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Rejoice Dear Hearts (2.0)
by david a. wright (dwright8@triad.rr.com)

Rated: PG   Genre: Drama   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

The true story of Brother Dave Gardner, one of the most popular and influential comedians of the 50's and 60's.


This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



FADE IN:

EXT. CEMETERY (JACKSON, TN) (1983) - DAY
                                                            
A Southern cemetery, full of live oak trees, their branches
draped in Spanish moss. Weathered granite headstones rise
from the ground. Tattered miniature American and Confederate
flags flutter in front of several of the headstones. Birds
TWITTER in the trees. It is an inappropriately beautiful
day.
                                                            
SUPER--"A TRUE STORY"
                                                            
A funeral procession drives slowly into the cemetery: police
car, funeral home car, a preacher's car, family car and
several flower vans.
                                                            
INT. FAMILY CAR
                                                            
Grieving DAUGHTER, an attractive blond in her early 30's.

Comforting SON-IN-LAW, in his early 30's, his strong face
highlighted by a neatly trimmed mustache.

Tight-lipped SON, late 20's, his hair in an 80's shag cut
and his arms folded across his chest.

WOMAN IN BLACK, holding a cremation urn, a veil covering her
face.
                                                            
EXT. DRIVEWAY OF CEMETERY
                                                            
The procession pulls up and stops.

A portly PREACHER exits his car.

The solemn FUNERAL DIRECTOR and his ASSISTANT exit their car
and help the family out of theirs.
                                                            

2.

EXT. PATH TO GRAVE SITE
                                                            
The family walks past a large crowd of MOURNERS.

The Woman In Black leads, followed by the DAUGHTER and
SON-IN-LAW. The Son brings up the rear.

As she reaches the open grave site, the Woman In Black
stumbles on an uneven patch of ground.

The urn tumbles from her hands.

It hits the ground and the ashes spill out.

Looks of astonishment and GASPS from all those gathered
around.

The Daughter dissolves into tears, comforted by the
Son-In-Law.

The Woman In Black stands transfixed, staring down at the

SCATTERED ASHES.
                                                            
DISSOLVE TO:
                                                            
 
EXT. NIGHTCLUB (ST. LOUIS) (1947) - DAY
                                                            
A bright, sunny day in mid-December. Christmas decorations
festoon the front of the building. Several 1940's era cars
and a well-traveled bus, its cargo doors open, sit in the
parking lot.

Six BAND MEMBERS, all Southern boys in their early 20's, are
unloading their instruments.
                                                            
INT. NIGHTCLUB
                                                            
It's a well-appointed club of tropical decor. The STAFF is
cleaning and setting up for the night. Palm trees and the
bar are covered in Christmas decorations and lights.

The backdoor opens. The Band Members walk in, some with
their instruments. The BAND LEADER, papers in hand, leads,
followed by GUITARIST, SAX PLAYER, PIANIST and BASS PLAYER.

Bringing up the rear and carrying a drum case, is the
diminutive and dapper drummer, DAVE GARDNER, smoking a
cigarette. He has a blinding smile and an enviable head of
well-combed hair.
                                                            

3.

                       BAND LEADER
Go ahead and set up. I've gotta
find the guy that runs this dump.
Somethin' 'bout this contract
don't look right.
                                                            
As he walks away, the Band Members mount the stage and look
around, taking in their surroundings.
                                                            
                       GUITARIST
Dump? Least there ain't no chicken
wire in front of the stage.
                                                            
                       BASS PLAYER
Nice change.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You boys gotta learn to abide
prosperity. We're movin' up in the
world.
                                                            
                       SAX PLAYER
That a fact?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Brethren, there's no place in the
world I'd rather be than on this
stage. It's a joy and a
benediction just to be here.
                                                            
                       BASS PLAYER
      (with a smile)
Cut the preacher crap, Dave.
                                                            
                       GUITARIST
Six months in seminary and he
thinks he's Billy Sunday. Don't
you, Reverend?
                                                            
DAVE is looking off, preoccupied.
                                                            
CLUB'S CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
A stunning young blond WOMAN in her 20's busily stocks the
counter with Lucky Strikes, Chesterfields and other brands.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       GUITARIST
Dave? Reverend Gardner?
                                                            

4.

                       DAVE
      (to Sax Player)
Ernie, lend me a quarter, will
you?
                                                            
                       ERNIE
What do I look like, a banker?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Just give me a quarter, brother.
                                                            
                       ERNIE
How come you always got money for
the partyin' after the show, but--
                                                            
Dave snaps his fingers impatiently.
                                                            
Ernie reaches into his pocket, produces a quarter and hands
it to Dave.
                                                            
As Band Members watch, Dave heads to the cigarette counter.
                                                            
CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
                       DAVE
Pack of Lucky's, dear heart.
                                                            
                       YOUNG WOMAN
We're not open yet.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
The Band Members whisper and "rib" each other.
                                                            
CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's all right, darlin'. Tell
me, where you been all my life?
                                                            
                       YOUNG WOMAN
Do I know you?
                                                            
                       DAVE
You do now. Name's Dave Gardner. I
play drums in the--
                                                            
She abruptly turns away and continues her restocking.

Dave turns, smiles broadly and shrugs. He walks back to the
stage.
                                                            

5.

STAGE
                                                            
                       ERNIE
Way to go, Romeo.
                                                            
                       BASS PLAYER
Son, she gave you a look like you
got the measles.
                                                            
Dave climbs on the stage.
                                                            
                       DAVE
As the Bible says, "Good things
come to those who wait--"
                                                            
                       BASS PLAYER
Again with the preacher crap.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Reminds me of the story 'bout this
ol' South Alabama boy--
                                                            
                       ERNIE
He thinks he's Billy Sunday and
Milton Berle, all rolled into one.
                                                            
The Band Members laugh, as does Dave.
                                                            
                       ERNIE
Save the jokes for the show, Dave.
Them drums ain't gonna set up by
themselves.
                                                            
Dave flips the quarter in the air and Ernie catches it.

Dave turns and looks at the cigarette counter, a wide grin
on his face.
                                                            
 
INT. NIGHTCLUB - NIGHT
                                                            
The club is open and the AUDIENCE is large.

The Band is on stage. The Leader is performing a popular
song of the 40's. He is "mailing it in."

The Band Members look disengaged. Except Dave. He is in his
world, playing with great flourish and enthusiasm.

The Manager's office door opens. The MANAGER, a pot-bellied
man in his 60's with a huge cigar, exits. He is not happy.
With his hands, he signals the Leader to "step it up."

6.


The Leader stops singing. He points a finger at the Manager.
                                                            
                       BAND LEADER
You don't like it? Well, with what
you're payin', it's all you're
gonna get, you cheap son of a--
                                                            
Ernie pulls the microphone away from the Leader.

The Leader leaves the stage and exits through the back door.

The Band Members look on in stunned disbelief. Even Dave.
                                                            
Nobody seems to know what to do.
                                                            
AUDIENCE
                                                            
There are looks of shock, which quickly turn to simmering
dissatisfaction. The Audience becomes surly.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
The Band Members exchange looks at one another. They all
turn to Dave.

He rises and goes to the microphone. He takes a pack of
cigarettes and a lighter out of his coat pocket.

His delivery is very relaxed and surprisingly "hip."
                                                            
                       DAVE
Sorry 'bout that, dear hearts.
Don't want y'all to think we don't
like it here. There are some fine,
swingin' cats here in St. Louis.
Comin' in here tonight, I seen
this ol' man standin' there. I
said,"Hey, ol' man. You lived here
all your life?" He said, "No, not
yet!"
                                                            
AUDIENCE
                                                            
A few members of the Audience laugh. The mood lightens.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
Beloved, I want you to think 'bout
just one thing.
                                                            
He lights a cigarette.
                                                            

7.

                       DAVE
Now, do that.
                                                            
The Audience (OS) begins to laugh.
                                                            
CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
At the sound of the laughter, the Young Woman from earlier
turns and begins to watch Dave's routine.
                                                            
She is paying close attention, not only to Dave, but the
Audience as well.
                                                            
She ignores a CUSTOMER and his request for a pack of
cigarettes.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
You see, I believe the mind is
beautiful. And thinkin' 'bout good
things is the key to success. And
somebody says, "Well, what is
success?" Dear hearts, success is
gettin' what you want. Happiness
is wantin' what you get.
                                                            
General LAUGHTER (OS) as Dave has them with him now.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And, ain't you ever heard someone
say, "Let's do this again."
      (pause)
Now, how you gonna do that?
                                                            
He takes a drag off his cigarette.

An AUDIENCE MEMBER yells out "WHAT?"
                                                            
                       DAVE
Again. You cain't do anythin'
again, brother. Once it's done,
it's gone!
      (pause)
You can do somethin' similar.
                                                            
CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
As the LAUGHTER becomes louder and more sustained, the Young
Woman leans against the counter, intent on Dave's
performance.
                                                            

8.

STAGE
                                                            
The Band Members now exchange relieved looks as Dave rolls
on.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, this ol' South Alabama boy
leaves down home and goes to this
hotel up in New York City. And he
goes in there to "regster."
Register? Well, he goes up there
to sign his name. And he's 'bout
half illiterate, you know.

And he takes this here register
thing and he puts an "X" down
there. Then, he thinks for an
instant and he puts a circle
around the "X."

And this here desk clerk says,
"Hey, man. I've seen a lot of you
boys who can't write. I suppose
you can't read, either."

The ol' boy says, "Naw, I cain't."

Desk clerk says, "Well, I've seen
a lot of you put an 'X,' but why
did you put a circle around it?"

Ol' boy says, "Well, you know how
it is. When us boys get to the big
city, we don't like to give our
right names."
                                                            
AUDIENCE
                                                            
A huge wave of LAUGHTER, followed by generous APPLAUSE.

The Band Members (OS) strike up a closing fanfare.
                                                            
CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
The Young Woman takes in the scene and begins to applaud,
but slowly and thoughtfully.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave takes his bows.

The Band Members finish the fanfare and put down their
instruments.
                                                            

9.

                       ERNIE
We'll be back after a short break.
                                                            
He pats Dave on the shoulder.
                                                            
                       ERNIE
Nice save, Dave.
                                                            
Dave is looking off in the direction of the cigarette
counter.
                                                            
                       GUITARIST
For a minute there, I'd have given
a week's pay for some chicken wire
across this stage.
                                                            
Other Band Members pat Dave on the back. He is, however,
preoccupied again.
                                                            
                       ERNIE
Need a quarter, Dave?
                                                            
Without a word, and still looking in the direction of the
cigarette counter, Dave holds out his hand.

Ernie drops a quarter in it.
                                                            
CIGARETTE COUNTER
                                                            
The Young Woman watches Dave approach.

She turns, gets a pack of Lucky Strikes and slides them
across the counter to Dave.
                                                            
                       YOUNG WOMAN
On the house.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Thank you, dear heart.
                                                            
                       YOUNG WOMAN
You have quite a flair for comedy.
I mean, for a drummer.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, truth be known, it's gotten
to where I like the comedy as much
as the music.
                                                            

10.

                       YOUNG WOMAN
It shows.
      (extending her
       hand)
Millie Fletcher, Mr?--
                                                            
He turns, grins at the Band Members, then turns back to her.
                                                            
He takes her hand.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Dave.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Mr. Dave?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (laughing)
Dave Gardner.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Well, Mr. Dave Gardner, I get off
at midnight.
                                                            
 
EXT. RURAL PAVED ROAD (SIX WEEKS LATER) - DAY
                                                            
A lonely stretch of curving Southern highway.

A RADIO PREACHER (OS) is laying it on, hot and heavy.

A road-weary, late 1930's sedan comes around the curve.
                                                            
EXT./INT. SEDAN
                                                            
The car's backseat is piled high with boxes and clothing.

Dave is at the wheel, smoking a cigarette and enjoying the
Preacher, whose voice is coming out of the sedan's radio.

Millie alternates her attention between the road map and the
radio. She is not enjoying the preaching.
                                                            
INT. SEDAN
                                                            
Millie turns off the radio with her left hand. We see a

WEDDING BAND

on her ring finger.
                                                            

11.

                       DAVE
Now, Miss Millie, that's some
really fine preachin'. Quality
entertainment, if you ask me.
                                                            
Millie consults her road map.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Not much on preachers, are you? I
almost became one, you know.
                                                            
Millie picks up an address book and thumbs through it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
So, what's the story?
                                                            
Dave studies her closely.

She sees there is no way out. She lights a cigarette.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
When I was in Catholic school, a
priest came one day to talk to us
about the Doctrine of The
Immaculate Conception. Great
subject for fourteen year old
girls, huh?
                                                            
Dave grins.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Hell, I'd just learned about sex.
Didn't hardly believe what I'd
heard about that.
                                                            
Dave laughs.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Now this guy is telling me
somebody can get pregnant without
having sex. And I'm thinking,
"Things are not adding up here."
                                                            
Dave nods.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
So, I said, "Father, I don't
understand how it's possible to
get pregnant without..." And
before I could finish the
sentence, he looked at me with
that "holier than thou" look they
get and said, "Women don't have to
understand. They just have to
            (MORE)

12.

                       MILLIE (cont'd)
believe."
                                                            
Dave looks at her for a minute.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And that was it?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
That was it. From then on, it was
"Thanks, but no thanks" when
anybody started in on religion.
                                                            
He looks at her again.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Anybody.
                                                            
She goes back to studying her map.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Guess that's why a JP did the
honors for us.
                                                            
No response.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And here I thought it was 'cause
you just couldn't wait to become
Mrs. Dave Gardner.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Well, that too.
                                                            
She gazes down the road.
                                                            
EXT./INT. A FURROWED FIELD
                                                            
A FARMER plows with a mule-drawn plow.
                                                            
INT.SEDAN
                                                            
                       MILLIE
You never told me why you gave up
on the ministry.
                                                            
She gazes at Dave, equally intent on getting his story.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (mimicking his
       question)
So, what's the story?
                                                            

13.

Dave looks at her briefly, then leans back in the seat as he
drives.
                                                            
                       DAVE
My older brother, Kent, was always
the favorite. Daddy never said it,
but it seemed like he blamed my
arrival on him and Mama breaking
up.
                                                            
Dave shrugs.
                                                            
                       DAVE
After they divorced, I went to
live with my Auntie. Kent stayed
with Daddy. Haven't seen my Mama
since.
                                                            
He shakes his head.
                                                            
FLASHBACK
                                                            
DAVE'S CHILDHOOD HOME
                                                            
The house looks almost like a log cabin.

Dave, (now 6), and KENT, (10), are sitting on the
sun-drenched porch.

A rattle-trap pickup truck pulls into the front yard.

VIRGIL, Dave's Daddy, steps out. He looks older than his 30
years. He wears a cheap suit.

Virgil opens the passenger door for a WOMAN, also in her
30's. She wears a floral print dress and carries a bouquet
of daisies.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
'Fore long, Daddy met and married
a sweet Southern lady named
Lessie.
                                                            
The boys rise. Kent nods "Hello" and goes in the house with
his Daddy.

Dave, flashing his brightest smile, offers LESSIE his hand.

She smiles warmly and takes it.

They enter the house together.
                                                            

14.

                       DAVE (VO)
I came to call her Mama Lessie,
'cause she was surely a mama to
me.
                                                            
BACKYARD OF HOUSE
                                                            
During the VO, we see

Kent, now 15, practicing on a shiny new trumpet. When he
finishes his SCALE OF NOTES, Dave, now 11, reaches for the
trumpet, wanting to try it. Kent walks away, running another
SCALE.

Lessie, watching from the back porch, sees Dave's
disappointment.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
Daddy didn't change much over the
years. Near 'bout anything Kent
wanted, he got. We couldn't afford
it, but Daddy bought him a new
trumpet. Me? I wanted to play
drums. Daddy said "No."
                                                            
PAWN SHOP
                                                            
Lessie watches Dave wander through the shop.

His eyes light up when he spots a set of used drums.

He turns to Lessie, who gives him a sour look.

Dave is crestfallen.

