Exquisite Corpse - Issue 3
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BONANZA!  The Musical
Davey Williams


Act One

 (Scene opens in the spacious and rustic den of the Ponderosa.  Hop-Sing sits at stage left watching "Star Trek" on TV.  At center, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright are beating up on Tonto, the Lone Ranger's sidekick.  Tonto does not resist, and presently he goes down after a double haymaker from Little Joe and Hoss.)

 TONTO (from floor): Thanks, I needed that...

 HOSS (to Tonto): Any time, good buddy.  (to Little Joe) Hey, Little Joe!

 LITTLE JOE: (a bit breathlessly)  Hi.

(Hoss picks Tonto up and heaves him over his shoulder.)

HOSS: (to Tonto) Let's go get you cleaned up, big fella.

TONTO: Upsy-daisy! 

(Hoss and Tonto exit.  Little Joe wanders over to where Hop-Sing is watching "Star Trek."  He stands behind Hop-Sing and watches TV for a minute too.  The theme music to "Star Trek" begins, gradually becoming the introduction to Little Joe and Hop-Sing's duet.  During the intro they converse.)

LITTLE JOE: Hop-Sing, that kung pao beef dish you made tonight tasted about like dog food.

HOP-SING: Hop-Sing not too good at Chinese dish, Rittle Joe; Hop-Sing Okinawan.

LITTLE JOE: (still watching TV)  Whatever... You know, I like the old "Star Trek" better than "The Next Generation."

HOP-SING: "Star Trek" no good!  "Star Trek Next Generation" much better.

LITTLE JOE: (bristling) I said the old "Star Trek" is best!

HOP-SING: (half assuming a kung-fu stance) Captain Picard smarter than Spock!

LITTLE JOE: Watch your mouth!

HOP-SING: Rittle Joe!  Don't push it! 

(As they square off for a fight, they sing their duet, a heated debate over the merits of "Star Trek" versus "Star Trek: The Next Generation."  During an instrumental interlude they begin grappling, and by the last verse are throwing punches.  The song ends with no clear winner as the two roll on the floor, struggling for advantage.  Hoss re-enters the den as the song finishes.  He sees Little Joe and Hop-Sing  fighting on the floor and rushes over to the TV, turning it off.)

HOSS: Little Joe!  Hop-Sing!  Get up from there! 

(They continue rolling on the floor.  Hoss shakes his head and sighs, then walks over and picks the two up and concludes their fight with a two-armed shot to their jaws.  They stand, weaving.)

HOSS: That's it!  No more TV on Mondays.  Now Little Joe, you shake Hop-Sing's hand there and apologize, so he won't bring his gang out here.

LITTLE JOE: (reluctantly shaking hands with Hop-Sing)  No hard feelings, you little creep.

HOP-SING: Look who's talking.  Ok, no hard feeling creep but now we have Chinese dog food dish all week! 

(Sound of a horseback rider approaching at a gallop outside)

HOSS: Someone's coming! 

(Adam Cartwright bursts in the front door, dirty and sweating.)

LITTLE JOE: Adam! What's wrong?

ADAM: (rushing across the living room) Have I ever got to pee!  (exits)

HOSS: That's right, we don't have a toilet out on the north 86.

LITTLE JOE: And that's nearly fifteen miles away, half a day's ride.

HOP-SING: Why Adam not just pee on ground? Nobody around; Hop-Sing pee on ground.

HOSS: (indignantly) Don't let me hear you talk like that again, Hop-Sing.  I'd hate to have to tell Pa about this.

HOP-SING: Hop-Sing tight with Mister Ben, big boy; but OK  OK, Hop-Sing use  toilet. 

(Adam enters as the intro to the Cartwright boy's trio begins.)

LITTLE JOE: (speaking over musical intro) Long ride, Adam?

ADAM: What a relief, brother. 

(Hoss, Adam and Little Joe sing the trio "We'll Have Toilets on the Ponderosa," in which they pledge devotion to portable toilets "far out on the range with skies so blue/ and proper dumping facilities, too.")   (Ben Cartwright enters from front door.)

