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James Randi Debunks: Pawpaw Tom

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Old 06-14-2011, 08:29 AM
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Default James Randi Debunks: Pawpaw Tom


James Randi Debunks: Pawpaw Tom
© Pete Malicki 2011

Cast
James Randi American magician and TV host known for debunking fraudulent psychics and spiritualists. An old man with a long white beard
Pawpaw Tom an Australian man whoís created a pawpaw-based cream with amazing healing powers
Dana a British, female TV presenter, late teens / early 20s, well presented

Set
The set of a TV show. A table is set up with chairs on either side of it, one for James and one for his guest. There is paraphernalia on the desk, including some pawpaw cream and a George Foreman grill with a toasted sandwich inside. A camera can be set up at the front of centre stage, though this can be implied.

There is a door at the back or side of the stage which can at least appear locked.

SCENE ONE
James is sitting at the desk, calmly reading some papers. Dana stands in front of the camera/audience doing an introduction.

DANA: I am Dana Berger and weíre here with the legendary James Randi, who is known for debunking some of the worldís greatest frauds. He famously replicated spoon-bending ďpsychicĒ Uri Gellerís tricks on his own show, showing the world how they are done.

JAMES: (contemptuously; to himself) Uri Geller, that big Israeli douche.

DANA: Geller was since exposed on live TV placing a magnet on his thumb to complete one of his tricks and he was unable to bend spoons provided by a third party. Ex-magician Randi also brought down notorious televangelist Peter Popoff, who...

JAMES: (interrupting; chuckling) I remember that God-bothering asshole!

DANA: (to James) Mr Randi, Iím trying to record my introduction. Could you please keep your commentary down?

JAMES: Excuse me, Missy, Iím known for speaking the truth.

DANA: And Iím known in certain circles for my love of toilet humour, sir, but Iím better known for being a professional.

JAMES: Listen, honey, as a scientist, itís my job toÖ

DANA: (overtalking) As a Christian Iíd rather you donít take the Lordís name in vain again, thank you.

James stares at Dana, who adjusts her clothing and continues with her introduction.

DANA: Peter Popoff, who was caught receiving information about his guests via an earpiece. When Randi showed footage of his live interventions with audio from the earpiece included, we learned that Popoff was receiving information not from God but from his wife. He went bankrupt soon after the exposť.

JAMES: God didnít save that assbag.

DANA: (snapping) Why would God save a fraud, Randi? For someone whoís mission in life is to ďpromote critical thinking,Ē you sure do say some stupid things.

JAMES: How dare you talk to me like that!

DANA: What, because Iím a dumb TV presenter with nothing but a pair of tits and a cute arse Iím supposed to be a pushover? Sir, I have a lot of respect for your work but I have no time for this cantankerous old fool Iím seeing off screen. May I please do my job uninterrupted?

JAMES: Iím fairly certain I said fat ass, honey. But sure, Iíll be quiet while you do what you pretend is work. We all have to start at the McDonalds end of entertainment.

DANA: Youíre a jerk. (to camera/audience) Joining Mr Randi today on Channel 5 is our guest Tom McArthur or Pawpaw Tom, the Queenslander who developed a miracle cure based on the humble pawpaw fruit.

James makes a masturbation hand gesture to show he thinks Tomís cure is a Ďwank.í

DANA: He has had numerous medical doctors ask for his secret and received an offer of tens of millions from the pharmaceutical industry for his recipe. Weíre here today to find why the great James RandiÖ is making obscene gestures on my damned footage!

JAMES: I thought you said I was out of shot.

DANA: I can see your reflection. Bugger it, Iíll redo the intro at the end. Letís do our interview then bring Pawpaw Tom on.

Dana adjusts the camera and goes to sit down beside James. They give each other dirty looks, then go neutral for the camera.

DANA: Itís a pleasure to be here, Mr Randi.

JAMES: Please, call me James.

DANA: Ha ha, oh, youíre such a nice guy, arenít you? Good to see youíre as much of a fraud as the ones you expose.

JAMES: Pardon?

DANA: Iíll edit that bit out. (TV voice) Thank you, James. Now, Pawpaw Tom appeared on Today Tonight recently and was shown inserting his finger into a vat of boiling oil. He dipped the burnt finger in his pawpaw cream and it was healed within ten seconds. The reporter was so sceptical he tried it himself and had the same outcome, then the cameraman did the same. What do you make of that?

JAMES: Well, these current affairs shows are well known for using special effects to add interest to their stories. Itís entirely feasible the ďboiling oilĒ was actually some kind of dye and the pawpaw cream a solvent to remove it.

DANA: Do you think itís possible the cream did in fact heal the burns?

JAMES: Who can say? A lot of things we consider impossible turn out to be quite real.

DANA: You have a famous offer of one million dollars to anyone who can prove they have some kind of psychic or spiritual powers. Will you offer Pawpaw Tom this money if his product works?

