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Special Report: One Tin Soldier
by Steven M. Ulmen (sulmen2001@yahoo.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

How do employees of a small town TV station react when a network Special Report threatens to pre-empt local programming? Character driven Christmas story based on a terrorist theme.


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:

INT. TV STATION - DAY
                                                            
HANK the station owner and DAVE his son are seated in HANK'S
OFFICE.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Dad, I need to talk to you about
Phyllis and Rick.
                                                            
                       HANK
Oh? What about them?
                                                            
                       DAVE
It is all the stunts they are
pulling. They decide, between the
two of them, what goes on around
here.
                                                            
                       HANK
Stunts? What stunts are you
talking about?
                                                            
                       DAVE
I am talking about how they handle
scheduling and how they decide
what gets air time. Even how they
write the news.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (scratches head)
Well, duh, that is what they are
hired to do, Dave. Phyllis is news
editor and Rick is program
director. What is wrong with how
they are running things? Seems
fine to me.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well not to me. They are
controlling the direction of our
station.
                                                            
                       HANK
Our station? What do you mean, our
station? This is my station, buddy
boy, and don't you forget it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well, if everything goes right, it
will be mine some day.
                                                            

2.

                       HANK
      (chuckling)
If everything goes right. Don't
you mean, when I croak?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh dad, I...
                                                            
                       HANK
      (rising from chair)
All in due time, Dave. You've only
been here but two years.
                                                            
HANK moves over and sits in chair next to DAVE
                                                            
                       HANK
You are still learning the ropes
of running a station. Rick and
Phyllis are good people. They are
professionals. You can learn a lot
from them.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (snorts)
Phyllis! She is so snooty! She is
a lousy news editor. For the life
of me, I don't know why you keep
her on.
                                                            
                       HANK
Dave, Phyllis Wilson helped me get
this station in shape. When I took
it over three years ago it was a
loser, a dud, ready to go belly
up. She and Rick took over the
news and programming, totally
revamped them, and brought us back
from the brink. They got us in the
ratings that got us sponsors and
advertising accounts. Something we
would not have without them.
                                                            
Beat
                                                            
                       HANK
And something else we would not
have without them is our regular
pay checks. Keep that in mind.
                                                            

3.

                       DAVE
Ratings! There's more luck to our
ratings than skill! I've seen good
stories passed over because they
do not like the content.
                                                            
                       HANK
Look, I do not second guess what
they put out over the air because
I trust their judgement, which got
us in the ratings. If you have a
difference of opinion with either
Rick or Phyllis, tell them so.
Argue your point, but do not
whimper to me about it.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You're wrong, dad, but I guess
I'll just have to prove...
                                                            
PHONE rings. HANK stands up, walks back to his desk and
picks up the phone.
                                                            
                       HANK
Yes Julie. Fine, fine, show him
in.
                                                            
DAVE stands and starts to leave.
                                                            
                       HANK
Hey Dave, stay here. Mel Johnson
from Johnson Implement is here to
discuss some spots. It's a big
account. I'll introduce you, and
you can sit in with us. Start to
learn the business end.
                                                            
                       DAVE
You handle the accounts. I'm going
to keep my eye on those two
professionals of yours.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (Hangs up phone.
       Hollers after
       Dave as he exits.)
Just stay out of their way!
                                                            
 

4.

INT. TV STUDIO LOBBY - DAY
                                                            
PHYLLIS WILSON, 40 something, well dressed in business suit,
enters lobby. MILT the janitor, older man, thin, grey
haired, is mopping the floor.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Milt, you are moving much better
today. That visit to the doctor
really paid off.
                                                            
                       MILT
Thanks Phyllis. He gave me some
new medicine for my rhumatiz.
                                                            
MILT does a little shuffling dance.
                                                            
                       MILT
I feel like a kid again. Is it
cold outside?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Twenty five degrees. I guess
winter is on the way.
                                                            
                       MILT
Not bad for this time of year. In
another month or so, this will
seem like a heat wave.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (shivering)
Br-r-r, do not even think it,
Milt.
                                                            
PHYLLIS and MILT share a CHUCKLE, then she walks down
hallway, smiling. Her smile fades as DAVE walks in the other
direction. He sees Phyllis and breaks into a phony smile.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Ah, Miz Wilson, our little
Phyllis, like I was just telling
dad, you're a day brightener for
us all.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Coldly)
I am delighted that the sight of
me makes your day, David.
                                                            
Lightening up.
                                                            

5.

