Rain on New Year's Eve

Episode #29
Date: 29 December 1947

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(SEVEN SECONDS' SILENCE)

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)

ANNOUNCER: The Mutual Broadcasting System presents "Quiet, Please!" which is 
written and directed by Wyllis Cooper and which features Ernest Chappell. 
"Quiet, Please!" for tonight is called "Rain on New Year's Eve."

(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)

RAMSEY: It's raining again. 

Pretty near New Year's and it's raining again. Back east, it's probably 
snowing different places. Or maybe the moon's out, shining on the snow and 
people are saying, "Why, it's so bright out you could read a newspaper!" Ya 
can't read a newspaper by moonlight. Only the headlines. Maybe if you take 
your newspaper out in the yard and stand in the moonlight, you might find a 
headline with my name in it. It's been there before. Well, anyway, so there's 
moonlight. Here, there's rain -- like it was that other New Year's Eve. That's 
what the rain makes me think of, as if I ever thought of anything else. 

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN IMITATES RAIN UNDER) 

RAMSEY: Listen to the rain. [chuckles quietly] I was sitting in my office in 
the writers' court out there after we'd been on the picture for two or three 
months. Writing it, that is. They'd been shooting for about three weeks but I 
was still on the picture because we had a producer that couldn't make up his 
mind and the director was one of those guys, uh, sort of road company 
Hitchcock, you know? He makes the picture up as he goes along. Only there has 
to be a writer filed away someplace where he can find him when he runs out of 
ideas - which is not more than eleven times a day. So I'm dying. I go on the 
set and I find actors there I never heard of speaking lines I never wrote in 
scenes I couldn't figure out. Then the director'd get me in a corner and put 
the arm on me: [imitates the director] "This thing doesn't seem to quite gel, 
old man. You know?" And me and my little typewriter go to work to unscrew 
things while the overtime and the gin rummy games go right on. [chuckles] 
Great life, that. 

Well, so I'm sittin' in my office and the rain is on the roof and the gas 
heater is frying my ankles while the draft from the window is giving my neck 
the deep freeze. Mary Lou, my secretary, comes in from her little cubbyhole 
next to mine.

MARY LOU: [Southern accent] When do I get to do my Christmas shopping, Mr. 
Ramsey? 

RAMSEY: You don't get to do your Christmas shoppin', Mary Lou.

MARY LOU: Yes, I know -- I didn't.

RAMSEY: What?

MARY LOU: Christmas was two days ago, Mr. Ramsey.

RAMSEY: Was it? Well, merry Christmas.

MARY LOU: Are we ever gonna finish this picture, for heaven's sakes?

RAMSEY: Well, I'll tell ya, angel. Mr. Dody, the great director, is getting 
thirty-five hundred dollars a week.

MARY LOU: I know it.

RAMSEY: And, my dear, Mr. Dody has not got thirty-five hundred dollars a week 
for a long, long time, see?

MARY LOU: Mmmhmmm.

RAMSEY: So Mr. Dody, the great director, is going to make thirty-five hundred 
dollars a week just as long as he possibly can and characters like us can-- 
you know what.

MARY LOU: That... man!

RAMSEY: I have a different word for him, sweetheart. But, as I was saying, if 
we leave it to Mr. Dody this here picture ain't never gonna be finished. A 
hundred years from now somebody'll come upstairs here and they'll find an old, 
old man with a long white beard beating out the fifty-ninth revision of scene 
four hundred and fifty-six and in the next room, a little apple-cheeked old 
lady.

MARY LOU: Aw, cut it out!

RAMSEY: Yeah.

MARY LOU: Oh, when are they gonna finish it, no kiddin'?

RAMSEY: New Year's Eve.

MARY LOU: Oh, maybe there'll be champagne and stuff on the set!

RAMSEY: Yeah, no doubt, for the expensive actors and producers and the fine 
upstanding director. For you and me, a nice bottle of sixty cent claret 
imported from right over there on Ventura Boulevard.

MARY LOU: You're so funny.

RAMSEY: Mm? On the contrary.