JAMES: Well, itís not quite what the offer is meant to be for, but in this particular case I will extend it.

DANA: So youíre confident his product doesnít work?

JAMES: I am, but Iím an open-minded man, which is why Iíve invited Pawpaw Tom here today.

DANA: Great. Letís bring him in.

Dana leaves the stage and James sighs deeply.

JAMES: Pawpaw fucking Tom. Iím so getting a new agent after this.

Dana returns with Pawpaw Tom.

DANA: Mr Randi, Pawpaw Tom. Tom, please take a seat.

Pawpaw Tom sits down opposite James Randi and puts his hand out while Dana returns to the camera.

TOM: How ya going, James?

JAMES: Iím going well, Mr Pawpaw, and please, call me James.

TOM: (pauses) Sorry mate. I thought James sounded better than Mr Passive Aggressive.

JAMES: Iím going to enjoy debunking you, you arrogant Australian conman.

TOM: Are you being racist against the Aussies now? (to Dana) Is this clown for real?

DANA: Unfortunately yes. He thinks the beard makes him wise.

TOM: The beard makes him look like Santa Claus with a fucking hangover. Letís get this over and done with.

JAMES: Youíll be over and done with, mate.

DANA: Rolling in three, twoÖ

Dana gestures three, two, one with her fingers and the others compose themselves visibly for the cameras.

JAMES: Pawpaw Tom, thanks for coming.

TOM: No worries Randi. Huge fan.

JAMES: You claim your pawpaw cream can heal eczema, burns, arthritis, scars, and even gangrene. Can you tell us, what makes this cream so effective?

TOM: Other than pawpaw? Well, it took me many years of trial and error to develop the exact formula, but Iím afraid going to have to keep the eleven herbs and spices to myself. Donít want the big pharma companies to patent this thing and shelve it.

JAMES: Is that why you knocked back the alleged multi-million dollar offer?

TOM: It wasnít alleged, it was real, and yes. Iím here to help people.

JAMES: Very well. Youíve put your finger in boiling oil before to prove that your product works. Will you put your hand in this George Foreman grill here today?

TOM: No dramas.

JAMES: (opens grill). Very good. As we can see here, the grill is on and has just toasted this cheese sandwich. We have some of your cream right here. Will you place your hand on the grill?

TOM: (looks at cream on table) Now hang on a tic. Whereíd you get this?

JAMES: One of the workers in your factory supplied it.

TOM: (hesitant) Well, see, I brought my own jar here. (takes out jar of cream) If Iím going to burn myself I want to make sure it hasnít been tampered with.

JAMES: As you can see, Mr Pawpaw, the seal is unbroken.

TOM: Yeah, butÖ Iíd rather use my one, thanks.

JAMES: Do you refuse to use the product supplied by your own company?

TOM: I donít refuse, nah, itís justÖ Iím worried thatís past its used by date. Donít want to burn myself for nothing.

JAMES: Your company had this courier-delivered to us just yesterday, Pawpaw Tom. Your reluctance is looking suspicious.

TOM: How do we know we can trust you, Randi? Youíre always exposing frauds but how does your audience know you arenít one yourself?

JAMES: Pawpaw Tom, youíre clearly unwilling to show us how your product works in a controlled environment. Thank you for your time. (to Dana) Okay, weíre done here. Get him out.

TOM: Alright, you wanna know what my secret ingredient is?

JAMES: Go on.

TOM: (to Dana) Is that thing off?

DANA: (fiddles with camera) Uh, one second. Click! There we go.

TOM: Alright, itís the blood of a virgin blessed by the dark lord Satan.

JAMES: Excuse me?

TOM: Thatís right. I mush a bunch of pawpaw together with some Pantene and add some virgin blood into the mix. Want to see me make some?

James looks at Dana.

DANA: Why are you looking at me?

JAMES: Go on.

DANA: How do you know Iím a virgin? Just because Iím Christian doesnít mean I donít love sex!

Tom suddenly leaps to his feet and grabs James around the shoulders. He drags him offstage through the door. Dana covers her mouth as James screams over the top of thumping noises. Moments later, Tom returns with blood all over his shirt and face. He is holding a jar of pawpaw oil with red fluid all over it.

TOM: Wanna see this stuff work its magic, love?

DANA: ButÖ

TOM: Thatís right, Randi was a virgin. Why do you think he was such a grumpy old bastard?

DANA: Oh.

TOM: Watch this.

Tom takes the cheese sandwich from the George Foreman grill and bites down on it. He places his hand in the grill and turns his face to the wall, trying not to scream. Dana rushes to the table, grabs the cream, and leaves stage. Tom makes a show of being in agony for ten second then looks down to see his cream has gone.

TOM: Oy! My cream! Whereíd you go?

Dana returns with a zombified James Randi, whose neck is covered with blood and pawpaw cream. He drags one leg behind him.

