76g: Dick Cavett / Ry Cooder
How Things Work
Merle Tadburney.....Dick Cavett
[ open on title card ]
[ dissolve to Jane Curtin seated on talk show set ]
Jane Curtin: Good evening, and welcome to "How Things Work", the show designed to help people understand just how our society functions. Our guest today is Mr. Merle Tadburney, independent co-ordinator of pressure group activity. Mr. Tadburney, could you explain how pressure groups work?
Merle Tadburney: Well,uh, why don't you tell your audience just exactly how I got on your show tonight?
Jane Curtin: Well, uhhh -- we received THOUSANDS of letters from all over the country, requesting that we do a show on how things work and pressure groups, uh, and most of the letters singled you out as the foremost authority on the subject.
Merle Tadburney: That's right, and they were all bogus letters sent out by my organization, just to get me on your show tonight.
Jane Curtin: You mean, there is no one out there who is really interested in pressure groups?
Merle Tadburney: Well, I couldn't be sure of that. I, personally, have never met anyone who was interested in pressure groups or how they work. I can't imagine!
Jane Curtin: Well, I certainly am impressed, and our producer fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Merle Tadburney: Well, thank you. You see, we've worked long and hard to develop an effective phony letter campaign that works every time, and we're proud of it.
Jane Curtin: Well, what organizations do you represent?
Merle Tadburney: Well, I work for a lot of, uh, ethnic groups, such as the, uh -- well, there's one called the Italians for Affirmative Action. They're upset every time s a stereotype of an Italian as a member of the Mafia is used in the media. And so we educate people by pointing out several successful Italian-Americans who have no connection with the Mafia at all -- like Frank Sinatra.
Jane Curtin: Oh, I see. Are they also concerned about demeaning jokes?
Merle Tadburney: Nnnno. They have quite a good sense of humor, but there -- there is one group that is rather sensitive about that sort of thing, being the brunt of ethnic jokes, you might say.
Jane Curtin: Are you referring to a certain Eastern-European group? [ she laughs ]
Merle Tadburney: Yes, that's right. I think everyone knows that I'm referring to the, um, Serbio-Croatians. If a Serbio-Croatian joke appears on television, we make sure the networks know that millions of viewers are outraged, and most of them Serbo-Cros.
Jane Curtin: Well, for those of you who may not know what a Serbio-Croatian joke is, maybe you could possibly explain, uhh..?
Merle Tadburney: Well, that would be sort of acting across purposes, wouldn't it? Because I would be acting against the behalf of one of my clients, you might say. But I can tell you one little joke. Uh -- Why do a certain kind of people make bad druggists?
Jane Curtin: [ mirthful ] I don't know! Why?
Merle Tadburney: Well, because, when they make up prescriptions, they keep breaking the little bottles in the typewriter!
Jane Curtin: [ laughing cheerfully ] Well, I think we've just about run out of time, but I want to thank you, Merle, for being on "How Things Work".
Merle Tadburney: Well, uh, it's nice to be here, and. when you look at your ratings, I think you'll get a little surprise! [ he chuckles ]
Jane Curtin: [ she laughs with him ] Tune in next week, when Sen. Bob Dole explains how TV debating works. And, now, here's this week's film by Gary Weis.