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Marc Blitzstein

The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 4, Part 1 (midi)

The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 4, Part 2 (midi)

 


 

Scene 4: Lawn of Mr. Mister’s Home and Night Court

 

(JUNIOR and SISTER MISTER enter in gliding hammocks. JUNIOR is sluggish, collegiate and vacant; SISTER is smartly gotten-up and peevish.)

 

SISTER

Junior!

 

JUNIOR

Leave me alone.

 

SISTER

You big lump! Why don’t you try to reduce?

 

JUNIOR

Don’t bother me, I’m busy.

 

(JUNIOR warbles; his hammock swings.)

 

JUNIOR

Croon, croon till it hurts, baby; Croon, my heart asserts, baby; Croonin in spurts, baby; Is just the nerts for a tune!

 

(SISTER’S hammock swings; it’s her turn.)

 

SISTER

Spoon, in a canoe, baby! Spoon, one built for two, baby; Just me and you, baby; I can,—can-oo, baby, spoon?

 

(JUNIOR practically bellows.)

 

JUNIOR

Oh, the crooner’s life is a blessed one. He makes the population happy. For when all one’s cares have distressed one—

 

(SISTER can still top him.)

 

SISTER

Oh, to spoon is grand in the June-day sun. You spoon and spoon and never get tired! But it’s nicer at night than in the noonday sun—cause then you’re Gary Cooper and I’m Carole Lombard!

 

JUNIOR

Just croon, even the poor are not immune. If they’re without a suit, tThey shouldn’t give a hoot when they can substitute—

 

SISTER

Find me a dream-man and leave us in Dreamland where me and my dream-man can—

 

JUNIOR

When they can substitute—Croon!

 

SISTER

Spoon!

 

(Enter MR. MISTER—he is so much the archetype of all the Mr. Misters in the world that he resembles the type not as all, is in fact, rather eccentric, a distinct individual; and EDITOR DAILY.)

 

MR. MISTER

Do we disturb you two unduly? I have business with Editor Daily.

 

JUNIOR

Should I wear stripes or checks? Oh, the problems of my attire! Scuse me, I got to make another long distance call to Esquire.

 

SISTER

And I got a date—with a fig! Get it?

 

(JUNIOR and SISTER exit.)

 

MR. MISTER

The children are rather witty…. I have called you here fairly early, my dear Editor Daily, because I have something on my mind.

 

EDITOR DAILY

All my gift at prose’ll be at your disposal, Mr. Mister, you’ve been very kind.

 

MR. MISTER

I believe newspapers are great mental shapers; my steel industry is dependent on them really.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Just you call the News, and we’ll tell all the news from coast to coast, and from border to border.

 

MR. MISTER

Yes, but some news—can be made to order.

 

MR. MISTER/EDITOR DAILY

Oh, the press, the press, the freedom of the press! They’ll never take away the freedom of the press! We must be free to say whatever’s on our chest—With a hey-diddle-dee and a ho-nonny-no for whichever side will pay the best.

 

MR. MISTER

I should like a series on young Larry Foreman, who goes around stormin’ and organizin’ unions.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Yes, we’ve heard of him, in fact, good word of him; he seems quite popular with working men.

 

MR. MISTER

Find out who he drinks with and talks with and sleeps with, and look up his past till at last you’ve got it on him.

 

EDITOR DAILY

But the man’s so full of fight; he’s simply dynamite; why, it would take an army to tame him.

 

MR. MISTER

Then it shouldn’t be too hard to frame him.

 

MR. MISTER/EDITOR DAILY

Oh, the press, the press, the freedom of the press! You’ve only got to hint whatever’s fit to print. If something’s wrong with it, why, then we’ll print to fit. With a hey-diddle-dee and a ho-nonny-no for whichever side will pay the best.

 

MR. MISTER

Have his picture fill the front page of your paper. This drunkard and raper who’s out to gull the people.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Just a minute, I’m not being indiscreet! I must consult the owner of my sheet.

 

MR. MISTER

Please don’t try to cross your good-humored new boss—I’m the owner of your famous paper since this morning.

 

EDITOR DAILY

In that case, I wonder if my place is not worth more? The other crowd would like me to shake you.

 

MR. MISTER

Then you’ll see just how neatly I’ll break you.

 

MR. MISTER/EDITOR DAILY

Oh, the press, the press, the freedom of the press! They’ll never take away the freedom of the press!

 

MR. MISTER

That Foreman series now?

 

EDITOR DAILY

Yes, Mr. Mister, yes!

 

MR. MISTER/EDITOR DAILY

With a hey-diddle-dee and a ho-nonny-no—

 

(EDITOR DAILY prolongs the last “no”.)

