FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
"... the magic is all around you. All the time. Everywhere. In every thing. The trick... is to see it." IN BLACK... ... the insistent, persistent, eight-to-the-bar beat of BOOGIE-WOOGIE. Hot, exciting, pulsating rhythm, ramping up. THEN... ... in the blackness, falling s-l-o-w-l-y, tumbling g-e-n-t-l-y, a picture-postcard: "GREETINGS FROM HOLLYWOOD!" Then another... and another, each one dropping through frame, a gentle rain. In these old postcards, Hollywood is a dream town where movie stars glide out of big cars to press their hands-and- footprints in the wet cement. Another postcard: "I'M MEETING THE STARS AT HOLLYWOOD & VINE!" In this postcard myth, you'd toddle down to Hollywood and Vine, bump into Bogie and Bacall, and join them for dinner at the Brown Derby. Or Ciro's. Or the Coconut Grove... More postcards. Pictures of movie theaters, but not the ones that you and I know today. These are palaces. Temples. Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian. The Carthay Circle. The Paramount, the Million Dollar. From a time when moviegoing was a complete experience, not a trip to the local mall. The ushers were friendly and helpful and wore gold brocaded jackets and guided you to your seat. The popcorn was hot and fresh and buttered with real butter, not 30-weight motor oil. CUT TO: THE PILE OF POSTCARDS a wild jumble. Then, one LAST POSTCARD drops lazily on top of the pile. It's a view of Hollywood at night, a carpet of lights under the yawning, protective smile of Mt. Lee's most famous resident, the fully-lit HOLLYWOOD SIGN. We PUSH INTO THE PICTURE OF THE SIGN, DISSOLVING UNTIL WE'RE... ... PUSHING INTO THE REAL HOLLYWOOD SIGN, closer and closer, until we fly right through it -- then crazily loop up and behind it until we're looking down at... EXT. HOLLYWOOD (AERIAL VIEW) - NIGHT SUPER TITLE: 1951 A gigantic aerial shot. Postwar autos fill the muggy midsummer evening air with the sounds of thousands of HONKING HORNS, a mere precursor to the traffic yet to come. Darkened outlying neighborhoods are evidence of the postwar home construction boom, as scores of stucco bungalows are being built in the areas surrounding the beating heart of the town, a swath of garishly bright concrete called HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) Of course, it's not like the postcards say it is. This is what it's like. I'm Pete Appleton, and this is my town. Still in the same shot, we rocket down into the center of the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, then head west along the boulevard, skimming just above the traffic -- past Musso and Frank's Grill and the Hollywood Canteen, past the Egyptian Theater and a rumbling Pacific Electric Red Car, across Highland Avenue, past the Paramount Theater, and across the street to GRAUMAN'S CHINESE THEATER. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) Born and raised here, thank you very much. Sometimes, it seems like everyone here is from somewhere else. But everyone loves the movies, so Hollywood is everyone's town, and they come here by the busload. To them, Grauman's Chinese Theater is just about the most exciting place on the planet. To me, it's the theater that's playing "The African Queen." And like the man said, the film on the marquee is "THE AFRICAN QUEEN." Still the same shot, buses disgorge TOURISTS, who move into the forecourt of the theater. The MEN doff their hats and mop their brows. The WOMEN pull their blouses away from their chests, fanning themselves with movie-star maps as they marvel at the signed cement blocks. We MOVE AMONG THEM, until we pick up A COUPLE, and we stay behind them as they work their way through the crowd, on their way to THE THEATER ENTRANCE, where an ornately attired DOORMAN smiles and tears their tickets. DOORMAN Newsreel's just starting, folks. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) That's me and my girlfriend. Her name is Sandra Sinclair, and this is her town, too -- she's from Cleveland. She came out here to be an actress, and that's just what she's doing. The first picture I ever wrote, a little potboiler called "Sand Pirates of the Sahara." Okay, it ain't "Citizen Kane," but you gotta start somewhere. MOVING INTO THE LOBBY an explosion of glitz mixed with Chinese myth and legend. Everywhere you look, it's red and orange and plush carpeting and golden light. We MOVE THROUGH the lobby, still in the same shot, still tracking the couple, heading for the auditorium doors, which are swept open by two ramrod-erect USHERS and we move into THE DARKENED THEATER. As the couple, Pete and Sandra, find seats, we HEAR the soundtrack of the film before we see the screen, the unmistakable strains of a march, and then -- still in the same shot -- we see the screen... A NEWSREEL. As the march SWELLS to a crescendo, we HEAR THE NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER'S SONOROUS VOICE: NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER Bringing the news of the world to you! Over a newsreel shot of a packed Congressional Committee Hearing Room, a title blares "HOLLYWOOD REDS GO TO JAIL!" NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER Four years ago, in one of filmland's darkest hours, ten men, the so-called "Hollywood Ten," were called to testify before the House Committee of Un-American Activities, investigating the proliferation of the dreaded Red Menace in Hollywood. We see several shots of WITNESSES engaged in heated verbal battles with congressmen, especially Committee Chairman T. JOHNSTON DOYLE and the Majority Counsel, ELVIN CLYDE. NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER Refusing to answer the lawmaker's questions, cowering behind the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination, the ten motion picture writers dared Congress to come after them. Well, come after them they did! And after years of court wrangling, it's now time to pay the piper! Over shots of several of the "Hollywood Ten" being led to jail in handcuffs, the newsreel narration continues. NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER And so, it's off to jail, the charge: Contempt of Congress! This should give you fellas something to write about now! A new round of investigations begins this fall, the mandate: Get the reds out of Hollywood! In the audience, one man YELLS "Lock up the commie bastards!," and a few others cheer and laugh. As the newsreel moves on to a somewhat more innocuous subject, we WHEEL AROUND AND... ENDFRAME ON PETE APPLETON AND SANDRA SINCLAIR. Pete's a handsome fellow in his 30s, and Sandra's a starlet pretty girl in her mid-20s. As she rummages in her purse, Pete watches the newsreel. SANDRA Pete, there's time before the picture starts, you want to get some popcorn? PETE You bet, honey. Pete kisses Sandra on the cheek, then stands and sprints up the aisle to the concession stand, a big unworried grin on his face. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) We were young, we were in love, and we were working in pictures. Life... was good. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. UNITED PICTURES STUDIOS - MAIN GATE - MORNING Pete pulls up to the guard kiosk in his spiffy yellow convertible Plymouth. The Guard, RAY, steps out to meet him. Pete lights up a cigarette. We get a better sense of him now. Though earnest, he's jocular, and a bit of a fast talker. PETE (very chipper) Mornin', Ray. Whaddya know whaddya say? Me and Sandra caught "The African Queen" at the Chinese last night. Great picture, great picture. Ray is nonplussed. Tips his hat. Regards Pete suspiciously. RAY Mr. Appleton. PETE What's with this "Mr. Appleton" crap? Your boss hiding in there? RAY You're clear to go in. PETE What's that mean? Ray heads back to his kiosk, shaking his head. RAY Have a pleasant day. Pete, covering his worry well, drives onto the lot. EXT. UNITED PICTURES STUDIOS - WRITER'S BUILDING - MORNING Pete pulls up, hops out, grinds out his cigarette, looks around and goes inside. INT. WRITER'S BUILDING HALLWAY - MORNING Pete comes down the hall a few steps, stops. Something's wrong. It's awfully quiet. He pokes his head into the door marked "TYPING POOL." INT. TYPING POOL - MORNING A sea of black Underwoods -- all silent. The lights in the room are off, and hard shafts of morning sun stream in through the windows. One typists, LOUISE, is going from machine to machine, pulling covers over them. PETE Louise... what gives? She looks up, startled. LOUISE Oh Pete... they, uh, they gave everybody the day off... while they sort things out. PETE Sort what out? Are my pages done? LOUISE They took 'em. PETE They took 'em? Who took 'em? Louise, what's going on... LOUISE Pete, I'm not even supposed to be talking to you... She rushes past him. Pete doesn't quite know what to think. MAN'S VOICE (O.S.) Good morning, Peter. Pete turns. The voice belongs to Pete's agent, LEO KUBELSKY, a rotund man in his fifties. He wears a perfectly tailored silk suit. PETE Leo... what's going on? CUT TO: EXT. STUDIO STREET - DAY FROM FAR AWAY, we watch as Leo and Pete come out of the Writer's Building and join a flood of DRESS EXTRAS, all done up in Puritan pilgrim garb and heading for the commissary. As they move through the mob and emerge on the other side, it's clear that Pete is reeling from something he's just been told. PETE AND LEO LEO Peter, their hands are tied. You see that, don't you? PETE I... I don't believe this. LEO Are you saying it's a mistake, that you didn't go to any meetings? They say you did. PETE Who the hell is this "they?" LEO Congress, the FBI, Red Channels, it don't matter who the hell "they" is. "They" know who "they" are, that's all that matters. (deliberately) Now, did you go to any meetings? PETE (on the spot) No. Yeah... I... I don't know. Maybe I did. Leo, this was before Pearl Harbor. I was in college. It was a bunch of kids, and I was just one of 'em. I didn't believe in what they were saying. Hell, I didn't even know what they were saying! LEO So, you're saying that it's true. You went to a meeting of a known communist organization. PETE Leo, I was trying to impress a skirt. You know me, I'm non- political. Republican, Democrat, Communist, there's not a dime's worth of difference between 'em anyway. LEO You should watch what you say. PETE I don't know who fingered me, but I'm not a communist! LEO Kid, that cuts no ice with them. PETE (frustrated) What? That I'm accused of being a communist when I don't happen to be one? LEO They know you were at that meeting, Peter. They've been told, and they know. PETE Leo, you're my agent. Tell "them" to take a flyin' piss. I didn't do anything wrong. I fought in the war, for crissakes! LEO Fought? Come on, Pete, you ran the PX at Fort Dix. PETE I was decorated. LEO I know. A Purple Heart. PETE Exactly. LEO You broke your arm. You were coming out of a bar. You were drunk. PETE At least I was on our side! Look, they want me to testify? I'll testify. I'll tell 'em anything they want to hear! Jesus, Leo, this is my career! LEO You can't testify. PETE Why not? Leo takes a gold cigarette care from his breast pocket, offers a cigarette to Pete and takes one for himself. LEO Don't take this personally, kid. If it were up to me, I'd have you testify wearing your uniform and your medal, wrapped in a flag with one hand on your heart and the other hand on a bible. What can I say? I like you. Leo lights Pete's cigarette and his own. Puts a fatherly hand on his shoulder. LEO They don't want you to testify because you're not a big enough fish for them. They just don't want you writing pictures for now. That's all. PETE (under his breath) Yeah, well, that's enough. LEO Peter, I believe in you. More to the point, I read your new script... um... PETE "Ashes To Ashes?" LEO That's the one, "Ashes To Ashes." I think it's great. But it'll never get made with this communist business hanging over your head. You can't work until you're cleared -- and believe me, starting right now, I'm gonna do everything I can to make that happen. PETE So, it is a blacklist. LEO (defensive) Don't say that. There is no such thing as a blacklist. (calm) Now, are you gonna play ball? PETE (sullenly) Yes. (then, pissed) Leo, goddammit... this isn't fair! Leo blows out a thin stream of smoke. LEO (hand on Pete's shoulder) Kid, this is the United States Government we're talkin' about. Fair ain't the point. CUT TO: INT. WRITER'S BUILDING/PETE'S OFFICE - DAY Prominent on the wall is a framed "SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA" poster. Pete reaches up and takes it down. He leans it up against the desk, then sits heavily in the wooden swivel chair. He swivels around to see A STUDIO SECURITY GUARD standing by the door. He's watching Pete's every move. Two boxes sit on the desk, partially packed with Pete's belongings. Pete lights a cigarette and opens the lower desk drawer. He pulls out a stack of scripts and sets them on the desk. He looks at the cover of the first one: "SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA" By Peter Appleton A United Pictures Production February 19, 1951 Pete shuffles the scripts and looks at the cover of the second one: "ASHES TO ASHES" By Peter Appleton He jams the scripts into one box and turns to the other box, which contains somewhat more personal items. A ragged gold pillow with tassels. Legal pads of notes. An old tin-toy fire truck, its bright red paint chipped and worn. He turns it around in his hands. PETE (musing) Huh. Red... Footsteps approach, and Pete swivels toward the door. SANDRA (O.S.) Pete? Pete...? Sandra appears in the doorway. She's in costume -- a Louis XIV courtier. She bustles past the Guard, rushes to Pete and embraces him. SANDRA Oh, Pete... They kiss. The Guard watches their every move. SANDRA What happened? PETE What exactly did you hear? SANDRA That you got let go. PETE I wasn't alone. Wasn't Frankie Ruskin directing the picture you're in? SANDRA He was, but he got sick. We got a new director today. Why? PETE Well, whatever Frankie's got, it's catching. SANDRA You mean, he was... let go, too? PETE (sotto, an appeal) They're saying I'm a communist, Sandy. But I'm not, you know that. I'm gonna fight 'em, and I'm gonna win, but I'll need your help. During this last, Sandra has been ever-so-slightly pulling away from Pete. PETE A lot of good people are being accused of things they didn't do. Hell, even if I was a communist, this is America, goddammit, a person should be able to be whatever they want to be! Right? Sandra glances at the Guard, who is watching everything. SANDRA (nervously) Of course, but I... I don't know how I... how much help I can be to you. This is the sort of thing... someone saying you're a communist... it can ruin your career. Pete sees where this is going. She's edging toward the door. PETE Will you help me, Sandy? SANDRA I'll have to think about this. I have to get back... I should go... And she's out the door and gone in the blink of an eye. Pete looks at the Guard. PETE So nice to be a pariah. The Guard turns away. Pete moves back toward the boxes. Rummaging again, he comes up with a bottle of Jack Daniels with barely one swig left. He regards the bottle for a moment, looks to see if the Guard is watching (he isn't), pops the cork, puts it to his lips and drains it. He looks at it thoughtfully as we CUT TO: A HALF-FULL BOTTLE OF JACK DANIELS setting down on a bartop. WIDER INT. THE FROLIC ROOM - NIGHT The bottle is in front of Pete, who sits at the bar, quietly getting stewed. The Frolic Room is a classic Hollywood dive, dimly lit and full of character and characters. It's a quiet night and getting quieter, as several PATRONS are just leaving, waving goodbye to the bartender, JERRY, early 40s. Jerry turns to Pete, eyes him suspiciously from the end of the bar. Pete picks up the bottle and pours another shot. Good boy, he got most of it in the glass. JERRY Pete. You think maybe you've had enough? PETE Bought the bottle, didn't I? (raises the shot) To the United States of America. Long my she wave. He knocks it back and Jerry pours him another. PETE (trying to light a smoke) Thanks, Jerry. Tell me something. JERRY What. PETE You tight with J. Edgar Hoover? JERRY (helps Pete light his cigarette) The G-man? PETE (thickly) Zackly. JERRY Pete, if J. Edgar Hoover walked in here wearing a dress, I wouldn't know him. PETE Too bad. He says I'm a communist. JERRY (glancing around) You should watch what you say. You don't know who's listening. PETE You know I'm not a communist, don't you, Jer? JERRY Sure, I suppose. That why you're on a bender? PETE This is not a bender yet. This is the start of a bender. But I can see how you were confused, they look a lot alike. Pete drains his shotglass, puts it back on the bar. He watches Jerry, who is not about to refill it. Pete reaches for the bottle, but Jerry is faster. JERRY Pete... go home. Come on, I'll call that girlfriend of yours, what's her name... Sandy? PETE (laughs) Sandra Sinclair. JERRY Gimmee her number, I'll have her pick you up. PETE Sandra Sinclair. Wanna know her real name? Bella Iskowitz. No one's who they really are, Jer. Everyone's someone else. Even you. Even me. Especially me. I'm Peter Appleton, the communist who's not really a communist. JERRY I wanna close up soon. C'mon, let's call her. Peter stands, stubs out his smoke, drops a few crumpled bills on the bar and grabs his hat. PETE Nope. Can't. We're through. JERRY Then I'll call you a cab. PETE I'll save you the trouble. (beat) I'm a cab. There. Did it myself. Pete's preoccupied with putting on his hat and getting his car keys out of his coat pocket, a daunting task in his condition. PETE 'Sides, car's right outside. I'll be seein' ya, Jer. JERRY Pete... And he's out the door. EXT. FROLIC ROOM - NIGHT Pete takes a few steps, stumbles, stops, takes a deep breath, then totters briskly towards his car. He hauls the door open and sits inside heavily. INT./ EXT. PETE'S CAR - NIGHT Sitting slumped against the steering wheel, Pete looks as though he could fall asleep right there, which would probably be a good idea. PETE (mumbling) Drive. Drive. Bad idea. Too drunk to drive. He looks at his watch. PETE One-thirty. Huh! Early. Can't go home yet. He turns the key and hits the starter. The engine hums to life. Pete sits up, opens his eyes wide, shakes off the haze and puts the car in gear. The Plymouth lurches forward a few yards, screeches to a halt and stalls. PETE Oops. He re-starts the car, puts it in gear, and pulls away and down the deserted boulevard. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. SANTA MONICA BEACH, AMUSEMENT PIER - NIGHT The full moon is low over the ocean. Pete's car is parked at the edge of the sand, the water fifty yards away. The ferris wheel and the roller coaster of the amusement pier are dark and eerie silhouettes, lit only by moonlight. Pete is asleep in the driver's seat, head tilted back, his hat covering his face, snoring. The waves CRASH against the pilings and startle Pete awake. PETE Huh? Whatsa... Instantly, he grabs his head. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) I had no idea how I got to Santa Monica, but it certainly was a good idea. I don't think I could've faced the headache I had alone in my apartment. At least I had the ocean air. Pete takes a deep breath... and starts coughing. He gets out his cigarettes and lights up. He takes a puff and glances at his watch. