Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Columbia Workshop
Show: The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man
Date: Sep 29 1940

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
GEORGE
ADELE
TOM, the pussycat
JOHN, the mayor's aide
MAYOR JOHNSON
ATTENDANT, at gas station
CUSTOMER, at gas station
WOMAN, at beauty salon
SALLY, at beauty salon
BILLINGS, a leading citizen of the town
CONDUCTOR
FAIRCHILD, a leading citizen of the state
PETERS, the drunk
MANAGER, of the hotel
SAM, the expert plumber
JOEY, his young partner
SPEAKER, at the convention

CROWD, at city hall
VOICES, of state leaders
MOB, of conventioneers
DELEGATES, at convention

NOTE: This transcript contains material from a published version of the play in brackets.

ANNOUNCER:

The Columbia Workshop presents "The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man," an original radio play by Arthur Miller. Before the microphones open on tonight's play, let the Workshop be the first to admit that animals have had more than their share of attention lately on this program. Beginning with "My Friend, [sic] Curley," the dancing caterpillar, there has been "Fish Story," "Alf, the All-American Fly," and now -- something about a pussycat. Perhaps tonight's broadcast will prove the animal play to end all animal plays. That, dear listeners, rests with you.

MUSIC:

AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN UNDER--

GEORGE:

(YAWNS) Shouldn't have stayed up so late, Adele.

ADELE:

(SLEEPILY) Did you lock the door?

GEORGE:

Oh, leave it open tonight. It's stuffy.

ADELE:

Turn out the light.

SOUND:

LIGHT SWITCH ... BED CREAKS AS MAN GETS IN

GEORGE:

(SETTLES IN) Ahhh. 'Night.

ADELE:

'Night.

MUSIC:

GENTLY FADES OUT BEHIND--

SOUND:

GEORGE AND ADELE'S BREATHING ... HOLD ... THEN--

TOM:

(A TRIFLE HIGH-PITCHED, PECULIAR, SMALL) George--? (NO ANSWER) Mr. Beeker--?

GEORGE:

(SOFTLY) Adele? (NO ANSWER) Del?

ADELE:

What's the matter now?

GEORGE:

Did you hear someone calling my name?

ADELE:

Ohhhhhh, go to sleep.

GEORGE:

But really, I - I--

TOM:

It's me, Mr. Beeker.

ADELE:

(STARTLED) What? Who's in the room?

TOM:

It's only me. Mr. Thomas.

GEORGE:

Thomas? Who--?

ADELE:

Turn on the light.

SOUND:

LIGHT SWITCH

GEORGE:

(PAUSE) Nobody's here.

ADELE:

Push the cat off the bed.

TOM:

Please don't.

GEORGE:

There, again.

ADELE:

Go down and call the police.

TOM:

You'd better not.

ADELE:

(NERVOUS) There's someone in the room! We can't see him!

TOM:

But you're looking straight at me, Adele.

GEORGE:

Del --- don't talk. Close your eyes.

ADELE:

Why?

GEORGE:

Just close 'em. (BEAT) All right?

ADELE:

Yes.

GEORGE:

Mr. Thomas, ah--? Would you walk toward me? Just - just come this way.

TOM:

Certainly.

GEORGE:

(BEAT) Del? Del! It's the cat! The cat can talk!

ADELE:

(A LITTLE SCREAM, UNNERVED SOBBING BEHIND--)

GEORGE:

(RAPIDLY, A PRAYER) Oh, Father in Heaven, forgive our sins; [we didn't mean anything]; we'll be good; whatever we did wrong, we'll do right.

TOM:

Come now, Mr. and Mrs. Beeker. Calm yourselves, and let's talk sense. And stop kicking your feet around. You're pushing me off the bed.

GEORGE:

(WHISPERS, TO ADELE) Look how his whiskers move.

TOM:

One doesn't whisper in company, Mr. Beeker.

GEORGE:

Oh, pardon me.

ADELE:

(STAMMERS) But how did you learn to talk?

TOM:

Well, it's like this. (ASIDE) Will you shade that bulb, please? It's hard seeing you. (RESUMES) You took me in; I was a kitten. Well, it wasn't long before I discovered I was smarter than most cats. At the age of nine months I began setting traps for mice.

GEORGE:

Where did you get the traps?

TOM:

Made 'em.

GEORGE:

Oh.

TOM:

Anyway, last year, I began watching you people talk and I got a feeling it might be worth my while to pick up the lingo and - so I did.

ADELE:

But how?

TOM:

What do you mean, how? What do you think a cat is, an idiot?

ADELE:

Oh, no, I'm sorry.

TOM:

Just keep it in mind, please. But being able to talk English wasn't much good because cats only understand cat language.

GEORGE:

You don't mean that cats talk to each other.

TOM:

Cats, Mr. Beeker, speak much more beautifully than men do. You'll never find a cat walking down a street saying to every one he meets, ["Hot enough for you?" or] "It ain't the heat, it's the humidity." (CHUCKLES) [No, a cat only talks when he's got something important to say, and he says it in one word. Things like, "Love me, darling?" . . . meow? Or, "I'm hungry!" . . . meow. Or, "I'm hurt." Yow! Or, "gosh, I feel good." . . . prrr. Important things, get it?

