SNL Transcripts: Johnny Cash: 04/17/82: Frankie’s Last Wish


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 7: Episode 17

81q: Johnny Cash / Elton John

Frankie’s Last Wish

Guard…..Joe Piscopo
Other Inmate…..Andy Murphy
Frankie…..Eddie Murphy
Priest…..Tim Kazurinsky
Warden…..Brian Doyle-Murray
…..Johnny Cash

[FADE IN on a gray steel door labeled, “DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE.” Shrill, sad harmonica music is playing. PAN across a small jail block and a blue-shirted guard sitting at a desk and reading the paper. PAN farther to another inmate playing the harmonica out through his cell bars. PAN finally to an inmate wearing a striped uniform in the next cell. A priest sits next to him on his cot.]

Priest: [in an Irish brogue] I believe it’s almost time, Frankie.

Frankie: But I don’t wanna die, Father.

Priest: I know, my son. [pause] Is there anything I can… I can read that can be of comfort to ye?

Frankie: Yeah, how ’bout the entire Old Testament?

[Audience laughs as the priest opens his Bible to the first page of Genesis and the sad harmonica song keeps playing.]

Priest: “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

[The guard stands up from his desk and walks over to unlock Frankie’s cell.]

Priest: “And the Spirit of God–”

Guard: All right! Time to go!

Frankie: [getting up] Hey, wait a second, man, your watch must be wrong, I got a whole hour and a half left to go.

Guard: All right, Frankie, c’mon, let’s go, let’s do it.

Frankie: No, serious, it’s Daylight Savings Time, man, you didn’t turn your watch back?

Guard: C’mon–

Frankie: What did I say–

Guard: Just come on, okay?

Priest: [off camera] Be brave, my son. I am with you.

Frankie: No, but–

[When the guard pulls Frankie out of his cell, Frankie suddenly looks down at the floor.]

Frankie: Wait! My contact lens! My contact lens fall out! My lens!

Guard: Well, where were you when you put it in?

Frankie: [bends over and eyeballs the floor] I don’t know! It’s around here somewhere!

Guard: WAIT a minute! [yanks him up] Why, you, you don’t even WEAR contact lenses. [nudges him over] C’mon, quit stallin’.

Frankie: Wait a second. I get a last meal. I get a last–

[ENTER the warden at Frankie’s right.]

Warden: You HAD your last meal.

Frankie: [thinks] Well, the last request! I get a last request! I have a last request. I know my rights.

Warden: All right, the law’s the law, you get a last request. This better not be one of your tricks.

Frankie: [stalling] My last request is to have… Johnny Cash come sing for me before I die… Sir!

Guard: Johnny Cash.

Frankie: Yeah.

Priest: Be reasonable, son. He’s a busy man. He must be thousands of miles away.

Frankie: Well, I’m sorry, that’s my last request.

Warden: Well, as it happens, this is your lucky day, because I happen to have Johnny Cash in my office.


Frankie: [looks at the warden dubiously] Yeah, and I got Elvis in my livin’ room. Listen, man, I want THE Johnny Cash to come sing to me in person, all right?

[The warden nods and walks over to the opposite door while the guard hustles Frankie to the side.]

Warden: [calling into hallway] Mr. Cash?

Johnny Cash: [off camera] Yes.

[Johnny Cash saunters in, with a white shirt underneath his black suit, his guitar slung over his back.]

Johnny Cash: Good evening. Good evening. Good evening. I feel very privileged to be here at this special farewell concert.

[laughter and applause]

Johnny Cash: [to Frankie] What did you do?

Frankie: I took a stroll on the governor’s front lawn.

Guard: And the signs are clearly marked, “Keep off the grass.”

Johnny Cash: You’re condemnin’ this man to death for trespassing?

Guard: Oh, it is a beautiful lawn.

Johnny Cash: Well, what can I sing for ya?

Frankie: How ’bout “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall”? [laughter] The original, uncut version.

Warden: Wait a second, wait a second. What’s he talking about?

