PBS Pledgebration

Host ... Harry Shearer
Vincent Price ... Michael McKean



[Graphic: PBS PLEDGEBRATION - Dissolve to a two-tiered phone bank full of seated volunteers who answer ringing telephones, collect pledges, and talk amongst themselves as part of a public TV station fundraising drive. As we pull back, an earnest, bespectacled host walks into view and abruptly addresses the camera.]

Host: Okay! As we've been reminding you all evening long, our fine PBS programming is running just a little bit late tonight because of our special Fall Pledge-a-bration. It's now - [checks wristwatch] - eight thirty-five. We'll be joining our scheduled program at - [checks wristwatch] - eight forty-five. It's a rollicking new comedy series from Britain, "A Bun in the Oven," a domestic farce about a young man whose wife must perpetually pretend to be pregnant or they'll be evicted from their council flat -- or what we'd call "public housing."

And speaking of "public": YOU -- are the "public" in "public television." That's right. Only seventy-five percent of our funds come from oil companies. We need you. We count on you. You're the reason we interrupt our fine programming to remind you that, without you, there would be no "public" in "public television" and there would be no fine programming to interrupt to remind you that we need you.

We're delighted to have with us here at Pledgebration Central tonight, the distinguished star of stage, screen, scary movies -- AND public television, too -- please welcome, Mr. Vincent Price!

[Applause as we dissolve to Vincent Price standing in front of a podium, wearing a tuxedo, graciously acknowledging the crowd.]

Vincent Price: Edgar Lee Masters -- the author of the American classic "Spoon River Anthology" -- never lived to see public television. And it's a shame we can't send videotapes of this fine PBS fare up to his lonely crypt on Spoon Hill. I think he'd get a kick out of "Newton's Apple," don't you?

Whenever I'm at home with my wife, the actress Coral Browne, and we're watching public television together, I often forget she's in the room. The programming is THAT fine. But I have another, more personal, reason for urging you to support public television. You see, without these fine programmers who occasionally see fit to employ this humble mummer, I'd be spending many a morning at the Hanna-Barbera office playing the voice of the evil Doctor von Blowfish in the Snorks series.

Which brings me to a blatant plug for my new project here on the public airwaves. What we've done is to take the cooking show out of the kitchen and put it in a spooky old library. Won't you join me now for a preview of my exciting new series, "Recipe"?

[Price holds up a folder marked RECIPE and, as the studio lights darken, he opens the folder and reads from it.]

Vincent Price: "Fave Dolci"! Or -- "Dead Man's Beans."

Now, the origins of this somewhat morbid name are obscure but, in many cultures, beans were connected with death or the souls of the departed. But this tasty sweet makes a safe if somewhat tardy Halloween treat.

[Dark, low string instruments play a minor melody as Price adopts a melodramatic mood.]

Vincent Price: [dramatically, as if reading a poem by Poe]
Crush two-thirds of a cup of sweet almonds in a mortar,
With three-quarters of a cup of sugar,
Four tablespoons of butter,
[ominously] And one egg.

Mix well.
Add the grated rind of half a lemon,
And work into a smooth paste.

Flour your hands!
And roll the paste into a long tube.
Cut this tube into bean-sized pieces.
Arrange them! Well-spaced,
On a greased baking sheet.
And squash them lightly to effect an oval shape.

[Music ends, lights come up.]

Vincent Price: [mischievously] I'm not going to tell you at what temperature to bake it or for how long. You'll just have to watch the show. So -- join me, my wife, the actress Coral Browne, and some other distinguished doily-sniffers on "Recipe" -- coming this January on PBS. Programming so fine, it almost seems like fun.

[Dissolve back to the host standing before the volunteers.]

Host: Thank you, Mr. Price. Stay with us. Next hour, Mr. Steve Allen joins us to tell a fascinating story of why Jayne Meadows is in show business. Meantime, Pledgebration continues -- so won't you watch till it hurts?

[Dissolve back to the PBS PLEDGEBRATION graphic.]


Submitted Anonymously


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