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) Three forty-five. I had only been there for a couple of hours at most. Truth be told, I was still fairly drunk. He starts the car and heads for the highway. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) I'd head north until the sun came up or I ran out of gas, whichever came first. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY - NIGHT Pete drives along the moonlit two-lane blacktop. Waves crash to the shore below the roadway. INT./ EXT. PETE'S CAR (DRIVING) - NIGHT Pete is finally relaxed. He takes off his hat and jams it down in the back seat. He takes a deep breath -- with the wind in his hair, a smile grows on his face and he seems at peace. He glances down at the speedometer -- then at the fuel gauge. INSERT - FUEL GAUGE Pinning on "empty." PETE Shit. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) Guess which came first. He scans the road ahead -- nothing. Glances to his right. PETE'S POV The lights of a small town can be seen off in the distance. Pete veers the car off the highway and makes the turn that will take him toward the lights. He passes a hand-painted sign that gives him hope: "GAS - 1 MI." CUT TO: EXT. RORY'S GAS STATION - NIGHT Pete's car rolls up and stops. There's a light on the sign and another in the station's window, but the place is deserted. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) I should've known better than to think that a service station in the sticks would be open at this hour, but it wasn't like I had a lot of choices. Pete looks ahead toward the town. Its few lights twinkle in the distance. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) What the hell. At least there'd be a diner opening in a couple of hours. I'd get some pie and coffee, and then I could worry about the gas. Pete pulls out onto the road. EXT. ROAD - NIGHT Pete's car trundles along, blowing past a hand-painted roadside sign which reads: SLOW! NARROW BRIDGE - SINGLE LANE - NO GUARDRAIL USE CAUTION! INT./ EXT. PETE'S CAR (DRIVING) - NIGHT Pete's headlights catch a glimpse of another sign, reading "LAWSON WASH," just in front of a small wooden auto bridge. Barely reducing his speed, Pete heads onto the bridge... HIS POV - THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD ... his headlights pick up the glowing eyes of a hapless possum... Pete swerves to avoid the animal, and a wheel drops off the edge... EXT. BRIDGE - NIGHT ... and the Plymouth careens over the side of the bridge and into the rapidly-moving water below! EXT. UNDERWATER - NIGHT The water is flowing very quickly, and the current is intense. Pete pulls himself out of the driver's seat (thankfully, it's a convertible) and swims over the windshield. But... his left sleeve is caught on the door handle. Nearly out of breath and panicking, Pete shucks off the jacket and heads for the surface. EXT. THE WASH - NIGHT Pete breaks the surface and gasps for air. His fight isn't over yet, as the current is pulling him rapidly downstream. He swims with all his might toward the far bank. EXT. FAR BANK OF THE WASH - NIGHT Drained, Pete pulls himself out of the water and staggers to his feet. PETE (gasping) Oh my god! I don't believe... oh my god... He stumbles along backwards a couple of steps... and his heel hits a rock... Pete falls backward -- and his head strikes a glancing blow on another rock. He rolls down the bank, unconscious, and lands face down in the mud. CUT TO BLACK. IN BLACK, we slowly become aware of a panting, breathing sound -- the sound of a dog... FADE IN: ON A DOG'S FACE A yellow labrador, full frame. It takes a couple more sniffs, then starts licking furiously. OLD MAN'S VOICE (O.S.) Maggie, whatcha got there? Huh, girl? Whatcha find? EXT. FAR BANK OF THE WASH - DAWN Pete is still laying face down on the bank, being fervently licked in the face by the dog. ON THE OLD MAN A no-nonsense sort in his late-60s, he wears overalls and an old railroad cap. He comes down to Pete, and using his walking stick, pokes him in the side. OLD MAN Mister, who are ya? my dog likes you, but that don't mean much, she likes skunks, too. Sweet n'stupid, that's why I keep her. Pete blinks up at the Old Man, his mouth gaping open. OLD MAN Mister, you okay? You look wet. You in an accident or somethin'? PETE I... I don't know. He sits up, and the Old Man gets a look at his head, which is caked with mud and blood on one side. OLD MAN You best come with me. Can ya walk? PETE I... yes, I think so. He stands up shakily. The Old Man gives Pete a hand. OLD MAN Come on, we'll have the Doc look you over. PETE My head hurts. OLD MAN I shouldn't be surprises. You smell like that was quite a night before you had there. (to the dog) Maggie! Let's go now! And they head toward the road to town. BOOMING UP, we SEE them pass a roadside sign: ON THE SIGN: WELCOME TO LAWSON, CALIFORNIA EST. 1869 ELEV. 275 POP. 1755 THE TOWN THAT GAVE ITS ALL OLD MAN (STANTON) Name's Stanton Lawson. My ancestors founded this town. PETE Ancestors? STANTON Actually, my grandpap. But "ancestors" sounds better, don't it? (hands Pete a handkerchief) Here. Pete takes the handkerchief and wipes the mud and some of the blood off his face. PETE I suppose. Thanks. STANTON You look familiar, fella. What's your name? Pete stops, thinks for a moment. PETE I'm... I... I honestly don't know. CUT TO: EXT. COMMERCE STREET - LAWSON, CALIFORNIA - DAY Pete and Stanton walk along Commerce Street, the main drag through the center of the small town. Lawson is a bit run down, creeping inexorably toward decrepit. Despite that, there's a timeless quality to the small buildings, a familiar All-American feel. Several of the PEOPLE walking along the street take notice of Pete and nod to Stanton, who nods back. PETE They all know you? STANTON 'Course they all know me. And I know all them. Town's got my name, don't it? They pass the window of the drug store, COLE'S PHARMACY. Pete looks down and sees TWO FADED GOLD STARS in the window with two faded photos, all decked in tattered black crepe. Two boys, no more than 18 and 19, who went off to war and didn't come back. Stanton notes Pete stopping to look at the stars and photos. STANTON Ernie Cole here just got himself elected mayor. Lost both his boys in the war. Kenny at Anzio and Willie at Normandy. PETE (thinking) The war... STANTON (points across the street) Mabel over there at the diner lost her husband Max. Okinawa, I believe. ANGLE - MABEL'S DINER A typical small-town greasy spoon -- with one faded star prominent in the window. CLOSER On MABEL LANIER, a sweet-faced woman in her 30s. She stares vacantly into space, her reverie broken by a customer needing a coffee refill. STANTON All told, this little town gave sixty-two of its finest to the war. Seventeen of 'em at Normandy alone. More'n its share, I should say. Got us a letter from President Truman. City council commissioned a war memorial. Been sittin' in the basement of city hall these six years. Town never had the heart to put it up. Place just hasn't been the same since the war. STANTON AND PETE Pete looks longingly toward the diner. Stanton takes note. STANTON You hungry, son? PETE Yes. Very. STANTON Got any money? Pete rummages in his pants pockets, and comes up with three quarters. STANTON Six bits. More'n enough to buy some breakfast. C'mon. And they head across the street. CUT TO: A PLATE WITH TWO PIECES OF APPLE PIE A fork comes into frame and tears into one of the slices. WIDER INT. MABEL'S DINER - DAY Pete is fairly shoveling the pie into his mouth, pausing only to wash it down with gulps of coffee. MABEL stands nearby, watching in amazement as her pie is consumed in record time. Pete notices that Stanton and Mabel -- and the other PATRONS, for that matter -- are watching his feeding frenzy. He stops in his tracks, and starts chewing leisurely. He smiles at Mabel. PETE (mouth full) Pie's... good. MABEL (wryly) Like you could tell. (to Stanton) Where'd you find him? STANTON Down by the wash. MABEL We gotta put a rail on that thing before someone else gets killed. (to Pete) Three people have died there, Mister. You're lucky to be alive. PETE (draining the coffee cup) Thanks. More coffee? Mabel obliges. As she pours the coffee, she looks at Pete. MABEL You know, you look familiar. You ever been in here before? Pete shakes his head. STANTON He don't remember who he is, Mabel. Gonna take him to the Doc, as soon as he gets in. MABEL (distractedly) Doc should be in for his coffee and bear claw any minute... (to Pete) You sure you never been in here? Pete looks up at Mabel and smiles winningly. PETE I'd remember this pie. Mabel, thoroughly charmed, smiles back at Pete. MABEL (patting his hand) I'll just get you another piece. EXT. COMMERCE STREET - DAY A stoop-shouldered little man in his late 60s, HARRY TRUMBO shambles along the street, headed for Mabel's Diner. There's a sadness about Harry, the world-weary melancholy of a man who has little to smile about because he has little to care about. After a couple of steps, he's met up by DOC BEN LARDNER, a vigorous man in his 50s. He comes up behind Harry and claps him on the back. LARDNER 'Mornin' Harry. Fine day, isn't it? HARRY Morning, Doc. Yes, yes it looks just fine. LARDNER Plenty to do today? HARRY (vaguely) Oh, yes, plenty. Plenty. They're at the door of the diner. Doc opens it for Harry. LARDNER After you. INT. MABEL'S DINER - DAY Lardner comes over to Mabel, who hands him a tall paper cup of coffee and bags him a bear claw. LARDNER Mornin' Mabel, Stan. MABEL Mornin' Doc. Got some new business for you today. Lardner and Pete make eye contact, and the doctor notices the bump on his head. LARDNER Hello, son. How'd that happen? STANTON He don't know. And he don't know his name, neither. Found him down by the wash. LARDNER You'd better come with me, son. (to Mabel, indicating the coffee and danish) On my tab? MABEL You bet. Lardner, Stanton and Pete rise and move to the door. Pete turns back, takes the three quarters out of his pocket, and puts them on the counter, smiling brightly at Mabel. PETE Thanks. Great pie. MABEL (blushing) You're welcome. Come again. ON HARRY seated at the opposite end of the counter. He glances up at Pete. HARRY'S POV as Pete smiles at Mabel and turns to go. ON HARRY His mouth falls open, his hand moves to cover it. He's just seen a ghost... HARRY'S POV - SLOW MOTION... ... as the three men pass by the diner's window. CLOSE - HARRY HARRY (wide eyed) Sweet Jesus... CUT TO: A FINGER -- moving left-to-right, right-to-left through space. LARDNER'S VOICE Follow my finger. Just use your eyes. That's it. Good. WIDER INT. EXAMINATION ROOM - DAY Doc Lardner is checking Pete's eyes. Pete sits on an examination table, his shirt off, his head freshly bandaged. Stanton lurks in the corner, Maggie curled at his feet. STANTON He was passed out cold. Maggie woke 'im. LARDNER Uh-huh. He looks familiar. (to Pete) Open your mouth. Say "ah." Pete does. Lardner has a look as Stanton pulls out a pocket watch. STANTON Said as much myself, Doc. Can't place him, though. To look at him, you'd think the cheese slid off his cracker. (looks at his watch) Well, morning's half-over. I'm off. PETE Thank you, Mr. Lawson. STANTON Don't mention it. Whoever-you-are. Stanton and Maggie exit. Lardner checks Pete's ears. LARDNER Any idea how you got here, son? PETE No, sir. Lardner sniffs him. LARDNER Been drinkin' a bit, have we? PETE I don't remember. I guess so. Smells like it. (smacks his lips and frowns) Tastes like it. LARDNER Well, you've been wet to the skin. You must've fallen in. PETE I guess I did. LARDNER Lucky you got out, that water's got quite a pull, and it empties straight into the ocean. Lardner takes a shirt off his counter and hands it to Pete. LARDNER Here, one of mine. PETE Thanks. Pete puts on the shirt. LARDNER Do you remember if you were driving a car? Maybe you went over the bridge. No guard rail there, it's easy to do. It's happened before. PETE It's possible. I just don't remember. LARDNER And you don't know your name or who you are, that right? PETE (frustrated) I... no, I... I just can't... LARDNER (gently) It's okay, son. We just need to call you something. That's all. Pete stifles a laugh. LARDNER What is it? PETE Call me... Ishmael? LARDNER Well, at least you remember "Moby Dick." CUT TO: INT. DOC LARDNER'S PRIVATE OFFICE - DAY Lardner is on the phone, sipping his coffee and nibbling his bear claw. Pete is standing, nosing around the office -- diplomas, photographs, knick-knacks. He zeros in on one photo in particular. ON THE PHOTO one of Lardner and a beautiful YOUNG WOMAN. They've been fishing, and the young woman displays a much larger catch than Lardner. LARDNER (into phone) Stanton found him by the wash. Not hurt too bad, but he took a nasty bump on the head and he can't remember who he is. We both think he looks familiar, but we can't place him. You bet. He'll be here. Lardner hangs up and watches Pete looking at the pictures. LARDNER That's me and my daughter Adele. My pride and joy. Charms the fish right out of the lake, she does. PETE She's very pretty. LARDNER Thanks. Well, Sheriff's on his way over, and maybe we can get to the bottom of who you are... Lardner stares at him. Pete takes note, turns toward him. LARDNER ... sorry 'bout that, but you do look familiar to me. PETE Wish I could say the same thing. CUT TO: EXT. DOC LARDNER'S OFFICE - DAY The Sheriff's sedan pulls up to the office and SHERIFF CECIL ELDRIDGE, 45, gets out. As he gets a few steps from the door, Harry Trumbo jumps out from around the side of the building and stops him. HARRY (excited) Cecil! Cecil, there's a young man in there... ELDRIDGE (startled) Lord love a duck, Harry, you wanna give me a heart attack right in front of the doctor's office? HARRY Listen to me! The young man in there... Eldridge keeps moving to the door. ELDRIDGE (interrupting) Stan Lawson found him unconscious by the wash this morning, and I'm here to investigate, and if we find anything interesting, it'll be in the paper, so why don't you just... Harry jumps in front of Eldridge and grabs him by the shoulders. HARRY Cecil, listen to me! The sheriff stops. HARRY (breathless) It's Luke. CUT TO: INT. DOC LARDNER'S PRIVATE OFFICE - DAY Sheriff Eldridge is seated across from Pete. He's staring at him intently. Silence. ELDRIDGE No wallet, huh? LARDNER No identification at all. (beat) What're you thinkin', Cecil? ELDRIDGE What I'm thinkin' is we got us one a'two things here. A mystery or a damn miracle. And by god I can't tell which. (to Pete) Boy, you say you have no idea who you are? That right? PETE Yes. ELDRIDGE You ever been in this town before, to your knowledge? PETE No. But... ELDRIDGE But what? PETE Well, this place sorta reminds me of something. ELDRIDGE What's that? PETE "It's a Wonderful Life." ELDRIDGE The Jimmy Stewart picture? I remember that one. Saw it over at the Bijou. So, you remember that, huh? PETE "It's a Wonderful Life?" ELDRIDGE Or the Bijou. Either one. PETE I remember the picture... but I don't remember where I saw it. The Sheriff rises and crosses to the door. ELDRIDGE Doc, with your permission, I want to bring someone in here. Maybe it'll jar this young man's memory. LARDNER By all means. Eldridge opens the door. ELDRIDGE (to someone offscreen) Harry, why don't you come on in here. Harry enters the office, doffs his hat, revealing a full head of snow-white hair. He nods to Eldridge and Lardner, and slowly turns to face Pete. He looks closer... and closer. Hesitantly, he takes a couple of steps towards Pete, who slowly rises out of his chair to meet the old man's gaze. Finally, they're standing practically toe-to-toe. PETE looks a bit puzzled, but the old man has such a sweet face... HARRY has tears forming in his eyes. A smile turns up the corners of his mouth, and quickly lights up his whole face. LARDNER (softly, to Eldridge) Are you saying that he's... ELDRIDGE (smiling broadly) Shhhhhh. Harry takes Pete in his arms and hugs him tightly, burying his face in Pete's shoulder and sobbing. HARRY I knew all along. I knew you were alive! Oh, Luke... Pete doesn't quite know what to think. He clearly has no idea who this old man is. LARDNER (mouth agape in disbelief) Mother o'god... ELDRIDGE (to Pete) Give the man a hug, boy! That's your father! Pete looks at Harry. It's not so much that he remembers anything -- he's swept up in the moment. PETE My father...? Pete wraps his arms around Harry and hugs him tightly, glancing over at ELDRIDGE AND LARDNER who look on goofily, fighting back tears. They smile at Pete, who smiles back tentatively. CUT TO: EXT. DOC LARDNER'S OFFICE - DAY Harry, Pete, Eldridge and Lardner come outside. ELDRIDGE C'mon, I'll give you two a lift back to the Bijou. PETE The Bijou? LARDNER That's where you live. PETE We live in a theater? HARRY Only one in town. (he opens the car door for Pete) Get in, son. ELDRIDGE (sotto, to Lardner) Ben, when's Delly due back? LARDNER (sotto) Tomorrow afternoon... (seized by a thought) ... oh my god... ELDRIDGE (sotto) Exactly. Break it to her gently. Eldridge and Harry get in the car. Lardner comes over to Pete's back seat window. LARDNER Get plenty of rest, Luke. You took a pretty big wallop there. He turns to move away, then turns back. LARDNER Good to have you back. Eldridge starts the car and they drive away. (NOTE: Henceforth, "PETE" will be known as "LUKE." It'll be easier to keep track of things, since everyone's now calling him Luke, anyway. Trust me.) CUT TO: INT. ELDRIDGE'S CAR (DRIVING) - DAY Harry sits next to the Sheriff, and Luke has the back seat all to himself. He leans forward toward the front seat and taps Harry on the shoulder. LUKE Excuse me... what's your, um, your name? HARRY Harry, son. Harry. LUKE And... what's my name again? HARRY Albert Lucas Trumbo. But you've been "Luke" since you were a baby. LUKE Ah. (taking it for a spin) Luke. Luke. I like it. Luke looks at the town as they drive down Commerce Street. HIS POV Shops are open for business, TOWNSPEOPLE are going about their lives. A few stop and watch as the Sheriff's car goes by. LUKE How long have I been gone? Eldridge looks at Harry, who stares ahead. LUKE How long? Pause. The silence is too thick, and Harry has to answer. He turns around in his seat and faces Luke. HARRY (gently) You never came back from the war. We were told you were missing and presumed dead. LUKE When did I leave? HARRY You joined up one month to the day after Pearl Harbor. January seventh... nineteen forty-two. Luke sits back against the back seat and lets this sink in. HARRY Nine and-a-half years ago. LUKE Nine and-a-half years... ELDRIDGE Comin' up on the Bijou, gents. EXT. IN FRONT OF THE BIJOU - DAY Eldridge's car rounds the corner, pulls up and stops. ELDRIDGE Here we are. HARRY Well, son, you're home! Luke peers across the street... his mouth gapes open... HIS POV - THE BIJOU. The Bijou is a decaying, Dada-esque, grab-bag of building styles. It's as though the architect took random parts of a Chinese temple, a Mosque, a Pagoda, a Sphinx, a symphony hall and a slaughterhouse, put them in a bag, gave it a good shake, tossed the contents out onto a blueprint and promptly built the result. As a matter of fact, if you didn't know that the place was "The Bijou," you'd probably wonder what the cryptic message " HE B J U" was trying to convey from atop the crumbling parapet. And now, the