I - I never looked better in my life. Do you know why? Because I've never been as happy in my life. (CALLS) Now hurry, Max, hurry!


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION


MAX: It's for you, Madame. The telephone. Paramount is calling.


NORMA: (TRIUMPHANT) Now do you believe me, Joe? Paramount is calling. I told you DeMille would jump at my story.


MAX: It's not Mr. DeMille in person, Madame. Someone by the name of Gordon Cole. He says it is very important.


NORMA: (UPSET) Certainly it's important. The very idea of having some assistant call me! Say that I'm busy, and hang up!


MAX: Very good, Madame.

 

NORMA: How do you like that? We made twelve pictures together. His greatest successes! 


GILLIS: Maybe he's busy. Maybe he's shooting.


NORMA: (LAUGHS) I know that trick! He's trying to belittle me. He's trying to get my price down. I've waited twenty years for this call. Now DeMille can wait until I'm good and ready. (FADE OUT)


GILLIS: (BEAT, NARRATES) About three days later, she was good and ready. Incredible as it may seem, there had been more of those urgent calls from Paramount. So she put on a half a pound of makeup, fixed it up with a veil, and set forth to see DeMille in person. (FADE OUT)


SOUND: FADE IN CAR RUNNING ... THEN CAR PULLS TO STOP BEHIND--


NORMA: Joe, are you sure you don't want to see Mr. DeMille with me, dear?


JOE: No. I'll wait outside. It's your script, Norma; it's your show. Good luck.


NORMA: Thank you, darling. Uh, Max, what are we waiting for?


MAX: The gate, Madame.


SOUND: CAR HORN HONKS A FEW TIMES


YOUNG GUARD: Hold that noise, will ya, please?!


MAX: To see Mr. DeMille. Open the gate.


YOUNG GUARD: Mr. DeMille is shooting. Have you got an appointment?


MAX: No appointment necessary. I am bringing Norma Desmond.


YOUNG GUARD: Norma who?


MAX: Norma Desmond.


NORMA: (TO OLD GUARD) Jonesy! It is you, Jonesy!


OLD GUARD: (SURPRISED) Why - why, Miss Desmond! Oh, how have you been, Miss Desmond?


NORMA: Just tell that officer to open the gate. 


OLD GUARD: Sure, Miss Desmond. (TO YOUNG GUARD) Okay, Mac, open it up. 


YOUNG GUARD: They can't drive on the lot without a pass. 


OLD GUARD: Miss Desmond can. Open it up.


SOUND: GATE OPENS BEHIND--


NORMA: Where's Mr. DeMille shooting, Jonesy? 


OLD GUARD: Stage Eighteen, Miss Desmond.


NORMA: Thank you, Jonesy. And teach your young friend some manners. Tell him without me he wouldn't have any job, because without me there wouldn't be any Paramount Studio. (TO MAX) Max? Stage Eighteen! 


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) It wasn't possible. How could a man of DeMille's intelligence see even a glimmer of hope in a script as bad as the one she'd sent him? But he came out of the sound stage and put his arms around her, and then led her into his set. (FADE OUT)


SOUND: FADE IN BUSY BACKLOT BACKGROUND ... MOVIE STUDIO WORKERS MURMUR, ET CETERA


MAX: You saw them, Mr. Gillis? The extras, the electricians; they fall all over each other just to get a look at her. You see that row of offices? That used to be Madame's dressing room, the whole row.


GILLIS: That didn't leave much for Wallace Reid. Oh. Oh, that sign over there, Max -- "Readers' Department" -- reminds me, I - I want to look up somebody. I'll be back in a few minutes.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN ... TYPEWRITER AND OFFICE BACKGROUND


BETTY: Well, for heaven's sake! Come on in. Have a chair.


GILLIS: Hello, Betty. I just thought I'd tell you that if you still think there's anything in that story of mine, go ahead, take it. It's all yours.


BETTY: Why?


GILLIS: Well, it's no good to me. Help yourself. I mean it.


BETTY: That doesn't make sense. Besides, I'm - I'm just not good enough to do it by myself.


