For All Nails, pt. 72 - "Closing Time, with Walt MacAnuff"
"... not very sporting of Michigan City, if you ask me Bill," says the smarmy looking local newsman, sitting at his news desk, looking to his right. He turns to the camera, and finishes up the local half-hour 10-o-clock news program FN2.
"That's all the news we have for this half-hour. It's Closing Time once again, with Walt MacAnuff. Good night, Regina."
And right after the "(C) MCMLXXIII NCCC - Regina" appears on the bottom of the screen, we CUT to the introductory music, and a Movie/TV-script style of presentation...
MUSIC - The music is the well-known "Closing Time March", a classic pub tune turned late-night TV anthem. It's played with a New Orleans style, however, that combines Dixieland Jazz and Zydeco. An IOW listener might mistake it for a Mardi Gras version of J. P. Sousa's "The Liberty Bell March". This is not Monty Python, however, this is the most popular "closing time" show in the CNA.
Named after the time when pubs close in the CNA, the after-11pm FN3 timeslots were traditionally populated with shows of local interest. The upstart Northern Confederation Communications Channel (NCCC) took a great risk by letting comic performer and one-season footballer Walt MacAnuff try a new kind of Vitavision program. It featured a nightly comedy routine, poking fun at current events and popular culture, followed by 1-3 interviews with celebrities and people MacAnuff felt would be interesting.
Critics have widely acknowledged that only MacAnuff, who overcame a crippling football injury to enter a career in comic performance, could have made the show's unorthodox formula work. Because of his widespread popularity across the worlds of sports and entertainment, he could court a wide variety of guests. One critic likened him to "your best mate, chatting with you in your favorite pub." His surprisingly intelligent interview with "Insight" report Stan Marsh (where they discussed the Boricuan Missile Crisis, Kramer Associates, and the Burgoyne Generals), cemented his popularity as "Mr. Closing Time".
The MUSIC starts, and we see a film of a stout gentleman, aged 27, curly red hair, locking a pub door. He turns around, and it's Walt MacAnuff, holding his cane in one hand, and the keys to the pub in the other. He starts walking with his cane down the street.
The camera PANS OUT and we see it's Main Street in Hoboken, the gambling and entertainment capital of the CNA. The lights are shining as MacAnuff walks slowly down the street. The voiceover begins:
It's 11:30pm (10:30pm Western), so it must be Closing Time. Tonight's after-hours guests include Christian Mwai and Charles Murphy, along with very special musical guest, Juan Bailleres.
We CUT to MacAnuff fiddling open the door of "NCCC Hoboken".
Here he is folks - Walt MacAnuff.
We CUT to a dark stage suddenly lighting up. The stage is small and plain, with MACANUFF sitting on a stool. A table supports his cane, a glass of water, and another stool is opposite his.
A live studio audience claps as the music ends.
MACANUFF (known around the CNA as just plain "Walt") speaks with the manner of your best friend from college who'd encourage you to do something really outrageous with him.
They launched another monkey from Georgia today, and things are almost on track for the first real space voyage to be taken by last week's guest - Christine Lillehammer!
Raucous APPLAUSE for the CNA's current darling. Walt turns to ask band co-leader Peter Shaffer, whose daughter is one of the Sweet Six...
Pete, weren't you telling me that Trish had news?
Peter Shaffer, New Orleans trombonist and co-band leader with long-time collaborator Phil Maroni, talks nothing like the typical New Orleans resident of this time. He sounds vaguely Indianan, and has a full head of curly brown hair, not unlike Walt.
Trish was mentioning they might want to do one more monkey launch.
The audience BUZZES a bit, Walt sometimes inserts real breaking news into his monologues. And with Pete being Trish's father, he certainly might have an inside track.
The only problem they're having is finding another dumb monkey.
Walt cocks his eye, Belushi style, as he replies.
I hear the ump from the Tories-Burgoyne test match is available.
The audience LAUGHS hysterically (the ump in question made a really bad call), and with a small amount of relief that there's not going to be a delay in Lillehammer's flight.
We have a good show for you tonight. Visiting us from Nairobi, Victoria, but more recently of London, is exiled former VNC leader Christian Mwai.
More raucous applause. Mwai is well-liked in the CNA.
Hopefully he's going to talk about what's been going on over there. I mean... a pal of mine once ordered a Black-and-Tan in Nairobi, and he got half-a-pint of Bass and was thrown in gaol.