reason for the deteriorated state of the " HE B J U" sign becomes apparent. Train tracks run right behind the building on an elevated trestle. As we watch, a TRAIN ROARS BY. Everything shakes. It's not an earthquake, it's a trainquake. The "J" teeters at a jaunty angle, threatening to dislodge and tumble down to join its fallen brothers. LUKE stares at the monstrosity. His face is ashen. His heart has sunk to somewhere below his knees. The Bijou. Harry jumps out of the car excitedly. HARRY Thanks for the lift, Cecil. ELDRIDGE Don't mention it. Welcome home, Luke. LUKE (faint smile) Thanks. Luke opens the back door and slowly steps out. Harry grabs his arm and pulls a ring of keys from his pocket. HARRY Wait'll you see the inside! LUKE (deadpan) Can't wait. CUT TO: INT. BIJOU LOBBY - DAY The interior of the theater fulfills every promise made by the exterior. Moth-eaten velvet-flocked wallpaper hangs in shards and pieces from the walls. It's sort of a cross between a gaudy cathouse and a mausoleum, served up with generous helpings of dust and grime, an almost unbeatable combination of questionable taste and neglect. Above the center of the lobby hangs what was -- and is -- probably the only truly beautiful item in the whole theater -- A DELICATE CRYSTAL CHANDELIER. Even under a veneer of dust, the fragile droplets of cut crystal seem to pick up every available point of light and scatter it in a hundred directions. TILT DOWN TO REVEAL Luke and Harry standing below. Luke is lost in a gulf somewhere between surprise and disgust. HARRY We've been closed for a while. LUKE (smiling wanly) Ah. Luke walks toward the auditorium doors and slowly, cracks one open. INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY The ocean of two hundred or so seats on the main floor seem to be, for the most part, intact -- although the occasional row seems to have loosed itself from its moorings and heaved itself up against the row behind or in front. THE SCREEN is really not much more than a tatty bit of yellowing muslin, framed by ragged red velveteen drapery. In the tiny orchestra pit, as we will see later, is an old upright piano. Luke walks a few steps down the aisle. He picks a seat on the aisle near the middle of the theater and sits. As he does, a CAT, an orange tabby, leaps out from under another seat, jets past Luke and disappears down the aisle and backstage. Harry comes over and sits behind him. LUKE (turning to Harry) Exactly how long has the Bijou been closed? HARRY Hmmmm... after you left, it was difficult, and then Lily -- that's your mother -- she took ill and died... we haven't shown a picture since forty-eight. LUKE Why? HARRY (deep breath) Well, after the war, with so many of the town's boys killed, people around here didn't much feel like going to the movies, I guess. Some of 'em moved away -- Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco. Wasn't much to keep 'em here, I expect. And now with this "television" thing -- people just aren't going out as much as they used to. LUKE Didn't you have any help? HARRY Oh, I had Irene and Old Tim but they really couldn't help much. Broke their hearts when we closed up. Broke mine, too. (brightening) But now that you're back, well, things will be different around here, that's for sure. (rises, grabs Luke's arm) C'mon, I'll show you where we live. CUT TO: INT. BIJOU APARTMENT - DAY The small apartment above the projection booth is quite a contrast to the rest of the theater. It's neat as a pin, and fairly lit, as Harry has just pulled back the curtains, allowing the sun to flood the room. A beam of golden light falls across a table, atop which are SEVERAL FRAMED PHOTOS. One of the photos is of the real, much-younger Luke. It's a Norman Rockwell scene, at a train depot, with an army-issue olive drab duffel bag slung over his shoulder. He has one arm around Harry and the other around his mother. (And by the way, Pete's resemblance to the real Luke -- even in a nearly 10 year old photo -- is pretty damn startling...) HARRY The day you shipped out. That was a proud day for your mother and me. Last time you saw her. Last time I saw you. He smiles. HARRY Till today. Luke sets it down and picks up another photo, that of a fine looking woman. It's a formal portrait, dating perhaps from the 30's. HARRY That's Lily. Your mother, rest her soul. LUKE (repeating) Mother. (to Harry) She's beautiful. HARRY (coming over) Well, yes, that she was. She certainly made this place a home. He takes the picture from Luke, kisses it, and gently replaces it on the table. Luke goes over to the sofa and sits. HARRY (brightly) Can I get you anything? I can put some coffee on or some... Harry looks at Luke, who has almost instantly fallen asleep on the sofa. He goes to him, gently picks his feet off the floor, lifts them onto the sofa. Removes his shoes, sets them on the floor. CUT TO: A BLANKET being drawn up Luke's chest. HARRY stands, looks down warmly at his son. Then, suddenly, he's seized by a thought. He turns and crosses to the window. CLOSE - THE WINDOW There's a small picture frame in the window. Harry reaches down, gingerly picks it up and turns it around. ON THE FRAME It's a single, faded gold star. One war casualty. Harry clutches it to his chest, looks over at the sleeping Luke and smiles. HARRY (softly) When I woke up this morning, my son was dead. Now, I have my boy again. (closes his eyes) I have my boy again. FADE TO BLACK. FADE IN: INT. BIJOU APARTMENT - MORNING It's early morning. Luke is sound asleep, still in his clothes. In the distance, a train sounds its HORN. Luke rolls over on his back, still asleep, snoring lightly. Slowly, he starts to wake up, eyes still closed. Something's strange, though. He frowns. The train is GETTING CLOSER. Luke's eyes POP OPEN. LUKE'S POV As the train RUMBLES BY, shaking everything in the room, Luke looks up to see three ancient cherubs staring down at him. Harry, an elderly WOMAN, and an elderly BLACK MAN. HARRY (smiling) 'Morning, Son. ELDERLY WOMAN (smiling) Good morning, Luke. ELDERLY BLACK MAN (no expression) 'Mornin'. HARRY Sleep well? Luke is speechless. It he dreaming this? HARRY They couldn't wait to see you. LUKE Who... are they? HARRY This is the staff of the Bijou. LUKE Oh. What... what time is it? HARRY Six-thirty. I thought we'd get an early start. Luke sits up on the sofa and tries to get a little more awake. He rubs the side of his head that is still bandaged. The elderly woman nudges Harry gently. HARRY Oh, I'm sorry, they know you, but you don't... you need to be re- introduced. Luke, this is Mrs. Irene Terwilliger. Luke stands and shakes MRS. TERWILLIGER'S hand. She's tiny, seventy if she's a day. She smiles and curtsies slightly. Her eyes sparkle brightly, her manner almost coquettish. MRS. TERWILLIGER Head cashier and refreshments clerk. So glad to have you back, my boy! (to Harry) Much more handsome than I remember him. HARRY And this fine fellow is our head usher, resident fix-it man and custodian. Luke, meet Old Tim. (to Old Tim) You remember Luke, don't you? OLT TIM is -- well, old. His clothes are a tad shabby, but well maintained, though they hang loosely on his gangly frame. He wears an old blue knit cap, which he quickly removes as he shakes Luke's hand. He's a man of few words, his manner is painfully shy -- and he never smiles. LUKE Is there a young Tim? OLD TIM No. LUKE Well, then, why do they call you "Old Tim?" Pause. OLD TIM I'm old. Harry steps forward, takes Luke's arm. HARRY Well, lots to do, so we'd better get a move on... CUT TO: INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY Luke, Harry and Mrs. Terwilliger walk down the aisle toward the screen. Old Time lags a few steps behind. At the orchestra pit, Harry climbs the steps, crosses the pit. The screen is a sea of repair patches. Harry pats it. Dust flies. HARRY 'Fraid this has seen better days. Well, I was meaning to get a new screen, anyway. OLD TIM I n-need me a new uniform. Luke looks at Old Tim, then at Harry. HARRY (to Luke) I promised him a new uniform when we re-opened. (to Old Tim) And you'll get one, too. LUKE You know, I hate to bring this up, but screens and uniforms and paint and repairs are going to take money, which I'm willing to bet none of us has. Silence from the group. LUKE I thought so. Beat. Harry brightens, clambers down the steps and races up the aisle. HARRY Anyone want to see the projector? CUT TO: TWO CARBON ARCS are squeakily being cranked together above the din of a fan motor. A puff of smoke, then -- BZZZZZZZZZTT -- LIGHT. A metal door is closed over the arcs. INT. PROJECTION BOOTH - DAY Harry dances around to the other side of the projector and adjusts the focus on the beam of light. The others look on as he gazes at the screen through the tiny window. HARRY Beautiful. Bright and even from edge to edge. See for yourself. The carbons sputter and die. The light flickers out. Harry is crestfallen, turns off the motor. HARRY She's always been a bit tricky. CUT TO: INT. BIJOU LOBBY - DAY Mrs. Terwilliger is dusting the concession stand with a ragged feather duster, a hopeless task. Old Tim is on a rickety ladder, replacing burned-out bulbs in the chandelier. The orange tabby cat scratches itself on the leg of the ladder. Old Tim climbs down and catches his breath. Mrs. Terwilliger sneezes. OLD TIM Bless. MRS. TERWILLIGER Thank you, Timothy. They both stop their work and glance warily at the door marked "OFFICE." MRS. TERWILLIGER (sotto) What do you suppose they're talking about? OLD TIM Dunno. Boy's smart. MRS. TERWILLIGER (brightly) Yes, he seems to be. OLD TIM Bad for us. INT. BIJOU OFFICE - DAY Luke is poring over the ledger books, adding up figures on an old manual adding machine. LUKE Um... Harry? Did I ever keep the books here? HARRY No, your mother did, then I did after she passed. LUKE Well, I'm the first one to admit that I don't know anything about bookkeeping, but there are some very interesting things in here. He scans down a page. LUKE (reading) "February 10, 1942. Picture 'Ball of Fire.'" HARRY (appreciatively) Gary Cooper. And Barbara Stanwyck. Yowsa. LUKE (reading) "Eight p.m. showtime, ninety-six admissions, receipts including concessions, $84.75... plus one fryer and two-dozen eggs." He closes the book and looks expectantly at Harry. HARRY Yes? LUKE "one fryer and two-dozen eggs?" HARRY Forty-two was a lean year around here. The war had just started... you were gone less than a month... and we were coming off a bit of a drought as I recall. Not everyone could ante up the price of a ticket, and a chicken's as good as money if you ask me. At that time, it meant a lot to the folks around here to be able to come to the pictures. LUKE Yeah, I know, but poultry...? HARRY (rhapsodically) I know it's hard to believe, son, but this place, this little place this wasn't a theater then, this was a palace! Any man, woman, child, you, me, it didn't matter, you bought your ticket and you walked in and you... Harry puts his hand on his chest and sighs. HARRY ... you were in a palace. It was like a dream. It was like heaven, like you died and went to a palace in heaven, that's what it was like. And spotless, too. Inspired, Harry stands, takes Luke by the arm. HARRY Come with me! He drags him out of the office and into the lobby. INT. BIJOU LOBBY - DAY Mrs. Terwilliger and Old Tim watch as Harry leads Luke through the lobby. HARRY (smiling) Maybe you had problems and worries out there, but once you came through that door, they didn't matter anymore. In here, you were safe. Maybe it was just an escape from reality, but... oh, god... it was beautiful. Harry leads Luke into the auditorium. The car follows, but Mrs. Terwilliger and Old Tim stay behind. INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY Harry trots down the aisle and looks up at the screen. HARRY (exuberant) Charlie Chaplin. Keaton and Lloyd. Swanson. And later on, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert and Jimmy Stewart and James Cagney and Bogart and Becall and Judy and Mickey... and Fred and Ginger. He turns to Luke. HARRY (emphatically) They... were... like... gods! He points to the screen. HARRY And that... was the altar. Would you remember if I told you, we felt lucky to be here, to have the privilege of watching them? (sadly) This television thing. Why would you want to sit at home and watch a little box with a little screen? Because it's convenient? Because you don't have to get dressed and put on a coat and a tie and a hat? Because you can just... sit there? How can you call that "entertainment," all alone in your living room? Where are the other people? Where's the audience? Harry comes over to Luke. HARRY (emphatically) Where's the magic? He stands behind Luke and whispers in his ear. HARRY I'll tell you. In a place like this, the magic is all around you. All the time. Everywhere. In every thing. He turns Luke around and looks him in the eye. HARRY The trick... is to see it. Pause. LUKE But I... HARRY Son, I think you loved the Bijou even more than I did. You've got to remember that. You've got to. Still looking at Luke, Harry takes a step back, then slowly walks up the aisle, disappearing into the lobby. Luke walks down the aisle. At the edge of the orchestra pit, he stands looking up at the screen. The orange tabby cat MEOWS, and Luke glances toward it, standing onstage by the edge of the screen. They exchange looks as we DISSOLVE TO: INT. LARDNER LIVING ROOM - EVENING Doc Lardner is seated in an easy chair, his feet up, reading Life magazine. The radio is on, and Patti Page is singing "The Tennessee Waltz." There's a noise offscreen, and Lardner looks up. In the entrance hall, the front door opens. ADELE "DELLY" LARDNER enters. She's a strikingly beautiful woman in her late 20s. She takes off a felt cap, and her long, auburn hair cascades down. ADELE Dad? LARDNER Delly? In here. Lardner rises as Adele comes into the living room. They embrace warmly. LARDNER How'd it go? ADELE Not as bad as I thought it would. I think I passed. LARDNER (kisses her forehead) That's my girl! (he hugs her again) Did you...? ADELE No hiccups, which was good. Who wants an attorney who gets the hiccups when she gets nervous? ("serious" lawyer voice) "Your (hic!) honor, I (hic!) object!" They laugh. LARDNER I always told you, baby... (taps her head) ... it's all up here. Lardner gives her an extra squeeze, continues to hold onto her just a bit too long. Adele detects something amiss. ADELE Dad? What is it? Beat. LARDNER Well, it's... Adele breaks away from him. ADELE (extreme concern) Oh my god... who died? CUT TO: A GLASS OF WATER on a kitchen table. Offscreen, we HEAR A HICCUP. Then another. Adele's hand reaches into frame. WIDER INT. LARDNER KITCHEN - EVENING Lardner stands over Adele, who is seated at the table, holding the glass of water. LARDNER Drink slowly. She raises the glass to her lips. LARDNER From the other side of the glass. It's a particularly gymnastic way in which to drink water, but Adele accomplishes it with aplomb. She waits for a moment -- then hiccups again. ADELE I think (hic!) it's worse (hic!) now. LARDNER That always used to work. ADELE Yeah, well it's not everyday you get (hic!) news like this. You're sure he's (hic!) okay? Other than the (hic!) bump on the head? LARDNER (hedging) Well... ADELE (hic!) Dad... (hic!) Lardner sits at the table and takes Adele's hand. LARDNER He doesn't remember anything, Delly. Doesn't know how he got here, doesn't remember his father, the town, the Bijou, anyone... ADELE ... including me. Right? (hic!) LARDNER I'm afraid not. He looked right at your picture without batting an eye. But it's probably temporary. He got all the way to Lawson, so he clearly knew who he was and what he was doing until he hit his head. I'm sure it'll all come back to him. It just takes a catalyst. ADELE You mean, (hic!) me? LARDNER It's possible. Off Adele's thoughtful hiccuping, we CUT TO: EXT. COMMERCE STREET - EVENING Luke and Harry, walking along, make a turn onto Commerce Street, heading for Mabel's. It's still light out, and a soft breeze skitters some leaves along the sidewalk. HARRY I take breakfast and supper at Mabel's every day except Sunday. Have for years, since Lily died. If it weren't for Mabel, I'd probably starve to death. ERNIE COLE, a slight, balding man in his 50s, is locking the door of his pharmacy across the street, when he spots Harry and Luke. ERNIE Harry! Hold on a second! Ernie runs across the street and, slightly winded, stands before Luke, staring. Luke shoots a glance at Harry, who taps Ernie on the shoulder. HARRY It's really him, Ernie. ERNIE (agape) Well, I'll be... He sticks his hand out and Luke takes it. Ernie pumps it enthusiastically. ERNIE By god, Luke, if it isn't good to see you again. LUKE (uncertain) Uh, thanks. Good to see you again, too, uh... HARRY Ernie. LUKE ... Ernie. ERNIE (still at a lose) Well, I'll be... HARRY We were just gonna get some supper. Would you like to join us? ERNIE Would I ever! The three walk toward the diner, but before they get two steps, they hear: WOMAN'S VOICE Is that Luke Trumbo? They turn to see a stout woman, KATIE RUTHERFORD, 40s, rushing toward them. She rushes right into a very surprised Luke's arms and hugs him tightly. KATIE Oh, Luke, it's so good to have you back! HARRY Katie, would you like to join us for dinner? The more, the merrier. CUT TO: EXT. MABEL'S DINER - NIGHT The diner is packed. In addition to Ernie and Katie, MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN occupy every seat and table, and many more are standing, even hanging out the door. At the focus of the crowd are Luke and Harry, seated at the counter. Harry is leisurely eating a chicken dinner, while Luke is working on a steak. A young man seated at the opposite side of the counter is speaking. He's CARL LEFFERT, 30s. CARL (eagerly) Hey, Luke, remember the time you and me, we was playing with firecrackers and the one you was lighting blew up too soon and singed all the hair offa my head? A few people shake their heads, smile and laugh. LUKE Uh, no. What happened? CARL (deflated) Well... um, all the hair got singed offa my head. It was pretty funny. A couple of TITTERS are heard. LUKE Oh. CARL Even my eyebrows. But they grew back. Luke leans toward Harry, who never looks up from his chicken. HARRY Carl. Friend of yours from high school. Everybody calls him "Cueball." LUKE (sincerely) Oh, hi Cue... Carl. Sorry. CARL (brightening) Oh, heck, that's all right. It's just good to have you back. Isn't that right, Bob? Hey, Luke, you remember my brother Bob? You two joined up the same day. Luke smiles and nods at the young man sitting next to Carl. BOB LEFFERT is a good-looking fellow, a few years older than Carl. His face is pale and downcast, and he wears a cap pulled down on his forehead. He looks up at Luke with hollow eyes. Brings his right hand up, pushes the brim of his cap up. Except there's no hand there -- it's a hook. LUKE (quietly) Hey, Bob. Good to meet you. Bob doesn't react. He glances away, and for a moment, his eyes meet Mabel's. She smiles warmly. He turns away. Ernie Cole pipes up. ERNIE Luke, I know there's a question that's on everybody's mind. LUKE What's that? ERNIE Well, now that you're back, what're your plans? All eyes on Luke. He freezes, having just taken a forkful of food in his mouth. Harry jumps in. HARRY Gonna re-open the Bijou, that's what. A MURMUR goes