GILLIS: Well, what about all those ideas you had?


BETTY: You don't even know what they are. Maybe they aren't any good. Oh look, Joe, please. If you're busy, maybe-- Well, maybe we could work evenings, or -- or even six o'clock in the morning.


GILLIS: (IRONIC) Artie would just love that.


BETTY: Well, for the next month, Artie won't mind at all. He's out of town. Incidentally, we're engaged.


GILLIS: Oh? Huh. Well, good for you. You - you couldn't find a nicer guy. 


BETTY: That's what I think. Anyway, he's on location in Arizona, so I'm free every evening and every weekend.


GILLIS: Look, Betty, it can't be done. It's out. Now - now, stop being chicken-hearted and write that story. And don't make it too dreary. Get a few laughs in it. (MOVING OFF) So long, Betty. Good luck.


BETTY: (NOT SERIOUS) Oh, honest to goodness. I - I hate you.

 

SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) As I walked back to the car, I saw someone talking to Max. He was just leaving. Then Max turned to me and looked at me helplessly. (TO MAX) What's the matter?


MAX: That man. One of DeMille's assistants.


GILLIS: Well?


MAX: The reason for all those telephone calls to Madame. It was not DeMille. It was the Property Department who called.


GILLIS: Property Department? 


MAX: The car. They saw the car when I brought the script here. They want to rent the car. For a Bing Crosby picture. ...


GILLIS: And DeMille's going to tell her, then?


MAX: He will know what to tell her. He remembers her. He will not break her heart.


GILLIS: Take it easy. She's coming. 


MAX: You see? Look at her. Look at her. She's - radiant. 


GILLIS: (CHEERFUL, TO NORMA) Well, how'd it go?


NORMA: Oh, it couldn't have gone better! It's practically set. Of course, he has to finish this picture first. It's a - a circus picture. But I'm next. I'm sure I'm next. (SOBS; SUDDENLY QUIET, EMOTIONAL) He said, nothing would please him more than - than to work with me again.


GILLIS: (MOVED BY HER EMOTION) Norma--?


NORMA: Oh, it's nothing, I - I just didn't realize what it would be like to come back to the old studio. (EXHALES, REGAINS HER COMPOSURE) Well, what are you waiting for, Max? 


MAX: (MOVED) Forgive me, Madame. Your arm, Madame.


MUSIC: EMOTIONAL TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) After that, an army of beauty experts invaded the house. She went through a merciless series of treatments. Like an athlete training for the Olympic Games. She went to bed every night at nine. She was absolutely determined to be ready. Ready for those cameras that would never turn.


NORMA: (NERVOUS, TENTATIVE) Joe darling, are you - are you there?


GILLIS: (EXHALES WEARILY) Yes, Norma.


NORMA: Don't turn around. Keep your eyes on the book. I, er-- I just came down to say good night. I - I don't want you to see me; I'm - I'm not very attractive at the moment.


GILLIS: All right, good night.

 

NORMA: You know, I - I've lost a pound and a half since Tuesday.


GILLIS: Good. 


NORMA: Uh, you going to read all night? 


GILLIS: Oh, for a while. 


NORMA: (QUIETLY) You went out last night, didn't you, Joe? 


GILLIS: I, uh-- I went for a walk.


NORMA: No. You didn't. You took the car. (QUICKLY, VERY VULNERABLE) It's all right; it - it's just that I don't want to be left alone. Not while I'm under this terrible strain. All I ask is for you to be a little patient and a little kind.


GILLIS: Norma, I haven't done anything that-- 


NORMA: (INTERRUPTS, LOVINGLY POSSESSIVE) Of course you haven't. I wouldn't let you. Good night, darling.

 

MUSIC: IN AND BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Yes, she was right. I was playing hooky every night. That story of mine that Betty Schaefer had dug up kept going through my head like a locomotive. I had phoned her, and we'd started working on it -- just the two of us -- in her office. Nights, when the studio was deserted. And sometimes, when we got stuck, we'd walk around the lot. Just wandering down alleys between the sound stages, or through the sets they were getting ready for the next day's shooting. It was on one of those walks that Betty first told me about her nose.