GEORGE:

Yeh, I get it. I get it.] Tell me, what do you want with us?

TOM:

Mr. Beeker, I have the most daring idea in the history of the world. I am going to be mayor of this town.

GEORGE:

You? A cat?

TOM:

I, Mr. Tom Thomas. Everything is ready. All I need is a man who can write; I can't hold a pencil.

GEORGE:

Now look here, Tom, that's going a little too far. I think that I--

TOM:

I don't care what you think. You'll do as I say.

GEORGE:

Well, I won't stand for a cat ordering me around, Tom.

TOM:

Mrs. Beeker?

ADELE:

Hmm?

TOM:

Would you like to know what was going on in this house while you were away in Chicago last summer?

GEORGE:

(STAMMERS NERVOUSLY) Say now, Tom, you can't--

ADELE:

(OVERLAPS WITH ABOVE) What? What's this? What?

GEORGE:

Now, Tom, you keep your mouth shut!

TOM:

That's better. Now here's my proposition. Practically every one of the finest families in town keeps a cat. I've taught those cats to read and understand English. But only I can speak because I'm so clever. Now they've been reporting to me for the past five months, and I have enough on every big man in this town to make him do whatever I command.

GEORGE:

Well, that's blackmail!

TOM:

I've been around, George. That's politics. So what you will do is buy a big ledger and enter the name, address, and private scandal of every person I give you.

GEORGE:

[But some people have no scandal to be ashamed of.

TOM:

Then I make one up and spread it in the papers.

GEORGE:

No editor would do such a thing!

TOM:

The editor of the Gazette has two wives.

ADELE:

Mr. Stevens, George!

TOM:

Right. He'll be in the palm of my hand.]

GEORGE:

(GROANS) Oh, Lord!

TOM:

Don't interrupt. Election for mayor is two weeks off. I've got the goods on both candidates so they'll campaign for me. (CHUCKLES)

GEORGE:

But will people vote for a cat, Tom?

TOM:

Leave that strictly to me, George. [Are you with me?] Will you keep my books?

GEORGE:

Well, I - I don't know, I--

TOM:

I can ruin your business in ten days. You take opium.

GEORGE:

I take--?

ADELE:

But that's not so!

TOM:

What do you say, George? I'm not kidding.

ADELE:

(SOBS) Oh, George--

GEORGE:

(RELUCTANT) All right. I'll buy a ledger tomorrow.

TOM:

Put it there, George old boy.

GEORGE:

Where?

TOM:

Shake hands; I won't scratch. (BEAT) There! And now I must be off. I'm going to dictate a speech to the mayor in which he will explain to the voters why he recommends me for office. Good night. See you in the morning.

GEORGE:

(WEAKLY) Good night.

TOM:

And, George, please don't water my milk from now on. I'm going to need all my strength. Bye-byyyyyyyyye! (THIS LAST WORD TRAILS OFF AS A CAT'S WAIL)

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... JAUNTY, CATTISH, AND GAY

JOHN:

Now pull out of it, your honor, you're falling to pieces.

MAYOR:

Of course I'm falling to pieces! Good Lord, a talking cat! Get him off my desk!

TOM:

Your honor, if you won't hear me, I'll just have to tell the authorities.

MAYOR:

Authorities! But I'm the mayor, young man-- I mean cat.

TOM:

I was referring to the Federal authorities, namely the Income Tax Bureau.

MAYOR:

What's this? What's this?

TOM:

You've evaded taxes, cashed in on city construction, grafted in liquor, shielded murderers--

MAYOR:

Who says?

TOM:

Mr. Mayor, I've read every letter you've written or received in the past four months, gotten reports on every 'phone call. And if you don't believe me, look in your safe for your bankbook. (NO RESPONSE) Go on, look.

MAYOR:

It's been missing for a week.

TOM:

Sure, I've got it with your other papers, socked away in a milk bottle. I am going to be mayor of this city.

MAYOR:

Yes, well, that's-- Mayor?!

TOM:

You swing your machine behind me and withdraw your support from Wilcox. I've taken care of the opposition candidate. He has insanity in his family and he's decided not to run.

MAYOR:

Well! So you have, huh? Well, Mister, uh--? What do you call yourself?

TOM:

Thomas. Tom Thomas.

MAYOR:

Er, won't you have a chair, Mr. Thomas? It'll be more comfortable than the desk.

TOM:

That's very kind.

MAYOR:

Yeah. (SUDDENLY) Grab him, John!

TOM:

(WAILS LIKE A CAT)

JOHN:

Ha! I got him!

MAYOR:

Now you little devil, you Beelzebub, we'll see who'll be mayor!

TOM:

Let me go, you fool! (WAILS)

MAYOR:

Take him to the river, John, and hold him under till he busts!

TOM:

Wait! (CHOKES, COUGHS) You can drown me, but the minute I'm dead, all your private papers will be dragged along Main Street by every cat in Billington. My organization stands ready for revenge.

MAYOR:

What organization?

TOM:

I have a full-grown cat in every third house in this city. Your chief of police alone keeps three of my operatives in his office -- two brown and one white. If I'm killed, you're up the creek. And that goes for every politician in town.

