80b: Malcolm McDowell / Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
The Rocket Report
[ open on title card ]
Announcer: And now, "The Rocket Report."
[ dissolve to Charles Rocket standing on 5th Avenue ]
Charles Rocket: As you notice, we're on, probably, one of the pedesterially more busy --
[ cameraman waves his hand at Charles, so he changes position on the avenue ]
Charles Rocket: Well, as you can clearly see, we're on the - probably one of the most busy streets -- let me try that again.
[ starts over yet again ]
Charles Rocket: Well, it seems pretty apparent, as we now look down this street. This is probably, pedestrially-speaking, one of the busiest streets in New York. This is 5th Avenue. Hi, Charles Rocket, on Fifth Avenue! We're gonna meet some people that are total strangers. Let's find out what they're like. Will they be rude? Will they be warm? Will they be friendly? Will they be happy to see us? Well, we're gonna find out in just a minute or two, as we actually go ahead and meet some total strangers. [ approaches a man ] This man, for example. Where do you work, sir?
Bill: I work in Long Island.
Charles Rocket: And you're an accountant?
Bill: No, I'm an insurance broker.
Charles Rocket: Insurance broker. Hi. Charlie Rocket. What's your name?
Bill: Bill Noland. Nice to meet you. [ shakes Charles' hand ]
Charles Rocket: Bill? Nice meeting you!
[ cut to Charles continuing down the aveneue ]
Charles Rocket: Well, there goes - just goes to show you that -- [ spots a foreign woman walking with her arm in a sling ] Ohh, what happened to your arm?
Elderly Woman: I broke my arm.
Friend: She slipped on a potato.
Charles Rocket: Slipped on a potato?
Friend: That's right. In the shopping center. People are throwing GARBAGE all over New York!
Charles Rocket: Ohhh, gee.. well - I hope it gets better, huh? [ continues walking down the avenue ] All right! Well, we continue down 5th Avenue now, we're gonna meet, yes, some more people. [ spots a woman running down the avenue ] Oh! She's in a hurry, but could we talk to her just for a second? [ the woman continues running, then slows down after she passes Charles and the camera crew, who have now moved on themselves ] A lot of people are busy here on 5th Avenue, as we -- [ sirens sound ] No. Let this car go by.
[ a car rolls by as Charles crosses the street to find two women pushing two children side-by-side in strollers ]
Charles Rocket: Look - they must be twins. Are they twins?
Mother: [ hurrying past ] Yes.
Charles Rocket: They are twins. Do you mind -- [ she continues on without another word ] Beautiful children, too. Out for a walk?
Charles Rocket: Great! Just out for a nice walk with the twins!
[ cut to Charles approaching a Cuban couple on the street ]
Charles Rocket: Tourists, are you?
Cuban Man: [ speaks in Cuban, then translates ] It means, "How do you do?"
Charles Rocket: Okay, well, sounds like you've had a couple of drinks this afternoon, huh? [ chuckles, as the couple continue on, muttering under their breaths ] Oh, not 'til you go home! Well, enjoy yourselves. Just come of the excitement, here on 5th Avenue.
[ cut to Charles further down the avenue, as an elderly woman wearing what appears to be a sailor's cap approaches him ]
Charles Rocket: An interesting person right here -- hello, ma'am? Can we talk to you, just for a second?
[ she shakes her head numerous times and rushes past Charles ]
Charles Rocket: Nope, doesn't walk to talk to us. Well, not everyone is friendly.
[ Charles continues down the avenue, curious about a black man, wearing an odd white hat, who's fast approaching ]
Charles Rocket: Looks like he's from another country. [ stops the black man ] Are you from another country?
Black Man: No. I'm a - I'm - American. [smiles ]
Charles Rocket: I'm sorry?
Black Man: I'm a - I'm an American.
Charles Rocket: An American! Alright, well, from the hat - let's take a look at the hat-- [ turns the black man's head to the side - aha! It's a baseball cap turned backwards! ] Oh, I see! Fooled us! Thought you were from India with that hat and everything! It's actually just a baseball cap turned around. [ black man smiles, continues on ] That's what happens, right on 5th Avenue. Okay!
[ cut to Charles continuing down the street, as an Elderly Man, who appears to be a business executive, approaches ]
Charles Rocket: You're on drugs right now, aren't you? [ the man looks curiously at Charles Rocket ] You're on drugs right now. You look like a drug taker, I mean, a typical -- [ the man shakes his head ] You don't take drugs?
Elderly Man: No.
Charles Rocket: Ever have?
Elderly Man: No. [ amused ]
Charles Rocket: Well, gee.. what gives you that look? That sort of "drug taker's" look?
Elderly Man: Well, because I'm very happy.
Charles Rocket: That must be it! Glad we could meet you. Charles Rocket. Your name?
Bill: Bill Gunschner.
Charles Rocket: Bill? Nice meeting you. Okay, Bill. [ Bill continues on ]
[ Charles continues down the avenue, and approaches a Spanish couple ]
Charles Rocket: Yet one more person. You look like you're related to Desi Arnaz - are you?
Spanish Man: [ as he quickly moves along ] No.
Charles Rocket: He says he's not. Well! just goes to show you - if you're willing to take just a few minutes, as I have, here on 5th Avenue in New York City, you'll get to learn an awful lot about life, an awful lot about people, and, of course, more importantly, an awful lot about drugs! I'm Charles Rocket. In New York. We'll see you again, some other time.
[ fade ]