BEN: (to Adam)  Why aren't you out on the north 86?

ADAM: Had to pee, Pa.

BEN: (proudly)  Boys, we'll tame this land yet. (To Hop-Sing)  Hop-Sing, we need fifty cases of rot-gut.  The Marlboro Man is bringing his boys over for a farewell barbecue tonight;  I heard he's getting laid off, and with all that billboard seniority too.  Especially in Europe...  Oh, and you better thaw out about one point six tons of beef, too. (To  his sons, as Hop-Sing exits to the kitchen) By the way boys, I saw a stranger out behind the jacuzzi just now.

HOSS: Did you recognize him, Pa?

ADAM: Pa just said he was a stranger, you dummy; if he'd recognized him he wouldn't have called him a stranger.

HOSS: Well, take this, Mr. Smarty-Pants!

(Hoss swings at Adam, who ducks the punch so that instead Hoss catches Little Joe broadside, nearly decking him.  A brawl ensues between the three brothers while Ben looks on with fatherly pride.  Despite the fisticuffs, their hats do not come off.)

BEN: That's my boys! 

(Little Joe breaks a gourd over Hoss'   hat.) Fellows, I wish your mama, whom we never mention on this show, could see you now.  She'd be proud, mighty proud.  (Adam breaks a clock radio over his own head as Hoss and Little Joe exchange body blows.  Amidst this mayhem, Ranch Hand Dudley enters in a tizzy.)

DUDLEY: Mr. Cartwright!  Mr. Cartwright!  You gotta come quick; there ain't much time!

BEN: (Looks around, irritated)  You fool!  I told you never to come in this house unless it's an emergency.

DUDLEY: (backing out the door) Sorry, Mr. Cartwright, but the calf is foaling.

BEN: Boys!  Hold it! (They stop fighting.) The calf is foaling! 

(The Cartwrights look at each other, suddenly excited.)

HOSS, LITTLE JOE & ADAM: (together) SEX!

BEN: Let's go, boys.

(They rush out the door to a lively but ominous 'Star Trek' theme.)

Act Two

(This scene also takes place in the den of the Ponderosa.  Hoss, Adam and Little Joe are standing around the fireplace, but no fire is burning.)

HOSS: (Looking at the cold fireplace) I like it better this way.

ADAM: Pa told Little Joe to get that prairie dog out of the chimney two weeks ago.

LITTLE JOE: Pipe down, big shot!

HOSS: Funny that little varmint don't stink yet...but easy fellas, let's wait on the Marlboro Man's boys to tussle.  Let's us not get all tuckered out too soon to tangle with 'em pretty nice.


HOSS: (shouting towards kitchen) Hop-Sing! How's that one point six tons of beef coming along?

HOP-SING: (sticks his head out kitchen door, answering sarcastically) It's all dead, Hoss.

(Ben Cartwright enters in a wheelchair, pushed by Ranch Hand Dudley)

LITTLE JOE: Uh-oh; Pa's senile again.

HOSS: It was the whiskey that done it.

ADAM: No way, dude!  It was the sex.

(A knock comes at the door.  Hop-Sing reenters the den and answers the door.  The Marlboro Man enters, followed by a dozen of his men, all of whom wear calico shirts, gun belts with six-shooters, and bowler hats.  One of the Marlboro Man's men has pointed ears.)

BEN: (Indicating man with pointed ears.) Who's that?

MARLBORO MAN: (apologetically)  He likes the original "Star Trek."

(Hop-Sing gives Marlboro Man a dirty look as he exits to kitchen.  Dudley wheels Ben over to Marlboro Man and they shake hands, obviously old friends.  Music begins and the two sing their duet with male chorus, the Marlboro Men & the Cartwright Boys), "Hold a Cow Hostage; Punch a Buncha Face." (As song ends, Pa slugs Marlboro Man in the gut from his wheelchair, sending him reeling backwards into the arms of his men.)