through the crowd. Stanton Lawson, standing behind Luke, taps him on the shoulder. STANTON That true? LUKE (on the spot) Well... we're gonna try. ERNIE That's a lot of work, son. Place's been closed, what, three, four years now. Gonna be tough. HARRY If it's tough, that means it's worth doing. Someone shouts "That's the spirit!," another shouts "Hear, hear!," and a chorus of VOICES join in agreement. ERNIE Hey, where's Spencer Wyatt? SPENCER'S VOICE Uh, back here, Mr. Mayor. ERNIE Well, come on out here so's we can see you. SPENCER WYATT steps around from the back of the crowd near the door. He's a tall, dark-haired, gangly, bespectacled kid, no more than 19 or 20. Painfully shy, he clutches a clarinet case to his chest. He timidly smiles and waves at Luke, who smiles and nods back. SPENCER Hey, Luke. LUKE Hi, Spencer. ERNIE Spence, that band of yours -- you think they're ready to play? (to Luke) Spencer and his pals went ahead and got together a good ol' big band. SPENCER We've been practicing... uh, sure, I guess. ERNIE Well, how about tomorrow night, eight p.m., in city hall square? What I'm proposin' is a "Welcome Home Luke" celebration. Vociferous general AGREEMENT from the crowd -- which is quickly quieted by a MURMUR, which starts at the front door. The crowd parts and grow silent, revealing a woman standing in the doorway. ADELE She locks eyes with Luke. Her hand goes to her mouth and her eyes well up. Slowly, she moves around the counter, the crowd moving aside for her. She stands in front of Luke, who has stood up to meet her. Her eyes moist, she looks up at him. ADELE Do you... remember me? LUKE I've seen you before. Your picture... Mabel, clutching a napkin, leans over to Katie. MABEL (sotto) Look! LUKE ... but I don't think I remember you. Adele leans up and kisses him softly. He looks at her. LUKE But I'll sure try. As Mabel and Katie dab at their eyes, we CUT TO: EXT. COMMERCE STREET - NIGHT Adele and Luke stroll down the street side by side. She looks at him for a long moment. LUKE What. ADELE No, I... I just wondering where you've been all this time. LUKE Me too. ADELE You look... different. LUKE I do? ADELE Yeah, a little. I think you grew an inch or so. And you've lost weight. LUKE I did? Huh! Tentatively, she takes his hand and holds it. From behind them, we HEAR A SHUFFLING SOUND. Adele turns... ADELE'S POV Keeping a discreet distance, EVERYONE from the diner is following them. Adele turns and addresses the crowd. ADELE (to the group) You can all go home, now. He's not going anywhere. LUKE Go on home, folks. And thanks for the welcome. Harry comes over. LUKE I'll be home in a little while, Harry. Don't wait up. HARRY You two have a lot of catching up to do, I guess. LUKE You bet. HARRY Goodnight, son. (tips his hat) 'Night, Delly. And the rest of the crowd disperses, variously wishing the pair goodnight. Luke and Adele watch them disperse. LUKE There. We're alone. They turn and start walking. ADELE Then why do I feel like we're still being shadowed? LUKE Well... where can we go? Adele brightens. ADELE I know a place. Come on! She grabs his hand and they run toward the town square. EXT. LAWSON CITY HALL - NIGHT Adele and Luke stand by the front steps. LUKE City hall? ADELE You must not remember anything. Come on. She grabs his hand and they run to the side of the building. EXT. SIDE OF CITY HALL - NIGHT Adele and Luke stand by a basement window, inches off the ground. She looks around. Certain the coast is clear, she pounds on the window in three "special" places, and it pops up and open. She looks at Luke. ADELE You first. LUKE Why me? ADELE Be a gentleman. You have to help me down. AS LUKE CLIMBS IN, WE CUT TO: A LARGE, MUSLIN-COVERED OBJECT. Slowly, the muslin is drawn off, revealing A STATUE OF A KNEELING SOLIDER, praying before a soldier's grave. We slowly PAN DOWN from the top of the statue... INT. CITY HALL BASEMENT STORAGE ROOM - NIGHT ADELE (O.S.) When we were kids, my Dad was mayor, and you and me and a bunch of others used to come down here all the time. ON ADELE AND LUKE looking up at the statue in this city hall basement storage room, lit only by a single shaft of moonlight from the window. The muslin covering lay bunched at their feet. ADELE Of course, there was a lot more room before they stuck the memorial down here. LUKE (looks at the door) How'd they get it inside? ADELE Through the door. It comes apart. She moves to the memorial. Squinting, she examines its base. ADELE Your name's on here. See? Luke comes over. ON THE BASE OF THE MEMORIAL -- LUKE'S NAME ADELE Right here. "Albert Lucas Trumbo." And all the others. I knew them all. So did you. We went to school with most of them. LUKE It doesn't seem right, this being down here. It ought to be where people can see it. ADELE After they commissioned it, no one could ever agree on where to put it. The Methodists wanted it in front of the Methodist Church, the Presbyterians wanted it in front of the Presbyterian Church, the city council wanted it in the lobby of City Hall. Everyone finally got tired of the fighting. So they stuck it down here. He looks at her for a long moment. There's an electricity between them, and they both feel it. LUKE So, you're really gonna be a lawyer? ADELE (suddenly defensive) And why not? LUKE Whoa. ADELE (smiling) Sorry. You don't know how many times I've heard that. "A lady lawyer? Are you crazy?" Like a woman couldn't be as good a lawyer as a man. Or better, in fact. LUKE Have you always wanted to be a lawyer? ADELE You... don't remember, but yes, ever since I was a little girl. LUKE What did... what did I want to be? ADELE (gently) Oh, well... I guess you... in high school, you were a pretty good first baseman. And we were on the debate team together. But... I think you were gonna run the Bijou. You were brought up there, and you loved it so much. And I think you knew how much the town needed a place like that. He turns away, rubs his head. LUKE I just wish I could remember some of this. He turns back to her. LUKE You don't have a boyfriend or anyone... you know... like that? ADELE Actually, I was married. For four years. But... well, we didn't fit together. I'm divorced now. LUKE I'm sorry. ADELE No, it's okay. See, when two people belong together, the other person should be the... the key that unlocks the rest of you... I'm not making sense, am I? LUKE (moving toward her) No, you are. I know exactly what you mean. It's not that you're missing something. It's that the other person gives something to you... that you had all the time. You just didn't see it until they came along. ADELE (smiling) Yeah... Pause. LUKE We were in love... weren't we? ADELE (quietly) Yes. (then:) Hic! She instantly covers her mouth, but it's no good. She has the hiccups again. LUKE What was that? ADELE Nothing. (hic!) LUKE Do you have the... ADELE I'm (hic!) fine. Really. (hic!) Luke smiles and watches Adele as she makes the decision to not struggle against the hiccups. She has them, and that's just the way it is. LUKE Were we going to get married? ADELE Eventually. We were going to be (hic!) engaged... when you came back from (hic!) overseas... He looks at her. She's strikingly beautiful at this particular moment and in this particular light -- hiccups and all. He moves closer to her. She moves closer to him. ADELE (breathless) ... but you had to go... serve (hic!) your country... They kiss passionately. She reaches up and puts her arms around him. He starts kissing her neck, and she suddenly realizes -- she's stopped hiccuping. ADELE Hey... it worked. And as she smiles and kisses him again we DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE BIJOU - NIGHT Luke comes down the street and heads for the front door. He has a definite spring in his step as he pulls out his keys and enters. INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT It's very dark. Luke is about to swing shut the heavy door, when he looks down and sees THE ORANGE TABBY CAT shoot into the lobby, stopping in the middle of the floor. It looks at Luke, and PURRS. Luke closes the door and moves to the cat. He crouches down and pets it, and its back rises to meet his hand. LUKE Hey, fella. So you live here, too, huh? How come Harry didn't mention that? The cat moves to the auditorium door, pausing to look back at Luke. Curiosity piqued, Luke follows the cat. INT. BIJOU BASEMENT HALLWAY - NIGHT In the dim light, we SEE an old mop and pail, some dirty film cans, and a large beat-up cardboard standee of "The Tramp" with the legend, "Chaplin Short To-Day." The cat comes around a corner and disappears through a door at the end of a hallway. Luke, following the cat, comes around the same corner and looks at THE DOOR. Slightly ajar, there's a light coming from within, as well as the sound of Old Tim softly humming "It's a Long Way to Tipperary." Luke moves to the door and knocks. LUKE Um, Old Tim? Sorry, it's late. It's Luke. Can I come in? The humming stops, and after a moment, the door swings open, revealing Old Tim, a pipe in his mouth, holding the cat, stroking its fur. OLD TIM Found me. LUKE Yeah. I hope you don't mind. I didn't know anyone lived here... well, besides Harry. And me. Old Tim moves into the room and gestures for Luke to follow him. INT. OLD TIM'S ROOM - NIGHT The room is lit by a small table lamp next to the neat cot, which is perfectly made, military-style. OLD TIM Not used to visitors. (gesturing) Sit. Old Tim points to a ragged, overstuffed easy chair next to the "kitchen" area -- a sink, dishes and utensils, a tiny icebox. Luke sits in the chair, and Old Tim sits on the cot, facing him. Silence. Luke glances up at a photo atop the bureau. ON THE PHOTO It's a much younger Old Tim, looking quite serious and handsome in his Great War doughboy's uniform. The cat jumps down from Old Tim's arms and moves to Luke. He rubs against his legs, purring. Luke leans down to pet him. LUKE So I guess this fellow belongs to you. What's his name? OLD TIM Cat. LUKE Cat. That's simple. I like it. (pets Cat) Hi, Cat. OLD TIM (sudden change-of-subject) We thought you was dead, you know. (another new thought) It's okay that I live here? LUKE Of course. Pause, then suddenly. OLD TIM Do you think I'll get me a new u-u uniform? Luke looks up at the old man, who stammers when he speaks more than a couple of words. LUKE I'll do everything I can. Old Tim puffs on his pipe, strangely detached. OLD TIM T-t-thank you. Thank you. I... I always... I always wanted to wear my uniform from the Great War, but your daddy, he always said no, that's not an usher's u-u-uniform, that's an army uniform and the Bijou, she's not the army. They give me a medal, but I lost it in the h-h-hospital. I forget things sometimes. Since the w-w-war. LUKE Yeah... me too. CUT TO: INT. PETE'S APARTMENT (L.A.) - DAY It's a pretty typical bachelor's apartment. The "SAND PIRATES" poster leans up against a chair. Pete's two boxes of belongings from the studio are on the coffee table, the empty bottle of Jack Daniels on top. There's an insistent KNOCK at the door. MAN'S VOICE (O.S.) Mr. Appleton? Mr. Appleton? You in there? This is the Super, I have the master key and I'm coming in! We HEAR the key in the lock and the door swings open, revealing the building SUPER, 50s. Behind him is Leo Kubelsky. They enter the room, and the Super sniffs the air. LEO You smell gas? SUPER Don't smell nothin'. He must not be dead in here. LEO Jesus. SUPER Hey, it's the best way to tell. Leo moves to the boxes and rummages through them. He picks up the empty bottle, examines it. SUPER You think he's drunk somewhere? LEO (under his breath) Wouldn't blame him if he was. SUPER Well, his rent's past due and he said to call you in case of an emergency. He lose his job or somethin'? LEO (holding out his folding money) What's his rent? SUPER Thirty a month. Leo peels off a hundred-dollar bill. LEO Here's three months rent, and a ten spot for no more questions and to keep an eye on his place. Now, I need a moment alone. SUPER (examining the bill) Huh? LEO Take a hike. Am-scray. SUPER Huh? Oh, sure. Just pull the door shut when you leave. The Super exits and Leo crosses to the phone and dials "O." LEO (into phone) Police department. I want to report a missing person. CUT TO: INT. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HALLWAY - DAY ON A DOOR It reads: "OFFICE OF THE MAJORITY COUNSEL - MR. ELVIN CLYDE" AGENT WALTER SAUNDERS and AGENT STEVEN BRETT, both 30s and G- men to the core, hustle into the office. INT. ELVIN CLYDE'S OFFICE - DAY ELVIN CLYDE is 35, a small, thin-lipped, reptilian man in the Roy Cohn mold. He's on the phone at the moment. CLYDE (into phone) You say you know nothing about it. You say this, yet you offer no proof. How am I supposed to believe you? Clyde's SECRETARY knocks on the door, sticks her head in. SECRETARY Mr. Clyde? Agents Saunders and Brett need to see you. CLYDE (covering the phone) You do see that I'm busy, do you not? SECRETARY It's about Appleton. Clyde's eyes brighten. CLYDE Tell them to come in. (into phone) I'll have to call you back. I love you too, Mother. Saunders and Brett stride into the office. SAUNDERS We've got a situation developing... CLYDE (interrupting) Will you take those goddamn hats off? They stop, shuck off their hats. Saunders starts over again. SAUNDERS We've got a situation developing out on the coast. Appleton's just been reported missing. Clyde grins darkly. CLYDE This is good. This is very good. BRETT Los Angeles Police Department investigated. His car's missing. No signs of forced entry or struggle at his apartment. Clyde considers this for a beat, then: CLYDE You two are on this as of now. Tell the LAPD their investigation has been federalized on my order. You find me this Appleton. (leans back, smiling) I want to see what this one has to say. CUT TO: INT. BIJOU OFFICE - DAY Luke is sitting at the desk, making notes and adding up some figures. He puts his pencil down and rubs his eyes, then looks up at HARRY AND OLD TIM who are sitting on the floor, going through piles of lobby cards and folded one-sheets like little boys fascinated with their baseball cards. He shifts his gaze to MRS. TERWILLIGER who is straightening out and dusting the tops of the two or three file cabinets in the corner of the office. As she works, she hums an old song, occasionally breaking into the lyrics: MRS. TERWILLIGER (sings) "The object of my affection, Can change my complexion, From white to rosy red..." Luke takes a breath: LUKE Well... HARRY Yes? LUKE Between a new screen, paint, plumbing for the concession stand, and about a hundred other repairs around the theater... it's going to cost at least nine hundred dollars to get the Bijou into shape to open up. MRS. TERWILLIGER Oh, my. HARRY (taken aback) Nine hundred... LUKE And you have sixty-eight dollars and thirty-seven cents in the bank. Your only source of income are my veteran's death benefit of forty dollars a month, to which you're no longer entitled since I'm alive, and these ten dollar a month cash deposits you make. What are those? HARRY (glances at Old Tim) They're... OLD TIM That's my r-r-rent. LUKE Oh. HARRY It's all my fault. I was neglectful and this is the price of that. MRS. TERWILLIGER Don't say that. HARRY Well, it's true. Wanting to open this place back up. It's folly, Irene, pure and simple. Might as well just call it what it is. Off everyone's worried looks, we CUT TO: A TV SCREEN It's tiny, with rounded corners, black-and-white, and a hopeless chaos of horizontal bars and snow. WIDER INT. LARDNER LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Doc Lardner is fiddling with a brand-new console television set, trying vainly to tune in a clear picture of "Your Show of Shows." He adjusts the dials, fiddles with the rabbit ears, steps back -- and is successful. SID CAESAR And IMOGENE COCA are involved in an elaborate pantomime sketch, and Lardner fairly roars with laughter. He turns to go back to his chair, but the second he does so, the reception goes haywire. He returns to the spot in front of the TV, and the picture is perfect again. The DOORBELL RINGS. He's torn -- if he moves, the picture will break up. The doorbell RINGS again, and we HEAR Adele's voice from upstairs: ADELE (O.S.) Daddy, that's Luke, can you let him in? I'll be right down. LARDNER Honey, I... I can't... it's the... There's a KNOCK at the door. LARDNER (giving in) Oh, hell... He moves from his spot. The reception goes bad, and he marches to the door. He opens it, and Luke is standing there, wearing a slightly out-of-date coat and tie. LARDNER Evening, Luke. LUKE Evening, Doctor Lardner. Lardner freezes, staring at Luke. LUKE What's wrong? LARDNER (shaken from his reverie) Uh, no... just seeing you standing there, it reminded me... there's a word for it... LUKE Oh, you mean the suit. Harry kept all my old clothes. Fits okay, but it's a little big. Adele comes down the stairs. Halfway down, she stops suddenly and stares at Luke. ADELE Oh... Awkward pause. Adele's staring at Luke, Lardner's staring at Luke, and Luke's getting nervous. LUKE I shouldn't have worn the suit. Adele comes down the stairs. ADELE No... you were wearing that suit the last time we went out before... LUKE Oh... ADELE ... and It's just... well, deja vu. LARDNER That's it. Deja vu. Another awkward pause as Adele and Luke stare at each other. Lardner breaks it. LARDNER You kids off to the dance? LUKE Aren't you coming? LARDNER No, I'm not much of a dancer. ADELE (chidingly) Besides, Daddy's still trying to figure out how to get his new television set working. LARDNER I had it, a minute ago... He glances at the TV set. The picture is suddenly crystal clear. LARDNER ... ooooh, It's back. (encouraging them toward the door) Well, you kids have fun now... Adele takes Luke's arm and they exit, exchanging goodnights with Lardner, who closes the door and turns toward the living room. S-l-o-w-l-y, he sneaks into the room, watching the TV carefully all the while. The reception is staying perfect. Caesar and Coca are involved in an intricate bit of business, and Lardner wants to laugh, but he's afraid to. He stifles his urge, and heads for his chair. Gingerly, he sits. Still perfect. Satisfied, he finally LAUGHS out loud and puts his feet up. The picture goes completely haywire again. LARDNER Aw, crap. EXT. STREET - NIGHT Adele and Luke walk along, arm-in-arm. ADELE This is strange. Do you feel it? LUKE What? ADELE We've done this before, so many times. The last time was so long ago, but it feels like yesterday. LUKE Oh. Pause. ADELE You know, everyone's so excited about the Bijou re-opening... LUKE (interrupting) It's gonna cost over nine hundred dollars to open the place, Delly. ADELE (shocked) Nine hundred... LUKE Yeah, and needless to say, none of us has that kind of money lying around. ADELE What about a loan? You could go to the bank...? LUKE A loan to a man who ran his business into the ground and his son who can't account for the last nine-and-a-half years of his life? Not likely. ADELE Well, there's got to be a way... LUKE (suddenly) Have you got a cigarette? Adele stops. ADELE When did you start smoking? LUKE I don't smoke? ADELE You tried to once. It was pretty pitiful. LUKE Oh. Adele glances curiously at Luke as we CUT TO: A CLARINET launching into the opening bars of "Don't Be That Way," an old Benny Goodman tune. EXT. CITY HALL SQUARE - DAY Spencer Wyatt's big ban is comprised of a dozen