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The Rudy Vallee Hour


Aug 18 1938


ANNOUNCER, Graham McNamee

HOST, Rudy Vallee

SVENGALI, over-the-top hypnotist

GECKO, his servile pupil

TRILBY, young woman

HOST: Walter Hampden, one of the most distinguished of actors, has been a major event in the summer theaters. Mr. Hampden, so famous as Hamlet, Cyrano, and other heroic characters, has astonished and thrilled his audiences by the power and range of his impersonations. Last week he played Svengali in "Trilby" at the Mohawk Drama Festival in Schenectady. Next week, Mr. Hampden moves to Ridgefield, Connecticut and light comedy in "A Successful Calamity." We are proud to present this great American actor in an episode from "Trilby." Assisting Mr. Hampden are Miss Muriel Hutchison who played Trilby with Mr. Hampden at the Mohawk Drama Festival and George Meader, of the Theatre Guild company, as Gecko.



HOST: The [scene is Paris,] Eighteen Fifty, a garret studio in the Latin Quarter. It is a spacious room, but gloomy in the wavering candlelight. Svengali -- a strange, mysterious, shabby musician from who knows where -- is brooding in the shadows. Slowly he raises his head. His weird eyes are burning as he calls to the violinist, Gecko, his pupil.

SVENGALI: Gecko? Gecko? Gecko?!

GECKO: Yes, master? I'm coming. Yes, master? Yes?

SVENGALI: You are my friend, huh, mein Gecko?

GECKO: Yes, master, such as I am. Second violin at the opera. Such as I am, I owe it all to you. You taught me all I know. How shall I forget it?

SVENGALI: Have I money, mein Gecko?

GECKO: No, master. Not a sou.

SVENGALI: Have I debts, mein Gecko?

GECKO: Our landlady does not permit us to forget it.

SVENGALI: I have here the card of her lawyer. It is a warning for me to leave my poor little room. Well, now. I -- who have to borrow five francs from those pig-dog artists -- am going to make millions. Millions! And you shall have a part of them; a small part, but enough.

GECKO: But how, master? How?

SVENGALI: With Trilby.

GECKO: Trilby? But she is an artist's model.

SVENGALI: I am telling you a great secret, mein Gecko. That composer, Litolff, discovered it, too. That freak Litolff, he has the cunning ear, and Litolff said to me that the most beautiful voice in Europe belonged to Trilby.

GECKO: But, master, she is tone deaf. She cannot distinguish one note from another.

SVENGALI: Bah. I have looked into her mouth. The roof is like the dome of the Panthéon. The entrance to her throat is like the middle porch of St. Sulpice. And her big British teeth are like the knucklebones, and the bridge of her nose is as the belly of a Stradivarius. What a sounding board! Oh, mein Gecko, she will bring so much money that we will weary of counting it.

GECKO: But she has never learned to sing.

SVENGALI: We will teach her. We will teach her together; morning, noon, and night -- six, eight hours a day. We will take her voice, note by note, until it rains velvet and gold, beautiful flowers, pearls, diamonds, rubies.

GECKO: (SKEPTICAL) Then you can work magic?

SVENGALI: Ya, I can work magic. At least, what fools call magic. I can make Trilby do my bidding.


SVENGALI: Yesterday you saw me cure the pain in her eyes.

GECKO: (SKEPTICAL CHUCKLE) A trick of magnetism.

SVENGALI: It was the beginning. Trained by me she shall sing for the whole world's delight.

GECKO: Master, she can no more sing than my fiddle can play of itself.

SVENGALI: Hers will be the voice, mine the feeling, mine the knowledge. I have not studied Mesmer's art in vain. Trilby shall be the greatest soprano the world has ever known, and emperors and grand dukes shall kiss her hand.

GECKO: But, master, Trilby loves the Englishman, Billee. They're very happy. They're to be married, master. They leave Paris for England tonight.

SVENGALI: There will be no wedding, mein Gecko. I have a way to stop it.

GECKO: (WORRIED) You will not hurt Trilby? We all love her so, master. I think - I think I want no share in this.

