ANNOUNCER. And now, part one of "79 Sixth Avenue" . . . the story of a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who kept getting hit by the train, but grew up to run a TV network. A six-part Trifle for Television. Part two will be seen after we get the ratings on part one. This program is intended only for mature audiences with the brains of pollywogs. And now . . ."79 Sixth Avenue."
MUSIC. Ka-choonk, ka-choonk, ka-ching-ching ka-choonk . . .
VOICE. My name is Zbigniew Schwartz - the guys call me "Hunk." I grew up here in a fashionably ratty old house on the backlot at Unilateral Studios. When I was a boy, I dreamed great dreams. I wanted to write the great American novel make the greet American movie, further the betterment of ALL MANKIND. Instead, I was driven into a career in television. This is my sad, nay pathetic, yet fitfully spicy story.
FLASHBACK EFFECT: Ripple, ripple, ripple.
VOICE: It was 1948. There were storm clouds over Europe. Lindbergh had landed in Paris, and America danced to the music of Scott Joplin. But for me, life was a living hell on earth.
STEPMOTHER IN BATHTUB: Hunk' Get away from that fool typewriter and scrub my back.'
HUNK: But stepma, I'm writing a scaring, sensative peom about the real mother I never knew. I think I could win a Guggenheum with it and go to college.
STEPMOTHER IN BATHTUB: Never mind that - we've got to get to a suggestive scene quick or viewers will tune out. Now get in here and make with the soft-core porn.
HUNK: Okay, how does that fel?
STEPMOTHER: Fine, but one inch lower and we're off the air. Let's keep this strictly on the innuendo level, honey-bunch.
HUNK: Stepma! I smell something burinig. I think it's my irreplacable manuscript and my typewriter!
STEPMOTHER: Forget it, baby-doll, I think it's time you and I got to know each other.
HUNK: But, stepmama, I was saving myself for that special lady . . .
DISCREET TRANSITION EFFECT: Ripple, ripple, ripple.
VOICE: Years later, I met that special lady. Her name was Cybil Special. I'll never forget that night in the back seat of my 1968 Buck Roadmaster, especially since it was only 1956 at the time . . .
HUNK: You're a very special lady, Cybil.
CYBIL: You're a special kind of a guy, Hunk.
HUNK: perhaps, but you are far more special then I.
CYBIL: Oh, no - my unique specialness is nothing next to your very unique specialness.
HUNK: Then let's you know.
HUNK: You know - participate in a sexual act.
CYBIL: Why, Hunk, you can't be that specific on television. You can only say "go to bed together" or "sleep together."
HUNK: But I don't want to sleep. I want to participate in a . . .
CYBIL: Anyway, it's out of the question because I can't marry you. My daddy says you're a no-account shiftless dreamer. If you really loved me, you'd forget about translating the works of Garcia Lorea and take that job writing commercials.
HUNK: But. Cyb - oh all right, I'll do it! Now, how about a little, you know, ripple-ripple-ripple?
VOICE: So I took the job. I'll never forget my boss, Battern Barton Bernback Bates.
BATES: All right, Schwartz. let's see what you came up with on that Nibbley Hubbles account.
HUNK: Well, sir, I thought maybe something imaginative, clever, direct, entertaining and honest.
BATES: What are you, nuts? Say, who taught you advertising kid - Albert Schweitzer? Now, look, throw away your ideas and try something like this: "Nibbley Nubbles is the all-natural snack with nothing artificial added."
HUNK: But sir, there's nothing but chemicals in these foul little twisties.
BATES: What are you, Ralph Nader? All right, try this: "Nibbley Nubbles will improve your sex life, save your marriage, increase your popularity, give you a healthy radiant complexion, make your hair smell terrific and keep baby drier than the leading nubble."
HUNK: But sir . . .
BATES: And Schwartz, don't letme catch you writing that play of yours bases on the book of Deuteronomy on company time. By the way, your wife's doctor called; she terminally ill, you have no insurance - and so you'd better keep this job and forget about the Drama Critics' Circle Award and the respect of your peers.
HUNK: Is that all?
BATES: No, your stepmother called and said if you don't keep sending her those checks, she'll tell your father how you raped her on Christmas Eve.
HUNK: Pass the NUbbley Nubbles, boss.
BATES: That's Nibbley Nubbles, you ill-fated idealist radical!
VOICE: So I worked. I wrote commercial after commercial. I made a fortune. Finally, the doctors found a cure for my wife's terminal illnesss; but on the day they did, she was murdered by a pervert from the psycho ward. I grew bitter. I vowed to work my way to the top in television and get even with the world. Soon I was the head of the news department for a major TV station. I'll never forget my boss, J. Walter Profit.
PROFIT: Schwartz, I'm giving you carte blanche to make our news department the most respected in all of television.
HUNK: Thany you, sir, I'm giving you carte blanche to make our news department the most respected in all of tricks.
PROFIT: Yes, yes, of course. Now there are a few little things we have to take care of, because the ratings are very bad on our evening newscast. First, I want more recipes, movie reviews, gardening tips and household hints.
HUNK: But sir . . .
PROFIT: Jumbo the Clown will handle the weather, the newscasters will all wear matching blue beanies, and I want at least 15 minutes of the half hour to go to Pugg McThugg, our scrappy, tell-it-like-it-is sportscaster.
HUNK: What about that investigative report I was planning on excessive profits in the communications industry?
PROFIT: Kill it with an ax, you meat-head.
VOICE: So I did as I was told. The poems, the plays, the advocacy journalism were all behind me now, and yet that still small voice that spoke of the betterment of all mankind wasn't completely silenced. And then, finally, the big time . . .
SINGING CHORUS: New York! New York! You crazy, whacky burg! You nutty, loony, zany, lofty, heartbreaker of a major metropolitan area . . .
VOICE: Yes, New York - and Sixth Avenue, the most powerful street in America, where the three television networks house their corporate royalty in gleaming towers of glass and steel!
SINGING CHORUS: New York! New York! You dirty, vicious pit! You filthy, rotten, scheming, ruthless, brankrupt den of iniquity . . .
VOICE: And I, Zbigniew Hunk Schwartz, I'd made it to the top - the very very ultimate and ultra-unique, tippy-tippy top. Philo T. Fortune, the chairman of the board, had named me president of the network! Now, at last, I would be able to fulfill my wildest creative dreams. Now, at last, I was in command of the star I'd hitched my wagon to - if you catch my drift.
PHILO: Well, my boy, the network is in your hands. I'm counting on you for beld ideas, breakthrough concepts, frsh formats, a whole new way of programming television. Son, you'll have a free hand.
HUNK: Thank you, sir. I've given it a lot of thought. I have lots of ideas. I want to take all that childish pap we've been programming off the air. I want to stop using laugh tracks and stereo-types on situation comedies, bring back weekly live drama, commission new TV plays from top playwrights, eliminate unnecessary violence, stop using sexual suggestiveness as a lure for viewers, refuse to broadcast demeaning commercials, and ban any more of those stupid, smutty, sloppily produced novels for television.
PHILO: What are you. Captain Suicide? We'd be broke in a week! You put those Commie notions of yours into mothballs and do exactly as I tell you.
HUNK (turning seductively toward the camera.) Whatever youwant. You're the boss.