Episode: "Rex Settles Down"
© 2004 Matt McHugh
INT. DAYROOM - DAY
(REX, SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, HESTER, MARIE, DIRECTOR JONES)
SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, AND HESTER SIT IN THE DAYROOM OF THEIR RETIREMENT HOME, WATCHING TV. OTHER RESIDENTS MILL ABOUT, READ NEWSPAPERS AT TABLES, OR STARE OUT THE WINDOWS AT THE PLEASANT GREENERY. WHITE-SUITED ORDERLIES COME AND GO, TIDYING UP.
ENTER DIRECTOR JONES AND MARIE.
And this is our dayroom, where many of the residents spend their time relaxing, socializing, watching TV, reading, doing arts and crafts, playing cards, watching TV, or watching TV.
Well, thank goodness for variety on cable.
Actually, I think someone once just tuned in Turner Classic Movies then smashed the remote. No one has ever seemed to mind, except for the colorizing riots of the 80's.
I hear you. I can remember dad forcing us to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" wearing welder's goggles. Well, what do you think, dad? (calls out the door) Dad? Will you please come in here.
Enter REX MASTERS reluctantly, looking around with snobbish distaste.
You know, I think I'd prefer to be the one that flew over this nest.
Rex turns to go, but Marie catches him by the arm.
Dad, it's not a sanatorium, or a prison, it's a retirement home, filled with people like you.
That's true, Mr. Masters. The residents here at Desmond Hills are mostly alumni of the Hollywood studio system. We are largely subsidized by pension funds set up by studios and actors' guilds, even various stagehands' unions. That's why we can offer such low costs to people like yourself.
How wonderful. Join the has-beens for a very reasonable price.
Stop it, dad. (to Director Jones) I'm sorry about that.
Perfectly understandable. It's a big adjustment, especially at a time of life when people don't usually welcome change. But I think you'll agree our facilities and care are excellent. I've worked here for many years, and been director for nearly a decade, and I haven't heard a single complaint. That is, since I got an iPod.
Jones chuckles as Rex and Marie stare. Rex wanders off, looking around suspiciously
Sorry, but very little after the 50's has registered on dad's consciousness. I wouldn't mention your iPod too much or he'll think aliens have taken over your mind.
Hmm. That explains why Mrs. Kartoski always points at my earbuds and yells "They're here!" In any event, let your father stay for the day, meet some people, get a feel for the place. You come back in the evening and I'll have all the paperwork ready. You can decide then what you want to do.
Thank your, Mr. Jones.
If you come to my office for a minute, I'll get you copies of everything you'll want to look over ahead of time.
That sounds fine. (to Rex) Dad, I'll be back in a few minutes.
Rex ignores her, distracted as he looks around the room. Marie and Jones leave.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(REX, SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, HESTER, FINGER DIRECTOR)
Rex continues to slowly circle the dayroom. He examines things on the shelves, tables, and walls. An elderly woman honks a horn tied to her walker and startles him out of her way. A man in an electric wheelchair slowly tracks along the perimeter of the room, squinting as he makes a screen rectangle with his fingers, muttering camera directions. He pans across Rex, then tilts and zooms up and down on him.
Lose the hat, stretch!
Rex takes off his hat and sighs. Suddenly, he notices one of the residents watching TV. He approaches, staring intently.
Scotty? Scotty Malloy? It's Rex. Rex Masters. We worked together in the "Black Sedan" serial!
No. You worked with Peter Lorre and stood in my light.
I beg your pardon?
Episode three. Mugsy's Bar scene. I was Man in Booth with Umbrella. You stood in my light, cast a shadow right over me. In the final cut, I was Hand in Booth With Umbrella.
Oh. I, uh ...
I was up for that Inspector Walters part, but you got it for being taller.
Well, excuse me for growing.
Hmpf. Rex Masters.
Thinks he's hot stuff cause he had thirty seconds of screen time with Bogey.
And you would be?
Hester White? From the "Dormitory Debutantes"?
That's right. Voted best family comedy by the League of Morality for 1934 and 1935. Those morons wouldn't have known a double entendre if it kicked them below the Bible belt.
And what have you done since then?
Practically nothing! Nobody would hire me after I turned 16 because I wasn't cute anymore! But you wouldn't understand that, would you? Rex Masters, legendary Hollywood ladies man!
Not at all, my dear. I understand perfectly that you're not cute anymore.
(standing, shaking Rex's hand) Hey, there, Rex! Buddy Jackson. Buddy G. Jackson. Remember me?
Buddy G. Jackson? No. No, I'm sorry, I can't place you.