                       PHYLLIS
Is Hank around?
                                                            
                       DAVE
Of course he is, collecting pay
checks for us all. Even those of
us who are over paid.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Spanky, your mommy forgot to put
your propeller beanie on your head
when she dressed you this morning.
But what is this? No knickers?
                                                            
                       DAVE
You look different somehow.
                                                            
Sizing her up.
                                                            
                       DAVE
A lot fatter, maybe. Or is it just
the style of your outdated outfit?
I didn't know there was a Mizz
Hippo clothing line for women.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I see you are still at your
charming best this morning. The
best you can get, that is.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (Laughing)
Ah, yes, there is no sense in
denying it. You do bring out the
charm in me.
                                                            
Begins to move away, then pauses and turns to Phyllis.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, bring me a cup of coffee, will
you? That is, if you are not too
busy with a big decision of some
kind.
                                                            
PHYLLIS moves to COFFEE URN, pours coffee into styrofoam
cup, then returns and stands in front of DAVE. She makes eye
contact, then drinks from the cup. She then walks O.S. as
Dave looks after her, his smile gone.
                                                            
JULIE, the young secretary, and PHYLLIS meet in the hall.
Julie bumps into Phyllis, nearly spilling her coffee.
                                                            

6.

                       PHYLLIS
      (Struggling to
       control coffee
       cup)
Oh!
                                                            
                       JULIE
Pardon me, Phyl. Did you spill
anything? I sneaked out for a
coffee break with Steve and we got
late. Have to get back to the salt
mine before Hank notices.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
He must be in the office with a
client because I haven't seen
him...
                                                            
Smiles
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
You're safe. Say, how is Steve
these days?
                                                            
                       JULIE
Fine. We're both a little nervous,
though. The wedding's only a week
away.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I can about imagine. I remember
the jitters I went through before
Larry and I tied the knot.
                                                            
Hugs Julie
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Hang in there, kid. If it works
out as good for you as it did for
me, it will all be worth it. Gotta
run.
                                                            
Phyllis continues down hallway and stops at office door
which says RICK JAMES PROGRAM DIRECTOR. She knocks.
                                                            
                       RICK
Come in.
                                                            
 

7.

INT. OFFICE OF RICK JAMES, PROGRAM DIRECTOR - DAY
                                                            
RICK JAMES, late 30's, longer hair style, dressed in sport
clothes and a sweater, is seated behind his desk. He stands
up as PHYLLIS enters.
                                                            
                       RICK
Glad you stopped in. I want to go
over a few ideas with you for a
newscast lead in.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Sounds good for today. Things are
really slow in the news department
right now. You know what they say:
"No news is good news."
                                                            
                       RICK
      (chuckles)
So, have you and Dave already
exchanged your daily kiss?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Bristling)
That guy is so arrogant! Lucky for
him, he is the boss's son.
                                                            
                       RICK
Do not let Dave get to you. Just
take what he says with a grain of
salt.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I can not dismiss him either,
Rick. That man would like to
change the entire flavor of this
station, which would set us back
years.
                                                            
Beat
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
What else do you have going?
                                                            
                       RICK
The holiday religious special with
Reverend Thomas is scheduled for
tonight. He'll be in today to
finish taping the program.
                                                            
Light KNOCK at the door. Door opens. JULIE enters.
                                                            

8.

                       JULIE
Excuse me, Phyl, but there is a
notice of special report coming in
over the teletype. I thought you
would like to know.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Probably another revenue shortfall
in St. Paul. That means taxes will
go up.
                                                            
PHYLLIS arises, moves toward the door. Stops, turns back to
RICK.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Smiling)
The mill rate will go up, right
along with property taxes. Hank's
going to love this.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (Laughing)
Hank's a senior citizen with a bad
heart. Break it to him gently.
                                                            
 
INT. TELETYPE MACHINE - DAY
                                                            
PHYLLIS and JULIE move over to the TELETYPE MACHINE, which
is clattering away. Phyllis picks up the teletype paper and
begins reading it. She turns, looks out at the AUDIENCE, a
concerned look on her face. She turns and heads toward
RICK's OFFICE.
                                                            
                       JULIE
What is it?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Got to talk to Rick.
                                                            
JULIE approaches the TELETYPE MACHINE and begins reading the
special report. She looks at AUDIENCE, shocked.
                                                            
                       JULIE
Oh, no!
                                                            
 
INT. RICK'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
PHYLLIS enters.
                                                            
                       RICK
What is it?
                                                            

9.

