Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 10

76j: Candice Bergen / Frank Zappa

The Killer Trees

Singer ... Garrett Morris
Detective ... Dan Aykroyd
Lieutenant Bushakis... John Belushi
Miss Vaveseur ... Candice Bergen
Mrs. Rodriguez ... Gilda Radner
Lieutenant Nagey ... Tom Schiller
Suspect ... Frank Zappa
Stagehand.....Neil Levy

[As snow falls from above, a singer in a white suit stands in front of a row of decorated Christmas trees and sings a solemn version of "O Tannenbaum" to piano accompaniment.]

Singer: [sings]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

[The row of trees inch forward toward the unsuspecting singer.]

Singer: [sings]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

[The row of trees comes a few steps closer to the singer.]

Singer: [sings]
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.

[The trees are now right up against the unwitting singer's back.]

Singer: [sings]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum--

[A branch explodes from the singer's chest, piercing his thorax and killing him almost instantly - he screams, his eyes pop - he's quickly dead, mouth and eyes wide open - Dramatic musical sting - SUPER: THE KILLER TREES]

Don Pardo V/O: The Killer Trees!

[The singer's body quivers. Applause. Dissolve to police station where a plainclothes detective speaks on the phone.]

Detective: [into phone] Yeah. Yeah, that's what I said. You heard me! They're killer Christmas trees! ... They're desperate trees, Chief, they won't just settle for tinsel and candy canes - they want blood. ... I don't know, Chief, they're some kind of mutant! ... Well, they hear the traditional Christmas hymn "O Tannenbaum" and then they kill. ... Looks like we've got a full-scale ecological disaster on our hands. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Yeah. All right.

[Detective hangs up. A second plainclothesman, Lieutenant Bushakis, standing nearby, has been listening in.]

Lt. Bushakis: These trees got an M.O.?

Detective: Well, they force themselves onto Christmas tree lots where they lure their victims: unsuspecting, uh, Christmas tree buyers.

Lt. Bushakis: How do they do it?

Detective: Well, by looking full and bushy and standing close to where their cars are parked. And they're very smart.

Lt. Bushakis: Yeah.

Detective: They keep their prices low by constantly marking themselves down.

Lt. Bushakis: Sounds like a tough case to crack.

Detective: We GOTTA crack it! Or a lot of little kids who thought they were gonna get a bicycle -- will end up with a pierced thorax!

Lt. Bushakis: Okay. Let's roll.

Detective: Yeah.

[The detectives exit their office to the accompaniment of some cheesy uptempo '70s cop show arrangement of "O Tannenbaum" - Dissolve to a business office where Miss Vaveseur, a well-dressed executive, waves goodnight to her Latino cleaning lady.]

Miss Vaveseur: Well, good night, Mrs. Rodriguez. Um, y feliz Navidad.

Mrs. Rodriguez: [heavy accent] Good night! Merry Christmas to you, Miss Vaveseur!

[Mrs. Rodriguez watches Miss Vaveseur exit, then cautiously sits at office desk and uses telephone.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings to herself as she dials number] La cucaracha, la cucaracha. La la la la la. [into phone] Hello? Hello, mama? Mama! Yeah, I just called to tell you. Right. I decided what to give little Jose for Christmas for him to play with. Yeah, a box of Kleenex. [holds up a box of tissues from the desk] I'm gonna-- Yeah, he can put it in his nose and stuff. Right. Okay, okay, I'll say it's from you, too - from both of us. Okay, mama, enjoy the turkey carcass. Goodbye!

[Mrs. Rodriguez hangs up and rises. In the corner of the office, a decorated Christmas tree trembles and sings in a high-pitched voice.]

Christmas Tree: [sings] O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum ...

[Mrs. Rodriguez hears the voice but sees no one. She sings her own version of the tune - with different lyrics - as she cleans the office.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings]
Oh, I'm so poor
Oh, I'm so poor
La la la
Oh, I'm so poor

[The tree moves threateningly toward Mrs. Rodriguez as she dusts a painting on the wall but retreats as she moves to the nearby desk.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings]
Oh, I'm so poor
La cucaracha, la la la la
Oh, I'm so poor
Oh, I'm so poor
La da da

[Again, the tree moves toward Mrs. Rodriguez, then retreats. She briefly breaks off singing, sensing something is wrong.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings] Ah doo dah

[The tree attacks her from the rear. She screams. A branch explodes through her chest.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: Santa Claus!

[Dramatic musical sting - Mrs. Rodriguez, eyes and mouth wide open, is impaled on the tree as we dissolve to the police station where Miss Vaveseur sits, crying hysterically. The two plainclothes detectives try to comfort her.]

Miss Vaveseur: Oh! Oh, God!

Detective: Okay, just - just calm down for a minute. We just have to piece this thing together now.

Miss Vaveseur: It's so horrible.

Detective: You say you heard the scream.

Miss Vaveseur: Oh, God, yes.

Detective: When you heard the scream, you ran back in and you saw the killer. That's all we want. What did you see? Just a -

Lt. Bushakis: All right.

Detective: - a rough description.

Lt. Bushakis: Now, just calm down here, all right? Calm down and describe the killer to our police artist here, Sergeant Nagey. Try to describe it now. Was he tall? Short?

Miss Vaveseur: [Sergeant Nagey, another plainclothesman, sits nearby with a sketch pad and draws on it energetically as she speaks] He was very tall. He was so tall. And really bushy. Very bushy. With a lot of really neat ornaments! Oh, God!

Lt. Bushakis: Something like this?

[Bushakis grabs the sketch pad and holds it up to her - it's a color drawing of a decorated Christmas tree.]