Hmm. How about now. (hostily shouting) Yous a-wait here, boss, while I's bring da car 'round! Yassur! Yassur! Dinnar is a-served, sur! Lawdy, da Yankees done and blowed up Vicksburg! (in Rex's face) You remember me now. Huh? Do you, peckerwood!
Buddy sits down again. Rex stammers in confusion. Most of group focuses on the TV, pointedly ignoring Rex, but Flora stands and trots up to him, taking his hand.
Mr. Masters, I'm Flora Woodward. You don't know me, but my girlfriends and I had such a crush on you when you played Captain Rawlings in "Mister Tokyo Rose." We were in the night club number. I was the middle mermaid in the shell (she hums and makes a few creaky dance steps). I've been a fan ever since. Aren't you dead?
Oh, yes. I'm certain I read in Variety years ago that you had died.
I knew I shouldn't have cancelled my subscription.
Oh, it was so sad. I was heartbroken.
Flora starts humming again and dances off toward the windows. Rex looks down at Tony.
How about you.
Tony Marconi, aka Billy Mahoney, aka Sir Winston Chamberlain III during the blacklisting. I did stage work so I traveled back and forth to New York a lot. I don't think we ever met. (looking up) Though you dated my wife for a while.
All right, then. Well, it's been lovely meeting you all. If you'll excuse me, I have to go back across the River Styx now.
Rex exits through the main doorway to the hall.
INT. HALLWAY - DAY (CONTINUED)
REX AND MARIE MEET IN THE HALLWAY, JUST OUTSIDE THE DAYROOM.
OK. Get me out of here.
Hold on a minute! What happened.
(pointing through the door) Look at them in there. A bunch of bit players gnawing over the bitter bones of their of washed up glory days. I don't belong here! I've still got a career.
Dad, it's been twenty years since you worked on camera.
What about when I was a greeter at the Grammys two years ago?
I don't think closed-circuit counts.
Bobby Goulet recognized me on the monitor.
Right. He thought you were the guy who parked his car.
Look, I've got plenty of irons in the fire ...
No, dad. You don't. What you've got are new dental implants, hair plugs, Botox, ear pinning, liposuction, and a spray on tan that you've spent almost everything you had to get. This is the only place you can afford to live now.
But why can't I stay with you?
We've been over this. Since the divorce, I don't have the house anymore. The condo is barely big enough for me and Jacqueline.
And what about Jacqueline? She wants to be an actress. She needs the advice of her granddad.
No, dad, she doesn't! What she needs to do is finish school, get her degree, and not have her head filled with nonsense at every turn! I don't want you to be unhappy, but you've got to accept that this is where you've come to in life. Now please, just try to give it a chance. I've got to get to work. I'll be back at the end of the day, okay?
Fine. You go. Just send me back in there to suffocate in that must of 50-year vintage flop sweat. (sniffs in the doorway) Hmpf. What is that smell away?
Marie just looks at him and cocks an eyebrow. After a moment, Rex crinkles his nose in disgust. He shakes his head with resignation and slowly goes back into the dayroom. Marie sighs, then turns and walks down the hall.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(REX, SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, HESTER, GARRETT)
REX RETURNS TO DAYROOM AND SITS AT A TABLE BY A WINDOW, FAR AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE GROUP, STILL WATCHING TV. HE STARES OUT THE WINDOW, LOST IN THOUGHT.
You're in my zone.
Rex turns to see GARRETT, a twelve-year old boy, standing next to him holding a laptop computer and assorted high-tech gadgets.
That spot is the only place in the building that gets a strong signal on the wi-fi, 3G, and GPS.
For the sake of civility, I'll assume what you just said makes some kind sense and that it means you want me to move.
Rex stands and offers Garrett his chair. Garrett sits without a word, sets up his equipment and starts typing.
Do you mind if I sit over here.
(typing, not looking up) You got a pacemaker?
All right. You should be cool then.
Rex sits across the table from Garrett. Suddenly, Garrett's cellphone vibrates loudly and blasts a hip-hop ringtone. Rex covers his heart with his hands, as if he fears radiation from the phone. Garrett picks it up.
Yo. (pause) Yo. (pause) Yo. (pause) Sweee-eet.
Garrett hangs up and resumes typing. Rex watches him.
Retired child star?
No. My mom drops me off here sometimes when the maid's out of town. Or when she has an audition. Or a migraine. That's my great uncle over there.
Garrett gets up and walks over to stand next to Scotty.
Hi, Uncle Scotty.
Scotty mumbles something, but still focuses on TV. Garrett leans right in front of his face and waves.
