SNL Transcripts: Karen Black: 10/16/76: Lunch Counter Reunion


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 4

76d: Karen Black / John Prine

Lunch Counter Reunion

Written by: Marilyn Suzanne Miller

Ralph Bort … Dan Aykroyd
Patty Rivers … Jane Curtin
Waitress … Gilda Radner

[The lunch counter at Woolworth’s department store, alittle before one o’clock in the afternoon. Two adultssit together, having just eaten: a man and a woman,smoking cigarettes. A waitress removes their platesand brings them coffee. The man is boisterous andenthusiastic. The woman is distinctly uncomfortable.The scene opens in mid-conversation:]

Ralph Bort: [laughing] But – but weren’t ya – weren’tya sort of embarrassed, you know, every time yourunderpants showed when you did a cartwheel? I mean, Imean, I knew they matched your cheerleading skirt andall that but you must’ve been embarrassed from time totime. Ha!

Patty Rivers: Well, I–

Ralph Bort: Maybe … you sort of liked it. Yeah, yousort of liked it. Huh! I guess that’s it. You sort ofliked it. [laughs]

Patty Rivers: I really didn’t–

Ralph Bort: That’s something, you know? After tenwhole years, finding out the captain of the highschool cheerleading team really liked her underpantsshowing. [laughs]

Patty Rivers: They were supposed to show. They matchedthe outfit. They were supposed to show, okay?

Ralph Bort: Well, okay, okay, Patty Rivers!

Patty Rivers: I wish you wouldn’t say my name so much.

Ralph Bort: Oh, I like saying it. It reminds me I’mtalkin’ to ya. I, Ralph Bort — “B. O.” Bort talkingto you, Patty Rivers! And to think in high school, Iwas scared of you, y’know? I was scared of you — butnow we’re just regular people, just adults, just youand me here. [laughs]

Patty Rivers: Yeah. Yeah.

Ralph Bort: You still – you still don’t remember me,do ya? [laughs] Here – here’s a hint! [covers mouthwith hands, imitates a filtered voice] Testingone-two-three! Testing one-two-three!

Patty Rivers: I give up.

Ralph Bort: Captain of the audiovisual squad! Sevenguys who really gave a damn if the mikes had feedbackin the gym. And in the auditorium.

Patty Rivers: Really?

Ralph Bort: We were the backbone of those pep rallies.You were the underpants! [laughs]

Patty Rivers: Listen, I – I really have to get back.My lunch hour is over. I just can’t stay here–

Ralph Bort: Hey! Hey! Relax! I’m tight with the crowdat Fanny Farmer, I’ll vouch for ya.

Patty Rivers: Well, okay.

Ralph Bort: After all, how many reunions do you havein your lifetime? Five, ten, fifteen, twenty,twenty-five, thirty, forty?

Patty Rivers: I don’t know.

Ralph Bort: Running into each other at the lunchcounter at Woolworth’s! Can you imagine what might nothave happened if I didn’t ask you for the salt?

Patty Rivers: I’m due back at one.

Ralph Bort: Five minutes! You can talk five minutesabout old times! High school!

Patty Rivers: We didn’t have any old times.

Ralph Bort: We went to the same high school, didn’twe? We went to the same lockers. You know, I forgot totell you this. I had your old junior year locker in mysenior year ’cause I found this, uh, this piece ofcrepe paper, you know, like from one of your, uh, yourpompons, you know, and I saved it.

Patty Rivers: Why?

Ralph Bort: It was something to save! Something tokeep! A memory! A souvenir! I couldn’t take home anymicrophones. I couldn’t take home those filmstrips on,uh, Guatemala. Imports, exports, bushels of wheat.[imitates narrator] “Guatemala, your downstairsneighbor!” Remember that? I showed that filmstripabout fifty times in four years. Guatemala,Guatemalans — who cares? You didn’t have thatproblem, though. You probably had lots of souvenirs.You probably took a lot home, didn’t ya?

Patty Rivers: Yes, I did.

Ralph Bort: Well, like what?

Patty Rivers: My pompons, my cheerleading letter, my -my Homecoming crown–

Ralph Bort: Homecoming! I – I went to a Homecoming …after I was in Nam. I was in Nam. Know what I didthere?

Patty Rivers: What?