                       PHYLLIS
Come over to my office, will you,
please?
                                                            
PHYLLIS turns, exits. RICK follows.
                                                            
 
INT. PHYLLIS'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
TYPEWRITER and TV MONITOR are visible. PHYLLIS and RICK
enter. Phyllis moves to her chair and sits down.
                                                            
                       RICK
Phyllis, be kind. What is going
down?
                                                            
PHYLLIS turns on TV monitor.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Nothing on the network yet.
                                                            
Faces RICK
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
There's a terrorist outside the
Washington Monument right now,
threatening to blow it up. They
think he has hostages.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (stares at
       Phyllis, wide
       eyed. WHISTLES)
The network will be putting
something out on that...probably
getting the cameras set up now.
                                                            
Stands up, begins pacing.
                                                            
                       RICK
How about the other networks?
                                                            
PHYLLIS switches channels. Her phone RINGS. She picks it up.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Yes, Julie.
                                                            
Glances at RICK.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Yup, he's here.
                                                            
Hands phone to RICK.
                                                            

10.

                       RICK
Uh huh, Julie. What you got?
                                                            
Beat
                                                            
                       RICK
He's here?
                                                            
Looks at his wrist watch.
                                                            
                       RICK
Oops, it is about that time, I
guess. Okay, I will be right out.
                                                            
Hangs up phone.
                                                            
                       RICK
Reverend Thomas is here to finish
up the taping. I'll be with him in
the studio. You keep an eye on the
monitor and see what comes in.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I knew it! I never should have
said this would be a slow day!
                                                            
Picks up PHONE.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Julie, bring that report from the
wire service, will you, please?
Thank you.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (To Rick)
I will keep you posted.
                                                            
                       RICK
Catch you later.
                                                            
RICK exits.
                                                            
 
INT. LOBBY - DAY
                                                            
REVEREND JERRY THOMAS, dressed in black clerical garb,
wanders around the lobby, stops at the coffee urn. Looks at
a plate of cookies. RICK enters lobby.
                                                            
                       RICK
Reverend Thomas.
                                                            
The two shake hands.
                                                            

11.

                       RICK
It's good to see you again.
                                                            
Motions to cookies
                                                            
                       RICK
Have a Christmas cookie on us.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
      (pats stomach)
Better not. I always put on the
pounds over the holidays. Got to
watch my blood sugar.
                                                            
                       RICK
They are really good, and we took
all the calories out of them.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
      (Looks at cookies
       again)
Oh What the hell. I only go around
once. Got to look the part of the
rotund, jovial padre to appeal to
the masses.
                                                            
Grabs two cookies.
                                                            
                       RICK
Spoken like a true clergyman.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Huh?
                                                            
                       RICK
Oh nothing. Never mind.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Julie said there is something up.
                                                            
                       RICK
Yeah, there is. A story is coming
over the wires about a man
threatening to blow up the
Washington Monument. It is
happening right now.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Oh, no! Another tortured soul.
What does he want? Is he looking
for publicity?
                                                            

12.

                       RICK
Who knows? I read somewhere that
the holiday season makes some
people a little bit crazy.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Like stealing Christmas cookies?
                                                            
                       RICK
Like that and worse.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
I'm sorry. I could put them back.
                                                            
                       RICK
Not necessary. I think I can
forgive you.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (snaps fingers)
But that won't work. You are the
one who is supposed to do the
forgiving.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
We have this ass backwards.
                                                            
Both men CHUCKLE.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Will this interfere with our
taping?
                                                            
                       RICK
Naw, it shouldn't. Phyllis is
monitoring the story on the news
feed. It will probably all be over
with in a few minutes. The
security people will arrest him,
and that will be it.
                                                            
HANK into view.
                                                            
                       HANK
Reverend Thomas...
                                                            
Nods a greeting to the minister, then turns to RICK.
                                                            
                       HANK
What's this I hear about some
terrorist in Washington?
                                                            

13.