MAYOR:

Hmm. Unloose him, John.

TOM:

(INDIGNANT, TO JOHN) And let go of my tail. (TO MAYOR) Well, your honor? Who's the new mayor of Billington?

MAYOR:

Well, Thomas, my honest opinion is that the people of Billington won't vote for a cat! Your appearance is against you!

TOM:

But they won't vote for a cat; they'll vote for a name -- "Tom Thomas" [and with the papers on my side, by the time the people go to the polls they won't know what they're voting for]. No photographs, no personal appearances; just the name -- and anything you want to say about it. I'll be the publicity-hating crusader, the unseen marvel. I say it can be done and you'd better see that it is done.

MAYOR:

(HESITANT) I've gotta have time to think.

TOM:

Fine, then it's settled!

MAYOR:

Huh?

TOM:

Let's seal it with a drink, huh?

MAYOR:

(GIVES UP) Oh, all right -- you win. Make mine a long scotch, John.

JOHN:

Yes, sir. And, uh, you, Mr. Thomas?

TOM:

Oh, I'll have a heavy cream.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... VICTORIOUS BUT STILL CATTISH

SOUND:

CAR DRIVES ON ROAD, TURNS INTO GAS STATION, THEN STOPS

ATTENDANT:

Regular or special?

CUSTOMER:

Five regular.

ATTENDANT:

Right.

SOUND:

GASOLINE PUMP IN BACKGROUND

CUSTOMER:

Voting for Tom Thomas?

ATTENDANT:

Might as well. Nobody else running.

CUSTOMER:

Seems like a fine man, according to the papers.

ATTENDANT:

Guess so.

CUSTOMER:

Funny, though, how nobody ever heard of him before.

SOUND:

PUMP OUT BEHIND--

ATTENDANT:

Oh, lots of good people nobody ever heard of. Well, there's your gas.

CUSTOMER:

Here you are.

ATTENDANT:

Thanks.

CUSTOMER:

[Sure would enjoy seeing what Thomas looks like before I vote.

ATTENDANT:

(LAUGHS) Looks like a man, I guess.

CUSTOMER:

(LAUGHS) True. Well, see you again.]

SOUND:

CAR MOTOR REVS AND CONTINUES UNDER--

MUSIC:

BRIEF ACCENT FOR TRANSITION

SOUND:

CAR MOTOR CHANGES TO A BEAUTY SALON HAIR DRYER

WOMAN:

Say, Sally, you've got that dryer on too hot! It's burning my scalp!

SOUND:

HAIR DRYER ADJUSTED

SALLY:

There, how's that?

WOMAN:

Oh, that's fine. Hmm! Hey, look at that Gazette, will ya? That Thomas is certainly a wonderful man.

SALLY:

Mmm, I'll say! He'd get my vote even if there was another man running.

WOMAN:

Yeah. You know, they say he's got a lovely tenor voice.

SALLY:

Where'd you hear that?

WOMAN:

Why, read your papers, dearie. That man will put this town on the map, I bet. Anyway, he must be wonderful to look at -- blond and tall and all that.

SALLY:

I wonder why he don't let anybody see him, though?

WOMAN:

[But he does. The mayor's seen him, and besides, why shouldn't he stay at home? I think he's very modest, and besides, people will vote for him just to see what he looks like, and besides--] Well, I always say, a man has a right to his own privacy.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP

GEORGE:

(INTO PHONE) George Beeker speaking.

MAYOR:

(FILTER, AGITATED) This is the mayor. Give me the cat. Hurry.

GEORGE:

Tom, you want to jump up here and take it? The mayor.

SOUND:

[THUMP OF CAT LANDING ON TABLE]

TOM:

Hold that receiver a little higher, George. (INTO PHONE, HIGH-PITCHED) Hello? (CLEARS THROAT, A LITTLE LOWER) Hello?

MAYOR:

Thomas?

TOM:

Yes?

MAYOR:

The votes, Thomas!

TOM:

What about the votes?

MAYOR:

They've just finished counting them, Thomas!

TOM:

Well? So?

MAYOR:

You have just been elected mayor of Billington.

TOM:

That's very nice, Johnson. But why is your voice shaking?

MAYOR:

Because, Tom, old boy, there happens to be five hundred people surging outside my door -- demanding to see the new mayor. Now what do I do?! Tell them he's out chasing mice?!

TOM:

Don't be so sassy. I'll be right over.

MAYOR:

Yeah? And how will you get in? They've packed the hallways!

TOM:

Ahhh, there's a tree next to your window, isn't there?

MAYOR:

Well, so what?

TOM:

So I'll be right up!

MAYOR:

But you're the mayor now, Tom! A mayor doesn't come into city hall by a tree! Enough is enough, Tom!

SOUND:

PHONE HUNG UP

TOM:

(CHUCKLES, CATTISH) Oh, yeah?

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

MURMUR OF MILDLY ANGRY CROWD

JOHN:

They're still pouring into the hallway, your honor.

MAYOR:

Come down from that transom and get me an aspirin, John.

JOHN:

[I guess I shouldn't call you "Your honor" any more, sir.

MAYOR:

No, John, from now on address me as mud.]

