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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
... and what efficient little watchmen
He puts the teeth back on the desk.
3 CLOSER SHOT OF 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
Benchley points his index finger at the teeth which promptly
close. He pulls his finger away and chides the teeth gently.
(to the teeth)
He chuckles, checks his notes.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Benchley points to Arthur's mouth.
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
You see, teeth -- teeth -- teeth. This
one here ...
... 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.
... 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
(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
7 LONGER SHOT OF BENCHLEY AND CARTOON
... as Benchley picks up a pointer and uses it freely.
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
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
... 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.
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
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
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
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
In short, if we want this process of
digestion well done, we've got to do it
14 CLOSE SHOT OF 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
I beg your pardon.
He chuckles and bobs up and down as we