Then, after her moment's fun at his expense, she places her
hand on Dave's head, gives him a smile, and nods.

Dave beams up at her.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
But Mama Lessie, bless her heart,
saved up her butter-and-egg money
and bought me a used set.
                                                            
THE FAMILY'S BARN
                                                            
As the late afternoon sun streams through the cracks in the
barn's walls, two African-American TEENS watch Dave bang out
a rudimentary DRUM TRAP.
                                                            

15.

                       DAVE (VO)
Some of the colored kids in town
taught me about rhythm and music
and such.
                                                            
The Teens nod in approval.
                                                            
Virgil, carrying an empty bucket, comes into the barn and
sees what's happening. He throws the bucket down and,
without a word, leaves.

The Teens quickly slip out the back of the barn.

Dave continues his TRAP.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
After a year or so, I entered a
Gene Krupa Drum Contest. First
time I was ever in front of an
audience.
                                                            
                       MILLIE (VO)
How'd you do?
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
Took second place. But, just bein'
up there, on that stage, under
them lights, hearin' all that
applause, got me hooked. For life.
                                                            
END FLASHBACK
                                                            
INT. SEDAN
                                                            
                       DAVE
Mama Lessie was real happy.
      (pause)
I would have done anything for
that woman.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Of course. But, what's all that
got to do with the ministry?
                                                            
FLASHBACK
                                                            

16.

DAVE'S CHILDHOOD HOME
                                                            
Dave is in the parlor with Lessie. He is wearing a
graduation robe.

Lessie hands him a wrapped package.

Dave tears the paper off and discovers a Bible.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
When I graduated high school, Mama
Lessie gave me a Bible. She said,
"David, trust in the Lord and
he'll never leave you." I knew
becomin' a preacher would have
made that sweet lady real proud.
                                                            
COLLEGE CLASSROOM
                                                            
A PROFESSOR is lecturing.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
So, after the War, I enrolled in a
Bible college.
                                                            
All the students are paying attention. Except Dave.

He is drumming his fingers rhythmically on the desk and
smiling at a pretty CO-ED.

He winks at her. She abruptly turns away.
                                                            
                       DAVE (VO)
Seemed like a good idea at the
time.
                                                            
END FLASHBACK
                                                            
INT. SEDAN
                                                            
                       DAVE
But, after about six months, I
heard there was a band in the area
that needed a drummer. Payin' job,
too.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
And that's why you gave up on the
ministry?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, that, and twenty-two chapel
cuts sorta sealed the deal.
                                                            

17.

                       MILLIE
What did Mama Lessie say about
that?
                                                            
                       DAVE
She was disappointed. But, she
knew what bein' on stage meant to
me. Just said, "David, do your
best, whatever you do." And she
just kept on lovin' me.
                                                            
Millie shakes her head.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Pull in here, Dave.
                                                            
COUNTRY STORE PARKING LOT
                                                            
Dave wheels the sedan into the lot.

Millie gets out and heads to a phone booth.

From the sedan comes the voice of the RADIO PREACHER (OS) in
mid-sentence.

Millie smiles, ever so slightly, and keeps walking.
                                                            
SEDAN
                                                            
Dave leans back, hands behind head, listening to the radio.
                                                            
PHONE BOOTH
                                                            
Millie hangs up the phone and checks the coin slot.

Finding nothing, she exits the booth and walks slowly back
to the sedan.

A pickup truck WHIZZES by on the road.

The Radio Preacher's voice stops abruptly.

She gets in the car.
                                                            
INT. SEDAN
                                                            
Millie reaches into a box in the backseat and takes out two
paper bags.

She opens one and hands a sandwich to Dave.
                                                            
                       DAVE
So, tell me somethin' good.
                                                            

18.

                       MILLIE
We're still on for two weeks,
starting Friday night.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Mighty fine, Miss Millie.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Still at ten dollars a night.
                                                            
She opens her bag and takes out a sandwich.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Not much. But, if I'm gonna make
it the comedy biz, I gotta start
someplace.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I just hope this rust bucket can
make it to Bossier City by Friday.
                                                            
They eat their sandwiches in silence.
                                                            
 
EXT. FULL MOON THROUGH TREES - NIGHT
                                                            
INT. SEDAN
                                                            
Dave and Millie are asleep under several blankets in the
front seat. Her head is on his shoulder.

Dave opens one eye and looks at Millie.

With a smile and a look of great contentment, he goes back
to sleep.
                                                            
 
INT. NIGHTCLUB (BOSSIER CITY, LA) - NIGHT
                                                            
A seedy, dimly-lit joint. Smoke hangs heavy in the air. Beer
is served in Mason jars.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave is at the microphone in front of a HOUSE BAND. To the
sound of a capacity CROWD, LAUGHING LOUDLY, he is finishing
up the last story of his routine.
                                                            
                       DAVE
The monster points a finger over
at him and says, "Is you gonna be
here when John gets here?"

He says, "Man, if you ain't John,
            (MORE)

19.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
I'm gone!"
                                                            
The Crowd erupts into raucous LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
BACK OF CLUB
                                                            
Millie, cigarette in hand, is standing next to the SEEDY
CLUB MANAGER. He is as seedy as his club.
                                                            
                       SEEDY CLUB MANAGER
Yep, your boy's pretty good,
little lady.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Good enough for two more weeks at
twenty a night?
                                                            
                       SEEDY CLUB MANAGER
I said "pretty good," not great.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Watch this.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave takes another bow as the Audience continues to APPLAUD.

He moves to the drum kit at the back of the stage and begins
a DRUM TRAP, accompanied by the House Band.
                                                            
BACK OF CLUB
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Look at this crowd. It's been like
this for two weeks. Check your bar
receipts. Had anybody else in here
lately draw like this?
                                                            
                       SEEDY CLUB MANAGER
Well--
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave finishes the TRAP with his usual flourish.

The Audience goes WILD. Even the House Band applauds.
                                                            
BACK OF CLUB
                                                            
                       SEEDY CLUB MANAGER
Deal.
                                                            

20.

                       MILLIE
You're damn right it is.
                                                            
Trying not to seem startled by her language, he walks off.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave "milks" a few more bows, jumps off the stage and makes
his way to Millie.
                                                            
BACK OF CLUB
                                                            
                       DAVE
What'd he say?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Two more weeks. Twenty a night.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You are the best, Miss Millie.
                                                            
He kisses her on the cheek.
                                                            
A VOICE (OS) says, "You comin', Dave?"
                                                            
                       DAVE
Lookahere. Some of the guys in the
band wanted to know if we'd like
to do a little partyin'. How 'bout
it?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (checking her
       watch)
All right. But not too late.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You are the best. The absolute,
tee-total best.
                                                            
He kisses her on the cheek again.
                                                            
 
EXT. RURAL HIGHWAY - NIGHT
                                                            
Dave and Millie's sedan is cruising down a moon-lit rural
highway. They pass a sign that reads

BATON ROUGE 45 MILES.
                                                            

21.

INT. SEDAN
                                                            
The sedan is still packed with what seems to be all of Dave
and Millie's earthly possessions.

Dave is driving.

Millie opens a Thermos bottle, pours a cup of coffee and
hands it to Dave.

He smiles, takes a sip and rubs his eyes.

Millie closes the Thermos, covers herself with a blanket,
closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep.

Dave yawns and drives off into the night.
                                                            
 
INT. NIGHTCLUB STOREROOM - DAY
                                                            
There are tall shelves full of liquor bottles and linen
supplies lining the walls of the storeroom.

On the floor, Dave and Millie lie sleeping on a makeshift
bed of laundry bags, full of soiled linens.

From outside the door, the club staff is rattling dishes and
talking loudly. From further away, a jukebox plays a HANK
WILLIAMS song.

An alarm clock starts RINGING. It reads

5:00.

Dave awakens and shuts the clock off.

Millie is still asleep.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (gently)
Mornin', Glory.
                                                            
No response from Millie.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie? Time to get up.
                                                            
Still no response.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (softly touching
       her)
Come on. We got to get up.
                                                            

22.

Millie stirs.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Let me sleep. Just a little
longer.
                                                            
                       DAVE
We got to get over to the club
manager's house and get a bath.
First show is at eight o'clock.
                                                            
Millie props herself up on her elbows.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
What time is it?
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's five o'clock.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
In the morning?
                                                            
                       DAVE
In the afternoon. Time to get up.
                                                            
Millie is having trouble waking up.
                                                            
Dave reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a small
glass bottle. He unscrews the top and shakes out a small
white pill.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (handing it to her)
Here.
                                                            
She scrutinizes the pill.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
What's that?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Club manager said he thought we
might need a little help. Wakin'
up, you know? Reckon he keeps the
same hours we do.
                                                            
Millie shakes her head, "No."
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's all right. They just give you
a little lift. He took one right
in front of me. And, he got 'em
from a doctor.
                                                            

23.

He sees she is still reluctant, so he pops one in his mouth.

After a moment, she relents and takes one.

Dave helps her off the floor.
                                                            
                       DAVE
By the way, I got dibs on the
shower.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
The hell you say.
                                                            
Although still groggy, she gives him a playful push.

Dave falls back on a pile of laundry bags.

Millie grabs her small train case and bolts out the door.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (calling after her)
I knew that would get you movin'!
                                                            
He laughs to himself and shakes his head.
                                                            
 
EXT. TOURIST CABIN (PENSACOLA, FL) (1953) - DAY
                                                            
The same sedan, even more road-weary than before, is parked
in front of a run-down cabin in a tourist court.
                                                            
INT. TOURIST CABIN
                                                            
The cabin, its walls covered in knotty pine paneling, is
sparsely decorated: a bed, a chair and a chest of drawers. A
bathroom is visible in the rear of the room.

Dave is playing with his blond, two-year old daughter,
CANDY.

Millie is on the phone. She is about five months pregnant.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Right. Starting the fifth. Very
well. Thank you.
                                                            
She hangs up the phone and writes in her address book.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
We've got two weeks at
Carmichael's in Birmingham,
starting the fifth of next month.
                                                            

24.

                       DAVE
What's it pay, Miss Millie?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Not enough. But, it'll bridge us
'til the Memphis date.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, two more bookin's. And,
Memphis will get us closer to
home. I mean, for when the baby
comes.
                                                            
Millie is focused on her address book.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You excited?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Hmmm?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Are you excited? 'Bout the baby, I
mean.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Of course I'm excited.
                                                            
She goes back to studying her address book.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Why not let's go grab some
breakfast? Guy at the club says
there's a diner down the road with
a great country breakfast. Liver
mush, saw mill gravy and
biscuits--
                                                            
Millie drops the address book, runs quickly into the
bathroom and slams the door.

She is experiencing morning sickness.

Dave gathers up Candy from the bed and goes to the bathroom
door.

After a moment, the COMMODE FLUSHES, the bathroom door opens
and Millie's arm sticks out.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Hand me my address book, please.
                                                            

25.

                       DAVE
Miss Millie, it'll wait. Take it
easy. Get some rest.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
The address book, Dave.
                                                            
Still holding Candy, Dave gets the address book from the
floor and puts it in Millie's outstretched hand.

The bathroom door slams quickly.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Candy, baby, your Mama is
somethin' else in this world. You
know that?
                                                            
 
EXT. HIGHWAY (WINTER, 1956) - DAY
                                                            
A 1940's model Chevrolet, pulling an Airstream-type trailer,
barrels down a two-lane highway.

The car passes a sign that reads

ST. LOUIS 23 MILES

Dave and Millie are in the front seat. Candy, now five years
old and LITTLE DAVID, a blond three-year old, are in the
back seat.
                                                            
INT. CHEVROLET
                                                            
                       DAVE
Excited about seein' Grandma?
                                                            
                       CANDY
Yes, Daddy.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Yes, Daddy.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Sure you don't mind the Nashville
gig by yourself?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Gonna miss you and the kids. But,
as long as we're this close, you
may as well stop in for a visit.
                                                            
He glances at her.
                                                            

26.

                       DAVE
You know what you're in for.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
She'll whine and cry and say,
"When's he gonna get off the road
and get a real job? I'm fifty-nine
years old and I want to spend some
time with my grands before I die."
Hell, she'll outlive us all.
                                                            
Dave laughs and Millie smiles, despite herself.
                                                            
Millie turns and notices Candy and Little David, listening
intently.

Seeing their mother observing them, they quickly turn away
and look out their windows.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Good time to take the trailer in
for service. Right rear tire's
nearly bald. Suppose your Mama
will want to see how her
investment in our little "home on
wheels" is holdin' up.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
You take care of getting to
Nashville. Let me handle Mama.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Good luck.
                                                            
Millie turns and sees the kids listening.

Once again, just her look sends their faces in opposite
directions, looking out the windows.
                                                            
EXT. HIGHWAY
                                                            
The Chevrolet and trailer motor on down the highway.
                                                            
 
EXT. STARLIGHT CLUB, (NASHVILLE) - NIGHT
                                                            
A parking lot full of late model, 1950's cars. This is one
of the nicer clubs Dave has played. It has a uniformed
DOORMAN.

On the marquee

TONIGHT THRU DEC. 31 DAVE "FLAT GIT IT" GARDNER.
                                                            

27.

INT. STARLIGHT CLUB STAGE
                                                            
Dave is in front of a packed house. He is singing a jazzy
version of "You're My Everything," a Nat King Cole hit from
the 40's. The place is JUMPING.

In the second row sit two men in their 30's. One is ANDY
GRIFFITH, smiling broadly and tapping his hand on the table
in rhythm to the music.

The other MAN is smoking a pipe and studying Dave.

Dave finishes the song and gets a tremendous OVATION. After
taking his bows, he comes off the stage and makes his way to
the table where the two men are sitting.

Andy rises to greet him.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Mighty fine set, Dave. You had 'em
goin' tonight. Thought they were
gonna have to carry me out feet
first.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (grinning broadly)
Thank you, Brother Andy.
                                                            
He extends his hand to the pipe-smoking MAN.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Dave Gardner.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Sorry, Dave. This is Chet Atkins.
                                                            
Andy puts his arm around Dave's shoulder.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Dave and I go way back. Don't we,
little buddy?
                                                            
                       CHET
Pleased to meet you. Any friend of
Andy Griffith's is a friend of
mine. Nice work.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Thanks. Great house tonight.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Chet, this man ain't wrote down
the first word yet.
                                                            

28.

He points to Dave's head.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Comes from right here, every
night.
                                                            
                       CHET
Yeah. You sing much?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Every chance I get.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Stick around and hear him play the
drums. Burns 'em up, let me tell
you.
                                                            
                       CHET
Wish I could. Early mornin' at the
studio tomorrow. Nice meetin' you,
Dave.
                                                            
Chet acknowledges a few FANS and then leaves.

Dave and Andy sit at the table.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Where's that pretty wife of yours?
                                                            
                       DAVE
She and the kids are visiting her
mother in St. Louis.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Give her my best, won't you?
                                                            
There is an uncomfortable silence between them.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Still churnin' it out, ain't you
Dave?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, I ain't hit it big in
Hollywood. Like some folks.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Aw, shucks. Just stick with it.
You got the stuff.
                                                            
Dave smiles and nods.
                                                            

29.

                       DAVE
Hang around after the last set.
Gotta be a party around here
somewhere.
                                                            
                       ANDY
No can do. Catchin' a flight out
at seven. Good seein' you again,
Dave.
                                                            
Andy rises. They shake hands.
                                                            
                       ANDY
Stick with it, little buddy.
                                                            
Dave watches Andy being greeted by AUDIENCE MEMBERS. Andy
poses for a picture with an ELDERLY COUPLE.

He waves at Dave as he walks out.

Dave is at the table, alone in a sea of people.
                                                            
 
INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Dave is in a small, but tidy, motel room. He is sitting on a
bed in his boxers and a t-shirt, talking to Millie on the
phone.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yeah. Good crowd. Owner was real
pleased. Andy Griffith says, "Hi!"
                                                            
                       MILLIE (OS)
No party tonight?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Nope. Just wanted to call it a
night.
                                                            
                       MILLIE (OS)
Dave?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Hmmm?
                                                            
INT. MILLIE'S MOTHER'S HOUSE
                                                            
Millie is on the phone in the living room. In the b.g.,
MILLIE'S MOTHER stands in the kitchen doorway behind Millie,
her arms folded.
                                                            

30.