MARY LOU: Well, I'm gettin' awful sick of this, Mr. Ramsey! We've had to work 
every single night for the last four weeks! Do you realize that?

RAMSEY: You kiddin', do I realize it? Go get me some coffee, will you, kid? I 
gotta stay awake for Mr. Dody.

MARY LOU: Coffee. I bet you and I could be elected president of Brazil, all 
the coffee we've put away! 

SOUND: (Phone RINGS.)

RAMSEY: Answer the phone. 

MARY LOU: It's Dody.

RAMSEY: Well, we gotta be dignified.

MARY LOU: Hold on. 

SOUND: (PICKS UP phone.)

MARY LOU: Mr. Ramsey's office. Who's calling please? Oh, yes, Mr. Dody. He's 
here.

RAMSEY: Mm, I'm always here. [on phone] Ram-sey! Yes, Mr. Dody, what seems to 
be the trouble? I see. Yes, I see, but Mr. Dody, I-- Well-- Well, that'd mean 
rewriting practically all the-- Well, yes, I know! I mean-- But what do you 
gain that way? What, TWO monsters?! Well, what's two monsters got that one 
monster hasn't? Well, yeah, sure but who scares who - uh, whom, I mean? But, 
Mr. Dody, I saw a picture once with two monsters in it and it was silly. What? 
Oh, you directed it. That's - well, uh, well, I'll be right over. 

SOUND: (HANGS UP phone.)

RAMSEY: Skip the coffee, Mary Lou.

MARY LOU: Two monsters?!

RAMSEY: Two, count 'em two. And I'll lay you six two and even that by the time 
I get to the stage, he'll be hollerin' for three.

MARY LOU: Take your raincoat - it's raining pitchforks.

RAMSEY: Maybe one of 'em'll stab me.

(MUSIC ... BRIDGE AND OUT)

RAMSEY: I... better tell ya about this monster stuff. Uh, this was a horror 
picture, you see. Kind of the poor man's Frankenstein? Yeah, they couldn't get 
Karloff, naturally, and they couldn't use the Frankenstein monster make-up 
because Jack Pierce over at Universal invented that. I guess Universal owned 
it. So they had me dream up a monster. And, boy, did I dream one up.

(MUSIC ... IN AND UNDER)

RAMSEY: There's an old book. It's called... No, I guess I won't tell you what 
it's called. Well, you don't want to take those old books too seriously--

[...]

So I kind o' swiped this monster out of the book. Well, you'll never see the 
picture, I suppose, so maybe I'd better tell you a little about him. 

Well, I guess I won't either. He was - he was the most horrible monster I ever 
saw, no kiddin'. And what the make-up department did with my sketch and my 
description -- ohhhh, boy. Just one thing I'll tell you about him. You can 
figure out the rest for yourself. 

He didn't have any face. 

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT - AND OUT)

RAMSEY: You take it from there. But don't kid yourself -- he was a thing. They 
got Ali Tharpe to play the goon. Nice fella, quiet, always grinning, modest, 
good actor. Last guy in the world you'd expect to play a monster. 

Oh, yeah, sure, Karloff did the Frankenstein thing and he's the mildest 
mannered guy in the world. I remember him on the "Son of Frankenstein" set 
years ago in his monster suit, all gray and green, showin' pictures of his new 
baby to people. [laughing] I had to laugh. Well, I - I guess monsters are 
human sometimes, huh? And maybe humans are... yeah. 

Well, all right. I spend three hours listening to Mr. Dody run off at the 
mouth with the whole company having the screaming meemies over all this 
nonsense. It's five minutes to twelve when he finally decides to quit and 
everybody goes home. They're all burned at Dody, but, yeah, they'll wake up in 
the morning and remember the overtime and they'll feel better. Me? Writers 
don't get overtime. So I get back to the writers' court and the light's 
burning in the window and Mary Lou's snoring away with her face in a stack of 
carbon paper. She wakes up and asks me a question.

MARY LOU: How many monsters now?

