The Benny Goodman Story (1956) Script

Dora! Dora !

Harry and Freddie. They should hurry up now Harry, Freddie Poppa waits already Lower the coal for me now What did you get?

Oranges and apples, and coffee.

No milk? No milk.

And the children? They should have milk.

And I should be John D. Rockefeller.

Milk is 19 cents a quart I am only Dave Goodman.

Coffee, 45 cents a pound, I can afford But ten quarts milk, it's $ 1.90.

Such a thing. Everything goes up except your wages

Hey you kids, get away from there.

Here come the Cops!


That's the new police car.

That was the primo gang Pop. The hardest guys in Chicago.

Some of them even carry gats. I don't care what they carry.

You keep away from them gang boys Read good books. Listen to good music.

Without a good education You'll never get nowhere Look at me. What am I?

A cutter in a pants factory Why? Because I got no education.

Come on, get a move on Where are we going, Pop? You'll see.

Hey, Pop?

Can I come too? What do you wanna tag along for?

Why don't you play with the other kids?

They're playing shinny. I aint got no skates Alright Benny. You come along too.

'Band Room'

Professor? Yes?

A fella by the pants factory was telling me kids can come here and learn to play music for free Is this really true? Well, yes.

So how do kids get into your classes?

They come here and they ask me.

The instruments are free. The lessons I charge for Fifty cents an hour.

My name is Schoepp. Franz Schoepp.

Formerly of the Chicago Musical College.

I'm Dave Goodman... and this is my Harry and my Freddie.


You got maybe a couple of instruments for them?

Well, we'll see.

Now what can I pick for them Oh, that will be good.

No, dummkopf here, That way! See?

Now try it

That's it.

Gee, Could I have one like that too?

For you, we find something smaller.

Now - Oh.

How about that? Thanks.

Please Pop Can I have one too? ahh Benny, you're too young yet

I'll find something.

What's this? A flute?

That is a clarinet.

A clarinet?

Wanna trade? nahh

Never you mind, Benny. You're lucky you got anything Yeah, I'm lucky. I gotta clarinet.

'Lazarus Method for Clarinet.'

'Scales and Chords for Clarinet.'

Wunderbar Benny, wunderbar When I didn't hear it I wouldn't believe it For 40 years I've been playing and you already play better in 6 That's because I've had a good teacher Mr. Schoepp.

To play like that, no one teaches you. You come born with this It's a great gift, Benny. Don't go and waste it For you, no more exercises.

Only the great works of the masters.

Next week Mozart, The clarinet concerto Mr. Schoepp, about paying you .. I Forget it Benny, anytime.

Hello, Mr. Schoepp. Hello, Benny. I gotta new clarinet.

You wanna see it? Sure.

Say, that's a beauty. Selmer, huh? Wish I could afford one How'd you earn the money? Playing with that dance band?

Yeah. Only I gotta quit. Why?

Well my folks raised cain, Didn't want me playing on the lake boats And they are right. This is ragtime.

Say have you told the band you;re quitting yet?

No, I'm supposed to play tomorrow. Special Excursion, 4th of July Do me a favor. Let me go tomorrow and substitute for you? I need the money Sure. Why not? Save me the trip Ask for Murph Podolsky Only you will have to join the union. Thanks, I know No, No Benny. Not you.

Not that ragtime. Don't be that way!

Get off that bandstand kid Stop messing with those instruments. I'm playing here, I'm in the band You are? A kid in short pants?

Taking Dick Reiner's place I'm Gil Rodin.

Hey, where is everybody? If I don't get offa this tub I'm gonna be sick The ship's not moving, Murph. Oh, yes it is I can feel it Aren't you coming with us? With those waves out there? Not on your life.

Say who are you? What are you doing here?

I'm Benny Goodman. I'm playing clarinet Mr Podowski Dick Reiner can't come any more Why not? He doesn't get seasick.

His folks won't let him He sent me.

Come on, fellas. Let's get going.

Can't use you anyway kid. You're too young. Gotta belong to the union.

I joined the union yesterday.

You 16? You expect me to believe that?

The union did.

Alright, alright You're hired.

Now I gotta get off o'here Mr. Podowski I'm Kid Ory.

Good, good. My boys will play the first set, see and when they're resting, you boys take over Big day, big crowd Gotta have continuous music Just put your instruments up there on the piano, and sit down over here.

I gotta go, I'll see you back here at the dock tonight. Yes, sir.

You know you can die from sea sickness? I just read an article.

Gil, start the boys to playin' I'll see you tonight.

What do we start with? How about, 'By the Sea'?

Ever play in a band before? Not exactly.

Just take it easy Don't let it worry ya It doesn't

Velma, I've got a date for you.

This is our new clarinetist Benny Goodman.

I'm happy to meet you This is Jane. Hello, Benny.

What's the matter? Nothing, really. It's just that...

Well, I didn't know... Didn't know what?

Well it's nothing...

I just never had a date before with a boy that wore short pants You won't have to now

Say, that was great. Did you like it?

You boys certainly have a style all your own, don't you We just play in New Orleans style. It's nothing different about us No music, no arrangements, no nothing, huh?

Half of these boys can't read. That solo, did you make that up as you went along?

That's right. You just swing on out and play the way you feel like Playing the way you feel This piece you're doing, has it gotta name?

Why sure.'Dixieland One-Step'.

Have you ever heard of this kind of music before boy? No Lot's of the boys come up the river from New Orleans.

Down there everybody plays this way Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson.

Are they all in Chicago? No, Henderson is in New York.

But Joe and Louis they're right here in Chicago Say, could I sit in?

Dora, what you doing up so late?

What am I doing. What am I always doing? Working But you should go to bed Dora Come the new baby He needs baby clothes.

