Saturday Night Live Transcripts


  Season 3: Episode 8










77h: Miskel Spillman / Elvis Costello

The Gift of the Magi

... Jane Curtin
... Miskel Spillman
Helen ... Gilda Radner
Robert ... John Belushi
Doctor ... Dan Aykroyd
Nurse ... Laraine Newman

Jane Curtin: [sits in front of a well-trimmed Christmas tree, addressing the camera] Every holiday season, it's always comforting to read classic Christmas stories that are loved the world over. Stories where people give of themselves to someone they love. [Pull back to reveal eighty-year old host Miskel Spillman sitting beside Jane] One of our favorites here at Saturday Night -- and we're sure it's one of yours -- is "The Gift of the Magi" and we'd like to share it with you again.

Miskel Spillman: [to Jane] Oh, "The Gift of the Magi" is one of my favorites.

Jane Curtin: [touches Miskel's arm] Oh, good! Good. [reads from a book] Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a man and a woman who loved each other very much. His name was Robert and her name was Helen and this was their first Christmas together as man and wife. The young couple had little money but were very rich in spirit because they had each other. [Dissolve to Helen's hospital room] And though young Helen was in the hospital with a failing kidney, it still didn't dampen the couple's Christmas spirit.

[Long-haired Helen lies in her hospital bed as Robert holds her hand.]

Helen: Oh, Robert! They're looking for a donor now. [Robert kisses Helen's hand lovingly]

Jane's Voice: [narrating] Helen was a beautiful girl whose long, raven hair was the envy of all who knew her and a source of pride to Robert.

Robert: [takes old-fashioned watch from his pocket and opens it] Oh. It's time to brush your hair. [Helen holds the watch while, using a white hair brush, Robert grooms Helen's flowing locks.]

Jane's Voice: [narrating] And Robert's most prized possession was an antique gold watch, a priceless heirloom which had been in his family for generations.

Helen: Oh! I always think of this watch as part of you, Robert. So steady and reliable.

Robert: Yes, but the watch is working -- and I haven't got a job.

Helen: Oh, Robert. Don't worry. It's Christmastime. It's a season of hope. Things will get better.

[Dissolve back to Jane and Miskel.]

Jane Curtin: And it was hope that they lived on as, this Christmas, they were too poor to exchange gifts. And even if they could, Helen's sickness hung over them like a dark cloud.

Miskel Spillman: [to Jane] What a shame.

Jane Curtin: [nods, deeply moved] I know.

[Dissolve back to hospital room where Robert and a doctor stand over a sleeping Helen and confer.]

Doctor: The test came back. You're a perfect donor. [Robert sighs with relief] We can perform the transplant immediately. Your wife will be very happy.

Robert: Please don't tell her I'm the donor, doctor. I want it to be a surprise.

Doctor: Okay, if that's the way you want it. Uh, by the way, I really hate to bring this up now but, uh, this is a very expensive operation.

Robert: That's all right, doctor. [holds up his priceless watch] I know where I can get my hands on some money. [Robert sadly closes the watch as he and the doctor walk off.]

Jane's Voice: [narrating] And, while Robert was solving one problem, Helen was dealing with a similar one.

Helen: [wakens, brushes her hair as a nurse enters] Oh, nurse! I don't know what to do. For Robert and me, this may be our first and our last Christmas together. [If] I just knew where I could get the money to buy Robert a gift.

Nurse: Well, do you have anything you can sell?

Helen: No. [pauses and stares at her hand which holds the white hair brush filled with her hair] Oh! Wait! No, I-- Maybe ... Yes! I - I'll do it!

[Dissolve back to Jane and Miskel.]

Jane Curtin: So Helen and Robert, because of their boundless love for each other, gave of themselves and were able to exchange Christmas gifts that morning.

Miskel Spillman: [to Jane] I feel like crying.

Jane Curtin: [to Miskel] So do I.

[Dissolve back to hospital room where Robert, now wearing a bathrobe, clutches his side as the nurse helps him to Helen's bed.]

Nurse: Your wife should be awakening any time now.

[Robert sits on the edge of the bed and looks at Helen who now wears a white hospital cap on her head.]

Nurse: There. I'll leave you two alone. Merry Christmas. [exits]

Robert: [wakes Helen] Merry Christmas, Helen. It's all over, honey. You got your new kidney.

Helen: Oh, how wonderful! Oh, I - I just wish I knew who the donor was so I could thank him. Robert? Why are you wearing your robe?

Robert: Don't worry, baby. It's all right. We'll both be fine.

Helen: Oh, no! Oh, you mean--? Oh, no! Oh, Robert! You were the donor! Oh, Robert!

Robert: Well, I figured I had two, so ... why not? What - what'd you get me?

Helen: [hands him a small box she has hidden beneath the bedcovers] Merry Christmas, Robert. I love you.

Robert: Oh! [opens box, looks inside] Ohhhh! [pulls out a gold chain]

Helen: It's a chain for your watch! Oh, quick ... Get out your watch, darling, and let me see what it looks like on it.

Robert: I can't, sweetie. I - I sold the watch to pay for the surgery. But that's not important. How did you get the money to buy this chain?

Helen: [nervously puts a hand to the cap on her head] Well, I - I sold my ...

Robert: [stares in horror] No! You didn't! You--?

Helen: Yes, I - I sold my hair brush. [pulls cap off her head, revealing her long, uncut hair] Yes. See, the bounce is gone but it was worth it.

Robert: [suddenly upset] You what? Is that all you think I'm worth, you cheap slut?! Boy, was I mistaken about you! I sell my watch that's been in my family for a hundred years, I give ya my kidney, and you sell a stupid hair brush to buy me some junk jewelry, huh?! [throws the chain at her pillow where it bounces off onto the floor]

Helen: Yeah, but wait a minute! The - the brush meant a lot to me! It had Nylon bristles!

Robert: [mocks her mercilessly] Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah! [yells] Nylon bristles, you face! You selfish pig! [slaps her across the face] I could've been watching the ball game or reading at home! But nooooooooooooooo! I had to give ya my kidney AND my watch!

Helen: Yeah, but, Robert, I've been sick! I didn't have time to shop!

Robert: Oh! Ya didn't have time to shop! I had the time, huh? They're yankin' my kidney out of me! I got a scar as big as Europe! Well, it's the last time it's going to happen! [starts strangling her] Merry Christmas! Arrrggghhh!

[Dissolve back to Jane and Miskel.]

Jane Curtin: Robert - Robert was right. He was right when he said, it's the gift, not the thought that counts. They don't call it "The Thought of the Magi." It's "The Gift..."

Miskel Spillman: [to Jane] You're damn right.

Jane Curtin: [to the camera] Merry Christmas!

[ dissolve to audience wide shot, zoom in on woman with SUPER: "Very Famous, Somewhere" ]


Submitted Anonymously


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