RAMSEY: We got four now - I'd say. Including me.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT)

RAMSEY: So, the next morning it's not raining any more. The sun is shining 
bright and you can see snow on top of the mountains and it's a very nice day. 
And monsters are pretty hazy in my mind as I pick up my copy of the Reporter 
and head for the rickety stairway to my - palatial office. I'll tell you how 
much good the sunshine did me. I was whistling as I climbed up the stairs and 
opened the door.

SOUND: (Door OPENS.)

MARY LOU: You might as well turn off the whistle. Mr. Dody's looking for you.

RAMSEY: Now what?

MARY LOU: He says it's very important.

RAMSEY: Yeah, two more monsters.

MARY LOU: Your coffee's on the desk.

RAMSEY: Steaming cold, no doubt.

MARY LOU: I've just brought it up! Gimme fifteen cents.

RAMSEY: Ahhh, it's your turn to buy this morning.

MARY LOU: I bought yesterday! 

RAMSEY: All right, all right.

SOUND: (Phone RINGS.)

RAMSEY: [ironic] Hello! No, he isn't here yet!

SOUND: (Phone RINGS.)

RAMSEY: [with disgust] Ah! Go ahead.

SOUND: (Mary Lou PICKS UP phone.)

MARY LOU: Mr. Ramsey's office. Yes, Mr. Dody.

RAMSEY: [on phone] Morning, Mr. Dody. How are ya? Oh? No kiddin'? Why, that's 
fi-- What? Oh, of course. [quietly, to Mary Lou] Yak, yak, yak, yak. [to Dody] 
Yeah, sure.

MARY LOU: [whispers] What's up?

RAMSEY: Why, sure, Mr. Dody. Yes, sir! I'll be right over.

SOUND: (HANGS UP phone.)

MARY LOU: What?

RAMSEY: He has to finish the picture definitely by twelve midnight, December 
31st.

MARY LOU: Oh, that's what you said last night.

RAMSEY: Well, I was kiddin'. You know how it goes in the story?

MARY LOU: I forgot.

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, the way it was originally, you know? This - this monster 
only has power the last hour of the year?

MARY LOU: Oh, yes.

RAMSEY: Remember, it was a New Year's party, the whole picture?

MARY LOU: It's been so long ago, I forgot how we started.

RAMSEY: Well, don't you remember our big payoff scene? She thinks the monster 
is her wicked uncle?

MARY LOU: Who thinks?

RAMSEY: You know, the babe with the teeth. The goon girl with the blue dress.

MARY LOU: Oh, yes.

RAMSEY: Remember, she - she thinks the monster is her uncle and she tries to 
rip his mask off and it ain't a mask?

MARY LOU: Somethin' like that.

RAMSEY: And the house is on fire and he grabs her and runs inside the house 
and our hero busts in after her and rescues her? Some way I never had a chance 
to figure out--

MARY LOU: How would he do it without his glasses? He'd fall over the stoop.

RAMSEY: What stoop? There's hundreds of 'em in pictures.

MARY LOU: Drink your coffee and go see Mr. Dody. Maybe he's changed his mind.

RAMSEY: Ah, he can't change his mind. The front office put the big fat arm on 
him -- or else! Whoopee, baby, three days and we can sit down and rest.

MARY LOU: Away from THIS place.

RAMSEY: You can say that again.

SOUND: (Phone RINGS.)

RAMSEY: Tell 'em I ain't here!

(MUSIC ... BRIDGE)

RAMSEY: Well, sir, that sunshine looked better than ever to me. But when the 
big door of the stage swung shut behind me, the sunshine sure disappeared. 
Well, Mr. Dody was a - unhappy man. Well, three more days and there wouldn't 
be any more of those thirty-five hundred dollars. And he didn't like it a 
little bit. And guess who he took it out on?

DODY: This is the WORST story I EVER had to work with! It positively smells 
bad!

RAMSEY: I didn't say, "It's your story, Mr. Dody. All I got left is a monster 
and he'll probably turn out to be Santa Claus or somebody."

DODY: If you'd listened to me when I told you how to do it--!

RAMSEY: I didn't say, "I listened to you, Mr. Dody, and now look what we got."

