The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages - www.carygrant.net

"It's a Screwball Life"
Chapters 1 thru 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Chapter One
-- by Donna Moore --

Chapter 1 - The Mystery Dame

The Scene: A studio lot - a hive of activity, noise and people. We are looking down a straight road to the entrance of the lot, with an archway at the entrance. Through the archway strolls Cary Grant, dapper as always. He is singing to himself

Cary (sings softly) "I used to dream about a cottage small, a cottage small by a waterfall. But I wound up with no home at all. My dreams are gone with the wind." etc. Every time he gets to the line 'gone with the wind' he raises both his eyebrows and the bottom of his jacket coquettishly.

He is tailed by a small boy, who is getting closer and closer, creeping up in a furtive manner. Cary realizes that someone is following him, but every time he turns round, the boy stops and gazes at the sky, bends to tie a shoelace, or becomes enthralled in a blade of grass. Cary shakes his head, smiles and walks on. Eventually the boy gets close and falls into exact matching steps behind Cary, singing along with him in a foghorn voice (this part would be ideal for George Winslow) and raises his grubby jumper when Cary raises his jacket.

Cary stops in his tracks, turns and bends down until he is at eye level with the urchin.

Cary: Are you following me kid?

Boy: So what if I am, Mister?

Cary: Say, you're a little fresh, ain't ya? What's your name?

Boy: Archie

Cary: Say, I used to know a man by that name

Archie: What man?

Cary: The man with the power.

Archie: What power?

Cary: The power ........oh, never mind, this isn't getting us anywhere. What is it you want?

Archie: Some glam lady in a big old car back there (he gestures to the studio entrance) said she'd give me some money if I brung you this letter. (he hands over a letter, which Cary takes). Dunno why she wanted you to have it. You ain't so good looking in real life are you?

Cary: (laughs) Why you young tyke, if you were 3 feet taller I'd punch you on the nose.

Archie: (calls over his shoulder as he runs off) If I was 3 feet taller, it'd be me the ladies was writing to, I'm much better lookin'.

Cary laughs again, shakes his head and resumes his route, stuffing the letter into his pocket.


The cameras follow the boy out of the studio gates, to a large expensive car. He sticks his head through the open window. Try as we might, we can't see the lady.

Archie: I did it, Miss, I gave him the letter, now can I have me money?

Lady: Here you go, Sonny, don't spend it all on wine women and song (an elegantly gloved arm reaches out of the window and deposits some notes in the grubby outstretched palm). Now vamoose, you're dirtying the car's paintwork child. Haven't you ever heard of baths? You look like something Asta dragged in, or even worse, something Asta rolled in. Bye kid.

The car pulls away quietly and expensively.

Archie: What a dame, boy, her momma sure din't raise no ugly kids.
(He struts off trying to look like Jimmy Cagney.)


We now return to Cary as he reaches the big mogul's office and is shown in by the secretary. The mogul is sitting at a huge desk, smoking a huge cigar, and scratching his huge stomach. He is on the phone and waves Cary to a seat. Cary sits, crosses one elegantly tailored leg over the other and takes out a cigarette.

Mogul: (loudly into telephone) It won't work I tell ya. Sheesh, these writers are so darn picky. I only wanna change it a little bit.......OK, so she wrote a book set in the deep south. Well, that's been done too may times, alls I'm asking is that we change it to Canada. ....sure, I know the hero is a woman, but we've had too many strong broad pictures, I want a picture with a good strong man. And all that civil war malarkey has to go. Here's how I see it...Red, that's the hero's name, he's gonna lose his big ole house 'cos his daddy drank and gambled the place away. We put in a few barroom brawls, take out that romantic claptrap and Bob's your auntie. I know, we'll make Red a flyer and get Gable to do it, he's good at pilots. And that title HAS to go. Who ever's gonna go see a film called 'Gone With The Wind'. It'd be laughed off the screen. Sheesh, all I see is a plate of beans whenever I think of it. (He raises his eyebrows and shakes his head at Cary, pointing to the phone.)

Cary tuts sympathetically, reaches into a pocket for matches, and pulls out the letter Archie gave him. He opens it and starts to read, with the mogul still on the phone.

Chapter Two
-- Derna Simpson --

Chapter 2 - The Elegantly Gloved Hand

Cary reads:

As a founding member you are cordially
invited to attend the annual meeting of
the 5th Avenue Anti-Stuffed Shirt And
Flying Trapeze Club.

Dress is, as always, stuffed shirt and mink lined Black Tie.

And flicking the letter over, in an elegantly sloping scrawl, Cary reads

ps: I'm content, the angels must have sent you.
And they meant you just for me.


Mogul: Well, Mr Grant. What about this script?

Cary: (smiling secretly to himself) Hmm?

