Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Gray Flannel Armor
Date: Jan 09 1958

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
HANLEY
MORRIS
RADIO, soft feminine voice
1ST GIRL
2ND GIRL
MAN
3RD GIRL
4TH GIRL
NBC ANNCR (1 line)

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... JOINED BY ELECTRONIC BEEPING IN AGREEMENT WITH COUNTDOWN

ANNOUNCER:

Countdown for blast-off. X minus five, four, three, two. X minus one. Fire.

SOUND:

A MOMENT'S SILENCE ... THEN ROCKET SHIP BLASTS OFF

MUSIC:

BUILDS VERTIGINOUSLY TO A CLIMAX ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

From the far horizons of the unknown come tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand maybe worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, "Gray Flannel Armor." But first -- hear this!

Everyone knows about and admires Bob Hope's frequent globetrotting trips to entertain our servicemen in far-flung corners of the Earth. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually travel halfway around the world with one of America's greatest comedians, accompanied by an all-star troupe of entertainers? Well, this past Christmas, Bob Hope and company set out on a twelve-day tour of the Far East, entertaining servicemen in Honolulu, Okinawa, Korea and Japan -- and NBC's "Monitor" went along, with microphones open all the way. This weekend, you'll find yourself a voyager on this exciting trip, along with Bob, Jayne Mansfield, Hedda Hopper and Jerry Colonna as "Monitor" broadcasts highlights from "Operation: Entertainment." And this is only part of the top variety of information and entertainment "Monitor" brings you all weekend long beginning Friday night. So start your weekend right with "Monitor" on Friday night and stay with "Monitor" all weekend long for celebrities, music, news and sports over most of these same NBC Radio stations.

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Now, "X Minus One" and Part One of "Gray Flannel Armor."

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) My name is Thomas Hanley and my case history is of particular interest to anthropologists, sociologists and students of the bizarre. In its humble way, it serves as an example of one of the more obscure mating customs of the late twentieth century.

To begin with, I own several gray flannel suits and many slim neckties with regimental stripes. Millions of us roam the streets of our great cities -- footsteps firm and hurried, eyes front, voices lowered -- dressed to the point of invisibility. (CONSPIRATORIALLY) But inside -- inside -- I fairly seethed with romantic ideas -- of swinging cutlasses, of beautiful damsels, their hair shimmering in the moonlight. In short -- let's face it -- I was a romanticist.

But romance is a commodity difficult to come by in the great cities. Life is too impersonal, too busy, too standardized. This particular Friday night, I returned from my office to my one-room apartment and prepared to face another long, dull weekend. Then the doorbell rang.

SOUND:

DOORBELL RINGS ... HANLEY'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS

MORRIS:

Good evening, Mr. Hanley.

HANLEY:

Uh, if you're collecting for something, come back after payday.

MORRIS:

My friend, I'm Joe Morris, a representative of the New York Romance Service, main offices in the Empire State Building and branches in all five boroughs, Westchester and New Jersey.

HANLEY:

You must have the wrong party.

MORRIS:

Oh, no, Mr. Hanley. We're out to serve lonely people -- and that means you! Don't deny it, now. Why else would you be sitting home on a Friday night?

HANLEY:

Well, the fact is--

MORRIS:

You're lonely. And it's our business -- and our pleasure -- to serve you.

HANLEY:

(BEAT) To serve me with what?

MORRIS:

A bright, sensitive, good-looking fellow like yourself needs girls.

HANLEY:

Girls?!

MORRIS:

Nice girls. Now, these young ladies I was referring to, Mr. Hanley, are not, er, uh-- professionals. They're sweet, normal, romantically-inclined young ladies. But they are lonely. There are many lonely girls in our city, Mr. Hanley.

HANLEY:

Oh, yes. Yes, I suppose there are. Funny, you never think of it that way. I mean, if you're not a girl.

MORRIS:

True, true. Now the purpose of the New York Romance Service is to bring young people together under suitable circumstances.

HANLEY:

Oh! Oh, I see. A kind of a-- (CHUCKLES) You'll pardon the expression, a kind of "friendship club"?