                       MILLIE
Are you sick?
                                                            
                       DAVE (OS)
No.
                                                            
Millie's Mother shakes her head in disapproval and
disappears into the kitchen.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Got something to help you sleep?
                                                            
                       DAVE (OS)
Think so. Usually do.
                                                            
Millie turns to see that her Mother has left.
                                                            
MOTEL ROOM
                                                            
Dave opens the nightstand drawer. It contains

a PRESCRIPTION BOTTLE and a GIDEON'S BIBLE.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yeah. Right here.
                                                            
                       MILLIE (OS)
Take a couple and get some sleep.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Okay. Love you.
                                                            
                       MILLIE (OS)
Call me tomorrow.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I love you.
                                                            
                       MILLIE (OS)
Yeah. Me too.
                                                            
Dave hangs up the phone. He is clearly depressed.

He reaches into the nightstand drawer, takes out the pill
bottle and studies it for a moment.

Then, he looks in the drawer again, puts the pills in the
drawer and takes out the Gideon's Bible.

He opens it and reads for a moment.

He gets off the bed and goes to his knees.
                                                            

31.

                       DAVE
Lord? It's me. Dave Gardner.
Remember me? Course you do. You
don't forget anything. I haven't
forgotten you, Lord. It's just
that things get so...
                                                            
He pauses and shakes his head.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, that's no excuse. Lord, I
just can't get to where I need to
be. I been at this eight years
now. This is all I know how to do.
                                                            
He is struggling.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Lord, Mama Lessie said that if I
trusted in you, you'd never leave
me. Just show me what I've got to
do. I'd appreciate it.
                                                            
He starts to rise, but stops and goes back to his knees.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, yeah. Amen.
                                                            
He rises, puts the Bible back in the drawer, pulls back the
covers, crawls into bed and drops off to sleep.
                                                            
 
EXT. MOTEL PARKING LOT - DAY
                                                            
It's mid-morning. Dave's Chevrolet is parked outside his
motel room. Something is attached to the room's door.
                                                            
INT. MOTEL ROOM
                                                            
Dave opens the door and notices a Manila envelope taped to
it.

He removes the envelope. Written on it are the words

I THINK YOU CAN DO SOMETHING WITH THIS. CHET ATKINS.

Dave opens the envelope and removes a piece of sheet music.
It has the title

"WHITE SILVER SANDS."

Dave studies it for a moment. A broad smile comes over his
face.
                                                            

32.

SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
 
INT. NIGHTCLUB - NIGHT
                                                            
Dave is on stage in front of a FIVE PIECE BAND. A large
AUDIENCE is CLAPPING in time with the MUSIC.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (singing)
WHERE THE DEEP
BLUE PEARLY WATERS
WASH UPON
WHITE SILVER SANDS
THERE ON THE BRINK
OF LOVE I KISSED HER
AND OBEYED
MY HEART'S COMMAND
                                                            
RECORDING STUDIO - DAY
                                                            
Millie, along with an ENGINEER and a PRODUCER are in the
control booth, watching Dave and the Five Piece Band.
                                                            
                       DAVE
WHERE THE DEEP
BLUE PEARLY WATERS
WASH UPON
WHITE SILVER SANDS
WE WATCHED THE SUN
SET IN THE EVENING
IN A FAR
AND DISTANT LAND
                                                            
RECORD HOP - NIGHT
                                                            
A group of TEENS are dancing to the song.
                                                            
                       DAVE (OS)
SO HERE BENEATH
GOD'S BLUE HEAVEN
THERE'S A PLACE
I MUST GO
WATCH THE SUN
SET IN THE EVENING
WITH THE ONLY LOVE I KNOW
                                                            
RADIO STATION - DAY
                                                            
A DISC JOCKEY sits at a control board, snapping his fingers
in time to the music, as Dave's record plays on his
turntable.
                                                            

33.

                       DAVE (OS)
WHERE THE DEEP
BLUE PEARLY WATERS
WASH UPON
WHITE SILVER SANDS
THERE ON THE BRINK
OF LOVE I KISSED HER
AND OBEYED
MY HEART'S COMMAND
                                                            
INSERT--CASHBOX MAGAZINE'S TOP 50 CHART
                                                            
"#10--WHITE SILVER SANDS--Dave Gardner--OJ RECORDS
                                                            
                       DAVE (OS)
AND OBEYED
MY HEART'S COMMAND
                                                            
END SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
 
INT. HOTEL SUITE (ATLANTA) - DAY
                                                            
The suite reflects the moderate success Dave has had since
his hit recording. It is nicely appointed. There is a
sitting area with television and a balcony.

Dave is sitting on the sun-lit balcony, reading an Atlanta
newspaper.

Candy and Little David are sitting on the floor, watching

CAPTAIN KANGAROO.

Millie is in the bathroom, drying her hair with a towel.

The phone RINGS.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Dave, would you get that?
                                                            
The phone RINGS two more times.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Dave!
                                                            
He gets up reluctantly and heads for the phone.
                                                            
He picks it up after the fourth RING.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (exaggerated
       Southern accent)
General Robert E. Lee speakin'.
            (MORE)

34.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
How can I help y'all?
                                                            
Candy and Little David giggle at their father.
                                                            
INT. JACK PAAR'S OFFICES (NEW YORK)
                                                            
A precise and officious MAN is sitting at a desk in a New
York office. He looks at the telephone receiver, startled by
the greeting he's just gotten from the other end.
                                                            
INTERCUTTING
                                                            
Dave in the hotel room and the Man in his office.
                                                            
                       MAN
Hello? I'm trying to reach Dave
Gardner.
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's me, brother. Who's this?
                                                            
                       MAN
This is Shelley Epstein, Mr. Jack
Paar's assistant. I'm calling from
New York.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (after a pause)
Naw, serious. Who is this?
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN
Mr. Gardner, I assure you, this is
Jack Paar's office calling.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I apologize. How can I help you?
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN
Mr. Paar is very impressed with
your record--
                                                            
He consults a piece of paper.
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN
"White Silver Sands." He'd like to
book you for an appearance on "The
Tonight Show."
                                                            
                       DAVE
He would?
                                                            

35.

                       EPSTEIN
He certainly would. We also
understand you do a little comedy.
Is that right?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (grinning to
       himself)
A little. Yes. You could say that.
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN
Fine. See what you can work up,
won't you?
                                                            
                       DAVE
I'll sure try. Mr. Epstein, just
when are we talkin' about?
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN
      (consults a
       calendar)
Does November 19th work for you?
                                                            
END INTERCUTTING
                                                            
THE HOTEL SUITE
                                                            
Dave looks towards the bathroom.
                                                            
Millie hears Dave's end of the conversation and listens from
the doorway, intrigued.

Dave casts an eye towards her.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I think that date is open. If not,
we'll get Miss Millie to fix it.
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN (OS)
Miss Millie?
                                                            
                       DAVE
My manager.
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN (OS)
Miss Millie. Fine. We'll be back
in touch soon. Goodbye, Mr.
Gardner.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Bye. And, thank you.
                                                            
Dave, dazed, hangs up the phone and sits on the bed.
                                                            

36.

Millie joins him.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I'll fix what?
                                                            
                       DAVE
That was Jack Paar's assistant. He
says Jack likes "White Silver
Sands." They want me to come to
New York. To do it on "The Tonight
Show." November 19th.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Oh, Dave, that's wonderful.
      (pause)
For how much?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie, I don't care if it's
for free. Jack Paar is the biggest
thing on TV. He gets all the best
comedians for his show. This could
be the break we've been waitin'
for.
                                                            
Millie picks up her address book from the nightstand. She
scans it.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
We start two weeks at Gus
Stephens' in Biloxi on November
17th.
                                                            
Dave rises and grasps her gently by the shoulders. For once,
he's in charge.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Biloxi? Millie, we're talkin'
national TV. NBC. New York. Think
of the doors this could open. I
been on the circuit for nearly ten
years and where are we? Goin' and
goin' and never really breakin'
out. The hotels are nicer, but
they're still hotels.
                                                            
Millie tries to respond, but Dave continues.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I've got to do this. For us.
                                                            
He points to Candy and Little David.
                                                            

37.

                       DAVE
For them. Or, are you afraid I'm
not good enough?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
You're good enough to do anything
you set your mind to. It's just--
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's the chance of a lifetime,
that's what it is.
                                                            
Millie looks deeply in Dave's eyes and then at Candy and
Little David.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
New York? What have I got to wear?
                                                            
She starts for the phone.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I'll have to call Gus.
                                                            
Dave claps his hands to summon the kids. He picks up Candy
and twirls her around.
                                                            
Candy, wide-eyed and giggling, puts her arms around his
neck.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Candy, baby, we're goin' to New
York City. Your Daddy's gonna be
on TV.
                                                            
Little David climbs on the bed and starts jumping. Dave puts
Candy down, climbs on the bed and starts jumping with him.

Millie looks at her kids, all three of them, and smiles.
                                                            
 
EXT. BROADWAY STREET SCENE (STOCK) - DAY
                                                            
The famous RAINBOW ROOM sign is plainly in view.
                                                            
 
INT. JACK PAAR'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
The office is tastefully decorated in a chic, 1950's design.

PAAR is seated behind his desk.

In a chair, behind and to the right of him, is Shelley
Epstein.

38.


Dave is sitting in a chair across the desk from Paar. The
meeting is going well.
                                                            
                       PAAR
As Shelley told you, Dave, I
really like that "White Silver
Sands" song. Sounded like you had
a lot of fun recording it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
'Preciate that, Brother Jack.
                                                            
                       PAAR
Your bio says they call you "Flat
Git It" Gardner. Where'd that come
from?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, Brother Jack, it's 'cause I
"flat got it!"
                                                            
                       PAAR
Really?
                                                            
                       DAVE
I'd fly to you 'fore I'd lie to
you.
                                                            
                       PAAR
      (laughing)
I kid you not, I really love that
Southern accent. Do you have it
all the time?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Not when I read to myself.
                                                            
Paar breaks up laughing. He turns to Epstein, who, as if on
cue, starts laughing too.
                                                            
                       PAAR
      (composing himself)
They tell me you do some comedy,
too. Work up a script for me,
won't you.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Brother Jack, I don't work that
way. I'm a free thinker. Things
just sort of come to me.
                                                            
Paar and Epstein share a concerned glance at each other.
                                                            

39.

                       PAAR
Dave, this is network TV. We need
a script. For timing purposes. You
understand, of course.
                                                            
                       EPSTEIN
There are also issues with the
censors.
                                                            
                       PAAR
They're a pain in the keester, but
they come with the territory.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Brother Jack, if I write somethin'
down for you, it just won't come
out of me when I start talkin'.
                                                            
Another exchange of glances between Paar and Epstein.
                                                            
Dave summons up all his courage.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Brother Jack, I need this break.
Did you ever need a break?
                                                            
Paar studies Dave closely for a minute. He then turns to
Epstein.
                                                            
                       PAAR
Shelley, put him on.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (rising)
Thank you, Brother Jack.
                                                            
                       PAAR
No. Thank you, Brother Dave.
                                                            
Paar rises and the two men shake hands.

Paar exits the room with a wave.

Dave turns back to Epstein and gives him a wink.

Epstein responds with a forced smile.
                                                            
 
INT. GREEN ROOM OF TELEVISION STUDIO - NIGHT
                                                            
It's a spacious lounge with a hospitality table, sofa,
several comfortable chairs and a TV monitor.


40.

Dave is sitting in a chair, relaxed.

Millie paces and checks her watch.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Why haven't they got you on yet?
What if they run out of time? If
we gave up the Gus Stephens date
for nothing--
                                                            
The door opens and the STAGE MANAGER sticks his head in.
                                                            
                       STAGE MANAGER
You're up after this commercial,
Mr. Gardner. Sorry, but we're
running long. Going to have to cut
the song. Jack just wants you to
do a comedy routine.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Damn it, the song's what got us up
here in the first place.
                                                            
Dave rises.
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's just fine, brother. Which
way do I go?
                                                            
                       STAGE MANAGER
Follow me, please.
                                                            
Millie starts to speak, but Dave kisses her on the cheek and
exits behind the Stage Manager.

She lights a cigarette and sits on the sofa in front of the
TV monitor.
                                                            

41.

TV STUDIO
                                                            
The studio is full of cameras, boom mikes and monitors.

A commercial for the

1957 FORD THUNDERBIRD

shows on the monitor.

Paar is seated at his desk. HUGH DOWNS, his sidekick, sits
on the couch next to the desk. Several of PAAR'S GUESTS are
seated next to Downs.

The STUDIO AUDIENCE BUZZES in the b.g.

The Stage Manager raises his hand for "Silence."

He cues Paar.
                                                            
                       PAAR
Finally tonight, I want to
introduce you to a great new
comedic talent, making his first
network appearance on our show.
Please welcome, Brother Dave
Gardner!
                                                            
GREEN ROOM
                                                            
                       MILLIE
"Brother" Dave?
                                                            
The monitor shows Dave entering through the studio curtain
to a nice round of APPLAUSE.

He hits his mark.
                                                            
TV STUDIO
                                                            
The APPLAUSE (OS) subsides.
                                                            
Dave bows in the direction of Paar.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Thank you, Brother Jack. Always
nice to be with another Southern
boy. Oh yes, dear hearts. Jack
Paar is a Southern boy. He lives
in Southern Manhattan.
                                                            
The Audience LAUGHS (OS) as do Paar and Downs.
                                                            

42.

                       DAVE
Sittin' back there in the green
room, I was just diggin' on Skitch
Henderson and his fine band. See,
I love music. All kinds. Even
classical. That's right. Even that
bad ol' music sounds cool and
serene to me.

I mean, you can just sit there and
"soop out" on those musical
"viberations" and just reach a
whole new dimension.
                                                            
GREEN ROOM
                                                            
Millie sits forward on the sofa, smoking furiously.
                                                            
TV STUDIO
                                                            
                       DAVE
Like there was this here
violinist. And he loved to play
the violin. Well, he did. And he
had practiced and practiced and
practiced and even practiced. I
mean, up to where he could play
this here violin to where it
actually sounded like one.
                                                            
Audience LAUGHS (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
And, oh, it went so far out of it
that he just reached a whole new
dimension, way, way beyond human
comprehension. I mean, humans just
couldn't understand or perceive
the fine music he was gettin' out
of this here musical instrument.
                                                            
Paar leans forward on his desk, absorbed in Dave's
performance.
                                                            
                       DAVE
So he went yonder to find himself
some creatures who could enjoy it.
And he went to the jungles of
Africa. Bless his heart, he did
that. And he got out there on this
here stump in a clearing. Just
sort of pounced on it, you know.

And he started to play. And as the
            (MORE)

43.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
bow hit upon the strings, such
beautiful music you ain't never
heard. 'Cause there weren't no
human ears there to hear it.
                                                            
INT. MAN'S DEN
                                                            
A richly appointed den. A large, jowly MAN in his late 50's,
is sitting in a leather chair, smoking a cigar. He is
watching Dave's performance on his TV.
                                                            
TV STUDIO
                                                            
                       DAVE
And all the jungle animals
gathered around. Ferocious lions
and "rhinosterouses" and all kinds
of things. Tigers and bears and
snakes. And little bitty monkeys
and great big "go-rillas." I mean,
bad, mean lookin' creatures. And
they all crept out there and just
started to "soop out" on them
stereophonic "viberations" from
this here fiddle.
                                                            
More LAUGHTER (OS) from the audience.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And them animals were all so
happy, 'cause their ears is
sensitive, you know what I mean?
And they're tired of hearin' all
them gunshots and everything.
                                                            
INT. MILLIE'S MOTHER'S HOUSE
                                                            
Millie's Mother smiles proudly as her MATRONLY FRIENDS,
watching TV in her den, LAUGH at Dave's routine.
                                                            
TV STUDIO
                                                            
Even the STAGE HANDS and CAMERAMEN are LAUGHING.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And, all of a sudden, this great
big black panther comes creepin'
out of the weeds and goes ZAP! He
jumps on the violinist and eats
him up and the violin, the bow,
the strings, everything. Chomp,
chomp, chomp.
                                                            

44.