MUSIC: TURNS WISTFUL, CONTINUES IN BG


BETTY: So, naturally, my family expected me to become a great star. Anyway, the studio made a test. But, uh, they didn't like my nose. It slanted a little.


GILLIS: Ah, they're crazy.


BETTY: Oh, no, they're not. So I went to a doctor and had it fixed. Then they gave me another test. This time they were crazy about my nose, but they didn't like my acting.


GILLIS: (DEADPAN) That's the saddest thing I ever heard. 


BETTY: (CHUCKLES) Oh, not at all. It - it really taught me a little sense. So I got a job in the mail room, then Stenographic, and now I'm a reader. 


GILLIS: (LIGHTLY) Three cheers for Betty Schaefer! I will now kiss her nose. 


BETTY: (AMUSED) If you please. 


GILLIS: (BEAT, FOR KISS; LIGHTLY, BUT GENUINE) May I say that you smell real special? 


BETTY: Must be my new shampoo.


GILLIS: No. No, that's not shampoo. It's more like freshly laundered linen handkerchiefs. (DRY) And may I suggest that if we're ever to finish our story you stay at least two feet away from me at all times. Now let's walk back to your office.


MUSIC: SWELLS ROMANTICALLY ... THEN OUT 


SOUND: NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND (CRICKETS, ET CETERA)


GILLIS: (NARRATES) It was long past midnight when I got back to the house. Max was waiting for me in the patio.


MAX: Mr. Gillis? You must be very careful. Madame may be watching. (BEAT) Mr. Gillis, I'm not inquiring where you go every night--


GILLIS: (SNAPPISH) Well, why don't you? I'm writing a script and I'm gonna finish it.


MAX: It is just that I am greatly worried - about Madame.


GILLIS: You're not helping her any, feeding her lies and more lies. What happens when she finds out there isn't going to be any picture?


MAX: She will never find out. That's my job. It's been my job for a long time. I made Norma Desmond a star, and I cannot let her be destroyed.


GILLIS: (SKEPTICAL) You made her a star?


MAX: I discovered her. I directed all her early films.


GILLIS: (WITH DISGUST) And she's turned you into a servant.


MAX: It was I who asked to come back, humiliating as that may seem. You see, I was her first husband.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) The following night, as usual, I was in Betty's office. Betty was strangely quiet. It wasn't like her. Something had happened. (FADE OUT)


BETTY: (FADE IN) I'm sorry, Joe. I - I don't want to talk about it.


GILLIS: Oh. Is it about me? What have you heard?


BETTY: No, no. It's Artie. He - he sent me a telegram.


GILLIS: Oh? Anything wrong?


BETTY: He wants me to come on to Arizona, Joe. (TEARFUL) He said it only costs two dollars to get married there. (WEEPS QUIETLY, IN BG)


GILLIS: Well, why don't ya? (BEAT) Well, stop crying, will you? You're - you're getting married. That's what you wanted.


BETTY: I don't want it now.


GILLIS: Why not? Don't you love Artie?


BETTY: Of course I love him; I always will. (BEAT) I'm not in love with him any more, that's all.


GILLIS: What happened? 


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN BEHIND--


BETTY: You did. (BEAT, LOVINGLY) Oh, Joe. Joe.


MUSIC: UP FOR BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) She'd been a fool not to sense there was something phony in my set-up. And I'd been a heel not to have told her. But you just can't say those things to somebody you're crazy about. Maybe I'd never have to. Maybe I could get away with it; get away from Norma. Maybe I could wipe the whole nasty mess right out of my life. 


MUSIC: OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) As soon as I got back to that peculiar prison of mine, I went to Norma's room. The door was closed, but I could hear her talking on the telephone. (FADE OUT)


NORMA: (FADE IN, SPEAKS INSINUATINGLY INTO PHONE) Forgive me for calling you so late, Miss Schaefer, but I really feel it's my duty. -- Never mind who I am. You do know Mr. Gillis? -- Exactly how much do you know about him? Do you know where he lives? Do you know how he lives? Miss Schaefer, I'm trying to spare you a great deal of misery. -- Very well, then. Ask him. Ask him.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS 


GILLIS: (RUSHING IN) Give me that phone! 