or so MUSICIANS about Spencer's age -- except for the drummer, AVERY WYATT, 40s, Spencer's dad. Though no Gene Krupa, he pounds the skins pretty well, all the while smiling proudly as his son plays clarinet and leads the band. Despite the last minute decorations, the Square looks nice, hung with multicolored paper lanterns and colored lights. ON LUKE AND ADELE dancing to the music, along with several other COUPLES. LUKE (nodding toward the band) They're not bad. ADELE No, they're not. I'd say your investment was paying dividends. LUKE My what? ADELE Back in '37, you heard Benny Goodman play for the first time, so you went out and got a used clarinet. You wanted nothing more than to be able to play like him. You tried hard, but it wasn't long before it was clear that Benny Goodman would never be looking over his shoulder. So you gave the clarinet to Spencer. LUKE Huh. That was nice of me. ADELE You had a hidden agenda, though. See, when he was five or six, little Spence used to follow you around like a puppy. Bothered the hell out of you. But as soon as you gave him the clarinet... LUKE ... he started practicing, and he left me alone from then on. ADELE Exactly. And he got good. LUKE No kidding. They dance a bit. ADELE Now, did you remember that, or... LUKE Nope. Just filling in the blanks. ADELE Oh. Okay. And as they dance away, we CUT TO: THE SAME - LATER ON THE REFRESHMENTS TABLE Luke is pouring two glasses of punch, while Adele is being shyly admired (and having her ear bent) by two twin brothers, ALEX and CHARLIE MCKENNA, mid-20s. ALEX You're the luckiest guy in town, Luke. Delly's 'bout the prettiest thing ever come outta Lawson. LUKE (to Alex) Thanks, Charlie. ALEX I'm Alex. He's Charlie. CHARLIE I'm Charlie. ALEX Yessir, 'bout the prettiest thing we ever seen, ain't that right, Charlie? CHARLIE You bet. ADELE (ala Mae West) Thanks boys, ya flatter me no end. The brothers laugh goofily. CHARLIE Hey, she's doin' that movie star, what's her name...? ALEX (ignoring his brother) Hey, Delly, what was that test you was outta town takin'? ADELE It's called the State Bar Exam. CHARLIE Shoot! ALEX Imagine that, Charlie! A lady bartender! CUT TO: THE SAME - LATER Adele and Luke are slow dancing to "Thanks for the Memory." LUKE How do you tell those two apart, anyway? ADELE Alex and Charlie? Simple. Alex is the smarter one. LUKE That's... pretty frightening. They laugh and dance a bit more. ADELE Your dancing's very good. LUKE Thanks. ADELE It never used to be. You were two left feet on the dance floor. Like pulling teeth to get you to do a little box step. LUKE Guess I must've learned. Luke dances Adele away, a slightly nonplussed expression on her face. The band finishes the song, and everyone enthusiastically APPLAUDS. Spencer bows shyly, blushing slightly. He nods to the band, and they bow before he motions for the crowd's attention. SPENCER (nervously) Thanks, folks. Gee, can you tell we never played in front of people before? The crowd yells "No!," "You guys sound great!," etc. SPENCER Well, this is our first time, and it's really all because of Luke. I mean, it's because of Luke coming back that we're here tonight -- but I'm talking about this. He holds up the clarinet and scans the crowd until he sees Luke. SPENCER (to Luke) When you didn't come back, I learned how to play this so I could remember you. And now that you're back, well, I'll never forget you. (to the crowd) Luke gave me this clarinet, but he gave this night to all of us. The crowd APPLAUDS warmly. SPENCER Okay folks, here's Mayor Cole! The crowd APPLAUDS as Ernie Cole mounts the band riser. He turns and addresses Avery Wyatt, on drums. ERNIE Pretty proud of your boy, Avery? Avery smiles broadly and beats the KICK DRUM five or six times to register his reaction. ON THE KICK DRUM -- "WYATT'S HARDWARE, LAWSON, CALIF." ERNIE Looks like you might have to find someone else to mix paint at the store, 'cause I think Spencer's got a big career ahead of him. APPLAUSE again, and Ernie waits for it to settle. As soon as he starts speaking, the crowd becomes totally silent. ERNIE You know folks, here in Lawson, we gave a lot for our country. A lot. And we never complained and we never faltered. And we never forgot. Ernie's voice cracks slightly with emotion. He clears his throat and continues. ERNIE We never forgot. And so when one of our own came back to us, I gotta tell you folks, it was like a miracle. Luke, seein' you walking down the street, it was... well, it was kinda like seein' one of my boys alive again. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that not a day goes by when we don't keep our boys' memories alive. But Luke, having you back among us... well, it helps us keep their spirits alive, too. God bless you, son. The crowd APPLAUDS. Adele takes Luke's hand and smiles. Ernie wipes his eyes and changes the subject. ERNIE All right, enough a'that. This is a celebration, so let's have us a good time -- but not too good a time, 'cause I see just about every member of the city council here tonight, and we have an eight a.m. council meeting tomorrow morning, and I expect y'all to be there! All right, take it away, Spencer! And Spencer kicks the band into the next tune as we DISSOLVE TO: THE SAME - LATER Luke and Adele come over to Harry and Mrs. Terwilliger, standing at the periphery. Old Tim stands a few feet back. LUKE Why don't you two get out there and dance? HARRY Oh, no, I... Mrs. Terwilliger blushes. MRS. TERWILLIGER I haven't danced with another man since Mr. Terwilliger passed. LUKE When was that? MRS. TERWILLIGER Nineteen-oh-nine. Harry touches Luke's arm. HARRY Son, we're gonna go. You two kids have a lovely time. Goodnights are exchanged, and the trio leaves. Alex McKenna comes up to Adele and taps her on the shoulder. ALEX Delly, can I have a dance? ADELE Sure. Alex leads her to the dance floor as Adele shoots Luke a little "help me!" look. Luke smiles back and watches the dancing crowd. After a moment, a man in a white suit and bow tie, ROSCOE FITTS, 40s, comes over to Luke and extends his hand. FITTS Luke, you probably don't remember me, Roscoe Fitts, I'm the grocer here in town. LUKE (shakes his hand) Good to meet you. Again. FITTS Like Ernie said, we're all glad to have you back. LUKE Thanks. FITTS And I hear you and Harry are planning on re-opening the Bijou. LUKE We're gonna try. Place needs a lot of work. FITTS I can only imagine. You know, I spoke with your Dad last year about maybe taking the Bijou off his hands. I don't think he gave it very much thought. LUKE Well, he loves the place. It's his home. FITTS Luke, I'm hopping you can help him see the reality of the situation. I'll come to the point. I want to buy the property, and I'm prepared to offer six-thousand dollars for it. And that's just for the property, mind you. If you want, I'll leave it to you and your father to dismantle and liquidate the building for whatever salvage value it has, and you keep those proceeds. I just want the land. LUKE (taken aback) That's... well, that's very generous, but if you've already got a store...? FITTS The days of the storefront grocery are numbered. I plan on putting up a free-standing supermarket. LUKE (it's an alien word) A super market. Huh. FITTS You think it over. No reason to risk financial ruin for the sake of a crumbling old building. Fitts takes Luke's hand and shakes it. FITTS Good to have you back, Luke. As Luke watches Fitts walk off, we CUT TO: THE SAME - LATER ON SPENCER SPENCER Last dance, folks! The crowd MOANS slightly, and Spencer kicks the band into "Moonlight Serenade," slow and easy. ON ADELE AND LUKE As they hold each other close and dance. Adele rests her head on Luke's shoulder, her eyes closed. Luke strokes her hair and sways her gently to the music. Luke looks toward the edge of the dance floor. LUKE'S POV Bob Leffert is standing there, staring at the band. Mabel comes up behind him and taps him on the shoulder. She's asking him if he would like to dance. Bob looks down at the ground, self-consciously shoves his hook-hand in his pocket and moves away, leaving Mabel standing there. As Luke watches and the MUSIC CONTINUES OVER, WE DISSOLVE TO: MONTAGE: Luke and Adele dancing... ... walking slowly arm-in-arm down Adele's street, up her walk to her door... ... kissing passionately on her doorstep... ... Adele going inside and Luke walking away, each unable to take their eyes off the other... ... Luke walking the quiet streets of Lawson, smiling beatifically... MATCH DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE BIJOU - NIGHT Luke turns the corner and heads for the theater door. He pulls out his keys and enters. INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Luke's about to close the door, when he looks down and sees CAT MEOWING at him from the sidewalk. He holds the door open, and Cat shoots into the lobby, disappearing into the auditorium. Luke closes the door... and stops. He HEARS something, and so do we. Soft and faraway, it's a PIANO. The melody is soft, lilting -- almost a lullaby. Luke turns toward the music, which is coming from the auditorium. The piano continues, building slightly in volume. He moves to the auditorium doors and tentatively pushes one open. INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT Luke enters, his face bathed in the soft, flickering, reflected light of THE SCREEN. The movie is "The Big Parade." The old, decomposing nitrate print is badly scratched and stained. A young, beautiful Renee Adoree is bidding a tearful farewell to her lover, John Gilbert, as he marches off to fight the Great War. Luke stares at the screen. The look on his face is one of bewilderment -- and awe. ANGLE - THE PIANO The rickety old upright is tinny-sounding and slightly out- of-tune. But it really doesn't matter. CLOSER Mrs. Terwilliger is playing passionately. She never takes her eyes -- which are full of tears -- off the tattered screen, except to close them when she is overcome with emotion. Even so, she never misses a beat. HER HANDS fairly dance upon the keys. Stiff and wrinkled as they are, they manage to elicit every possible fragment of sensitivity that the old piano can muster. Luke is moved by what he's witnessing. This is the magic... WIDER ANGLE - THE CENTER SECTION To the right of Luke, sitting in the center of a row, is Old Tim. Stroking Cat, Old Tim stares at the poignant scene unfolding on the screen, pausing only to wipe his eyes and nose with a handkerchief. He doesn't notice LUKE who looks up towards the projection booth. CUT TO: A BRIGHT, WHITE, FLICKERING LIGHT, filling the frame. We're looking directly into the beam of light radiating from the projector. PUSHING INTO THE LIGHT, we get closer to the windows of the booth. We come out of the beam and can just barely make out the figure of Harry, framed in a small window next to the projector. WE CONTINUE PUSHING IN -- closer and closer -- until Harry's face fills the screen. He is watching the film; his eyes are wide and moist, as though he's experiencing the magic that's unfolding on the screen for the very first time. The warning bell on the projector CHIMES THREE TIMES, signaling the end of the reel. Harry moves away from the window. INT. PROJECTION BOOTH - NIGHT Never taking his eyes off the screen, Harry watches as the film comes to an end and flap! falp! falps! out of the projector. He kills the motor and cranks the carbon arcs apart, and the bright beam dies. It's not the end of the movie, but it is the end of the only fragment they have. Harry moves to the house lights rheostat, and slowly fades them up. This done, he pulls a handkerchief from his back pocket and blows his nose loudly. He crosses back to the projector, unlatches the full take-up reel and takes it down. He's about to move away, when he senses that he's not alone. He looks over the projector to see LUKE, standing there. Their eyes meet. Someone should say something -- both men search for words. Suddenly, Luke feels very out-of-place, almost embarrassed -- as though he's interrupted a very private ritual. Harry senses this. Clutching the precious reel of film tightly to his chest, he searches Luke's face and smiles warmly. HARRY Beautiful, wasn't it? LUKE (softly) Yes. HARRY Well, son, I wish I could've shown you more, but this is all that's left. Just this one reel that never got sent back from a picture we showed here a long time ago. Nineteen twenty-five, to be exact... LUKE Dad, I... HARRY (a tiny laugh) Ha! LUKE ... what? HARRY You know, since you've been back, that's the first time you've called me "Dad." Father and son look at each other for a long moment -- searching each other's eyes. Harry smiles a sort-of half- smile at Luke, and, still clutching the reel, crosses to the rewind bench. Methodically, he mounts it and threads the end of the film onto an empty reel. Slowly, he begins to turn the crank, rewinding the film. He stops and looks to where Luke was standing... but he's not there. ANGLE - PROJECTION BOOTH DOOR Luke is leaning up against the wall just outside of the projection booth. ONE LUKE As he closes his eyes... FADE TO BLACK. FADE IN: ON HARRY In bed, sound asleep, snoring. A HAND reaches into frame and shakes him awake. LUKE'S VOICE Harry. Dad, wake up. Wake up. Harry opens his eyes and looks up. INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - DAY HARRY (bleary) Luke... what time is it? LUKE Six-thirty. (smiles) I thought we'd get an early start. CUT TO: INT. CITY COUNCIL MEETING ROOM - DAY A meeting of the Lawson City Council is in session, Mayor Cole presiding. Of the dozen council MEMBERS, we also recognize Avery Wyatt and Roscoe Fitts. VERA DWIGHT, the council secretary, a cherubic woman in her 40s, is reading the minutes of the last meeting. VERA Finally, Roscoe Fitts moved, and Red Curtis seconded, that the council form a committee to investigate the adoption of a new property taxation structure. Motion carried, nine to two, one abstention. As Vera speaks, the meeting room door opens and Luke, Harry, Old Time and Mrs. Terwilliger slip inside and take seats on the unoccupied benches. ERNIE Thanks, Vera. Ernie notices Luke and the trio. ERNIE Well, the chair notes the presence this morning of Luke and Harry Trumbo and the rest of the Bijou staff. Frankly, the chair notes the presence of just about anyone who ever finds their way into one of these meetings. G'moring, folks. LUKE & THE TRIO Good morning. ERNIE I'm just guessing, but I bet it's not a sudden interest in Lawson politics that brings you all here. Luke stands. LUKE Well, no... (clears his throat) I wanted to thank you all for giving me such a nice welcome, and making me feel at home. But I... we're... actually here on business of a sort... DALEY THORNHILL, 30s, the council parliamentarian, pipes up. He's waving a copy of "Roberts Rules of Order." DALEY Point of order, Mr. Mayor, this comes under the heading "New Business," and this is not the time... ERNIE I think we can make an exception here, Daley. DALEY It'll need to be moved and seconded. Ernie rolls his eyes, then quickly and mechanically, without inflection: ERNIE All right, motion to hear the speaker out of order. WYATT Seconded. ERNIE Motion on the floor, discussion open, discussion closed, all those in favor signify by saying "aye." ALL Aye. ERNIE Opposed? Hearing no opposition, the motion is carried. Pause. Ernie turns to Luke and smiles. ERNIE Go ahead, son. LUKE Thanks. Well, I'll make this short and sweet. The Bijou needs a lot of repairs, and the truth of the matter is, Harry, um, that is, Dad and me, Mrs. Terwilliger and Old Tim, we can't possible afford them all. So, I'd like to ask your help to... well, to scrounge around a bit, and see if you have anything that might help us out. WYATT What kinds of things are you talking about? LUKE Oh, paint, brushes, plaster, light bulbs, yardage, and if you can't come up with any of that, we can use some old-fashioned elbow grease. Fitts leans forward. FITTS So... you do intend to fix the place up after all? LUKE Mr. Fitts, with all due respect, I think Lawson needs the Bijou a bit more than it needs a super market. And I think Lawson deserves the Bijou. There's not a lot that can be done to help us get past the pain we've all felt... He looks at Harry and smiles. LUKE ... but I think a good dose of magic is as good a place as any to start. The council members MURMUR amongst themselves, then: WYATT (eagerly) Motion to encourage the citizenry of Lawson to help out the Bijou in any way they can... DALEY (a subtle reminder) ... short of the allocation of city funds... WYATT (agreeing) ... short of allocation of city funds. DALEY (enthusiastically) Seconded! ERNIE (brightly) Motion on the floor, discussion open, discussion closed, all those in favor signify by saying "aye." ALL AYE! ERNIE Hearing no opposition, the motion is carried! Congratulations, Luke, you got yourself a town to help you out! CUT TO: INT. CITY HALL BASEMENT STORAGE ROOM - DAY As the entire city council and the Bijou trio looks on, Luke moves to the memorial and pulls down the huge piece of muslin covering it. Harry steps forward and gathers some of it in his arms. Ernie and Daley step forward and look up at the monument. Ernie touches the names of his two sones inscribed on the base of the monument. ERNIE (slowly) You know, this really ought to be out where people can see it. Luke overhears this last, and as he smiles, he turns to Harry, who brightens as he pulls a large section of the muslin taut between his outstretched arms... CUT TO: MONTAGE - WITH SOME HARD-DRIVING BOOGIE-WOOGIE UNDER... ANGLE - THE SCREEN Harry's on a ladder, snipping the cords holding up the old screen, which is dropping, bit-by-bit, into the arms of Luke and Adele, who are surrounded by a group of LITTLE KIDS, watching the goings-on in wide-eyed awe. Harry snips the last line, and the rest of the old screen drops down on Luke's head. Suddenly... LUKE'S A GHOST!! He raises his arms and plays the bogeyman for the kids, who scream in mock terror and scatter, as Harry and Adele laugh. INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY Old Tim and Harry carry a dilapidated row of seats up the aisle, as Adele and Mabel move in, tearing up the rotten carpeting and sweeping up the dust and debris. The men are having a tough time carrying the seats, and just as they're about to drop the row, someone rushes in next to Harry and grabs his end. It's Carl Leffert. A second later, someone else grabs Old Tim's end. BOB LEFFERT has a good purchase on the seats with his good hand and his hook. He nods to Old Tim, who steps away, mopping his brow. Luke smiles as he sees this from the front of the auditorium. INT. BIJOU LOBBY - DAY Harry, Stanton and Mrs. Terwilliger, with the help of Avery Wyatt and his son Spencer, tear down the rotting draperies and scrape off the wallpaper covering the lobby walls. Then, as Harry, Spencer and Stanton sand down the walls, Avery and Mrs. Terwilliger hand them freshly-mixed cans of red wall paint and brushes. Immediately, they all set to work painting. EXT. THE BIJOU SIGN - DAY Luke is on the roof of the theater, pliers in hand and tool box nearby. He's just straightened out the "J" and he steps back... carefully... to admire his handiwork. For the first time in a long time, the sign actually reads, "THE BIJOU." But not for long. Luke tenses... the building starts shaking... and the train passes by