The Back Page


The Back Page

Pavaratta…..Steve Guttenberg
O’Malley…..Dana Carvey
Sully…..Jon Lovitz
Red…..Phil Hartman
Panicking Man…..Kevin Nealon
Ruby…..Nora Dunn

Announcer: The late 1930’s. Our nation’s newspapers were in their heyday. The big headlines and the big reporters are often credited with their success. But this scene is dedicated to those valient men and women who worked for.. “The Back Page”!

[ open in Back Page newsroom ]

Pavaratta: That’s stupid!

O’Malley: Yeah, who ya calling stupid?

Pavaratta: I’m looking at him!

O’Malley: Why, I oughtta pound you!

Pavaratta: I’d like to see you try!

O’Malley: Yeah, well just cross this line!

Pavaratta: You’ll wish I hadn’t!

[ Sully the Editor enters ]

Sully: Alright, you two, cut the racket. We’re trying to decide who buys lunch. Alright, Red, whaddaya got?

Red: Get out your hankies, Sully – two one-eyed rogues and a pair of ladies.

Sully: Yeah, there’ll be no nose blowing today – threee old gentlemen and a ducknose.

Pavaratta: What’s a ducknose?

Sully: A lot more than some cub reporters around here! [ garbage truck honks outside ] Hey, garbage truck coming – hand it over! Come on, come on! [ grabs money and runs to the window ] Hey, Joey! Three regular; one with mustard, and one with mayo!

Voice Outside: You got it!

Sully: Now, what were you two squawking about?

O’Malley: I’m trying to teach him how to write a headline, Boss.

Sully: Oh, whaddaya got there?

Pavaratta: “Mayor Donates A Pint of Blood”.

Sully: O’Malley?

O’Malley: “Pint of Blood Donated By Mayor”.

Sully: Ah, you’re both wrong. Tell ’em, Red!

Red: You never say “Mayor”! It’s always “His Honor”! H-I-double Z-O-N-E-R! “His Honor Gives Blood”! Period! O’Malley, that’s your story!

[ garbage truck honks again; Sully looks out window ]

Sully: Thanks, Joey! Keep the change!

[ Panicking Man pokes into the newsroom ]

Panicking Man: It was horrible! Horrible!

Sully: What was?

Red: Hey, settle, fella, and take it from the beginning!

Panicking Man: It was the Hindenberg! It exploded coming into Lakehurst in Jersey! There was flames! Screams! I tell ya, it was horrible!

O’Malley: What a story! I’m gonna write this one!

Pavaratta: I saw it first!

O’Malley: Why, I oughtta pound you!

Sully: Ah, pipe down, you two! Tell ‘im, Red.

Red: Ah, that’s a front page story, buddy. You want the door down the hall.

Panicking Man: It was horrible! [ exits ]

Sully: Think we can find an angle on this one, Red?

Red: [ looking at map on wall ] Well.. here’s Lakehurst. Winds blow predominantly south to north?

Sully: Yeah. A lot of soot’s gonna fall on Passaic.

Red: On a large percent of Passaic.

Sully: Soot’s the fertilizer.

Red: You thinking what I’m thinking?

Sully: Yep.

Together: “Bumper Apple Crop Expected!”

Sully: Pavaratta give me a half a paragraph on that by next Tuesday!

Pavaratta: A half a paragraph?! A half a paragraph?! Every week, it’s another half a paragraph!

Sully: What’s eating him?

O’Malley: Can’t type.

Pavaratta: Can, too!

O’Malley: Why, I oughtta pound you!

Sully: You’re a crybaby of a newspaperman!

O’Malley: He’s a crybaby!

Pavaratta: I shoulda been an aviator!

O’Malley: Yeah, a blimp pilot! [ laughs ] [ raises hand ] She-e-e-et up!

[ Ruby enters ]

Ruby: Hello, boys.

Sully: Hello, Ruby!

Red: Hi, Angel!

Cub Reporters: Hello, Ruby!!

Sully: Any leads?

Ruby: By the bushel.

Sully: Lay one on me.

Ruby: You like dogs?

Sully: Love ’em!

Ruby: Suppose I was to tell you that the Poughkeepsie Kennel Club just had a dog show!

Sully: You don’t say!

Ruby: That ain’t the half of it. A certain Pekinese was inches from the Blue Ribbon when she dropped a litter right on the reviewing stand.

Red: Now, that’s a story! Got a headline, Sully?

Sully: “Pregnant Pekinese Pops in Poughkeepsie.”

Red: Ha ha! Priceless! O’Malley, that one’s yours!

O’Malley: Perfect, Boss!

Sully: What else, dollface?

Ruby: Yeah, I’ll just bet you want to know, wouldn’t you? Well, listen, both of yous, because I’m only gonna say this once – I had dinner with a Persian prince last night.

Sully: Yeah?

Ruby: Yeah. I took this guy back to my apartment, what do you think impressed him the most?

Sully: Can’t imagine.

Ruby: The water closet. Seems they have a sewage problem in Persia.

Sully: What is it?

Ruby: They don’t have one.

Sully: Got a headline, Red?

Red: “Persian People Poop in Public.”

Sully: Print it!

Red: Pick up your paycheck, Princess!

Ruby: I will. so long, boys! [ exits ]

Sully: So long, Angel!

Red: Now, that’s a newspaperman!

Sully: Have it right up! Punch up a paragraph on the Persian problem!

Pavaratta: Another one? I haven’t finished the last one!

Sully: Get on it!

[ phone rings ]

Sully: Back Page. Yeah? Yeah! Oh okay, Morty, thanks for the tip!

Red: What is it, Sully? I haven’t seen you this worked up in years!

Sully: Well, there’s only one thing that could get me this excited!

Red: You don’t mean?

Sully: Yep! There’s a new A&P opening on Southern Parkway in the Bronx. Let’s go, boys!

[ everyone races out of office, to fade ]

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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