DODY: Now, I have to give up my beautiful idea of having three monsters 
instead of one!

RAMSEY: "Because then we'd have had to reshoot practically the whole picture. 
And you'd have made it on a million bucks." I didn't say that, either.

DODY: So, if you think you could possibly dredge up your original script, I 
think I can possibly make it into an acceptable B picture! Although that's a 
task even for a director like me!

RAMSEY: Mr. Dody doesn't realize what an unconscious humorist he is. That guy 
could make a B picture out of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, 
even if he had the original cast. 

DODY: Go get to work! Get to work and do something! Have I got to do 
everything around here? Get a move on ya!

RAMSEY: So I got a move on me. And if you think I disliked that guy up to now 
...

[...]

RAMSEY: ... pretty good to me the last two days.

MARY LOU: You've got to get some sleep somehow. You've been on your feet for 
almost two days, Mr. Ramsey.

RAMSEY: [sleepily] Yeah. Well. Mm, where were we?

MARY LOU: [reads from script] Scene a hundred and sixty-eight. Long Shot - 
Interior - Mansion - Night. 

(MUSIC ... IN AND UNDER)

MARY LOU: [reads] From the top of the stairway to the upstairs, indistinct in 
the shadows, we sense, rather than see, the twisted, evil form of the monster 
as it peers over the balustrade. From the foreground right, the butler appears 
and starts slowly up the stairway. As he reaches the fourth or fifth step, the 
camera starts to move in and follow him. We crane upstairs and the camera 
holds on the last three steps as the butler reaches the top. Cut to-- 

(MUSIC OUT)

MARY LOU: Hey! Wake up!

RAMSEY: Huh? Oh. [mumbles] Oh, I'm sorry. Where were we?

MARY LOU: Ramsey, you've got to get some sleep. Lie down for ten minutes.

RAMSEY: Gee, I'd sure like to.

SOUND: (Phone RINGS. Mary Lou PICKS UP.)

MARY LOU: Mr. Ramsey's office.

RAMSEY: I'm not here.

MARY LOU: Yes, Mr. Dody.

RAMSEY: All right. All right, all right. [on phone] Hello?! Yes. Sure. I'll be 
right over.

SOUND: (HANGS UP phone.)

MARY LOU: Aw, Mr. Ramsey, I wish--

RAMSEY: You know what, Mary Lou?

MARY LOU: Well, put on your coat. It's raining again.

RAMSEY: You know what?

MARY LOU: What?

RAMSEY: I wish - I was a monster.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER)

RAMSEY: You know, I was a tired little fella. I didn't have any Thanksgiving. 
I ate a thin ham sandwich in my office that day because Mr. Dody had to have 
three new scenes Friday morning. He called me at the office to see how I was 
doing -- he'd just finished his Thanksgiving dinner, you see. I didn't have 
any Christmas. I locked the door on my office and beat my brains out on a 
whole new sequence Mr. Dody had thought up. All around me, people were 
drinkin' whiskey and chasin' each other through the corridors and up and down 
the stairs. I didn't have any Sundays and I didn't have any evenings. I, my 
friend, nearly lost my mind. 

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN OUT)

RAMSEY: All the time, Mr. Dody -- wow! Yeah, it's no wonder that by New Year's 
Eve I was ready to hire a man with a cleaver to extirpate the guy. But I 
didn't. 

Nope, I sure didn't.

At nine o'clock, he called me over to the set again. Could I rewrite some 
dialogue? Heh heh heh! Well, I crossed him up on that one. I threw out the 
hash he'd made of my original dialogue and substituted what I'd originally 
written. It played okay -- after seven different takes, all exactly alike.

I went back to my office in the rain.

SOUND: (Phone RINGS. Mary Lou PICKS UP.)

MARY LOU: Mr. Ramsey's office. Yes, Mr. Dody. Yes, Mr. Dody, I'll tell him.

SOUND: (HANGS UP phone.)

MARY LOU: Mr. Ramsey--?

RAMSEY: [wearily] I heard you.