NORMA: No, Joe! No!


GILLIS: Give it to me! (BEAT, INTO PHONE) That's right, Betty, ask me. Or better yet, why don't you come out and see for yourself? The address is Ten Thousand Eighty-Six Sunset Boulevard.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


NORMA: (PLEADS DESPERATELY) Don't hate me, Joe. Don't hate me. I found a script in your room. Your name was on it -- your name and hers. I called her up because I need you. I need you as I never needed you before. Oh, look at me. Look at my hands, look at my face, look under my eyes. How can I go back to my work if I'm wasting away under this torment? You don't know what I've been through these last weeks! (SOBS)


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... BUILDS TO CURTAIN BEHIND--


NORMA: (INCREASINGLY TEARFUL) I bought myself a revolver. I did, I did. I stood in front of that mirror, but I couldn't make myself do it. Don't just stand there hating me! Shout at me, strike me! But don't hate me. Oh, don't, Joe. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? What are you going to do? 


MUSIC: UP, FOR CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE 


HOST: In a few moments, we'll return with Act Three. You know, Miss Nancy Gates, who is starring tonight in our play "Sunset Boulevard," is one of Paramount's talented Golden Circle Players. So I thought I'd invite as my guest tonight another Golden Circle member, one whose brown-eyed beauty and vibrant personality certainly say that she's headed for stardom, too -- Miss Irene Martin.


IRENE: Thank you, Mr. Keighley. It may be some time before I earn that word, "star." But meantime I'm having lots of fun on the Paramount lot.


HOST: Fun? Like what?


IRENE: Oh, playing my first role; watching other pictures filmed. The most fun was watching the new film, "Rhubarb," being made. I haven't stopped laughing yet.


HOST: (CHUCKLES) Rhubarb -- that's the name of the cat who inherited thirty million dollars and a baseball team.


IRENE: And what a cat! You'll roar at Ray Milland forced to be bodyguard and nursemaid to Rhubarb, who is tough, rough, and very smart. But that's only the beginning of his problems because Jan Sterling, the girl Ray wants to marry, is allergic to cats!


HOST: What a gift for comedy Jan Sterling shows.


IRENE: And what a lovely complexion she shows us.


ANNOUNCER: A Lux-lovely complexion, isn't it?


IRENE: Yes, indeed. Jan Sterling is a Lux girl. We both agree, Lux Toilet Soap is tops for beauty care and that nothing could be nicer than the big bath-size Lux for the daily bath.


ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Irene Martin. Yes, Lux has Active Lather that leaves skin feeling soft and satin-smooth. It's a creamy rich lather, abundant even in hardest water. Try it for your beauty bath. You'll love the delicate clinging perfume, the way Lux leaves skin fresh and sweet -- Lux-lovely all over. Nine out of ten screen stars use Lux Toilet Soap. We pause now for station identification. This is the CBS Radio Network!


MUSIC: FILLS PAUSE FOR STATION IDENTIFICATION


HOST: The curtain rises on Act Three of "Sunset Boulevard," starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, William Holden as Joe, and Nancy Gates as Betty, with John Wengraf as Max.


MUSIC: FOR INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) What was I going to do? Over and over she kept repeating those words -- sobbing, hysterical. I left the room and went out of doors. I kept walking around. And then I saw some headlights and a car turned into the driveway. Betty had come. (FADE OUT)


SOUND: FADE IN NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND (CRICKETS, ET CETERA)


BETTY: Joe, what is it? What's wrong? I didn't know what to do, so I jumped in the car.


GILLIS: Come on in. Come on in the house, Betty. 


BETTY: I don't know why I'm scared, Joe. Is it something awful? 


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES, CUTTING OFF NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND ... BETTY AND GILLIS' FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


GILLIS: Take a look around, Betty. Ever been in one of these old Hollywood palazzos? They built them like this when they were making eighteen thousand a week, and no taxes.