Ralph Bort: Would you believe … FIGHT?! You know whyI said that? I wanted you to ask me that so I couldsay “Would you believe …?” Remember? I started thatin our high school. I was the one who said, “Would youbelieve …?” first! I started “Would you believe…?” It was all over the country but I started it inour high school. I started “Would you believe …?” Istarted that. Heh! You know, those words would’venever come out of your mouth, you know, if – if Ididn’t say “Would you believe …?” You know? Thatreally gets me sometimes that I started that, youknow? I started “Would you believe …?” And thosewords would’ve never come out of your mouth, if Ididn’t start that! Huh! Damn! [laughs] Nam! I was inNam. Know what I did in Nam? I ran the movieprojector. Showed “Blue Hawaii,” “True …” — youknow — “… Grit,” all those movies, you know? Whatabout you?

Patty Rivers: What about me?

Ralph Bort: Yeah, what have you done since highschool? I wanna know. I’m interested.

Patty Rivers: Well, I went to college. I got married.I got divorced. Now, I’m living with my parents–

Ralph Bort: Yeah! I heard about that! Getting divorced– I heard about that. My mom sent me something overin Nam, a little item in the newspaper, you know?Well, don’t worry about it, I mean, they weren’ttalking about it in Nam, you know. They had otherthings to worry about.

Patty Rivers: Well, that’s it for me. I really–

Ralph Bort: I went to community college for two years.I started the AV squad there. It was sort of mybrainchild. “Brainchild” — there’s a word I neverused in high school, you know? Some people used thatword, I never used that word. Only when I started, uh,you know, managing the tire department over at Sears,I started using “brainchild.” I got the job, tiremanager over there. It’s terrific, you know, I worknine to five, five days a week. I never thought Icould get into it, you know, but I do – I do it, youknow? I play a lot of poker on weekends, though. A lotof poker! Maybe too much poker, you know?! But I’mreal busy.

Patty Rivers: Look, it’s been really nice but I haveto get back–

Ralph Bort: Hey! You smoke cigarettes! What kind?

Patty Rivers: Menthol.

Ralph Bort: I smoke menthol 100s. I love ’em! I likethe taste! I like menthol! Isn’t that something? Whoever thought we were gonna grow up like this and I’dbe sitting next to you, you smoking cigarettes? It’samazing! It’s just amazing! What kind of car youdrive? I got a Chevy Nova, you know. A tachometer. Igot rally stripes, baby moon. I got, uh, CB radio,tape deck. I got all of that in there. I got, uh,factory air conditioning, too, you know? I wouldn’ttake it without the air. What kind of car do youdrive?

Patty Rivers: Toyota.

Ralph Bort: Ahhh, you worry about pollution, huh?

Patty Rivers: Well, I–

Ralph Bort: I do, too! You know, I worry aboutpollution, too. But I’m pretty busy, you know. I’m–When I’m not playing poker or managing the tiredepartment over there, you know– I – I worry aboutpollution. Actually, it’s not what you’d call, really,like, worrying, you know, it’s like – it’s like – it’slike – it’s what you’d call, like, thinking … aboutpollution, you know, like– ? Yeah. Yeah, that’s it!It’s – it’s – it’s what you’d call thinking aboutpollution.

Patty Rivers: Look, I’ve really got to go.

Ralph Bort: Isn’t this something, though? Both of usare adults! Both of us adults, here, equals, you know?It’s not like high school. In high school, there wereall those levels, you know, groups. Some people werenothing, you know? Some people were something. Moresomething. Right up to the big shots. But, in life, itall evens out! We’re adults! We both lived, donethings, you know? You’ve lived! I’ve lived! You know,like you were married, divorced. I was in Nam. Youknow, here you are smoking cigarettes, you know? You,in high school with your underpants showing. Me,watching. Things are different! Things are reallydifferent now! I could even ask you out now, couldn’tI?

Patty Rivers: [gives him a sharp look, after a pause]No.

[She rises, slaps some change down on the counter,takes her receipt, and walks off. He calls after her.]

Ralph Bort: Hey – hey, I’ll call ’em at Fanny Farmer.I – I’ll explain to them that you’re gonna be late.[to the waitress who clears away his coffee cup andwipes the counter with a rag] I – I – I know themthere, at Fanny Farmer. I know them.

[The waitress hands him his receipt. He inspects itclosely, rises, and reaches into his pocket formoney.]

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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