Times Square

HOST DEEMS TAYLOR: Some years ago, when Winthrop Ames produced Clement Dane's 
play "Will Shakespeare," one scene concerned the first performance of "Romeo 
and Juliet," with Juliet's voice heard offstage. The voice was actually that 
of Otis Skinner's daughter and the event marked the first professional 
appearance, if you can call it that, of Cornelia Otis Skinner. Since that 
time, Miss Skinner's career as an actress has been a steadily successful one. 
If you're a moviegoer, you'll recall her superb performance in the current 
picture, "The Uninvited." If you're a New York theatergoer, you can see her as 
the heroine of Lillian Hellman's lastest play, "The Searching Wind." But 
acting in other people's plays isn't Miss Skinner's only accomplishment. She's 
equally famous as a "diseuse" and countless audiences, here and in England, 
have seen her in the playlets and sketches that she writes for herself and in 
which she is the sole performer. And seeing no reason why the radio audience 
shouldn't at least hear one of these, Philco hereby nominates and elects 
Cornelia Otis Skinner to the Radio Hall of Fame, playing in her own tabloid 
panorama, "Times Square."

MUSIC: (FOR A GRAND INTRO, THEN OUT)

(SOUND: APPLAUSE)

CORNELIA OTIS SKINNER: Thank you, Deems. I'm going to do a monologue called 
"Times Square." It represents a section of Broadway at the theater hour. ...

SOUND: (TRAFFIC NOISES QUIETLY IN BG THROUGHOUT, UP A LITTLE BRIEFLY DURING 
SOME OF THE TRANSITIONS FROM ONE CHARACTER TO THE NEXT)

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ITALIAN MOTHER: (NASAL MONOTONE) Chewing gum-a ... chewing gum-a ... buy some-
a chewing gum-- Pippino! (ABRUPTLY ADMONISHES HER OFFSPRING IN LIVELY ITALIAN, 
THEN ABRUPTLY POLITE TO PASSERBY) Ah, lady, please, you like some-a gum? 

(DESPERATELY) Lady, I got-a five children. Look, he's a bambino, he's-a sick. 
He's a little boy, he's-a no strong. (NASAL MONOTONE AGAIN) Chewing gum-a ... 
chewing gum--

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CHORUS GIRL: So, I said, "Listen, bozo. Any guy that takes me to the Automat 
when I'm all dressed up for a ritzy nightclub don't go so big with me."

He toined out a dud, all right. I didn't think he was so hot when I seen him 
in the front row.

No, it was Hazel said go ahead and step out with him, that he was a big 
butter-and-egg man. He's a big piece o' cheese is what he is.

Oh, say, listen, May, we're late as blazes and if we miss that ensemble 
(PRONOUNCED "EN-SEMBLE" WITH A SHORT E IN THE FIRST SYLLABLE, AND RHYMES WITH 
"TREMBLE") scene, we'll get fired sure as-- (FADES)

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RICH WOMAN IN CAR: (FADES IN, IRRITATED) Oh, Reggie, don't be absurd. It's 
only a block and a half. 

Because, Weggie, as I told you before, if you'd only listen--

(INSISTENT) They won't let him turn left!

He'd have to dwive clear to Ninth Avenue and we'd lose half an hour getting 
there.

You wish we wouldn't get there at all? Now, that's very typical of you. The 
minute we have to go to anything that's at ALL worthwhile, you act like a 
perfect ogre. Here's a play that all intelligent New York is talking about and 
you'd wather go to bed - or the Follies. 

You don't KNOW what the play is? (CHUCKLES WITH CONTEMPT) Of course. You never 
wead anything but the stock market. Why, it's, um-- It's, um--

Um, I - I - I'm trying to think, Reggie. The name's escaped me for the moment. 
Oh, you've got me so upset, bringing that awful man for cocktails when I 
wanted to dwess!

Well, if he's SUCH an important customer, why didn't you take him to the 
wacquet club?! Ohhh, if you knew how BORED I get, how STARVED I am for a 
little intelligent conversation ... (FADES)

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OFFICE GIRL: (BREATHLESS AND TRYING TO HIDE HER NERVOUS DESPERATION) Oh, Jack! 
Jack! Oh, heh! I THOUGHT that was you! Heh. I - I haven't seen ya in ages. 
They kept me late at the office. I, uh, I was just taking the subway home. You 
going up?

(DISSAPOINTED) Oh. I thought if you WERE going up, we could ride together.

I see. (HOPEFUL) Ma's keeping supper for me and if you hadn't had yours, she'd 
love to give you some, I know.

(DISSAPOINTED) Well, I - didn't know if you'd HAD your supper. (BEAT, TRYING 
TO BE CASUAL BUT GETTING TO THE POINT) Say, Jack - what happened to ya, 
Wednesday?

Yeah, Wednesday. Didja forget?

Well, that's all right.

Oh, no, that's perfectly all right. Oh, I was just afraid you might have been 
SORE about somethin'. I waited till nine, then when you didn't call up the 
next day, I just wondered.

Well, I'm glad you weren't sore.

Ha, sure, I'll forgive ya, Jack. (DEEPLY FELT) I'll always forgive ya. (CASUAL 
AGAIN) Well, I guess Mom'll be wondering-- Sure you won't come up to supper?

