-- by Jenny Curtis --
Chapter 13 - Where Theres Smoke....
(Back in his apartment, Cary sits, huddled in an antique
leather wing chair, which is utterly out of place with the rest of the rooms new,
expensive, art deco decor. He gets up, paces around the room, starts to pour himself a
drink but stops and shudders. He sits back down again and rereads the now tattered
playbill. It smells musty, like the kitchen of his childhood home in Bristol. This chair
has the same odor. Its the one thing hes saved from that house, reminding him of
what little familial security hes pieced together from his painful childhood. He
fingers an old cigarette burn in the leather distractedly)
Cary (muttering to self): its times like these when
you ought to ring your mum, but... Get a hold of yourself. This half-witted melodrama will
never do. (He picks up the telephone and dials). Kate, its Cary. Cary Grant you
ninny, now stop playing games for a minute. This is serious. Im in trouble.
Something very... disturbing has happened and its all mixed up in that phony note and
those two mysterious dames. I need the truth out of you and...I need your help as well.
Would you stop gloating, cant you tell Im groveling here, Kate, (His voice
cracking) I need that damned Yankee nerve of yours. Well, thank you, youre a darling
too (rolls his eyes), now please come over here before I do something drastic
like...like... ringing Irene.
(He hangs up the phone and continues to pace, struggling to
light a cigarette with a heavy decorative lighter he keeps on the coffee table. When the
flame finally comes up, its really huge and the cigarette goes up like a torch. He
drops the cigarette, it bounces off his shoe and lies smoldering on the carpet. He reaches
for the whiskey to put it out but thinks better of the idea. He takes off his suit coat
and throws it over the flame, while running back and forth trying to trample out the
flames. This action causes his hair to get adorably mussed and a piece of it flops
attractively in his eyes. Archie (the terrier) enters barking. There is a knock at the
door which goes unheard by Cary.)
Mrs. Sims (pounding on the door): I say, young man! Are you
all right in there? I smell smoke! Is it a fire? Answer me, you hooligan or Ill have
the police out here. They threatened to cart you away the last time when your Hollywood
friends delivered a truckload of goats as a joke. Some joke. They ate my fern. That fern
has been in my family since the Civil War, and your goats nearly killed it and now
youre trying to burn down the house. This is all going into my report to the police!
(Kate arrives dressed in dirty chinos, and old blouse, with
her hair in bandanna)
Kate: Say whats all the commotion? Not the goats
again, I hope Mrs. Sims?
Mrs. Sims: You! I should have known, you were in on this. I
thought you were the cleaning woman in that get-up, but youre one of those movie
ruffians arent you?
Kate: (Suddenly smelling the smoke and pounding on the
door) Cary! Its me. Youre scaring me, darling, what with the smoke smells and
everything. Please unlock the door right now. I promise, Ill behave. No more tricks.
Please dear, this is serious. If you dont open that door, Ill break it down.
You know I will!
(Hearing Hepburns unmistakable shrill bray above
Archies frantic barks, Cary opens the door casually holding the offending cigarette,
now unlit, but completely burned and broken. He ushers her into the room as if there
werent a cloud of black smoke and burned suit coat in the middle of the rug.)
Cary: Darling, you look stunning. You neednt have
gotten all dolled up for me.
Kate: (rushing to him and putting her arms around him, her
voice filled with emotion, relieved that hes OK) Oh cut out the sarcasm you old
poop. I was in the garden when you phoned and I came right over. But I see I wasnt
fast enough, as youve tried to commit suicide by Lucky Strike.
(Cary is obviously touched by Kates concern and there
is a moment of quiet where hes strangely drawn to her. They appear about to kiss
Mrs. Sims: Suicide! Im phoning the police! No movie
nutcase is going to commit suicide in this building. This is a respectable apartment, Mr.
Grant or Mr. Leach or do you have a different alias this week?
(Cary looks at Mrs. Sims, noticing her presence for the
first time. He reluctantly frees himself from Kates embrace and walks to the door
shutting it in her face.)
Mrs. Sims: The nerve! Im phoning the police this
Cary (shouting through the door) you do that dear,
Ill sign the report too. We must keep this building free from Hollywood hooligans!
