Encyclopedia SalesmanMay 11, 2009
[Scene: at the front door of the Burns’ house]
Charlie (book salesman): Good morning, madam. If you would allow me two minutes…
Gracie: Shh! Please, what’s your name?
Gracie: Shh! What’s your first name?
Gracie: Well, Charlie Jones! Am I glad to see you again.
Charlie: What’s the idea?
Gracie: Well, if the neighbors see me talking to a stranger they gossip.
Gracie: Well, come on in, Charlie.
[Gracie shoves him in the door. Without the hushed dialog it would obviously look like she was hoping that no one would notice.]
Charlie: Lovely home you have here.
Gracie: Oh, thank you.
Charlie: Well, madam, if you would allow me two minutes.
Gracie: Oh, Charlie, don’t be so formal. Call me Gracie. Now, let’s sit down.
Charlie: Well, thank you.
Gracie: Now, tell me all about your wife and children.
Charlie: Well, I haven’t any wife.
Gracie: Oh, well tell me about your children.
[that was a joke… it was a different world then…]
Charlie: Madam, this is Dr. Gumpert’s Encyclopedia and it belongs in your home.
Gracie: Oh, no. If it’s Dr. Gumpert’s it belongs in his home.
Charlie: That’s just the name of it. I’m selling these. And a beautiful home like yours should have them. Here.
Gracie: Oh, my goodness, nice and heavy [sits the book on Charlie’s hat].
Charlie: [reshaping his hat] As an intelligent, progressive woman you of course know that Dr. Gumpert’s Encyclopedia is more than just the world’s handiest reference guide. It’s an essential part of your life, a necessity, a cultural asset which will lend dignity and distinction to your domicile.
Gracie: Yes. Oh! [laughs]
Charlie: Did I say something funny?
Gracie: Well, I don’t know but I’m not taking any chances.
Charlie: Seriously, madam, look at these illustrations. [Hands the book to Gracie.]
Gracie: Oh, yes, yes, they’re very interesting. [Again sits the book on the salesman’s hat.]
Charlie: [Reshaping his hat…] You know, madam, these books would make a wonderful present for your father there [pointing to a photo].
Gracie: Oh, that’s not my father; that’s my husband.
Charlie: Oh, forgive me.
Gracie: Oh, that’s alright. My father wouldn’t mind. Although my father’s a much younger man.
Charlie: Younger than your husband?
Gracie: Oh, yes. When I met my husband he was thirty, but when I met my father he was only 24.
Charlie: I see. Well, madam, you need these books to be well-informed. You know, most people can’t even remember what was in yesterday’s newspaper.
Gracie: Oh, I do: the garbage. I wrapped it myself.
Charlie: Madam, let me show you these books.
Gracie: Oh, no. I want to show you a couple of books. Now, this is my very favorite.
Charlie: “A Report on the Sheep-Growing Industry”? This is your favorite?
Gracie: Uh-huh. Well, look inside.
Charlie: Oh, I see. There are some flowers pressed in here.
Gracie: Uh-huh. The first time my husband ever called on me he brought me those.
Charlie: How very sweet.
Gracie: Now look at this one.
Charlie: This one won’t open.
Gracie: He brought me candy, too.
Charlie: Thank you very much, madam. Good bye, madam. It’s been charming. And if I ever pass your home again, I’ll be sure I do.
Gracie: Ah, now, that’s a promise. Well, I’ll show you to the door. Right this way.
[Gracie peeks out the door and slowly moves out…]
Charlie: Well, good bye, madam.
Gracie: [Grabbing Charlie in a hug.] Good bye, Charlie.
[Gracie takes another gawk down the street before going back into the house.]