The Audience is LAUGHING (OS) louder than before.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And you can hear them other
animals just saying, "Awwwww."
                                                            
Even more LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
Panther wipes his mouth and starts
to trot away like this here.
      (demonstrates)
And this here lion walks up to him
and says, "Aw, man, good Lord.
What in the world did you do that
for?" And the panther says--
                                                            
Dave cups his ear with one hand and tilts his head.
                                                            
                       DAVE
"HUH?"

Thank you and God bless!
                                                            
The Audience ROARS with laughter and the Studio Band strikes
up a FANFARE as
                                                            
SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
A) Millie sits back on the sofa, relieved.

B) Paar joins Dave and puts his arm around him.

C) Millie's Mother joins her friends in applauding.

D) The Cigar Smoking Man reaches for the telephone next to
his chair and dials a number. Next to the phone is a framed
photo of

ELVIS PRESLEY.

E) Millie opens her purse and removes a prescription bottle.
She takes out a pill and swallows it.
                                                            
END SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
 
INT. LONG ISLAND APARTMENT (1959) - DAY
                                                            
Dave and Millie's home on Long Island is modern, yet
comfortable, in decor. Everything is bright and new: sofa,
wing back chair, console hi-fi system. A handsome dining
room is visible through an open doorway.

45.


Dave is sitting the love seat, reading "Variety." His suit
is custom made.

Millie is smartly dressed in the "June Cleaver" look of the
50's suburban housewife. She is straightening up the place
and checking her watch.

The doorbell RINGS.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You expecting' somebody? I've got
to be at the studio soon.
                                                            
Without a word, Millie goes to the front door and opens it.

The Cigar Smoking Man stands outside the door. He carries
two wrapped packages.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Come in, Colonel. So nice of you
to drop by.
                                                            
He kisses her on the cheek and hands her the packages.
                                                            
                       COLONEL
A little somethin' for Candy and
Little David.
                                                            
Dave rises to greet him.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Pleasant surprise, Colonel.
                                                            
                       COLONEL
Didn't Millie tell you I was
comin'?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, my sweet wife is full of
surprises. Sometimes.
                                                            
                       COLONEL
I can comeback later if--
                                                            
                       MILLIE
No, Colonel. Stay. Dave, Colonel
Parker says RCA won't wait much
longer. Isn't that right, Colonel?
                                                            
                       COLONEL
'Fraid so. They want an answer
real quick-like. Chet's dyin' to
produce an album with you. They'll
            (MORE)

46.

                       COLONEL (cont'd)
put their full promotional weight
behind it. Time's a-wastin', Dave.
                                                            
                       DAVE
No offense, Colonel, but it seems
like I'm in the catbird seat right
now. This TV thing is hot. Regular
appearances with Jack. Weekends
off for club dates. A home for the
family--
                                                            
                       COLONEL
Dave, in my opinion, you need to
get off this TV kick. Make people
pay each time they see you. Or
hear you.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Colonel, I know that works for
Elvis. But I ain't Elvis.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Dave, listen to him. He's already
forgotten more about show business
than you or I will ever know.
                                                            
The front door bursts open. Candy (8) and Little David (5)
enter, carrying schoolbooks. They see Colonel Parker and
rush to him.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
What did you bring us, Colonel
Tom?
                                                            
                       CANDY
Say hello first, David.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Hello, Colonel Tom. Is it a toy?
                                                            
                       COLONEL
Let's go in the bedroom and you
can open them there.
                                                            
As the kids rush off, he takes the packages from Millie.
                                                            
                       COLONEL
I'll be back in a little bit.
                                                            
He goes into the bedroom with the kids.
                                                            

47.

                       DAVE
Millie, we got the world by the
tail. Why risk it?
                                                            
Millie stands with her arms folded, looking at Dave.
                                                            
                       DAVE
It'll mean goin' back on the road
for real. One-nighters for weeks
at a time. You want that again?
                                                            
Millie goes to him and takes him by the shoulders.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Look. You get out of this contract
with Paar and sign with RCA. Your
album hits. We'll make enough to
fly to all our dates. You can do
it, Dave. We can do it.
                                                            
Dave pulls away and walks to a window, looking out over New
York. He is clearly conflicted. He turns and gazes at
Millie.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You really believe in this ol'
boy, don't you?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (all charm)
Always have, Mr. Dave.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (laughing)
All right, Colonel Millie. Let's
do it.
                                                            
 
INT. THE STARLIGHT CLUB (NASHVILLE) (1959) - NIGHT
                                                            
The club is packed with an excited and well-heeled CROWD.
Standing room only. In the rear of the club, a makeshift
sound booth has been set up. Chet Atkins and a SOUND
ENGINEER sit at a 50's style control board, testing an Ampex
reel-to-reel recorder of the same era.

Millie and Colonel Parker sit at a table in front of the
sound booth.

Millie fiddles nervously with her pearl necklace. She opens
her purse, removes a prescription bottle and takes a pill.

The Colonel notices her doing it, but says nothing.
                                                            

48.

SOUND BOOTH
                                                            
The Sound Engineer nods to Chet, who then cues the CLUB
ANNOUNCER on the stage.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Club Announcer cues the CHILDREN OF LIGHT ORCHESTRA. They
play a brief FANFARE.
                                                            
                       CLUB ANNOUNCER
The Starlight Club of Nashville is
proud to present our headliner of
the evening. Rejoice, dear hearts,
here's Brother Dave!
                                                            
Fingers snapping in time to the music, Dave enters from the
wings to great APPLAUSE and begins SINGING.
                                                            
                       DAVE
WHEN YOU'RE SMILIN'
WHEN YOU'RE SMILIN'
THE WHOLE WORLD
SMILES WITH Y'ALL

WHEN YOU'RE LAUGHIN'
WHEN YOU'RE LAUGHIN'
THEN THE WHOLE WORLD
HAS A BALL

BUT WHEN YOU'RE CRYIN'
YOU BRING ON THE RAIN
STOP YOUR CRYIN'
BE HAPPY AGAIN

WHEN YOU'RE SMILIN'
WHEN YOU'RE SMILIN'
THE WHOLE WORLD
SMILES WITH YOU.
                                                            
Over the instrumental bridge of the song, Dave does a series
of silly laughs, giggles and chortles.
                                                            
The Audience is immediately "into" Dave's performance,
APPLAUDING and LAUGHING at the silliness.
                                                            
MILLIE AND COLONEL PARKER'S TABLE
                                                            
The Colonel laughs along with the Audience.

Millie stares intently at the stage.
                                                            

49.

STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
WHEN YOU'RE CRYIN' (OOOH)
YOU BRING ON THE RAIN
STOP YOUR CRYIN'
BE HAPPY AGAIN

WHEN YOU'RE SMILIN'
WHEN YOU'RE SMILIN'
THE WHOLE WORLD
SMILES WITH YOU
                                                            
As the Audience APPLAUDS (OS) heartily, Dave produces a
cigarette and lighter from his coat pocket. He lights up and
starts his routine.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Rejoice, dear hearts! Oh, let's
get this started on a good strong
note here. If you love the South,
let me hear you say "Glory!"
                                                            
AUDIENCE
                                                            
They respond with a thunderous "Glory!"
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
Whoo, whoo, whoo. That's my kick.
I don't care what anybody else in
the world has got, that's mine!

You see, I believe that the Earth
is a Southern planet. And that
don't give them folks up North too
much strength.

I mean, them folks is all right up
there. They got their own kick
goin'. But I believe the only
reason people live in the North is
'cause they got jobs up there!
                                                            
Generous LAUGHTER (OS) at that line.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I mean, you ain't never heard of
anybody retirin' to the North,
have you?
                                                            
A huge wave of LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE (OS).
                                                            

50.

MILLIE AND COLONEL PARKER'S TABLE
                                                            
The Colonel looks back at the Sound Booth. Through the
window, Chet gives the "OK" sign.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, that is a glorious blessin'
and a wonderful sound. I want to
do this 'cause, I believe in
everything. And that might sound
weird, to say you believe in
everything. But, if you believe in
nothin', dear hearts, that's
pretty vast.

I mean, like, I believe women was
first. I believe that women is
smarter than men. And the reason I
believe that is 'cause they have
possessed that which men have been
seekin'. Down through the ages!
                                                            
The LAUGHTER (OS) is hearty and ribald.
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's right! Companionship! And
man cannot live by bread alone, he
must have peanut butter!
                                                            
SOUND BOOTH
                                                            
The VU meter on the Ampex recorder "pins in the red" as
LAUGHTER bursts forth from the Audience (OS).
                                                            
DISSOLVE TO:
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave is wrapping up his performance with his signature DRUM
TRAP. At the conclusion, he gets a STANDING OVATION.

The Orchestra begins a SHOW BIZ FANFARE while Dave takes his
bows.
                                                            
MILLIE AND COLONEL PARKER'S TABLE
                                                            
The Colonel, beaming, joins the Audience in the standing
ovation. He looks back and sees that Millie is not standing.
She is taking another pill.

The Colonel is joined by Chet.
                                                            

51.

                       COLONEL
Did you get that, Chester?
                                                            
                       CHET
Every bit of it.
                                                            
                       COLONEL
What you reckon?
                                                            
                       CHET
I'd say half a million, at least.
                                                            
                       COLONEL
Half a million. Old son, that's
one of my favorite numbers.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave takes his final bows and leaves the stage.
                                                            
 
EXT. HOLLYWOOD HILLS MANSION (1962) - DAY
                                                            
A lavish residence, with gated entrance, lush fruit trees,
and an exquisitely-manicured lawn. A true showplace. A Rolls
Royce of the era is parked on the circular driveway.
                                                            
INT. MANSION
                                                            
Dave and Millie are in the marble foyer, about to start
their walk-through with a REAL ESTATE AGENT. The Agent is
impeccably dressed and quite full of himself.
                                                            
                       REAL ESTATE AGENT
That's right. Fourteen thousand
square feet. Swimming pool,
bowling alley, pipe organ, a
grotto--
                                                            
                       DAVE
A what?
                                                            
The Agent offers a condescending smile and continues.
                                                            
                       REAL ESTATE AGENT
Perhaps you'd care to view the
servants quarters?
                                                            
                       DAVE
We don't have any servants.
                                                            

52.

                       MILLIE
      (out of the side
       of her mouth)
We'll get some.
                                                            
Dave snickers at the concept.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (to Agent)
It's lovely. Very spacious.
                                                            
                       REAL ESTATE AGENT
The very epitome of gracious
living. Plenty of room for
memorabilia, too.
                                                            
He walks to a blank wall in the foyer.
                                                            
                       REAL ESTATE AGENT
Would not this wall be the perfect
spot to display one's gold albums?
Four of them, isn't it?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Brother, would you excuse Miss
Millie and me for a moment?
                                                            
                       REAL ESTATE AGENT
Certainly, sir.
                                                            
He walks into an adjoining room.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie--
                                                            
She sits on the staircase.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
What do you think?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (looks around)
It's mighty nice. Can we afford
this?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
You let me worry about the money,
Dave.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Always have, haven't I?
                                                            

53.

                       MILLIE
      (taking a
       cigarette out of
       her purse)
And that's why we're here today.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (lighting it for
       her)
I know that. If it weren't for
you, I'd still be beatin' hell out
of a set of drums in Jackson,
Tennessee.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
And if it weren't for you, I might
still be selling smokes in St.
Louis.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I don't know about that.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I said "might."
                                                            
Dave goes to sit next to her on the staircase, but she rises
and walks to the middle of the foyer.

Dave gazes around the foyer.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, if you say so, I guess we
can swing it.
                                                            
He chuckles to himself.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And the President says we're in a
recession.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
That's right. You just keep
working on the Kennedy material
and let me worry about the money.
                                                            
He stands up quickly and joins her.
                                                            
                       DAVE
A whole album on the Kennedy's.
Miss Millie, there's so much
material to work with, we may have
to make it a double LP!
                                                            
 

54.

EXT. AUDITORIUM, FT. WORTH (1963) - NIGHT
                                                            
A long line of PATRONS are buying tickets.
                                                            
INT. AUDITORIUM
                                                            
Another SRO Audience is reacting to Dave's routine.

As they LAUGH (OS), Dave takes a drag off his cigarette.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Kennedy.
                                                            
He pauses and looks to his left.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Kennedy.
                                                            
He pauses and looks to his right.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Kennedy.
                                                            
Another pause. He looks straight at the Audience.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You just cain't say it with any
feelin'. Leastways, I cain't.
                                                            
LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE (OS) from the Audience. During it,
Dave takes another drag off his cigarette.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And don't you love the way he
pronounces the name of our
neighbor to the South?

"Cuber."

Everybody talkin' about "Cuber."

Beloved, don't you know the
Mississippi National Guard could
take "Cuber" in a flat-bed wagon
in twenty-minutes?
                                                            
The Audience ROARS its approval (OS).
                                                            
                       DAVE
And, everybody talkin' 'bout Miss
Jackie. Beloved, she am a fine
lookin' woman. But everybody's
complainin' 'bout her wearin' a
            (MORE)

55.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
two-piece bathin' suit in public.
                                                            
LAUGHTER and WOLF-WHISTLES from the Audience (OS).
                                                            
                       DAVE
Dear hearts, I think it's time we
had a First Lady who could even
wear a two-piece bathin' suit!
                                                            
More LAUGHTER.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I mean, can you imagine Eleanor
Roosevelt on water skis?
                                                            
LAUGHTER, louder and more sustained, erupts from the
Audience.

Dave throws his head back, arms outstretched, and soaks it
in.
                                                            
AUDITORIUM SOUND BOOTH
                                                            
The booth is set up for recording and the tape is rolling. A
laughing RECORDING ENGINEER is at the controls.

Millie is calmly smoking a cigarette.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (to herself)
Biggest yet. Gotta be.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave, in the spotlight, continues to soak up the APPLAUSE.
                                                            
 
EXT. MANSION SWIMMING POOL (NOVEMBER, 1963) - DAY
                                                            
Dave and Millie are poolside on a bright, sunny day.

Dave is rolling a joint and humming along with the SINATRA
SONG coming from the radio that sits on a poolside table.

Millie is looking at a LIFE Magazine.

RUTHIE, an African-American domestic worker in a white
uniform approaches, carrying a pot of coffee.

Dave ditches the joint.


56.

The music ends abruptly, mid-song. After a brief pause, a
RADIO ANNOUNCER (OS) begins reading.
                                                            
                       RADIO ANNOUNCER
Here is a news bulletin from the
wires of the Associated Press and
the KMPC Newsroom.
                                                            
Ruthie begins pouring Millie's coffee.
                                                            
                       RADIO ANNOUNCER
Dallas, Texas. Flash. Shots have
been fired at President Kennedy's
motorcade in downtown Dallas.
                                                            
Millie puts down her magazine.

Dave leans in to hear better.

Ruthie, transfixed by what she's heard, fails to realize she
is still pouring Millie's coffee. It runs over the side of
Millie's cup.
                                                            
                       RADIO ANNOUNCER
This just handed to me. The
limousine in which the President
was riding left the scene at a
high rate of speed. It's
destination is unknown at this
time. Stay tuned to KMPC for more
information.
                                                            
Millie turns off the radio and rises quickly.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Damn. Damn it all.
                                                            
She blows past the Ruthie and heads for the house.
                                                            
MANSION'S DEN
                                                            
A sumptuously appointed room with a large, cabinet-style TV
in the corner.

Millie rushes to the TV, turns it on and hears

WALTER CRONKITE'S CBS BROADCAST OF THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION
(STOCK) (OS)
                                                            
Dave joins Millie.

Ruthie stands in the doorway, staring at the TV.
                                                            

57.