BETTY: You live here, Joe? 


GILLIS: You bet. 


BETTY: Whose house is it?


GILLIS: Whose? Well-- Well, there are a hundred photographs of her in that one room. If you don't remember the face, you must have heard the name. Norma Desmond?


BETTY: Why did she call me?


GILLIS: Did you ever see so much junk? She had the ceiling brought all the way over from Portugal. And look at this.


BETTY: Joe-- What about Norma Desmond?


GILLIS: That's what I'm trying to tell you. This is an enormous place. It's lonely here. So she got herself a companion. Very simple set-up: an older woman who's well-to-do, a younger man who's not doing too well. ... Can you figure it out yourself?


BETTY: No.


GILLIS: All right, I'll give you a few more clues.


BETTY: No! No, I haven't heard any of this. She never called me and I've never been in this house. Now get your things together and let's get out of here.


GILLIS: All my things? My eighteen suits, my custom-made shoes, the six dozen shirts, the cufflinks and the platinum key-chains and cigarette cases?


BETTY: Come on, Joe. 


GILLIS: Come on where? Back to a one-room apartment I can't pay the rent for? Back to a story that may sell and very possibly may not? 


BETTY: If you love me, Joe--


GILLIS: Look, sweetie, be practical. (BEAT) I like it here. Maybe it's not very admirable. Well, you and Artie can be admirable.


BETTY: (BEAT, DISAPPOINTED) I can't look at you any more, Joe. 


GILLIS: How 'bout looking for the exit, then? This way. 


SOUND: THEIR STEPS TO DOOR, IN BG

 

BETTY: (SOBS)


GILLIS: Good luck to you, Betty. You can finish that script on your way to Arizona. 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS 


GILLIS: And, uh, when you and Artie get back, if the two of you ever feel like taking a swim, there's a pool out there -- Italian marble and soft, colored lights. 


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES AS BETTY EXITS


NORMA: (APPROACHES, RELIEVED) Thank you, darling. Thank you, Joe. 


GILLIS: (LOW, BITTER) Get out of my way; I'm leaving, Norma.


NORMA: Joe! Joe, no, no. You can't leave me! You can't.

 

GILLIS: I said, I'm leaving. 


NORMA: No, you're not!


GILLIS: Thanks for letting me wear the handsome wardrobe. And thanks for the use of all the trinkets. The jewelry's all in the top drawer.


NORMA: It's yours, Joe. I - I gave it to you.


GILLIS: And I'd take it in a second. Only it's a little too dressy for Dayton, Ohio.


NORMA: What I gave you is nothing. You can have anything you want. What is it you want -- money?


GILLIS: You'd be throwing it away, Norma. I don't qualify for the job, not any more.


NORMA: You can't go! (CALLS) Max?! Max! (TO GILLIS) I can't face life without you! And you know I'm not afraid to die.


GILLIS: That's between you and yourself. 


NORMA: You think I made that up about the gun, don't you? All right, see? I do have a gun. I suppose you don't think I have the courage!


GILLIS: Oh, sure, sure -- if it would make a good scene.


NORMA: You don't care, do you? Well, hundreds of thousands of people will care!


GILLIS: Oh, wake up, Norma! You'd be killing yourself to an empty house! The audience left twenty years ago! Now face it!


NORMA: That's a lie! They still want me!


GILLIS: No, they don't.


NORMA: What about the studio? What about DeMille?


GILLIS: He couldn't hurt you. He couldn't hurt anyone. DeMille was trying to spare your feelings. The studio only wanted to rent your car.


NORMA: (BEAT, LOW, STUNNED) Wanted what? 


GILLIS: DeMille didn't have the heart to tell you. None of us has had the heart. (TO MAX) Come on in, Max. Go on, tell her.


NORMA: It's a lie. They want me. I get letters every day!


GILLIS: Do her that favor, Max. Tell her there isn't going to be any picture; there aren't any fan letters, except the ones you write.


NORMA: Max? That isn't true?! 