Mrs. Sims: Aggggghh! (She stalks back to her apartment to
phone the police).
Cary: I really shouldnt torture the old girl so much.
Shes nice enough, really, puts up with Archies barking and all my rowdy
friends. Had me over for tea last week, kept prattling on about her infernal fern--
Kate: Cary, youre babbling. (She walks over to him
places her hands on his shoulders and pushes him down into the wing chair) Calm yourself,
and Ill fetch some boiling water and towels like in the movies. (She smoothes his
hair back and smiles. She bends down and kisses the hair in place on top of his head. Then
she backs and heads to the kitchen before he can react) Oh I guess thats for
birthing babies. Well what do they do for your condition? Brandy I suppose. (She returns
from the kitchen with a glass of water). This will have do for now. Drink up.
Cary: (sipping a bit, not taking his eyes off her)
Thats better, really. I guess Ive had quite a morning.
Kate: Now tell Sister Kate all about it.
Cary (recovering, flirtatiously) Sister, now thats a
bit too familiar, love. How about confidant?
Kate: Oooh. I like that.
Cary: Well it all started when I nearly apprehended yet
another mysterious stranger attempting to deliver this to my apartment (he hands Kate the
Kate: (examining it) I dont get it. (Cary reaches
over and turns the bill over to the ransom note, brushing her hand momentarily. He
Cary: I was referring to this bit here. And the most
disturbing thing is this chap here, (pointing to Patricks name) well, hes
dead. A rather long time, Im afraid and...
Kate: Settle down. Youre getting all flush again. Oh
yes, this does sound ominous doesnt it, what with Chinatown (mysterious dramatic
music) and suspicious mystery women and the like. But which Archie is this person
referring to, it could be Archie, the delivery boy...
Cary: Or me! They could have come to kidnap me!
Kate: No, darling that simply doesnt figure. Why
would they kidnap you? Who but you would even know who Patrick was or how to find him?
Ive got it! The dog!
Cary: The dog would find Patrick?
Kate: No, the dogs name is Archie. It was probably
just a bit of celebrity dognapping. Happens all the time. Why just last year, Marlene
Dietrich had her poodle snatched...
Cary: Now, YOURE babbling, Kate.
Dognapping?! I think
this goes deeper than that, wouldnt you say? I catch some mysterious person skulking
around my house, waiting to chloroform me and hold me for ransom and you just shrug it off
as a canine caper?! Really, Im beginning to regret my faith in you.
Kate: Well let me ask you this. Was it a woman who was
Cary: I think so, I dont know. I managed to get this
glove out of the encounter. I suppose thats a clue (he says producing the leather
glove from his suit coat).
Kate: Silly this is a ladies glove. It could have only been
worn by a woman or a very fine-boned man. Do you really think someone like that would show
up alone to apprehend a big strapping fellow like you? Thats ridiculous. If she did
chloroform you, how is she supposed to get you out of here? In Mrs. Sims wheelbarrow? No
woman in her right mind would attempt it. Were too smart for that. If the glove
doesnt fit, you must acquit!
Cary: I suppose youre right. Of course there is one
other possibility. No. Its too dreadful to contemplate--
Kate: Yes, the errand boy. But if he was working for the
mystery lady to begin with, why would they kidnap him?
Cary: Well it was obvious to Lorea and Mo that I had
affection for the little guy. How could you help but like the kid. Im a soft touch
and they know it. Which is why I need you to come clean about that note you wrote me. Did
you say, the angels sent you.
Kate: Does that sound like something I would write, or
Irene for that matter? No. We wrote the bit about the Stuffed shirt and flying
trapeze club thats from "Holiday." Surely you must remember. I
thought youd be onto us right away. Eve, was Irenes nickname in My Favorite
Wife. Dont you memorize those scripts? I cant get them out of my head...
Cary: Of course I remembered. I just thought the mystery
woman was a fan. Someone who had nothing better to do than watch my movies over and over,
day dreaming about what it would be like to meet me. You know a bit crazy, but harmless,
and hopefully pretty.
