THE FRIENDS OF MR. CAIRO


The World of mystery, crime and crime fighters, suspense and thrillers in
Theatre, Radio, Television, Magazines, Movies and Books

Talk to us on the Cairo Discussion Forums

Information on everything CAIRO under the sun

CAIRO grows daily, like a massive mutating Chicken Heart out to take over the world.
To receive alerts on updates, subscribe to CAIRO Dossier Alerts

See more summaries, synopses and scripts at the Cairo Radio Script Library

Pete Kelly's Blues

Vita Brand/The Shy Woman

August 29, 1951

Jack Webb as Pete Kelly
? as Red
? as Itch
? as Vita Brand
? as Baccilides
? as Maggie
? as Barney
? as Mugsy


Jack Webb as Pete Kelly

Pete Kellyís Blues showcased the big music and the big trouble in the big twenties. The series was created by Jack Webb and grew out of his lifelong fascination with Jazz. The series debuted two years after Dragnet and was set in a Kansas City speakeasy during the Prohibition years. It aired as a 1951 summer series

This oneís about Pete Kelly.

Sad cornet music.

Itís about the world he goes around in. Itís about the big music, and the big trouble, and the big twenties. So when they ask you, tell íem this oneís about the blues. Pete Kellyís blues.

Music

Kelly.........My nameís Pete Kelly. I play cornet. Youíll find us at 417 Cherry Street, Kansas City, itís a standard speakeasy. Before prohibition the building housed a cleaning and dying plant. It hasnít changed much. The vats came in handy. Its still tough to get a clear gin but a lady likes the idea of a drink to match the color of her dress. The lease is owned by George Lupo. Heís a flat, friendly little guy who wouldnít harm a fly. Thereís no money in harming flies. We start every night about ten and play til the customers get that first frightening look at each other in the early light. Lupoís working on a scheme to push the dawn back for at least one more hour. I donít think heíll make it, but I wouldnít want to risk a buck against him.
...................................Dated Death: Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933. It gave birth to organized crime. More people drank
...................................after the end of Prohibition than ever had before it.

Last night everything was routine until I saw her again. We were just winding up the third set when she came in, flanked by the same deadpan gunsel. She sat alone at the same table, ordered the same drink, smoked the same Egyptian deities, Gave me that same loving look. The gunsel as usual nibbled at his drink at the bar, his eyes playing watchdog for the girl. This was the fifth night, four nights running, same girl, same gunsel, same routine. Sit for five solid hours, drink, smoke and work me over with her eyes. Reach down deep for a sigh, and leave with Dead pan right behind her.

Well, I didnít like it. I was beginning to taste salt on my tongue. We went into a finish and the girl looked once at the gunsel, he nodded and started to the stand.

JAZZY UPBEAT MUSIC ENDS. AUDIENCE CLAPS.

Kelly .......... Alright. Nick, can you push it a little. It helps when we can hear the beat.

Drumbeats.

Donít audition for me, just do it, huh.

Red.......... Pete.

Kelly .......... Yeah Red?

Red.......... That babeís here again.

Kelly .......... I know, I know. Alright. What have we got up next?

Red.......... Youíre working up a head of steam, Pete.

Kelly.......... Well, Sheís beginning to make me feel like a roadside shrine.

Itch.......... You.

Kelly.......... Who?

Itch.......... You.

Kelly.......... Me?

Itch.......... Yeah.

Kelly.......... Oh. You got a request? A number youĎd like us to..

Itch.......... No, I got no request, but the lady, sheís got a request.

Kelly.......... Lady?

Itch.......... Whatís a matter? You donít see the lady? How come you donít see the lady when sheís looking right at atcha?

Kelly.......... Oh, that lady. Yeah, sure, I see the lady.

Itch.......... So why do you make like you donít see the lady when all the time you know the ladyís looking right atcha?

Kelly.......... Look friend, Iím only a poor underpaid employee in this trap. Now my contract says Iím to play music to please the patrons. Iíd be very happy to do anything the lady likes to please the lady.

Itch.......... So alright.

Kelly.......... So what does she want me to do ?

Itch.......... So she wants you to have a drink with her.

Kelly.......... Sure, itíd be an honor. But Iím afraid that Mr. Lupo, heís my boss, you know, George Lupo, the proprietor, he doesnít like his employees to mingleÖ.

Itch.......... I will talk to Lupo, Heíll like it.

Kelly.......... Yeah, you could probably make him love it.

Itch.......... Címon.

Kelly.......... Iíll be right back, Red. Use some nickels (meaningly).
...................................Dated Death: It only cost a nickel to make a phone call in the 1920s.
...................................Dated Death: Kelly is asking Red to find out who these people are.