SVENGALI: You are in error, mein Gecko. We'll all go away together -- you and Trilby and I. We will wander eastward and leave these pig-dog artists to daub their canvasses, addle their little brains, and break their little hearts. And when we come back, we will bring with us a song-bird, oh, the like of which has never been heard before -- and the like of which will never be heard again.


SVENGALI: Ah, my little one. Yes?

TRILBY: (CLOSER) I'm looking for Billee.

SVENGALI: Indeed, ma belle Chérie. Billee is not here. Now, Gecko tells me that you and Billee are to be married tonight.

TRILBY: Yes, Svengali. I'm, oh, so very happy.

SVENGALI: So -- at midnight we say goodbye, my Trilby?

TRILBY: I shall be glad to leave Paris, Svengali.

SVENGALI: You will leave it gaily -- carriages, shouting, Zouzou blowing the horn -- and the organist at St. Nicholas playing beautiful music. But leave, my Trilby.

TRILBY: (UNEASY) Please, Svengali, don't stare at me like that.

SVENGALI: Ah, Trilby, the day will come when you will stare at me.

TRILBY: I wish you'd let me alone.

SVENGALI: Look at me. Look me in the whites of the eyes.

TRILBY: (HALTINGLY, AS SHE BECOMES ENTRANCED) I wish you would let me alone. I wish you would let--

SVENGALI: There's a light glimmering yonder -- the light of ugly little building; and inside are eight slabs of marble, all in a row. It is the Morgue--


SVENGALI: Though, be careful, my Trilby, that you who leave Paris so gaily do not come back to sleep on one of those marble slabs, so that the people stare through the plate-glass windows and say, "Ach, what a beautiful woman was Trilby. She should be riding in her carriage and pair. But she would not listen to Svengali, and so -- she lost him, and is now lying there while all day and all night, the cold water from the tap over her head shall trickle, trickle, trickle down her beautiful white body to her beautiful white feet." (VERY SLOWLY) Drip - drip - drip. Sleep, ma mignonne, sleep! (BEAT) Now-- Trilby? Can you hear me? (NO ANSWER) Trilby, can you hear me?


SVENGALI: You will do as I bid you?



GECKO: She is asleep.

SVENGALI: (SLYLY) Wake her up.

GECKO: Trilby? (NO ANSWER) Trilby?! Wake up! It's Gecko! (TO SVENGALI) Master, I cannot.

SVENGALI: Hmmm. Take this pen, Trilby. (BEAT) Now write. "My dear Billee--"


SVENGALI: "This is to say goodbye."

TRILBY: To say goodbye.

SVENGALI: "Your mother is right. I must never see you again."

TRILBY: Never see you again.

SVENGALI: "I have left Paris forever."

TRILBY: Paris forever.

SVENGALI: "Do not try to find me."

TRILBY: Try to find me.

SVENGALI: "I am safe with friends."

TRILBY: Friends.

SVENGALI: "Trilby O'Ferrall."

TRILBY: Trilby O'Ferrall.

SVENGALI: (LAUGHS TRIUMPHANTLY) She is mine, Gecko! Trilby is mine! (LAUGHS) 

GECKO: Svengali, you schemer of the devil!

SVENGALI: (LAUGHS) She's going to become the greatest of singers! She will sing as the nightingale! And the beautiful Prinzessen will invite Svengali to their palaces, and pay him a thousand francs to play for them, but he will not look at them. He will look inward at his own dream. And his dream shall be about Trilby -- to lay his talent, his thousand francs at her beautiful white feet. And you, my Trilby, you shall hear nothing, see nothing, think of nothing but Svengali, Svengali, Svengali! Remember these things, my Trilby, remember them. I will have millions, millions! (LAUGHS MANIACALLY)



ANNOUNCER: This week, your grocer invites you to enjoy a special treat -- ice cream made from Royal Puddings. Is your favorite chocolate? Or is it vanilla? Or butterscotch? You can have them all -- for Royal Puddings come in all three flavors and each flavor makes grand ice cream. And don't forget that Royal Puddings served the regular way are wonderfully cooling and delicious. Just try them -- well-chilled for a perfect summer treat. Ask your grocer tomorrow for Royal Puddings. Be sure to get real Royal -- R-O-Y-A-L. (BEAT) "The Rudy Vallee Hour" will continue in just a moment.