Kate: Then how did that angels bit get on the
note. Unless..when I gave the note to Archie, he turned it over to Lorea and she saw the
opportunity to meet someone with a few connections to help her out of a jam.
Cary: Well how the devil does Jimmy Stewart figure into it,
Kate: Maybe we gave her an idea and she thought shed
cast out as many lines as possible. Half the mugs at Paramount could have gotten a note,
and you and Jimmy took the bait.
Cary: (tenderly mocking) Half the mugs. Well arent
you my little Sam Spade. I must say youre far prettier than Bogey.
Kate: (doing a painfully bad Bogart imitation) Well lets
put a move on it shweetheart. We gotta go back to Chins and put the finga on those dames
before they ice little Archie.
Cary: (suddenly shocked by her language) You dont
think theyll actually hurt him, do you?
Kate: I dont know. That Mo seemed pretty
rough and Lorea was desperate...
-- by Donna Moore --
Chapter Fourteen - One Of Our Archies is
Cary and Kate are standing outside the building looking
worried, waiting for a taxi to pass by. Further down the road, a very elegant couple have
just flagged down a rare taxi and are just about to step in when Kate spots them and
rushes off to head them off at the pass. Unfortunately, she is unable to stop when she
reaches the couple and the three go down like ninepins.
Cary looks aghast at the flurry of waving arms and legs and
sets off to help. He grabs the nearest feminine arm and pulls, only to discover it belongs
to the other woman.
Kate: Cary, throw that back my boy, you don't know where
it's been. And give me a hand up here.
Cary: I know EXACTLY where it's been and who put it there.
I'm terribly sorry madam, but this is a matter of life and death.
He lets go of the elegant woman's hand and she collapses
back on top of her other, and now flatter, half, who has only just regained his breath. As
Cary pulls Kate up (a little violently, it has to be said) she falls into the taxi.
Kate: Cecil, take us to Chinatown and don't spare the
Taxi Driver: The name's Mac, sister. Do ya think I woulda
survived growing up in The Bronx wid a name like Cecil?
Kate: Sorry Mac, but this whole crazy day is just full of
taxi drivers and I just can't seem to get them straight in my head.
Taxi Driver: So, youse guys wanna go to Chinatown?
(Mysterious music swells dramatically.)
Cary: Yes please Mac - Mickey Chin's.
Taxi Driver (pulling away from the curb): Say, aint
you that Clark Gable guy?
Cary and Kate look at each other and raise their eyebrows
Taxi Driver: I coulda been in pictures ya know. Sure I
could. I had that Sam Goldwyn in my cab one day and he said to me 'Mac' he said........
(Macs voice trails off as the scene fades to an office in
Mickey Chin's where we can see a desk, a large battered chair turned mostly away from the
desk and, sitting in the chair, someone smoking a cigar. The scene fades back to the taxi
pulling up outside Chin's. Mac is still blethering on)
Taxi Driver: So I sez 'L. B., if you can't get Flynn, just
gimme a call'. 'Mac,' he says, 'You're a poil amongst men, an absolute poil'.
Cary and Kate stumble out of the taxi looking drained. Cary
flings some notes at Mac and tells him to keep the change. They hurriedly escape before
Mac can launch into another movie story.
Kate: Oh my, I'm going to have that man for assault. My
ears are bruised after that. I've never known anyone who can talk so much, I mean, he
didn't stop the whole way. Can you believe it? The man's a menace. He should be locked up
before he chews the ears off any more innocent bystanders. He should......
Cary stops Kate in midflow by grabbing her chin and
twisting her head back and forth.
Kate: What on EARTH are you doing?
Cary: Just looking for the family resemblance between you
and Mac. Now, come on, we've got a small, grubby boy to find.
They enter Mickey Chin's and Mickey comes up to greet them
effusively, knocking over a potted plant on the way. Mickey turns round at the noise of
the flowerpot breaking, sees a poor waiter who has tried to stop the pot from falling and
slaps him about the head.
Mickey: Can't get the help these days, Mr. Grant. This
place is going to rack and ruin.
He raises his arms in despair and as he does so a small
lobster falls out from under his jacket. He looks at it puzzled for a moment and then
shrugs his shoulders, steps neatly over the lobster and takes Cary by the arm.