Hell-lo, Un-cle Scot-ty.
(grunting with irritation and waving Garrett out of his view) Hey-hey-hey! E True Hollywood Story!
Garrett returns to laptop and starts typing.
So, it looks like we're both exiles.
(looking up, excited). Awesome! You play "Exile" too? Though I can never get past the sentinels in the landing bay.
Well, you just have to know how to talk to them.
I usually use the plasma rifle, but I think I'm going to try the rocket launcher next time.
Oh, by all means. Be daring.
Garrett's phone rings again. He answers and starts talking in hip-hop patter. Rex rolls his eyes and turns to the window.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, HESTER, NURSE RACHEL)
NURSE RACHEL ENTERS AND GOES UP TO THE MAIN GROUP AT THE TV. SHE HOVERS ABOUT THEM, FLUFFING PILLOWS AND CHECKING PULSES AS THEY TWITCH HER AWAY.
Good morning everyone. Another beautiful day at Desmond Hills, huh? How we all doing today?
My knee hurts.
It's freezing in here.
I can't drink the grapefruit juice, it's too acidic.
The man in 15G didn't come to breakfast today. Someone should check on him.
Hold on now! One at a time. (To Scotty) What about you, Mr. Malloy? How's that new hip coming along? Is it feeling any better today?
My hip? Oh, never better, lassie. Never better.
That's wonderful. (To Hester) And how about you, honey? How's that pain in your backside you mentioned yesterday?
It didn't bother me overnight, but it's come back this morning.
Oh, how awful! Can I get you a pillow or something?
If you go to get something, I'm sure it'll be better.
Can do. I'll get that for you in a minute.
Thanks, honey. You're a pill.
Now, Mr. Jackson, I watched you having a bagel with cream cheese at breakfast this morning.
You have got to get a hobby. Crossword puzzles are nice.
You know you have to watch your cholesterol Make sure you get the spread without trans-fatty acids. Just look for the "no trans fat" sticker. Remember trans fat is bad.
What's so bad about trans fat?
Well, if there's anything worse than a guy in a dress, it's one without the figure to pull it off.
(To Tony) Mr. Marconi, did you do your exercises yesterday?
I tried, but I kept forgetting how they go. Could you show me again.
OK. Now watch me.
She places her hands together and closes her eyes. Slowly, she stretches her arms upward and takes a deep breath, her chest swelling. The men stare enthralled.
You breathe in and reach. Then breathe out and relax.
She makes slow, wide circles with her arms, eyes closed, chest out the whole time. She repeats the motion.
Breath in and reach. Out and relax. In and out. Reach and relax. Okay? Can you remember that?
Oh, I promise I'll remember that to my dying day.
Great. Now I hope you'll all come to my exercise class later today.
Wouldn't miss it.
Wild horses couldn't keep us away.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(REX, NURSE RACHEL)
NURSE RACHEL MEETS REX.
Why, hello there. You're new around here.
(standing and bowing) Rex Masters, my dear.
Hi. I'm Nurse Rachel, Mr. Masters ...
Please call me Rex. (kissing her hand) A genuine pleasure, Rachel.
Aren't you sweet. And handsome, too.
Only because I bask in the glow of your beauty, Rachel. You know, I feel must apologize for the rudeness of the others.
Oh, them? There just a bunch of old cards being silly.
It is a testament to your inner beauty as well that you bear such boorishness with grace.
(almost blushing) Well, you are quite the charmer.
Ah, Rachel, it has been some time since I've felt moved enough to be charming.
Oh, you poor thing! (drawing close, speaking low) You know, I have something that I think can help you feel moved. Shall I come back later when it's a little more private?
Nothing could please me more (kissing her hand again). Till then.
Don't worry. I won't forget you.
Nurse Rachel exits the dayroom. Rex smiles, smoothes his hair, and straightens his tie. He notices the group watching TV staring at him. He shrugs with mock sheepishness then sits down.
Yo. That was smooth, dawg!
Just go play with your rocket launcher, son.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, HESTER, TONY, DIRECTOR JONES, DIRK WEAVER)
ENTER DIRECTOR JONES LEADING DIRK WEAVER, A WEASLY LOOKING YOUNG MAN.
So all these folks here are old movie stars?
Well, most were actors. A few directors. Some stagehands and laborers.
I don't believe so. In my experience, they don't seem to have any idea when it's time to retire.
So I can talk to these guys?
Of course. Allow me to introduce you. Excuse me everyone. This young man would like to have a word with you, so please give him your undivided attention.