MORRIS:

I should say not. We at the New York Romance have done what should have been done years ago. We've applied scientific precision and technological know-how to a thorough study of the factors essential to a successful meeting between the sexes.

HANLEY:

Factors? What factors?

MORRIS:

The most vital ones, my friend, are spontaneity and a sense of fatedness.

HANLEY:

Oh, well, spontaneity and fate are contradictory terms.

MORRIS:

Certainly. Romance, by its very nature, must be composed of contradictory elements. We have graphs to prove it.

HANLEY:

Are you saying that you sell romance?

MORRIS:

The very article. The pure and pristine substance itself. Mind you, I didn't say love. I didn't say common animal passion. I said romance. The missing ingredient, Mr. Hanley, in modern society -- the spice of life, the vision of all the ages. That is what we sell.

HANLEY:

Uh, very interesting. If I'm ever in the market, I'll get in touch with you.

MORRIS:

Oh, now, just a minute, sir. Try our system for a few days absolutely free of charge. Here. Put this in your lapel.

HANLEY:

Oh? Well, what--? Well, what is this thing? It looks like a small transistor radio with a tiny video eye.

MORRIS:

As it happens, it is a small transistor radio with a tiny video eye.

HANLEY:

Oh? What does it do?

MORRIS:

You'll see. Just give it a try. Remember, romances sponsored by our firm are fated, spontaneous, aesthetically satisfying and morally justifiable.

HANLEY:

Well, uh-- All right, Mr. Morris. I'll accept the free trial offer. Er, wear this in my lapel, you say?

MORRIS:

In the lapel.

HANLEY:

Uh huh. Well, all right. There it is.

MORRIS:

(MOVING OFF) Happy romance, Mr. Hanley!

MUSIC:

ROMANTIC ... TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You're listening to "The Gray Flannel Armor," tonight's attraction on "X Minus One."

Are you able to brush your own teeth? Not everyone can. Not a man whose arms have been crippled by polio. There are thousands of disabled polio survivors who must depend on someone else to help them perform the simplest, most personal act. With your help, many polio victims can learn how to be independent. Right now there are one hundred thousand survivors of crippling polio who need help. They need your dimes and dollars to pay for expensive care and equipment. Your contributions will provide trained hands to teach a polio survivor how to live with his disability. Thanks to you, a polio-scarred life will once again seem worth living. Remember, your generosity is the one hope of thousands for whom Salk vaccine came too late. Join the Nineteen Fifty-Eight March of Dimes. Won't you right now send your dimes and dollars to your local March of Dimes headquarters?

MUSIC:

FOR A PLEASANT INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG, FADES OUT BY [X]

ANNOUNCER:

Now, "X Minus One" brings you Act Two of "Gray Flannel Armor."

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) After Joe Morris left me, I took off my gray flannel jacket and examined the small device attached to my lapel. It had no knobs or controls. It didn't seem to do anything at all. I shrugged, put my jacket on again, tightened the Windsor knot in my tie, and went for a walk.

It was a clear, cool night. Like most nights in my life, it was a perfect time for romance. Around me lay the city, infinite in its possibilities and rich in its promise. [X]

SOUND:

CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... HANLEY'S FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) But it was devoid of fulfillment. Nothing ever happened. I passed lighted apartment buildings and thought of the women behind the high, blank windows, looking down and seeing a lonely walker on the dark streets. Wondering about me, maybe -- as I was wondering about them.

RADIO:

Nice to be on the roof of a building, to look down on the city.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS STOP BEHIND--

HANLEY:

Huh? Huh? Who said that? I - I wonder-- Ohhh, sure. Heh! This transistor thing. (TO RADIO) Hey, er, what was that you said about a roof? (NO ANSWER, TO HIMSELF) Oh. I guess it isn't two-way. Well, it's not a bad idea, though. Would be kind of pleasant to look down on the city lights.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS RESUME

RADIO:

No.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS STOP

RADIO:

Not that one.