Mickey: You're expected in the office, Mr. G.
He says mysteriously, pointing to a door at the far end of
the lobby. Unfortunately, as he points, his finger pokes a rather inebriated gentleman in
the eye. The inebriated gentleman hovers unsteadily for a few seconds and then topples
over. Cary and Kate step over the obstacle and enter the office.
The door closes behind them, shutting out the rather off
key orchestra. Behind a further door in the left hand wall of the office, there is the
occasional laugh, and muttered conversation. Cary and Kate ignore this and concentrate on
a plume of cigar smoke rising from the back of the chair in front of them.
Cary: Well sir, I don't know who you are, but I think it's
about time you explained yourself. What have you done with young Archie? Where is Patrick?
Why have you dragged me down here? And why was Mickey Chin harbouring a lobster under his
The mysterious figure in the chair begins to chuckle and
the chair squeaks as it moves up and down in time with his giggling. The chair slowly,
slowly moves round and a very familiar profile comes into view. A rather chubby face,
looking rather like a Bloodhound. It is, of course, Alfred Hitchcock.
Hitch: Well, children, do you like my latest little story?
Cary: What little story? What do you mean?
Hitch: Well, I wanted to test out my new movie plot and
also audition you and Jimmy for the lead at the same time, without you knowing what I was
doing. Rather clever don't you think? What did you think of my little mystery?
Kate: Hang on, you mean all of this was just an elaborate
hoax? With poor Cary here as the dumb dupe?
Cary: Oh, excuse me, who are you calling a dumb dupe? What
about those harebrained ideas you and Irene had?
Kate (dismisses that thought with a casual wave of the
hand): Cary, you know you're perfectly capable of making a fool of yourself all on your
own. You don't need our help to do that.
While Kate has been talking, Cary's eyes have been drawn to
a box on the desk in front of Hitch.
Cary: What's in the box?
Hitch: Ah, it's a MacGuffin my dear boy, a MacGuffin, it's
simply a plot device that means nothing, it's just to provide motivation, to.........
Cary: (Interrupting) No, THAT box (he points to another
brightly coloured box on the desk) Is THAT a MacGuffin, too?
Hitch: No, that's an Egg McMuffin. I was feeling a bit
Cary (lets out an exasperated sigh and slaps his forehead):
So if this was all fake, then who were all those people?
Hitch: Well, Lorea Lockwood is a talented young actress
I've recently discovered, Morea is actually Minnie the Moocher from South Bend who bears
an uncanny and unlikely resemblance to Lorea, and Aunt Martha is actually William Powell
in drag. He did that in Love Crazy and has been dying to repeat the experience.
They're all in that room next door, along with Irene, Jimmy and young Archie, having a bit
of a knees up. (He whistles and the side door of the office opens. Out pop Irene, Jimmy,
Lorea, Minnie the Moocher and William Powell in a babble of conversation).
Cary: So there is no Patrick? Hitch: No, in fact Lorea's
not even married.
Cary: And she doesn't have a cousin.
Cary: And there's no Eve?
Cary: So, no-one's been kidnapped?
Cary: In that case, where's young Archie?
Everyone's here except him.............
-- by Debbie Dunlap --
Chapter Fifteen - Love Finds a Way -
Archies foghorn voice erupts from behind the door,
Here I am, Mr. Grant! His voice is soon followed by an impish face peering out
from between Jimmy Stewarts legs.
Cary turns to Hitchcock, one eyebrow decidedly higher than
the other. No plot to kidnap Archie, either, is there?
No, Hitch chuckles.
Irene flutters over to Cary & Kate, Didnt I
tell you? I told you! I remember distinctly telling you that everything wasnt what
it seemed. Even though it seemed like it was.
Oh, no you dont! I was the one who
suspected first! Kate interrupts.
Darling, dont you remember at that casino when
I whispered to you... Well, I didnt actually whisper; the music was terribly
loud. Irene taps her index finger on her chin and looks up at the ceiling
envisioning the whole thing in her mind.
It wasnt a casino, for crying out loud! It was
a supper club!. And I was the one who told you that Lorea was Minnie the
Moocher. Kate forcefully interjects.