Baby clothes don't grow on bushes I got a fix order from Jerome Where'd you get the money?

Benny. From Benny?

Yes, he made the money playing with that band He knows you're not working so he gave it to me.

The new baby should have new clothes.

I'm worried about him Poppa You're worried? ahh, he's a good boy Benny Yeah, but I want him to meet nice girls Go out with them Like Harry and Freddie, dance with them.

But no,all he does is tootle all the time From dancing with girls you don't get paid No

Where is Benny? He just walked down Is something wrong with him Dora? No I hear him playing all alone up there.

I'd better go talk to him.

What's the matter Benny? hmmm?

Always when something's wrong you go away and you play like this What is it? Tell me.

I had a job Pop and a trip to California.


Ben Pollack's starting a band out there a band that play's the kind of music I want to play.

Gil Rodin wrote him He wants me to come out, Gil too He's getting the very best men And what kind of music you'll going to play, Benny?

Mozart, maybe?

Bach? No, Pop. Dance music.

But not the same old stock arrangements.

Freestyle, so you can improvise, so you can express yourself What about high school, Benny? You still got two years yet You don't learn about music in high school, Pop And that's what I want to do play music But you learn other things, Benny. Those things are important too Not for me. There's only one thing that's important

Are you sure this is what you want to do?

I was all set to go. They paid the fare and everything.

Only ...

Only what?

I need a tuxedo.

So that's it.

A tuxedo, hm?

Alright Benny, you're going to get one. But, Pop...

I talked to Mr. Strauss today. He's got for me next week a job for sure As soon as I start to working... But a tuxedo costs a lot of money No never you mind what it costs. You've got so many other things...

Never mind, never mind, Benny.

All these years you wanted lot's of things like other boys, roller skates, a baseball glove.

Never could I get them for you This time, for once, I'm going to get you what you want.

As soon as I get my job you'll get your tuxedo.

Couldn't the sleeves be shortened?

Sure, we could shorten the sleeves now.

But Benny, next year when you will need them a little longer there'll be a crease here what you can never get out.

'Ben Pollack and his Californians' Well, what happened?

I'm sorry Ben I was meeting the train It was five hours late.

And where's Goodman? I'm Goodman.


Alright fellas, 'Waiting for Katie.'

One, two...

What's the idea?

We aren't opeing at the Neopolitan until tomorrow night.

Yeah, I know.

Well aren't we pretty dressy just to arrive in Chicago? oh, Mom wrote me. They're having a little party for me. You know, just the family. mhmm and you always wear black tie at your family parties?

Pop gave me this tux.

I just want to show him I've grown into it.

What is it Harry?

It's Pop Benny. There was an accident.

On his way over here He was crossing the street You mean just now? Just an hour ago.

By the time we got him to the hospital...

Does Mom know?


He was so excited that you're coming.

So was I Mom.

Oh, and he never saw you how you're all grown up a man already

'Neopolitan Cafe.'

You sure this is the right place? Of course But those were gangsters. Nonsense.

My name is John Hammond. Ben Pollack left a reservation for me.

John this is a dive It's a speakeasy.

John, I'd like you to meet Benny Goodman.

Well hello, I've been wanting to meet you Nice to meet you.

This is my sister Alice. How do you do?

Sit down Ben, the reason I wanted to see you I got a long distance call from Willard Alexander.

He's got a spot for a hot band the Club 50.

How would you like to play in New York? A New York date?

Yeah Ben that's the chance we've been waiting for, to play our style again But hot stuff doesn't seem to go over We laid a long line of eggs all the way from California That's why we're sticking to stock arrangements.

But Ben. Well, maybe this is our chance.

Exactly. Let's call him right now Go ahead, before he changes his mind. Well, okay.

Excuse us, please.

We saw these men when we came in They really look like gangsters.

They are Don't you find it nerve wracking, playing here?

They don't bother us They pay us very well.


Little Jake's girl likes our music.

He owns the joint

Your brother a booker?

A booker? You mean like at a racetrack?

No, that's a bookie. Booker's a fella who finds spots for bands That's how he makes his money Well, John's always trying to help bands But it always seems to cost him money.

You live in Chicago?

New York. I'm here for the opera at Ravinia, staying with my aunt.

Do you like hot music? Oh no, not at all.

So what are you doing here?

I just came to keep John out of trouble It worked. You got the date. You're going to New York.

No kidding? It's getting late John. I think we ought to leave.

Good night Well, good luck fellas. See you tomorrow. Yes, se ya, John.

Hey how 'bout that, Hammond has got us a date at the Club 50 in New York.

Yes but we've got a problem. How are we gonna get outta here?

Just tell him we're leaving that's all It's a free country.

Sure if little Jake gets sore we'll never get out of here alive Well he wouldn't do anything like that What makes you think he wouldn't?

Maybe if we played lousy for a few nights... nahh, they wouldn't know the difference.

Could you talk to his girlfriend? what's her name?

You know what happened to the last guy Jake saw talking to her The only thing to do is go talk to little Jake Tell him the whole story and appeal to his better nature Yes, but who's gonna do it? Aren't you Ben?

He'd say no He hates my guts You actually saw Jake huh? Yeah, once. That was enough.

I'll do it, this is too good a chance to pass up You mean you're gonna see him now? Worst he can do is bump me off Well go in that door. Good luck, kid.


If I'm not back after next set Notify my mother

Where do you think you're going son? I wanted to see Jake.

Oh, you did? and who are you? One of the boys in the band.

The boss is very busy. He don't have time to talk to no musicians. hmm, well maybe you better let him decide about that

There's a fella here from the band, says he says he wants to see the boss.

What's your name? Benny Goodman.