HANLEY:

Well, what's wrong? (REALIZES, AMUSED) Oh. Oh, sure. Wrong building.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS RESUME

HANLEY:

Uh, ya mean this one over here? (NO ANSWER, TO HIMSELF) Oh. No answer again.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS WALK UP STEPS

HANLEY:

Well, must be the right one this time. Least, I hope so.

MUSIC:

BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) I walked into the lobby and I remember thinking how you had to hand it to New York Romances. They seemed to know what they were doing. I took the self-service elevator to the top floor. From there, I walked up a flight of stairs to the roof. [X]

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS WALK UP STAIRS TO SQUEAKY DOOR WHICH OPENS ... DISTANT CITY TRAFFIC BELOW ... HANLEY'S FOOTSTEPS ON ROOF ... THEN IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

HANLEY:

(EXHALES, TO HIMSELF) Well, the air smells good up here, at least.

RADIO:

No. Not that side. The west side.

HANLEY:

Okay. I hope you know what you're doing. I certainly don't. Heh. If this turns out to be some sort of joke, I'll-- (INHALES, SURPRISED, DELIGHTED, OVERCOME) Ohhhh.

1ST GIRL:

(SWEETLY) Hello?

HANLEY:

Oh, I'm, uh-- I'm sorry. (CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY) I didn't mean to intrude.

1ST GIRL:

You're not intruding.

HANLEY:

Well, I - I didn't see you at first -- there in the shadows.

1ST GIRL:

I know.

RADIO:

The lights. Mention the lights.

HANLEY:

Huh? Oh, um-- (TO 1ST GIRL) Those - those lights. The lights of the city down there? They're beautiful.

1ST GIRL:

Yes. Like a great carpet of stars. Or - or spear points in the gloom.

RADIO:

Like sentinels keeping eternal vigil in the night.

HANLEY:

(ROMANTIC) Like sentinels keeping eternal vigil in the night.

RADIO:

Take her in your arms.

HANLEY:

(ROMANTIC) Take her--

1ST GIRL:

What?

HANLEY:

Uh-- (CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY) Nothing. Nothing; a mistake. Uh-- (ROMANTIC) Come here to me.

1ST GIRL:

(WHISPERS, ECSTATIC) Yes. Yes.

MUSIC:

BRIEF ROMANTIC BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

HANLEY:

(NARRATES, UNDER A ROMANTIC SPELL) As she was melting in my arms, I caught sight of the small transistor set pinned to her shoulder strap.

(SNAPS OUT OF IT, UNROMANTIC) The one exactly like the one in my lapel! Ya can't help feeling a little odd about a romantic meeting set up and sponsored by transistor radios. I could visualize a million young men in gray flannel suits roaming the streets in response to barely-heard commands from a million tiny radios.

(SIGHS) I tried to forget my doubts. [X]

SOUND:

CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND ... HANLEY'S FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) The next night, I took another walk and found myself in a slum section of the city. I decided I'd made a mistake and started to turn around.

RADIO:

Why not walk on?

HANLEY:

Hm? (SKEPTICAL) You want me to walk down this alley? Oh, well.

SOUND:

HANLEY'S FOOTSTEPS START DOWN ALLEY, THEN STOP BEHIND--

2ND GIRL:

(YELLS, FROM OFF) Help! Help!

HANLEY:

(STARTLED, TO HIMSELF) Oh - oh-- Good night! Two muggers after a girl. I - I'd better look for a policeman.

RADIO:

Why do that? You can handle them.

RADIO:

No, no, no. A policeman can do it a lot better.

2ND GIRL:

(YELLS, FROM OFF) Help! Help!

RADIO:

No, you must do it. Now.

HANLEY:

(STAMMERS) But there's two men! They're probably armed.

2ND GIRL:

(YELLS, FROM OFF) Save me! Help!

RADIO:

You can do it.

HANLEY:

(RELUCTANT) Oh-- Oh, well. Here goes.

SOUND:

HANLEY'S FOOTSTEPS CHARGE DOWN ALLEY ... HANLEY SCUFFLES WITH TWO MEN DURING FOLLOWING--

MAN:

No, you don't!

HANLEY:

Now, wait a minute--

2ND GIRL:

Let me go! Let me go!

