The Romance of Digestion

1	CLOSE SHOT - A MAN'S HANDS...
	... holding two drinking glasses. Bicarbonate powder is at the 
	bottom of one glass. Water is in the other. The man empties the 
	water glass into the bicarbonate glass, then pours the mixture 
	back into the empty water glass. He then pours the mixture back 
	into the bicarbonate glass so that the contents are thoroughly 
	mixed. 

	He then raises the glass to his lips and drinks most of it down. 
	We PAN UP with the glass to reveal that the man is none other 
	than American humorist Robert Benchley, an unassuming middle-
	aged gentleman with slicked-back hair and a thin moustache. As 
	he drinks, we PULL BACK to reveal that we are in an office, with 
	Benchley standing before a desk. 

	He sets the glass down, takes a handkerchief from the vest pocket 
	of his business suit, wipes his lips, and returns the handkerchief 
	to his pocket before addressing the CAMERA directly.
								
				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		I need hardly tell you that life is full 
		of romance. Otherwise none of us would be 
		here today. But how much do we know of 
		the romance of everyday things? Things 
		which we are likely to overlook in the 
		hurly-burly of, uh ...
			(peers at notes on desk)
		... life's whirligig? For instance, how 
		much do we know that in the simple 
		process of digestion there is romance? 
		When you take a bite of that delicious 
		cookie, or swallow a morsel of that 
		nourishing bread, do you stop to think of 
		the marvelous and intricate process by 
		means of which Mother Nature -- I call 
		her Mother Nature -- is going to convert 
		it into bone and sinew and roses for 
		those pretty cheeks? 

2	CLOSER SHOT OF BENCHLEY

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Because if you do stop to think, you're 
		quite likely not to be able to digest 
		whatever it is you're eating. 

	Benchley pauses, picks up a bottle of antacid tablets, empties a 
	few into his hand, and puts them in his mouth. 

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
			(chewing tablets)
		But whether you stop to think or not ...
			(chews and swallows tablets)
		... this exciting process of digestion is 
		going on day after day. Sometimes rather 
		badly, but always with a great show of 
		efficiency. It is, on the whole, one of 
		the worst-done jobs in the world. 

	We PULL BACK to reveal a set of teeth on a little stand sitting on 
	the desk. Benchley picks up the teeth.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Now first you must know that those tiny, 
		hard edges of bone, which you must have
		noticed a hundred times in the front of 
		your mouth, are teeth and are put there 
		for a very definite purpose. They are 
		the ivory gates to the body. 

	Benchley likes the sound of that. He puts down the teeth, picks up 
	a pen, and, very pleased with himself, adds this line to his notes. 

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		"Ivory gates to the body." 
			(picks up teeth again)
		They are nature's tiny sentinels and if 
		you've ever bitten yourself you know how 
		sharp they can be ...

	Benchley puts his index finger in the set of teeth which promptly 
	close on him. He pulls his finger away with a start.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		... and what efficient little watchmen 
		they are. 

	He puts the teeth back on the desk.

3	CLOSER SHOT OF BENCHLEY

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Just try to slip your finger in your 
		mouth once without your teeth's 
		permission and see how far you get. Or 
		try to take it out once they've captured 
		it. 

	Benchley points his index finger at the teeth which promptly 
	close. He pulls his finger away and chides the teeth gently.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
			(to the teeth)
		No --

	He chuckles, checks his notes.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Now these brave little sentinels, the 
		teeth, which are in our mouths, take the 
		food as it comes through the air -- in 
		case you're snapping at a butterfly -- or 
		from the fork and separate it into its 
		component parts -- land, air, and water. 
		In this process, they are assisted by the 
		tongue, which is that awful looking thing 
		just back of the teeth. 

	He points to the teeth and makes a face. We PULL BACK.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Now the tongue, which we call the 
		"Escalator of the Body" or "Nature's 
		Nobleman" for short, and the teeth toss 
		the food back and forth between them 
		until there is nothing left of it, except 
		those little bones which you have to take 
		out between your thumb and forefinger 
		and put on the butter plate, thus. 

	He pretends to take an imaginary bone from his mouth and places it 
	on an imaginary butter plate on his desk.

4	CLOSER SHOT OF BENCHLEY
	as he walks over to a curtain.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		We now come to the really wonderful part 
		of this Romance of Digestion which is 
		going on under our very eyes. 

	Benchley pulls a string, the curtain opens to reveal a large 
	cartoon depicting a cross-section of a man and his digestive 
	system.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Uh, here is a man who was chosen for 
		this work, because his digestive tract is 
		more clearly visible than in most people. 