Kate, dear, it was a casino. There were slot
machines in the lobby! And I was the one who identified Miss Moocher, Irene
Those were not slot machines in the lobby!
They were pay telephones, you dimwit! And you did not tell me ... Kate
As Irene and Kate continue their verbal battle,
Hitchs chair again begins to squeak in rhythm to his chuckles, I must admit,
with Kate & Irenes help, the plot definitely became as thick as pea soup.
Are you telling me these two were in on this?
Cary gestures toward Kate & Irene, both of whom have hands waving and eyebrows dancing
as the debate rages on.
A burst of laughter erupts from Hitchcock, My dear
fellow, I may be famous for great mysteries, but even I couldnt solve what these two
cook up! What was supposed to have been a simple plot as a bit of a teaser to entice you
& Jimmy to star in my next movie has, with their help, become something better suited
A visible shudder goes through everyone in the room.
So Kate wasnt in on it? Cary confirms.
Neither was Irene?
Most definitely not!
As usual, innocent as a newborn babe.
Cary shakes his head, So, what was the original
Hitch chuckles yet once more, My good man, suffice it
to say that it involves a missing man with suspicion of thievery, kidnapping, and possibly
murder; two handsome detectives out to catch a thief; and a beautiful woman. Yourself
& Jimmy being the detectives, of course, and my new discovery, Lorea, is naturally,
the beautiful woman. All of it takes place in the north by northwest section of ... (music
begins to swell) ... Chinatown. Quite a mundane little plot actually, but with my
notorious talent for lighting and camera angles, Im sure it will be a blockbuster.
Of course, it goes without saying that this little charade was a pitifully poor imitation
of what I can bring to the screen.
Mr. Hitchcock? Al? May I call you Al? Irene
interrupts. Did you or did you not ... And thus is Hitch drawn into the lively
exchange which now includes Kate, Irene, William, Minnie and a stuttering Jimmy, who is
heard to say, Now...now darn it Kate! I...I did not chase Minnie off
Cary heaves a heavy sigh, glances at the door just in time
to catch the retreating, overall-clad backside of young Archie. Or whatever his name
is, Cary mutters to himself. That kid deserves an Oscar. He
then mutters again, Probably get one before I do, too.
Cary turns from the door to stare in amusement at the
heated debate center stage. Hitchs face is turning red, Irene looks ready to cry,
William is laughing hysterically, Kate is yelling and pointing fingers, Minnie is yelling
and pointing fingers, and Jimmy is shaking his head in confusion.
Cary looks to his left and is surprised to see Lorea
quietly watching the spectacle with large round eyes. Sensing Carys gaze, she looks
over. Cary smiles, holds out his hand in silent invitation. Lorea looks at his hand and
shyly meets Carys gaze with an unspoken question. Cary shrugs his shoulder in the
direction of the door. Lorea smiles demurely, walks over to Cary and places her hand in
his. Cary smiles, squeezes her hand gently, then leads her to the door. Cary and Lorea
leave quietly, shutting the door silently behind them.
How long do you think it will take them to notice
were gone? Lorea giggles.
Long enough for us to be far away! Cary answers
mischievously. Come on! Lets catch a cab.
We now see Lorea and Cary seated in the back seat of a cab.
Im glad your name really is Lorea Lockwood.
Its such a beautiful name.
Lorea has just explained Hitchs whole plot to Cary.
Then you arent furious with me for deceiving you, Mr. Grant? Lorea
wrings her hands, eyes downcast.
Cary tilts her chin up to look at him. Its
Cary, my dear. And do I seem to be angry? Her troubled smoky eyes meet his
smoldering dark ones. Cary bends his head and captures Loreas mouth.
The cabbie observes the action in his rear view mirror and
whistles in appreciation. Cary breaks the kiss, Keep you eyes on the road,
Cary gathers Lorea to him, buries his face in Loreas
fragrant hair. Ive wanted to do that since the first time I saw you, he
whispers in her ear.
Me, too, Lorea whispers back.
Cary finds Loreas lips once more. The
cabbie looks in his mirror, his eyes widen, but he refrains from whistling this time.