You've got a date? (WORRIED) Jack -- who with?

(HURT HARD) Oh, yes. I - Yes - I - I've met her. She's terribly pretty. I - I 
don't blame ya for wanting to take her out, though. I guess I'll be getting 
along now.

(WEAKLY) G'bye, Jack.

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SOUTHERN BELLE: (LOUD AND FLIRTATIOUS) Oh, my goodness, I sure am THRILLED! I 
was beginnin' to think I never WOULD get to Broadway. I wish you'd look. Isn't 
it cute?

I'm thrilled but I'm scay-ared to day-eath! 

Well, comin' from the South and all, I don't know if your New York men are 
gonna like me.

Uh uh -- you've sure got a line, haven't ya?

No, I haven't got any line. I just say whatever I think.

But, I don't know about you, I was brought up never to trust a Yankee.

Oop, the lights! Lucky I've got you to look out for me. I'd've walked right 
out in front of one of those [chair vans?].

(CHUCKLES) No, I don't reckon the traffic would've stopped.

Oh, I just think these electric signs make the softest, nicest light on 
everything! It's right becomin' to you.

I thought you said you didn't have any line! Why, you talk like one of the 
boys from home.

Mm mmm -- this is my best light, my best light -- good ol' Southern moonlight. 
You know, you sure are the nicest, kindest man to take me out and show me 
Broadway. Listen, you. I'm so scared about that dance tomorrow night 'cause I 
don't KNOW anybody! Are you gonna be real sweet and dance with me? (FADES)

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EDUCATED WIFE: (QUIET, TROUBLED BUT TRYING TO BE BRAVE) Sorry. Am I going too 
fast?

No, dear, we've plenty of time.

We may the miss the overture, that's all, but we shan't miss the duet.

Look out, darling, wait for the lights.

Extravagant? Of course we are. We SHOULD be, our last evening together ... for 
some time.

Not gonna think about that. Just gonna think about how well and strong you'll 
get in that lovely Arizona climate.  

Oh, nonsense, darling. The time'll go by so quickly. You'll - rest and read 
and do some writing.

Oh, I - I'll be all right. I've got my job, thank God, and Cissy. There goes 
the light. Not too tired?

Darling, darling, darling. What fun to hear Bohème together!

Mm, it's mine, too. The first evening you get back, we'll go to the opera 
again.

Of COURSE you're going to get back. Whatever could make you think you weren't?

(SCOFFS, UNCONVINCING) That doctor's an old alarmist. 

Don't let's talk about it. I'd rather talk about us.

You know I do, my darling, more than anything in this world. More than Cissy 
even. Oh, yes, I do.

So much. So much. (FADES)

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GOOD TIME GAL: (WILD AND HIGH-PITCHED GIGGLES) Oh, you sailors are just 
terrible! (GIGGLES) I don't believe a word you say! No, I don't. Listen, 
listen, I bet ya got a girl in every port between here to Shanghai. (GIGGLES)

Oh, that's only because you haven't been in every port.

Say, listen! You can't put your arm around me! (SLYLY) Not here on Broadway. 
(BEAT) Wait'll we get to Central Park.

(GIGGLES) All right, if you WANT to hire a boat. I love the way you gobs, the 
minute you get ashore, scram up to Central Park to hire a bo-oat! Don't you 
get enough water at see-ea? Aren't ya gonna tell me about some of the girls 
you met on your last cruise? Oh, I bet they were 'tractive. Bet they were a 
lot more 'tractive than me-eee! Those girls in Havana, regular hot tamales! 
Oooh, look! Here's a place you can have your picture taken and developed in 
five minutes! Listen, I'd just love a picture of you. (GIGGLES) Listen, I take 
a TERR-ible picture ... (GIGGLES, FADES)

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ITALIAN MOTHER: (NASAL MONOTONE) Chewing gum-a ... chewing gum-a ... buy some-
a chewing gum-- Pippino! (ABRUPTLY ADMONISHES HER OFFSPRING IN LIVELY ITALIAN, 
THEN ABRUPTLY POLITE TO PASSERBY) Ah, lady, please, you buy some-a gum? (BEAT) 
Only nickel. (BEAT) Thank you, lady. (NASAL MONOTONE AGAIN) Chewing gummm ... 
chewing gummm ... buy some-a chewing gummm--

MUSIC: (TO A FINISH)

(SOUND: APPLAUSE)

MUSIC: (GERSHWIN'S "RHAPSODY IN BLUE" ... IN AND UNDER)

HOST DEEMS TAYLOR: You know, it's extraordinary how much a real poet can 
express in a few simple lines. Take, for example, this stanza from "Skipper 
Ireson's Ride" by John Greenleaf Whittier. It runs:

Sweetly along the Salem road
Bloom of orchard and lilac showed.
Little the wicked skipper knew
Of the fields so green and the sky so blue.
Riding there in his sorry trim,
Like an Indian idol glum and grim,
Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear
Of the voices shouting, far and near:

ANNOUNCER: THIS - IS THE BLUE NETWORK!



_____________________
Originally broadcast: 21 May 1944
on The Philco Radio Hall of Fame
Written by Cornelia Otis Skinner


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