Here's the musician, boss. What do you want?

Ben Pollack wanted me to talk to you.

Why he didn't come himself?

He was afraid. Why'd he send you?

He didn't, I volunteered.

You don't know me and I figured you wouldn't bump me off so quick I hope I'm right.

Well, what's your problem, son?

Well we've been offered a job in New York.

It's a great break for us and, ah, we want to go.

What's the matter? Don't you like it here?

Oh yeah, yeah sure like it fine Why ain't got nuthin in New York we ain't got You'd be making a big mistake Hey, you look familiar to me. Benny Goodman.

I heard that name too No, you must have me mixed up with somebody else.

I play the clarinet. It's all I've ever done ever since I was a kid Did you live on Francisco Avenue?

Oh yes, I did I thought so You used to play shinny without no skates You're Jake Primo. You used to throw rocks at me Yeah, ha ha ha I've come a long way since then ain't I?

Yeah. Oh yes, a very long way.

So you guys want to goto New York and play for them Broadway weisenheimers eh?

The sides, boss? Yeah Sammy, take care of the boys in the band

Well? How did he take it?

I don't know. All he said was 'Take care of the boys'

What's this? A farewell party.

Good luck and best wishes from the boss.

Yes, sir. New York, here we come

'Trombone Club Teddy Wilson at the Piano.'



Hi, Benny.

Hi. Excuse me.

Sit down Thanks John. Hi, Gene.

This is my sister Alice. Hello I'm Benny Goodman.

Hey Teddy's terrific isn't he? Oh, great.

Do you like hot music Oh no, not at all. Then what are you doing here?

I just came to keep John out of trouble Say, didn't we ahh...

No, I guess not

Hi, Benny. Keepin' busy? A few record dates, Ted.

Can't live off them You should have stuck with Pollack.

He died here in New York, but he's doing alright on the road Yeah, playing those same old stock arrangements.

I hear Kel Murray is after you Benny offered you real dough I turned him down Gene. Turned him down? Why?

Same reason I left Ben Pollack.

I want a band that plays hot music that really takes off and where would it play? There's no place outside Harlem for a band like that Yeah, like Fletcher Henderson always says:

'Hot bands are cold turkey in this town'

I don't know about that It's never been tried.

Never been tried? What about Pollack and the others?

Not the way I mean I have a few ideas.

I don't know if they're crazy... What kind of ideas Benny?

They're musical ideas. I can't put them into words But when we get together in a joint like this and jam The people come in and they sit down and they listen.

The reason they sit and listen, is because that's the way we play.

Oh sure, they love it. just not enough of 'em Maybe if we played our kind of music so they could dance instead of just listen You might have something Benny What are you aiming at? Get up a band of your own?

Looks like I'd have to Be practical, Benny. You wouldn't make a nickel What can you hope for? A few recordings? A college prom maybe?

Dance or not dance, nobody wants this kind of music.

I do. I know how you feel, but it's hopeless Benny It's a wild dream Don't be that way I can't help the way I am See ya later Oh, it's nice to have met you He's one of the greatest clarinetist in the business and the stubbornist John, every hot musician isn't another Paganini.

As it happens, Benny is.

Oh, come now Some day I'll prove it to you Well, I must say...

Benny does have his own strange kind of integrity I admire him for that.

'Call Chicago operator #183'

Hello. Harry? Is something wrong?

No, it's about Mom.

What's the matter with Mom? It's her frame of mind, Benny.

She's getting lower and lower There's nobody home now except me and Irving She doesn't know what to do with hersel I'm worried about her We thought maybe she should go and live with Ida.

No, Ida has her own family to take care of Maybe Mom needs a change Harry Bring her to New York What about the money Benny?

I'll wire it to you We'll find an apartment some place You gotta job Yeah Look Benny Maybe you could find something for me I'm playing a bull fiddle now you know Yeah sure don't worry Harry Bring Mom and your bull fiddle come out as soon as you can eh?

Okay. so long Benny.


Come in Hi, John. Hi, Benny.

You remember Willard Alexander. Yeah. How are you?

I just told Willard about your idea. What idea?

About a new band. It sounds very exciting I's like to hear more about it Some other time Right nowt, it's just an idea.

Is this stuff for the new band? Yes, some arrangements.

I been talking to a couple young fellas named Deane Kincaide and George Baseman and we got together and worked out a few ideas You don't want to talk about? Some other time.

For the time being I guess I'll have to get a job A job that pays well. With Kel Murray.

Why? What happened?

A whole lot of things. My family, all sorts of complications Train fares, and apartments, I guess for now the band will have to wait.

Whenever you're ready, just give me the word. Thanks, Willard.

You been working on this, Benny?

The Mozart concerto, yeah. Professor Schoepp would be proud of me I wonder if you'd do me a favor, Benny? hmmm?

You know my family has these musical evenings at the house All classical stuff, of course.

They're having one in a couple of weeks. A small string group They've been wanting to do the ' Clarinet Concerto' and I'm supposed to find a clarinetist.

Why do you want me? I have my reasons.

I'd have to have a couple of rehearsals with the other musicians Oh, it isn't that formal Listen, if you'll do it, I'll invite some of your friends too, for moral support I guess I need it.

Is Alice gonna be there?

Well, yes. Why? No reason. just wondering.

This can't be it This is a mansion.

No, this is the house Mom. Come on we're late I am Mr. Goodman. Second door on the right, sir.

Thank you.

Such a thing People live here?

This is a home? Sure. What do you think?

I think it's a museum.

Come on, Mom.

That poor woman.

What a poor woman?

That every day has to dust this place.

Come on

Oh Benny, there you are. Hello John. Sorry we're late.