Director Jones fits in his earbuds and fiddles with his iPod as he quickly leaves the room. Dirk stands alone for a moment, then pulls up a chair and sits in the midst of the group watching TV.
(To Hester, who ignores him.) Hi. (Extending his hand to Buddy.) Hi, I'm Dirk Weav ...
Buddy hangs his cane on Dirk's outstretched arm. He moans and grunts as he shifts in his chair and adjusts his pants. Finally, settling to a comfortable position with a sigh, he retrieves his cane from Dirk's arm.
Dirk gets up and turns off the TV. Moans and grumbling all around.
(over the noise) Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dirk Weaver, and I'm a writer with Edutaiment-slash-Infomatics-dot-com. It might be of interest to you that I'm working on a series of articles, which I plan to turn into a book, about Hollywood's Golden Age.
Really? When's it supposed to happen?
That's a good one, sir. (sitting next to Tony) And who might you be?
I might be the guy who fitted your mother for army boots.
More likely cement shoes.
(chuckling) Oh, you guys are live ones. This is what I need for my book. Stories from sharp-witted old timers to help me the dig up the dirt on classic Hollywood.
Son, you don't have to dig to find dirt in this town. You can scrape as much as you want right off the surface. For example, I played a radio operator in "Heroes Die Alone" while the lead went to some little fancy boy the producer was noodling. Kid had zero talent. If he wet himself, he couldn't have looked embarrassed convincingly.
I see. Well, that's--
Same kid, six months later, marries some countess and is never heard from again. You tell me, huh?
(confused) Tell you what?
Folks, what I'm really looking for is ...
You want dirt? I can give you dirt. I heard back-stabbing, double-dealing stuff you wouldn't believe. I used to go to all the big parties on private yachts, country clubs, political fundraisers at the state house ...
Wait a minute! How could you get into all those places?
I'd just drape a white towel over my arm and they'd let me in the backdoor of anywhere.
Guys, while this is all very interesting, what I really want are stories about the big stars, not the bit players.
The group sits in silence. All eyes slowly turn to Dirk.
Oh, I see.
He wants stuff on the big stars.
Yep. Big stars.
Not the bit players.
Nope. No bit players.
Big stars only.
Well, um. Like, uh, Cary Grant.
Ooh! Cary Grant.
Oh, yeah. Cary Grant.
Big star. Very talented.
Oh yeah. Totally fancy.
All the way.
That closet had it's own zip code.
Are you putting me on?
Why would us bit players lie?
My hand to God. Go ask him.
Well, he is dead you know.
When did that happen?
A while ago. Sometime in the 80's.
I think I remember reading about it.
That's so sad.
What a loss.
God rest his soul.
The old queen.
(making notes) Whoa! This is big. What else? How about, say, Grace Kelly?
And she loved to ride the zebra... if you know what I mean.
He takes Hester's hand and interlaces his fingers with hers so that Dirk sees clearly.
(giggling) Oh, you!
Same as her coffee.
Oh, man. I smell Pulitzer! What else you got?
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(REX, GARRETT, FLORA)
REX and GARRETT SIT AT THEIR TABLE BY THE WINDOW. REX WATCHES THE GROUP WITH DIRK. GARRETT TYPES AWAY INDIFFERENTLY.
Look at them all. Fawning all over some bush league reporter, like any amount of publicity could revive their careers. Where did he say he was from anyway?
Edutainment/Infomatics.com. It sucks. Google page ranking 2. They don't even have an RSS feed.
Flora shuffles over to Rex excitedly.
Rex! Rex, did you know that Cary Grant is dead, too?
Oh, the poor fellow! I'll have to give him my condolences next time I see him. (thoughtfully, to himself) The great ones are all but gone from this world. And we shall never see their like again. When did he pass?
How do you know?
I just looked it up on the Internet.
Ooh, the Internet. So that tells you when people die?
More or less.
Check Rex. Rex Masters.
Flora, I promise you I'm not dead.
Let's just see what the Internet has to say about it.
Nope. You're alive.
Well, that's good news. But who am I thinking of that's dead?
I wouldn't hazard to guess.
Oh, this is just going to bother me all day now.
Hey, check it out. You got a fansite.
A website, created by a fan of your movies. It's a pretty good one, too. Biography. Film lists. Pictures, even some video. Look.
Garrett spins around the laptop so Rex can see. He clicks around with the mouse and points out items to Rex. Rex becomes increasingly excited until he abruptly stands and grabs Garrett's laptop, brandishing it like the tablets of the Ten Commandments.