TV SCREEN
                                                            
It shows

WALTER CRONKITE'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF JFK'S DEATH (STOCK.)
                                                            
Ruthie bursts into tears, covers her eyes with her apron and
leaves the room.

Dave bows his head.

Millie stands staring at the TV screen.
                                                            
 
INT. THE MANSION'S DEN (THREE DAYS LATER) - DAY
                                                            
Dave sits on the couch between Candy (12) and Little David
(9.) They are watching

THE KENNEDY FUNERAL (STOCK)

Millie sits in a leather armchair across the room.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Daddy, you didn't like Mr.
Kennedy. Are you glad he's dead?
                                                            
                       CANDY
Hush, David.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Son, listen. Just 'cause you don't
agree with someone's politics
doesn't mean you want somethin'
bad to happen to them. Remember,
he was our President.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Then, is it okay for me to be sad?
                                                            
Dave pulls his children close.
                                                            
                       DAVE
We should all be sad, son.
                                                            
Millie gets up out of her chair and leaves the room.

Dave follows her.
                                                            

58.

MANSION'S KITCHEN
                                                            
Millie is at the sink, pouring a glass of water in order to
take a pill.

Dave enters.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie, I know you're upset--
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Upset? Upset? Do you know what
this is going to cost us?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (not unkindly)
Millie, the President of the
United States is dead. Shot down
in the street like a dog.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I know that. And I'm truly sorry.
But now we've got to flush the
whole Kennedy album. That thing
would have been our fifth
million-seller. We'd have been set
for life.
                                                            
Dave's face clouds with concern.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Don't fret yourself. I'll come up
with another one.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Well, it better be quick. RCA's
been on our butts to get the next
one into the stores. All they know
is "What have you done for me
lately?"
                                                            
Dave takes her in his arms.

Candy and Little David are standing in the doorway.

Millie breaks the embrace.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (seeing the kids)
Mama's gonna be fine. She's just a
little upset.
                                                            

59.

                       MILLIE
      (forcing a smile)
That's right. Mama's going to be
fine. Go on back in the den.
                                                            
                       CANDY
Yes, Mama.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Yes, Mama.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Come on. We'll go watch together.
                                                            
Dave and the kids leave the kitchen.

Millie goes back to the sink and takes her pill.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Mama's going to be just fine.
                                                            
 
EXT. MR. KELLY'S (CHICAGO) - NIGHT
                                                            
The famous comedy club displays a poster of Dave in the
window.
                                                            
INT. MR. KELLY'S STAGE
                                                            
Dave is in mid-routine. He has a cigarette in one hand and
the AUDIENCE in the palm of the other.
                                                            
                       DAVE
This ol' boy leaves down home,
see, and he comes up here to
Chicago. And he gets involved in
somethin' called "the numbers."
And they say that's illegal. But I
think we ought to make everythin'
legal. That way, we wouldn't have
no crime.
                                                            
The Audience (OS) LAUGHS.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yeah, that's what you call a
profound statement.

So, this ol' boy's makin' all this
money in the "numbers" racket. And
he wants to let his friend down
home know about it. But, he cain't
put it in a letter, 'cause,
they're inspectin' the mail
            (MORE)

60.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
nowadays and just investigatin'
everything.

But wait a minute! He turns around
with the serene stroke there and
he writes his friend a postcard
and says, "Hey, man! There's so
much money in Chicago, it's
fallin' off the trees!"

His friend writes him a postcard
back and says, "Send me some."
                                                            
AUDIENCE
                                                            
General LAUGHTER and smiles from everyone in the Audience.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
So, the ol' boy sends him two or
three hundred dollars and his
friend went out and got his head
all tore up. Bought some Moon Pies
and some Nehi's and some RC's.
Just flipped, man. Spent all his
money.

And he hops on a bus and gets on
up here to Chicago. And he gets
off the bus and he's stone broke.
Ain't got a dime. Ain't got a
dime!
                                                            
More LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
And he's walkin' along there,
thinkin' 'bout the money fallin'
off the trees. And he looks down
and he sees himself a fifty-dollar
bill.

He looks at it just as serious and
he says, "Humph. I'll pick you up
tomorrow."

"I ain't gonna work on my first
day in Chicago."
                                                            
Gales of LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE (OS.)


61.

Dave takes his bows and walks off-stage to the strains of

"CHICAGO."

He comes back out and takes another bow.
                                                            
INT. BACKSTAGE
                                                            
A crowded hallway.
                                                            
Dave is greeted by WELL-WISHERS, including some MAFIA TYPES
and their over-dressed and jewelry-laden GIRLFRIENDS.

A yawning Millie is backstage, too. She looks weary, but
manages to smile and acknowledge Dave's triumph.
                                                            
                       MAFIA TYPE
      (to his companions)
See, I told you my little Dixie
"compagno" was a riot.
                                                            
                       DAVE
'Preciate that, Brother Vito.
                                                            
                       VITO
Hey, lookit. We're goin' to Mama
Leone's for a little antipasto and
some vino. How's about you and the
little lady joining us?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Don't mind if we do.
                                                            
Millie starts to protest, but decides against it.

The Mafia Types start to put on their coats and leave out
the back door.

Dave helps Millie with hers.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (whispering)
Dave, we've got to be at O'Hare at
ten for the flight to Detroit.
                                                            
                       DAVE
We won't be there long. Besides, I
don't think we want to make these
cats mad.
                                                            
Resigned to the idea, Millie exits with Dave out the back
door and into a waiting limo.
                                                            
 

62.

INT. CHICAGO HOTEL SUITE - DAY
                                                            
The room bespeaks luxury.

Dave is visible in the bathroom. He is shaving and whistling
"White Silver Sands."

Millie is still in bed.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (from the bathroom)
Rise and shine, Miss Millie.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (half awake)
What time did we get in?
                                                            
                       DAVE
'Bout 4:30.
                                                            
Millie picks up the clock from the nightstand. It reads

7:55.

She puts it back.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Hell.
                                                            
She reaches into the nightstand drawer and takes out a
prescription pill bottle. It's not the right one. She puts
it back and pulls out another.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
You need one of these?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Nope. Took one of them little "up
me" pills and stayed awake. There
was an Al Jolson movie on WGN.
                                                            
Millie, looking absolutely wrung out, shakes her head and
pops a pill.

She crosses to the bathroom and pushes Dave into the bedroom
area.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Hey--
                                                            
But the door slams and we hear the sound of running water.
                                                            

63.

Dave, his face half-covered in shaving cream, stands staring
at the bathroom door.
                                                            
 
INT. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE (LOS ANGELES) (1964) - DAY
                                                            
The office has the usual trappings: law books, diplomas,
leather chairs, etc.

Dave and Millie are meeting with their Attorney.
                                                            
                       ATTORNEY
It appears you may have grounds
for a lawsuit. The release of an
unauthorized LP does seem to
violate a clause in the contract.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
"May have grounds?" "Seems to
violate?"
                                                            
                       DAVE
Let the man finish, Millie.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
That record is nothing but a
collection of out-takes from the
others. Stuff that wasn't good
enough to be in the first four.
It's not up to our standards.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (losing patience)
You're right. But we've got to be
careful.
                                                            
                       ATTORNEY
I agree, Millie. RCA is the
biggest, most powerful record
company in America. No contracted
artist has ever sued them and won.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
There's a first time for
everything, Counselor. Dave's
career could be wrecked by this
piece of--
                                                            
                       DAVE
Millie!
      (to Attorney)
Murray, what do you suggest?
                                                            

64.

                       ATTORNEY
We could seek an injunction to
stop the release of any more
shipments. But, that's liable to
make them just as angry as a
lawsuit.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Sue 'em!
                                                            
She rises and storms out of the office.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Sorry, Murray. She's been through
a tough time here lately. We'll
let you know.
                                                            
The Attorney gives a sympathetic nod.

Dave rises and leaves the office.
                                                            
HALLWAY OF ATTORNEY'S OFFICE BUILDING
                                                            
Millie is at the water fountain, about to take another pill.

Dave reaches and takes the bottle out of her hand.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Millie, you need to go easy on
them things. We've got to keep our
heads clear 'bout all this.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Fine. You handle RCA.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Aw, hell. You know I don't know
anything 'bout business. You're
the brains of this outfit.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Then stay out of my way. You're
the hottest thing in comedy right
now. Capitol would give their eye
teeth to sign you.
                                                            
Dave paces the hall for a moment, pondering her words.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You sure 'bout this?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
We'll sue 'em. And we'll win.
                                                            

65.

She takes the bottle out of Dave's hand and leaves him
standing in the hallway.
                                                            
INSERT--CAPITOL RECORDS LP COVER WITH DAVE'S PICTURE
                                                            
 
INT. THE COPA-ATLANTA NIGHTCLUB (1965) - NIGHT
                                                            
The packed house AUDIENCE is responding to Dave's routine.

He is smoking, literally and figuratively.

In the front row, a lovely, intelligent-looking BLOND WOMAN
in her late 20's, laughs and applauds warmly.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
Somebody asked me, "Brother Dave,
where's the best place to be if
they drop the atom bomb?" And I
say, "Anywhere you can say--
      (cupping his hand
       over his ear)
'What was that?'"
                                                            
LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
Of course, the onliest reason the
Russians is appearingly ahead of
us in scientific development is:
they want to get out of their
country a whole lot worse than us.

Let's hope they do get to the moon
and all go.

'Course, with our luck, tryin' to
get to the moon, it'd be a half
moon and we'd miss it.
                                                            
Warm LAUGHS and a smattering of APPLAUSE (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
When we think about space and we
think about folks goin' out there,
we also have to think about folks
comin' to visit us.
                                                            
He takes a drag off his cigarette.
                                                            

66.

                       DAVE
That's right. If we have the
intelligence to get to other
planets, why then surely there
must be other intelligences tryin'
to seek us out and say "Howdy!" to
us.
                                                            
AUDIENCE FROM DAVE'S POV
                                                            
Smiles, nods and looks of anticipation for the "payoff."
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
Dave acknowledges the front row with a raised eyebrow, as if
to say, "Here it comes."
                                                            
                       DAVE
This one little saucer comes
wingin' in from the infinite.
      (makes sound of
       saucer landing)
Sets down. Cuts off its little
magnetic, prospective shield.

Out bounds a bunch of happy little
spacemen 'bout seven inches tall.
      (indicates)
Just lookin' under rocks and
leaves.

One of 'em says, "Hey, man. What
we lookin' for?"

Other one says. "Little bitty
women!"
                                                            
The Blond Woman joins the rest of the Audience in LAUGHING
loud and long.
                                                            
 
INT. HALLWAY OF AN ATLANTA HOTEL - NIGHT
                                                            
A uniformed POLICE OFFICER sits in a chair outside the door
of a suite in a swanky hotel. He reads "Sports Illustrated."

From inside the room comes MUSIC and LOUD CONVERSATION.
                                                            

67.

HOTEL SUITE
                                                            
The room is crowded with GUESTS. Liquor is flowing freely.
Marijuana is being used here and there.

Dave is "working" the crowd. He is still "on" from the show.

One of the guests is the Blond Woman from the front row of
the evening's show. She is paying attention to Dave's every
word.

Dave notices her.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And what's your name, dear heart?
                                                            
                       BLOND WOMAN
Judy. Judy Robertson, Mr. Gardner.
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's "Dave" to all my friends.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Well, I'd be pleased to be
included among your friends.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Believe I saw you in the front row
tonight, didn't I?
                                                            
                       JUDY
You did indeed. I never miss a
show when you're in the area.
                                                            
                       DAVE
For a fact?
                                                            
                       JUDY
I've got all the programs to prove
it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's quite a compliment.
                                                            
                       JUDY
You have such a gift. I mean,
making so many people so happy
every night.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Mighty flatterin', Miss Judy. Let
me introduce you to Miss Millie.
                                                            

68.

                       JUDY
      (meaning it)
I'd be delighted.
                                                            
Millie stands in the doorway of the bedroom. It is clear
that the pills have begun to take their toll. She is drawn,
pale and tired.

Dave sees her and waves her over. Instead, she goes into the
bedroom and closes the door.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (to Judy)
Excuse me a minute.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Surely.
                                                            
Dave winds his way through the guests, acknowledging some of
their offers of congratulations.

He goes to the bedroom door and enters the room.
                                                            
BEDROOM
                                                            
Millie is lying on the bed, fully clothed. On the bedside
table, we see a virtual pharmacy: pills of all types in a
variety of bottles.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie, come on out and talk
to the folks. Some really
important people here.
                                                            
No response.

Dave reaches for her hand.

She pulls it away.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Millie? Come on, meet the folks.
                                                            
She rolls over on her side.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Make those people go away.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie, these are the people
who pay our bills. The people who
buy the tickets. The albums.
                                                            

69.

                       MILLIE
Do they have to be here every
night? If it's not the fans or the
band, it's those greaseball Whops.
Can't you just do a show and leave
it at that?
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's all a part of the life--
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Our lives aren't our own.
                                                            
She rolls over to the bedside table and reaches for a pill.

Dave grabs her hand, but she jerks it away.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You got to lay off them things.
You're eatin 'em like M&M's.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
That's the pot calling the kettle
black. You've taken your share.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Can't you see. Some people can
handle that stuff and some can't.
And you can't.
                                                            
He picks up a hand mirror and holds it up in front of her
face.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Look what its done to you.
                                                            
She slaps it away. It SHATTERS on the floor.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (almost screaming)
Make those people go away or I'm
leaving. For good!
                                                            
Dave is thunderstruck. After several incredulous looks at
Millie, he slowly walks to the dressing table, sits and puts
his head in his hands.

Millie, shocked at her own words and actions, forces herself
off the bed. She walks to Dave and places her hand on his
head.
                                                            

70.

                       MILLIE
Dave, I'm sorry. I didn't mean
that.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (after a moment)
No. You're right. We've got too
much goin' on. Just too much goin'
on.
                                                            
He walks to the bedroom door and opens it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (to the Guests)
All right, beloved. Let's call it
a night.
                                                            
The Guests offer GOOD NATURED PROTESTS.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (raising his voice)
That's it! Hit the road! Good
night.
                                                            
The Guests quickly down their drinks or take a final "toke,"
grab their coats and leave.

Judy is one of the last to depart.

Dave steps inside the bedroom and closes the door.

Millie is nowhere to be seen.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Millie? Millie?
                                                            
Dave sees

THE BEDROOM TABLE CLEARED OF PILL BOTTLES.

The COMMODE FLUSHES in the bathroom.

Millie enters from the bathroom.

Dave goes to her and embraces her.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (tearfully)
This is all my fault. But we can
beat this. We'll get you some help
to beat this.
                                                            

71.

                       MILLIE
No, Dave. I'll do this myself.
                                                            
Millie's face is fixed and her eyes register a faraway
stare.
                                                            
SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
A) Dave and Ruthie standing outside a bedroom door in the
mansion. Ruthie has a tray full of food. Dave waves her off.
Ruthie reluctantly leaves.

B) Candy,(15)in her room listening to a Top 40 station on
the radio. Dave opens the door and puts his finger to his
lips. Candy nods in understanding and turns down the volume.

C) Ruthie serving Dave, Candy and Little David (12) at the
supper table. There is an empty chair.

D) Dave, knocking gently at the bedroom door. No response.
He knocks again. No response. He leans his head against the
door.

E) Dave and the kids playing in the pool. With the help of
Ruthie, Millie comes out the patio door, wearing a bathrobe
and a pair of dark glasses. To the delight of her family,
she sits in a lounge chair smiles, albeit weakly, and begins
reading a copy of the LA Times.

F) Millie, at a window, looking out and smiling to herself,
as Dave, dressed as Robert E. Lee, hoists a Confederate flag
on a large pole in the front yard.

G) Millie and Dave enjoying a candlelight dinner in a fine
restaurant.

H) The family, on their 90 foot yacht, enjoying a beautiful
day on the water. The name on the stern of the yacht reads

THE MISS MILLIE.
                                                            
END SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
 
EXT. AIRPORT (GULFPORT, MS) (1966) - DAY
                                                            
A small municipal airport on a hot June day. Several small
private planes in orderly rows. A World War II vintage DC-3
is visible at the end of the single runway.

