Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Fleischmann's Yeast Hour
Show: The Song of the Whip
Date: Mar 28 1935

CAST:
HOST, Rudy Vallee
ANNOUNCER, Graham McNamee
CAPTAIN JONES, deep bass voice
WILSON
BOSUN
MATE
plus SHIP'S CREW AND SLAVES

HOST:

... We present Hollywood visitor Noah Beery, stopping over in New York on his way to make a picture for Gaumont-British. A veteran of the movies' earliest years, Mr. Beery has probably played more villains than any other living actor -- notably in "The Sea Wolf," "Beau Geste" and "Golden Dawn." He plays another villain for us tonight in a melodrama with music by Otto Harbach and Emmerich Kalman. Noah Beery in "The Song of the Whip."

SFX:

APPLAUSE BEHIND--

MUSIC:

INTRODUCTION ... RHYTHMIC & AFRICAN ... THEN IN BG, FADES OUT BY [X]

ANNOUNCER:

The year is Eighteen Twenty. The place, somewhere in the south Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Ten days out of Calabar, bound for San Domingo, with a cargo of black ivory, the slave ship "Golden Mercy" plows through a sullen sea into a hot, red sunset. Below deck, four hundred black men lie in chains. In the cabin, Captain Jones of the "Mercy" takes his ease -- and his rum. On the table before him is a long, black snake whip. [X] He drains a pewter mug, picks up the whip, caresses it with drunken affection --- and sings.

MUSIC:

FOR SONG, "THE WHIP" (ORIGINALLY FROM THE 1927 OPERETTA "GOLDEN DAWN")

JONES:

(SINGS) Listen, little whip,
While you're in my grip,
While I've got an arm with strength left to swing you,
You're a friend to me,
You can make me be
Way above the trash I flail when I sling you.
I don't need no brains,
I can hold the reins,
Long as I got you to give them pains!

They hear me crack my whip and they crawl!
'Cause when I crack my whip, that's my call!

And in this old hell ship out of Africa
I am the big boss man of them all!

They all bow down to me, white or black!
They got to bend their knee, break their back!

And when I want a thing, then I get that thing
'Cause in this whole hell-hole, I'm king!
(LAUGHS MANIACALLY, CONTINUES IN BG)

MUSIC:

SONG ENDS

SOUND:

KNOCK AT CABIN DOOR

JONES:

(STOPS LAUGHING, CALLS) Come in! Come in!

SOUND:

CABIN DOOR OPENS

JONES:

Oh, it's you, mister, eh? Well, what do you want?

WILSON:

(MEEK) Cap'n Jones, sir?

JONES:

(IMPATIENT) Well, well, well, well, man?

WILSON:

Four bells, sir. Afternoon watch.

JONES:

I can hear, man. Come on now. What's eatin' ya? Spit it out, mate!

WILSON:

There's trouble forward, sir -- the men are sayin'. (BOLDER, URGENT) Now, look here, Cap'n, discipline is discipline and blacks are blacks, but I'm thinkin' you're usin' your whip a bit too freely on the seamen.

JONES:

Aye?! Why, listen, mister -- that sewer of bilge rats ya call the crew needs a whip -- the same as them black devils down below! This whip got us to Africa! It got us our cargo! And, by the teeth of the devil, it'll take us on into port!

WILSON:

I'm only tellin' you, sir, what I've heard. The men are restless. They - they complain of the food and the whip. And there's a whisper goin' around about sickness among the blacks. We've gotta be careful, sir.

JONES:

Careful?! Me?! Aw, careful o' what? Why, what can they do? (WITH DISGUST) Ah, you're just like all the rest of 'em, mister. You're scared. The white feather and your tremblin' gizzard! (LAUGHS INSANELY) Aw, go on! Get out!

WILSON:

Very well, sir. But, with your permission, I'll - I'll put a guard I can trust on the powder magazine aft deck. (FALTERS, WEAK) I think that's--

JONES:

Now what's wrong, mister? Why - why, you're pale. You're - you're as pale as death.

WILSON:

I - I'm feelin' a bit--

JONES:

(CALLS) Hey, bosun! Hey, bosun! Come in here! Lively!

SOUND:

CABIN DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS DURING ABOVE

BOSUN:

Aye, sir?

JONES:

Fetch Mr. Wilson here to his cabin. He's sick! [See if he ever gets worse or if the wind turns.?] And tell that boy to bring me some more rum!

BOSUN:

Aye, aye, sir.

SOUND:

CABIN DOOR OPENS

JONES:

Yeah, you'll be feeling fine in the morning, mister. Well, it's only your liver or maybe too many of them wenches, eh? (LAUGHS HEARTILY) Yeah, now don't be scared, matey. Me and my whip'll take you home safe as a louse in your grandfather's beard! (LAUGHS CRAZILY)

SOUND:

WILSON AND BOSUN EXIT OUT THE CABIN DOOR WHICH SHUTS

BOSUN:

(COMFORTING, TO WILSON) Ol' wind sure does it, sir. Will ya step down the companionway? (ALARMED) Here, here, Wilson-- (YELLS SHARPLY) Mate! Mate!