Father, this is Benny Goodman. Pleased to meet you Mr. Hammond.

How do you do Mr. Goodman, I'm so glad you could come Thank you.

Now this is my mother and my brother Harry.

Very happy to meet you This is my cousin Mrs. Vanderbilt.

How do you do, likewise You're playing my favorite concerto. Well thank you, It's mine too.

Let's find a nice seat for you Mrs Goodman How about over here?

Thank you very much We're just about ready Benny I'll be with you in a minute Right, John.

Knock'em dead Ben. Play good Benny.

I'll see you later.

Well, hello there Hello Do you like classical music? Yes, very much.

Well, I had no idea. I'm even going to play.

You are? mm hmm Are you the Goodman? Yup

Was this John's idea?

Yes, he asked me.

Where is he? I want to speak to him. Excuse me

John, this is outrageous. I couldn't be more upset.

Outrageous? What is?

You're asking Benny Goodman to play Don't you realize what you're doing?

I know exactly what I'm doing.

You and the rest of the family look down on these musicians because they play in cabarets and dives This is as good a way as any to show you. You told Benny that's why you asked him?

Does he know these other musicians are professionals from the Philharmonic?

He's used to playing with professionals. Oh John, really.

It is high time you got over being such a musical snob Alice You're shocked that a hot musician should come here and play Mozart.

Not at all, I'm shocked that you could expose a friend to such humiliation.

Don't worry, Alice. He's not going to be humiliated.

Oh yes, he is. I wish I could stop him Well, you can't.

As a matter of fact I'm going to get him started Looks like they're getting ready In a couple of minutes, boys.

They are all from the Philharmonic you know...

But this Mr. Goodman... I have no idea where he comes from.

He's from Chicago madam He was a student of Professor Schoepp.

Oh? Thank you very much.

Thanks It's water!

It's going to be awful for him Father, I just know it Oh, I hope not. With his mother here.

His mother? Where?

Just down there in the second row

Mrs. Goodman? I'm Alice Hammond.

Very pleased to meet you

He doesn't seem very nervous, does he?

No, he isn't.

I was just saying to Harry, if only his father could be here when Benny is playing good music.

Good for you, Benny. Thanks, John.

Let's get you something to eat you bet Nice going, Benny. Real nice going, bud.

Oh Mr. Goodman, I've never heard the rondo played better.

Yeah he's a mean man with that licorice stick.

Benny, I thought you were in the groove tonight Did you really? I thought he played brilliantly.

Thank you.

I guess maybe we gotta learn some lingo yeah Mr. Goodman. - Yes May I speak to you for a moment?


I owe you an apology.

Apology? What for?

When you told me you were going to play, I was quite upset.

As a matter of fact, I told John that I thought of him for asking you You did? Why?

To be honest, I thought it would be very embarrassing for us and humiliating for you.

Is that why you went and sat with Mom?


Well, that was real thoughtful of you.

You fascinate me. Anyone who can play as well as you devoting himself to that strange and unpopular popular music.

I don't understand it You don't understand the music.

You are perfectly right. Have you ever tried?

Of course I've tried It just sounds loud So do a lot of symphonies But there's nothing simple about it or melodic like chamber music.

It can be, sometime I'd like to show you If you'll listen Of course I will.

I'm not that much of a musical snob in spite of what John said John says your idea of a musician, is a guy who plays in Carnegie Hall.

That's right You are the exception.

You are quite eloquent, aren't you?

Huh? Nobody ever called me that before Oh, with music, not words. Oh, I see what you mean.

You fooled me completely You ah, look and act so calm and quiet then all of this emotion comes pouring out I can't remember when I've been so moved That wasn't me, that was Mozart

Why that's Benny Goodman.

Hey, who'd you say that was? Benny Goodman.

He's a clarinet player. Plays with dance bands. He's a friend of Johns

I can't believe it. Benny with a band like this You said he play with dance bands and that's exactly what he's doing Oh, You don't understand. I certainly don't.

Hello, Alice. Hello, Benny.

Roger Gillespe, Benny Goodman. Hello - How do you do.

Won't you sit down? No thanks. I don't have time anyway I'm disappointed in you Disappointed? Why?

This is the kind of music you don't like, isn't it?

It sure is Well, I expected you to stick to your convictions My convictions haven't changed.

Well, I'm afraid you hurt his feelings I'm sure I did

As I was saying ...

I'm sorry.

Your friend is late.

Are you quite ready, Mr. Goodman?

I'm not in the habit of waiting for musicians Nobody is indispensable you know I'm warning you, don't let it happen again It won't

Why, he's walking out on him Yes, he is I feel terrible Why?

He had a job, Now all he has are his convictions I'm afraid I'm to blame.

'NBC Lining Up New Bands for New Dance Program.'

Excuse me. Would you mind turning to page 24?

It's very important.

Hey, it sounds good.

Look fellas, we could play together all the time, play the way we want.

That's really why I asked you to come What are you talking about?

I mean getting up our own band Oh, It's hopeless, Benny.

Well, I know it's a long shot but we've got a chance for an audition NBC is looking for a swing band, and I had Willard talk to those fellas He convinced them I could get up a band that would really be different They'll come and listen to us. If they like us, they'll give us an audition You mean, this'd only be an audition for a audition?

Benny, don't be that way How you gonna do it Benny?

This is how. I've had Deane Kincaide and George Baseman work out some special arrangements.

They knew what I was after and they gave it to me.

They've given us plenty of elbow room to improvise and work out our own licks Well, how about it fellas?

It looks pretty good.

I'm with you, Benny. Alright - Me too - okay Alright, let's get to work.

I got only one suggestion to make Benny.

If you're gonna be a band leader, you oughta change your name.