The audience, sympathetic to the cause of black Victorians, laughs heartily at the slam on the Victorian government. Any joke like this, no matter how lame, would get a laugh. He continues.
I'll have lots to talk about with Mr. Mwai.
Joining us from our Burgoyne studios is our old friend, NCCC news anchor Charles Murphy.
The audience applauds, but it's not nearly as excited as it was for Mwai. Murphy (as we'll see) is a recurring guest on "Closing Time".
And tonight we have a very special musical guest.
The crowd goes REALLY wild.
All the way from the state of Jefferson, the Mexican Master himself - singer, songwriter, sensation... Juan Bailleres.
It takes a bit for the crowd to die down. Walt shouts over them:
Take it away boys, we'll be right back.
The camera PANS to the 5-piece New Orleans outfit that comprises the show's band. Maroni and Shaffer, a clarinetist and a trombone player, start riffing on the "Closing Time" theme again. The banjo, bass, and drums are behind them. They all look and dress like New Orleans natives, which they (mostly) are. We CUT to our first commercial...
A World Locomobile "Earnest" is driving down a Michigan City highway, with the Kramerica Tower clearly in the background.
Visit your World Loke dealer today. It's our annual Earnest Offer going on right now.
CUT to a showroom with an Earnest Coupe being peered at by a young married couple. The Earnest Wagon is being showed to a 5-member family by a salesman. And an Earnest Sedan is in the background.
We're pulling out all of the stops to make this our best offer ever. 300 pound discounts if you purchase before the end of March.
CUT to footballer Ed Becker, sitting in an Earnest Coupe.
Let World Loke put you in the driver seat!
The in-studio camera pans across the live studio audience, and up past Walt's stool to the band. The band is playing an arrangement of a popular tune by the New Orleans band "The Crawfish". The clarinet player from earlier (Maroni) is now playing a squeezebox, and Pete is banging on a piano.
Pete indicates that the music should stop, and the main camera takes over, pointing at Walt.
Ladies and Gentleman, Shaffer & Maroni's Genuine New Orleans Band!
The audience applauds at the nightly tip the the Closing Time band. The band camera takes over long enough for Pete and Phil to say...
MARONI (Heavy NO Italian-descended accent)
The camera quickly shows the other three band members... Rene Martin on drums, Jack Rice on bass, and Tony Powell on Banjo/Guitar/etc.
Our first guest tonight was deported from his homeland in 1965 for speaking out against his government's policies on racial segregation. He currently lives in London, but is touring the Confederation to rally support for the cause of the Victorian National Congress.
Raise your glasses for Christian Mwai!
The AUDIENCE applauds. The Walt camera shifts to the left to track the entrance of a frail-looking man of about 50 years. Despite his build, he walks with the confidence of someone three times his size.
Walt stands up (with the help of his cane), and shakes Mwai's hand. Because of his injury, Walt doesn't do this for every guest. That he does indicates a great deal of respect for the guest. A phrase measuring importance beginning to be thrown about is "Walt will stand for him." Mwai sits down and Walt begins to speak:
Mr. Mwai, how's the Confederation been treating you?
My own treatment here has been very warm and supportive. Your governor-general is a gentleman, and the people of Burgoyne were very friendly.
The audience applauds, especially a few people in one section.
Those are the same people who laughed about the ump joke.
Walt's demeanor changes a little.
Tell me, where are you heading after your swing here.
I will be in New York starting tomorrow morning. I am visiting various neighborhoods tomorrow and throughout the weekend. I will be addressing a group of Broad Street investors on Monday.
Fundraising, no doubt.
Actually, I will be addressing the concerns the Congress has about North American investing in Victoria. I feel, as do many of my people struggling for freedom, that it is harder to oppress people without adequate funds.
Oi! I didn't even think about something like that.
Tell me Mr. Mwai..
You may call me by my first name, Walt.
Okay. Tell me Christian, if I buy some product, am I funding someone who'd throw Carter Monaghan in gaol? I mean, these Broad Street folks trade in companies, right?
Yes, Walt. In fact, there are several Confederation companies who have factories or other major presences in Victoria. North American Motors, for example, has a factory right outside Nairobi.
Surely they don't contribute directly to unfair racial treatment? I mean, this is the same firm that funded the Diffusion, back in the 1920s.