behind the theater. Luke lunges out of the way as three letters shake lose and fall. Once again, the sign reads, " HE B J U." Luke winces. EXT. CITY HALL SQUARE - DAY Ernie Cole and Avery Wyatt stand solemnly at the front of a small group gazing at the base of the war memorial, as it takes shape in a prominent place in the square... INT. AUDITORIUM - DAY Harry is on a ladder, attaching the final spring stretcher to a corner of the muslin. It snaps into place, and voila -- new screen! Luke, Adele, Doc Lardner, and Sheriff Eldridge, standing below, applaud enthusiastically. INT. ORCHESTRA PIT - DAY As work progresses all around her, Mrs. Terwilliger has just finished dusting off the piano. She opens the keyboard cover and trails her hand delicately over the keys. She sits, closes her eyes, and begins to play -- Chopin's Op. 10 Etude No. 3 -- delicate, flowing music. Even though the piano is a bit out of tune, it's still beautiful. As she plays, all the work slowly comes to a halt. Before long, all eyes are on her. Everyone's listening. Transported. After a moment, she stops. Overcome. Everyone applauds. Surprised, Mrs. Terwilliger stands, and, blushing, bows. LUKE That was beautiful. MRS. TERWILLIGER I taught you that. LUKE I can play the piano? MRS. TERWILLIGER (all fluttery) Oh dear, yes. You were an excellent student, before all that clarinet nonsense. You loved Chopin. You used to call it "heaven music." "Teach me some heaven music," you used to say. She sits at the piano. MRS. TERWILLIGER Sit. Play with me. LUKE No, I... MRS. TERWILLIGER Some of it might come back to you. Reluctantly, Luke sits down to her left. As she begins to play a Chopin waltz, she encourages him to keep the 3/4 time. MRS. TERWILLIGER That's good... that's good... But it's clear Luke has no idea what he's doing. He's just plunking bass notes. But after a moment, the bass figures he's improvising start to change -- and before long, it's transformed into the eight-to-the-bar figure of a boogie woogie beat. Mrs. Terwilliger stops playing, annoyed. MRS. TERWILLIGER Really, Luke! That's no way to treat Mr. Chopin! She stands and moves away. Luke keeps playing, grinning madly -- he's loving it! After a moment, Spencer Wyatt runs over and takes Mrs. Terwilliger's place, improvising the top half to Luke's bass line. OLD TIM is tapping his foot to the beat. He turns to Adele and says: OLD TIM I taught him that. Off Adele cracking up. THE MONTAGE CONTINUES... EXT. THE BIJOU SIGN - DAY Luke and all the letters up again. He steps back, checks his watch, and like clockwork, the rumbling begins and a train goes by. This time, however, only the "J" tips over at a jaunty angle. Luke smiles. INT. MABEL'S DINER - DAY Luke, Adele and Harry, wearing coveralls, sit at the counter, devouring hefty plates of turkey with dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy. Luke's and Adele's hair is practically white from plaster dust and Harry's face and hands are stained with paint specks. At the other side of the counter, Mabel is chatting amiably with Bob Leffert. She smiles at him warmly, then turns to refill Harry's coffee cup. Harry thanks her, then turns back to the newspaper he's reading. INSERT - THE FRONT PAGE OF THE LAWSON JOURNAL-AMERICAN Prominent is the black-and-white photo of a little boy and a policeman holding up Pete's jacket, with the accompanying headline: BOY, 5, FINDS SUSPECTED RED'S JACKET ON SANTA BARBARA BEACH Hollywood Writer Feared Dead Were Red Agents Involved? DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE BIJOU SIGN - NIGHT Luke's standing near the sign. He yells to Adele, down below on the ground. She, in turn, yells to Harry, standing near a switch panel behind the candy counter. He throws the switch... ... and the sign lights up beautifully! Then, they all feel the rumble -- the train rolls past, and, although they rattle and shake, no letters fall. A CHEER goes up from Adele, Harry, and the small crowd of ONLOOKERS below. Delighted, Luke takes a formal bow. The boogie-woogie ends as we DISSOLVE TO: EXT. CITY HALL SQUARE - DAY ON THE MEMORIAL Complete and polished, standing proudly in the center of the square. WIDER It's a clear, balmy day, and the whole town is turned out. Mayor Ernie Cole is at the podium. He finishes his remarks, then picks up the two faded gold stars representing the lost lives of his sons. He holds them up, high above his head. ON THE CROWD One-by-one, the gold stars of the town's boys are solemnly held aloft by their loved ones. Luke and Harry stand at the side of the square, looking out at the sea of four or five dozen gold stars being held aloft. Luke catches a glimpse of a man in an army uniform... LUKE'S POV It's Bob Leffert, standing with Mabel, looking very sharp in his dress greens. He brings his hook-hand up and salutes smartly. Mabel takes his good hand, squeezes it as she blinks back tears. Luke smiles at this scene as Harry wipes his eyes and puts his arm around Luke's shoulder, pulls him close and kisses him on the forehead. DISSOLVE TO: THE SAME - LATER The Lawson High School Marching Band is set up on the steps of City Hall, playing the "Star Spangled Banner." They are being conducted by their director, MR. PHILLIPS. Luke and Harry, hands over their hearts, watch and sing along. Then, Luke takes a closer look at the DRUM MAJOR... ON THE DRUM MAJOR, a tall young man wearing an ornate brocaded red and white uniform with "LHS" emblazoned across the chest. ON LUKE He has an idea. The anthem ends, and Luke excuses himself and moves forward, buttonholing Mr. Phillips as he comes down the steps... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. BIJOU - DAY Luke and Adele are on ladders, hanging letters on the marquee, which reads: GRAND RE-OPENING TONIGHT! GENE KELLY AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Harry comes outside and gets their attention. Grandly, he gestures toward the door, and out strides OLD TIM, wearing his new uniform -- it's the Lawson High School drum major's uniform, modified here and there. "B-I-J-O-U" is proudly emblazoned across his chest in gold brocaded letters. Luke and Adele applaud. Old Time looks up at them -- AND SMILES! INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Old Tim stands at attention, clutching the front door handle. Mrs. Terwilliger, wearing a new dress, her hair newly and perfectly coiffed, stands at the ready at her candy counter, ready to sell tickets and refreshments. Harry and Luke nervously pace the lobby. Luke checks his watch. It's time. He shakes Harry's hand, and nods to Old Tim, who swings the door open... ON THE DOOR Immediately, PATRONS come flooding into the theater. Luke exchanges surprised glances with Harry -- then walks outside. OUTSIDE THE THEATER Luke comes out and looks down the block. HIS POV The line of PATRONS stretches two deep down the block and around the corner. Luke smiles. Success. DISSOLVE TO: THE BIJOU'S MARQUEE -- "FRED ASTAIRE - ROYAL WEDDING" INT. BIJOU LOBBY - DAY Luke's selling tickets from behind the candy counter while Mrs. Terwilliger sells refreshments to a line of CUSTOMERS. Luke sells a ticket to a WOMAN, who moves away, revealing BOB LEFFERT AND MABEL. Luke smiles at Bob, who smiles back, his eyes now fairly dancing with life. He plunks down his admission, and Luke hands him two tickets, which he takes with his hook-hand. Mabel smiles at Luke, takes Bob's good hand, and they move away, revealing A FARMER AND HIS WIFE, 50s. The Farmer steps up and holds out a plucked chicken by its neck. Luke, surprised, jumps back -- then smiles, pulls off two tickets, and exchanges them for the chicken. DISSOLVE TO: THE BIJOU'S MARQUEE -- "THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL" INT. BEHIND THE SCREEN - NIGHT The only light back here is the light of the movie, spilling through the screen. Luke is straightening up the backstage storage area, when Adele taps him on the shoulder. He turns, and she throws her arms around his neck and kisses him. She hands him a paper to read. ON THE PAPER Luke angles it so he can read it by the light of the screen. It says: California State Bar Association ADELE LOUISE LARDNER has PASSED the State Bar examination. Luke, thrilled, grabs Adele and picks her up, twirling her around with joy. He sets her down and kisses her passionately. DISSOLVE TO: THE BIJOU'S MARQUEE -- "SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA" INT. PROJECTION BOOTH - NIGHT Harry is frantically threading the changeover projector. The bell on the running projector DINGS! once, signalling that the reel is coming to an end. Harry looks out the window at the screen, then back to the task at hand. INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Luke comes out of the office carrying a folded movie poster. With a satisfied smile, he walks through the lobby, admiring how handsome the old place looks. Old Tim, snappily attired in his uniform, is sweeping a tiny pile of debris into a dustpan. Mrs. Terwilliger is straightening up the candy counter. All is well. Luke goes to the lobby's poster case. He opens it, and unfolds a brand-new one-sheet poster for "SAND PIRATES" -- the same design as the one-sheet we saw in Pete's apartment. Methodically, he thumbtacks the poster up and closes the case. As Luke passes the auditorium doors, a MAN comes out of the theater and crosses to the candy counter. The door stays open for a moment, and Luke decides to duck inside and catch a bit of the picture. INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT ON THE SCREEN - "SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA" The second-to-last reel of a black-and-white early-50's programmer. It's nighttime in the desert. A huge full moon hangs over a B-movie soundstage version of the pyramids. GREGORY, a dark, handsome leading man in a pith helmet is engaged in a fierce swordfight with KHALID, the villain. Pete takes a seat on the aisle near the door. GREGORY (ONSCREEN) You don't think you can win this, do you? Khalid lunges and draws Gregory's blood. LUKE (ala "Khalid") "Ha! I'd say I was winning!" KHALID (ONSCREEN) Ha! I'd say I was winning! Luke's look is "How did I know he was gonna say that?" Onscreen, an EVIL HENCHMAN is sneaking up behind Gregory. LUKE "Gregory! Look out!" WOMAN'S VOICE (ONSCREEN) Gregory! Look out! Pete did it again. Onscreen, Gregory turns and kills the Henchman, then quickly dispatches Khalid. He stands over the body, catches his breath and says: GREGORY (ONSCREEN) It's all right, Rebecca. WOMAN'S VOICE (ONSCREEN) Is he dead? GREGORY (ONSCREEN) Yes, Rebecca. He's dead. REBECCA, a beautiful American woman, comes into view and takes our attention because she's being played by Sandra Sinclair, Pete Appleton's ex-girlfriend... ON LUKE His mouth is gaping open. He stares at the screen. LUKE (a whisper) Sandra...? Luke stands. Confused, he stumbles backward, moving into the lobby as the Man goes back into the auditorium with his popcorn and the door closes. INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Luke is staring at the closed auditorium doors. Old Tim and Mrs. Terwilliger take note of his odd behavior. MRS. TERWILLIGER Luke? Dear, are you all right? Without answering, Luke turns and runs to the poster case. ON THE POSTER - "SAND PIRATES OF THE SAHARA" Forget the cheesy B-movie artwork. As Luke looks at the poster, it's clear that he's remembering something. He looks at the picture of Sandra -- then scans down to the credits block at the bottom of the poster. His eyes lock upon WRITTEN BY PETER APPLETON LUKE My god... my god... no... Suddenly, all of Pete Appleton's worries have come crashing down on him... ... because he remembers... INT. PROJECTION BOOTH - NIGHT The warning bell DINGS! twice, but the changeover projector's carbon arcs keep sputtering and the motor keeps dying. HARRY (pleading) Oh, baby, make your daddy happy... Harry's trying to keep the projector going, as the previous reel is about to end. Given no other choice, he finally gives the changeover projector a good swift kick. It hums to life. A perfect changeover. Harry pets the projector. HARRY You're a good girl. No matter what I say. As he turns away, he feels a sudden, sharp pain in his left arm. Wincing, he grabs his arm, staggers back towards a chair, and sits heavily. He tries to clear his throat, but it dissolves into a hacking, choking COUGH. He tries to stand, but drops to his knees, clutching his left arm harder than before. HARRY (in pain) Oh, Jesus... Harry falls to the floor, and as he does THE FILM breaks in the projector gate... flap! flap! flap!... INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Luke is still staring at the poster, lost in thought. Offscreen, we HEAR the audience WHISTLING AND HOOTING in reaction to the broken film. Mrs. Terwilliger has been calling Luke's name, but he doesn't come out of his stupor until Old Tim comes up behind him and spins him around... OLD TIM Mr. Luke! Luke stares wide-eyed at the old man. MRS. TERWILLIGER Luke! Luke, something's wrong! The film broke, and I can't raise Harry on the house phone! LUKE (still dazed) What? MRS. TERWILLIGER You've got to talk to them before they tear the theater apart! Finally, Luke pulls himself together, hears the audience noise, and moves toward the auditorium doors. INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT Amid the shouting and tossing of popcorn and debris, Luke tries to regain his composure as he strides down the aisle toward the stage. LUKE Come on, folks, this happens every once in a while, just settle down... The crowd quiets down a bit. Luke shields his eyes from the light and calls up to the projection booth. LUKE Harry! Harry, why don't you cut the projector and bring up the house lights? No reaction. Just the flickering beam of light. LUKE Harry? Harry...? Luke, gripped by a sudden fear, rushes up the aisle and into the lobby. The crowd goes silent... INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Old Tim and Mrs. Terwilliger watch as Luke tears into the lobby and makes for the balcony stairs... INT. BALCONY - NIGHT ... and charges between the seats and up the stairs to the projection booth. INT. PROJECTION BOOTH - NIGHT Luke bursts in the sees Harry on the floor. He rushes over and kneels down next to him. LUKE Jesus... HARRY (with difficulty) The film broke... LUKE I know, I know... keep still. A MAN pops his head into the projection booth door. LUKE (to the man) Get Doc Lardner. CUT TO: INT. HARRY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Harry is in bed, eyes closed. Doc Lardner has a stethoscope to his chest. He leans up and pats Harry's hand. He stands and comes over to Luke and Adele, who are near the door. Just outside, angling for a view into the room, are Old Tim and Mrs. Terwilliger. LARDNER It's a pretty massive heart attack. His lungs have filled with fluid, and, well... it seems as though his body is just... shutting down. LUKE Can we get him to the hospital? LARDNER Even if we could, and the move didn't kill him, there'd be very little we could do there that we can't do here. (puts his hand on Luke's shoulder) I'm sorry. Harry's eyelids flutter. HARRY (weakly) Did you... did you... Luke rushes to Harry's side and takes his hand. LUKE I'm here. HARRY Did you... did you... LUKE Did I what? HARRY (irritated) Did you fix the damn film? It broke in the last reel. LUKE I know. Everyone went home. We offered them refunds. HARRY Anybody take it? LUKE A few. HARRY (closes his eyes) Vultures... Luke smiles. HARRY I'm not happy about this, mind you, but if I have to go, at least I'm going in my own bed, the same bed my Lily died in, and... knowing that my son is alive. That's not too shabby, is it? LUKE You're not going anywhere, Harry. HARRY Don't tell me, I know about these things. I've seen it before. It's all right. It's... all right. You're here. Oh, God, I love you, son. Harry smiles. Luke kisses his hand and leans up, whispering in Harry's ear: LUKE And I love you... Dad. Harry smiles faintly, looks at Luke. He nods, then closes his eyes. HARRY (softly) Oh, so... much... lighter... Slowly, Harry exhales. His face relaxes, completely at peace. He doesn't breathe again. Luke looks at Harry's face for a moment. Then as the tears well up, he leans over and ever-so-gently places a kiss on Harry's forehead. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. LAWSON CEMETERY - DAY It's a beautiful, bright, sunny day. Luke and Adele stand at the front of the large group of mourners. REVEREND COLEMAN, 50s, conducts the service. COLEMAN We commit to the earth the mortal remains of Harry Bernard Trumbo, safe in the knowledge that his immortal soul is at peace and at last reunited with his beloved Lillian in the bosom of the Lord. Let us pray. Everyone bows their heads. COLEMAN "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures..." Luke looks up at the sky, then steps forward and lays a single rose on Harry's casket. Then, as everyone surreptitiously watches, he turns and walks away from the gravesite, toward the cemetery entrance. Adele watches Luke depart... ANOTHER ANGLE ... and she's not alone. Agents Saunders and Brett are watching everything from their car, which is parked nearby. As Luke walks away, Saunders snaps his photo with a long-lens camera... DISSOLVE TO: THE BASE OF THE WAR MEMORIAL, and Luke's name inscribed there. EXT. CITY HALL SQUARE - DUSK Luke stands in front of the memorial, head bowed. After a moment, he sits, leaning against the memorial. ON LUKE Lost in thought, he buries his face in his hands. ADELE'S VOICE (O.S.) Mind if I join you? Luke looks up, squinting. Adele stands above him, backlit by the golden light of the sundown. LUKE Sure. She sits next to him. Tentatively, she touches his shoulder. He leans into her, and she enfolds her arm in his. Pause. LUKE Your father said... that I would start to remember things. Suddenly, Adele feels as though she's walking on eggshells. ADELE (slowly) What... do you remember? LUKE Well... everything. It started coming back a couple of days ago. I remember everything now. ADELE I see... LUKE Delly. I'm... I'm not... Harry wasn't my father. And I'm not... I'm not Luke. She closes her eyes. All her suspicions are suddenly confirmed. ADELE (adrift) Oh... Her tears start, and she moves to hug Luke -- but instead, she starts hitting him, flailing, beating on his chest. He hugs her tightly, and she completely lets go. ADELE (crying) Oh, god, I knew! I knew! I knew from the start! I wanted you to be Luke! I wanted you to be alive! You're so much like him, you have no idea. No wonder everyone else accepted you! You don't know what you -- what Luke meant to this town, suddenly being alive! You don't know what this town lost! You just don't know... She pulls away, stands, and looks him in the eye. Luke rises. ADELE (sobbing uncontrollably) I knew you weren't Luke! And I tried not to fall in love with you! And... I don't even know your name! Oh, god... Luke moves toward her. She backs away. LUKE I fell in love with you, too, Delly. Only now I don't know how I feel, about you or about anything. I only think I know how Luke would feel. She's still sobbing. He moves to her, takes her in his arms. LUKE Delly, shhhhhh... ADELE (pulling away) No... I can't... I have to... I can't... She runs off, crying... DISSOLVE TO: INT. MABEL'S DINER - DAY ON SHERIFF ELDRIDGE, making short work of a steak and eggs. As