BEN: Don't you just love those old songs, Marlboro Man?  Sorry to hear you got sacked...

MARLBORO MAN: (recovering  from punch) Why, if you weren't wearing them wheels I'd...

(Dudley interrupts, arriving with huge glasses of rotgut on a silver tray sporting a bull's horns car hood ornament.  The predictable hostility passes and everyone takes drinks, but this in turn is interrupted by a knock at the door.  Everyone stops what they are doing and looks towards Ben and Marlboro Man, alarmed.)

HOSS: Who's that?

BEN: Not a clue, son. (Draws his pistol.)

LITTLE JOE: (Drawing pistol and taking cover behind TV set, then shouting towards door) Open the door slowly and come in!

(United Parcel Service delivery man enters, carrying Roy Rogers'  famous horse Trigger, taxidermied and transported  via wheels attached to the bottom of  the hooves.)

HOSS: (Suddenly in a jolly mood) Looky who's here!  It's old Taxidermied Trigger.

LITTLE JOE: Hey Trigger, are you still going out with Taxidermied Flipper?

TRIGGER: (silence)

HOSS: (sympathetically) Well, he never was no Mister Ed...

MARLBORO MAN: (rankling slightly) Look Ben, some of my boys are kinda partial to Trigger.

BEN: (to Marlboro Man's boys) Go easy fellas.  Little Joe didn't mean any harm making fun of that four-legged stiff.  Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.  Hoss!  Feed Taxidermied Trigger some mothballs.

(There is another knock at the door.  Everyone is alarmed again.)

HOSS: I got a feeling here comes trouble, Pa.

BEN: Little Joe, you and Adam ride to Afghanistan.  Tell the sheriff to plant his gourds later in the season.  And don't use so much fertilizer!

ADAM: Right, Pa!

LITTLE JOE: But Pa, what about proper fiber content in the diet?

HOSS: Don't be hot-headed, Little Joe.

(Throughout all this, Hop-Sing has been increasingly agitated, giving angry glances at both Little Joe and Marlboro Man. There is a second knock at the front door.)

HOP-SING: (sarcastically) Mr. Ben!  Guess who's coming to dinner.

(Ben stands and pushes the wheelchair aside, apparently his old self again.  As Hop-Sing answers the door, the lure of  food and  drink overcomes the cowboys' alarm and they begin digging in.  Hop-Sing opens the door and Tonto enters.  Marlboro Man notices his entrance.)

MARLBORO MAN: Who's this?

HOSS: This is Tonto, the Lone Ranger's sidekick.

TONTO: Tonto not sidekick; Tonto big star, Fatty!

LITTLE JOE: Yeah, sure.  Only slightly less famous than a taxidermied horse.

TONTO: (to Little Joe) You little squirt, Tonto break you into-

HOSS: Hold on, fellas; let's eat first.(To Marlboro Man) You know, Marlboro Man, I can't believe you don't know who Tonto is.  He's been on TV and in the movies for fifty years.

MARLBORO MAN: (somewhat bitterly) Well, you probably never thought about this, but you don't see much TV from a billboard.

(Music opens for Tonto's song.  In the first verse, Tonto tells the others that the stranger out by the Jacuzzi is an old woman, and that she is coming to the house.  The Cartwrights and the Marlboro Men all look up and recoil in guarded alarm at this news.  They join in the men's chorus, expressing their terror of old ladies with the lines, "We've all been bad boys now and then/ and it might be our mom/ madder'n a wet hen."  Only Hop-Sing does not join in the song, slipping away into the kitchen. (The song ends and Tonto crosses over to Ben's liquor cabinet as the others mill about uncertainly.  Tonto takes out two elegant tumblers and a bottle of  green chartreuse, then follows Hop-Sing into the kitchen, giving a kind of  high-five sign as he recrosses the room.)

TONTO: (muttering) Tonto also tight with Ben Cartwright. (To Marlboro Man) Tonto tell truth; only smoke Camels.

MARLBORO MAN: (distractedly) I quit two years ago.