MAX: (FIRMLY) Madame is still the greatest star of them all. (BEAT, AN ASIDE) I'll take Mr. Gillis' bags to the car. 


NORMA: (SLOW AND TRIUMPHANT) You heard him. I'm a star.


GILLIS: Norma, you're a woman of fifty; now grow up. There's nothing tragic about being fifty -- not unless you try to be twenty-five.


NORMA: I'm the greatest star of them all.


GILLIS: (BEAT) Goodbye, Norma. 


NORMA: (WHISPERS) No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.


MUSIC: IN AND IN BG

 

GILLIS: (NARRATES) I left her standing there. I grabbed my coat and started out. She kept calling me. 


NORMA: Joe! Joe! Joe!


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I could hear her running after me.


NORMA: Joe! Joe!


GILLIS: (NARRATES) I was out of the house now. The air suddenly felt fresh again, clean. I started to cross the patio; she called to me once again.


NORMA: Joe!


GILLIS: (NARRATES) But I didn't stop. I kept on going.


MUSIC: OUT WITH--


SOUND: GUNSHOT!


SOUND: GILLIS' STAGGERING FOOTSTEPS, IN BG


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Suddenly, it was a great effort to keep on walking. I was alongside the pool now. And if I could only--


SOUND: TWO MORE GUNSHOTS! ... GILLIS STAGGERS AND FALLS INTO SWIMMING POOL ... SPLASH!


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Well, this is just about where you came in -- back at that pool again, the one I always wanted. 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS, BEHIND GILLIS--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) Only now the place is crawling with people -- the police, detectives, reporters, photographers. They took pictures of me in the pool, then they took pictures of me out of the pool. They were very careful with me. Gentle. It's funny how gentle people get with you once you're dead. Well, the newsreel guys are roaring in now. "Here's an item everybody can have some fun with!" (WITH CONTEMPT) The heartless so-and-so's. What would they do to Norma? Even if she gets away with it in court -- crime of passion, temporary insanity -- the headlines are going to kill her: "Forgotten Star a Slayer." "Aging Actress," "Yesterday's Glamour Queen." 


SOUND: CROWD MURMUR FADES OUT


GILLIS: (NARRATES) They're talking to her now up in the house, the boys from homicide. They found her upstairs sitting at her dressing table, arranging her hair. (FADE OUT) 


LIEUTENANT: (FADE IN) She just won't talk, Captain. State of shock, I guess. 


CAPTAIN: Miss Desmond, please. You don't deny having killed that man?


DETECTIVE: Just answer us "yes," or "no." Did you intend to kill him?


CAPTAIN: Who is he? Where did you first meet him? Where does he come from?


LIEUTENANT: Newsreel men are here with their cameras, Captain. 


CAPTAIN: Tell them to go fly a kite. This is no time for cameras. (TO NORMA) Miss Desmond? Is there anything at all you want to tell us?


NORMA: Cameras? He said cameras. What is it, Max?


MAX: The cameras have arrived, Madame.


NORMA: They have? Tell Mr. DeMille I'll be on the set at once.


CAPTAIN: (PUZZLED) What is this?


DETECTIVE: (LOW, TO CAPTAIN) It's one way to get her downstairs, isn't it?


CAPTAIN: Well, okay. Have the car right outside.


MAX: Everything will be ready, Madame.


NORMA: Thank you, Max. You'll pardon me, gentlemen, but I - I must get ready for my scene.


SOUND: COMMOTION OF MURMURING CROWD ... THEN BEHIND--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) The cameramen were at the foot of the stairs, a dozen reporters firing questions, but Max didn't even bother to look at them. It was the cameras he was interested in.


MAX: Quiet, everybody! 


SOUND: MURMURING CROWD QUIETS


MAX: Miss Desmond is coming! Lights! Turn up the lights! 


SOUND: PUZZLED CROWD MURMURS BRIEFLY ("Lights? What does that mean?") ... THEN OUT WITH--


MAX: Are you ready, Norma? 


NORMA: (AS IF IN A DREAM) What is the scene? Where am I?


MAX: This is the staircase of the palace. 