                                                            

72.

INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL
                                                            
An oscillating fan on a file cabinet, the only source of
ventilation in the room, HUMS loudly.

A few benches and chairs are the only amenities.

Millie, Candy, Little David, POLICE CHIEF HOBBS, MRS. HOBBS,
their TEEN-AGED DAUGHTER and a YOUNG SOLDIER with a duffle
bag are waiting in the terminal lobby.

Dave is visible through a window. He is on the tarmac,
talking with a PILOT.

Millie checks her watch and paces. For the most part, she
has returned to her former state of physical and mental
health: lovely and feisty.

Dave enters through the lobby door.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Dave, we've got to get going. If
we don't get to New Orleans by
noon, we'll never make that flight
to Miami in time for the show.
                                                            
                       DAVE
We'll make it.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (whispering)
And why did you have to invite
that young man to come along? I
don't think we've got enough room
for us, those Hobbs people and
him.
                                                            
                       DAVE
That GI has to get to New Orleans
to take care of a sick mother.
Besides, we can't take the
Beechcraft. It won't start.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
If we miss that show--
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie, I've got it all
worked out. The pilot says we can
leave the Beechcraft and take that
DC-3 at the end of the runway.
                                                            

73.

                       MILLIE
I don't care if we have to take a
hot air balloon, just so we get to
New Orleans in time.
                                                            
Dave signals to Hobbs, who leaves his wife and joins Dave.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Sorry for the delay, Chief. Pilot
says we have to take a DC-3
instead of the Beechcraft. Hope
you don't mind.
                                                            
                       HOBBS
No problem, Dave. Hell, I rode one
of them planes into World War II.
In the Airborne, we called 'em
C-47's.
      (taking Dave aside)
'Preciate the invite. Wife's never
been to Miami before. Reckon we'll
see Jackie Gleason?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (with a laugh)
I'll work on that. Y'all get ready
to board. I've gotta go to the
bathroom.
                                                            
Dave heads to the men's room.
                                                            
 
EXT. DC-3 TAKING OFF - DAY
                                                            
The plane takes off smoothly into a mostly clear, sunny sky.
                                                            
 
INT. DC-3 CABIN - DAY
                                                            
Millie and Candy are seated next to each other. In the row
behind them, Dave and Little David. The Hobbs couple is
sitting across the aisle. Their Daughter is behind them.

Dave leads the party in a raucous chorus of "99 Bottles of
Beer on the Wall."

Millie, the only one not singing, consults her appointment
book. She is only slightly annoyed.

The plane begins a slight vibration, unnoticed by everyone
except Millie.

She looks out the window.
                                                            

74.

Something has caught her attention.
                                                            
INT./EXT. DC-3 ENGINE
                                                            
Smoke is coming out of the right engine.
                                                            
DC-3 CABIN
                                                            
Millie turns to Dave.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (with remarkable
       calm)
Dave--
                                                            
The plane lurches violently downward for a moment and then
levels out.
                                                            
                       HOBBS
What in the Sam Hill was that?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Dave, look out the window.
                                                            
INT./EXT. DC-3 ENGINE
                                                            
Smoke now pours out of the right engine cowling.
                                                            
DC-3 CABIN
                                                            
The sound of the engine SPUTTERING and MISFIRING is heard.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Kids, make sure your seat belts
are buckled!
                                                            
The plane lurches more violently.
                                                            
EXT. CULTIVATED FIELD
                                                            
An African-American FARMER, hoe in hand, looks up from his
work in the field. Horror clouds his face as he sees the
DC-3 in the distance, smoking and listing to starboard.
                                                            
DC-3 CABIN
                                                            
Candy and the Hobbs girl are SCREAMING.
                                                            
                       CANDY
      (terrified)
What's happening, Daddy?
                                                            
The engine SPUTTERS TO A HALT.
                                                            

75.

The plane begins a rapid descent, clearly out of control,
but not a nosedive.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Hold on, David.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Daddy, I'm too young to die.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Me too, son. Me too.
                                                            
Candy tries to loosen her seat belt.
                                                            
                       CANDY
Daddy!
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Stay in your seat, Candy.
                                                            
Tree tops are visible out the plane's window.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (muttering to
       himself)
Lord? It's me. Dave Gardner?
Remember me? Lord?
      (screaming)
Millie!
                                                            
Millie's face reflects a stoic resignation.
                                                            
EXT. CULTIVATED FIELD
                                                            
The Farmer covers his eyes with his forearm.

There is the sound of a HUGE CRASH.

The Farmer drops his hoe and breaks into a trot that quickly
becomes a dead run.
                                                            
                       FARMER
Sweet Jesus, protect them folks.
                                                            

76.

DC-3 CABIN
                                                            
Although the cabin is in a shambles, the plane has not
exploded. Smoke and small flames are coming from the
bulkhead.

Dave, who has stayed conscious throughout the crash, winces
in pain. Little David, also conscious, is MOANING. Hobbs is
regaining consciousness.

Millie, Candy and Mrs. Hobbs are unconscious. The Hobbs
Daughter is conscious but disoriented.

Dave painfully unbuckles his seat belt.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (to Little David)
You all right, son?
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
I think so.
                                                            
Dave pulls himself up to look at Millie and Candy.

Both are severely injured. Blood covers Millie's face.

Candy's head hangs ominously to one side.

Dave raises Candy's limp hand.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, Baby.
                                                            
Dave is temporarily overcome with emotion. He collects
himself and touches Millie's face.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie?
                                                            
No response. He touches her again.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Millie?
                                                            
She offers up a barely audible MOAN.
                                                            
Hobbs manages to get to his feet.
                                                            
                       HOBBS
Dave, we got to get the hell out
of here.
                                                            

77.

Dave unbuckles Candy's seat belt and lifts her from the
seat.

He carries her to the rear door and lays her down as gently
as he can. He then starts back down the aisle.

He passes Hobbs, who helps his now-conscious, hysterical
wife down the aisle.

Dave lifts Millie in his arms and carries her out the door,
which Hobbs has opened.
                                                            
Little David helps the Hobbs Daughter down the aisle and
out.

Dave returns and gets Candy out the door.
                                                            
A low RUMBLE is heard from the plane's fuselage.
                                                            
EXT. OUTSIDE THE DC-3
                                                            
The men, with the help of the FARMER, move the injured women
a safe distance away from the wreckage.
                                                            
                       HOBBS
Thank God, we got 'em out.
                                                            
Dave turns and looks at the

SMOULDERING PLANE.

He begins to trot back to the wreckage.
                                                            
                       HOBBS
      (shouting at him)
Where you goin', boy?
                                                            
Dave enters the front door of the plane.
                                                            
                       HOBBS
      (under his breath)
God A'mighty!
                                                            

78.

INT. DC-3 CABIN
                                                            
Dave looks around to get his bearings.

The plane is rapidly filling with smoke.

He removes some wreckage that is blocking the cockpit.

He tries to open the cockpit door. It is jammed. He bangs on
the door.

A frantic voice comes from inside the cockpit.
                                                            
                       CO-PILOT
For God's sake, get us out of
here.
                                                            
Dave loads a shoulder into the door. It will not budge.

He tries kicking the door with one foot, then the other.
                                                            
Dave steps back about ten feet, runs forward and launches
himself, feet first, at the door.

It opens slightly.

Dave gets up off the deck and forces the door open.

He looks through the opening and sees the Pilot slumped over
the control panel. The Co-Pilot is on the floor between the
two seats. The Solider is wedged in the ceiling of the
plane. Just his legs and Army boots are visible.

Dave grabs the Co-Pilot under the arms and drags him out of
the cockpit.

The smoke from the ruined cabin is blacker and darker than
ever.
                                                            

79.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE DC-3
                                                            
Dave drags the Co-Pilot outside and away from the plane.

Hobbs runs to Dave and helps get the Co-Pilot to safety.

Dave starts back to the plane, but Hobbs grabs his shoulder.

Dave turns to Hobbs and is about to speak when there is a

HUGE EXPLOSION.

Flames reflect on the faces of Dave and Hobbs.

Dave looks back at the women, Little David and the Farmer.

He drops to his knees and sobs.
                                                            
 
EXT. HOSPITAL (GULFPORT, MS) - DAY
                                                            
A small town hospital. Cars and ambulances, circa mid-60's,
are parked in front and to one side of the building.

It is a week after the crash.
                                                            
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM
                                                            
A semi-private room with two beds.

Candy is in one bed. She is in a body cast.

Millie is sleeping in the other bed. An IV drip is attached
to her left arm. Her right arm is in a heavy cast. Her head
is encircled by a bandage. She wears a neck brace.
                                                            
Dave and Little David are at the foot of Millie's bed. Dave
is in a wheelchair, his right arm in a sling. Little David
has only a few bruises and scrapes.

A DOCTOR is consulting two medical charts.
                                                            
                       DOCTOR
So, to recap, your daughter's back
is broken in five places. However,
with no spinal cord injuries,
she'll be fine, once the fractures
heal.
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's real good, Doc. That's real
good. And Millie?
                                                            

80.

                       DOCTOR
Your wife's x-rays reveal--
      (he consults her
       chart)
Seventeen broken bones. Four in
the upper neck. They're serious,
but with time she should recover.
We'll put her on a regimen of
painkillers that should ease her
discomfort a great deal.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What kind of painkillers?
                                                            
                       DOCTOR
Pretty powerful drugs, to be sure.
But she's going to be in a lot of
pain without them.
                                                            
A look of grave concern comes over Dave's face.
                                                            
 
INT. DRESSING ROOM, GUS STEPHEN'S (BILOXI, MS) - NIGHT
                                                            
One year later.

Dave has returned to the club where he appeared the night
before the plane crash.

He is holding an informal press conference. In attendance,
several REPORTERS: some print and at least one radio. GUS
STEPHENS, owner of the club, is also in the room.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And so, I decided to come back to
Gus' place. Just seemed like the
right place to restart things.
After the crash, you know.
                                                            
                       REPORTER #1
What's it been like Dave? Being
off the road for a year?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, I'm of two minds about that.
Naturally, I missed the fans. The
friends. But, we've had lots of
cards and letters and calls, and
we appreciate 'em so much. On the
other hand, there's no place I'd
rather be than with my family.
                                                            

81.

                       REPORTER #2
You seem to be in pretty good
shape, Brother Dave. How's the
rest of the family?
                                                            
                       DAVE
'Preciate your askin', brother.
Miss Candy is all healed up, thank
the Lord. My son got out with
barely a scratch. The little
scamp.
                                                            
Laughs all around.
                                                            
A DEPUTY SHERIFF enters and stands at the back of the room.
                                                            
                       REPORTER #1
And your wife?
                                                            
                       DAVE
She's...fine. Still dealin' with a
few...aches and pains. But she's
good. Said to tell all her friends
in Biloxi, "Howdy!"
                                                            
                       GUS
      (checks his watch)
Boys, that's got to be it. Dave
goes on in thirty minutes.
                                                            
With handshakes and words of encouragement, the Reporters
leave.
                                                            
The Deputy stays.
                                                            
                       DEPUTY
Brother Dave? Deputy Wilson,
Harrison County Sheriff's
Department.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yes, sir. What can I do for the
local constablary?
                                                            
                       DEPUTY
Pains me to have to do this, but I
got to serve you with some legal
papers.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What in the world for?
                                                            

82.

                       DEPUTY
'Fraid you'll have to read 'em to
find that out.
                                                            
He hands the papers to Dave and, with a nod, starts to
leave. He stops and turns.
                                                            
                       DEPUTY
One more thing.
      (produces a small
       notebook)
Could I have your autograph?
                                                            
An uncomfortable pause, after which, the Deputy realizes his
"faux pas" and leaves.
                                                            
Dave opens the papers and shows them to Gus.

Dave shakes his head in amazement.
                                                            
 
EXT. HARRISON COUNTY COURTHOUSE - DAY
                                                            
A stately antebellum structure, framed by magnolia trees and
towering live oaks. A large staircase leads to the front
door.
                                                            
INT. HARRISON COUNTY COURTHOUSE
                                                            
Dave and his CIVIL ATTORNEY, a courtly looking Southern
lawyer, are climbing the marble staircase to the second
floor court room.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I just still cain't believe it.
"Unauthorized Use of an Aircraft?"
It was their pilot's idea to take
that bucket of bolts!
                                                            
                       CIVIL ATTORNEY
Easy now, Dave...
                                                            
Dave mutters to himself as they continue to climb the steps.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I don't know anything about
airplanes. Anybody says I do is
crazier than a road lizard.
                                                            
The Attorney stops at the second floor landing and takes
Dave aside.
                                                            

83.

                       CIVIL ATTORNEY
Dave, I need not tell you that
you're going on the witness stand
in a court of law. This isn't a
stage. A million dollars is at
stake. When you're on the stand,
just answer the questions and
leave it at that.
                                                            
Chastised, Dave nods in agreement.
                                                            
COURT ROOM
                                                            
It's an oak panelled room with portraits of long-dead and
former Judges on the walls. The gallery is three-quarters
full of SPECTATORS. Chief Hobbs, in uniform, sits on the
front row.

The JUDGE, suitably judicial in appearance and bearing, sits
between an American flag and a Mississippi state flag.

The COURT REPORTER is typing out the testimony. A BAILIFF
stands at attention.

Dave, looking decidedly uncomfortable, is on the witness
stand.

He is being questioned by the PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY, who
pompously drawls out the questions.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY
Now, Mr. Gardner, did you have
your seatbelt fastened?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yes, sir. I'm sure of that. Before
we took off, I made sure every
member of our party had their
seatbelt on. I'm sure of that.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY
And, what were the weather
conditions like at the time of
your departure?
                                                            
                       DAVE
As I remember, it was sunny and
hot. Real hot. Maybe a few clouds.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY
And, just how far did the plane
get before the incident in
question occurred?
                                                            

84.

                       DAVE
We were about twelve miles out.
                                                            
                       PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY
Now, Mr. Gardner, where did the
plane eventually come down?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (pause, then
       deadpan)
On the ground.
                                                            
The Spectators, Hobbs and the Bailiff all LAUGH.

The Court Reporter looks up, puzzled.

The Judge, almost cracking himself, raps his gavel three
times.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (to Judge)
Sorry, Your Honor. That one was
just too good to miss.
                                                            
EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS
                                                            
Dave and his Civil Attorney stand a few steps above several
REPORTERS and a group of WELL-WISHERS.
                                                            
                       CIVIL ATTORNEY
From the start of these
proceedings, we were confident
that when the true facts of the
case came out, Dave would be
exonerated. And, that's just the
way things turned out.
                                                            
                       REPORTER #1
How you feelin', Brother Dave?
                                                            
                       REPORTER #2
How do you feel about the verdict?
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (flashing that
       smile)
I'm beamin', smilin', like unto a
possum.
                                                            
Everyone laughs.
                                                            

85.

                       DAVE
Serious, now. It was a tragic
incident. Everybody involved
suffered greatly. 'Specially the
families of the Pilot and that
nice young man hitchin' a ride
with us. But, now's the time to
get on with things. And, I'm
fixin' to "get on" to Miss Millie
and my kids. Thank you and God
bless.
                                                            
Dave and his Civil Attorney walk down the steps through the
crowd and get into a waiting Cadillac Fleetwood.
                                                            
 
EXT. MANSION - DAY
                                                            
A warm, sunny California day.
                                                            
DAVE AND MILLIE'S BEDROOM
                                                            
Ruthie is helping Millie pack a suitcase.

Millie moves stiffly and has the same drawn appearance she
displayed during her earlier bout with drugs.

Dave enters from the hallway. He is determinedly upbeat.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (in character
       voice)
We 'bout ready, Ruthie?
                                                            
                       RUTHIE
Just about, Mr. Dave.
      (closes suitcase)
Nice to see Mrs. Gardner gettin'
out of this house for a change.
These walls are pretty, but they
still walls.
                                                            
Dave takes Millie's hand and tries to pull her close.