TOM: What the fuck? I killed him!

DANA: Yes, but that miracle cream of yours has Satanic healing powers. Randi, get him!

James hurries over to Tom, who backs against the rear wall. Dana rushes over to stand in front of the camera.

During the following dialogue, James tussles with Tom, bites him, and turns him into a zombie.

DANA: Youíre here live with Dana Berger. 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, Zombieland. Weíve all seen zombie apocalypses in the movies, but how do they happen in real life? Pawpaw Tom created a healing lotion made from nothing more than pawpaw, Pantene, and the blood of legendary virgin James Randi, who as you can see is currently dismembering Tom. (to James) Stay in shot, damn it! (to camera) This lotion brought Randi back from the dead and in approximately five seconds, Pawpaw Tom will become one of the most feared and infectious undead monsters known to mankind.

James has mauled Tom; they are both covered in blood. James looks towards Dana. He starts approaching her.

JAMES: Brains!

DANA: Pawpaw Tom is now a blood hungry zombie. Just remember, you saw it first on Channel 5. Dana Berger signing off. Goodnight!

Dana rushes offstage. James Randi and Pawpaw Tom hurry after her, calling as they leave the stage:

JAMES: Brains!

TOM: Pawpaw!

JAMES: Brains!!

TOM: Pawpaw!!

JAMES: BRAINS!

TOM: PAWPAW!

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Old 10-06-2011, 11:23 PM
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Hi James,

I am a modest, yet well respected writer in my own right. Something of which I am usually proud to call myself, until I realised it would put me into the same category as you.
I cannot seem to fathom what kind of skill set you have or what kind of sense of humor you have that deems you 'funny'?

Yes, I was laughing the whole way through this script! Not at the material, simply at the fact that you like to call yourself a 'writer'.

People like you cease to amuse me with your constant digs at others. Simply have a look at Tom's facebook and you'll see he is in fact helping thousands of people!

But I suppose it's nothing compared to what you contribute to society James, after all where would we be without our comedians that have nothing better to do than write scripts involving a multitude of impossible aspects; 1) Actually hosting a TV show. 2) Having someone as highly profiled as Tom McArthur on this imaginary TV show.

I wish you all the best in finding something useful to do with your time.

Last edited by d.ridgewillis; 10-06-2011 at 11:33 PM..
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by d.ridgewillis View Post
Hi James,

I am a modest, yet well respected writer in my own right. Something of which I am usually proud to call myself, until I realised it would put me into the same category as you.
I cannot seem to fathom what kind of skill set you have or what kind of sense of humor you have that deems you 'funny'?

Yes, I was laughing the whole way through this script! Not at the material, simply at the fact that you like to call yourself a 'writer'.

People like you cease to amuse me with your constant digs at others. Simply have a look at Tom's facebook and you'll see he is in fact helping thousands of people!

But I suppose it's nothing compared to what you contribute to society James, after all where would we be without our comedians that have nothing better to do than write scripts involving a multitude of impossible aspects; 1) Actually hosting a TV show. 2) Having someone as highly profiled as Tom McArthur on this imaginary TV show.

I wish you all the best in finding something useful to do with your time.
The above comments, dear WritersBeat friends, are really quite hilarious if you care to read them. This person has missed the fact that this is a satirical play script about James Randi and Tom McArthur, and has in fact believed it to be written by James Randi. They evidently missed the fact that James Randi did indeed host a TV show for many years and his profile would be literally thousands of times higher than Tom McA's.

They joined WritersBeat just to make a nonce of themselves.

Ha
Pete
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by d.ridgewillis View Post
I am a modest, yet well respected writer in my own right. Something of which I am usually proud to call myself, until I realised it would put me into the same category as you.
I cannot seem to fathom what kind of skill set you have or what kind of sense of humor you have that deems you 'funny'?

Yes, I was laughing the whole way through this script! Not at the material, simply at the fact that you like to call yourself a 'writer'.

...

I wish you all the best in finding something useful to do with your time.
Go do something useful with your own time. Like writing, maybe, rather than writing useless "critiques."

I think this is a really creative idea for a script, but there were certain points where it seemed a little on the nose. I think it could've been more effective if you eased into the idea of Frandi being a jerk more gradually; while his character is consistent, we seem to be browbeaten with the idea, and it would've been nice to have "caught on" to it, I think.

Personally, I would've liked to have seen a little more of Tom's ridiculousness come through before he killed Frandi; it seemed like a really sudden jolt.

The end succeeded in being something totally unexpected and over-the-top.

Overall, I think this could use a little more finesse, but I think you're working with really good material here.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:46 AM
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Thank you Storyteller, some very valid points. I didn't revise this after knocking it up and your suggestions will make the basis of the work needed for draft two.

The character arcs are indeed flat and it could have a lot more impact if they're developed throughout the script rather than simply exposed.

Appreciate the feedback.
Pete
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