Red.......... Right, Pete.

Itch.......... Vita, this is Mr. Kelly. Mr. Kelly, this is Vita Brand.

Vita.......... Sit down, Mr. Kelly.

Kelly.......... Yeah. Thanks.

Itch.......... All right, now Vita, you happy?

Vita.......... Iím getting happier by the minute.

Itch.......... Sure, you want me to go back to the bar?

Vita.......... Sit here, itís more friendly. Hello, Pete (very low, sultry voice).

Kelly.......... Hello, Miss Brand.

Vita.......... Vita.

Kelly.......... Vita.

Vita.......... You like my name?

Kelly.......... Sure, sure itís beautiful.

Vita.......... I only just got it last week.

Kelly.......... Well, take a little time to break it in, huh.

Vita.......... Let me hear you say it.

Kelly.......... Vita.

Vita.......... Yeah, I like the way you say it. Like you mean it.

Kelly.......... Yeah , I do. I never meant anything more in my life.

Vita.......... Thatís because your sincere. I knew you were sincere, the first time I looked at you. Remember the first night I came in, sat here and looked at you?Ē

Kelly.......... Yeah, well, Iím pretty busy up there, ya know.

Vita I aint slept a wink since that night.

Kelly Well, maybe if you go home and put your mind to it, huh?Ö

Vita.......... Itís no use, Pete, I tried, nothings any good. Nothing I can do is gonna change it.

Kelly.......... Change what?

Vita.......... The way I feel.

Kelly.......... Sick?

Vita .......... Yeah.

Kelly .......... With what?

Vita .......... With love.

Itch .......... Poor, Vita.

Kelly .......... Yeah, well, beautiful girl like you no trouble finding another man.

Vita .......... I donít want another man.

Itch .......... She donít want another man.

Vita .......... I want you.

Itch .......... Thatís what Vita wants. You.

Vita .......... I love ya, Pete.

Kelly .......... (His voice is nervous and frightened, and continues to get more so throughout the following scenes.) Yeah, sure. Well, thatís the way it ought to be. Everybody love everybody else. Itíd a better world.

MUSICAL CHIMES

Kelly .......... Well, I got a number to do.

VIOLENCE AS ITCH SHOVES KELLY BACK IN CHAIR

Itch .......... Now, you sit down. The lady is trying to tell you how much she loves you so pay attention.

Kelly .......... strangled) Yeah.

Vita .......... First time I saw you, Pete. Hit me like a dumdum bullet.

MUSICAL CHIMES.

Kelly .......... Well, excuse me. I have to earn a buck.

Itch .......... Frame it. Itís the last one youíll have to earn.

Footsteps of Kelly going to stand. Pulls up a chair.

Kelly .......... Alright, letís do one. What do ya got up?

Red .......... Til We Meet Again.

Kelly .......... Alright.

Red .......... Pete? (CONVERSATION OVER MUSIC)

Kelly .......... Yeah, Red?

Red .......... That babe. I got the rumble on her from Lupo.

Kelly .......... Yeah?

Red .......... Ever hear of a citizen named Baccalides? The 'threefor' boy? Three killings for the price of two?

Kelly .......... Alright Red, funnel it down, huh?

Red .......... She belongs to Baccaledes. Lose her, Petey, lose her.

Kelly .......... Youíve told me what, now tell me how!

Red .......... Gunselís heading this way again.

Kelly .......... Yeah, I know. Now look, friend, I got a job to doÖ

Itch .......... Youíve done it, letís go.

Kelly .......... Where?

PUNCHES.

Itch .......... ;Now you listen, buster. This ainít a lollipop poking you in the gut. I could drop you and be out of here before you hit the floor.

Kelly .......... Yeah, letís go.

Music, dramatic.

Well, we went outside. The Hispano out in front probably wasnít as long as it looked. Weíve got fairly short blocks in this part of town. Vita took the wheel, she banked low around the corner, pulled out of a half Immelman, gained a little altitude and flew blind for downtown Kansas City. Vita glanced at me from the corners of charged eyes. Its just glanced at me. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes. The Hispano whipped down Main Street, lost altitude as we gained the deserted financial district and made a perfect no-point landing at the side entrance of the Grundy Bank and Savings.

Well, We went in to the bank through the family entrance. One light was burning and it hung low over the biggest dice table I ever saw in any bank. The stick man was busier than a flea on a fat lady. He called the plays and called the points and not one of the fifty torpedoes glanced at us as we climbed a short flight to an upstairs office. Two men were in the room.