                       RICK
Now, Hank, you shouldn't talk
about our president that way.
                                                            
The three men CHUCKLE.
                                                            
                       RICK
It came over the wire. Phyllis
is...
                                                            
PHYLLIS enters lobby.
                                                            
                       RICK
Here she comes now.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
An update just came over the wire.
It seems this man has an
accomplice, and it is confirmed he
has several hostages inside the
monument.
                                                            
DAVE joins the group in the lobby.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What's going on?
                                                            
                       RICK
      (to Phyllis)
Anything new on the network?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Not yet.
                                                            
                       RICK
Well, Jerry, let's finish that
taping. The studio boys are ready.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Sure.
                                                            
RICK and REVEREND THOMAS walk O.S. HANK, DAVE, and PHYLLIS
remain in the lobby.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (To Phyllis,
       sarcastically)
What the devil is going on here?
Why didn't you tell me this
special report is coming in? After
all, I'll be the one to announce
it.
                                                            

14.

                       PHYLLIS
There is nothing to tell at this
point. The story is sketchy and
still coming in.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I should have been told.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Look, I told Rick. He is the
program director around here, in
case you have forgotten. He will
decide what gets air time and what
does not.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (To Hank)
Dad, this happens all the time.
Phyllis and Rick get together and
that's it. They will not listen to
anybody else. Just tell us what to
do.
                                                            
                       HANK
Are you asking for my advice?
                                                            
                       DAVE
I'm asking you to straighten
Phyllis out, right here and now.
                                                            
                       HANK
You are all wrong about this,
Dave. Let me set you up in the
business end like I suggested
before. Phyllis and Rick do know
their jobs. They got us in the
ratings...
                                                            
                       DAVE
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the ratings, I
know.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (To Phyllis)
Don't mind Dave. He is young,
energetic, full of ideas, and he
gets carried away sometimes.
                                                            
                       DAVE
But dad, I...
                                                            

15.

                       HANK
      (Interrupting)
So go, Phyllis. You and Rick
handle this.
                                                            
PHYLLIS nods and walks O.S. as HANK and DAVE GLARE at each
other.
                                                            
 
INT. STUDIO - DAY
                                                            
RICK and REVEREND THOMAS stand together in foreground,
studio camera in background.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
My concluding remarks will time
out to about two minutes.
                                                            
                       RICK
Good. We can take the opening shot
from back here, then move in for a
closeup...
                                                            
REVEREND THOMAS faces AUDIENCE. He fidgets and looks anxious
as RICK talks in the background.
                                                            
                       RICK
...with the two bible readings
interspersed...
                                                            
REVEREND THOMAS wrings hands and looks off into the
distance.
                                                            
                       RICK
...and your concluding remarks
over the chorus. That ought to
make a nice, tight ending.
                                                            
RICK looks closely at REVEREND THOMAS.
                                                            
                       RICK
Jerry, is something wrong?
                                                            
REVEREND THOMAS looks down, shaking head.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
That demonstrator, I have a very
bad feeling that it will end in
bloodshed.
                                                            
                       RICK
Do you really think so? I figure
it is all over with by now.
                                                            

16.

                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
People like that demonstrator make
me feel guilty.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (Approaches Jerry,
       puts hand on his
       shoulder)
Guilty? Why?
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
In my mind, differences of opinion
can be worked out without stepping
outside the law. But this man
feels he has no recourse. Why does
he think that? How did we fail
him?
                                                            
                       RICK
Jerry, try and maintain
perspective here. Did it ever
occur to you that this man is
unbalanced? People do run amok,
you know. And it is no one's
fault. One problem with America is
that every time someone messes up,
goes haywire, we have this mass,
neurotic need to feel guilty, like
we can control what other people,
even other countries, think and
do.
                                                            
PAUSE as REVEREND THOMAS ponders RICK'S words. He then
responds, more subdued now.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Suppose it isn't all over and
develops into a major news story.
How are you going to cover it?
                                                            
                       RICK
      (Sighs, shakes
       head)
I really don't know.
                                                            
 
INT. PHYLLIS'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
PHYLLIS is seated at her desk and viewing the TV MONITOR.
                                                            

17.

