Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Since you can't go to a bar this St. Patrick's Day, why not come to mine?

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. Patrick'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.

14 comments :

Sullivan's Travels said...

A thing of beauty, Ken. Love how the jokes Norm makes all come from character, particularly finding Woody lucky for being bricked up inside with the kegs. Thanks.

Sean said...

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everybody!

And you can't properly appreciate a good beating till you've been beaten by a Brit with a log. They reserve the logs for the conquered people they really love.

;)

And take some time out from the bad news today to have a good time!


Sean

Cheers fan said...

In the episode, Sam's first line in this scene differs from the script. He says "Now, see, that's not right." Was that an improvisation by Ted Danson or a late change that you and David made?

John Hammes said...

There will be many happy and healthy St. Patrick's Days yet to come. We will be around to enjoy them.

Thank you Ken - and David - for the timeless gift of humanity and humor.

Brian said...

In the recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ted Danson pleads with people to come to his cafe Mocha Joe's, saying he is the guy from Cheers and hoping that would draw people.

Did you see it?


P.S. : What happened with the weekend post? Too many trolls?

Dana King said...

I've seen every episode of CHEERS. (I actually saw the pilot. Honest to God.) This bit with the Irish band is still my most memorable scene. Thanks for this.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Ken,
It's easy for you to "socially distance" yourself from others because you can always stay home and crank out ten-minute plays. (Possibly at least one about two people quarantined together?)
But I was thinking that one of your upcoming blogs could be on things to do while your stuck inside.
#1 on the list: Read Ken's blog.
M.B.

JED said...

That was just like watching it on TV - except Norm in thinner in my imagination.

Thank you, Ken and David

DBenson said...

Immediately thought of "Another Christmas of Agony", the Russian verse that inexplicably failed to cheer Diane's buddy. Also Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad" ("Rickety Tickety Tin"). And an ancient Pogo strip, in which Pogo and Porky Pine sing a song to liven up a picnic: "Woe to Barbera Allen". In short order everybody is sobbing.

As Charles Schulz put it, "Happiness is a sad song".

Frank Beans said...

I'm drinking green beer today, a new import brand called "Phlegm".

I think Flemish beer is overrated, frankly.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Speaking of Ted Danson, I was remembering a joke from BECKER. A couple come into the diner and want to make a reservation for dinner because it's "their place." Bob: "What's their song, 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'?"

Breadbaker said...

Ken, do you listen to Joe Posnanski's Poscast (usually co-starring Michael Schur, but less frequently now that it's weekly on the Athletic)? In the latest episode they were discussing shows to binge watch during the current situation and the second choice was Cheers. Their description of why it doesn't feel dated will make you smile.

Astroboy said...

I remember the episode well, and years later, just reading this scene...by the end I had laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I think reading the lyrics was even funnier then hearing them! Thanks Ken, we needed this.

Prairie Perspective said...

And now for a sad song. (STRUMS A CHORD, SINGS) “Twas a baby’s crib…”
That scene is perfect and that moment ... so, so, so funny. Thanks, Ken.