he powers down his meal, Agents Saunders and Brett, distinctly out-of-place in their dark suits and hats, enter the diner. They take note of Eldridge, and come over. SAUNDERS Are you the sheriff? ELDRIDGE And I got the uniform to prove it. SAUNDERS I'm Special Agent Walter Saunders, this is Special Agent Steven Brett, FBI. May we have a word with you? They flash identification, which Eldridge notes. ELDRIDGE (gesturing) Please, sit. They sit across from Eldridge. As Saunders speaks, Agent Brett pulls a photo from his coat pocket. SAUNDERS A couple of days ago, a county flood control maintenance crew pulled a car out of the Lawson Wash ocean outlet. They checked its registration, and when the owner was identified, they notified us. Agent Brett slides the photo toward Eldridge. ON THE PHOTO It's Peter Appleton -- Luke. ELDRIDGE (smiling) Well, that'd be Luke Trumbo. Looks like you boys've solved a little mystery we've had going on for a few months. BRETT Sir, that's a photo of man named Peter Appleton. He's been missing from Los Angeles for close to three months now. ELDRIDGE What? No, there's got to be a... SAUNDERS Sheriff -- this man is a suspected communist. CUT TO: INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE - DAY (Oh, and by the way, from here on, he's PETE again.) Pete sits across from Eldridge, Saunders and Brett. The silence in the room is thick. PETE Am I under arrest? Eldridge glances at Agent Saunders, who stares at Pete impassively. ELDRIDGE Well, no, but these gentlemen would like to get some answers... PETE I don't know what else to tell you. I wasn't hiding out. I hit my head and I didn't remember anything until a few days ago. SAUNDERS Now that you remember who you are, were you planning on telling anyone your true identity? PETE I already have. SAUNDERS Who? PETE My girlfriend. If she still is... SAUNDERS (checking his notebook) Would that be Miss Sinclair? PETE (ironic smile) No. No, not Miss Sinclair. I'm talking about Adele Lardner. Agent Saunders glances at Eldridge. ELDRIDGE The doctor's daughter. She was Luke Trumbo's sweetheart. Pause. SAUNDERS Mr. Appleton, I have reason to believe you're holding something back, and that just rubs me the wrong way. (pause) Sir, are you a communist? PETE (firmly) No. Absolutely not. SAUNDERS All right. All right. We'll see. CUT TO: EXT. SHERIFF'S STATION - DAY Pete comes out into the bright midday sun. It takes a moment for his eyes to adjust, and when they do, he becomes aware of perhaps TWENTY PEOPLE lining the sidewalk in front of the station. PETE'S POV We recognize several of the people. Carl Leffert. Bob Leffert and Mabel Lanier. Daley Thornhill. Katie Rutherford. Stanton Lawson. Now, there's nothing in the least bit threatening about the gathering -- and that's what's so disturbing about it. They're not an angry mob, they're just standing there, running the gamut of emotions. Shock. Disillusionment. Betrayal. It's an awkward moment. Pete doesn't quite know how to react. He wants to go over and talk to them, but he wouldn't know what to say. He wishes one of them would talk to him, just say something, anything. But no one does. Then, Bob Leffert turns away from Pete. He shoves his hook hand into his pocket and sullenly moves away, followed by Mabel, then his brother, then the others... ... leaving Pete alone. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BIJOU LOBBY - NIGHT Old Tim, in his doorman's uniform, stands by the open, empty door. Mrs. Terwilliger, behind the candy counter, wipes up an imaginary spill, a full wheel of unsold tickets by her elbow. Pete anxiously paces the lobby. He looks into THE AUDITORIUM. Every seat is empty. He glances at his watch, then turns to Old Tim and Mrs. Terwilliger: PETE Let's close up. As Mrs. Terwilliger and Old Tim silently shamble off, Pete goes over and flips OFF several light switches. Most of the theater goes dark. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE BIJOU SIGN - NIGHT Pete sits leaning up against the base of the dark sign. A gentle breeze tousles his hair as he gazes up at the stars. After a moment, he HEARS footsteps coming up the ladder to the roof. PETE Who's that? ADELE'S VOICE It's me. Adele climbs onto the roof, comes over and sits down next to Pete. ADELE Hi. PETE Hi. Pause. ADELE I'm sure a lot of people down in L.A. are worried sick about you. PETE Yeah? I'm sure a lot more people down in L.A. want a piece of me. He turns to her. PETE This Luke was a pretty good guy, wasn't he? ADELE (wistful smile) Oh, yes. Yes, he was. PETE Well... let me tell you, I'm not Luke. I know who I am now, and you don't. And... I don't like me very much. ADELE (changing the subject) You know, it's going to take me a while to get used to calling you Pete. (she takes it for a spin) Pete. Pete. It's a nice name. PETE Thanks, I like it. I think. Pause. PETE Delly, I want to do the right thing. Pete can't believe he just said that -- but he did. ADELE I believe you. PETE The truth is, I'm a lot of things, but communist isn't one of them. ADELE But if you only went to one meeting, why does anyone care? Besides, why should it even matter if you were a communist? PETE Come on, Delly, look at the country today. We're fighting communists in Korea, we're paranoid about the Russians, we've got this thing with the Rosenbergs and the atomic bomb... (bitterly) You think they want "suspected communists" entertaining the American public with party propaganda like, gosh I don't know, "Sand Pirates of the Sahara?" ADELE Forget about all that. You want to do the right thing? Then defend your name. If someone says something about you that's untrue, you have to stand up and say so. I know the law, and the law's on your side. Beat. PETE What about you, Delly? ADELE I am, too. Pete smiles and puts his arms around her. PETE You'll stand by me? ADELE Whatever happens. They kiss, and we DISSOLVE TO: EXT. RORY'S GAS STATION - MORNING There's a thick bank of coastal fog just down the road, obscuring any view of the ocean a mile away. It's deadly quiet as gas station owner RORY, late 60s, pulls up and parks his Model A truck. He gets out, and an big old German Shepherd, LOTTIE, jumps out of the truck bed. Rory moves to the door, and is about to put his key in the lock, when Lottie starts whining, looking toward the fog bank and sniffing the air expectantly. RORY Whatsit, girl? He stops -- he hears something, too -- a LOW RUMBLE. Lottie starts BARKING. The RUMBLE is getting LOUDER. Rory's getting worried. He looks at THE FOG BANK. It's starting to GLOW from within. Lottie's barking gets LOUDER and angrier. Suddenly, a large black car punches out of the fog bank and tears down the road. It's followed by another, and another -- and perhaps a dozen more cars and trucks, all heading hell-bent-for-leather toward the town. Rory moves toward Lottie, trying to quiet her as the cars fly past the station. RORY Shhhhh. I know, Lottie. This time, I thought it was the Martians for sure. CUT TO: EXT. COMMERCE STREET - DAY The place is bedlam, overflowing with REPORTERS, NEWSREEL CAMERA CREWS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, you name it. A RADIO CREW is broadcasting in front of Mabel's Diner. The REPORTER is on-the-air, hugging his microphone, speaking above the din. Mabel stands next to him, his hand on her shoulder. Bob Leffert stands nearby, grim. REPORTER I'm here with Mabel Lanier, the owner of the diner here on Commerce Street where Appleton often took meals. Mrs. Lanier, tell me, what are your thoughts about having such a celebrated suspected communist in your midst all this time? MABEL Well, its kinds hard to believe, 'cause Luke -- I mean Peter -- is such a... I mean, since he's been back, I've never seen the town so happy and all. It's like he gave us some... I don't know... some hope, I guess. REPORTER What she's referring to folks, is yet another bizarre twist in this story. Not only is Appleton alive, but he's been suffering from amnesia and living here in Lawson, where, due to a startling resemblance, everyone in town for the last three months has taken him for one of Lawson's dead war heroes, Albert Trumbo... MABEL (a catch in her voice) Luke. We always called him Luke. Mabel glances at Bob, who lowers his head. CUT TO: INT. BIJOU OFFICE - DAY Pete is at the desk, staring into space. Adele leans against the radiator behind him. The silence in the room is thick. Across the desk from Pete sits Leo Kubelsky. LEO The FBI can't arrest you, because you haven't done anything wrong. PETE Well, that's a relief. I understand they usually don't let that stop them. LEO However... you're gonna be subpoenaed to testify before the Un-American Activities Committee when they open hearings in Los Angeles. Now, if you play ball and tell them what they want to hear, they'll clear you. PETE And I won't be a communist anymore. LEO Exactly. PETE So it doesn't make any difference that I'm not one now, and have never been one. Leo stands and walks to the window. LEO Kid, don't get philosophical with me. This is a game, but it's not your game. You play by their rules, or they'll ruin you. And they have the power to do it. ADELE Doesn't it bother anyone that this is a perversion of democracy? Leo turns to her and smiles. His tone is charmingly matter- of-factly, not condescending in the least. LEO Darling, don't kid yourself. We don't have a "democracy" in this country. The Declaration of Independence? The Constitution? These are pieces of paper with signatures on 'em. And you know what a piece of paper with a signature is? It's a contract. And you know what a contract is? Something that can be re-negotiated at any time. It just so happens that the House Un-American Activities Committee is re- negotiating the contract this time around. Leo takes out a cigarette, lights it. LEO Next time, it might be the FBI. The time after that, it might be the President. But it'll always be someone. Count on it. PETE That's not the country Luke fought for. LEO Lest we forget, Peter, your own military career was somewhat less illustrious than Luke's. PETE It's wrong, Leo. LEO Peter, don't let that stop you all of a sudden. Leo pulls a folded paper from his coat pocket and hands it to Pete. LEO Here. When you're called, read this to them. Just tell the bastards what they want to hear, and we can all get on with our lives. There's a knock at the door. Leo opens it. Standing there is a small MAN wearing a serious suit and an even more serious fedora. THE MAN Peter Appleton? PETE (standing) You found him. The Man reaches into his breast pocket and withdraws a blue backed folded document, which he hands to Pete. As he does, a FLASH lights the room. At the door, a pair of PHOTOGRAPHERS and a NEWSREEL CAMERAMAN are jockeying for position. Pete rolls his eyes. THE MAN Peter Appleton, you are hereby subpoenaed to appear as a witness before a special session of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. You are to appear in Los Angeles, California, at the Biltmore Hotel, at the date and time specified herein. Pete takes the subpoena. There's an awkward moment, as the newsreel camera is still rolling. Pete cradles the subpoena like an Oscar statuette and smiles into the lens. PETE ("on") This is a great honor. I'll treasure this always. Thank you. CUT TO: THE SUBPOENA in a partially-packed suitcase. WIDER INT. PETE'S BEDROOM - DAY Pete is sitting in a chair, reading the statement Leo gave him. PETE (softly) "I, Peter Appleton, do hereby renounce my membership in the American Communist Party, and by way of purging myself of my indiscretion, wish to provide the following names of fellow members to this committee, so that those persons may have the opportunity to do as I have done..." He scans down the page. It's a long list. PETE Jesus... He HEARS a "meow!" And turns to look. CAT is standing in the bedroom doorway. He folds up and pockets the list. PETE Old Tim? After a moment, Old Tim appears in the doorway, wringing his knit cap in his hands. OLD TIM Can I... Can I t-t-talk to you? PETE Sure. Come on in. I was just packing. Pete stands, gestures Old Tim to the chair, as he sits on the bed. PETE Please, sit. OLD TIM Thanks. He sits. Pause. OLD TIM They'll come back, you know. They'll all c-c-come back. PETE The customers? I don't know... OLD TIM They will. They w-w-will. Pete turns to Old Tim, fixes him in the eye. PETE Tim, I have to tell you something. OLD TIM Oh. PETE It's about me. OLD TIM Oh. Pause, as Pete gathers courage and tries to find the words. PETE I'm... I'm not Luke. Luke is dead. He died in the war. He's not coming back, and I'm not him. I don't even belong here. This whole thing started out as an accident, and that's all it is. An accident. OLD TIM Oh... PETE My name isn't Luke. It's Peter. Peter Appleton. Old Tim stands and looks askance at Pete. Pause. OLD TIM Did you think I didn't kn-kn-know that? PETE (taken aback) I thought you... OLD TIM I know more than you give me c-c- credit, that's for sure. Don't you see, it don't m-m-matter who you are? All that matters is what you g-g-gave us. And you can't take that away now. You're wrong, Peter Appleton. You do belong here. He leans down to Pete. OLD TIM You hafta give us back the B-B- Bijou. Old Tim straightens up, nods at Pete. Then, silently, he picks up Cat and exits. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. LAWSON PASSENGER DEPOT - DAY Pete and Adele walk slowly down the platform toward the waiting train. ADELE You've got everything? PETE Yeah. Except a chance in hell of coming out of this intact. ADELE You'll be fine. No matter what Leo Kubelsky says, you've got a hundred and seventy-five years of American law on your side. Don't forget that. PETE I wish you were coming with me. ADELE And who's gonna run the projector until you get back? Mrs. Terwilliger? PETE Maybe we could train Cat to run the projector. You know, a system of scratching posts, and gears, and levers... They both smile as the train's HORN blows. CONDUCTOR Board! Pete picks up his suitcase and they walk toward the passenger compartment. ADELE Did you bring along something to read? PETE Damn... Adele pulls a pocket-sized leather-bound book out of her purse and hands it to Pete. ADELE I didn't think so. Here. This is mine, you can borrow it. INSERT - THE BOOK Well-worn and scuffed, nevertheless the title is clear: CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES ANNOTATED EDITION Pete looks at the book, then at Adele. ADELE Not exactly light reading, I know. Believe it or not, I've read this since high school, and it got me all the way through law school. Besides, there's something in there that'll help you. You won't have to get very far, it's near the beginning. PETE (clearly touched) Delly... thanks, thank you. I'll take good care of this. ADELE Just remember two things. First, the law is a living thing. It made us free and it keeps us free. Sometimes it gets twisted around by people for their own purposes. Sometimes it makes mistakes, sometimes big mistakes. But in the end, the law prevails for the just. Sometimes, it takes a while. PETE Okay. What's the second thing? She thinks for a moment. She needs the right words. ADELE I'll be here... if you come back. The train pulls out. Adele and Pete exchange waves as we DISSOLVE TO: INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM (LOS ANGELES) - DAY The House Committee on Un-American Activities has effectively taken over the Grand Ballroom of this magnificent hotel, and the joint is packed to the rafters. Members of the AUDIENCE crane their necks to see out into the hallway, from where the witnesses will be entering. The COMMITTEE MEMBERS are seated at their dais, brightly lit by the dozens of newsreel and TV lights. Elvin Clyde is seated at the far right. Dead center of the dais is the Chairman, CONGRESSMAN T. JOHNSTON DOYLE of Wisconsin, a husky man in his late 50s. He SLAMS his gavel down several times and the room goes quiet -- the talking stops, and the cameras start whirring. INT. LARDNER LIVING ROOM - DAY Adele's in a chair, eyes glues to the TV set. Mrs. Terwilliger and Old Tim sit on the couch, watching attentively. Doc Lardner's in a straight-backed chair at a jaunty angle to the set, holding the rabbit ears uncomfortably high aloft. ADELE That's perfect, Dad. DOYLE (ON TV) The committee and the chamber will come to order. Lardner forces a smile at Mrs. Terwilliger and Old Tim. LARDNER (sweating and wincing) This television's a grand little invention, isn't it? INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY DOYLE The agenda for this morning's special session of the House Committee on Un-American Activities shows a number of witnesses, and I'd like to admonish those that are here to view the testimony of our first witness to keep order at all times, or this chamber will be closed. I'm referring especially to the ladies and gentlemen of the press. I hope that's clear. Beat. Doyle scans the room. He clearly means business. DOYLE Call Peter Appleton. All eyes and cameras swing toward the door. ON PETE As he enters the chamber, dozens of FLASHBULBS fire as every eye and every camera follows him silently to his seat. As he sits, he glances behind him. PETE'S POV Leo Kubelsky is sitting in the front row of spectators. He smiles and nods at Pete. Pete doesn't acknowledge him, and turns back. DOYLE The witness will please stand and raise his right hand. Pete does as instructed. DOYLE Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give before this committee of the United States House of Representatives will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? PETE I do. DOYLE Be seated and state your full name and place of residence for the record. PETE Peter Kenneth Appleton. Hollywood, California. DOYLE The chair notes that you are appearing without the benefit of counsel today, Mr. Appleton. We certainly hope this means that you intend to be fully forthcoming with this committee? PETE (faint smile) I'll do my best, Mr. Chairman. DOYLE Now, we're informed that you have a statement you'd like to read, is that correct? PETE (innocently) A statement? Doyle and Clyde exchange glances. DOYLE Yes. A prepared statement. PETE Um... no. I don't have a statement at this time. Pete turns in his chair and winks at Leo. Leo rolls his eyes and shakes his head. INT. LARDNER LIVING ROOM - DAY Adele breathes a sigh of relief. MRS. TERWILLIGER I think he's doing very well, so far. ADELE They haven't called out the dogs yet. DOYLE (ON TV) Very well then, the questions will be asked by the Majority Counsel, Mr. Clyde. The TV shot swings to see Elvin Clyde. He puts on his glasses and fixes Pete with an oily grin. ADELE I spoke too soon. CLYDE (ON TV) Thank you Mr. Chairman, and thank you Mr. Appleton, for appearing today. INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY CLYDE Mr. Appleton, you mention that your home is Hollywood, California. But isn't it true that for the last several months, you've made your home in a town called Lawson, California? PETE Sir, that is true. CLYDE Mr. Appleton, do you know an "Albert Lucas Trumbo?" PETE Luke Trumbo? We never met. But I'd like to think I know him. CLYDE Is that because you were masquerading as Luke Trumbo while you were in Lawson? PETE Mr. Clyde you're twisting things around. I wasn't masquerading. Luke Trumbo... Luke was a good man who gave his life for his country. I just... happen to look a little