Thursday, August 07, 2008

Raymond Scott: The Musical

ACT 1, SCENE 1 A basement in Brooklyn. Saturday. 

GRANDFATHER: Who in the basement makes such noise?

YOUNG BOY: Methinks should I, ere this box opn'd
T'would suffer most grievous shellacking
Yet respond I must and feign surprise
Ho, Grandfather, 'tis I that ventured
To this most subterranean homesick place.

GRANDFATHER: Ay, t'were foretold one day the boy would come To find the discs that music play'd To rent the air with kitt'nish pseudo-jazz and end these years of peace My heart darken'd. O lost! 

YOUNG BOY: Yet who hailed as king 'mid these ancient tunes?

GRANDFATHER: Dare speak I not, nor say the name 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, lad. 

YOUNG BOY: For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart. 

GRANDFATHER Fear not the turgid trembl'ng within thy bowels 'Tis but Grandma's chili racing for the exit.

They both laugh. The doorbell rings. Grandfather opens the door 

Enter two friends of Grandfather -- Marcel and Fellatio

YOUNG BOY: What, is Fellatio there?

GRANDFATHER: Welcome, Fellatio: welcome, good Marcel.

MARCEL: What, has this thing dost appear'd again to-night?

GRANDFATHER: I have witness'd naught.

MARCEL: Fellatio says 'tis but our fantasy, And will not let belief take hold of him Of this dread music, twice heard of us: Therefore I have entreated him along With us to listen the minutes of this night; As new year's eve in a haunt'd house That if again this apparition cometh, He may approve our eyes and speak to it.

FELLATIO: Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.

GRANDFATHER: Sit down awhile; And let us once again assail your ears, As the kittenish pseudo-jazz doth assail ours That are fortified against our story What we have two nights heard. 

FELLATIO: Well, sit we down, And let us hear Grandfather speak of this.

GRANDFATHER: Last night of all, When yond same star that's westward from the pole Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, Marcel and myself, The bell then beating one,--

Enter Ghost of Raymond Scott

MARCEL: Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!

GRANDFATHER: In the same figure, good radio's hit parade.

MARCEL: Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Fellatio.

GRANDFATHER: Looks it not like the bandleader? Mark it, Fellatio.

FELLATIO: Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.

GRANDFATHER: It would be spoke to.

MARCEL: Question it, Fellatio.

FELLATIO: What art thou that usurp'st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of Shirley Temple Did sometimes march? By heaven I charge thee, speak! 

MARCEL: 'Tis offend'd.

GRANDFATHER: See, he stalks away!

FELLATIO: Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!

Exit Ghost 

MARCEL: 'Tis gone, and will not answer.

GRANDFATHER: How now, Fellatio! You tremble and look pale: Is not this something more than fantasy? What think you on't?

FELLATIO: Before my God, I might not this believe Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes.

MARCEL: Nor would I aver The entire quintette, should they arise.

FELLATIO: As thou art to thyself: Such was the very tux he had on When he the ambitious cartoon scor'd; So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle, He smote the grievous saxophone man. 'Tis strange.

MARCEL: Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour, Thus pow'rhous'd hath he gone by our watch.

FELLATIO: In what particular thought to work I know not; But in the gross and scope of my opinion, bodes bumpy weather o'er the new ark.

MARCEL: Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows, Why this same strict and most confusing watch So nightly toils the subject of the land, Among a fleet of brazen cabs, And soothing sounds, the playful drummer; Why such impress of stalling made, whose sore task To score the moods of stutt'ring pigs and insane poultry? What might be toward, that this sweaty haste Doth make the reckless night with the day: Who is't can inform me?

FELLATIO: That can I; At least, the whisper goes so.

[to be continued ...] 

by Don Brockway


  1. Oh my god! it's just as i imagined it... word for word

  2. Richard Myrle BuckleyAugust 7, 2008 at 12:41 PM

    Dig, they gave Willie the Shake a nickel's worth of ink and five cents worth of paper, he sat down, wrote up such a breeze — swoooosh! — that's all there was, Jack, the bad, bad-rapping of the mad maestro.