Thursday, July 23, 2009


A newscast

ANCHORMAN: The world bids farewell to a dear friend tonight.

Over the ANCHORMAN's shoulder a screen shows a picture of a white-haired man, grinning open-mouthed with his eyes squeezed shut, wearing a nice but disheveled suit and a St Louis Cardinals baseball cap worn sideways, with the caption: "Richard Simpson, 1963-2037."



ANCHORMAN: Richard Simpson was a talented scientist and a hard-working executive. (CUT TO: MONTAGE of still photos of a young, dark-haired RICHARD working in chemical laboratories and at computer keyboards, receiving a diploma, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase in the company of other young execs.) After receiving degrees from Cal Tech and Cornell, he began to rapidly climb to corporate ladder at Dow Chemical Company. But all that suddenly changed (CUT TO: grainy video footage showing RICHARD and others execs in hard hats and business attire, inside a factory. RICHARD is holding rolled-up blueprints, talking and pointing. Factory sounds are audible below the ANCHORMAN's voice.) one day in 2010. Just by chance someone was videotaping that fateful meeting on his or her cell phone. (A LABORER in dirty work clothes walks by RICHARD and his group, carry something large and long over his shoulder.) A freak accident (The LABORER turns suddenly as if someone has called to him, and hits RICHARD in the front oh his helmet with what he's carrying, like a bat hitting a baseball. We hear a loud collision and a sharp grunt.) changed Richard Simnpson's life forever. (The video zooms in, first on RICHARD's hard hat lying on the ground, shattered in front, then on RICHARD, lying on his back in a pool of blood with both hands over his face.) Richard Simpson would never solve a mathematical equation or make a presentation to a board meeting again. (CUT TO: EXTERIOR SHOT of a hospital) Years after the fact, Sarah Morgan, the nurse on the trauma ward where Richard Simpson was treated, (CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT of middle-aged SARAH MORGAN in a nurse's uniform.) gave this interview.

SARAH MORGAN: He regained consciousness after 10 days. He stayed on the ward for three months, and he never said anything but "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!"

CUT TO: MONTAGE of still and video footage of Richard, in various attire, in various situations, at various ages. In all shots of RICHARD from this point on, he is smiling and wearing a St Louis Cardinals baseball cap sideways.

ANCHORMAN: And for the past 27 years, to the best of my knowledge, he has never said anything but "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!" (The montage shows footage of RICHARD dressed in the white running gear of an Olympic torchbearer, plus the sideways baseball cap, bearing the Olympic torch.) It remains a mystery just exactly how Richard got himself into all those situations. (Instead of running in one direction as a torchbearer is supposed to, RICHARD is running around in circles, waving the torch at frightened onlookers who scream and run back, evading the fire. RICHARD stops and looks at the fire, evidently fascinated, tries to touch it, yelps in pain, then smiles again and runs around in circles while officials try to gain control of him, smiling and yelling "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!") Perhaps, in some way in which the science of neurology cannot yet grasp, a part of his mind which used to make him a brilliant scientist and executive now became brilliant at gaining him access to exclusive areas of life. (CUT TO: A tennis match at center court at Wimbledon. In the middle of a point, a large and ungainly ball boy runs into the middle of the court, batting at the ball with his hands, chasing after it like a toddler. At first the players are upset, but then it seems that RICHARD's childlike excitement and happiness are contagious. The PLAYERS begin to laugh. The crowd begins to laugh. The UMPIRE, in the middle of a stern admonition to the gentleman to please remove himself, begins to laugh. Shot of the crowd include QUEEN ELIZABETH, trying to retain her composure, but eventually she too begins to laugh and to clap, as RICHARD runs excitedly around the court, chasing a great number of balls which somehow have spilled all over the court, and repeatedly shouting "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!") Even, very famously, the headquarters of the United Nations.

CUT TO: INTERIOR of the United Nations General Assembly hall. The ISRAELI AMBASSADOR and the SYRIAN AMBASSADOR are in the midst of a heated argument. Suddenly there is a loud shout of "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!" The camera, its operator apparently momentarily disoriented, swings around wildly before settling on RICHARD at the podium, dressed like a diplomat except that his suit is somewhat disheveled, and for the omnipresent, sideways baseball cap. RICHARD, grinning broadly, jumps up and down excitedly behind the podium and repeatedly shouts "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!" Shots of Richard are interspersed with shots of the assembled diplomats. Like the the players and officials and the crowd at Wimbledon, at first they are upset and confused, and then they relax and start to laugh.


SYRIAN AMBASSADOR: (In Arabic with voiceover translation) I was very angry with my colleague. Both of us (Exchanges glances and nods with the ISRAELI AMBASSADOR) were very angry. But then this, this fool was suddenly there with his childlike grin, jumping up and down behind the podium and yelling "Eee-beee-DEEEEE! Eee-beee-DEEEEE!" And, like everyone else, I began to relax, and then to laugh. And I looked at my colleague from Israel, and I saw that he, too, was shaking with laughter. And suddenly, you know, I felt our common humanity in a way I hadn't before. That evening the two of us met one-to-one for the first time. Before you knew it, our families had become friends.

CUT TO: MONTAGE of Richard: running around the stage at the Academy Awards with an Oscar, while the crowd howls with laughter and applauds; excitedly kicking a golf ball around the 18th green at Pebble Beach during a tournament; in the Space Station; wearing a judge's robe and the baseball cap over a judge's wig in an English court; etc.

ANCHORMAN: And so the Middle East embarked upon an unprecedented period of peace. And so, all over the world, we've laughed a lot more, and cut each other a lot more slack.

The MONTAGE winds up with several consecutive shots of RICHARD shouting "Eee-beee-DEEEEE!"

CUT TO: ANCHORMAN, with the same screen of RICHARD and the dates of his birth and death with which we began the newscast.

ANCHORMAN: Yes, ee-bee-dee, old friend. (CUT TO: FULL SCREEN of the shot of white-haired RICHARD with birth and death dates.) Ee-bee-dee.

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