NORMA: Oh, yes, yes. 


MAX: Down below, they are waiting for the princess.


NORMA: I'm ready. 


MAX: All right. (CALLS) Cameras! Action


MUSIC: MELANCHOLY ... IN BG--


GILLIS: (NARRATES) So they were turning after all, those cameras. Life, which can be strangely merciful, had taken pity on Norma Desmond. She came down the stairs. They were not policemen. They were not photographers, or reporters, or just the morbidly curious. To Norma, they were her public, her fans. And she was back again, working with DeMille.


NORMA: I can't go on with the scene. I'm too happy. Mr. DeMille, do you mind if I say a few words? Thank you. I just want to tell you all how happy I am to be back in the studio, making a picture again. You don't know how much I've missed all of you. And I promise you I'll never desert you again, because after "Salomé" we'll make another picture, and another picture! You see, this is my life. It always will be. There's nothing else -- just us, and the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.


MUSIC: UP, FOR CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: In a few minutes, we want you to meet our stars in person; Mr. Keighley will tell you about next week's show. But first, here's Libby Collins with a very exciting question.


LIBBY: Who is the lovely Lux girl?


ANNOUNCER: Oh, you mean, who is the mystery star in the big Lux Girl contest?


LIBBY: That's it. The lovely Hollywood star with her eyes masked out. Her picture's appearing in newspapers everywhere -- on posters in grocery stores all over the country.


ANNOUNCER: Give our listeners a clue, Libby, to help identify her. 


LIBBY: Right. Our Lux mystery girl is the star of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's "Too Young to Kiss."


ANNOUNCER: That makes it easy for everyone to identify her, and to enter this wonderful Lux contest.


LIBBY: The prizes, John, are simply wonderful. Why, the first prize is five thousand dollars cash, plus a Ford Victoria sedan.


ANNOUNCER: And there are ten more Ford Victoria sedans to be given away. 


LIBBY: And two hundred fourteen carat gold diamond Bulova watches. 


ANNOUNCER: Plus, ten thousand dollars in additional cash prizes.


LIBBY: Over sixty thousand dollars worth of prizes, and every one easy to win. Besides, it's really fun to enter the contest. First, you identify the mystery star. Then, complete the last line of a jingle.


ANNOUNCER: Now, here's the jingle: "June is her name, the last is dah-da-dah." That's where you fill in the star's name. I'll repeat it. "June is her name, the last is dah-da-dah. Her lovely skin's beyond comparison. Her beauty soap's the one for me. Dah-dee, dah-dee, dah-dee, dah-dee."


LIBBY: Everyone knows lots of nice things about Lux Soap to help write that last line.


ANNOUNCER: Yes. For instance, Lux Soap has Active Lather, rich creamy lather that cleanses gently but thoroughly; leaves skin softer, smoother. It's a firm, white cake with a delicate flower-like fragrance. Comes in a generous big bath size, too. Nine out of ten screen stars are Lux girls. So go ahead, enter this big, "Who Is the Lovely Lux Girl?" contest right away. Get the entry blank at your grocer's tomorrow. The picture of the star to be identified, the jingle, the rules, and the address are all on the blank. Send in as many entries as you wish, but with each entry, attach two Lux Toilet Soap wrappers, either regular or bath size. The contest closes October fifteenth, so start now. Get your entry in right away. Just think: sixty thousand dollars worth of prizes; over twelve hundred opportunities for you to win. (BEAT) And now, here's Mr. Keighley with our stars.


HOST: And we want them to come forward for a well-deserved curtain call: Gloria Swanson, William Holden, and Nancy Gates.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


HOST: Gloria, I can't tell you what pleasure it gives me to welcome you to the Lux Radio Theatre.


GLORIA: Thank you very much, Bill Keighley. 


HOLDEN: Uh, Gloria, I understand that you're leaving town tomorrow to attend a big fashion show in the East.


GLORIA: That's right, Bill. I've designed a lot of clothes for the show, and I'm delighted over my new creations.


