SNL Transcripts: Candice Bergen: 12/11/76: The Killer Trees


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 10

76j: Candice Bergen / Frank Zappa

The Killer Trees

Singer … Garrett Morris
Detective … Dan Aykroyd
Lieutenant Bushakis… John Belushi
Miss Vaveseur … Candice Bergen
Mrs. Rodriguez … Gilda Radner
Lieutenant Nagey … Tom Schiller
Suspect … Frank Zappa
Stagehand…..Neil Levy

[As snow falls from above, a singer in a white suitstands in front of a row of decorated Christmas treesand sings a solemn version of “O Tannenbaum” to pianoaccompaniment.]

Singer: [sings]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

[The row of trees inch forward toward the unsuspectingsinger.]

Singer: [sings]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

[The row of trees comes a few steps closer to thesinger.]

Singer: [sings]
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.

[The trees are now right up against the unwittingsinger’s back.]

Singer: [sings]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum–

[A branch explodes from the singer’s chest, piercinghis thorax and killing him almost instantly – hescreams, his eyes pop – he’s quickly dead, mouth andeyes wide open – Dramatic musical sting – SUPER: THEKILLER TREES]

Don Pardo V/O: The Killer Trees!

[The singer’s body quivers. Applause. Dissolve topolice station where a plainclothes detective speakson the phone.]

Detective: [into phone] Yeah. Yeah, that’s whatI said. You heard me! They’re killer Christmas trees!… They’re desperate trees, Chief, they won’t justsettle for tinsel and candy canes – they want blood…. I don’t know, Chief, they’re some kind of mutant!… Well, they hear the traditional Christmas hymn “OTannenbaum” and then they kill. … Looks like we’vegot a full-scale ecological disaster on our hands.I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Yeah. Allright.

[Detective hangs up. A second plainclothesman,Lieutenant Bushakis, standing nearby, has beenlistening in.]

Lt. Bushakis: These trees got an M.O.?

Detective: Well, they force themselves ontoChristmas tree lots where they lure their victims:unsuspecting, uh, Christmas tree buyers.

Lt. Bushakis: How do they do it?

Detective: Well, by looking full and bushy andstanding close to where their cars are parked. Andthey’re very smart.

Lt. Bushakis: Yeah.

Detective: They keep their prices low byconstantly marking themselves down.

Lt. Bushakis: Sounds like a tough case tocrack.

Detective: We GOTTA crack it! Or a lot oflittle kids who thought they were gonna get a bicycle– will end up with a pierced thorax!

Lt. Bushakis: Okay. Let’s roll.

Detective: Yeah.

[The detectives exit their office to the accompanimentof some cheesy uptempo ’70s cop show arrangement of “OTannenbaum” – Dissolve to a business office where MissVaveseur, a well-dressed executive, waves goodnight toher Latino cleaning lady.]

Miss Vaveseur: Well, good night, Mrs.Rodriguez. Um, y feliz Navidad.

Mrs. Rodriguez: [heavy accent] Good night!Merry Christmas to you, Miss Vaveseur!

[Mrs. Rodriguez watches Miss Vaveseur exit, thencautiously sits at office desk and usestelephone.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings to herself as she dialsnumber] La cucaracha, la cucaracha. La la la lala. [into phone] Hello? Hello, mama? Mama! Yeah, Ijust called to tell you. Right. I decided what to givelittle Jose for Christmas for him to play with. Yeah,a box of Kleenex. [holds up a box of tissues from thedesk] I’m gonna– Yeah, he can put it in his nose andstuff. Right. Okay, okay, I’ll say it’s from you, too- from both of us. Okay, mama, enjoy the turkeycarcass. Goodbye!

[Mrs. Rodriguez hangs up and rises. In the corner ofthe office, a decorated Christmas tree trembles andsings in a high-pitched voice.]

