Satellite News -- Ward E -- Bit205a

Bit: The Charlie McCarthy Era


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(Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo enter, having watched "The Phantom Creeps.")

Crow: Boy, that phantom sure did a slow pace. (Tom chuckles.) Well, 'Rocket Attack USA' should be exciting, the Overlords said it was a war film.
Joel: Uh, actually I think its a cold war film.
Tom: Cold war, now what the heck was the cold war anyway Joel?
Joel: Well, the cold war was a rich, fertile time of paranoia, virulent conservativism, rampant jingoism.
Crow: Oh, the Reagan era!
Tom: Yeah!
Joel: Well, actually, I think it was the McCarthy the fifties...
Crow: Oh, the Charlie McCarthy era! (Tom and Crow chuckle)
Joel: Well, yeah, you're right, exactly, it was the McCarthy era, yeah. (Holding up a placard with a drawing of Charlie McCarthy holding a gavel.) These are some uh, artist renderings--you want to bring it in Cambot, just a little bit? (Zoom in on the placard, dramatic music starts.) Uh, you see, I have here these artist renderings...(starts doing a fifties era cop show voice-over voice.) You see, one day Charlie McCarthy looked at Howdy Doody's hair and saw red. After that, (placard changes to Howdy Doody before a microphone) Charlie formed the McCarthy Hearings on Un-American Activities. Howdy turned informant and named names. (Placard changes to show Pokey, Gumby, Ollie and Kukla seated at a hearing table) Gumby, Pokey, Kukla and Ollie were all implicated on Howdy's damning testimony. Turns out Gumby and Pokey were in bed with the Chinese.
Crow (whispering): I can't believe it!
Joel: Their arrest started up the whole 'Free Art Clokey' movement.
Tom (whispering): Incredible!
Joel: Kukla, Ollie had worked on a left-leaning Clifford Odetts 'Playhouse 90' script, but they were cleared of all charges.
Crow (whispering): Wow!
Joel: One of the era's biggest informants...(placard changes to show the 'You Bet Your Life' duck before a microphone)
Tom: Oh, no, not the duck from 'You Bet Your Life'!
Joel (voice becoming even more clipped): He, was a good friend of arch-conservative Marx Brother writer Morrie Ryskind, and as far as he was concerned the secret word was 'subversive'. (Placard changes to show Jerry Mahoney, Knucklehead Smith, and Farfel at a hearing table) After that duck's devastating testimony, neither Jerry Mahoney, Knucklehead Smith, or Farfel worked for years.
Crow (whispering): Wow, Farfel.
Joel: Arthur Miller took it upon himself to write an emotionally gut-wrenching commentary on the cold-war era called 'Topo Gigio Goes to the Circus'. Topo, by the way, used his earnings from 'The Ed Sullivan Show' to fund the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro.
Tom: Well, Joel, after this, nothing will ever shock me again.
Joel: Oh yeah, brace yourself, because the most sinister friendly witness brought up in front of the committee was none other than...(musical crescendo) Lambchop! (placard changes to show Lambchop before a microphone)
Crow (sarcastic): Oh, wow, big surprise!
Tom: Yeah, I always hated her anyway!
Crow: Yeah!
Joel: She was the one who put the finger on...Davy and Goliath! (placard changes to show Goliath and Davy)
Crow: Not Davy and Goliath!
Tom: Say it ain't so Joel, say it ain't so!
Joel: Davy, being a God-fearing young American, was more than happy to cooperate. Goliath named names too. (Doing a Goliath-voice) 'Duh, let's see, uh, there was, uh, Dalton Trumbo, Ring Lardner Jr., Albert Maltz, and Bertold Brecht.' (Back to voice-over voice) Unfortunately,all the committee heard was 'Arf, arf. Arf, arf, arf.' Goliath was convicted of contempt of Congress, and sent to the pound.
Tom: Boy, at least we know an era like that will never happen again.
Joel (regular voice, Cambot pulls back out): That's right my little friends.
Crow: Yeah. I'm sure glad I'm not a puppet.
Tom: Yeah, me too!
Joel: Well, me neither. (To Cambot) Who pulls your strings? (hits commercial sign)