HANLEY:

(HEROIC) Wait. I'll save you! Let go of her, you rats! There! Take that! And that!

SOUND:

TWO MEN GROAN DURING ABOVE AND RUN OFF

HANLEY:

(CALLS AFTER THEM) Ah! That'll teach you to harm a helpless girl! (EXHALES, RELIEVED)

2ND GIRL:

(ECSTATIC) Oh! You - you saved me. You saved my life!

RADIO:

I had to come.

HANLEY:

(BREATHY) I - had to come.

2ND GIRL:

(INTENSE) Yes, I know.

RADIO:

Take her in your arms.

HANLEY:

(WHISPERS) Yes, I know.

MUSIC:

ROMANTIC ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) I swept her into my arms and we embraced there in the darkened alleyway. As I held her close, my cheek brushed a shining jewel in her raven-black hair. (INCREASINGLY UNROMANTIC) I had to look twice to recognize it but, sure enough, it was a tiny transistor receiver just like mine.

I was suddenly angry! Oh, the girl was lovely. There was no denying that! And the circumstances were undeniably romantic until you realized that it was all a kind of cheap play. (DISGUSTED) Fated and spontaneous! That was a joke!

Angrily, I tore the transistor from my lapel and threw it into the nearest garbage can. I stalked away into the night hardly realizing where I was going. I didn't really wake up until I reached the waterfront.

SOUND:

WATERFRONT BACKGROUND ... SHIP'S HORN, ET CETERA

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) I stood there looking at the oily black water and let the brackish-scented breeze fan my face. [X] And then, unexpectedly, I was aware of another person nearby. The moon slid from behind a cloud and her auburn-tinted hair caught its light and held it for a moment. She turned her face toward me with frank curiosity. But, this time, there was no transistor radio to throw me a cue. I didn't need one. (TO 3RD GIRL) It's a - nice night.

3RD GIRL:

Maybe. Maybe not.

HANLEY:

Uh, the beauty is there -- if you care to see it.

3RD GIRL:

What a strange thing to say.

HANLEY:

Is it? Is it really so strange? Is it strange that I'm here at this very moment -- and that you're here, too?

3RD GIRL:

Perhaps not. No, perhaps not.

HANLEY:

Let me look at you. (BEAT) Oh, you're really beautiful, you know.

3RD GIRL:

(PLEASED) Am I?

HANLEY:

You know you are.

3RD GIRL:

(SIGHS)

HANLEY:

(SIGHS) You're - you're lovely.

3RD GIRL:

Do you really like me?

HANLEY:

Like you? If I could only tell you--

3RD GIRL:

Oh, I'm so glad. You see, I'm your free introductory romance, given you as a sample by Greater Romance Industries--!

HANLEY:

What?!

3RD GIRL:

-- with home offices in Newark, New Jersey. You see, only our firm offers romances which are truly spontaneous and fated.

HANLEY:

Spontaneous and fated?!

SOUND:

HANLEY'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS AWAY BEHIND--

3RD GIRL:

Due to our technological researches, we are able to dispense with such clumsy apparatus as transistor radios and-- (CALLS) Sir?! Where are you going?!

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) I was sick and disgusted. After that, there were several other attempts to get in touch with me but I ignored them. I wanted no more to do with the romance game.

In a couple of days, I called up a twittering aunt of mine and she arranged a blind date for me with the daughter of one of her oldest friends. The blind date was a nice, friendly girl with plain, mousy brown hair. We were introduced in my aunt's living room and we sat out on her sun porch and talked. [X]

4TH GIRL:

So you're Tom Hanley?

HANLEY:

Yeah, yeah, I, uh, guess I am.

4TH GIRL:

Your aunt has told me a lot about you. You work in advertising, don't you?

HANLEY:

Yes, yes, that's right. Um, uh-- Madison Avenue.

4TH GIRL:

Oh, I think that's thrilling. Advertising, I mean. It's such an - an interesting field.

HANLEY:

Well -- heh! We, uh-- We like to think so.

4TH GIRL:

Yes, I imagine you do all right.

