BIG BIRD: "Sesame Street" was brought to you today by The Dollar Sign. Now stay tuned for "Pay Or Be Dumb," the fifth annual public TV membership drive to be held in the last four months.
ANNOUNCER: We delay the start of "Growing Posies" for a few moments - give or take half an hour - in order to beg you, our loyal viewers, for money with which to continue public television programming for another two weeks. And now here they are, those popular local television personalities always bubbling over with fun, Pat Bland and Mike Pink!
PAT BLAND: Thank you, disembodied voice, and welcome ladies and gentlement to "Pay Or Be Dumb," Moneython '78 - the big public television extravaganza that gives you the public, or rather than tiny fraction of the public that can find its public TV station, a chance to support our wonderful lineup of esoteric, esthetic and erudite shows. Right, Mick Pink?
MICK PINK: Right you are there, Patty-kins. We're talking about shows like "How to Cook Squab" with Julia Chives, "Inner Peace through Excruciating Pain" with Yoga mistress Ellen Goldbaum, and "Collecting Antique Porcelain on a Budget" with the Countess Delilah de la Dubuque.
PAT BLAND: And remember, this is public television, so you never ever ever have to sit through a nasty old commercial. Ohhhhhh no. No commercials. Never ever. Right, Mink Pink?
MICK PINK: Right again, Patty-cakes. And by the way, I think we should mention here that production of "Moneython 78" was made possible by a grant from OilCon International Amalgamated Industries.
PAT BLAND: That's right, and local telecast of "Moneython 78" was made possible by a grant from Plotkin Furriers, corner of South and Main, where the annual winter clearance sale is now in progress. Why, I think we even have Maurice Plotkin manning one of our phones here in the studio tonight.
MICK: That's right, and the phones were made possible by a grant from the National Incompetent Telephone System.
PAT: Now in just a few teeny-tiny fragments of a second - give or take 45 minutes - we'll begin the esthetic, erudite and esoteric show you're all waiting to see, a three-year-old British TV production of "Confessions of an Opium-Eater," part 16
MICK: But first, here's one of your favorite public TV stars, Dick Kvetch!
DICK KVETCH: Hi, I'm Dick Kvetch, and I'm on tape. No doubt you watch my fascinating interview show every chance you get. I paint with a pretty broad brush, if I do say so myself. But you know that fancy logo that we have at the beginning and end of every program? Well, it costs a lot of money to make those logos. Those logos don't grow on trees. And I certainly can't shell out the cash for logos on the skimpy production budget public TV has given my company to produce the show. So if you want our erudite logos to continue, you'd better get on the horn and cough up the loot, you lazy, good-for-nothing TV viewers you.
MICK PINK: Thanks, Dick. Folks, we didn't want to remind you that we need your money not only to import all those wonderful programs from England, but also to support those big, overstuffed bureaucracies that help keep public TV safely a step or six behind the times - The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which has vast fancy offices to maintain on 16th Street, and the Public Broadcasting Service, which has a huge potted plant sustenance bill over in L'Enfant Plaza. You wouldn't want those potted plants to die, WOULD YOU?
PAT BLAND: And say folks, we know you're all eager to see tonight's big feature, a two-year-old Rugby game taped in Liverpool, but first, let's bring on another of your very favorite public TV personalities, Alastair Booke.
ALASTAIR BOOKE: Hello, I am Alastair Booke and I just want to remind you of some of the wonderful treats coming up on American public television this year. First we have "Rule, Brittania," a 17-part history of the British navy. Then we have "Pat Brittanica," a 14-part history of the British parliament. And then we have "There's the Rub," a 24-part history of sex scandals in the British government.
MICK PINK: Sound wonderful, doesn't it? And it will all come to you uninterrupted - except for a few months a year when we have membership drives - and uncensored - except whenever one of the American producers decides to whack out the really juicy scenes that played in England without a fuss - and absolutely free, except that if you don't send any money in right now your neighbors are going to gather outside your house and call you nasty names for being such a cheapskate.
PAT BLAND: Isn't it all too, too wonderful? And for those of you who are wondering what two popular commercial TV personalities are doing here on public TV, well the answer is quite simple, isn't it, Mickey-boots?
MICK PINK: Sure is, Pattsy-pants. Our station thought it would make a lot more sense to send us two blabbermouths over here to bore you into a coma than it would be to do the logical thing - give some of the station's own excess profits to public TV so that these begathons wouldn't be necessary.
PAT BLAND: Of course, if the public actually starts watching public TV in large numbers, then our station management will have to rethink its policy. But as long as we have these interminable membership drives, I don't think there's much danger of that, do you, Mick Pink?
MICK PINK: No indeed, Pat Bland. And say, what made possible that lovely dress you're wearing?
PAT BLAND: My dress was made possible by a grant from Frannie's Fetching Frocks, 404 Front St., phone 444-4444. And Mick, what made possible that dashing cashmere cravat you're sporting?
MICK PINK: My dashing cashmere cravat was made possible by a grant from Nickie's Natty Neckwear, 999 North Ninth St., phone 999-9999. But say, Pat, I can see that it's now 2:28 in the morning now and just about time for the 10 o'clock news.
PAT BLAND: That's right and before we go, I think we should make one more dignified appeal for funds so that this wonderful feast of riches on public television can continue.
MICK PINK: How true how true. Ready?
PAT BLAND: Ready.
MICK PINK AND PAT BLAND TOGETHER, GROVELING ON THE FLOOR: Pleeeeeeze send money. Please send money. Please, please, please, please, puh-leeeeeeezzz . . .