SOUND:

SCRATCHING OF CLAWS ON WOOD

MAYOR:

What's that?

SOUND:

MORE SCRATCHING

JOHN:

Something scratching outside the door, sir.

MAYOR:

Good Lord, it's the mayor. Open the door a wee bit.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... CROWD NOISE INCREASES A BIT BEFORE DOOR IS SHUT

MUSIC:

A BRIEF ACCENT DURING ABOVE ... FOR A CAT SQUEEZING THROUGH A CRACK IN THE DOOR ... THEN FOR A CAT LEAPING ONTO A CHAIR

MAYOR:

(STARTLED) Oh! (ANNOYED) Don't leap up at me so, Tom. I thought you were gonna climb the tree!

TOM:

Wanted to get a look at the crowd. There's a man named Billings out there. Seems to be the leader.

MAYOR:

Oh, sure, Dan Billings; he's been on the city board fourteen years, vice president of the bank, president of the--

TOM:

I want to see him.

MAYOR:

Well, if you talk to Billings, I'll die.

TOM:

Every so often certain people will be informed that I am a cat. [This is one of those people. Bring me Billings, John.] (BEAT) Open the door, John, and don't stare so.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... CROWD NOISE UP

JOHN:

(SHOUTS OVER CROWD) His Honor wants to see Dan Billings!

SOUND:

CROWD REACTS FAVORABLY ... THEN CROWD NOISE DOWN WHEN DOOR SHUTS BEHIND BILLINGS--

BILLINGS:

Well! It's about time a citizen got a look at his mayor! (BEAT) Oh, I thought Thomas was in here.

TOM:

How do you do, sir?

BILLINGS:

How do you d--? (CONFUSED) Who said that?

MAYOR:

(AWKWARD) Well, uh, you see, Billings, I, ah--

TOM:

Won't you sit down, sir?

BILLINGS:

Why, certainly-- (PUZZLED) Who--? Who's talking in here?

MAYOR:

Ah, the cat, Billings. The one in the chair.

BILLINGS:

The cat?!

MAYOR:

Yes, Billings. This cat is Tom. Tom Thomas. Ah, the mayor.

BILLINGS:

(SWOONS AND FAINTS)

MUSIC:

FOR A BODY HITTING THE FLOOR

MAYOR:

There, you see, Tom? He's fainted. (BEAT) Throw some water at him, John.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

TOM:

So you see, Mr. Billings, I know all about your youthful career on the chain gang.

BILLINGS:

(PLEADS) But - but I was so young--

TOM:

Oh, I understand, old boy, [we all make mistakes,] but I'm sure you wouldn't care to have the public or perhaps your wife know that you--

BILLINGS:

Oh, no, no.

TOM:

That's fine. Now go right out to that crowd and tell them that you've met Tom Thomas, that he's a fine fellow, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but that he's so darned shy he'd rather keep to himself for a little longer. [Tell them I'm already up to my ears in official work and that I'm going to be the best mayor Billington ever had. Got it?]

BILLINGS:

(WHIMPERS) Couldn't I just go home?

TOM:

Yes, after you've made your speech. (BEAT, POINTEDLY) Bye, Mr. Billings.

SOUND:

BILLINGS' FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR

BILLINGS:

(WEAKLY) Goodbye. (BEAT, RELUCTANT) Well, here goes.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS .. CROWD NOISE UP

BILLINGS:

(TO ALL, STRONGLY) Citizens!

SOUND:

CROWD HUSHES

BILLINGS:

I have just seen Tom Thomas!

SOUND:

CROWD MURMURS ("Yeah?")

BILLINGS:

And let me tell you that there is an individual Billington will be famous for!

TOM:

(QUIETLY) Close the door, John.

SOUND:

DOOR SHUTS, CUTTING OFF BILLINGS' SPEECH

MAYOR:

I never would have believed that in ten million years.

TOM:

This is just the beginning, Johnson.

MAYOR:

Huh?

TOM:

How would you like to be lieutenant governor of this state?

MAYOR:

(UNHAPPY) Aw, now, Tom, Tom, you're starting something again, and I'm not quite up to it.

TOM:

I am going to be governor.

MAYOR:

Aw, now, Tom, no pussycat ever has been or ever will be governor of this state! It simply isn't done!

TOM:

[But you would like to be Lieutenant Governor?

MAYOR:

Yes, I would, I would, but I don't see how you're going to--

TOM:

Listen. Why am I mayor of Billington?

MAYOR:

You got me there, Tom, I--

TOM:

Because practically every important man in town has something in his past of which he is so ashamed that he'd sell his soul to keep it covered.

MAYOR:

What I can't figure out is why nobody ever thought of this stunt before.

TOM:

Because no prospective blackmailer has a clean enough record himself to dare do what I've done. And the only reason I succeeded is because I'm a cat with nothing to hide.] Johnson, what I've done in Billington can be done in every city in this state.

MAYOR:

How?

TOM:

There are housecats in every city.

MAYOR:

You mean--?