She smoothly pulls away from him.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Change of scenery will do her
good. And Mr. Hunt's house should
provide some pretty fancy scenery.
                                                            
Millie holds up her compact and examines her face.
                                                            

86.

                       MILLIE
I'm still a wreck.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What are you talkin' about? I'll
be with the prettiest girl in the
place. Right, Ruthie?
                                                            
                       RUTHIE
That's a fact. Long as Mrs.
Gardner's there.
                                                            
Millie takes another look at the compact mirror.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I suppose this is as good as it's
going to get.
                                                            
Dave begins to collect the bags. He stops short as Millie
puts the compact in her train case and takes out three
bottles of prescription drugs.

Millie notices him watching her.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Mother's little helpers.
                                                            
She closes the train case and walks stiffly out the door.
                                                            
Dave casts a glance at Ruthie, who shakes her head and
starts to straighten up the bed.
                                                            
 
EXT. H. L . HUNT'S MANSION - NIGHT
                                                            
A palatial mansion that would dwarf Dave and Millie's.
Limos, Mercedes and Rolls line the beautifully illuminated
driveway.
                                                            
INT. HUNT'S BALLROOM
                                                            
The power and wealth on display are staggering. A small army
of LIVERIED SERVANTS circulates, offering a dazzling array
of food and drink. A STRINGED QUARTET PLAYS MOZART in the
corner of the cavernous room.
                                                            
The GUESTS are as glittering as their surroundings.
Bejeweled women and prosperous looking men are chatting each
other up.

In one corner of the room, the "great man" himself is
holding court. H.L. HUNT, the billionaire oil man, is in the
middle of one of his tirades against the Federal government

87.

and all of its manifestations.

Dave and Millie are among the listeners.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
I hoped things would get better in
this country after that Papal
puppet was taken care of in
Dallas. But, the Socialist we've
got in the White House now almost
makes me ashamed to be from Texas.
                                                            
Nods and words of approval from some of the Guests.

Dave looks uncomfortable, as much for not being the center
of attention as for what is being said.

Millie, however, is intent on every word.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
And, with this war he's gotten us
into, taxes are going to go
through the roof. The IRS is
sucking the life out of this
country.
                                                            
More agreement from the Guests.
                                                            
                       GUEST
What can we do, Mr. Hunt?
                                                            
Hunt makes sure he has their attention, then speaks.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
It's going to take people, all
kinds of people, from all over the
country, refusing to pay taxes.
The citizens of America would
rally around a few brave patriots
who stood up to the tyranny of the
Internal Revenue Service.
                                                            
MRS. HUNT appears through the crowd. She looks like a
walking jewelry store. She addresses her husband.
                                                            
                       MRS. HUNT
Now, darlin', are you borin' our
guests with your political
ramblin's again? They came to our
little soiree for some fun, Sugah.
                                                            

88.

                       H.L. HUNT
Sorry, my dear.
      (to the Guests)
She's right, as always. Enjoy
yourself, folks.
                                                            
As the Guests disperse, Hunt seeks out Dave and Millie.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
Glad you could make it, Brother
Dave. You and your lovely wife,
that is.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (interjecting
       herself)
We appreciate the invitation, Mr.
Hunt.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
      (to Dave)
Been a big fan of yours for years.
Got all your albums. Glad to see
you up and about after that plane
crash. You had us all worried.
                                                            
                       DAVE
We're doin' fine, thanks.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Mr. Hunt, do you really believe
the average American would join in
the kind of tax revolt you're
advocating?
                                                            
His reaction shows he is impressed with her question.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
If some "high profile" types got
the ball rolling, I think there
would be a ground swell, all
across our nation.
                                                            
Hunt sees his Wife waving him over to another group of
Guests.
                                                            
                       H.L. HUNT
You'll excuse me, won't you?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Why, of course, Mr. Hunt.
                                                            
He slaps Dave on the back and grins.
                                                            

89.

                       H.L. HUNT
"Eleanor Roosevelt on water skis."
I laughed at that line for a week.
                                                            
Hunt walks off, chuckling to himself.
                                                            
Dave turns down a drink offered by one of the Servants.

Millie takes a glass of champagne and downs it.

Dave starts to speak to her, but she grabs his arm and they
melt into the crowd of Guests.
                                                            
SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
A) INT. BANQUET HALL (NEW YORK)--NIGHT
                                                            
Behind the head table is a banner. It reads

BILLBOARD MAGAZINE
COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR
BROTHER DAVE GARDNER

Dave accepts the award from the MASTER OF CEREMONIES, while
Millie and the DIGNITARIES applaud.
                                                            
B) INT. IRS OFFICE--DAY
                                                            
A MAN behind a large oak desk slides a file toward TWO MEN
IN DARK SUITS who sit across from him. The name on the file

DAVID M. GARDNER

MAN IN DARK SUIT #1 opens the file. There is a black and
white headshot of Dave. MAN IN DARK SUIT #2 nods.
                                                            
C) A MILITARY BASE (CALIFORNIA)--DAY
                                                            
Dave is with a large group of laughing GREEN BERET SOLDIERS.
He is "cutting up" with them and they're loving it.

AN OFFICER comes up to Dave and presents him with a Green
Beret. Dave is genuinely touched.

He carefully places the beret on his head and salutes the
soldiers.

His smile has never been more blinding.
                                                            

90.

D) INT. LAS VEGAS CASINO
                                                            
Dave and Millie are having their picture made with a group
of MAFIOSI. Dave is standing next to the one who is probably
the BOSS.

Just before the picture is taken, Dave pulls back the Boss's
jacket, revealing a

SHOULDER-HOLSTERED .38 REVOLVER.

The camera FLASHES.

The Boss, feigning anger, draws back his fist as if to hit
Dave. But instead, he lightly grazes Dave's chin.

The Mafiosi LAUGH.

Dave looks at Millie with an expression that says, "I won't
do that again."

The group disperses, revealing the Two Men In Black Suits,
observing the group and taking notes.

END SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
 
INT. MANSION'S DEN - DAY
                                                            
Dave is sitting in the leather chair, watching TV.

On the screen

A RICHARD NIXON PRESS CONFERENCE (STOCK)
                                                            
Through the doorway, we see Ruthie hand Millie a envelope.

Millie opens the envelope and walks slowly into the den.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (to Millie)
Lyndon's back in Texas and Crafty
Richard is in the White House.
Who'd of thought it?
                                                            
He sees the look on Millie's face.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What's that, Miss Millie?
                                                            
She drops the envelope in his lap.
                                                            

91.

                       MILLIE
It's a Certified Letter from the
IRS. We have to explain why we
haven't paid taxes in the past
three years.
                                                            
As Dave skims the letter, Millie walks to the window and
looks out.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, we wanted to prove the IRS
laws are unconstitutional. Now's
our chance.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I know. It's just that it's
finally here, it's a little scary.
                                                            
Dave rises and goes to her.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
It's going to cost of fortune.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Don't you worry, Miss Millie. Mr.
Hunt will help us. He's got more
money that the Lord. And there are
millions of people around the
country who feel just like us.
      (he puts his hands
       on her shoulders)
Don't you worry, we'll beat 'em.
                                                            
Millie continues to stare out the window at the

CIRCULAR DRIVEWAY.
                                                            
INT./EXT. VIEW OF CIRCULAR DRIVE FROM DEN WINDOW--DAY
                                                            
There is now a moving van parked in the circular driveway.
WORKERS are loading the van with the Gardner family
possessions.
                                                            
INT. MANSION'S DEN
                                                            
Sunlight streams through the windows, now bare of curtains.
                                                            
The room has been stripped of furniture, rugs, wall
hangings, etc.

Dave is going over the manifest with the MOVER.
                                                            

92.

                       MOVER
And deliver them to this warehouse
in Biloxi, Mississippi. Right, Mr.
Gardner?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yes, brother, that's right.
                                                            
                       MOVER
OK. If you'll just sign this,
we'll get that last load on and
shove off.
                                                            
As Dave signs the manifest, Ruthie comes into the room. She
is in street clothes.
                                                            
                       RUTHIE
Mr. Dave?
                                                            
The Mover tips his hat and leaves the room.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, yes. Ruthie. 'Spect we need to
get you paid.
                                                            
                       RUTHIE
No need. Mrs. Gardner took care of
that. I just wanted to say 'bye.
                                                            
Dave extends his hand and she takes it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
'Bye, Ruthie. We'll all miss you.
                                                            
                       RUTHIE
I'll miss you, too.
      (looking around
       her)
Gonna be hard for y'all to leave
this place. 'Specially Mrs.
Gardner.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Where is Miss Millie?
                                                            
                       RUTHIE
Down by the pool.
                                                            
For the shortest instant, there is a look of near-panic on
Dave's face.

He pats Ruthie on the shoulder and quickly leaves the room.
                                                            

93.

EXT. THE MANSION'S POOL
                                                            
Dave bursts through the open patio door.

He sees Millie, sitting calmly in a poolside chair, looking
into the water.

Relieved, Dave walks over to her.

Millie turns, and it's apparent the pills are continuing to
take their toll.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Time to go, Millie. We got a plane
to catch.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
From all this, to Biloxi,
Mississippi.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Now, Miss Millie--
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I appreciate Gus loaning us the
apartment--
                                                            
She turns and looks at the mansion.
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's all just temporary. The
Appeal's still out there. We're
not done yet.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
I was such a fool to listen to
Hunt. Bet he never stopped paying
his taxes.
                                                            
                       DAVE
"We" were fools, Millie. But we
got to go on.
      (backing up)
Let me go get the kids.
                                                            
Dave watches Millie closely until he is inside the mansion.

Millie goes to the poolside table, opens her purse and takes
out a huge prescription bottle, full of pills.
                                                            
 

94.

INT. GUS STEPHEN'S LOUNGE (BILOXI) - NIGHT
                                                            
Dave is on stage in front of a FOUR PIECE COMBO. The CROWD
is smaller and less responsive than those in the past. He is
near the end of his set.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Beloved, now that we have a real
President in the White House, I
don't hardly know what to say to
you.
                                                            
A few CHUCKLES from the Crowd (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
I mean, I voted for Barry
Goldwater and he only carried five
states. I voted for George Wallace
and he only carried five states.

Beloved, I believe if God ran for
President, he'd only carry five
states, and they'd be in the
South!
                                                            
A few more CHUCKLES and SCATTERED APPLAUSE (OS.)
                                                            
Realizing it's not going well, Dave heads to the back of the
stage and sits at the drum kit. His DRUM SOLO provides the
background for

Millie settling up with Gus in his office.

Gus hands her the check.

Her look informs us it's smaller than she's used to.

Gus smiles and shrugs.

Millie exits his office.

The Two Men In Dark Suits stand in the hallway.

They flash their badges, which read

SPECIAL AGENT/INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE.

MAN #1 produces a letter which reads

NOTICE OF CONFISCATION.

MAN #2 extends his hand.


95.

Millie turns over the check to him.

She goes back in Gus' office.

He gives her a mournful shake of the head.

She sits in a chair, totally defeated, as

A HUGE CYMBAL CRASH ends Dave's DRUM SOLO.
                                                            
 
INT. AN APARTMENT (ATLANTA) (1980) - DAY
                                                            
The apartment's decor is what might be called "early
Salvation Army." Mismatched and patched furniture. A few
posters of Dave's early career hang on the walls. There are
two pictures that are prominent. One is of Candy with a
YOUNG MAN. Next to it, a picture of Little David, now a
young man himself.

Millie is lying on the couch under a blanket. She looks
decades older than her fifty-four years. She is ravaged by
years of addiction and poverty. A mountain of cigarette
butts fills an ashtray on what passes for a coffee table.
She is racked by coughs.

Dave is sitting in an upholstered chair, smoking. His hair
is grayer than before. He is watching a rerun of

"THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW"

on a black and white, thirteen inch TV.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
      (after a coughing
       spell)
Biggest mistake we ever made.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What's that, Miss Millie?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Leaving Paar. Taking you away from
television. You'd have been bigger
than any of them.
                                                            
Another series of racking coughs.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Now, Miss Millie--
                                                            

96.

                       MILLIE
Never should have listened to
Colonel Parker.
      (more coughing)
Biggest mistake we ever made.
                                                            
Dave gets up and cuts off the TV. He crushes out a
cigarette.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Now, you perk up, Miss Millie.
Little David says he's workin' on
some dates in Dallas. Says they
look real promisin'.
                                                            
Her look betrays the fact she knows he's lying.

Dave heads for the kitchen.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Dave?
                                                            
He stops.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Sit down. We need to talk.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What's on your mind, Millie?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
You'd better learn something about
business.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (a soft laugh)
And why's that, Miss Millie?
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Because I'm going to die soon.
                                                            
Dave's smile fades.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Now, I'm not listenin' to any of
that--
                                                            
He turns on his heel to leave.
                                                            
                       MILLIE
Sit down, Dave.
      (pause)
Please.
                                                            

97.

Dave stops, turns, slowly walks back to the upholstered
chair and sits on the arm.
                                                            
 
INT. LITTLE DAVID'S APARTMENT (DALLAS) (1981) - DAY
                                                            
SUPER--"FIFTEEN MONTHS LATER"
                                                            
A small apartment, just slightly better than Dave's in
Atlanta. "Post Hippie" would best describe its decor.

There are posters of Dave's career, mixed with posters of
Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers and others on the wall.

Dave sits at the kitchen table. There are two cigarettes
going in two different ash trays.

Dave's physical appearance is appalling. He has lost an
incredible amount of weight. His hair, perhaps for the first
time in his life, is uncombed. It has gone solid white.

He is looking through a scrapbook of memorabilia: pictures
of Millie; the two of them together and with the kids;
pictures of Dave and Millie with celebrities and people they
have known.

The front door opens. Little David, now grown to over six
feet tall, enters carrying two bags of groceries. His hair
is just beyond fashionably long. He wears a leisure suit.

Little David notices his father looking at the scrapbook.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Why'd you get that thing out
again, Dad? It only makes you sad.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Got a call this morning from a
newspaper reporter in Atlanta.
They're doin' a "Where Are They
Now?" series. Seems your Dad is
goin' to be the subject of their
first article.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
      (putting down the
       groceries)
That's great!
                                                            
                       DAVE
Come again?
                                                            

98.

                       LITTLE DAVID
Think of the publicity! This could
be the thing that gets us rolling
again. When's he coming?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Don't know. Told him I'd have to
think about it.
                                                            
Little David slams his fist down on the table.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
Damn!
                                                            
He goes to the phone table next to a chair and picks up a
piece of paper.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
I'm calling him back. Is this the
number?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Son, the phone company cut off the
service this afternoon.
                                                            
Little David rummages through his pockets and finds some
change.
                                                            
                       LITTLE DAVID
We'll get it turned on Friday,
after I get my check. Right now,
I'm calling him. This could be
big.
                                                            
He leaves.

Dave is alone with his memories.
                                                            
 
INT. JUDY ROBERTSON'S APARTMENT (ATLANTA) - DAY
                                                            
In her comfortably furnished, three bedroom apartment, sits
Judy Robertson, the young blond woman Dave met at the
after-show party several years earlier. Those years have not
diminished her beauty.

She is on the couch, reading "Atlanta Monthly" magazine. She
is clearly troubled.

As she finishes the article, she puts the magazine on the
coffee table and exits our view.

After a moment, the sound of a touch-tone telephone being

99.

"dialed" is heard.

THE MAGAZINE COVER

It shows a picture of Dave, sitting on a park bench in front
of a lake. He is wearing the Green Beret. Despite his
reduced circumstances, we see a hint of that wonderful
smile.

The headline says it all.

"DOWN AND OUT IN DALLAS."
                                                            
                       JUDY (OS)
Directory assistance, please.
      (pause)
Yes, Dallas, Texas, please.
      (pause)
Hello? Yes. Could you give me the
number of David Gardner?
      (pause)
Seven? Could I have them all,
please? It's important.
                                                            
 
INT. LITTLE DAVID'S APARTMENT - DAY
                                                            
Dave is sitting on the couch. In his lap, the scrapbook is
open to a picture of Miss Millie. In one hand, he holds a
cigarette. In the other, a .32 revolver.