HOST: Well, we're delighted that you could make our Lux radio show. Gloria, with all your activities -- motion pictures, stage, your radio and television shows, dress designing, manufacturing--


GLORIA: Now, Bill, that's enough about me. What about Nancy Gates?


NANCY: Me? Well, I - I just recently signed with the studio, Miss Swanson. And I do think I'm very fortunate to start off as a member of Paramount's Golden Circle.


HOLDEN: You sure are, Nancy. I was a member of the original Golden Circle Players, and it was one of the best breaks of my career.


NANCY: Well, Bill, I - I think the Golden Circle is filled with very talented young people. And of course, all the girls would like to be a glamorous star like you, Miss Swanson.


GLORIA: (CHUCKLES) Thank you, Nancy, thank you. And now what about Bill? What have you been doing recently?


HOLDEN: (CHUCKLES) Well, I just finished a picture at Paramount with Nancy Olsen and Bill Bendix called "Submarine Command."


GLORIA: A submarine commander? That's something I haven't done. ... The picture I just finished, "Three for Bedroom C," is all about a staid, but attractive scientist, and a motion picture star. He knows everything about atomic radiation and nothing about the warm, human, chemical radiation that takes place between the male - and - the female. ... But - he learns. Yes, indeed. He learns. ...


HOLDEN: You're just the one to teach him. ... You know, that sounds like a real comedy hit.


HOST: And speaking of hits, Gloria, Lux Soap is a real hit with everyone. 


GLORIA: Well, now, that's not new, Bill. For a long time, we screen actresses have depended on Lux Toilet Soap.


NANCY: That's right, Miss Swanson, and we hope-to-be screen actresses wouldn't think of missing our Lux Soap facials.


HOLDEN: And I don't want to miss the announcement of next week's show, Bill.


HOST: Next week, we'll have a salute to the motion picture industry. We call it "Movietime, U.S.A." And we'll present scenes from seven important new productions with fifteen of our top stars. 


SOUND: AUDIENCE REACTS WITH AWE


HOST: They will be Mari Aldon, Ann Blyth, Leslie Caron, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Wendell Corey, Bing Crosby, Dan Dailey, John Derek, Joanne Dru, Gene Kelly, Vera Ralston, Donna Reed, Forrest Tucker, and Jane Wyman.


NANCY: (IMPRESSED) Oh! 


SOUND: AUDIENCE REACTS WITH AWE AND APPLAUSE 


HOLDEN: Just a little-- Just a little something they whipped up.


GLORIA: Well, that's going to be a great, great, super-great show, Bill. And now I must say good night.


HOLDEN: We'll all be listening. Good night. 


NANCY: Good night.


HOST: Good night, and all our best wishes.


SOUND: APPLAUSE 


ANNOUNCER: If you want real wear from your nylons, take the advice of the people who make stockings. Use Lux. Over ninety percent of the makers of nylons recommend it. Why? Because it's been proved by scientific strain tests, over and over, that the Lux way doubles stocking wear. Hollywood screen stars are thrilled with the way Lux makes even sheer nylons wear and wear. And New Lux with Color Freshener keeps colors newer-looking longer. Get a big box of New Lux tomorrow. Use it for stockings; for all your nice washable rayons, silks, and nylons; for that nice-as-new Lux look.


MUSIC: LUX THEME ... CONTINUES IN BG


HOST: Lever Brothers Company, the makers of Lux Toilet Soap, join me in inviting you to be with us again next Monday evening, when THE LUX RADIO THEATRE presents "Movietime, U.S.A." with scenes from seven new pictures with fifteen stars. This is William Keighley saying good night to you from Hollywood.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: LUX THEME ... TILL END


ANNOUNCER: Nancy Gates appeared through the courtesy of Paramount Pictures whose latest release is "Here Comes the Groom," starring Bing Crosby, Jane Wyman, and Alexis Smith. Our play was adapted by S. H. Barnett and our music was directed by Rudy Schrager. This is your announcer, John Milton Kennedy, reminding you to join us again next Monday night to hear "Movietime, U.S.A.," starring fifteen stars in seven of their latest pictures. This is the CBS Radio Network.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


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