MATE:

(OFF) Hello, bosun!

BOSUN:

Lend a hand here!

MATE:

(CLOSER) What's the matter, bosun?

BOSUN:

Wilson's fainted dead away.

MATE:

'Ere, 'old 'is 'ead up. (CONFUSED) He's - he's not-- Wait!

BOSUN:

What's ailin' ya, sailor?

MATE:

Look! Look at his face!

BOSUN:

Cor blimey. He's - he's dead.

MATE:

Look! Look at those marks on his skin! See 'em?! There! Look!

BOSUN:

Mother of God! It's the plague! (BEAT, SLOWLY) Well, what will we do?

MATE:

Only one thing to do. Take to the boats, set fire to the ship and blow 'er to 'ell! Are you with us, bosun?

BOSUN:

What about the blacks? And him -- Captain Jones?

MATE:

Let 'em burn. Aye, and let him burn, too -- along with his blasted whip! Come along! Let's stow away. We're right in the trade lanes and we'll be picked up inside of a day or two. Come on now!

BIZ:

MURMUR OF CREW, WHICH FADES OUT FOR--

SOUND:

A TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

JONES:

(SINGS DRUNKENLY, NO MUSIC) They hear me crack my whip and they crawl! (LAUGHS GOOFILY, SINGS) 'Cause when I crack my whip, that's my call! (STOPS SINGING, CALLS) Hey, boy?! Boy, more rum! (NO RESPONSE) Hey, boy! Aw, where the devil is that blasted kid? If I find him on deck, I'll tear his hide off!

SOUND:

CABIN DOOR OPENS

JONES:

(CALLS) Boy?! Hey!

BIZ:

SLAVES BELOW MOAN AND GROAN EERILY ... CONTINUES IN BG, SLOWLY GROWING LOUDER

JONES:

(TO HIMSELF) What's that? (REALIZES) Oh! (LAUGHS) That's it! Groan, you black devils! Groan! You hear that?! Ah, you'll scream before I'm through with ya!

SOUND:

CRACK OF THE WHIP! THEN REPEATEDLY BEHIND NEXT LINE OR TWO--

JONES:

This is better than any mumbo-jumbo of any of your black heathen jungle gods! Yeah! You can hear this god! And you can feel him, too! (LAUGHS, CALLS) Hey, bosun?! (TO HIMSELF) What's that at the wheel--? Where's the man at the wheel? Why, I'm going to beat the living-- Smoke? Smoke comin' up from the hold? That's funny. Fire? (YELLS) All hands on deck! Rout out, you bloody sots! All hands! (TO HIMSELF) Where--? Where the devil is everybody?

BIZ:

SLAVES' MOANS TURN TO SCREAMS AS FIRE SPREADS DURING FOLLOWING--

SOUND:

CRACKLE OF FLAMES ... CONTINUES IN BG

JONES:

(STUNNED, TO HIMSELF) The boats! They're gone. Why, they've abandoned ship. (YELLS) Ah, ya yellow-bellied rats! Abandoned ship, eh?! (TO HIMSELF, REALIZES) Yeah. Abandoned ship and ain't I--? All alone here. (YELLS, FURIOUS) Ah, burn, ya black sons of Belial! Burn! Now you'll all burn! As soon as that fire reaches that bulkhead-- As soon as a spark touches off that powder magazine-- Well, you think you left me here to die, eh?! You think you can trap me, eh?! Well, I'll show you, you swine!

BIZ:

SLAVES FALL SILENT

SOUND:

ROAR AND CRACKLE OF FLAMES GROWS LOUDER ... CONTINUES IN BG

JONES:

(TO HIMSELF) Ah, I'll show you, you swine. You can't kill me. Fire won't burn me. Not while I have my whip! That's my luck! (LAUGHS HYSTERICALLY) Stay back there, fire. Stay back! Lick me. Lick me, if you dare! (LAUGHS DEMENTEDLY) Ah, you touch me and I'll beat ya! I'll beat ya, you hear?! Flippin' your red tongues at me, eh? Get back! Get back!

MUSIC: "THE WHIP" SNEAKS IN AND UNDERLINES THE FOLLOWING--

JONES:

(DOES NOT SING, BUT SHOUTS DEFIANTLY) You hear me crack my whip?! And you crawl! For when I crack my whip, that's my call! And in this whole hell ship out of Af-ric-a -- I'm the big boss man - of - them --- all! (LAUGHS TRIUMPHANTLY)

MUSIC:

FOR A FINISH, PUNCTUATED BY--

SOUND:

LONG THUNDEROUS EXPLOSION! ... AS POWDER MAGAZINE DESTROYS THE SHIP

SFX:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

The leading cause of most indigestion ... (FADES OUT MERCIFULLY)