5	CLOSER SHOT OF BENCHLEY AND CARTOON
	The cartoon man has his eyes closed and all the parts of his 
	digestive system are labeled.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		It's the same as yours and mine, but a 
		little, uh, less concealed. Uh, this man, 
		whom we will call Arthur W., uh, permitted 
		this picture to be made in the interest of 
		science, but insisted on keeping his eyes 
		closed, so that his friends would not 
		recognize him and start kidding him. 
		Arthur, as you will see, is rather a 
		special type and easily hurt. But, as a 
		study for the digestive tract, he is 
		practically perfect. 

	Benchley points to Arthur's mouth.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Now, you see, the food enters here and 
		passes these little white sentinels which 
		we have learned to call the teeth. 
			(points to labels that 
			read "teeth")
		You see, teeth -- teeth -- teeth. This 
		one here ...
			(labeled "fake")
		... we're not quite sure about. Once 
		this food is on the tongue, a chemical 
		reaction is set up which presses a button 
		and signals down to old Dr. Stomach ...

	Benchley picks up an uninflated balloon at the base of the cartoon 
	and puts it into his mouth.

6	CLOSE SHOT OF BENCHLEY
	... blowing up the football-shaped balloon. Once it's 
	inflated, he continues.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		... and says, "Mr. Stomach, do you want 
		the food or don't you?" And old Mr. 
		Stomach, or "Prince Charming," as we 
		shall call him from now on, telegraphs or 
		maybe writes back and says, "Yes, dear," 
		or "You may do whatever you like with it" 
		-- according as he happens to be feeling 
		at the moment. Then such a commotion as 
		goes on in the mouth! "Foodie's going to 
		visit Stomach!" all the little teeth cry, 
		just as if they were going themselves. 
		"All aboard!" yells the tongue, and 
		there's a ringing of bells, tooting of 
		whistles, and bumping of porters -- and 
		all the time this little piece of 
		cookie ...
			(points to offscreen cartoon)
		... is sitting on the tongue, ready to 
		take its first trip all alone down to see 
		Prince Charming ...
			(puts a hand on the balloon)
		... or the stomach, as we will call it 
		from now on. 

	Benchley clears his throat and puts the balloon back where he found 
	it.

7	LONGER SHOT OF BENCHLEY AND CARTOON
	... as Benchley picks up a pointer and uses it freely.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		The food is then put on a conveyor, where 
		it is taken down to the pressing 
		machines, which are situated on the third 
		floor. These pressing machines are worked 
		by one man, who stands by the conveyor, 
		takes the food off as it comes down, 
		tosses it into the vats. Here the moss and 
		rocks are drained off by mechanical 
		pickers and the whole thing is subjected 
		to a treatment of sulfite, which is a 
		process that is secret and very jealously 
		guarded. 

8	CLOSE SHOT OF THE CARTOON
	... particularly the stomach.		

								
				ROBERT BENCHLEY (o.s.)
		From here it is taken on the shuttle down 
		to the playroom ...

9	BENCHLEY AND CARTOON

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		... where it plays around with the other 
		children for a while until it is time to 
		be wrapped up in the bindery, by the 
		girls, stacked into little piles and, uh,
		delivered in bunches of fifty. 

10	CLOSER SHOT OF BENCHLEY
	... pointer in hand.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Now, these packages -- the proteins are 
		sent to the bones of the body, 
		carbohydrates to the muscles, and a third 
		class, the sophomores, go into making the 
		fatty tissue, which nobody wants. The 
		by-products are made into milk-bottle 
		caps, emery wheels, and insurance 
		calendars, and are sold at cost. 

	He heads back to the desk with the pointer.

11	BENCHLEY RETURNS TO DESK

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		We have seen what an intricate process 
		this digestion is. And so we musn't-- 

	He tries to sit at desk but the chair is extremely low and he 
	nearly disappears from view. He looks around, confused, rises 
	and chuckles.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		We musn't expect Mother Nature to take 
		care of it all herself. Because, if we 
		do, we're gonna get good and stuck. 

12	CLOSE SHOT OF BENCHLEY

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		We must be careful of what we eat. We must 
		eat a balanced diet. By a balanced diet, I 
		mean no bread, no butter, no potatoes, no 
		meat, no vegetables, no solid food -- just 
		a handful of, oh, lettuce, maybe, now and 
		then or a few dried beans is all we'd 
		better try to take care of. 

13	LONGER SHOT OF BENCHLEY

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		In short, if we want this process of 
		digestion well done, we've got to do it
		ourselves. 

14	CLOSE SHOT OF BENCHLEY

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		Because we've seen how Mother Nature 
		takes care of all our little problems, 
		aided only by soda mint and bicarbonate. 
		I thank you. 

	Benchley hiccoughs loudly, puts a hand to his mouth, and grins with 
	embarrassment.

				ROBERT BENCHLEY
		I beg your pardon. 

	He chuckles and bobs up and down as we

					FADE OUT




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