                       ANNOUNCER
Our nation's capitol is the scene
of a bizarre demonstration by one
man who has been identified...
                                                            
DAVE enters.
                                                            
                       ANNOUNCER
...as Norman D. Mayer of Miami,
Florida. This on-scene camera
shows Mayer, dressed in a blue
jump suit, patrolling in front of
the Washington Monument,
reportedly with a detonator in his
hand. The vehicle parked next to
him is a van belonging to Mayer
which he says contains one
thousand pounds of TNT.
                                                            
Dave breaks into excited smile
                                                            
                       DAVE
Wow!
                                                            
                       ANNOUNCER
He has demanded a dialog on the
danger of developing nuclear
weapons...
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (Laughing)
That Meyer fellow has brought
Washington to its knees! Look at
him, parading back and forth
there! I wonder if he does have
dynamite in that truck?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
This could go on into the evening.
I'd better call Larry.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Wouldn't it be something if he
blasted the monument? I mean, a
thousand pounds of dynamite! If he
knows how to place it, to detonate
it...
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Angrily)
You'd get a real kick out of
seeing that, wouldn't you? You
know, Dave, sometimes I wonder
            (MORE)

18.

                       PHYLLIS (cont'd)
about you!
                                                            
Looks at her WATCH.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Rick ought to be about done with
the taping. I'm going to talk to
him.
                                                            
                       DAVE
About what?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
About how we do, or do not, cover
this story.
                                                            
                       DAVE
How we cover...do you honestly
mean to say there's a question in
your mind? This is national news!
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Walking toward
       door)
It may be national news, but that
doesn't mean it is more important
than local programming. This is
Mankato, Minnesota, not Washington
D.C.
                                                            
ANGLE ON DAVE as he stares after PHYLLIS, his mouth hanging
open in shock.
                                                            
PHYLLIS exits. Approaches JULIE at desk.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Are they done taping?
                                                            
                       JULIE
Ought to be any minute. Is there
any more on that Washington deal?
                                                            
DAVE into view to eavesdrop.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Just what the network news break
covered. That religious special
with Reverend Thomas, it is
scheduled to be aired this
evening, right?
                                                            

19.

                       JULIE
That is right. At seven o'clock.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (Butting in)
Good. That will give you time to
write up an in-depth report for
me, Phyllis. After I talk to Rick,
he will pre-empt Jerry Thomas.
Count on it.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Who said anything about
pre-empting programs?
                                                            
RICK and REVEREND THOMAS walk out of studio and join PHYLLIS
and DAVE.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (Smiling broadly,
       condescendingly)
Reverend Thomas...
                                                            
DAVE shakes REVEREND JERRY THOMAS'S hand.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I saw clips of your Christmas
special. It looks fabulous,
absolutely fabulous.
Congratulations!
                                                            
Glances at his WATCH.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oops, gotta run.
                                                            
DAVE pats REVEREND THOMAS on the shoulder.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (snaps fingers)
Phyllis, a cup of coffee.
                                                            
As DAVE walks O.S., PHYLLIS flips him the bird.
                                                            
                       RICK
Reverend Thomas, I believe you
know Phyllis Wilson?
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Yes, I've had the pleasure. It is
nice to see you again, MS. Wilson.
How are you today?
                                                            

20.

PHYLLIS and REVEREND THOMAS exchange handshakes.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Just fine, reverend. It is nice to
see you again also.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
Does your presence mean that the
Washington demonstration is over?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I'm afraid not. It is still going
on.
                                                            
                       RICK
You are kidding! Really?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Afraid so. Still being played out.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
I must be going. Rick, there are
many in the congregation who will
be watching for our program
tonight.
                                                            
                       RICK
Ah, about tonight, Jerry, if this
news report goes on,
expands...well, we may have to
postpone the Christmas special.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
That is the problem. We just do
not know how it will develop. The
network could even pre-empt us.
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
      (Looking
       disappointed)
Oh, I see, I had so counted on...
                                                            
(Sighs)
                                                            
                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
But then, these things do happen.
The best laid plans of mice and
men.
                                                            
REVEREND THOMAS smiles at RICK and PHYLLIS.
                                                            

21.

                       REVEREND JERRY THOMAS
I will leave the special, and the
decision, in your able hands.
                                                            
Waves, walks O.S.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (To Rick)
When can I talk to you?
                                                            
                       RICK
I have got an appointment up town.
Say about...
                                                            
Looks at WATCH.
                                                            
                       RICK
...about four o'clock?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
See you then.
                                                            
ANGLE ON CLOCK reading 2:50. RICK and Phyllis walk O.S.
                                                            
INTERMISSION
                                                            
 
INT. LOBBY - DAY
                                                            
RICK approaches JULIE at her desk. He begins to remove COAT
to hang it on the rack.
                                                            
                       RICK
I bumped into Steve this
afternoon.
                                                            
                       JULIE
      (Smiles)
Oh? Where at?
                                                            
                       RICK
The Record Rack downtown.
                                                            
                       JULIE
What was he doing there?
                                                            
                       RICK
Said he was looking for Marty
Robbins ballads.
                                                            
                       JULIE
      (Sighs)
That cowboy! He has been in
mourning ever since Marty Robbins
            (MORE)

22.