bit like him. That's all. CLYDE (referring to notes) Yes, I see that Private Trumbo was reported missing in action and is presumed dead. I also see that you were posted stateside during the war. Fort Dix? PETE Yes, sir. CLYDE Well, I'm sure we're all glad to see you came through it all right. A few spectators titter. INT. MABEL'S DINER - DAY Mabel and Bob listen to the hearing on a radio in the packed diner. CLYDE (ON RADIO) Now, I see that you've been running a movie theater in Lawson called "The Bijou," is that also true? PETE (ON RADIO) Yes sir. But I didn't go to Lawson to run The Bijou, that was... that was something that just happened. You see, I was involved in an accident in Lawson, and I spent some time recovering there. INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY Clyde holds up copies of the Los Angeles Examiner and Los Angeles Times with Pete's picture on the front page. CLYDE Anyone who reads the newspaper is quite familiar with your... "accident," Mr. Appleton. An accident which, conveniently, came hard upon your dismissal from United Pictures. Tell us, this "accident" of yours, are we given to understand that it affected your memory? PETE Yes. CLYDE And what is the state of your memory now? Beat. Pete smiles. PETE I'm sorry, what was the question? The audience LAUGHS. Clyde nods at Pete, forces a tight smile. CLYDE We... appreciate... your little note of levity, Mr. Appleton, but this is a very serious matter, and it merits your fullest attention. (back to business) That state of your memory now, Mr. Appleton? INT. WYATT'S HARDWARE - DAY Avery Wyatt listens to the hearing on a store radio. Spencer comes around the paint aisle, wiping his hands on his apron. He moves to the radio and listens solemnly. PETE (ON RADIO) Sir, are you referring to the fact that I was suffering from amnesia, and I've since recovered my memory? INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY CLYDE (impatient) I'm interested in knowing if you remember things you did in your past, or if they've been conveniently "blotted out" as a result of your "accident." PETE (smiling) Mr. Clyde, I remember everything. CLYDE Good. Good. (holds up a piece of paper) Now, I hold in my hand a photostatic copy of the attendance roster for the "Bread Instead of Bullets Club" of the University of California, Los Angeles, dated October 11, 1935. A copy of this paper is before you, Mr. Appleton. Do you recognize it? Pete looks on the table and finds the roster. He's surprised to see it. PETE Yes... yes, I do. CLYDE Referring to line thirty-seven of the document, does your printed name and signature appear there? PETE Yes it does. CLYDE Mr. Appleton, please tell this committee what was the nature and purpose of the "Bread Instead of Bullets Club?" PETE Mr. Clyde, do you want to know what I knew then, or do you want to know what I know now? They're two different things? CLYDE Start with what you knew then. PETE Well, I'd direct the attention of counsel and committee to line thirty-six of the document, and the name printed and signed there. CLYDE We see it. For the record, it reads "Lucille Angstrom." What's the point of this? PETE Well, that's what I knew then. Or who I knew, I should say. You see, I was trying to court Miss Angstrom. I went to the meeting to impress her. CLYDE (grinning) Are you asking this committee to believe that you attended a meeting of a communist party front organization in order to impress a girl? PETE (slyly) Well, if you'd seen Miss Angstrom... The audience LAUGHS. Doyle BANGS his gavel. PETE You asked for the truth. That's the truth. I had no idea what the meeting was about. I just sat through it so I could be near her. I'm sure even a Majority Counsel like yourself is familiar with the concept of impressing a girl. The audience LAUGHS. Clyde shoots a look at Doyle, who BANGS his gavel. DOYLE Chamber will come to order. Clyde shuffles some papers and looks back at Pete. CLYDE All right, Mr. Appleton. That was what you knew then. What do you know now? PETE (takes a deep breath) Well, I know that I lost my job because of one meeting I went to when I was a kid in college. I know that I've been branded a communist, which I'm not, but even if I was, it shouldn't matter, or what do we have a Bill Of Rights for? CLYDE Mr. Chairman, the witness is being non-responsive... A few members of the audience APPLAUD. As Pete speaks, their numbers grow. PETE (passionately) I know that a lot of good, honest, decent people, people that I consider my true friends, feel betrayed by me, not because of who and what I am, but because of what you say I am! I know that I... Doyle BANGS his gavel several times. Pete stops and the room falls quiet. DOYLE (emphatically) Mr. Appleton, you will respond to the questions of this committee without elaboration or speechmaking, or the chair will find you in Contempt Of Congress. You will not be warned again, is that clear? (he lets this sink in, then) Continue, Mr. Clyde. CLYDE (looking down at his desk) Mr. Appleton... Clyde takes a long pause for effect, then looks up at Pete. CLYDE Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the communist party? PETE No, sir. CLYDE (holding up the roster) Are you refuting this evidence and your previous testimony? PETE I'm not refuting anything. CLYDE Yet you're contradicting yourself. You earlier testified that you attended a meeting of a communist party-run organization, yet you just said, under oath, that you were not now -- nor ever -- a member of the communist party. PETE That's not a contradiction at all, sir. I went to the meeting, but I didn't go as a member. CLYDE Well, then, as what did you go? Beat. Pete smiles. PETE I'm a little hesitant to say. DOYLE The witness need not be hesitant to say anything before this committee, as long as it's the truth. Pete shifts in his chair, then leans into the microphone. PETE Well, I went as... a horny young man. The chamber erupts in LAUGHTER. Even the other COMMITTEE MEMBERS are laughing, except Clyde and Doyle, who BANGS his gavel vigorously. INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE - DAY Sheriff Eldridge and Daley Thornhill listen to the hearing on the radio. They are both laughing at Pete's last comment. ELDRIDGE Damn, he don't wanna spar with these boys. They'll eat him alive. INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY The room settles. Doyle wags his finger accusingly at Pete. DOYLE (angry) Mr. Appleton, you are making light of a legally constituted committee of the United States Congress. Believe you me, you do not want to incur our wrath. PETE (matter-of-factly) I'm sorry, sir, I have no intention of making light of this committee. And I have no intention of incurring your wrath, Mr. Chairman. I have a few friends who have already incurred your wrath. They've sent me letters from jail. CLYDE (interrupting) Mr. Chairman! Mr. Chairman, the witness is making another speech. I would ask that Mr. Appleton be admonished... DOYLE (indifferent) Mr. Appleton, there is no question before you at this time, but I'm sure Mr. Clyde has plenty more prepared, and if you'd like to either answer them or plead the Fifth Amendment, we can at least get on with the business of this committee. INT. LARDNER LIVING ROOM - DAY Adele moves to within inches of the TV screen. ADELE Tell them Pete. Tell them... PETE (ON TV) (wrestling with this) Mr. Chairman, as I understand it, the Fifth Amendment pertains to self-incrimination, and I can't incriminate myself because I've done nothing wrong. Besides, incrimination is why you have Mr. Clyde working for you. CLYDE (ON TV) Mr. Chairman... INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY Clyde is still protesting, but Doyle waves him off. DOYLE Well then, Mr. Appleton, just what is your intention? Pete's sweating under the lights. He's bluffed his last bluff, and he's on the ropes. He reaches into his pocket... and takes out the prepared statement. INT. LARDNER LIVING ROOM - DAY PETE (ON TV) I... Mr. Chairman, I have a prepared statement I'd like to read... ADELE Her hand goes to her mouth. ADELE Oh, Pete. No... INT. BILTMORE HOTEL GRAND BALLROOM - DAY DOYLE Go ahead, Mr. Appleton. PETE (slowly reading) "I, Peter Appleton, do hereby..." He stops suddenly. Pause. DOYLE Mr. Appleton? Mr. Appleton? PETE I... I need a drink of water. DOYLE Go ahead, son. Pete fills a glass from the pitcher. Nervously, he spills a bit, and is splashes onto his coat. As some of the spectators chuckle, Pete brushes the water off. He reaches into his pocket, and pulls out Adele's copy of the constitution. The cover is wet. He wipes it off and sets it down on the table. He takes a sip of water. Looks at the book. Picks it up. Pete's terrified, but in control. He speaks slowly -- he's making this up and thinking it out as he goes. PETE Mr. Chairman... there's... another Amendment... that I'd like to invoke at this time, but it's not the Fifth Amendment. I wonder if you're familiar with it. DOYLE Mr. Appleton, you will... He opens the book and reads, tentatively at first. PETE "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Pause. Silence in the room. ADELE She's smiling at the TV. Her eyes are filled with tears. PETE He looks up at Chairman Doyle. Now fully confident. PETE That's the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman. It's the backbone of this nation. It's everything that gives us the potential to be right and good and just -- if only we'd live up to that potential. It's what gives me the right to sit in this chair and say my piece before this committee without fear. It's the most important part of the contract that every citizen has with this country. And even though this contract... (he holds up the book) ... the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- even though they're just pieces of paper with signatures on them -- they're the only contracts we have that are most definitely not subject to renegotiation. Not by you, Mr. Chairman, not by you, Mr. Clyde, not by any member of this committee -- or anyone else -- ever. Pin-drop silence in the room. Pete scans the faces of the panel. All betray anger. ON LEO He can't help but smile and nod appreciatively. PETE And when you get right down to it, that's really all I have to say to this committee. Good morning. And with that, Pete closes the book, picks up the prepared statement, rips it up, pushes back his chair, stands and walks toward the door. The cameras swing with him, and FLASHBULBS fire like machine guns. Doyle BANGS his gavel insistently. DOYLE The witness will resume his seat! Did you hear me?! You are not excused, Mr. Appleton! And then, slowly, APPLAUSE builds in the chamber, reaching a crescendo as Pete reaches the door and exits. CLYDE Mr. Chairman! Mr. Chairman...! DISSOLVE TO: EXT. BILTMORE HOTEL - DAY As Pete exits the hotel, a DOZEN REPORTERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS have him completely surrounded. FLASHBULBS pop. He's taken aback, flustered. FIRST REPORTER (seeing Pete) There he is! SECOND REPORTER Pete! Are you going back to writing pictures? PETE I don't know... THIRD REPORTER You a commie, Pete? PETE No, of course not... SECOND REPORTER What about the girl, Pete? You gonna marry her? Is she coming to Hollywood, or are you... PETE Look, fellas, I don't have anything to say... Pete is trapped in the crowd, when he feels a hand on his shoulder. LEO spins him around, and pushes him through the crowd toward the curb. LEO Come on, kid. At the curb is a black Cadillac limousine. Leo hauls open the back door and pushes Pete in, before climbing in himself. The limo drives away, as the reporters give chase. INT. LIMO (MOVING) - DAY Leo and Pete sit side-by-side in silence for a moment. Leo breaks it. LEO That was quite a show you gave them today. We shoulda sold tickets. PETE I'm not sorry for what I said. LEO No, of course not, why should you be sorry? You're the new Peter Appleton. You exercised your rights as a solid citizen, first amendment, freedom of speech, all that. Very noble. They sit in silence again for a moment until Leo reaches into his pocket and withdraws a gold cigarette case, which he opens and offers to Pete. LEO Cigarette? PETE No thanks. Leo takes one for himself and lights up. Pete takes off his hat and nervously scratches his head. LEO When'd you quit smoking? PETE Luke didn't smoke. LEO Oh, I see. But you're not Luke. You're Peter Appleton, the picture writer. PETE (laughs) Not any more. LEO Why not? PETE Leo, you were in there, you saw what I did. You think they're gonna let me write pictures? Hell, they're probably gonna throw my ass in jail. LEO (with a smile) Not at all. PETE Besides, I don't even know if I want to write anymore. LEO (snickering) What, you're going to go back to that hick town and run the projector and marry the doctor's daughter? But before Pete can answer... LEO Peter, I'm an agent. I buy lunches and get deals made for guys like you. That's what I do. You're a writer. You write pictures. That's what you do. And trust me, you'll be back doing it again tomorrow morning. PETE What do you mean? LEO Kid, you gave them what they wanted. This committee, it feeds on names. The more names, the better. But for some high-profile witnesses, like yourself, any name will do. PETE Leo, I didn't give them the names. I wouldn't do that. LEO What, all of a sudden, "Lucille Angstrom" isn't a name? Pete freezes. He slowly turns to Leo. PETE (warily) Her name was right there in front of them. They gave it to me, I didn't give it to them. LEO Well, that's not what they think. PETE Leo, she was... she was a girl I knew in college... LEO You should keep track of your old school chums. Turns out she eventually joined the communist party. (takes a puff) On top of which, she's Lucy Angstrom Hirschfeld now, and she happens to be a writer for "Studio One" on CBS. PETE (realization dawning) Oh god, oh, god, no, I... LEO So, our lawyers had a talk with the Committee's lawyers. That Elvin Clyde fella won't be too happy about it, but we cut a deal. They cleared you -- and they're gonna thank you publicly for your testimony purging yourself. PETE Thank me publicly? For what? For ruining this woman's life? LEO (dismissive) Climb down off your cross. They already knew about her. (off his look) She was subpoenaed six months ago! Who the hell do you think named you? Pete is dumbstruck. He slumps in his seat, ashen. LEO (he couldn't be happier) All of which means... "Ashes To Ashes" is gonna be made, and you've got your job back. (takes a puff) Congratulations, kid. Pete's breathing shallowly, on the verge of tears or screaming -- or both. EXT. PETE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY The limo pulls up, and Leo opens the door. Pete vacantly grabs his suitcase and gets out. Leo shuts the door and calls after him, waving Pete's hat. LEO Peter! Your hat! Pete comes back and takes his hat. Leo grabs his hand. LEO I was lookin' out for you all the time, kid. You did good. I'm real proud of you. (to the driver) Okay, let's go. (to Pete) Get some rest, kid! As the limo pulls away, we CUT TO: INT. PETE'S APARTMENT (L.A.) - DAY The door opens, revealing the Super, followed by a sullen Pete, carrying his suitcases and hat. He sets them down and goes to the coffee table, where his boxes of belongings from the studio have been gathering dust these last three months. SUPER (handing him a key) Here's a new key for ya. That Mr. Kubelsky, he's got you paid up through this month. You got one swell friend there. The Super moves to the door and turns back. SUPER Good to have you back, Pete. He exits as Pete reaches into one of the boxes and pulls out the tin-toy fire truck. Distractedly, Pete puts the toy back in the box and replies too late: PETE Thanks... He sets his suitcase down and takes off his coat. As he does, Adele's copy of the Constitution slips out of his coat pocket and falls open to the floor. Pete picks it up and absently turns it over -- and the inscription inside the front cover catches his eye: TO DELLY, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE ANSWERS. LOVE, LUKE Pete closes the book. He thinks for a moment, then glances over at the phone. He picks it up and dials "0." PETE Western Union, please. CUT TO: EXT. TRAIN (MOVING) - DAY Our view of the moving train is from outside, as it speeds up the spectacular coastline north of Santa Barbara. Looking into one of the train's windows, we SEE Pete sitting, staring out at the passing scenery. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) Dear Adele, on my way back to Lawson STOP. That is, if they'll have me STOP. Train arrives four p.m. STOP. Hope you can be there STOP. Pete. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. LAWSON PASSENGER DEPOT - LATE AFTERNOON The train is just pulling in to Lawson. As it SHUDDERS to a halt, the door of the passenger compartment opens and Pete steps out -- looks -- and his jaw drops open... HIS POV The ENTIRE TOWN has turned out. They're all there, smiling broadly. A large, hand-lettered banner reads: WELCOME HOME PETE! LAWSON'S FAVORITE SON A CHEER goes up from the crowd, breaking the silence. Pete descends from the train and moves into the throng. The first two people he encounters are Bob Leffert and Mabel Lanier. bob sticks out his good hand and Pete takes it, both smiling as they shake hands vigorously. BOB Luke... um, I mean, Pete, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have had the nerve to ask this fine woman to marry me. Mabel's mouth drops open. PETE Bob, congratulations! When'd you ask her? MABEL Holy moley! Just now! (to Bob) Yes, Bob! Yes! As Mabel kisses Bob for all she's worth, Pete continues into the crowd, where he's kissed, embraced, patted on the back. ADELE is at the back of the crowd, working her way to the front. She rushes into Pete's arms, and they kiss. Another CHEER goes up. PETE I see you got the telegram. ADELE Pete, I'm so sorry about what they did to you. I didn't think you'd come back, I thought you'd want to write again... PETE Dell, I can't write unless I'm happy, and I can't be happy unless I'm here -- and with you. (grabs her shoulders) This is me, Delly. Pete Appleton. And I love you! ADELE (tears in her eyes) And (hic!) I love you, Pete! They kiss again. Pete pulls away and looks at his watch. PETE (smiling) C'mon, Dell, we gotta go. Showtime in fifteen minutes. The train whistle BLOWS as it slowly pulls out of the station. PETE'S NARRATION (V.O.) "Happily ever after" is a relative term, folks. My world is much smaller now, and my dreams are very different than they were. But I have something now that I never had before: I have the magic. And it's for sale at the Bijou, every day of the year. All you need is the price of a ticket. We BOOM UP to see Pete and Adele moving into and being enveloped by the crowd. Spencer Wyatt's band is assembled in front of the depot office, and they kick into some up-tempo boogie-woogie as we move up and away -- still in the same shot -- moving over the town, settling down again to grab a shot of the Bijou's marquee. The neon chaser lights POP ON, illuminating the sign, which reads: THE END Then, the letters on the marquee START SHAKING. We BOOM UP TO THE TOP OF THE THEATER, and the "BIJOU" sign... ... as the train RUMBLES BY behind the theater... ... and the "J" teeters loose and swings by a thread... ... and we IRIS DOWN ON IT AND... CUT TO BLACK.