Stickman uses the stick to return the dice to the player, in the game of craps.

One, a shadow dressed in dark clothes, looked through a small window onto the dice game down below. A tommygun rested easy across his knees. The other man sat behind a desk no bigger than the loading platform at Union Station. He was counting money. Neat, orderly piles of bills were stacked around him like a well-trimmed hedge.

We waited while he finished thumbing a book of fifties. He just held them up to his ear, fanned them once, made a note on a pad by his elbow. Finally he turned his swivel chair to face us. He was all chin and jaw. He leaned back, made a church steeple with his fingers, threw me a credit manager's smile, and rocked his chair gently to and fro.

Bacciledes .......... Well, come in, Mr. Kelly. Sit down. Youíre among friends.

Kelly .......... (Laughs sardonically). Yeah, thanks. (CHAIR SHOVES BACK)

Vita .......... Pete, permit me to introduce you to this here gentleman here whoís very fond of you.

Kelly .......... Sure, everybody loves me tonight.

Vita .......... Oh, he doesnít love you. Only I love you. Heís merely very fond of you.

Baccalides .......... I am Baccalides.

Kelly .......... Yeah?

Vita .......... Heís too cute. Ainít he cute. Ainít he cute when heís confused?

Baccilides .......... What is your confusion?

Kelly .......... How much time do you have?

Baccilides .......... IĎm at your disposal.

Kelly .......... Well, look, it runs something like this, Mr. Baccilides. I play cornet, see, at 417. I mind my own business, I try not to poke a thumb in anybodyís eye. Well, I notice this young lady here sitting out front and tonight she asked me to have a drink with her. Well, naturally Iím flattered butÖ

Baccilides .......... Yes, yes, I know all this. But what is your confusion?

Kelly .......... Well, It seems that this young lady here has a, well, some kind of an idea that she sort of likes me andÖĒ

Baccilides .......... Loves you, Mr. Kelly.

Kelly .......... Yeah, well, loves me like you say. Well, I donít figure myself for no Rudolph Valentino, so I get an idea that itís a rim, you know, especially since I know how youÖ.well, how sheÖhow both of you..

Baccilides .......... Not both. One. Me. I love Vita, very much.

Vita .......... Oh, darling, your sweet.

Kelly .......... Yeah, thatís right, for a fact, and when Vita thinks it over Iím sureÖ

Baccilides .......... Thereís nothing to think over, Mr. Kelly. Vita has stopped loving me. Alright, I face it. It makes me very unhappy but I face it. Now she loves you. She wants you. I know how unhappy this can make her. I do not like for Vita to be unhappy, so me and Vita, we talk it over. We decide you will marry Vita.

Vita .......... Thank you, darling. YouĎre sweet.

Baccilides .......... Itís nothing, Vita. You know how I will do anything to make you happy. Anything.

Kelly .......... All right, Now how about doing something to make me a little happy, huh?

Baccilides .......... But I give you Vita.

Kelly .......... Yeah, well I pass.

Baccilides .......... You refuse?

Vita .......... Oh, Pete! (Tearfully) You donĎt mean that!

Baccilides .......... You have made Vita cry, I do not like to see Vita cry. Tell her you did not mean that.

Kelly .......... Goodbye, friend, I gotta number to do at 417 and it ain't Here Comes the Bride.

Baccilides .......... Itch.

Itch .......... Yeah. (A PUNCH AND A FALL)

Baccilides .......... Pick him up.

Itch .......... On your feet!

Baccilides .......... You will ask Vita to be your wife.Ē

Kelly .......... Whatís the next best offer? (LOTS OF PUNCHING)

Vita .......... Itch, donít hurt him!

Itch .......... I wonít. (MORE PUNCHES)

Baccilides .......... Alright, Itch, I think Mr. Kelly wants to say something.

Kelly .......... dazedly) Yeah.

Baccilides .......... Kelly!

Kelly .......... Hm?

Baccilides .......... Who am I?

Kelly .......... What?

Baccilides .......... You hear me?

Kelly .......... Yeah, I hear ya.

Baccilides .......... Whisky. (BOTTLE OPENS) Put him in that chair.

Itch .......... Come on, boy.

Baccilides .......... Hold his head back. (DRINK AND COUGHS).

Baccilides .......... All right, he is fine now.

Kelly .......... (painfully) Yeah, all I need is a few kind words.

Baccilides .......... I will give them to you. Just repeat after me. Vita I love you.

Kelly .......... (Monotone) Vita, I love you.

Baccilides .......... (SOUND OF SLAP) Mean it.