MARY LOU: He needs you right away again.

RAMSEY: Okay, okay, okay.

MARY LOU: You poor thing.

RAMSEY: I'll be out a couple hours. Hope I can take it.

MARY LOU: Take your raincoat. It's rainin' cats and dogs.

RAMSEY: You're telling me.

SOUND: (Door SHUTS.)

RAMSEY: That time, it was a little piece of action he couldn't get through his 
ivory head. I explained it in words of one syllable, carefully avoiding the 
four-letter ones. He thanked me, "Old boy!" - and I went out into the rain 
again.

[with disgust] Rain... What rain in California can do to ya. I heard of a 
fella that jumped into the Los Angeles River once after a week of rain. 
Ordinarily, he'd break his ankle. But he drowned. 

You know, it just comes down - steadily. 

(MUSIC ... UNDER)

RAMSEY: I know, I could probably be a lot more graphic than that but - that's 
all there is to rain in California. It comes down steadily. Ice cold. 
Steadily! Yeah. Of course, it always stops - 'bout the time you've decided to 
start out on foot for the East. The sun shines, poinsettias bloom and the 
hills are green and - oh, man, it's wonderful. I guess they have the rain like 
hittin' yourself on the head with a hammer. Feels so good when you stop. Yeah, 
that's a bum gag but - I was a pretty beat up character.

Three more times that New Year's Eve! In the rain. The guy gettin' meaner and 
meaner each time. Well, at least it was gonna be over pretty soon. It was ten 
minutes to eleven when I came into the office and Mary Lou took my coat from 
me.

(MUSIC OUT)

MARY LOU: You've just got to get a little sleep, Ramsey. Now, you sit down at 
your desk and put your head down and catch forty winks.

RAMSEY: [exhales, wearily] Thanks, Mary Lou. Oh, if I had to see that man just 
one more time tonight, I wouldn't be responsible. I'm not kiddin'.

MARY LOU: I know. You go to sleep.

RAMSEY: But, kid, you're as all in as I am.

MARY LOU: Well, at least I don't have to face him.

RAMSEY: Yeah. He's got to stop at midnight. Soon as he's through, should you 
and me go someplace and have a New Year's drink?

MARY LOU: [surprised but pleased] I - I - I don't know whether I could keep 
awake.

RAMSEY: Well, let's try, huh?

MARY LOU: Okay.

RAMSEY: Mm. Anybody ever tell you you're a nice gal?

MARY LOU: Couple o' people.

RAMSEY: I could marry a gal like you.

MARY LOU: Don't kid people, Ramsey.

RAMSEY: I'm not.

MARY LOU: See how you feel when you wake up.

RAMSEY: I think - I love ya.

MARY LOU: I wish you meant that, Ramsey.

RAMSEY: [mimics her Southern drawl] Ah do. [seriously] Kiss me good night?

MARY LOU: Ramsey, you're sweet.

RAMSEY: Kiss me good night. [yawns and stretches] Mm. Sorry.

MARY LOU: Aww, go to sleep!

(MUSIC ... UNDER)

RAMSEY: So, I went to sleep. So, I went to sleep. And I dreamed. Even when I 
was asleep I couldn't get that guy Dody off my mind. I dreamed I was on the 
set. I dreamed they were shootin' the last scene, the one where the monster 
comes closer and closer to the camera and that head of his without any face 
fills the whole screen.

You know how it is in dreams. You're here - and then all of a sudden you're 
there - and you're one guy and then you're another and it's all mixed up? Yes. 
I could see the set. And I could hear Dody call out:

DODY: Quiet! Roll 'em!

SOUND MAN: [after a pause] Speed!

DODY: Action!

RAMSEY: Then I could see this faceless monster coming out of the shadows -- 
slowly, slowly, right up to the camera where George Robinson was standing, 
tired as everybody else. And, I thought to myself, if the audience had any 
idea that little milquetoast Ali Tharpe was inside that monster rig, they'd 
bust. And then, in the dream, I saw Dody jumpin' up and down in one of those 
silly rages of his and he yells:

DODY: Cut! Cut! Get back there and try it over! You've got about as much 
menace as-- as much menace as-- as Ramsey over there!