(triumphantly) Hey! Hey, all you washed-up, diaper-wearing has-beens! I'm on the Internet!
END OF ACT ONE
INT. DAYROOM - DAY
REX IS ON THE PAYPHONE IN THE CORNER OF THE DAYROOM.
I'm telling you, Marie, it's amazing. My entire career cataloged by a fan! Everything I was ever in, with stills and publicity shots ... even clips that look like little talking postage stamps. Now how many other actors you think have their own siteweb?
Right, right. Website. So how many, do you think? (pause) Really? Huh. Well, I didn't pay anybody to do this, a fan did it, all on their own! (pause) So what if it is a stalker? You're nobody in this town till you have a stalker. The point is I still have an audience out there. I've got to call my agent.
He did? When? (pause) Oh, that's too bad. Well, how about his son, is he in the business? (pause) Him too? Man, that's one unlucky family. Anyway, when you come this afternoon, I want you to take me out of this place. I'll get my own apartment. I'll use that trust money I set up for Jacqueline. Once I get work, I'll be able to pay it back triple! (pause) What do you mean? What tax liability? So I can't use that money while I'm still alive? How am I supposed to know that. (pause) Well, I'm sorry, I've never died before, so I'm not on up the best practices! Look, we'll talk about it when you come. You tell Jacqueline that I have a website. In fact, bring her along tonight, I want to show it to her myself! (pause) Please. I haven't seen her in weeks. Bring her along, OK. OK? Hello? Marie? Marie!
Rex hangs up, looking dejected.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(REX, SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, HESTER, GARRETT, ORDERLY, FINGER DIRECTOR)
SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, AND HESTER ARE NOW SEATED IN A GROUP AROUND GARRETT, IN ALMOST THE SAME CONFIGURATION THEY WERE PREVIOUSLY CLUSTERED AROUND THE TV. REX HANGS UP THE PHONE IN THE BACKGROUND AND WALKS UP TO STAND BEHIND THE GROUP.
How about Jimmy Stewart?
(types a bit) Died in 1997.
The group moans with collective disappointment, like golf spectators when a player just misses a crucial putt.
So terrible! Such a sweet man.
Such fantastic work. I swear I could almost see that rabbit.
Had he run for office he'd have been the only white man I'd ever vote for!
He was a jewel. Though, that stammering got old after a while.
Seriously. (perfect Jimmy Stewart imitation) You wished, that, that sometimes he would ju-just go ahead and spit it out, instead of all that hemming and hawing and whatnot and soforth.
(to Tony) You owe me your fruit cup.
All right, hold on. I'll double-or-nothing you with my yogurt.
Go ahead. It's your funeral.
(to Garrett) Jack Lemmon.
(types a bit) 2001.
Again, the collective moan.
I was a conductor in "Some Like in Hot." I tell you, the camera didn't do him justice. He looked good, and next to Marilyn, that was no small trick. Now Tony was just incredible. From the backside, the crew whistled at him every day. Oh, he got such a charge out of it, we all started to wonder.
(to Garrett) Oh, Tony Curtis! What about Tony Curtis.
(types a bit) He's alive.
Yes! (pointing at Hester) In your face!
No, no! I never agreed to that one.
Ooh, I've got one! (to Garrett) Ronald Reagan!
The whole group just looks at Flora.
I remember reading about him being governor or something.
Flora, he was the president.
President of the United States.
Really? Oh, good for him.
Boy, I can remember being so proud. Seeing one of our own as president.
He had such a presence. You'd just look at him and you'd feel like everything was going to be OK.
And the things he said. (pause) Never made a lick of sense.
Oh, it was all gibberish.
(perfect Reagan imitation). It's morning in America. What the hell does that mean? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He was all about the hair.
Just the idea that your hair could stay the same for 40 years was inspiring in itself.
I tell you he probably had a separate deal with the Saudis for the oil supply for his head.
(cutting in) All right, enough of this, you ghouls. Turn back to my website.
The whole group protests loudly.
For God's sake, not again!
Give it a rest, would you!
What do you want us to do, memorize it?
Despite their protests, they gather in closer to see.
(squinting at screen and maneuvering his glasses like a zoom) Irving Weissberg? That's your real name?
Born and raised with it.
I didn't know you were a closet Hebrewite. I always had you pegged for half a Limey or something.
Precisely in accordance with my plans.
Did you know Mort Henkelstein?
Mort Henkelstein? Henkelstein? Hmm... I don't think so. Oh, wait a minute! I believe I met him once at the Wailing Wall.
Enter a white-shirted ORDERLY.
Everyone, lunch is served. Lunch is now ready in the dining hall.