You're right, Walt, about NAM's history of social generosity. I'm surprised that such a firm can, in good conscience, run operations where people are kept under bootheels by an oppresive government.
Victorian government levies are not insubstantial on foreign companies. Those levies fund the very oppression the Victorian National Congress is trying to throw off our people!
To that end, we are organizing a boycott...
There is mumbling in the audience. Mwai has not mentioned this during his tour so far.
... of several North American companies that have operations in Victoria. Such a company effectively funds tyranny.
Wow. Well, we have to go to an advert. We'll be back in a second.
The band starts playing again. Walt is still talking with Mwai, but we aren't sure what about.
A Dickinson Sedan (a product of North American Motors) - this TL's equivalent of a BMW 5 or 7-series - is pulling up to a city sidewalk parking space. Out step 4 businesspeople (one white woman, one black man, two white men) without a rumple on any of their neatly-pressed clothes.
Dickinson means business.
CUT to another Dickinson, this time the Sport Coupe (based on the same Sedan body, but with lots of performance tweaks), whizzing along a forested Northern Confederation road.
Dickinson means performance.
CUT to another Coupe (the non-Sport model), this time being picked up by a very stylish couple leaving the opera house. The camera CUTS to the luxurious interior of the Dickinson, with walnut paneling, power everything, and leather seating.
Dickinson means luxury.
A collage of historical shots from the original 1922 Dickinson, following through its evolution to the high-status luxury brand it is today. (The value brand, of course, is now NAM's highly successful Galloway line, last seen in another commercial.)
Dickinson means tradition.
Finally, a shot of three cars - the Dickinson Sedan, the Dickinson Coupe, and the Dickinson Sport Coupe - in a dealer showroom, with a dealer shaking hands and handing keys to another satisfied customer.
Dickinson means... motoring.
The Dickinson name and logo appears over the scene. A small set of text at the bottom reads, "A North American Motors company."
The band is playing the song it played earlier, but on the screen is a shot of Hoboken's Main Street. As the music stops, the camera goes back to Walt and Mwai.
We're back with exiled VNC leader Christian Mwai.
Christian, what's your impression of us. You mentioned "your own treatment" here. I got the impression that if you weren't such a famous person, that you might not be as well treated?
I often hold up the CNA as a model for racial relations. While that is definitely true for black and white relations, I have wondered if you show the same level of respect to the natives of your land that the Victorian government has shown to its own natives.
Another wave of mumbling goes through the audience. This wasn't quite what they expected.
MACANUFF (somewhat lightly)
That was a long time ago! I mean, c'mon, we've tried very hard to make up for that. It's not like we were putting them to work in the cotton fields!
MWAI (appreciating the debate)
True, but you did segregate them, forced migration in some places. Just look at your Nakota tribe.
I agree that the sins of the father are not to be paid for by the son, but the facts show your indigenous population is far more impoverished than any other racial group in the CNA.
And beyond that, there are money and class stratifications that, while cutting across racial lines, do nothing but build barriers between the working class and those with power, money, and privilege. You yourself are considered beneath many aristocratic people, Walt, even though you command the respect of the nation. This rigid class system you have here cannot be denied.
I'll give you that.
Christian, if you don't mind staying with us, I'd love it if you could join my conversation with NCCC News's Charles Murphy.
I'm so sorry, Walt. I have an early morning engagement in New York.
Maybe next time, then. Ladies and Gentleman, let's all thank Christian Mwai!
A light smattering of applause follows. The audience is a bit stunned. So is the rest of the CNA, but we don't know that yet.
An actor is speaking into a radio microphone. Viewers will recognize it as a recreation of Owen Galloway's Christmas Speech (from 1922, see Sobel pp. 291-293). Astute viewers will know that the actor delivers the speech with a lot more feeling that the actual Owen Galloway did.
We go to a better land, to a future gained and paid for by the sacrifice of our ancestors. In so doing we assure the continuance of our people, and not their destruction.
During the last sentence of the speech, the scene cuts to a long line - where Galloway Trust workers are processing emigrants. We see a 14-year-old Southern Vandalian boy with his parents. The NARRATOR kicks in:
The award winning motion picture comes to the vita screen.
The scene cuts to the same Southern Vandalian, named ISAIAH RICHARDS, now a young 20 year old. He is looking longingly at another 20 year old, JOSEPHINE TAYLOR, who is a native of the Michigan City suburb the Richards family has moved to. This is a story of interracial romance set in the mid 1920s.