Christmas Tree: [sings] O Tannenbaum, oTannenbaum …

[Mrs. Rodriguez hears the voice but sees no one. Shesings her own version of the tune – with differentlyrics – as she cleans the office.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings]
Oh, I’m so poor
Oh, I’m so poor
La la la
Oh, I’m so poor

[The tree moves threateningly toward Mrs. Rodriguez asshe dusts a painting on the wall but retreats as shemoves to the nearby desk.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings]
Oh, I’m so poor
La cucaracha, la la la la
Oh, I’m so poor
Oh, I’m so poor
La da da

[Again, the tree moves toward Mrs. Rodriguez, thenretreats. She briefly breaks off singing, sensingsomething is wrong.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: [sings] Ah doodah

[The tree attacks her from the rear. She screams. Abranch explodes through her chest.]

Mrs. Rodriguez: Santa Claus!

[Dramatic musical sting – Mrs. Rodriguez, eyes andmouth wide open, is impaled on the tree as we dissolveto the police station where Miss Vaveseur sits, cryinghysterically. The two plainclothes detectives try tocomfort her.]

Miss Vaveseur: Oh! Oh, God!

Detective: Okay, just – just calm down for aminute. We just have to piece this thing together now.

Miss Vaveseur: It’s so horrible.

Detective: You say you heard the scream.

Miss Vaveseur: Oh, God, yes.

Detective: When you heard the scream, you ranback in and you saw the killer. That’s all we want.What did you see? Just a –

Lt. Bushakis: All right.

Detective: – a rough description.

Lt. Bushakis: Now, just calm down here, allright? Calm down and describe the killer to our policeartist here, Sergeant Nagey. Try to describe it now.Was he tall? Short?

Miss Vaveseur: [Sergeant Nagey, anotherplainclothesman, sits nearby with a sketch pad anddraws on it energetically as she speaks] He was verytall. He was so tall. And really bushy. Very bushy.With a lot of really neat ornaments! Oh, God!

Lt. Bushakis: Something like this?

[Bushakis grabs the sketch pad and holds it up to her- it’s a color drawing of a decorated Christmastree.]

Miss Vaveseur: [horrified] Ohhhhh, nooooooo!That’s it! That’s the killer!

Lt. Bushakis: Okay. [hands sketch back toNagey] Send it out over the wire services.

Sergeant Nagey: Yeah. [rises]

Lt. Bushakis: Hurry up, come on. [Nagey exitswith sketch]

Detective: [to Miss Vaveseur] Okay, now, uh, weneed one more thing. We need you to identify somesuspects, all right, now?

Miss Vaveseur: Oh!

Detective: All right. We’re gonna show you aline-up. All right? Ya think you can handleit?

[Cheesy cop show arrangement of “O Tannenbaum” returnsas Miss Vaveseur steels herself.]

Detective: Come on, let’s go.

[Miss Vaveseur and the detectives exit. We dissolve toa view of suspects in a police line-up. From left toright: an undecorated tree, a decorated tree, and along-haired barefoot man with beard and mustache wholooks exactly like Frank Zappa.]

Detective V/O: Okay, Miss Vaveseur, now, you’relooking through one-way glass. Nobody can see you.Look at these three suspects and tell us which one youthink is the killer.

Miss Vaveseur V/O: Uh, I – I don’t know. Theyall look the same to me.

Detective V/O: Uh huh.

Lt. Bushakis V/O: Wait a minute! I got a hunch.

Detective V/O: Go ahead.

Lt. Bushakis V/O: It’s crazy but it just mightwork. [to the suspects] Simon says, “Shake yourbranches!” [the two trees shake their branches, Zappawiggles his fingers] Simon says, “Jiggle yourornaments!” [the decorated tree jiggles its ornaments,as does Zappa who toys with the buttons on his tanraincoat] “Kill the person next to you!” [None of thesuspects responds, of course] Okay. Simon says, “Killthe person next to you.”

[The decorated tree leans into Zappa and a branchexplodes through Zappa’s chest. Dramatic musical sting- Zappa dies with much less fuss than the previousvictims. Dissolve back to the police station office asMiss Vaveseur and the detectives return.]