All residents in dayroom begin a mumbling, shuffling mass exodus through the main doorway. The orderly threads his way through the crowd and stops Rex.
Are you (looks at a paper slip) Rex Masters?
Yes, I am young man.
I have something for you from Nurse Rachel.
(beaming) Really? By all means, please deliver, my good man.
The orderly reaches into a discreet white paper bag and holds up an enema package.
She, uh, said you were having some trouble, you know, moving.
(indignant) What the ... ? I never ... ! She ... ! I don't need that, I've got a website! Get that away from me!
(seated in corner) Hey! (whistles) Hey, ace! I'll take that. Bring it right on over here.
Rex stomps out in a huff. Orderly walks over toward Finger Director who tracks him carefully, squinting through his finger-frame.
Slowly! Slowly. Hold it out. Set it on the table. Right in the sunbeam. Easy. (zooming on enema package) Turn it toward me. Hand away ... slowly! That's it. That's it. And... we're out!
Finger Director grabs the box, and motors out of the room on his whirring electric wheelchair.
INT. DAYROOM - DAY (CONTINUED)
(FLORA, TONY, GARRETT)
DAYROOM IS EMPTY EXCEPT FOR GARRETT, STILL AT HIS COMPUTER, AS TONY WATCHES HIM INTENTLY. FLORA DANCES BY THE SUNNY WINDOWS, QUIETLY HUMMING MELODIES TO HERSELF.
(to Garrett) So, that Internet thing. Pretty amazing, huh?
(typing, not looking up) Yeah, it's pretty cool.
So, how do you look that stuff up?
It's easy. You just click this icon here. That launches the search engine, then you type in what you want to know in this box here, and hit Go.
(watching very carefully) Wow. That's just amazing. Technology, you know. Wow. (thinking for a moment) Hey, you know it's free ice cream day in the dining hall. Yeah, it's, uh, make your own Sunday Tuesday.
(typing, not looking up) Uh-huh.
Yeah, they set up a whole table with different flavors and a softee machine. All kinds of sprinkles and hot fudge and nuts and whipped cream and stuff. As much as you want.
(typing, not looking up) Cool.
Yeah. Very cool. (looking frustrated, thinking again) And then, uh, afterward, Nurse Rachel gives her exercise class in the dance room.
(looking up) Really? Where?
Right down the hall, next to the dining room. Oh, yeah, it's great. She puts on these little tights and lies on the floor. Lifts her legs way up. Bends herself like a pretzel with that yoga stuff she does. It's something.
Oh yeah. As a matter of fact (leans close and speaks low) today she said she was going to demonstrate the proper technique for kundalini.
Yes way. Check it out. You might learn something that will come in useful someday (he winks big). Go ahead. I'll keep an eye on your stuff. Make sure nobody touches it.
Garrett bolts out of the room. Tony watches to make sure he's gone, then hurries over to his computer. He has to take off his glasses and zoom them in and out alternately on the screen then keyboard to see. He moves the mouse uncertainly and clicks. Holding his glasses in one hand, he hunts and pecks on the keys with a finger.
What the ... ! What is this? The damn letters aren't in alphabetical order! How is anybody supposed to use this stupid thing?!
Flora waltzes up.
Tony throws up his hands in frustration. Flora sits down, hands over the keyboard.
What do you want.
Type my name in there.
The main one! Marconi! M-A-R-C ...
Before he finishes, Flora's fingers tap it out in a blur.
How do you know how to do that?
I worked as a secretary in the War Department. (salutes) We all had to do our part to defeat Jerry Hirohito, you know. I'll never forget how to use the teletype, though I've lost most of the Navajo.
(looking at the screen) OK. No, that's not me. Go down. No. Keep going down. Go down. For the love of God, after all these years, why does that radio guy still get all this press! Try the Irish name!
Flora types some more and they both examine the results.
Any of these you?
No. Try the English one.
Again, Flora types and they examine.
Ooh! Is that your castle?
Damn it! Where's my fansite! I slogged away on stage and screen for almost forty years ... singing, dancing, comic parts, dramatic roles. Hitchcock once called me the best "Man With Newspaper" in the business! The secret was the fluff-and-fold. I do that in the background and you never see the bad guy draw the gun. That's a pivotal role!
I'm sorry, hun. Maybe they're going alphabetically and haven't got to you yet.
He storms out, disgusted. Flora gets up and follows him, humming a tune.
INT. DAYROOM - AFTERNOON (CONTINUED)
REX ENTERS EMPTY DAYROOM, LOOKS AROUND. A FEW MOMENTS LATER GARRETT, ENTERS. REX GREETS HIM ENTHUSIASTICALLY.