TOM:

I mean that you and John are going to buy two animal suitcases and meet me at the railroad station in half an hour. I'll bring two cats, my lieutenants. You'll carry one to Hillsboro, and the other to Brycetown. They will contact the housecats of the big shots in those towns, or the neighbors of the big shots. [Then in ten days you pick them up and they'll bring me the goods.] We'll keep sending out cats to every important town until we've got something on every politician and newspaper owner in the state. In six months I'll be ready, and with publicity going full-blast I'll have the voters in my pocket.

MAYOR:

[But will those out-of-town cats become spies for nothing, Tom?

TOM:

Silly man. There is one thing cats and people will gladly do free of charge -- and that's snoop. What do you say, ex-mayor Johnson?

MAYOR:

Tom Thomas, the world is yours.]

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

TRAIN STATION BACKGROUND

CONDUCTOR:

Board! All aboard!

MAYOR:

(LOW) Just drop them off in those towns, eh, Tom?

TOM:

(LOW) That's all. They know the rest. Hurry!

MAYOR:

'Bye!

CONDUCTOR:

Board for Hillsboro, Brycetown, Makersville, Rostentown, Saul and Lantzbury! Board!

SOUND:

WHISTLE BLOWS ... TRAIN PULLS OUT, PICKS UP SPEED ... THEN LOWER FOR--

MAYOR:

That's six towns covered, John. Now we gotta take two more to Greenville and Bentley!

SOUND:

TRAIN ... UP FOR A MOMENT ... THEN LOWER AGAIN FOR--

MAYOR:

Here's the next list, John. One to Greer, one to Bolton, one to Strongsville, and one to Price!

SOUND:

TRAIN ... UP FOR A MOMENT ... THEN LOWER AGAIN FOR--

JOHN:

Gee, boss, I never want to see another cat as long as I live.

MAYOR:

Shut up; you want him to hear ya? We've still got to cover Cardsbury, and Melton, and Burnandale, and Monroe, and Henley, and Elsworth--

SOUND:

TRAIN ... UP FOR A MOMENT ... THEN FADES INTO THE DISTANCE

TOM:

Mr. Fairchild, will you take the inkwell and those books off the desk? I want room to walk around.

SOUND:

ITEMS REMOVED FROM DESK

TOM:

Ah, thank you. So you see, gentlemen, I've got the goods on every one of you, so that's that. In short, I have called you here tonight because you run this state and it is you who will make me governor. Now, what's the answer, Mr. Fairchild?

FAIRCHILD:

Well, Tom, you've got every one of us cornered, but here's the hitch; the voters simply will not elect a governor that they've never laid eyes on!

TOM:

The voters--!

VOICES:

(MURMUR AGREEMENT ... "He's absolutely right." "Never work." "Not a chance.")

TOM:

But, gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen -- that's exactly why I will run away with the elections! What's the weakest plate in any candidate's armor? His record, right? [If he's been too pro-labor, the employers are afraid; if he's too pro-farmer, the workers wonder, and so on down the line.] But me--! Why, I've got the ideal record, the perfect political past -- none whatsoever. [No actions to be sorry for, no foolish statements to regret; in fact, gentlemen, it is just because I am nothing to any man that I will be everything to all men. Make me what you like in the papers, I will be that, and why? Because all I am is a piece of fur with some vital information and a future.] Now, what's the verdict?

VOICES:

(TALK AMONG THEMSELVES ... DELIBERATING ... AD LIB)

PETERS:

(DRUNK) Fellas! I don't care what he says! Hic! That man on the table is a pussycat!

FAIRCHILD:

All right, Peters, all right. Sit down.

PETERS:

But he is! He said so himself!

1ST VOICE:

Sssh! Sssh! Quiet down, old boy.

VOICES:

(GROW QUIET BEHIND--)

FAIRCHILD:

Now, just a minute, boys, just a minute! All right, Tom. For the sake of argument, let's assume that a pussycat could become the governor. What then? If one man discovers you, if one man finds out that the governor is a cat--

TOM:

Now you've hit it, Fairchild -- the secret of my success. I am a housecat not only by birth, but by profession. [All my friends are housecats, so I speak from experience.] Gentlemen, I have seen life. Life in the bathtub, life in dark cellars, life in bedrooms. And I've seen it from the bottom up and I tell you that under the threat of slander, of being publicly defamed, no man will dare tell a soul that Tom Thomas -- Governor Thomas -- is a pussycat, should he make the discovery.

FAIRCHILD:

Yes? And why not?

TOM:

[Because the one thing a man fears most, next to death, is the loss of his good name.] Man is evil in his own eyes, my friends, [worthless,] and the only way he can find respect for himself is by getting other people to say he's a nice fellow. So be sure of it, the only man who would expose me is one who really believes he's upright and clean, really in his secret heart. And such a man does not exist in this world.

2ND VOICE:

(OFF) Boys, that cat's got a head on him.

3RD VOICE:

Well, Fairchild, it's up to you. If his cats start dragging our skeletons into the streets, we're in the soup.

4TH VOICE:

Well, what'll it be, Fairchild?

FAIRCHILD:

Well, boys, we might as well make the best of it. We're gonna nominate him at the convention next week. And what's more, we're gonna elect him in November. And it's my guess that Tom Thomas is gonna be the smartest governor this state ever had!