Mogul: I’d like to suggest a few changes, nothing fundamental.
I just can’t see that a leopard is right for the animal.
What about a penguin? (Cary raises his eyebrows)
And we’ll send Mark to the Pole (eyebrows higher).
After all I think Asta would be more comfortable with feathers (and higher) 
and it’d make the whole mating call thing less ludicrous (and higher).
And I can’t see this intercostal clavicle thing working either, what I would like to suggest is making David Huxley, terrible name by the way - Hmm Guiseppe is better - (and higher),
a puppet maker (and higher)
and Asta could hide his antique Punch (eyebrows hit the ceiling).
Much more acceptable I think, the public are not stupid you know Mr Grant.

Cary: (stifling an explosive laugh as he begins to gravitate towards the door) Whatever you think Mr Mogul.

Mogul: (gives a questioning look) Where are you going?

Cary: Shave. Must have a shave. I’ll just nip down to the barbers, back in a flash.

Mogul: (getting up and heading towards Cary) Oh, but you’re as smooth as a baby.

Cary explodes from the mogul’s office and streaks across the set of a new exploration movie, narrowly avoiding a collision with a penguin named Justin. They look at each other briefly then Cary speeds off down the Avenue.


The camera focuses on a large, spacious and bright morning room with high full-length arched windows behind gently billowing fine white drapes. It is furnished completely in white.

From offstage left a woman’s voice croons “I can’t give you anything but love baby...” And in direct competition offstage right another, more harmonious, voice drifts in through the open doorway, “My dreams are gone with the wind...” The two voices draw nearer, and nearer, and as each figure enters at their respective sides of the morning room they reach a crescendo. Each figure, removing their hat, performs a sweeping bow towards the other and then, in unison, they turn and bow to the camera.

As Katharine, dressed in a close fitting man’s suit, trips across the room and flops elegantly onto a chaise longue, she is closely followed by a purring leopard. Baby settles with forepaws resting on the chaise longue. Simultaneously, Irene, dressed in a loose fitting oversized man’s suit, trips across the room in the opposite direction and flops onto an identical chaise longue. She is closely followed by Asta, who looks expectantly at her as he sits with paws resting on the chaise longue.

Katharine: (giving Baby an affectionate rub between the ears) What’s wrong? D’you get lonely?

Irene: Where’d you pick up that cat anyway?

Katharine: (with a vague hand gesture) Oh, around.
(Turning her attention to Asta) George, nice George.
Asta glances round at her, then looks disdainfully at Baby

Irene: Smitty, Smitty.
Asta returns his gaze to Irene as Baby begins to paw at Katharine.

Katharine: Oh Baby, stop making a nuisance of yourself.
Katharine takes a cigarette case from her pocket. Removes a cigarette and gently taps it on the case. She strikes a match and lights the cigarette.

Irene watches Katharine moving her hand in time as she continues to hum to herself. The fine whisp of smoke rising from her cigarette dances in time with the tune. Baby is engrossed in a vain attempt to capture the whisp.

Irene: Will you stop doing that.

Katharine: Doing what?

Irene: Doing that... thing with your hand. Your always waving your hands about, it is the one part of you that never stops acting.

Katharine: You should talk.
(Irene raises an eyebrow.)
And you can put that eyebrow down. Did you give him the bone... I mean note?

Irene: (smiling secretly to herself) Yes, I dropped it off this morning.

Katharine: Is he coming?

Irenne: Oh, I think he’ll come.

Katharine: What’s the time?

Irene: Six thirty, hadn’t we better get dressed?

Katharine: (meditatively blowing a cloud of smoke) I s’pose.


Cut to a very classy cocktail bar. A group of well dressed young men rest against the bar sipping from delicate cocktail glasses. A couple, strangely familiar, dance floatingly across the floor. Cary enters.

Cary: Is this where The Club meets?
The couple stop dancing, bow to each other and then drift towards Cary hand in hand.

Cary: Nick and Susan!
He grasps Nick’s hand and shakes it hard.

Nick: Hey, hey, this isn’t a pump handle.

Cary: (to Susan) Say, he’s sharp!
The gentlemen from the bar surround the trio and greetings are exchanged.

Enter Katharine and Irene arm in arm. The group turns as they enter.

Katharine: Hello you.

Cary: Hello. How are you?

Katharine: I’m fine, and you?

Cary: Fine. And (to Irene) you?

Irene: Fine, fine.
(to Katharine) I’m fine, are you fine?

Katharine: I’m fine.
They both turn to face Cary.

Together: We're fine!
Cary winks at Irene.

Katharine: (noticing the glance and looking from one to the other) Hey, what goes on?
Cary reaches for Irene’s elegantly gloved hand to furnish it with a kiss as Katharine is led off by Randolph towards the bar, and a tantalizing dish of olives|...

Katharine: (stumbling slightly) Ooo, I've lost my heel.

Randolph: (patting her arm) I know dear.