LITTLE JOE: (to Marlboro Man)  Well looky here, you turncoat: WE smoke Marlboros! (indicating his family)

(The Cartwrights all take out cigarettes and light up, except for Ben, who fumbles in his pockets.)

BEN: Say, can I bum a smoke from one of you boys?

ADAM: Sure, Pa.  Little Joe, give Pa a smoke.

LITTLE JOE: (to Adam)  You dog... (to Ben, giving him a cigarette and a light) Here, Pa.

BEN: (with pride in his voice) Thanks, son.

(Footsteps are heard on the front porch.  Everyone looks towards the door as Granny from 'the Beverly Hillbillies' kicks the door open and enters carrying a double-barreled shotgun.)

LITTLE JOE: (somewhat breathlessly) Hi.

HOSS: Granny!  What the heck are you doing here?  You don't belong on 'Bonanza!'

GRANNY: You're dern tootin' I don't, but I'm here anyway, you flat-hats!

HOSS: Now wait a minute!  My  hat ain't flat!  It's got a distinctly rounded shape on top!

LITTLE JOE: Why you... (Goes for his gun.) 

(Granny beats him to the draw and levels the shotgun at the Cartwrights.)

GRANNY: All right, you bunch of two-legged cattle; now listen up!  I ain't come here for no shoot-out, I come to set the record straight.  Hear me out and I'll leave and nobody'll get hurt, barring the usual risk of accidents around the home, increasingly common these days.

(Music starts for the next song.  Granny begins solo, with a stanza telling the Cartwright boys that Ben is not their father, and that he only adopted the boys during their infancy after their real father walked out on the family.  Following this revelation, Hoss joins in, singing the musical question to Ben, "Who is our pa, Pa?  Guess it ain't you, naw, naw.")

(In the third stanza, Ben confesses that he doesn't  know because in fact he was an affluent drifter when he kidnapped them from their mother.  The music draws to an emotional climax, then falls pensive as the Marlboro Man tells the boys "I'm  your real dad, Hoss/ I gave you your first ten-gallon hat/ but I fell for a cute trail boss/ Sorry 'bout that.") 

(Finally Little Joe and Adam sing a duet, "Sure glad she ain't here, but who's our ma?"  The song is ended abruptly when Granny fires the shotgun into the ceiling.)

GRANNY: I came here to talk, not listen. (To the Cartwright boys) Boys, Ben's a fine but occasionally boring man.  You been lucky.  I'm your real Ma.  I was young and crazy then.  But I gotta run; let's talk.  Stay in touch; you can reach me through my agent.  See ya fellas!

(Granny exits.  Everyone stands around, digesting this information, both deeply moved by these developments and relieved that they are no longer in the presence of an old woman.)

HOSS: Gee, I wonder if that means that Jed Clampett is my cousin...

ADAM: (shuddering)  Perish the thought!

BEN: Boys, I don't know what to say.

LITTLE JOE: Aw, shucks, Pa.  We ain't particular.

HOSS: That's right, Pa; a little blood tie don't make us no nevermind. (To Marlboro Man) And no hard feelings to you, Marlboro Man- uh, Dad.

MARLBORO MAN: I ain't worried about none of that tenderfoot crap.  Now back off, you Cartwrights; my boys ain't done eatin' and  drinkin' yet.

BEN: That's the spirit!  Business as usual!

(General hubbub of partying resumes.)

ADAM: Hey look!  "Star Trek's" coming on TV.

LITTLE JOE: (looking towards the TV) Oh yeah, and it's the original!  That's the one I like! (shouts through kitchen door)  Hey Hop-Sing!  The good version of  'Star Trek' is coming on;  to hell with shrinks on board the Enterprise!

(Tonto sticks his head through kitchen door)

TONTO: (to Little Joe) Hey, you chump!  Tonto not dig crap to my man Hop-Sing...Picard rules!

(Tonto slams kitchen door.  Following a stunned silence, the insult registers with the Cartwright boys.)