MUSIC:

ACCENT ... THEN BUILDING BEHIND--

PETERS:

Okay! Hic! Maybe we will nominate him. Maybe we'll elect him, too! But I've been watchin' him for two and a half hours, and I say that a man might sit on a table like that; a man might smell like that; and a man might even move his ears around like that -- but, by George, there ain't a man born who ever had such a long tail! That feller is a pussycat!

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A BRIDGE ... CHANGES TO A BRASS BAND PLAYING "THERE'LL BE A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN TONIGHT" AT THE CONVENTION

SOUND:

MOB OF CONVENTIONEERS HOLLERING AND CHEERING ... BOTH SOUND AND MUSIC GROW LOWER AND OVER THEM IS HEARD A HAMMER REPEATEDLY HITTING A LEAD PIPE

MUSIC:

NOW COMES THROUGH AS IF FROM A FEW FLOORS BELOW

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... HAMMERING OUT BEHIND--

MANAGER:

Hey! Hey! Cut that noise. The guests in the next room're complaining!

SAM:

Well, how 'bout that racket in the auditorium downstairs? You want the sink fixed, I gotta make noise. Tell the guests to go for a walk.

MANAGER:

Now, you lay off. That's Tom Thomas in there with the state big shots. I don't want any more of it.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

SAM:

Tom Thomas! (THOUGHTFUL) In the next room, hm?

JOEY:

What do we do now, Sam?

SOUND:

SAM DROPS HIS HAMMER INTO HIS TOOLBOX

SAM:

(MUSES, TO HIMSELF) Tom, huh? Tom. Um-- (TO JOEY) Uh, here's a dime. Go get yourself a soda.

JOEY:

(SURPRISED) Oh. Swell.

SAM:

Yeah. And, uh, don't hurry back!

JOEY:

(MOVING OFF) Okay!

SOUND:

JOEY'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY ... DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS HE EXITS

SAM:

(TO HIMSELF) Hmm. The next room! Gosh, I wonder what he really looks like. Boy, I bet he's a big guy with-- (REALIZES) Oh, this window-- I bet I could walk right along that ledge and look right in on him. Well, let's see.

SOUND:

SAM WALKS TO WINDOW WHICH SWINGS OPENS

SAM:

(TO HIMSELF) Oh, what a snap. Well, why not?

SOUND:

SAM CLIMBS ONTO SILL ... THEN CRAWLS ALONG BEHIND--

SAM:

(TO HIMSELF) Now, if I can inch along-- Gee, that's high. If I can inch along to that window, I-- There.

VOICES:

(INDISTINGUISHABLE, COMING THROUGH THE WINDOW)

SAM:

(LOW WHISTLE, TO HIMSELF) Boy! The biggest shots in the state, and what a view! I wonder which one is Tom Thomas. That fat one? No, he's too fat. The one walking around, I bet. Funny, that cat sitting right on the--

SOUND:

THE ABOVE LINE OVERLAPS WITH THE FOLLOWING SEVEN LINES WHICH ARE HEARD OFF, IN THE BACKGROUND

1ST VOICE:

Nominate tonight, eh, Fairchild?

FAIRCHILD:

That depends on the southern counties.

2ND VOICE:

We got all but three.

3RD VOICE:

Let Fairchild settle this.

4TH VOICE:

Now don't be too sure about those Southern counties.

5TH VOICE:

Well, I think Tom ought to settle it.

6TH VOICE:

Yes, Mr. Thomas, what's your opinion?

SAM:

(TO HIMSELF) Gosh, they don't seem to be looking at anybody!

FAIRCHILD:

Well, Tom? What will it be? Nominate tomorrow morning?

TOM:

You see, Mr. Fairchild, my only objection to tomorrow is that I'm afraid a lot of the delegates won't be rounded up and then we'll have to wait another day. So I'd prefer tonight.

SAM:

(OVERLAPS WITH ABOVE LINE, TO HIMSELF) That cat--! I'm going nuts. That cat is talking! They're shaking his paw! (LOUD) Holy Smoke! Hey, hey, hey! What's going on in there?!

SOUND:

SAM BANGS ON THE WINDOW

VOICES:

(MURMUR AND AD LIB IN SHOCK IN SURPRISE ... "Who's that?" "Hey!" "Grab him!" "Get him in here!" "Come on, open that window!")

SOUND:

WINDOW OPENS

1ST VOICE:

Hey, what are you doing out there?!

SAM:

That cat--!

2ND VOICE:

That cat is none of your business!

SAM:

That cat is Tom Thomas! He - he can talk words!

FAIRCHILD:

You're crazy! Get him in here, boys!

SOUND:

SAM IS GRABBED AND DRAGGED INTO ROOM ... MUCH HUBBUB

SAM:

I tell you, I heard him talk and you called him Tom Thomas!

FAIRCHILD:

You say that again and I'll have you-- Hey, shut that window, fellas.

3RD VOICE:

Okay.

SOUND:

WINDOW SHUT ... HUBBUB OUT WITH--

TOM:

Gentlemen!

SAM:

There, he talked!

FAIRCHILD:

Never mind, Tom. We'll handle him.

TOM:

I'll handle him, Fairchild. (TO SAM) Young man, who are you?

SAM:

I'm an expert plumber.