Who's gonna remember a name like 'Benny Goodman'?

'Let's Dance.'

This was 'Valse Brillante', played by Kel Murray and his orchestra.

Fine music in an old tradition.

Now we've got a brand new band, with a brand new style.

So thank you Kel Murray, and welcome Benny Goodman and his orchestra.

Where to, boss?

Anyplace, Ed I just wanna listen.

And that concludes our program for the night We hope you'll be with us again same time next Saturday.

Benny Goodman Yeah I heard your music on the radio tonight and I came down to congratulate you.

Thank you. I'm Fletcher Henderson.

Mr. Henderson, I can't tell you what this means to me.

We've listened to your records since we were kids. Your band's tops with us.

We've been playing for 15 years.

We had good times and bad, but we never made it I was beginning to think no one ever would Then I heard you boys tonight. I think you stand a chance.

Do ya?

You boys have the real feeling like Oliver, Dodds, and Louis, all the boys from New Orleans.

But you got something different, something new That's why I think you might make it And I want to help Do you mean that?

If you could use some arrangements, I could use the money.

Wonderful ! Gee this is a real break And now, a new Fletcher Henderson arrangement

'Stompin at the Savoy'.

'Eastern Time.'

'Central Time.'

'Mountain Time.'

'Pikes Peak Chalet.'

'Pacific Time.'

'Southern California.'

Thank you, Benny Goodman That's all folks.

Let's dance again next week, same time, same station.

Well, how'd we sound?

Oh, great Benny, great What's the matter Willard?

Well, we're finished in three weeks. They're not picking up our option They're not? Why not?

There's a shut down at the factory They're not making any biscuits so they don't want to sell any Well, that's it then, I knew it Just when we ere going good No more Goodman band Not necessarily. We still have a fighting chance.

How? What next?

Well, these broadcasts have stirred up some interest, especially out west.

I've had some enquiries We might be able to book a tour Starting when? Couple of months, maybe.

That's alright, we're just getting started We could use a little more work, more rehearsal Sure that's fine, there's only one question Benny.

Yeah How we gonna eat?

People always tell me how much musicians drink But you boys, all you do is eat I'll bet you'll be glad to get rid of us Not at all.

It seems like old times. A whole lot of children around the house to feed.

Do you always feed them this well? No, not always.

And they didn't help out like you boys Some of them were only babies.

Thanks. Will you will be glad to get back to work?

Back to work?

You don't know Benny, he's been rehearsing us four or five hours a day.

Are you a hard taskmaster, Benny?

Well, if you want to be good, you gotta work at it I'll say this for him, he's hardest on himself

Hi !

Good to see you. How are you?

Good evening. Good evening Nice to see you.

Thank you. You know everybody, no?

Yes, yes. hello Teddy. oh come on, boys. I've got some your favorite pudding.

Wonderful. Hello.

Hello. What are you doing here?

I asked John to bring me. You did?

Yes, I wanted to see what one of your musical evenings was like Also, I wanted to see you.

Would you like to sit down?

You know we're leaving?

Yes, I do know. How long will you be gone?

Well, we're set for some one night stands that'll take us to Denver.

We're gonna be at Elitch's Gardens there for four weeks.

Then in August, we're going to the Palomar in Los Angeles. ah, it'll be four or five months.

Five months?

I'm going to miss you Benny.

Do you mean that?

Yes, I do.

I was hoping you'd call me.

I wanted to. Only... Only what?

Well, you don't go around with jazz musicians...

No, I don't go around with doctors or lawyers either I go around with people, people I like.

I never know how to take you You don't?

Well, we have a terrible time understanding each other, don't we?

Well, I don't know. In some ways, we... and yet, we can't help being attracted to each other.


Maybe it's because we're so different.

We couldn't be more different could we. I don't know how.

Music, family, personality. It's funny, isn't it?

No. No, it's not funny.

It's strange and confusing ...

I wish I could tell you how I ...

Do me a favor will you Alice? Will you just sit right here and listen?

E flat Ted. Okay, Gene?

She's nice, isn't she Mom? Nice? Who is nice?

Alice ! Oh yes, she's fine for a high society girl No frills, no nonsense, just like anybody else

But Harry, I have a terrible sinking feeling in my stomach.

What's the matter Mom? It's Alice.

I'm afraid she's falling in love with Benny.

But Mom, I thought you liked her?

I might like the Queen Of England too if I met her But God forbid she should marry my Benny.

Benny, that was wonderful. I loved it It was beautiful. It was like - like, spontaneous Mozart That wasn't Mozart. That was me.

'Ohio Pavilion - Columbus' Finest Dining and Dancing'

What's this?

Oh, this is something new we're introducing on the tour The Benny Goodman Trio.

What kind of a deal is that?

Look my friend, I'm paying for a full band and I intend to get it.

You've got the whole band Mr McCatchie, this is something extra Extra nothing. Eleven fellas sitting there not making a sound.

'Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.'

Hey, is this the Goodman Orchestra? That's right Great, great, I'm Joe Goldcrown, the manager. Proud to have you here.

I heard you on the Let's Dance program You were great..

Thanks Let me tell you something You boys play the best waltzes I ever heard.

This is going to be a great night too I just have a feeling.

'Elitch's Garden Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.'

What do you call that song? Has it got a name?

Yeah 'Down South Camp Meeting'

Don't you boys play any tangos?

No we don't Mr. Clark.

How about some comedy numbers? Don't you have funny hats?

No, we do not. There's a fella down at the casino He;s got gold derbys, trick hats, musical saws, real good stuff.

And he's grabbing all the business I'm sorry Mr.Clark, you're not looking for a band You're looking for a three ring circus

'Palomar Ballroom.'