RAMSEY: Even in my dreams he was pickin' on me. 

And so they started all over again. My dream got kind of mixed-up all right 
there and - and I sort of seemed to be following the monster - because I could 
see Dody's face right in front of me as the monster moved in. When Dody yelled 
"Cut!" again, the monster and I didn't stop. I just sort of seemed to follow 
him right on, farther and farther. I saw the monster's big hairy hand grab 
Dody. And Dody screamed ...

DODY: Aaaaaaahhhhhh!

RAMSEY: ... and the monster's hands were fumbling at Dody's neck. Dody was 
fighting and I saw Dody bite the monster's hand. It was so real, I could 
almost feel it. And then everything got black in my dream and - there were a 
lot of - a lot of bells ringing and ...

(MUSIC OUT)

SOUND: (Bells RINGING.)

RAMSEY: ... well, that's what woke me up. So I raised my head and, 'course, 
there I was in my office. And I pulled myself out of it a little and suddenly 
I knew what the bells were everywhere: Bells ringin' in the new year. The rain 
was hammering on the roof and it was tomorrow.

SOUND: (Bells STOP RINGING.)

RAMSEY: So I got up and hollered for Mary Lou:

[calls out] Mary Lou! Hey, happy new year, Mary Lou!

When she didn't answer, I stepped through the door into her little office.

(MUSIC ... A HUGE ACCENT)

RAMSEY: And she was - lying on the floor behind her desk. And the look on her 
face was something I never want to see again. It was a look of the most awful 
horror anybody could imagine. The kind of look you'd expect to see on the face 
of someone who'd been - literally - frightened to death by a monster - who had 
no face at all.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN UNDER)

RAMSEY: So, I stood there. After a few seconds, I heard people yelling outside 
and I heard somebody yell that Ali Tharpe had killed Dody. Somebody else said, 
no, Ali Tharpe was dead, too, with a broken neck in his dressing room.

And my hand hurt.

When I raised my hand to look at it, right across the thick of my palm were 
teeth marks. Deep, bloody teeth marks where Dody had bit me - when I strangled 
him.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT, THEN OUT)

RAMSEY: So, you see, that's why I say: never take any of those old books too 
seriously. Remember I said I wished I was a monster? You remember what the 
book said? The monster only possessed his murderous power for one hour, the 
last hour of the year.

New Year's Eve again. And it's raining.

Got anybody you want murdered?

(MUSIC ... THEME. FADE FOR)

In the late 1930s, Wyllis Cooper worked as a screenwriter (under his birth name "Willis Cooper" -- he changed the spelling around the time he left Hollywood). His credits include three B movies in Peter Lorre's "Mr. Moto" mystery series and a weird Bela Lugosi serial called The Phantom Creeps ... Cooper also wrote Universal's popular horror epic Son of Frankenstein in which Boris Karloff made his last motion picture appearance as Frankenstein's monster (above). The making of the film seems to have inspired "Rain on New Year's Eve" -- see this page: Wyllis Cooper and The Son of Frankenstein ... Despite his pronounced lisp, Karloff was a popular radio actor and appeared occasionally on Cooper's legendary horror series "Lights Out!"
ANNOUNCER: You have listened to "Quiet, Please!" which is written and directed 
by Wyllis Cooper. The man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.  

ERNEST CHAPPELL: And Muriel Kirkland was Mary Lou. Pat O'Malley was Dody. 
Music for "Quiet, Please!" is composed and played by Albert Buhrmann. Now, for 
a word about next week's "Quiet, Please!", here is our writer-director, my 
good friend, Wyllis Cooper.

WYLLIS COOPER: I've a story for you next week about a man who was haunted. 
It's called "The Little Visitor" ...

ERNEST CHAPPELL: And so, until next week at this time... I am quietly yours... 
Ernest Chappell.

ANNOUNCER:  "Quiet, Please!" comes to you from New York.  This is the Mutual 
Broadcasting System.

(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)


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