Ah, there you are, my boy! Where were you?
I went to watch Nurse Rachel's exercise class.
Oh? How was it?
A bunch of old people limping around to "Who Let the Dogs Out."
Well, exercise is rarely pretty when performed by those who actually need it. So tell me something, can you find out who made that website of mine?
He sits at his computer and starts typing. He clicks around and frowns.
There's no webmaster listed. Should I do a WHOIS on the domain registrar?
Explain that as if speaking to someone from Medieval Portugal.
That Internet address up there. We can find out who registered it. (types a bit more) Got it. Name and phone number right here.
Can call them on that little musical phone of yours?
No problem. (dials then hands phone to Rex) Here.
(taking the phone) What's that?
The video screen. It's a picture phone.
Ooh! You mean when I'm talking to someone we'll see each other!
Rex holds up the phone like a mirror and adjusts his hair and practices smiling.
No, you won't be able to see.
Well, how about I go over here, where the light's better?
It doesn't work like that!
He pushes the phone up to Rex's ear. Rex listens. Meanwhile, the rest of the group has returned one-by-one from lunch and are now gathering around Rex in curiosity.
(to the group) Just calling a fan. (into the phone) Hello? Yes, I was trying to reach Warren Spellman. It's in regard to a website he published, a fansite for the classic movie actor Rex Masters. (pause) Yes, that's right. Really? Well, it certainly shows. (Covering phone with hand, to group) She says it was a labor of love.
He buffs his fingernails on his jacket lapel.
(into phone) Me? Ma'am my name is... Rex Masters. Yes, really! I've just discovered the site and I think it's wonderful, and I just wanted to thank the man in person who did such a lovely job cataloging my career. What's that? Oh. Oh. I see. Yes. Of course. Well, it was a thrill to talk to you, too. Thank you very much. Goodbye.
Rex slowly closes the phone and hands it back to Garrett. The whole group hovers around him with an air of expectation. Rex sits down heavily.
Died in 2002.
As one, the group moans disappointment.
INT. DAYROOM - AFTERNOON (CONTINUED)
(REX, SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, HESTER, GARRETT, DIRK WEAVER)
REX SITS STARING OUT THE WINDOW DEJECTEDLY. GARRETT TYPES, AND THE REST OF THE GROUP WATCHES TV. DIRK WEAVER ENTERS IN A HUFF AND TROMPS UP TO THE TV, SWITCHING IT OFF AS THE GROUP PROTESTS.
Excuse me, but I'd like a word with you people.
What's the matter, sonny? You need some more material? We got lots more.
Oh yeah. Tons.
Bucketfuls of it.
I have one! I'll never forget the time I heard Jayne Mansfield say to Mickey Rooney. She said, um, oh, what was it she said...?
Look, I did a little fact-checking on some of the gems you gave me before and found some interesting things.
Do tell, lad!
(looking at a notebook) OK, then. Well, it turns out that there's no corroboration anywhere that Cary Grant was ever homosexual.
What a shocker!
Well, fancy that.
Nor was Grace Kelly ever known to have an interracial affair.
Heavens, but that would have been quite scandalous for the day.
Also, it turns out the original title for "Casablanca" was not "The Nazi Professor." Cyd Charrise did not have a sex change and become Sid Ceasar. And Imogene Coca did not invent any beverage of any kind.
The group snickers, then erupts into serious laughter
Ha-ha. Very funny. It must be nice, to just sit here as the world passes you by, fading a little more every day. This is my livelihood, people! I'm just trying to make a living and you bitter, old, small-time has-beens get your kicks out of messing with me!
(standing) Young man, we may be bitter, old, has-beens ... but at least we were! Look at yourself. Half a century after the fact you're sniffing around for any scraps of the "golden age" we lived through. Maybe we weren't the legends of our generation, but we were privileged to stand close to them ... and there aren't many of us left. We were there when a new medium helped changed the world through a depression and a war and years when the fate of this country seemed to hang by a thread. We fought enemies overseas and came home to find our friends persecuted by paranoia. And if nothing else, you should have the wits to recognize that we have been in your position ... young, arrogant, trying to get ahead ... but you have not yet been in ours. If nothing else, you should have some respect for that simple fact.
That's a nice speech, pop. It's just too bad nobody outside this room will ever hear it, since I'm sure as hell not going to quote any of you. Have a nice life, folks.
Dirk leaves. Rex shrugs sullenly and sits down as the group just looks at him. Suddenly, Flora bolts up.