'Tonight Only B. Goodman and his Orchestra.'

Now look here, this the the rawest deal I ever heard of Mr. Stewart You cant expect a band to play for one night One night's better than nothing isn't it?

No it's worse. If we're not good enough to play, we ..

Look Mr. Goodman, you signed a contract with me and I'm gonna hold you to it We get a nice crowd in here on Saturday night no matter what band we have I can't get Dennis until Monday night and, I need a band Suppose we refuse?

We're hooked Benny, and he knows it He's got us over a barrel Don't make a heavy out of me boys I don't decide which band is a draw and which one isn't The public does They either like you, or they dont You've decided they don't Oh, who are we kidding I talked to Clark in Denver.

He wouldn't let us play our own numbers Yeah so he told me He's no fool and neither am I I'm not going to either What time do we start? The doors open at 8

Hello, Alice. Hello, Willard.

Well, this is our last night fellas We got together so we can play our kind of music and so far nobody's let us Well, we're going to play it tonight whether they like it or not.

We're gonna do all our big numbers right on down the line We'll start with 'One O'Clock Jump'

Why are they just standing there? What's happened?

It's got me. I've never seen this happen before on a dance floor.

But they're just standing, They're not dancing

What happened?

Happened? The kids is going crazy over this band. You've hit the jackpot, boss.

Well, I'll be !

I can't do this all night I'm getting writer's cramp. okay

Thank you. Just one more Mr. Goodman?


Oh I guess they're closing up kids I'm sorry Gee Benny we waited all this time I have all your records Mr. Goodman I'll catch you outside. Come on, kids. It's getting late.

I'll be out in a minute. Come on, kids. Let's go.

Hi - I tried to get over to you after the first set I know. That's alright You must be exhausted. Yeah pretty much Wow, what a night.

It couldn't have been more wonderful.

How do you explain that? I mean what happened?

I guess the kids must have heard the 'Let's Dance' program It's three hours earlier out here.

Lot of them said they had our records too They were waiting for us only we didn't know it But what are you doing here in L.A.anyway?

Well, I heard what happened on your tour.

Willard said he was afraid that the band might break up Well I thought that tonight might be another humiliation.

I knew how you would feel. I just wanted to be here.

That was wonderful of you, Alice.

You brought us luck. Benny Goodman, you're an idiot.

How can you say a thing like that? huh?

You've worked for years to get a band together You rehearsed, and struggled, and you practically starved to make it work and then when you finally click You call it luck. Nothing could be more absurd.

I suppose that's true in a way You earned that ovation tonight.

I never heard such play the drive, the beat The kids could not help but get excited.

You know you never played 'One O'Clock Jump' like that.

It was twice as good as the record The record? You've heard the record?

Oh don't be silly, I have them all You do? I listen to them all the time.

You mean you like them.

I am a Benny Goodman fan Wow, you've have changed, Alice. I certainly have This is great, but I can't understand it You, Alice Hammond, a swing fan What's happened to you?

That's rather obvious, isn't it?

I'm in love with you, Benny.

Ohh ... I guess you know how I feel Alice?

I haven't the vaguest idea.

You, you mean that?

I just assumed you knew that I... I mean I don't see how you could help ...

Are you trying to say that you love me, Benny?

Well, I couldn't be more surprised.

I figured you knew why I didn't say anything Alice It took all my money to keep the band together, and then my family...

Oh please Benny, don't try to explain.

I didn't say that I wanted to marry you or run off to a deserted island with you I just said that I was in love you. Alice ...

I may get over it. We both may Guess it would be much simpler if we did. Wouldn't it?

I wouldn't bet on it Well I don't That's why I told you. I may be able to keep it from my family my friends, but I knew I could never keep it from you Alice, you're wonderful. You're the wonderful one Benny Unbelievably, hopelessly, wonderful I'm afraid I will never get over you Never as long as I live.

I guess we're both in the same boat.

Alice, I...

I know, I know, my poor Benny.

So many things he wants to say and no clarinet to say them

'Benny Goodman Orchestra' '6 more weeks at Palomar.'

'Goodman Trio Play Avalon Benefit'

Goodbye Mr. Goodman I really enjoyed your music. Thank you.

I'm hungry Benny Me too.

There's a little place across the street. Paradise Cafe.


You know what a fella over on the island told me? On a clear day you can see North America.

I'm kinda cold. How about a drink? yes - good - What'll you have?

Scotch and soda? fine Make it two Make it six.

Yes, sir. Six scotch and sodas, coming right up Can we get something to eat? Sure thing Just have a seat at the table and the waiter will take care of you right away Okay. Got time?

Oh yeah a lot of time. So this is paradise huh?

Yeah it's a great life. we were a big success and here we are playing for nothing again

Here we go Now what'll you have to eat folks?

What is there? Well chili is the quickest I've got it cooking now Are you the cook too? That's me.

Chilli's fine and coffee, please.

Same all round?

Hey, aren't you that Benny Goodman, the fella who's playing the Palomar?

Man what you doing in San Pedro? We just played a benefit at Avalon.

Catalina, huh? Yes The chili will be right up He must be a pretty busy fella bartender, waiter, cook.

Talking about busy fellas You're going to be one Benny The deal is closed for the Congress Hotel, and looks like ... your booked solid with one night stands all the way from here to Chicago.

How about New York? Well there's some interest there too Oh, wonderful.

Not New York. Hot bands are cold turkey in that town We' stay on the road At least that way we'll eat.

Yes, sir. coming right up And the coffee's coming later.

You really have entertainment here?

Sure thing. Our next show goes on in two minutes.

Well ladies and gentlemen. Our regular 24 piece orchestra hasn't arrived yet But instead, it give me great pleasure to present our feature performer and that high-class vibraharp player Mr Lionel Hampton.