TOM:

What do you want?

SAM:

Want?

TOM:

Yes, everybody wants something. What do you want?

SAM:

Well, right now I want everybody to know Tom Thomas is a cat, that's what!

TOM:

Why must anyone know?

SAM:

Why?! Well-- You're a cat, mister! As sure as my name is Sam!

TOM:

But that's fairly obvious.

SAM:

Yes, but-- Well, the governor is not supposed to be a cat!

TOM:

As far as the people know, I'm a man, though, and if I can govern well, what difference will a few hairs make?

SAM:

Well, listen, there's a little more between you and being a man than a few hairs.

TOM:

Is there? What? [I can do everything you can except write, and if my nails grow a little longer, maybe do that, too. Anyway, lots of men can't write.]

SAM:

Well, uh-- A man is different.

TOM:

Uh huh. Just how?

SAM:

Well, a man has got-- Well, he's got ideals. Has a cat got ideals?

TOM:

Certainly. My ideal, for instance, is to become the most powerful individual in this state. You're all wet, Sam. There's no difference between a cat and a man. So why expose me? I'll give you twenty-five thousand dollars to keep your mouth shut.

SAM:

But there is a difference, there must be!

TOM:

You'll have to get rid of your superior attitude, Sam. You can do nothing that I can't do.

SAM:

Yeah? Can you fix a leaky pipe?

TOM:

No, but can you catch a mouse with your teeth -- no hands?

SAM:

Well, all right, but-- Well, can you build a house?

TOM:

All right, can your wife bear eight children at once without batting an eye? Oh, drop it, Sam. We'll come out tied. Now look here, you won't be bribed, but if you open your mouth about this to a soul, your reputation isn't worth a thin dime. I'll smear you like mud and I can do it!

SAM:

(BEAT) Look, uh, what would a cat do in my place?

TOM:

(CHUCKLES) Same as a man. He'd take the money and buy a house in the country.

SAM:

Oh, you really believe that?

TOM:

I am what I am because men are like cats.

SAM:

Okay. Do you believe it enough to come into the convention hall under my arm?

TOM:

(BEAT) Certainly.

VOICES:

(BRIEFLY MURMUR AND AD LIB DISAGREEMENT AND WARNING ... "What?" "Tom, you can't do that.")

TOM:

Don't forget, Sam, you won't ever again be able to walk out of your house in daylight. You'll be ashamed to show your face.

SAM:

That's okay. I'll carry you.

TOM:

Sam, I offer you forty thousand dollars to keep shut.

SAM:

Listen, Tom Thomas, and the rest of you, too! A pussycat might think he's a man because he got to be mayor; and he might think he's a man because he's almost governor. But there's one thing that shows he ain't a man, [and that's the same thing that'll keep my head up if nobody in the world'll say a civil word to me till the day I die] -- no pussycat could ever become an expert plumber! And that's the difference between you and me! All right, let's go!

FAIRCHILD:

Oh, no, you don't.

TOM:

Out of the way, Fairchild. I want to test my theory once and for all.

FAIRCHILD:

Yes, but, Tom, if he tells the convention--

TOM:

[Then that's the end of my career. But he won't, and then, gentlemen, on to the Presidency!

FAIRCHILD:

But what about us? If he tells,] we're finished!

TOM:

Well, Fairchild, if one cat is discovered in public office you can't expect the others to go off scot free. (DRY) Let us pass through, "Puss," and don't worry. Sam, the plumber, will regret the night he climbed out of the window of the Victoria Hotel!

MUSIC:

BRASS BAND PLAYS "THERE'LL BE A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN TONIGHT" ... OUT BEHIND--

SOUND:

MOB OF CONVENTIONEERS HOLLERING AND CHEERING ... OUT BEHIND--

SPEAKER:

(ON MIKE) Ladies and gentlemen! We will now start the first ballot for governor! The delegate from the county of Atcheson!

1ST DELEGATE:

(OFF) County Atcheson casts three votes for Tom Thomas!

SOUND:

MOB CHEERS

SAM:

Let me through there!

VOICE:

(ANNOYED, TO SAM) Boy, you've got your nerve, bringin' that cat in here!

SAM:

Let me pass, will ya?

SPEAKER:

(ON MIKE) County Barton!

SAM:

Let me pass, thanks.

2ND DELEGATE:

(OFF) County Barton casts four votes for Tom Thomas!

SOUND:

MOB CHEERS

TOM:

(HUSHED) I'll make it fifty thousand dollars, Sam. Fifty thousand!

SAM:

Pardon me, I'm going up on that platform, thank you.

SPEAKER:

(ON MIKE) The delegate from Carroway County!

SAM:

Say, uh, Mister Speaker?

3RD DELEGATE:

(OFF) Carroway County votes two for Jack Halsey!

SOUND:

MOB BOOS

SPEAKER:

(TO SAM) What do you want? Who are you?

SAM:

Mister Speaker, I've got something to tell the delegates about Tom Thomas. It's something terrific.

SPEAKER:

Are you for or against?

SAM:

Oh, I'm for, all right.

SPEAKER:

All right then, go ahead, but keep that cat out of the microphones.