 

MR. MISTER?

No?

 

EDITOR DAILY

Yes, sir! Yes! Yes!

 

MR. MISTER/EDITOR DAILY

For whichever side will pay the best!

 

(The tune is over.)

 

EDITOR DAILY

I agree with you absolutely, Mr. Mister.

 

MR. MISTER

Now, that’s a big relief, Editor Daily.

 

EDITOR DAILY

You see, I was literary advisor for years to Princess Wallawallahuanee—of the Hawaiian Islands! We still correspond.

 

MR. MISTER

Then you’re just the man to write the manifesto for my new Liberty Committee.

 

EDITOR DAILY

If I do say so myself—

 

MR. MISTER

A literary advisor to a Princess, what do you know!

 

EDITOR DAILY

Yes, well, spelling and things—you know.

 

(JUNIOR is heard whooping it up.)

 

MR. MISTER

Oh, yes, about Junior…

 

EDITOR DAILY

I do like Junior!

 

MR. MISTER

He doesn’t go so well with union trouble. I want him out of town: say on the paper. A correspondent’s job or something—see?

 

EDITOR DAILY

(Gulps.) Your Junior—working? Yes, I see.

 

(Enter JUNIOR and SISTER, displaying that other aspect of boredom—they’re going crazy.)

 

JUNIOR/SISTER

Let’s do something! So unconventional and so intentional, people all around get pale! Let’s do something!

 

SISTER

Before we’ve got too old—

 

JUNIOR

I’m glad I’m not too old to tie a can to a doggie’s tail!

 

JUNIOR/SENIOR

Let’s raise chickens; raise the dickens; go to church and be on time; for excitement, an indictment would be swell if we invent a crime—but let’s do something! To kill the monotony, let’s go in for botany. If they’ve got any, and if not any, then let’s do something!

 

EDITOR DAILY

Have you thought of Honolulu where your boredom would be banned? Bid your family toodle-ooloo. Sail away to that fair land! That’s just the isle for you—and you’ll have your work, too.

 

(JUNIOR is startled.)

 

EDITOR DAILY

A little scribbling on your father’s journal. Oh, nothing ever happens over there!

 

MR. MISTER

Son, they say the climate’s fresh and vernal.

 

SISTER

You could learn to play the ukulele.

 

MR. MISTER

Now, Junior, listen to Editor Daily.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Have you been to Honolulu?

 

(JUNIOR is up to this point perfectly sodden.)

 

JUNIOR

Are the women nice down there?

 

EDITOR DAILY

(Ever-ready.) Demure, and so high born, just pure September Morn.

 

JUNIOR

I don’t care if they’re high born just as long as they’re high-breasted.

 

MR. MISTER

Junior, please don’t get arrested!

 

EDITOR DAILY

Picture when the sun sets in Oahu—

 

(JUNIOR is blank.)

 

EDITOR DAILY

That’s the island Honolulu’s on—Dusky maidens dancing in the starlight—

 

SISTER

Wasn’t some young debutante seduced there?

 

MR. MISTER

You’d be our official correspondent.

 

SISTER

(Almost tenderly.) You’re a fool if you don’t go now.

 

JUNIOR

(Fortissimo; the moonface bursts into radiance without warning.) La la la-la-la la. La la la-la-la la.

 

EDITOR DAILY/SISTER/MR. MISTER

(In harmony; triumphantly.) Junior’s going to Honolulu! Junior’s going to Honolul!

 

JUNIOR

Can I drive over eighty miles an hour?

 

EDITOR DAILY

(Undaunted.) Ruby lips are waiting to be kissed.

 

SISTER

(Not much on geography, but with the right idea.) I’d be satisfied with one big Zulu.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Chocolate arms are open like a flower.

 

JUNIOR

(Dreamy.) How the hell do you spell Honolulu?

 

EDITOR DAILY/SISTER/MR. MISTER

(They whisper it, not disturbing the dream.) Junior’s going to be a journalist!

 

EDITOR DAILY

There’s a woman there who wants you…

 

JUNIOR

(Fortissimo and sudden again; the baby is given the rattle.) La la la-la-la la. La la la-la-la la.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Have you been to Honolulu? Sail away to that fair land…. Dusky maidens in the starlight….

 

(Flashback to Night Court.)

 

CLERK

Order in the courtroom! Next case: name?

 

DRUGGIST

Harry Druggist.

 

CLERK

Usual charge, I suppose?

 

COP

You know this one. I picked him up in the square earlier in the evening.

 

DRUGGIST

Wait a minute. I belong with these people. I sold out too—I sold out my boy and two others with him.

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