                       JULIE (cont'd)
died. There goes a chunk of our
honeymoon money.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (Laughing)
It did not look like he was
finding any.
                                                            
                       JULIE
If there's any around, he will
find them. I mean, a guy who has
an album of Ken Curtis singing
about GUNSMOKE can sniff out any
record there is.
                                                            
                       RICK
Ken Curtis...didn't he play the
part of Festus on Gunsmoke?
                                                            
                       JULIE
Yes, the unshaven, groady looking
one, that's right. And years
before that he sang with the Sons
of the Pioneers. I have heard the
story a thousand times.
                                                            
RICK finishes hanging up his coat and laughing, stands
behind JULIE and rubs her shoulders.
                                                            
                       RICK
There, there. He could be a three
stooges fan. Then what would you
do? Slapstick? Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,
soitenly!
                                                            
                       JULIE
      (grumpily)
I will probably spend my honeymoon
sitting in a tent at the county
park listening to "THE HANGING
TREE" by Marty Robbins.
                                                            
                       RICK
Keep the faith, Julie.
                                                            
Beat.
                                                            
                       RICK
Is Phyllis in her office?
                                                            
                       JULIE
I think so.
                                                            

23.

PHONE RINGS as RICK walks O.S.
                                                            
                       JULIE
      (Picking up phone)
Good viewing, WTBC.
                                                            
                       JULIE
      (Smiles)
Hi Steve...yeah, Rick said he saw
you...found some, huh? Say, Steve,
do you have a brother who drives a
van and plays with dynamite? I do
not know a whole lot about your
family.
                                                            
Holds PHONE away from ear.
                                                            
                       JULIE
Oh, never mind. See you at five
thirty.
                                                            
Hangs up PHONE, shakes head, smiles.
                                                            
 
INT. PHYLLIS'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
PHYLLIS sits at her desk watching TV MONITOR, a PEN and NOTE
PAD in hand.

RICK enters.
                                                            
                       RICK
So, what's the news?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
The network pre-empted their soap
opera a few minutes ago.
                                                            
Looks from TV monitor up at RICK.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
They're going live with the Mayer
story. Rick, this makes the
decision even tougher.
                                                            
                       RICK
You hate this one, right?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Yes, I do, and that is why I
wanted to talk to you, to tell you
I think it should be played down,
given minimal coverage except for
the national newscast, but now,
            (MORE)

24.

                       PHYLLIS (cont'd)
even our own network is
highlighting it.
                                                            
KNOCK at the door, DAVE enters.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Well now...
                                                            
Gestures toward PHYLLIS'S NOTE PAD.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I see you have finally gotten
realistic about this. What is
happening now?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Meyer still claims to be holding a
detonator to the dynamite. One
good thing, he has released the
hostages from the monument. He is
up there alone now, as far as we
can see, but he claims he has an
accomplice in the truck.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Great! So, we're going to feature
the story after all, just like I
said all along, huh?
                                                            
                       RICK
I haven't decided yet.
                                                            
                       DAVE
What is there to decide? I can't
believe I'm hearing this!
                                                            
DAVE paces around the room, shaking head in frustration. He
turns back to face PHYLLIS and RICK.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Look, we can cut to the updates as
they come in from the network. New
York is investing their time and
money in this story so you know
they will leave a live camera on
scene until this is over.
                                                            
Looks at AUDIENCE, GRINS.
                                                            
                       DAVE
There is a good possibility
someone will get killed on live
camera, just like Lee Oswald in
            (MORE)

25.