SAM:

Thank you, thank you. (ON MIKE) Ladies and gentlemen! I guess most of you are for Tom Thomas--

SOUND:

MOB CHEERS

SAM:

(ON MIKE) Well, I thought you'd like to see who you're voting for, so I brought him here!

SOUND:

MOB CHEERS

SAM:

(ON MIKE) The great Tom Thomas -- the aviator, the tall, blond publicity-hating crusader, the unseen mystery marvel -- is none other than this cat in my hands!

SOUND:

MOB LAUGHS

SAM:

(ON MIKE) I tell you that he can talk! He's got you all buffaloed!

SOUND:

MOB SUBSIDES A LITTLE BEHIND--

SAM:

Okay, Tom, you stand on this table. Now confess! Go on, talk!

TOM:

(BEAT) Meow!

SOUND:

MOB ROARS WITH LAUGHTER

SAM:

Tom, I've done what no cat would do. Now you have the courage of your convictions. Talk!

TOM:

Yeow!

SOUND:

MOB LAUGHS

SAM:

Just a few words, Tom, for the audience, and for the delegates.

TOM:

Meeeooooww!

SOUND:

MOB LAUGHS

SAM:

Okay, you four-flusher! (WITH EFFORT) I'm gonna twist your tail. (SAVAGELY) Come on, talk! Talk, I tell ya! Talk!

TOM:

[(SCREECH! ... ON MIKE)] Okay, I'll talk!

SOUND:

MOB FALLS SILENT

WOMAN:

(SCREAMS)

SOUND:

MOB MURMURS IN CONFUSION

SPEAKER:

Help that woman; she's fainted!

SAM:

All right, talk into the microphone, Tom. I've got your tail. Talk.

SOUND:

MOB GROWS FIRST QUIET, THEN INCREASINGLY BELLIGERENT, DURING FOLLOWING--

TOM:

(ON MIKE) Ladies and gentlemen. I am Tom Thomas. I am a talking cat. Now I beg you not to let this unfortunate incident alter your votes. [Because I have not changed.] I am still as much Tom Thomas as I was before. [And although I may not be good enough to govern expert plumbers, I assure you that, as for the rest of the population, you couldn't make a wiser choice. For, after all--]

1ST DELEGATE:

Grab him!

2ND DELEGATE:

Hey! He's under the table!

3RD DELEGATE:

There he is, heading for the window!

1ST DELEGATE:

Boy, what a leap! He's out!

2ND DELEGATE:

After him!

SPEAKER:

Come on, get that cat!

SOUND:

MOB REACHES PEAK OF FRENZY ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

MUSIC:

TOPS THE MOB FOR A BRIDGE

TOM:

(BREATHES HEAVILY)

GEORGE:

Take it easy, Tom; you're home now. Be calm.

TOM:

(CATCHES HIS BREATH) You know what, George? I found the difference between a man and a cat.

GEORGE:

Ever since you started talking English, that's worried me.

TOM:

The difference, George, [if you want to know,] is that a cat will do anything -- the worst things -- to fill his stomach, but a man-- A man will actually prefer to stay poor because of an ideal. Some men, [some useful men,] like expert plumbers, for instance, are so proud of their usefulness that they don't need the respect of their neighbors and so they aren't afraid to speak the truth.

GEORGE:

Maybe you're right. But, um, what are you gonna do now?

TOM:

(DEJECTED) Oh, I hate to get back into the rut, George.

GEORGE:

I know, Tom, but the house is running with mice since you left.

TOM:

(DISMISSIVE) Ohhhh, mice. What kind of a life is that for me? So I catch a mouse. So what? That's a rut, George. And, anyway, I'm too sad to put my mind to it now.

GEORGE:

Well, Tom, you've just got to get used to being a cat again. [You've got to stop talking.]

TOM:

Yeah. Yeah, George, there's no use pretending.

GEORGE:

Come on! Come on, let's hear you meow. Come on.

TOM:

(UNENTHUSIASTIC) Oh, meow.

GEORGE:

Oh, now what kind of a meow is that? Come on, give it!

TOM:

(BETTER, BUT NOT GREAT) Meeoow! Oh, I can't, George.

GEORGE:

Aw, but try. Please. Put your heart into it. Come on.

TOM:

(MORE CONVINCING) Meeoow!

GEORGE:

That a boy! Now, like the old days, Tom -- a good one. Like on the back fence, you remember? (SLY) With that light tan babe?

TOM:

(HE REMEMBERS) Meeeeooowwwwwwww!!!!

MUSIC:

TO A HOWLING FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have been listening to the Columbia Workshop presentation of "The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber" by Arthur Miller. Original music was composed and directed by Charles Paul and the entire production was under the direction of Brewster Morgan. Erik Rolf appeared as Tom Thomas, Frank Lovejoy was the expert plumber. Carl Eastman was George; John Brown, the mayor; Jack Hartley was Fairchild. The cast also included Helene Dumas, Connie Lembcke, Howard Smith, Matthew Crowley, Neal O'Malley, Richard Coogan, Ben Ross, Dean Reisner and Sidney Newman. The Columbia Workshop will be presented at the same time next Sunday evening.

MUSIC:

CATTISH FINALE ... TILL END

ANNOUNCER:

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System