84j: Kathleen Turner / John Waite
[Gray-haired Tony Manetti, in a cap, apron, and
striped vendor's uniform, is discovered alone in a
spotlight on a darkened Home Base in front of a black
curtain. He works the aisle at a boxing arena selling
bags of snacks to the patrons. The camera, playing the
role of an old friend, trucks slowly toward
Tony Manetti: [gravel-throated New York accent]
Peanuts, popcorn, twenty-five cents a bag! Let's go,
hurry up. Hey, how ya doin'? How are ya, huh? Peanuts,
popcorn, twenty-five cents a bag! Let's go, there ya
go, pal. Let's go. [catches a tossed coin] Oh! Thank
you, pal. Peanuts, popcorn, twenty-five cents a
[stares into approaching camera, points at it, as if
greeting an old friend] Heyyyyyy! Hey, how are
ya? Huh? How are ya? Huh? How are ya?
Huh? ... Who are you? ... [recognizes his old
friend] Oh, yeah! Hey, yeah! How are ya? Yeah, ya look
good, ya look good. You do. I - I don't see so good,
all this stuff hangin' over here. Hey, you look good,
you look good, you really look good. You do. You do.
You look good. I swear, you look good. You do! You
look great. I think you do. Ya do. Huh? How are
Yeah. Hey, you still fightin'? Oh. How come? You
started to bleed at the weigh-ins? Yeah, well, you
know ... That happens. That happens. Boxing's a tough
game. We're in a tough racket. But I love the sweet
science. I love the game. Yeah, these kids today are
great. These fighters today are great, they is.
They're great, they are. But, you know, I think it's
tough, you know? The black fighters today are the
greatest fighters, I think. You know, you got, like,
Tommy Hearns is great. And the Marvelous Marvin
Hamlisch, he's great! They're all great! ...
See? See, but I think we had it tougher when we was
fightin', right? Because, like, the Jewish fighters
were fightin' then. And the Jews are tougher to fight,
I think, because the Jews are used to fightin' at
home. ... You know what I mean? All day long, they're
goin' "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!"
"Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "What did I do?" "You left that
much soda in the bottle, ya put it back in the
refrigerator! Drive me nuts!" "Oh, yeah? Who the hell
leaves an egg in a cup stinkin' up the place? You
know? You makin' me crazy! It's disgusting!" "Oh,
yeah? You bought retail!" "I did not!" "Ya
did!" "Ya didn't!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!" "And you
ain't so kosher! When you eat out, I seen you eat
shellfish!" "I did not!" "Ya did!" "Ya didn't!"
So by the time they get in the ring, they're nuts,
right? ... I get in the ring, they look at me and go,
"You did!" I go, "I didn't!" AND THEY BEAT THE HELL
OUT O' ME! ...
[calms down, grins, gently] But I look better now,
don't I? Yeah, I - I got this fixed. [points to his
nose] Yeah, yeah, I had it put in the middle. But
that's it. ... That's all. See? See? See? See? And
now, now there's this whole movement, you know, you
know, to stop boxin'! They wanna stop boxin'! They do.
You know, that group, what do you call that, eh --?
Right! The, uh, the AMA! They wanna ban boxin'. They
think that guys - They think that guys - They think
that guys get hurt! Listen. I had over a hundred
fights. And I NEVER was REALLY hurt. You know? I even
fought nine fights in one night. Nine. Because none of
the other fighters showed up. ... I fought nine fights
in one night because I loved it! And this group --
this, uh, A.F.L. -- thinks they know - they know what
gettin' hurt is. All right. I'll tell ya about that.
Sunnyside Gardens in Queens. I'm fightin', uh, Ernesto
"the Gardener" Torres, right? Now, Ernesto breaks my
nose, he does, in the first round. Clean. Pow! Right
there. My eyes are shut and, finally, after a little
bit, I visit the - the canvas, you know? I go down, I
go down, I do. The referee comes over and he says,
"Tony! How many fingers am I holdin' up?!" I looked at
him and I said, "I think I'll order the lamb chops,
please." Now ...
This, ah, NBA group thinks that that is hurt. I
was STUNNED! That's all! I was NOT hurt! ... [pause]
What? I'm sorry. I - I went to Coney Island for a
second. Now ... See - see, this now - It makes me
mad, you know. If - if - if they wanna stop the
violence in boxin', don't let nobody ride the subway
to the arena, that's all. But let me tell ya this.
They can't stop the boxing. They can't - They
can't take these kids' futures away from them, you
know what I'm sayin'? The thing about it-- See, the
fighters could help themselves. They could.
They could help themselves. You just gotta know when
it's time to QUIT! You know when it was time for me to
quit? The eighth fight o' that night. You know? ... I
hit the canvas for the thirteenth time, see, see, see?
And I looked out over the crowd - and I seen a
familiar face in the third row goin' [whispers] "Stay
down, Tony. Stay down." [beat] It was ME! ... That's
when it's time to get out. You know? So, you tell this
group, y'see? See, even that night, I wasn't hurt
then. I was just DAZED! That's it. So this group,
this, uh, this CIA group, they don't-- I hope this,
uh, MBL don't ever stop the sweet science. Don't stop
the sweet science. You know? If they stopped it, we
wouldn't'a' had the Joe Louis, we wouldn't'a' had the
Alis, we wouldn't'a' had these people if they had
stopped it. See, this group, they DON'T KNOW NOTHIN'!
Now, lemme tell ya somethin', pal. You know, I had a
lot o' fights. An' I took a lot o' punches. An', to
keep my health, I took a brain scan. And you know
somethin'? They didn't find nothin'. ... So,
tell that to that group, I'll tell ya that right now.
Hey, did you hear the bell for the fights? Ya did?
Whew! Good. All right. Now, listen. I'll, uh, I'll,
uh, wait for ya, if you - you wanna get together
afterwards, after the fights, if you wanna see me,
after, we-- Yeah. Yeah, I would love to have a
beer with you. We'd be breakin' training, though.
Yeah, okay, come on! Yeah, I'll be right there! Where
the hell else am I goin'? All right? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Okay, see ya. [the camera tracks back and away from
Tony as he goes back to work] Peanuts, popcorn,
twenty-five cents a bag! Hey, how are ya?!
[Cheers. Applause. Tony shadowboxes. Dissolve to a
wider view of the Studio 8H audience.