Chapter Three
-- Chris Darley --

Chapter 3 - Great Minds Think Alike

Cary: Irene, I’m glad I’ve got you by yourself for a second - I wanted to have a little chat with you about Katherine. I’m really rather worried about her. She doesn’t seem capable of maintaining a relationship, and, well, I’m afraid she is becoming ever more eccentric. Remember when she got pulled over the by police for speeding and pretended she was ‘Mickey the Mouse’s’ girlfriend, and if he gave her a ticket she’d have some nasty things done to him and his family? And then there was the time she proposed to that penniless writer from South Bend, and gave him her summer-house! He’s still there as far as I know. Another Mickey I seem to remember. Maybe we should introduce her to Walt Disney.. I just don’t know where it’s all going - she really needs a good man.’

Irene: ‘Hmm, yes, well, as long as you are acting from a voluntarily charitable basis and have no selfish interest – weren’t you pretty keen on Katherine yourself a few years ago?’

Cary (reddening but trying to hide his discomfort at the subject)’: ‘Yes, no, I mean no, and anyway that was years ago and, why, she probably never knew even if I had been which I’m not because I wasn’t. If you see what I mean.’

Irene: ‘Well that wasn’t exactly convincing, but as it happens, I agree. She’s a wild one and needs some taming. But I feel sorry for whoever picks up the whip. Have you got a plan?’

Cary: ’Well you see what we need is a big occasion for lots of eligible men to turn up. Some sort of charity do, maybe, where she could preach a good cause and lots of adoring young or youngish, men could stare adoringly at the cross between Florence Nightingale and Attila the Hun trying to win their hearts and wallets.’

Irene: ’Interesting. And what charity do you have in mind?’

Cary: ’Well I was rather hoping you could help out on that one. I felt sure you would know what would move her.’

Irene ’It’s got to appeal to men rather than women. So what about, ‘The society for the promotion of American sports and beer drinking in Europe?’

Cary: ’Perfect! I’ll start to arrange the bash, you consider a guest list. And get some celebrities along’

Irene and Cary wander apart as other people demand their attention. As the band plays Tuxedo Junction Cary looks over at Katherine, who quickly looks away. Her look is one of suspicion rather than warmth, and she excuses herself from the rather boring conversation to which she is paying minimal attention to find Irene.

Katherine: ’Say, what were you, and tall and handsome talking about just now? Looked like you were getting into some serious conversation.?’

Irene: ‘No nothing really. He was just talking about his new film, sounds like a blast. He plays an young cockney lad who joins a dance troupe who tour the States and find fame and fortune. But then in a rather sudden career change he becomes a famous paleontologist, realising a lifelong dream. Until it all turns sours when a young lad accuses him of stealing his caterpillar for research. Then he renounces all his worldly goods and goes to live on a South Seas Island, but is rescued by a search party looking for a woman who is stranded after a plane crash. It all ends happily ever after when his arch rival commits suicide and he accidentally discovers a drug that takes the years off your life. Oh and of course he gets the girl.’

Katherine: ‘Wow. That sure is some script. But I still have a sneakin’ feeling that all is not well in the House of Grant. Say, he hasn’t got a dame on the boil at the moment has he?’

Irene: ‘Not as far as I know.’

Katherine ’Well then, look no further for your problem.'

Irene’ Did I say there was a problem?’

Katherine ‘Didn’t have ta – I know.’

Irene: ’So what’s the answer?’

Katherine: ’We gotta get him set up with a dame, that’s the answer! Say you’re awful slow today.’

Irene: (Quietly laughing to herself): ‘Yes, maybe, but its been a busy day.’

Katherine: ‘Quit it Baby I’m trying to think. We gotta set up some sort of do where there is a grand selection of fine fillies for him to choose from, and where he has to make a speech. That'll get 'em going. Now what would attract a gaggle of single girls to oggle and dream about the cross between Erroll Flynn and Rasputin that they would witness?'

Irene (barely suppressing her mirth): 'How about a society charity do for the promotion of French men coming to terms with living in America? We could sell Cary as a French soldier from the War trying to make a fresh start in the US, give him a nice sexy French name, like Henri or something?'

Katherine: Boy girl you still got it ain't ya! That's a humdinger of a plan. Lets set it up pronto.'

Irene: 'Well, yes all well and good.....but you are doing this for Cary's benefit aren't you? I seem to remember you were sweet on him a while back...'

Katherine (reddening and suddenly uneasy with the conversation, but immediately on the offensive): 'Say do you think I, well do you mean you reckon I, that's ridiculous, besides, I'm not that sort of girl, and anyway even if I had been I ain’t and I haven’t been so that’s an end to it.'

Irene (sotto voce): ’Even more convincing!’ (louder) ‘Well, whatever. You know better than I do. And after all, that’s really why we invited him here tonight, isn’t it, to get him into circulation.’

Katherine: ‘Yep. And we’re gonna do just that’

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