You really don't care... do you.
I know what's here.
She points at his heart.
So it doesn't matter what's here.
She strokes her hand against his cheek. They kiss... passionately.
"Galloway's Children" FN4 airs this Sunday night, at 7:00, 6:00 Western. Only on NCCC.
The audience applauds as the footage aired is that of Burgoyne, the CNA's capitol. Viewers know that this is a prelude to a remote interview from Burgoyne. In this case, it's with NCCC news anchor Charles Murphy.
The view is back in the Studio, and we see a big screen next to Walt now. On that screen is 48-year-old CHARLES MURPHY, the respected anchor of the NCCC Ten-o-clock-News. An IOW viewer might mistake him for a serious-looking Bill Murray at first glance, but that's mostly superficial.
Hello folks! We're back, and on the screen live from Burgoyne is our old friend, Charles Murphy
The audience applauds.
Walt, you're scooping me again. We're scrambling around here right now to make the story on Mwai's boycott.
Sorry Charles - I honestly don't try to do this. I mean... it's enough just having Trish Shaffer's Dad leading my band.
I know. I'll be honest, I wish Mwai had spoken about something we're covering over here at NCCC News. You're aware of the trial of Victoria Madoka.
On trial for being successful, right?
MURPHY (just a hair condescendingly)
It's a little more complicated than that, Walt, but that's a good workmanlike way of saying it. Victoria Madoka is on trial for sedition, something even Mexicans don't have to worry about too much.
Anyway, we'll have reporter Theresa Gugliano live from Nairobi when the trial begins.
Oh wow! You have the satellite link working?
We are going to be using Space Age technology to bring our viewers the latest events from around the world.
We will be sharing this satellite with the other networks, but we have a transmitting lorry already in place in Nairobi for this trial.
Good show, Charles. Good show indeed. Will we be able to report from even remote locations? Or do we need to be near a city?
As long as we have electricity, we can report the news. Our lorry could be equipped with a generator, I suppose.
So what else should we look for at 10:00 in the next few weeks?
Walt, the Grand Council is in recess until after Easter, as members have returned to their districts to see what their constituents think of the strange new political landscape here. The Governor-General has made the initial appointments of the new term, reflecting his new alliance with the Levine faction of the PJP. His one-vote governing majority seems secure for the moment, but clearly any domestic or foreign crisis would put his government in jeopardy.
Foreign Minister Bakersfield arrived in Boricua today, but we won't be able to send a lorry there for sure.
Of course we'll keep you up to date with all the latest developments on the space launches, as Christine Lillehammer prepares to be the first person to go up into space.
The audience applauds at this.
But there's not a lot of world-shaking events we're tracking beyond Boricua and this Madoka trial.
How is your family doing?
Molly is doing well at home. And Charles Jr. is finishing up his first year at MCU.
A great campus there in Michigan City.
Tell me, Charles. We have Mexican signing sensation Juan Bailleres on tonight. Is this another sign that Mexican - Confederation relations are thawing?
Talk about scorpions in a bottle! That won't spill over here, will it?
You pointed out thawing yourself. Would Juan Bailleres be doing so well over here if we were in danger of conflct? Mexican culture is starting to become very popular - especially in the SC and Southern Vandalia. We did a story about it last week, if you recall.
The Tania piece. That's a piece I wouldn't mind having.
The Audience laughs. Tania Monroy's flaunting sexuality is making inroads in the CNA, and is a source of many Walt jokes.
The last time we had such a blending between our two countries like this was before the Diffusion. Hopefully we won't have the same level of chaos we did in the 20s.
Hopefully we won't get another Galloway's Children out of it. It's so sweet it makes me want to vomit.
My wife loves that movie. She and I will be watching it this Sunday.
Sorry 'bout that, mate.
Look forward to having you on the show next time. Folks, raise your glasses to our old friend, Charles Murphy!
The audience applauds a little wildly.
Coming up next.... Juan Bailleres!
More applause as we cut to commercial.
We're in a crowded football match. Our heroes, STEVE and DAVE, are cheering on their favorite team. The problem is, they're surrounded by fans of the other team. We realize STEVE and DAVE are cheering against the home crowd.
STEVE looks at DAVE.
Your turn, innit?
DAVE looks like he's about to deny it, but then relents.
Blast - you're right.
