SNL Transcripts: Chevy Chase: 02/18/78: A Former President Speaks to the Nation


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 3: Episode 12

77k: Chevy Chase / Billy Joel

A Former President Speaks to the Nation

Gerald R. Ford…..Chevy Chase
Betty Ford…..Jane Curtin

Announcer: [ over title card ] “The Little House on the Prairie Burns to the Ground” will not be seen tonight, so that NBC may present the following special program.

[ fade to black ] [ fade up to presidential card ]

Announcer: And now, in response to Ronald Reagan’s address on the Panama Canal issue, here is former President of the United States Gerald R. Ford.

[ dissolve to Ford sitting nexto an endtable ]

Gerald R. Ford: Hello, my fellow North Americans. It feels good to see you again. I have not ssssssssseen you…? I have not seen you or addressed the nation since my last time… being President. Tonight, I wish toooooooo… urge the ratification by Congress of the… Suez Canal… Treaty. I feel that we shouldn’t turn over the canal to our tiny little neighbors to the south of Panamites…

[ suddenly, the phone rings ]

Gerald R. Ford: Excuse me. [ he picks up a glass of water and splashes it to his ear ] Hello! [ he puts down the glass and picks up the phone ] Hello?

Voice of Betty Ford: Honey? It’s soup now.

Gerald R. Ford: Thank you, Betty. I’m on television now.

Voice of Betty Ford: Oh, I’m sorry.

Gerald R. Ford: Oh, that’s okay. Bring it down. You know how I am when it’s soup, I’m on the go.

Voice of Betty Ford: Okay.

[ he hangs up the phone onto the water carafe ]

Gerald R. Ford: You know… [ he looks to the side ] Liberty? Sit. [ he looks around for Liberty, then stretches across his chair ] Every administration sicne Lyndon Johnson has been in favor of this treaty. [ counting on his fingers ] I would say that was Johnson, Nixon, Carter… me. That’s three. Three-and-a-half, if you count me.

[ Betty ambles forward with his soup ]

Gerald R. Ford: Oh, Betty!

[ Gerald attempts to grab the bowl of soup, but first ends up with only the saucer in his hand ]

Betty Ford: Now, hurry up and eat your soup, dear, because if you don’t eat it quick, it turns into a cup of nasty chemicals. [ to the camera ] And since I’m here, I’d like to say Hello and reiterate my support of the ERA. Thank you. [ she walks away ]

Gerald R. Ford: Thank you, Ron. I’m sure all the ERAs will be appreciativitive… Now, many people are confused about the Suez Canal, and well might they be. Let’s look at a map, shall we? [ he turns to sip his soup, then finally stands and stumbles his way toward a map of North and South America ] Before there was a Suez Canal… if you happen to have a boat, or were on a boat, and wanted to get from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, you had to kind of do this: [ he traces a route along the waters with his pen, going all the way around South America and back to the western side of North America ] A very long way and down and around the Cape of Good Horn… and up and through… This was not easy. Now, you would have been so surprised, unhappy you had not seen the canal. We’ve changed that. Let’s take a look, shall we? Now, if we want to get to California… we simply coem down around here the same way, to the canal… [ he traces the same route, accidentally going past the canal and having to scratch out his error ] On the west coast of the ?? River… [ he traces through the canal, then accidentally traces along the southeast side of South America before scratching out this error as well ] If we can have just another glimpse of the new map… [ he picks up the map, nearly tripping over the easel ] Almost went! [ he then loses his grip of the map and trips over the endtable, sliding into his chair, then tumbling over the endtable in the other direction and entangling himself within the lamp and phone ] “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

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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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