Miss Vaveseur: [horrified] Ohhhhh, nooooooo! That's it! That's the killer!

Lt. Bushakis: Okay. [hands sketch back to Nagey] Send it out over the wire services.

Sergeant Nagey: Yeah. [rises]

Lt. Bushakis: Hurry up, come on. [Nagey exits with sketch]

Detective: [to Miss Vaveseur] Okay, now, uh, we need one more thing. We need you to identify some suspects, all right, now?

Miss Vaveseur: Oh!

Detective: All right. We're gonna show you a line-up. All right? Ya think you can handle it?

[Cheesy cop show arrangement of "O Tannenbaum" returns as Miss Vaveseur steels herself.]

Detective: Come on, let's go.

[Miss Vaveseur and the detectives exit. We dissolve to a view of suspects in a police line-up. From left to right: an undecorated tree, a decorated tree, and a long-haired barefoot man with beard and mustache who looks exactly like Frank Zappa.]

Detective V/O: Okay, Miss Vaveseur, now, you're looking through one-way glass. Nobody can see you. Look at these three suspects and tell us which one you think is the killer.

Miss Vaveseur V/O: Uh, I - I don't know. They all look the same to me.

Detective V/O: Uh huh.

Lt. Bushakis V/O: Wait a minute! I got a hunch.

Detective V/O: Go ahead.

Lt. Bushakis V/O: It's crazy but it just might work. [to the suspects] Simon says, "Shake your branches!" [the two trees shake their branches, Zappa wiggles his fingers] Simon says, "Jiggle your ornaments!" [the decorated tree jiggles its ornaments, as does Zappa who toys with the buttons on his tan raincoat] "Kill the person next to you!" [None of the suspects responds, of course] Okay. Simon says, "Kill the person next to you."

[The decorated tree leans into Zappa and a branch explodes through Zappa's chest. Dramatic musical sting - Zappa dies with much less fuss than the previous victims. Dissolve back to the police station office as Miss Vaveseur and the detectives return.]

Lt. Bushakis: Well, I - I think we've got our tree. These trees are smart but they're not that smart.

Detective: Okay, one more thing, Miss Vaveseur. Where did you buy that tree? The tree.

Miss Vaveseur: I - I bought it at a lot down the street. It's the same place where I bought the tree for my apartment.

Detective: That means that one in your apartment might be a killer, too.

Lt. Bushakis: Yeah, but we can only arrest him if we catch him the act.

Detective: [to Miss Vaveseur] I'm afraid we're gonna have to ask for one more thing -- your cooperation here. We're gonna have to ask you to act as a decoy. Okay?

Lt. Bushakis: Now, uh, don't we all--? If you just start singing "O Tannenbaum" ...

Detective: Right.

Lt. Bushakis: ... okay? ...

Detective: Are you with us?

Lt. Bushakis: ... in the apartment with the tree - you'll act as a decoy. If you need us, we'll be right outside.

Detective: We'll be right there. No problem.

Lt. Bushakis: Just yell. Okay?

Detective: Okay? You with us? [she nods] Okay, let's go. [to Bushakis] Get a task force over there right away.

Miss Vaveseur: I'll do whatever I can to spare the lives of innocent Gentiles. ...

Lt. Bushakis: Okay. I'll call the task force - I'll meet you over there.

[Miss Vaveseur and the detective exit as Lt. Bushakis gets on the phone.]

Lt. Bushakis: [into phone] Yeah, this is Lieutenant Bushakis. I want ten squad cars and four patrol cars outside Twenty-nine West Street. And, just in case, send an ambulance -- with a tree surgeon. ... That's right. You heard me right. Do it fast, pal.

[Bushakis hangs up, looks grim - cop show version of "O Tannenbaum" plays as we dissolve to Miss Vaveseur's apartment where a decorated tree waits ominously. Miss Vaveseur enters carrying a wreath and stares apprehensively at the tree. She gestures to the unseen detectives in the hall behind her, then shuts the apartment door, clears her throat, and walks near the tree.]

Miss Vaveseur: [talks to herself, nervous] Well ... well ... Boy, do I ever want to get pierced in the thorax! [laughs nervously]

Christmas Tree: [quivers, sings in high-pitched voice]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum ...

Miss Vaveseur: [sings nervously]
O killer trees, o killer Christmas trees
I want to feel your branches in me

[The tree lunges at her back - she screams - a branch pierces her thorax - dramatic musical sting - the two detectives burst in with guns drawn - but it's too late - she's dead.]

Lt. Bushakis: Well, we said we'd be outside but we didn't say we'd do anything.

Detective: Yeah. ... Well, I guess we'd better take this tree downtown.

Lt. Bushakis: Okay.

Detective: [handcuffs the tree] Okay, tree! You're comin' with us. Come on. You have the right to one phone call, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Lt. Bushakis: Hey, what do we do, uh, about the guy behind it?

Detective: What? This guy? [pulls a masked stagehand, dressed in green, from behind the tree, rips off the mask] Ah, he's just an innocent stagehand -- he didn't have anything to do with it. [stagehand retreats behind tree]

Lt. Bushakis: Well, we'll take him downtown and book him as an accomplice.

Detective: [staring sorrowfully at the dead Miss Vaveseur] It's so sad, you know, because -- she looked - like an angel.

Lt. Bushakis: And now - she is one.

Detective: I guess - this case - is closed.

[Cop show version of "O Tannenbaum" plays as the detectives salute each other with their weapons over Miss Vaveseur's dead body. SUPER: THE KILLER TREES. The detectives stand motionless as we pull back and fade out.]

Submitted Anonymously

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