LITTLE JOE: Fellas, fellas!  Tonto's siding with Hop-Sing on this "Star Trek" thing.

MARLBORO MAN: (to his own men) Whoa-th'-doodie, gents; we got a workable problem here.  Little Joe thinks that the old "Star Trek" is best.

HOSS: Huh? (to Little Joe) But Little Joe, I like "Next Generation" the best...

LITTLE JOE: Why, you big hunk of lard!

MAN WITH POINTED EARS: Well, I like the old Star Trek too! 

(Several of Marlboro Man's other men begin chanting "We like Next Generation!"  A general shoving match ensues, escalating into Hoss and Little Joe socking each other in the jaw.  Music starts for a song.  Ben and Marlboro Man sing a lament celebrating "Cigarettes, the land unplowed/ a good horse and no girls allowed."  After their duo, Tonto and Hop-Sing enter from the kitchen, replacing the former duet with one of  their own announcing the imminent re-arrival of  "Granny with her gun, bang bang/ now accompanied by a gang." (The song ends and immediately there is a sharp knock at the front door, along with the sound of many scuffling feet.)

GRANNY: (from outside) Posse!  Open up, you geeks...

HOSS: Fellowship!  This oughta be fun...

(Enter a group of  teenage males of all races, each obviously wearing modern teen male hairstyles and fashions, streetwise and tough-looking.  The cowboys all stare, dumbfounded.  They all gradually acknowledge each other in silence, while the 'Star Trek' episode plays on TV.) (Ben addresses the youth gang in a brief  song.  He welcomes them to the Ponderosa, and to television "all you bright young thugs," then tells them that they are about to join their older brothers in that time-honored of American endeavors, "to decide through fisticuffs/  a knuckle sandwich conflagration/ if it's 'Star Trek'  we've seen enough/ or 'Star Trek Next Generation.'") (The song ends with a reverential silence, while everyone stands about sniffling and choking back tears of  pride.  Suddenly Granny brandishes her shotgun and admonishes all the guys present.)

GRANNY: I've changed my mind, you clods.  I came all the way here from LAX and I intend to kick some butt on behalf of Captain Picard and the hunky braniac Data.

HOSS: (amidst disgruntled mumbling from the men and boys)  What do you mean, Granny- uh, Mom?

GRANNY: (throwing aside her shotgun) I mean it's high noon!

BEN: (checking his watch) My clock must be wrong; I've got nine-thirty p.m.

GRANNY: No you idiot!  Haven't you ever seen that Gary Cooper western?  Now THAT was a real cowboy...What I mean is, Let's Rock and Roll!

(The men all stand around uncertainly, not understanding Granny's lingo.)

GRANNY: You know. Let's go downtown; tally-ho; kick some butt!

HOSS: Huh?

GRANNY: You nitwits!  I mean, like, Banzai!

LITTLE JOE: Oh, Banzai!  We got you now...


GRANNY: (to Ben) Whattya say, Ben?

BEN: Little Joe, take Hop-Sing and ride to Honolulu.  Tell the Admiral there that on December seventh the enemy is going to-

GRANNY: (to Ben) I mean, whattya say to me?

HOP-SING: (ignoring Granny) Hop-Sing not go to Honolulu; Rittle Joe total drag on the road.

LITTLE JOE: For once I agree with Hop-Sing, Pa.  Why the heck do you want us to miss "Star Trek" and go to Honolulu?

BEN: Son, it's vitally important that-

GRANNY: (interrupting) Cut the chatter!  I'm stoked to get upside somebody's head, because not one of you male cows has ever heard of "Deep Space Nine," which makes the earlier "Star Treks" look like "Clodhopper Trek."

(A choral song begins as some of  the older males, led by Hop-Sing, register their denial of  the newly mentioned TV series by celebration of their earlier conflict, "It's easy work and blow by blow/ I'll beat the Kirk out of  Little Joe."  This zinger is answered by some others, led by Adam, who exhorts the others to rally behind "the loyals who've sworn to brush her and mess her/  the feminist Dr. Crusher, God bless her."  As the song ends, Granny clobbers Little Joe with a saddle, knocking him to the floor.  The youth gang members mill about, obviously bored and ignoring all this.  Little Joe jumps to his feet and squares off with Granny.)

