Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Paddy's Day at CHEERS

Here’s my annual St. Patrick’s Day post.  This is a scene from a CHEERS David Isaacs and I wrote. One of the many Bar Wars episodes. In this one, it’s St. Paddy’s Day. Woody had been guarding the bar all night in anticipation that Gary might try to pull something.

INT. BAR – MORNING

SAM TURNS ON THE LIGHT. HE ENTERS WITH CARLA AND NORM. WE SEE THE BAR IS ENCASED IN CINDER BLOCKS. SPRAY PAINTED ON THEM ARE “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY.”

SAM
Oh my God. Gary.

CARLA
He topped it.

NORM
Walled off from the keg. I want him dead. His family… dead. His friends… dead. His pets…DEAD.

SAM
That rat! I’ll kill him!

NORM
I thought you were going to have Woody stand guard so this kind of thing wouldn’t happen.

WOODY (V.O.)
I’m sorry, Sam. I fell asleep.

CARLA
They bricked Woody up inside the bar.

NORM
First he marries a rich girl and now this. I tell you, that guy was born lucky.

NORM EXITS TO THE POOL ROOM.

CARLA
Boy, Sam. This thing is sealed up tight.

SAM
How you doing in there, Woody? You okay?

WOODY (V.O.)
I’m feeling a little light headed.

CARLA
Thank God, he’s okay.

NORM ENTERS FROM THE POOL ROOM OPENING A CAN OF BEER.

SAM
Hey, Norm, where’d you get that beer?

NORM
I’ve got a couple cans squirreled around the bar for emergencies. I always thought it would be a nuclear thing, but this qualifies.

AN IRISH BAND ENTERS. THEY’RE ALL WEARING CABLE-KNIT SWEATERS. ONE OF THEM IS NAMED SEAN.

SEAN
Where do you want us to set up, Mr. Malone?

SAM
How about right there? (POINTS UPSTAGE; THEN, TO THE GANG) See, guys? We can still win this thing. The band’s here, we’ve got the green beer… all we need to do is take down this wall and hustle like there’s no tomorrow. Okay? Now I want to see a winning attitude here. A little positivity.

THE BAND BEGINS TO SING AND PLAY A SLOW IRISH BALLAD:

SEAN
(singing) “They broke into our Dublin home, the dirty English dogs. They took away my sister and they beat my dad with logs.”

THEY BREAK INTO A QUICK UP BEAT IRISH JIG FOR A BEAT, THEN RESUME THE LYRICS:

SEAN
(singing) “Along the ring of Kerry you can hear the bleat of gulls, I’ll sip the blood of the English from their bleached and hollowed skulls.” (TO THE BAR) Everybody!!

WOODY (V.O.)
Boy, if they look as good as they sound, Gary’s doesn’t stand a chance.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BAR – LATER

ENOUGH OF THE CINDER BLOCKS HAVE BEEN CHIPPED AWAY TO RENDER THE BAR FUNCTIONAL. WOODY IS BEHIND THE BAR. THE BAND IS STILL PLAYING.

SEAN
(finishing a dirge) “…And everywhere I looked was death, death, death.”

A SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE.

SEAN
And now for a sad song. (STRUMS A CHORD, SINGS) “Twas a baby’s crib…”

SAM
(interrupting) That’s it! You’re finished. Here’s your money. Get out.

SEAN
Go to hell.

THE BAND EXITS.

SAM
Well, it’s over. I guess we should add up the receipts and see how we did.

CARLA
What’s the total, Woody?

WOODY
(figuring on a calculator) One million five hundred thousand dollars.

FRASIER
Decimal point, Woody.

WOODY
Hold everything. A hundred and fifty even.

Drink carefully and don't drive.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

13 comments:

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Glorious!

Max Clarke said...

The Irish band was great, "Limey scum, limey scum, I toss a bomb and still they come. Everybody!"

There were some nice touches, too, such as Woody applauding after they sang, "…death, death, death," and the way the band leader said to Sam, "Got to hell."

James said...

One of my favorite Cheers scenes ever. Thanks Ken!

Anonymous said...

I'm not Irish. But I will volunteer to help that Erin chick go find her Bragh......

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Ken, you might like to know/point out to people that the WGA screenwriting session you attended with THE GOOD WIFE showrunners, the Kings, is not only online from the WGA but free because of technical difficulties during the session (it would normally cost $20): https://www.wgfoundation.org/screenwriting-events/anatomy-of-a-script-robert-and-michelle-king-and-the-good-wif/

And, really, no kidding, it's ST PADDY'S DAY. You're risking your life if an Irishman ever reads your blog.

wg

Will Fitzgerald said...

Yes please Ken.

From an Irish man, please make it PaDDy's Day going forward.

Patty is Bart Simpsons chain-smoking Aunt. ;)

Brian Phillips said...

I like this scene, however, the broadcast version is different from the original.

Was this a room revision or did you and your partner make the changes?

MJ said...

I so loved Cheers. Truly a forerunner for all true humor being lofted as "tv comedies",

This makes St. Patty's day, as well did my favorite one of them all, the Thanksgiving dinner episode. "this is going to be the greatest thanksgiving ever".

Thanks for posting and have a great St. Patrick's day Ken. Very much enjoy the blog.

Steak Snabler said...

One of my all-time favorite episodes. And as other people have said, always St. PaDDy's Day. As a husband of an Irish lass, i learned that the hard way. Terrific blog!

Neil V. Kidd said...

Amazing how you don't realize you're still reading a good script until you're done

Daniel Klos said...

Possible Friday Question:

What is the difference between "Created by" and "Developed by"? I had always assumed that "Developed by" was in reference to a TV series based on an existing property (like the Bill Bixby "Incredible Hulk" TV show from the 1970s which was developed by Kenneth Johnson). But I just started watching "St. Elsewhere" on iTunes and it has both a "Created by" AND a "Developed by" credit. In that situation what does each mean?

Storm said...

That was yours, Ken? Thank you. Just sitting here reading and remembering the Irish band and their terrible dirges has me laughing myself silly. Man, the first time I saw it, I was WEEPING with laughter.

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Jeffro said...

Here's part of that scene on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bV2QtMEkF4

The guy who played Sean looked familiar and sure enough, he played Colonel Munro in the Daniel Day-Lewis version of The Last of the Mohicans. Ironically, his IMDB page says he was born in England. However the IMDB bio states he's lived most of his life in Scotland and thus considers himself neither an Englishman, nor an Irishman, but as a Scot.