                       DAVE (cont'd)
1963!
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Angrily)
Is that what you want, Dave? To
see someone die on camera? Is that
the news you want to announce?
                                                            
                       DAVE
It is happening, and it is
happening right now. Live. We can
have an exclusive for our viewers!
The papers will not get the story
out on the streets until tomorrow
because they have gone to press
already.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I agree that we have the
capability to feature this story,
there is no doubt about that. But
my question is, do we want to play
up this type of lurid, voyeuristic
story? Do we want to say to our
viewers, "This is news that is
worthy of your attention to the
exclusion of everything else that
is happening right now?"
                                                            
                       RICK
Phyllis, the network has seen fit
to run the story. I...
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Interrupting)
I know they have, but as an
affiliate , we have the choice to
either run it or not. We do not
have to run it. And the network
will cover it in the nightly
newscast.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (Sarcastically)
I suppose you would much rather
watch the Reverend Jerry Thomas
read his bible verses and deliver
peace-to-the-world sermons!
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I believe I would. And I believe
our viewers and our sponsors
would, too. They have paid to see
            (MORE)

26.

                       PHYLLIS (cont'd)
just that.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Oh, come on now, you can not be
serious! Get real! You would deny
our viewers the opportunity to
witness live drama so they can see
a taped religious program instead?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Where do we draw the line on live
drama, Dave. Should we take our
cameras into the courtrooms in the
name of drama? Or how about the
execution chambers of the nation's
prisons? Should we point a camera
into the faces of the Gary
Gilmores to record their final
spasms and twitches? If so, why
stop there? Why not follow the
medical examiner through his
autopsies because, after all,
Dave, the viewer has the right to
know!
                                                            
Individual tense moments between DAVE and RICK and PHYLLIS.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Look, guys, I am not saying Norman
Mayer is not dramatic, and I am
not saying he is not news. Dave,
you laughed about Reverend Thomas
and his peace to the world
sermons.
                                                            
PHYLLIS motions toward TV set.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Mayer is seeking publicity to have
a debate on the limitation of
nuclear weapons because, in his
view, that is the only way that
mankind can survive. He is seeking
peace, just like Reverend Thomas
is. But look at the contrast in
how the two men are going about
it.
                                                            
PHYLLIS moves into DAVE'S space.
                                                            

27.

                       PHYLLIS
Tell me, Dave, which is the best
way to deliver the message?
                                                            
DAVE looks out at AUDIENCE, thoughtfully, arms folded, hand
to mouth. Then he turns and walks toward the door.
                                                            
                       DAVE
I am sure glad I had the
technicians tape everything that
has come in. We haven't lost one
second. What a scoop!
                                                            
Exits.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Looking at door)
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Attila the Hun won't budge. I do
not believe that guy! For all the
good it did, I could have been
talking to the wall.
                                                            
                       RICK
I listened, and you made perfect
sense to me.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
I wish I felt certain about this.
Maybe Dave's right. Who am I to
second guess the network?
                                                            
Looks at her office coffee pot.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
The pot is empty. You want a cup?
                                                            
                       RICK
Nope. What I want is a decision
from you about the Mayer special
report.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Yes, I realize...
                                                            
KNOCK on the door. HANK enters.
                                                            
                       HANK
You folks seen Dave? I've got the
Ford dealer out here with a
commercial spot. He needs a voice
over to go with it.
                                                            

28.

                       RICK
Just the fellow we need. Come here
a minute, Hank. Let's see what you
think of this. Phyllis and Dave
disagree on how to cover this
Washington story.
                                                            
                       HANK
That damn thing still going on?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Oh, yes. It is not over yet.
                                                            
                       RICK
Dave thinks we should go live with
this off the network.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Sh-h-h! There is more coming over
right now!
                                                            
DAVE re-enters PHYLLIS'S OFFICE as she and HANK and RICK
stare at the TV. He joins them.
                                                            
 
INT. LOBBY - DAY
                                                            
                       JULIE
      (To Ford Dealer, a
       Swede)
Can I get you a cup of coffee?
                                                            
                       FORD DEALER
      (with accent)
No, tank ya, little lady. I am
about coffeed out. Any more and I
will yust haff ta pee.
                                                            
Beat.
                                                            
                       FORD DEALER
Slow day here, then?
                                                            
                       JULIE
Yeah, nothing exciting ever
happens around here.
                                                            
JULIE turns on RADIO at her desk. Marty Robbins is singing
"El Paso."

Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a
Mexican girl. Night time would find me in Rose's cantina...
                                                            

29.