My first number will be in honor of our special guest... and that famous little town over there in Catalina they just been visiting

You've really fallen for him haven't you?

You didn't think you could fool me?

You oughtta see your face when he plays.

How long have you known?

When you wanted me to come back out here with you again I didn't think you had fallen in love with the California climate

Of all the incredible romances... You and Benny Goodman.

I know.

I think we're going to leave here with something new.

Like the Benny Goodman quartet?

You gassed me, man.

'Benny Goodman comes home.'

'Chicago Pays Homage to the King of Swing.'

There's someone here who want to see you Benny.

Kid, Kid Ory.

Congratulations, Benny. You've made it. Thank you.

You have the best band I ever heard, anyplace.

Well man, that's the best compliment I ever heard anyplace Thank you.

Fletcher, Would you hold this for me please? Kid I'll see you later

Hello, Benny. Hello, Alice.

I was hoping you would show up I had a hunch It's been two months Benny I couldn't stand it any longer I know. It seems more like two years.

I've been hoping you come to New York. New York?

I can't keep chasing you around the country like this ...

I'm running out of excuses What's your excuse this time? I'm visiting my aunt.

She live in a museum too?

No, her house is more like a car barn.

What about New York, Benny?

Too many unpleasant memories.

Thank you. Oh, I don't mean you, Alice.

Flops and bad dates It's our jinx town I don't want to go near it Suppose I stop trailing you around. Then what?

Then I'd have to come to New York I guess

'Goodman Band Will Open at New York Paramount.'

Hi I'm sorry, the traffic was terrible.

I was beginning to think you weren't coming Benny, it's wonderful to see you. I can hardly believe it When did you get in?

Ah, Last week.

Last week? Why didn't you call me?

I'm terribly busy, Alice. Too busy to make a phone call?

No, there were a lot of other things. I know I should have called you, but...

What's wrong Benny?

This opening here in New York.

We've been to bat here three times and we've struck out three times When we left, a band like ours couldn't even fill the little Trombone Club Now they got us booked into the Paramount Theater.

I just don't like the idea of playing thousands of empty seats.

So that's why you wanted to see me.

You think tomorrow's opening is going to be another humiliation Well - yes.

Were you planning to be at the Paramount, Alice?

No, I wasn't Oh, I was hoping you'd be there to bring us luck.

I have a dinner date

We go on at 10 in the morning.

10 in the morning?

No wonder you're worried about empty seats.

Alright Benny. I'll be there.

I'll be that little black speck in the 20th row We get along fine don't we Alice?

When we're together, I feel so relaxed and easy Well, my Goodness Coming from you Benny, that, that's a real outburst

You know something, Benny Goodman?

I've never been alone with you, even in a sitting room It's always in nightclubs, or parties, or places like this

I wonder what it would be like to spend an evening with you in front of the fire Well I don't suppose I'll ever find that out

Alice, I've been doing a lot of thinking.

And... Really?

There's something I want to say to you Yes

Will you come around to the stagedoor after the first show tomorrow?

We'll have breakfast, just the two of us and talk.

I'd love to, but...

Couldn't you try to say it now?

There's a rehearsal in about ten minutes. I have to get over there I'll see you in the morning.

The picture's just about over Is everbody here? - uh huh Okay, up we go Thanks

One, two, three, four.

Good afternoon, Fred.

Good afternoon, Miss Alice.

Alice, what happened to you? Nothing, Father.

Where have you been?

At Paramount Theater.

Paramount Theater? What's going on there?

Oh, Father. You have no idea.

I certainly haven't Now why did you go to a movie theater on a Thursday morning?

Because Benny asked me to Benny?

Benny Goodman. He opened there this morning with his band Father, you never saw such a mob in your life with such excitement It couldn't have been more filling they were dancing in the aisles And is that what you've been doing?

Well, not intentionally.

Benny Goodman. That young man could be a fine musician.

What a waste Oh, no. There were thousands of people there They were shouting and cheering Oh, no. I don't call that a waste There was such a mob, I couldn't get near him I've got to send him a telegram.

Western Union, please.

Is it that urgent?

This is Butterfield 81098 I'd like to send a straight wire to Mr. Benny Goodman care of the Paramount Theater, New York city Am black and blue from attending your humiliation Couldn't get near you am thrilled, and exhausted.

Love, Alice.

Yes, thank you.


Yes Father, Love.

'Thrilled and exhausted.

Love, Alice.'

Love already ?

That's an expression Mom From jazz and from swing, I don't know.

From love I know Benny. What are you talking about?

I'm talking about you and Alice. Some other time huh?

Seven sons I got, but you're not like the others.

With them, I can talk. But I will still say what's on my mind Mom, we go on in five minutes.

But a long time already I've seen what happens with you and Alice.

It's wrong Benny.

It's like a knife in my heart You shouldn't feel that way How can I help it?

I have to go on now.

I guess it's better that we don't talk about it anyway

'Benny Goodman to Star in Film.'

Flight 214 for Chicago and Los Angeles now boarding at gate 8.

Benny, what happened? I thought you weren't going away for a month.

The studio called. They want us right away The rest of the boys are coming out Wednesday How long will you be gone? Two or three months.

What about us Benny?

Alice, you know how I feel I've been thinking about it.

What kind of life would it be for you a girl like you?

I'd be travelling all the time, working every night.

Those are excuses Benny, not reasons.

Final call, flight 214.

All aboard, please I guess I have to go..

Goodbye Alice. Thanks for coming down Benny, Benny, come on. We'll miss the plane.

Come on Benny, Let's go.

Never understand that guy.

You're his brother, Harry. Don't you understand him?