DAVE starts to wander off camera to the right. Once he's off, STEVE looks to the right, and winces as we hear various screams, and sounds of someone being hit.
The over card reads: TWO MINUTES LATER
STEVE is still looking to the right. The same noises are in the background, but STEVE is looking excited. DAVE comes back into frame, carrying two cups with the famous Martin's Lager symbol on them.
DAVE looks horrible, his clothes are torn, and he beaten and bruised in several places. Still, he smiles (now with one less tooth), hands one of the cups to STEVE, and says...
Here you go mate. Say, aren't we playing in Michigan City next weekend?
STEVE spits out his first sip upon hearing this.
STEVE looks at his cup, takes a sip, and continues.
I'll handle it.
The VOICEOVER kicks in.
Martin's Lager... it's worth it!
The AUDIENCE is now very excited. You can hear them over Pete and Phil's music. The camera is on Walt the entire time.
You've waited all night for this. With his new single, "In the CNA", here's Juan Bailleres!
Juan Bailleres drives the audience wild - think Elvis on Ed Sullivan. He's very suave, which makes him a hit with the women, and he's a very aggressive guitar soloist, which makes him a hit with the men. His band consists of himself on guitar and vocals, a bass player, a drummer, a percussionist (with congas, and other assorted traps), and two trumpet players.
Bailleres starts off the band with "dos, tres, cuatro" and they rip into something catchy - something an IOW listener might mistake for Dick Dale and his Del Tones performing an infernal Squirrel Nut Zippers song. Bailleres sure plays guitar like Dick Dale, and the words are very charged.
In the CNA
At all the places along the way
Ay Caramba! What a sight!
There's a girl I'll kiss tonight
My favorite Tory, in all her glory
A redhead in Burgoyne, this is my story
I saw her in the square - we made a perfect pair
Watch her shake her body, you can't help but stare
In Michigan City, a girl that's pretty
I'd like to ask her out, but it's a pity
Her boyfriend's really large, a man in charge
I don't want to fight him, he's the size of a barge
My heart was broken, in Hoboken
A show girl blonde, she was really smokin
She teased me with her curls, these CNA girls
Nobody comes close in all of the world!
The final chorus is sung with a Mariachi-style dramatic pause
In the CNA...
At all the places along the way...
Ay Caramba! CNA Girls...
Nobody comes close... in ... all... the... world
The high praise for CNA women is appreciated by the female audience members, at least 2 of whom pass out.
The camera points back to Walt as he stands up. He has to shout over the audience.
Ladies and gentleman... Juan Bailleres!
The audience screams more, almost drowning out the final words of the show.
Tomorrow night is Friday, so we'll have a visit from the Closing Time Players, plus Terrence Philips, and music from singer Jane Yount!
Good night, folks!
Normally the Shaffer and Moroni kick off "The Closing Time March" again, but the fanfare is just too much, as the camera pulls back to bedlam in the stuidio, plus both Walt and Juan Bailleres and his band just soaking up the applause. "(C) MCMLXXIII NCCC - Hoboken" appears on the bottom of the screen.
New York Herald, March 19th, 1973, Business Section:
"CLOSING TIME" FOR NAM AND NCCC
North American Motors withdrew all advertising from North American Communications's NCCC network after Victorian exile Christian Mwai listed NAM as a company that, in his words, "effectively funds tyrrany."
Mwai, the exiled former leader of the Victorian National Congress, will address a group of Broad Street dignitaries today. He will call for a boycott of businesses that deal in Victoria. Mwai announced this boycott unexpectedly on NCCC's "Closing Time" vitavision program on Thursday. Host Walt MacAnuff took the announcement in relative stride, only cutting prematurely to an advertisement, ironically from NAM's Dickinson division, before continuing with Mwai.
NCCC is also being barraged with letters about Mwai's commentary on Confederation treatment of Indians, as well as what he perceived to be a "rigid class system" still in place in the nation.
"It's split down the middle so far," says NCCC spokesman Neville St. Johns.
"We've received letters congratulating us, and Walt, for being brave enough to have such a guest and let him speak his mind. We've also received many scathing letters, including a threat on Walt's life."
When asked about the threat, Mr. St. Johns replied, "Walt isn't terribly concerned. He says he's more worried about being trampled to death by Juan Bailleres fans, and his interview with Stan Marsh next month."
(Proceed to Academic Discourse.)
(Proceed to A Royal Audience.)
(Return to For All Nails.)
. . .