Lt. Bushakis: Well, I – I think we’ve got ourtree. These trees are smart but they’re not thatsmart.

Detective: Okay, one more thing, Miss Vaveseur.Where did you buy that tree? The tree.

Miss Vaveseur: I – I bought it at a lot downthe street. It’s the same place where I bought thetree for my apartment.

Detective: That means that one in yourapartment might be a killer, too.

Lt. Bushakis: Yeah, but we can only arrest himif we catch him the act.

Detective: [to Miss Vaveseur] I’m afraid we’regonna have to ask for one more thing — yourcooperation here. We’re gonna have to ask you to actas a decoy. Okay?

Lt. Bushakis: Now, uh, don’t we all–? If youjust start singing “O Tannenbaum” …

Detective: Right.

Lt. Bushakis: … okay? …

Detective: Are you with us?

Lt. Bushakis: … in the apartment with thetree – you’ll act as a decoy. If you need us, we’ll beright outside.

Detective: We’ll be right there. Noproblem.

Lt. Bushakis: Just yell. Okay?

Detective: Okay? You with us? [she nods] Okay,let’s go. [to Bushakis] Get a task force over thereright away.

Miss Vaveseur: I’ll do whatever I can to sparethe lives of innocent Gentiles. …

Lt. Bushakis: Okay. I’ll call the task force -I’ll meet you over there.

[Miss Vaveseur and the detective exit as Lt. Bushakisgets on the phone.]

Lt. Bushakis: [into phone] Yeah, this isLieutenant Bushakis. I want ten squad cars and fourpatrol cars outside Twenty-nine West Street. And, justin case, send an ambulance — with a tree surgeon. …That’s right. You heard me right. Do it fast,pal.

[Bushakis hangs up, looks grim – cop show version of”O Tannenbaum” plays as we dissolve to Miss Vaveseur’sapartment where a decorated tree waits ominously. MissVaveseur enters carrying a wreath and staresapprehensively at the tree. She gestures to the unseendetectives in the hall behind her, then shuts theapartment door, clears her throat, and walks near thetree.]

Miss Vaveseur: [talks to herself, nervous] Well… well … Boy, do I ever want to get pierced in thethorax! [laughs nervously]

Christmas Tree: [quivers, sings in high-pitchedvoice]
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum …

Miss Vaveseur: [sings nervously]
O killer trees, o killer Christmas trees
I want to feel your branches in me

[The tree lunges at her back – she screams – a branchpierces her thorax – dramatic musical sting – the twodetectives burst in with guns drawn – but it’s toolate – she’s dead.]

Lt. Bushakis: Well, we said we’d be outside butwe didn’t say we’d do anything.

Detective: Yeah. … Well, I guess we’d bettertake this tree downtown.

Lt. Bushakis: Okay.

Detective: [handcuffs the tree] Okay, tree!You’re comin’ with us. Come on. You have the right toone phone call, you have the right to remain silent,anything you say can and will be used against you in acourt of law.

Lt. Bushakis: Hey, what do we do, uh, about theguy behind it?

Detective: What? This guy? [pulls a maskedstagehand, dressed in green, from behind the tree,rips off the mask] Ah, he’s just an innocent stagehand– he didn’t have anything to do with it. [stagehandretreats behind tree]

Lt. Bushakis: Well, we’ll take him downtown andbook him as an accomplice.

Detective: [staring sorrowfully at the deadMiss Vaveseur] It’s so sad, you know, because — shelooked – like an angel.

Lt. Bushakis: And now – she isone.

Detective: I guess – this case – isclosed.

[Cop show version of “O Tannenbaum” plays as thedetectives salute each other with their weapons overMiss Vaveseur’s dead body. SUPER: THE KILLER TREES.The detectives stand motionless as we pull back andfade out.]

Submitted Anonymously

SNL Transcripts

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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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