Kelly .......... (Slightly less monotone) Vita, I love you.

Vita .......... Oh, Pete!

Baccilides .......... Will you marry me.

Kelly .......... Will you marry me.

Vita .......... Oh, darling, of course I will.

Baccilides .......... Congratulations, we drink to it. To the happy bride and groom. Long life.

Vita .......... Long life.

Itch .......... Long life.

Kelly .......... Yeah.

Baccilides .......... Now, hereís how. Tomorrow afternoon you and Vita will marry in City Hall. Itch will be best man. Then you go on a nice long honeymoon. Drive to Canada in my Hispano which I give Vita as a wedding present.

Kelly .......... Look, I got a job, here in town. 417 Cherry.

Baccilides .......... Go back to that crib tell the boss you quit. Tear up your cornet!

Vita Iím loaded, Pete!

Itch .......... Loaded.

Baccilides .......... All Right. Hereís a pound of fifties. Tomorrow morning you buy some clean clothes. Top to bottom, inside and out. You will meet Vita at City Hall. two oíclock. Hereís the key to the Hispano. Take it! Now kiss Vita good night.

Kelly .......... Yeah.

Vita .......... Good night Angel. Iíll be the happiest bride in the world.

Kelly .......... Sure.

Baccalides .......... And youíll be the happiest bridegroom.

Kelly .......... Or the saddest stiff.

Music

Well, I left the office inside the spin of a top. The hispano stood by the curb. Sleek and calm just like nuthin had happened. Nuthin at all. I pointed for the twelfth street bridge, made the other side of the river and set a course down Boulder Road for Fat Annieís place. I tried to imagine life with Vita Brand, then I thought of six painless ways of committing suicide, and I began to feel better. Fat Annieís place was doing a fair business for the lull hours. Maggie Jackson was standing back by the piano.


Ella Fitzgerald played Maggie in the movie version of Pete Kelly's Blues

I groped my way to the bar, ordered a bromo and ammonia, and listened.

Maggie .......... (black jazz singer) All right, for the wealthy gentleman from Detroit, He Needs me. All right, Ray.

Singing, over piano-

He needs meÖhe doesnít know it, but he needs me.

So it doesnĎt matter ,where he goes, to he doesnít care he knows

Iím there. He needs me. I gotta follow where he leads me. Or else, heíll never know that I need him.

Just as he needs me.

CLAPPING.

Thank you. Thank you.

Kelly .......... Congratulate me, Maggie.

Maggie .......... Congratulations. What for?

Kelly .......... Letís get back here. I want you to be the first to know. In here.

Maggie .......... Pete, who worked you over?

Kelly .......... You ever hear of a nail named Vita Brand?

Maggie .......... Vita? Why she donít weigh hardly enough to beat the white of an egg.

Kelly .......... What do you know about her, Maggie?

Maggie .......... Nothing much for sure. Only sheís Baccilides' package, and that makes her a package nobody tampers with. Nobody.

Kelly .......... Yeah, nobody but me.

Maggie .......... Not if you love life, you donít.

Kelly .......... I gotta!

Maggie .......... Who says?

Kelly .......... Baccalides says.

Maggie .......... Petey, you all right?

Kelly .......... Til tomorrow at two oíclock, yeah.

Maggie .......... Whatís then?

Kelly .......... Thenís the wedding.

Maggie .......... Who?

Kelly .......... Mine! and Vita Brand.

Maggie .......... Pete, youíve gone simple for sure. You know what Baccilides will do to you?

Kelly .......... Look, Maggie. I just left Baccilides, and her.

Maggie .......... He catch you with her?

Kelly .......... Look, that way Iím healthy. If he catches me without her Iím dead in my socks.

Maggie .......... Petey, youíre taking those risks to fast. Slow it down a little. Baccilides, heís just crazy about that woman. Remember Albino Artie. He once looked at Vita like Baccilides didnít buy it. That was six or seven weeks ago. You seen Albino Artie for the past six or seven weeks? No. Nobody has.

Kelly .......... Well, hear this. Baccilides orders me to marry Vita at two oíclock tomorrow afternoon. Now square it for me. Why?


Jack Webb and Peggy Lee
from the movie Pete Kelly's Blues

Continue with this script for Vita Brand

Support THE FRIENDS OF MR. CAIRO. Purchase books through our secure Amazon.com bookstore link.

This page sponsored by these movies(click on cover to purchase):

GO TO A DOSSIER:

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M]

[N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

Return HOME

Do you have the clearance to be the Counter person to view these files?

A BAP's Legacy website

View websites

1