HANLEY:

Uhhhh-- Seems like, uh-- it's warmer this evening, doesn't it?

4TH GIRL:

Oh, yes, it is. Although I don't mind the cooler weather so much. Lots of people complain about it, but I don't mind.

HANLEY:

Well, uh, I don't either, I guess. Heh. As long as - you're dressed for it.

4TH GIRL:

(LAUGHS) Yes, I suppose that's the secret.

HANLEY:

Oh, I was just thinking. Uh, do you like bowling?

4TH GIRL:

Oh, I don't know. I've never bowled.

HANLEY:

(DISAPPOINTED) Oh.

4TH GIRL:

Do you like tennis? I'm crazy about tennis.

HANLEY:

Well, tennis is all right. Yeah. I guess you could say - tennis is fine.

4TH GIRL:

I'm crazy about it.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

HANLEY:

(NARRATES) Well, all right. So it wasn't romantic. At least, it wasn't at first. But there must have been something about it. We began to hit it off, and we had more dates, and one thing led to another, and -- the first thing you know-- (CHUCKLES) Darned if we didn't get married. [X]

Yes, that's the story of my courtship. Of course, it isn't the whole story. At least, if you're making a case history, you have to know the important things. And, to my mind, one of the most important of all happened after we were married.

We bought a nice little house out near my aunt's and settled down in it. Then, one Saturday morning, I was out cutting the lawn--

SOUND:

YARD BACKGROUND -- BIRDS TWITTER, ET CETERA ... REEL MOWER CUTS GRASS, THEN OUT BEHIND--

MORRIS:

(OFF) Hi, there!

HANLEY:

Huh? Uh, did you - did you say something?

MORRIS:

(OFF) I said "Hi"! Don't you remember me? Joe Morris.

HANLEY:

Ohhhh! Oh, sure. New York Romances. Well, uh, I'm sorry, Mr. Morris, but you'd better take me off the list. I'm, uh-- Heh! I'm married now.

MORRIS:

(APPROACHES) Certainly. I know all about it. Congratulations.

HANLEY:

Oh, thanks.

MORRIS:

I mean, I know all about the way it happened. Introduced by your aunt, talking on the sun porch, corny old-fashioned stuff. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not knocking it. Quite the contrary. Do you know what we down at New York Romances call this?

HANLEY:

No, what?

MORRIS:

Hanley's Mode. We studied you. A lot of commercial possibility there. We've got it down on graphs. "Effects of Embarrassment on the Psyche," "The Role of the Aunt in American Courtship," the whole works.

HANLEY:

What are you talking about?

MORRIS:

New York Romances, what else? We've got a new service. It's called "The Old-Fashioned Plan."

HANLEY:

The what?!

MORRIS:

We provide bonded aunts for young men to call up. We even have the aunt walk into the sun parlor, at unexpected intervals, with a plate of cookies or something. They say the suspense becomes almost overpowering. Like our motto always said -- "Spontaneity and a Sense of Fatedness." It never misses, my boy. Never misses!

MUSIC:

FOR A SPONTANEOUS BUT FATED FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One," presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine which this month features "The Repairman" by Harry Harrison. Being an interstellar trouble shooter wouldn't be so bad if only you could - shoot the trouble. Galaxy Magazine, on your newsstand today.

MUSIC:

CLOSING THEME SNEAKS IN UNDER FOLLOWING--

ANNOUNCER:

"X Minus One" has brought you "Gray Flannel Armor," a story from the pages of Galaxy written by Finn O'Donnevan and adapted for radio by William Welch. Featured in our cast were William Redfield as Thomas Hanley and Guy Repp as Joe Morris. Others in our cast were Abby Lewis, Pat Hosley, Hetty Galen, Freddie Chandler and Helen Gerald. This is Fred Collins speaking. This broadcast concludes this series of "X Minus One." We sincerely hope you enjoyed it. "X Minus One" was directed by George Voutsas and is an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

NBC ANNCR:

Guest star Don Ameche is your host on "Nightline," your line to new worlds of entertainment after dark -- tonight on most of these NBC stations.