I don't know.

Sometimes I think I do About you, Alice.

It's just that...

Just that Benny doesn't need anybody or anything.

Except his music.

Everybody needs somebody even Benny.

He'll find that out I just have a feeling that there's something more to it than that What do you mean, Harry?

I mean, Mom.

I love him Mrs. Goodman. He knows it I think he loves me.

That's why I'm not sleeping nights You've known about it? Has Benny talked to you?

With Benny, you don't talk such things This well you ought to know him I do. That's why I came here Mrs. Goodman I hoped you could help me.

Benny wants to marry me. He's been on the verge of asking me If he wants to ask you, why doesn't he?

I thought you might be able to tell me.

You're a nice girl Alice.

You'll make some man a good wife But not my Benny.

Why not, Mrs. Goodman?

Because you don't mix caviar with bagels, that's why.

Always I was hoping Benny settles down Finds the right girl, but How do you know he hasn't?

I love him Mrs. Goodman.

What possible motive could I have except to make him happy?

Don't you think I could do that?

You're young yet, Alice, so is Benny Happiness is easy to talk It's not so easy to live.

You'll find this out some day.

Only when you do it's too late.

I'm sorry you feel this way Mrs. Goodman.

And your family, they don't feel the same way?

No, strangely enough they don't They admire Benny. They know I love him.

I think they'ld be very happy.

This I can't understand.

But I understand a lot of things now I had no idea you felt this way I am very glad to know it

Just one more thing Mrs. Goodman.

You've no need to worry, I'll never ask Benny to marry me If he ever does, it will be because he wants to It will have to come from him.

Alice, don't wait around for something that maybe never happens I don't intend to I've been doing that too long.

Say Benny Just ran into Wynn Nathansby. He's come up with a great idea How would you like to give a concert in Carnegie Hall?

Carnegie Hall?

Nah, I don't think so. We're doing alright Benny, it would be the high point of your career Might be at that Certainly be a landmark Not just for us but for all hot music A sign of recognition Exactly.

Yeah, we could use all the top guys, not just our own band Make it a real jazz concert.

Man, it would answer all the guys who've been saying swing music is just a flash in the pan. Yeah I know one person who'd think it's a great idea - Alice.

She's always said her idea of a musician is a guy who plays in Carnegie Hall.

'Carnegie Hall Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.'

Yeah, that'll be alright fellas ahh, saxes, at letter F Take it down even a little more alright? okay fine This could be ok Take five Sounds great, Benny. Thanks - oh Willard Hey, you look tired. You get any sleep on the plane?

A little bit. Can you get me a couple of tickets?

Benny, but they've been sold out for three days.

We even have them sitting on the stage. Sold out?

Well, what am I going to do? They're for my mother.

Don't worry, I'll ry a scalper Every seat in the house taken. and not by kids either, not at these prices.

A full house full of long hairs People who've never heard our kind of music before You're taking an awful chance You that, don't you Benny? - yup We should have had more time. We need more than one rehearsal I know, but everyone is busy.

Where is Lionel by the way, and HarryJames?

No, don't worry. They'll be there.

I never should have gotten into this Well listen Benny, If you're that worried We can call it off, we still have time No, we'll go through with it Your whole reputation is at stake, Benny.

Don't take a chance like this, don't be that way Say Benny, about the program we got to get it to the printers.

We got to finish laying it out For instance, what are you going to open with?

Now let's see ah, maybe that new tune we just did, the Edgar Sampson thing That might be alright What are you going to call it?

How about 'Don't Be That Way' That's what I've heard all my life Every time I wanted to try something new, somebody always said, 'Don't be that way.'

Well, this concert's something new. so maybe that would be a good idea for the opening tune Oh, John

Where's Alice? I didn't have a chance to call her I don't know Benny. I haven't seen her for the last 10 days

I kinda thought she'd be here.

She was always the one who wanted me to play in Carnegie Hall.

Yes? Yes, hello?

Oh Mr Hammond. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you,I wanted to speak to Alice.

Who is this? Benny, Benny Goodman Alice is out of town, Benny. She's at my sisters in Vermont.

Oh, oh I see.

Is something wrong?

No, not exactly.

I was just hoping...

Are you going to be at the concert tomorrow night?

Yes, John got me tickets.

Mr Hammond, do you know when Alice will be back?

Not for a couple of weeks, I'm sure. She just left a few days ago Did she know about the concert?

Yes, Benny I'm quite sure she did


Benny, tell me. What's the trouble?

Mom, it's too cold for you out here Is it the concert? Is that what's worrying you?

The last time you played like this, it was your father.

What is it? Can't you tell me?

It's Alice, isn't it? It's because she went away.

Mom... You do not need to talk.

I understand.

I didn't, but I do now I want you should be happy.

It wasn't just you, Mom. It was me.

I guess I was too busy. I didn't realize...

She's a fine girl, Benny and she loves you.

Girls like Alice does not grow on trees.

Sure don't It's too late now, I guess Maybe. I don't know.

But this I do know If you want her, you'll have to ask her She's never going to ask you.

Long distance?

Yes please, I want to speak please to a lady named...

Miss Alice Hammond, up there in Vermont.

Oh, her number? Yes, I've got it Her father gave it to me.

'Soloist HarryJames.'

The next part seems to be historical It's called 'Twenty Years of Jazz'.

'Smile, and the angels sing'

'and though it's just a gentle murmur'

'at the start'

'We kiss'

'And the angels sing'

'and leave their music'

'ringing in my heart'

Carnegie Hall, please.

This is something called 'Sing, Sing, Sing.'

'Palomar Ballroom'

Fourth row? On the aisle

Don't worry Alice. He's going to ask you.

He's asking me now.

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