He stares off into space.

The phone RINGS three times.

Dave ignores the phone as long as he can. Finally, he puts
down the revolver and answers the phone.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Hello?
                                                            
                       JUDY (OS)
Yes. Is this Dave Gardner?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yes. Which collection agency are
you from?
                                                            
                       JUDY (OS)
No. It's nothing like that. I
doubt you remember me, Dave. My
name is Judy Robertson. I met you
several years ago. In Atlanta.
                                                            

100.

Dave is racking his brain.
                                                            
                       JUDY (OS)
I was in the front row at the
Copa-Atlanta show. I came to the
party after the show. The girl
with all the programs?
                                                            
A "light goes on" for Dave. He forces himself to sound
cheerful.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, yes. The pretty blond lady.
How are you, Miss Judy?
                                                            
JUDY'S APARTMENT
                                                            
                       JUDY
The question is, how are you?
                                                            
                       DAVE (OS)
Oh, I'm doin' fine. Real fine.
                                                            
                       JUDY
It doesn't look like it to me.
                                                            
                       DAVE (OS)
Well, I've been better. But, I'm
good.
                                                            
                       JUDY
I know this sounds crazy, Dave,
but I need to know your address.
                                                            
LITTLE DAVID'S APARTMENT
                                                            
                       DAVE
Now, Miss Judy, don't go sendin'
me any money--
                                                            
                       JUDY (OS)
I'm coming to get you. What's your
address?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Miss Judy--
                                                            
                       JUDY (OS)
You need help, Dave.
                                                            
Dave looks at

THE REVOLVER.

101.


A look of deepest despair comes over him.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yeah. I do.
                                                            
He sits on the couch.
                                                            
SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
A) Judy helping Dave into her apartment.

B) Judy serving Dave at the dinner table.

C) Judy covering Dave with a blanket as he sleeps in a
recliner.

D) Judy on the phone, relating Dave's real condition to
Candy.

E) Candy tearfully reacting to the news.

F) Candy and her husband, STAN, reuniting with Dave at
Judy's.

G) Dave joining Candy and Stan in prayer.

END SERIES OF SHOTS
                                                            
 
EXT. A LAKESIDE PARK (ATLANTA) - DAY
                                                            
A sun-lit Southern day. Dave and Judy walk arm-in-arm on the
lake shore. Dave looks remarkably better. He's regained
weight. There is a slight spring in his step. His hair is
still snow white, but tastefully styled, as in the old days.
                                                            
                       JUDY
David called again. While you were
at the store.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And?
                                                            
                       JUDY
He's still not happy with your
being here.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Not suprised.
                                                            

102.

                       JUDY
I don't want to sound critical,
but I still can't understand why
he kept things from Candy. I mean,
I can understand why you--
                                                            
                       DAVE
Guess he was just bein' a little
over-protective. After his Mama
died, he felt he could take over
the reins.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Suppose so, but still--
                                                            
                       DAVE
His heart's in the right place,
Judy. He's just not much on money
and business and such.
      (he chuckles)
He came by that honest.
                                                            
                       JUDY
I know all that, but--
                                                            
                       DAVE
He just cain't get over the fact
that his Daddy ain't "Brother
Dave" no more.
                                                            
They walk in silence for a moment.

Judy stops and turns to Dave.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Can I ask you a question?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Fire away, Miss Judy.
                                                            
                       JUDY
What do you want? More than
anything else in the world. What
do you want?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Besides your love?
                                                            
                       JUDY
      (touched)
Thank you, Dave.
                                                            

103.

                       DAVE
Lord knows I want that.
                                                            
He walks off a few steps and gazes out over the lake.

Judy stands a few feet behind him, giving him space and
time.

He looks back at her and then gazes out over the lake.
                                                            
                       DAVE
And I want my career back. I want
to be on stage again. In my whole
life, that's the place I felt the
freest. The most alive. The most
in control. In that spotlight,
Makin' people laugh. Lettin' that
laughter and applause wash all
over me. I miss it more than I can
say.
      (pause)
I want to be "Brother Dave" again.
                                                            
Judy walks up behind him, puts her hands on his shoulders
and whispers in his ear.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Then, let's do it.
                                                            
Dave turns to her with a look of exasperation, which turns
quizzical and then hopeful.

Judy caresses his cheek.

He takes her hand and kisses it.
                                                            
 
EXT. THE FOX THEATRE (ATLANTA) (1982) - NIGHT
                                                            
There is a long line of patrons in front of the beautiful
old theatre. On the marquee

REJOICE DEAR HEARTS! BROTHER DAVE GARDNER FEB. 13 8PM
                                                            
INT. THE FOX THEATRE'S STAR DRESSING ROOM
                                                            
The THEATRE MANAGER, an urbane man in his 50's, wearing a
tuxedo, is with Dave and Judy. It is just before show time.
                                                            
Judy is holding a gift bag.
                                                            

104.

                       THEATRE MANAGER
It's a great night for the Fox,
Mr. Gardner. We're sold out to the
walls. Proud to have you with us.
                                                            
                       DAVE
It's a joy and a benediction to be
here.
      (indicating Judy)
And I owe it all to this sweet
woman right here.
                                                            
                       THEATRE MANAGER
She is a very persausive lady.
                                                            
There is a KNOCK at the door.
                                                            
                       STAGE MANAGER (OS)
Five minutes, Mr. Gardner!
                                                            
                       THEATRE MANAGER
I'll see you after the show. Break
a leg!
                                                            
Judy sees him to the door.

She turns and sees that Dave is "somewhere else."
                                                            
                       JUDY
You all right? Not getting stage
fright, are you?
                                                            
Dave shakes his head.
                                                            
                       JUDY
You wish Millie was here, don't
you?
                                                            
Dave nods his head.
                                                            
Judy hands him the gift bag.

He removes the contents. It is

THE PHOTOGRAPH OF MILLIE FROM THE SCRAPBOOK, framed.
                                                            
                       JUDY
She's here, Dave. You know she
wouldn't miss it for the world.
                                                            
A tear forms in the corner of Dave's eye.
                                                            

105.

                       DAVE
What in the world did I ever do to
deserve a woman like you in my
life?
                                                            
                       JUDY
Come on. I want to see "Brother
Dave."
                                                            
He gently sets the picture of Millie on the dressing room
table.

Judy offers her arm. He takes it.

They exit the dressing room.
                                                            
INT. AUDITORIUM OF THE FOX
                                                            
An excited and expectant crowd is BUZZING with anticipation.

The CHILDREN OF LIGHT ORCHESTRA is on stage.
                                                            
The Theatre Manager walks to center stage.
                                                            
                       THEATRE MANAGER
Ladies and gentlemen, The Fox
Theatre of Atlanta is pleased to
present the return of a true
legend. Rejoice, dear hearts,
here's Brother Dave!
                                                            
The Orchestra strikes up a bouncy version of "I'm Sitting On
Top Of The World."

Dave, fingers snapping in time to the music, strides to the
mike. He belts it out.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (singing)
I'M SITTIN' ON TOP OF THE WORLD
JUST ROLLIN' ALONG, HAVIN' A BALL
I'M FLIPPIN' OFF THE BLUES
OF THE WORLD
JUST ROLLIN' ALONG
SINGIN' A SONG

GLORY HALLELUJAH, I JUST CALLED
THE PARSON
HEY PAW, GET READY TO FALL
LIKE HUMPTY DUMPTY
JOY TO THE WORLD

I'M SITTIN', ROCKIN', FLIPPIN'
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
            (MORE)

106.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
JUST ROLLIN' ALONG
ROLLIN' ALONG
                                                            
THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE and CHEERS (OS) during which Dave takes
out a cigarette and a lighter. He lights up and starts to
roll.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Rejoice, children of light. And
all ye who are with it...without
it...transcended it...kicked
it...returned to it...and thought
of it...bless thee.
                                                            
Warm and familiar LAUGHTER (OS) from the Crowd.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Everything you have done in your
whole lifetime, in the physical
vehicle, on this plain, has
brought you to this instant.
      (pause)
Ain't that weird?
                                                            
He takes a drag off his cigarette and studies it for a
moment.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Look at this. Fire on one end and
a fool on the other.
                                                            
Waves of LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
I like cigarettes. I'd smoke in my
sleep if I could get somebody to
hold 'em.
                                                            
More LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
I smoke cigarettes 'cause they're
a Southern product. They may kill
me, but I'll go out pushin' Dixie.
                                                            
APPLAUSE (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, I want to do this, because,
I believe in everything. That's
right beloved, I do.

I mean, don't tell me 'bout your
            (MORE)

107.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
doubts. I got enough doubts of my
own. Tell me somethin' you believe
in!
                                                            
AUDIENCE
                                                            
They look on in rapt anticipation.
                                                            
STAGE
                                                            
                       DAVE
More'n anything else, I believe in
love. That's right. And when I say
"love," I'm not talkin' 'bout like
when a nineteen-year old boy
kisses an eighteen-year old girl.
Dear hearts, that ain't love,
that's emotion.

But when that same nineteen-year
old boy kisses a forty-nine year
old girl, WHOO!, dear hearts,
that's love!
                                                            
An ERUPTION of LAUGHTER (OS.)
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (overriding the
       crowd)
Oh, he's got a friend to talk to!
                                                            
The LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE is long and sustained.
                                                            
THE FRONT ROW
                                                            
Judy applauds and smiles through her tears.
                                                            
BACKSTAGE HALLWAY OF THE FOX THEATRE
                                                            
It is a few minutes after the show.

A tall, striking-looking GENTLEMAN in his 40's, dressed in a
Western-cut suit, strides purposefully down the hall.

He reaches Dave's dressing room door.

From the inside, he can hear Dave and Judy laughing and
talking.

The Gentleman knocks on the door.

Judy opens it.
                                                            

108.

                       JUDY
May I help you?
                                                            
                       GENTLEMAN
Pardon me, ma'am. I need to speak
with Dave Gardner, please.
                                                            
Judy hesitates.
                                                            
                       GENTLEMAN
I'm not an autograph seeker, if
that's what you think.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Please, come in.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (from inside)
Yes, come in, brother.
                                                            
Dave has his jacket off and his tie undone.
                                                            
                       GENTLEMAN
Brother Dave, I'm Earl Owensby.
From Shelby, North Carolina.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, yeah. The movie man. I've
heard 'bout you. Pleased to meet
you, Brother Earl.
                                                            
                       EARL
The pleasure is all mine. Been a
fan of yours for years. Didn't
find out you were appearin' here
until early this mornin'. Had to
drive like a bat out of hell and
sit in the balcony. But it was
worth it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
'Preciate that. How can I help
you?
                                                            
                       EARL
I've got a small theatre in
Shelby. Seats a couple of hundred.
I'd like you to come up and play a
couple of dates next year.
                                                            
                       JUDY
      (almost like
       Millie)
Could you make money with just a
            (MORE)

109.

                       JUDY (cont'd)
few hundred seats? The ticket
price would have to be pretty
steep.
                                                            
                       EARL
      (smiling)
Ma'am, if Dave agrees, I'd like to
video tape the shows and market
them. I'm willin' to pay you ten
thousand dollars, in advance, plus
a nice percentage of the profits.
                                                            
Dave rises.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Brother Earl, ten thousand dollars
sounds pretty good to me.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Very generous of you, Mr. Owensby.
                                                            
                       EARL
Earl. And it's not generosity.
It's a great business decision.
      (to Dave)
If the tapin' goes well, I'd like
to offer you a role in a movie
I've got planned for next fall.
There's one with your name written
all over it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I'd appreciate that chance,
Brother Earl.
                                                            
The two men shake hands.
                                                            
                       EARL
My lawyers will draw up the
papers. We'll talk dates later.
                                                            
He starts to leave, but turns, reaches into his pocket and
pulls out a piece of paper.
                                                            
                       EARL
      (to Judy)
I lied about one thing.
      (to Dave)
Can I have your autograph?
                                                            
Flashing that blinding smile, Dave complies with the
request.
                                                            
 

110.

INT. JUDY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
                                                            
SUPER--"FOUR MONTHS LATER"
                                                            
It's late in the evening. Judy, in her bathrobe, is turning
out the lights and preparing for bed.

As she reaches to cut off the lamp on an end table, we see

A WEDDING PICTURE OF HER AND DAVE

She picks the picture up and looks at it with warm, almost
girlish smile.

She replaces the picture, turns out the light and walks down
the hallway to the bedroom.
                                                            
BEDROOM
                                                            
Judy enters the room.

She notices the bed covers askew.

On the floor at the end of the bed, she sees a pair of bare
feet.
                                                            
 
EXT. AN ATLANTA FREEWAY - NIGHT
                                                            
An ambulance flies down the freeway, its siren SCREAMING.
                                                            
INT. AMBULANCE
                                                            
EMT's are working on an unconscious Dave, taking his vital
signs and reporting them to the hospital via two-way radio.
                                                            
 
INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Judy is sitting in a waiting room chair, looking worried and
tired.

A SURGEON comes through the door. He, too, looks worried and
tired.
                                                            
                       SURGEON
Mrs. Gardner?
                                                            
                       JUDY
      (rising)
Yes?
                                                            

111.

                       SURGEON
I'm Dr. Phil Johnston. Your
husband is stable. For the time
being.
                                                            
                       JUDY
For the time being?
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
Mr. Gardner is a very sick man.
      (consults his
       chart)
He's a heavy smoker, right?
                                                            
                       JUDY
Yes.
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
That's apparent. There was lots of
damage. We almost lost him three
times.
                                                            
Judy sits under the weight of his words.
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
Sorry if I upset you. But, you
need to know what the real
situation is.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Yes. Of course.
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
When, and if, he's sufficiently
recovered, we'll implant a
pacemaker. That should ease the
burden on his heart. If he takes
it easy and stays off cigarettes,
the prognosis is fair.
                                                            
                       JUDY
Fair?
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
Under the best of circumstances,
he's on borrowed time.
                                                            
Judy begins to weep.
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
I'll keep you informed.
                                                            
He starts for the door. He opens it and then turns to Judy.
                                                            

112.

                       DR. JOHNSTON
Mrs. Gardner?
                                                            
She looks up at him.
                                                            
                       DR. JOHNSTON
I saw your husband when I was an
undergrad at Ole Miss. We'll take
good care of him. He's a very
funny man.
                                                            
                       JUDY
He's a very wonderful man.
                                                            
Dr. Johnston nods and exits the room.
                                                            
 
INT. PRIVATE HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Dave is lying in a bed, asleep. He is wearing an oxygen mask
and has an IV drip.

Candy and Judy sit side-by-side next to his bed.
                                                            
                       JUDY
They say he may be able to go home
in a couple of weeks.
                                                            
                       CANDY
That's good.
      (pause)
Thank God he has you to go home
to.
                                                            
Touched, Judy smiles and bows her head.
                                                            
                       CANDY
I mean that, Judy. What you did
for my Daddy is a--
      (she tears up)
a blessing. You saved his life.
                                                            
Judy tries to speak but Candy continues on.
                                                            
                       CANDY
After all those years. After
everybody...his friends, his
fans...abandoned him, you took him
in. Cared for him. Loved him.
                                                            
Judy reflects for a moment.
                                                            

113.

                       JUDY
That article in the Journal just
tore my heart out. He seemed so
all alone.
                                                            
Candy rises and walks to the window. She looks out.
                                                            
                       CANDY
Mama and Daddy loved each other.
I'm sure of that. But it was a
love based on--
      (pause)
a mutual need. They loved each
other, but they needed each other
more.
                                                            
Judy nods.
                                                            
                       CANDY
Do you know, I never heard her say
"I love you?" to him.
                                                            
She walks behind Judy, who sits, silently listening.
                                                            
                       CANDY
Mama was never a sentimental
person. Ever. She felt like she
always had to be in charge. Always
pushing Daddy's career. Daddy was
all sentiment, through and
through. The only time he was "in
charge" was when he was on stage.
That was his world.
              &nbs