JULIE rolls here eyes and puts her head down on the desk.
                                                            
                       JULIE
I'm surrounded!
                                                            
 
INT. PHYLLIS'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
RICK, HANK, PHYLLIS, and DAVE are watching the TV MONITOR.
                                                            
                       RICK
He's in the truck. It is starting
to move.
                                                            
                       DAVE
There are the members of the SWAT
team in position. He's getting
into the truck! It's starting to
pull away!
                                                            
Sound of GUNFIRE heard from TV set.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Oh, no! They are shooting at him!
                                                            
                       HANK
Lordy, the truck tipped over on
its side. They are storming it.
                                                            
                       HANK
      (To Rick)
Why aren't we running this live?
                                                            
                       DAVE
That's what I've been asking.
Thanks to me, and no thanks to
your two professionals here, the
control room is taping it all. We
can run it any time.
                                                            
Beat.
                                                            
                       DAVE
Like right now, for instance.
                                                            
                       RICK
Hank, our local show, the first,
hopefully annual, Christmas
special with Reverend Thomas would
have to be pulled. It is scheduled
to air tonight, and this story may
run quite long. Reverend Thomas's
special has sponsorship and is
paid for. We could pre-empt the
            (MORE)

30.

                       RICK (cont'd)
Christmas special, but I do not
know how wise that would be. The
sponsors would be disappointed, to
say the least.
                                                            
Beat.
                                                            
                       RICK
Besides, I have not received a
recommendation from my news editor
yet.
                                                            
                       HANK
Why not, Phyllis?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (watching TV)
I don't like it, Hank. It is
bizarre and sick.
                                                            
All are watching the TV set.
                                                            
                       HANK
The sponsors for the Reverend
Thomas special are looking forward
to this evening. They probably
wouldn't approve, you are correct
about that.
                                                            
                       DAVE
      (Staring at Hank)
What? Dad, you are siding with
them?
                                                            
                       HANK
      (Turning to leave)
Come on, Dave, let's get that
commercial voice over wrapped. Can
not keep a paying customer
waiting.
                                                            
Turns back.
                                                            
                       HANK
Look, I don't care what you do,
but do something. If we are going
to stick with the Thomas tape, we
have to get it set up. It goes on
right after the news.
                                                            
DAVE follows HANK out the door but turns at the last minute.
                                                            

31.

                       DAVE
      (To Phyllis)
I may have the control room cut to
Washington anyhow, no matter what
you say. Somebody has to use
common sense around here, and that
certainly isn't you.
                                                            
Exits office.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
      (Looks at Rick)
Do you think Dave would really do
that?
                                                            
                       RICK
Lord help him if he does. Boss's
son or not, I will go for his
throat.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Anyway, Hank's right. We are down
to the wire.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (Arising)
Come with me a minute.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
But...the story!
                                                            
                       RICK
It's being taped. Don't worry.
Come with me a minute. I want you
to see something.
                                                            
 
INT. CONTROL ROOM - DAY
                                                            
RICK and PHYLLIS enter. Rick pulls a videotape from the
shelf and plugs it into the control panel.
                                                            
                       RICK
Got to advance it...there. Now
watch this.
                                                            
 
INT. TV SCREEN - DAY
                                                            
REVEREND JERRY THOMAS appears on screen in clerical robes.
He stands before a CHOIR that is SINGING "The Peace Song" in
the background.
                                                            

32.

                       HANK
And so, my brothers and sisters,
as we bring this, our first ever
Christmas special to a close, I
wish to thank all of you for the
support you have given us, and for
inviting us into your homes this
evening.

That these are troubled times,
there is no doubt. Our nation
falters on the brink of
depression. The unemployment lines
can be seen in every city. Tension
looms between the nuclear super
powers. Terrorists stalk our
streets.

There are some who would seek to
justify a feeling of despair, a
feeling of hopelessness, of
impending doom. Even today, at the
Washington Monument, such a
scenario is played out.

But I say there is another answer,
one that is revealed to us
repeatedly in the words of
scripture. Faith, my friends,
faith in the Creator and trust in
the inherent goodness of mankind
will lead us to the day when there
shall be peace upon the earth, and
good will among all men. To
continue this quest is proper.
Amen.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Rick?
                                                            
                       RICK
What?
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Can the Mayer story,. Run Reverend
Jerry Thomas instead.
                                                            
                       RICK
      (Smiling)
Right. I will break the news to
Dave.
                                                            

33.

RICK EXITS the control room as the Christmas special
concludes.
                                                            
                       PHYLLIS
Peace be with you, Norman D.
Mayer.
                                                            
Conclude with the playing of "One Tin Soldier" the theme
song from the film BILLY JACK by Coven.
                                                            


FADE OUT.


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