Johnny Cash: Warden, y’know, it does seem to me that a condemned man… is–should be allowed to hear a song that he loves in its entirety, before going to eternity. And the original, uncut version of “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall” is “Ninety-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

[Johnny Cash pulls out his guitar and starts strumming. The warden groans and covers his eyes with his hand, while the guard makes a disgusted face.]

Johnny Cash: Ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall,
Ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall,
One of those bottles should happen to fall,
There’s ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall.

[ZOOM in on the wall clock above the far door. The hands start spinning around in fast-motion from a quarter to six on past twelve-thirty, and go out of focus. FADE to the guard dozing on his own shoulder. Frankie is grinning and dancing in place.]

Johnny Cash: Seventy-seven thousand, six hundred and twenty-three bottles of beer on the wall,
There’s seventy-seven thousand, six hundred and twenty-three bottles of beer on the wall,
If one of those bottles should happen to fall–

[PAN over to Frankie’s old cell, where the warden leans wearily on the bars and the priest is closely studying his Bible.]

Other Inmate: [in neighboring cell] This is cruel and unusual punishment! Take me first!!

[FADE back to a fuzzy shot of the wall clock as the hands spin around. They finally stop at ten to eight. ZOOM out to show Johnny Cash still playing, while Frankie continues to boogie in place. The guard is sound asleep on his desk.]

Johnny Cash: Two bottles of beer left on the wall,
There’s just two more bottles of beer on the wall,
If one of those bottles should happen to fall,
There’s just one more bottle of beer on the wall.

[PAN over to show the priest leaning against the cell bars and having a burger and a milkshake. The warden and the other inmate are playing cards through the bars inside.]

Johnny Cash: There’s one bottle of beer on the wall,
There’s just one bottle of beer on the wall,
If that one bottle should happen to fall…
There’s no more bottles of beer… on the wallllllll.

Frankie: [clapping] You were GREAT, man! That stuff was GREAT!

[Frankie and Johnny give each other five as the guard snaps awake. Rubbing his eyes, the guard slowly moves to take Frankie’s arm.]

Frankie: That was GREAT, man! Y’know, you’re some man! That was somethin’… ONE MORE TIME!!!

[laughter and applause]


[The guard starts pulling Frankie into the execution room.]

Frankie: Wait a second! I seem to remember there be some more verses to that! There’s some more to it!

[phone rings]

Frankie: [to guard] That’s the warden! I mean, that’s the governor!

Guard: You’re dreamin’, pal.

Frankie: That’s the GOVERNOR, man!!

Guard: You’re dreamin’.

Frankie: Yes, it is!

[The warden steps over to answer the phone.]

Warden: Hello? [pause] It IS the governor.

Frankie: [gasps in hope] Huh!

Warden: Hello. [pause] Yes, he’s here.

[Frankie grins confidently and reaches for the receiver.]

Warden: It’s for you, Mr. Cash.

[Frankie keeps his hand outstretched, but the guard drags him into the execution room. The priest follows them inside while the warden hands the phone over to Cash.]

Johnny Cash: Hello? Oh, hello, yes, hello, Governor.

[A door slams loudly shut.]

Johnny Cash: Well, thank you, Governor. Oh, yes, we’d love to come next week to… to dinner. Uh, sure, I’ll bring June and the kids, yes.

[Frying sounds are suddenly heard, and the lights flicker.]

Johnny Cash: [shouts into phone] What?! Pardon me, you’ll have to speak a little louder, Governor, there’s a little interference on the line! [pause] What? A barbeque? On your front lawn, you’re settin’ up tents?

[More frying sounds are heard as the lights flicker again and Johnny strains to hear the Governor. FADE to a slide of an album cover with a vinyl record poking out as harmonica music rises.]

Announcer: Look for “Johnny Cash Live on Death Row,” coming soon to record shops near you.

[Johnny’s grim face fills the cover. A caption in the lower right corner reads, “FEATURING THE HIT: 9,999 BOTTLES OF BEER.” FADE to black over applause.]

Submitted by: Sean

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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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