GRANNY: Come on, pimp!

(A huge, indiscriminate fight erupts.  Ben hastily reseats himself in the wheelchair and punches Marlboro Man in the gut again.)

MARLBORO MAN: Why, Ben, if you weren't wearing them wheels I'd, uh...I'd...

HOSS: Uh-oh; now Marlboro Man's senile too.

(Tonto and Hop-Sing bail out of the slugfest, retiring to Ben's bar as Hoss gains a slight advantage over Little Joe.  Marlboro Man joins Hop-Sing and Tonto at the bar.)

MARLBORO MAN: Hoka-hey, pals!  It's a good day to die; right, brothers?

TONTO: Speak for yourself, bub.

HOP-SING: Hey Marlboro Man; let Hop-Sing massage your head with this gin bottle.

(They leap back into the fray, and soon Granny wades into them like gangbusters.)

GRANNY: It was getting boring over in the peanut gallery. 

(Meanwhile a vast melee is under way.  Hoss flings a mighty left at Taxidermied Trigger, but misses.  Adam slugs himself in the jaw mercilessly.)

LITTLE JOE: (grabbing Adam's arm) Easy, big fella; he's had enough.

(On the TV, "Star Trek" is suddenly replaced by an announcement that Pearl Harbor has just been bombed in World War Two.  Granny and Marlboro Man are grappling on the bar.)

MARLBORO MAN: (looking at the TV) Why is that on the news?  That was over fifty years ago...

(Taking advantage of Marlboro Man's distraction, Granny breaks a glass of rotgut over his head.  The drink splashes on his face and knocks from Marlboro Man's head what turns out to be a kind of mask, carefully sculpted from a cigarette billboard. Everyone stops fighting and stands back in disbelief as Marlboro Man is revealed to be none other than Captain Picard from "Star Trek: The Next Generation.")

HOSS: No wonder he had such a bad complexion...

CAPTAIN PICARD: (to the Cartwrights) Yes, gentlemen, it's true.  I, Captain Picard, hero to some of you and nemesis to others, am your real father.

HOP-SING: Not only that, but Hop-Sing actually Japanese spy using secret info from Ponderosa to bomb Pearl Harbor fifty years ago.

BEN: Huh?

LITTLE JOE: (suddenly disoriented) I just wish I could say "Beam me up," but I can't remember that guy's name.

TONTO: It's "Scotty."

LITTLE JOE: Oh, yeah, Scotty. (distracted, mumbling to himself) Yeah, beam me up Scotty.  ScottyScottyScotty...(laughs with a brutal irony)

Act Three

(Same scene as before, except that it is later that night..  Only Ben, Picard, Granny, Tonto and Hop-Sing remain upright, and they are standing around the bar.  Everyone else is unconscious on the floor, scattered about the room among broken furniture.  Peking duck and a bottle of  Rhine wine are being consumed at the bar.)
BEN: (Surveying the scene in the room) I'm telling you!  The things you have to do to get the boys to sleep...

(Music comes from the TV; it is the theme music to "Deep Space Nine.")
HOP-SING: Hop-Sing  say "Oh no, not another Star Trek!" 

(All the cowboys and youth gang members sit up and sing the final song with those at the bar:  "Granny was cool with her double-barreled tool/  and we fit 'n' fought like good boys ought/  but concerning 'Star Trek'/  what the heck/  there's better things to find ourselves facin'/  we'd rather watch 'Perry Mason.') 

(The curtain falls as they sing the last chorus: "An out-of-the-ordinary night/ out on the Ponderosa/ and except for the kids right?/ we weren't bored, no Suh!")


For a copy of Davey William's book, Which Came First The Fried Chicken or The Fried Egg, please contact him. For a preview, check out www.the-improvisor.com/transmuseq/davey/fried%20egg2.htm!



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