Ooh! I just remembered what Jayne Mansfield said to Mickey Rooney! (calling into the hallway) She said, "Get the hell away from me, you annoying little turd!"
INT. DAYROOM - EARLY EVENING
(REX, MARIE, JACQUELINE)
REX STARES OUT THE WINDOW JUST AS BEFORE, BUT GARRETT IS GONE. THE GROUP WATCHES TV AS ALWAYS. MARIE ENTERS WITH A FOLDER.
So how'd things go today?
Glorious. Pretty much as I should have expected. Are those my commitment papers?
Dad, you're not being committed. It's just ...
Relax. I'll sign, whatever you want. I see that I belong here now.
(putting the papers before him) It's for the best, dad.
He takes a pen from Marie and signs in all the assorted spots she points to.
There. Is it done?
I notice that Jacqueline isn't here with you.
Well, no, she had to go ...
Of course, of course. I understand perfectly. You pack me away here, and withhold my granddaughter from me. It's perfect. I'm taken care of and not a problem to you anymore.
A problem? Dad, you were never a problem to me. In fact, you were never much of anything to me. If you recall, you left mom when I was four years old. For years, I just thought of you as a tall figure whose face I couldn't remember.
That's not true! I came to see you as often as I could. On your birthdays and Christmas ...
Which ones, Dad? They did happen every year. But I didn't see you on many. And I waited. I waited and hoped at each one, because, damn it, you are one charming son of a bitch. A smile or a joke or piggyback from you was enough to keep me dreaming of my wonderful daddy for years. That is, until I got old enough to read the tabloids and see the parade of starlets you constantly attached yourself to. I couldn't understand why you liked them better than mom. Or me. And as you got older, and the starlets got younger, it only got harder for me to understand. Still, I kept dreaming you'd come back, you'd settle down and come home to me. Then I got too old to dream. And here we are. But I'm not angry. I'm not bitter. If I were bitter and angry I might say that a place like this is better than you deserve. But I would never say that. No, dad, I would never say that.
Marie turns away, overcome. She stares out the window, breathing deeply. Rex falters. He reaches out to touch her, but can't bring himself to. He sinks back into his chair and buries his face in his hands.
There you are, mom! I got the photo album I left in the car. (noticing her mother's emotion) Mom? Mom, what's wrong?
I'm fine. I'm just tired. I think need a cup of coffee. (pointing to Rex) You go on, honey. You're grandfather's waiting.
Jacqueline hesitates. Marie touches her arm and smiles. She turns her gently toward Rex, then walks out into the hall. Jacqueline goes to Rex, kneeling beside his chair.
Grandpa? Are you OK?
Oh, I'm... never better. Never better, sweetheart. (brightening) So how's my beautiful grandaughter! Is that your portfolio?
It's just some photos from my stage workshop.
Let me see! (looking through the book). Is that you?
You were in "My Fair Lady?"
Well, it was a showcase. We all got to play a bunch of parts.
Still, Eliza Doolittle is nothing to sneeze at. (singing) "I could have danced all night! I could have danced all night!"
Rex stands, taking Jacqueline's hand. She stands with him and they sing and dance together.
INT. DAYROOM - EVENING (LATER)
(REX, BUDDY, FLORA, SCOTTY, TONY, HESTER)
REX, SCOTTY, BUDDY, FLORA, TONY, and HESTER ARE ALL SITTING, WATCHING TV.
Look at these movie actors today, making twenty million dollars a picture. It's outrageous.
They haggle for months over a quarter percent of box office gross.
And what about the TV ones. Renegotiating their contracts after every season.
Staging walkouts. Sick outs.
Demanding merchandizing residuals.
They just don't care about the work the way we did.
That's right. All we cared about was the work.
We just wanted to make a good picture. Something people could enjoy.
Something we could be proud of.
Something we could show to our grandkids and say that's me up there.
We worked with the directors.
Anything they asked.
We did whatever the studio needed us to do.
Bit parts. Crowd scenes. Stunt doubles.
Being loaned out to other studios for uncredited walk-ons.
Chorus girls at supper clubs.
Serving drinks at the Christmas party.
And we were happy for it. Happy for the work.
Happy to be part of the magic of Hollywood.
And we never grumbled about money. We never banded together to try to strong arm for a cut of the profits.
No we didn't.
They all sit in a silent pause for a moment or two.
We were idiots.
Oh, complete morons.
Slaves. We were a notch above slaves.
Babes in the woods.
Sheep. Big, fat, stupid sheep baring our throats for the wolves.
END OF ACT TWO
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