Voila! Finally, the The Hudsucker Proxy
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Joel and Ethan Coen
movie with Tom Robbins. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of The Hudsucker Proxy. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
It's 1958 .
Anyway, for a few more minutes it is.
Come midnight, it's going to be 1959.
A whole other feeling.
The New Year.
Old Daddy Earth fixing to start
one more trip around the sun.
Everybody hoping this ride round
be a little more giddy...
...a little more gay.
All over town, champagne corks
Over in the Waldorf, the big shots is
dancing to the strains of Guy Lombardo.
In Times Square, the little folks is watching
and waiting for that big ball to drop.
They're all trying to catch hold
of one moment of time...
...to be able to say:
"Right now! This is it!
"I got it!"
Of course, by then it'll be past.
But they're all happy...
...everybody having a good time.
Well, almost everybody.
There's a few lost souls
floating around out there.
Now, if y'all ain't from the city...
...we got something here
called "the rat race. "
Got a way of chewing folks up
so that they don't want no celebrating...
...don't want no cheering up.
Don't care nothing about no New Year's.
Out of hope...
...out of rope...
...out of time.
This here is Norville Barnes.
That office he's stepping out of...
...is the office of the president
of Hudsucker Industries.
That's his office.
How'd he get so high?
And why's he feeling so low?
Is he really going to do it?
Is Norville really going
to jelly up the sidewalk?
Well, the future...
...that's something you can
never tell about.
But the past...
...that's another story.
So in the third quarter
we saw no signs of weakening.
We're up % over last year's
...and that, needless to say,
is a new record.
Our competition continues to flag
and we continue to take up the slack.
Market shares in most divisions
...and we have opened
seven new regional offices.
Our international division...
...is also showing vigorous signs of upward
movement for the last six months...
...and we're looking
at some exciting things in R&D.
Sub-franchising. Don't talk to me
We're making so much money
...it isn't even funny.
Our nominees and assigns continue
to multiply and expand...
...extending our influence nationally
Our owned and operateds are performing...
...far beyond our expectations
both here and abroad.
And the Federal Tax Act of ...
...is giving us a swell write-off
on our plant and heavies.
And our last debenture issue
was this year's fastest seller.
So, third quarter and year-to-date...
...we have set a new record in sales,
a new record in gross...
...a new record in pre-tax earnings...
...a new record in after-tax profits...
...and our stock has split twice
in the past year.
It's a pity to waste a whole Monte Cristo.
He could've opened the window.
Waring Hudsucker never did anything
the easy way.
Why? Why did he do it?
Everything was going so well.
What am l, a headshrinker?
Maybe the man was unhappy.
He didn't look unhappy.
-He didn't look rich.
-He was never an easy man to figure out.
He built this company with his bare hands.
Every step he took was a step up...
...except, of course, this last one.
He was a swell fella...
...but when the president, chairman
and owner of % of the stock...
Counting the mezzanine.
Then the company, too, has a problem.
What exactly is the disposition
of Waring's stock?
As you know...
...Hud left no will and no family.
The company bylaws are quite clear
in that event.
"His entire portfolio will be converted
into common stock...
"...and will be sold over the counter
as of the first of the fiscal year...
-"...following his demise."
Meaning simply that Waring's stock
and control of the company...
...will be made available
to the public January st.
Do you mean to say...
...that any slob in a smelly T-shirt
will be able to buy Hudsucker stock?
The company bylaws are quite clear.
My God! You're animals!
How can you discuss his stock
when the man has just leapt floors?
Not counting the mezzanine.
The man is gone. The question now
is whether we'll let...
...John Q. Public waltz in here
and buy our company.
What are you suggesting?
Certainly we can't afford
to buy a controlling interest.
Not while the stock is this strong.
How soon before Hud's paper
hits the market?
-A month at the most.
...to make the blue-chip investment
of the century...
...Iook like a round-trip ticket
on the Titanic.
We play up the fact that Hud is dead.
Long live the Hud!
We depress the stock.
-To the point where we can buy %.
Not counting the mezzanine.
It could work.
-lt should work.
-lt would work.
It's working already.
Waring Hudsucker is abstract art
on Madison Avenue.
What we need now is a new president
who will inspire panic in the stockholder.
...we can really push around.
You punch in at : every a.m.,
at : a.m. following a business holiday...
...unless it's a Monday, then it's : .
-Punch in late and they dock you.
-This goes to seven! Urgent.
Incoming articles get a voucher.
Outgoing articles provide a voucher.
Move any article without a voucher,
they dock you!
Take this up to the secretarial pool
on three! ASAP!
Letter-size, a green voucher!
Folder-size, a yellow voucher!
Parcel-size, a maroon voucher!
This is for Morgatross! Chop-chop!
Wrong color voucher and they dock you!
- - - - - - -Alpha- !
That is your employee number!
It will not be repeated!
Without it, you can't cash your paycheck.
All right! This goes up to !
Return a waiver!
Do not return without a signed waiver!
Inter-office mail is code !
Intra-office mail is - .
Outside mail is - .
Code it wrong and they dock you!
I was supposed to have this on
ten minutes ago!
This has been your orientation.
Is there anything you do not understand?
If you have not been fully orientated,
you must file a complaint!
File a faulty complaint, and they dock you!
Kloppitt, Kloppitt, Kloppitt, Kloppitt....
"Max Kloppitt, Jr."
What do you do when the envelope
is too big for the slot?
If you fold them, they fire you.
I usually throw them out.
Just got hired today.
...I got big ideas.
I'm sure you do.
...Iook at this sweet baby.
I developed it myself.
Yes, sirree, this is my ticket upstairs.
You know, for kids.
So, you see. I won't be working
in the mail room long.
No, I don't guess you will be.
How long've you been here?
Next year they move me up to parcels...
...if I'm lucky.
Attention Hudsucker employees:
We regretfully announce
that at seconds after the hour of noon...
...Waring Hudsucker, Founder, President...
...and Chairman of the Board
of Hudsucker Industries...
...merged with the infinite.
To mark this occasion of corporate loss...
...we ask that all employees observe
a moment of silent contemplation.
Thank you for your kind attention.
This moment has been duly noted
on your timecards...
...and will be deducted from your pay.
That is all.
They're bringing a blue letter!
It's a blue letter.
Top, top level.
between the brass.
Usually bad news.
They hate blue letters upstairs.
Yeah, you! Barnes!
You don't look busy!
Think you can handle a blue letter?
This letter was sent this morning
by the big man himself, Waring Hudsucker!
It's addressed to Sid Mussburger,
Hudsucker's right-hand man!
It's a blue letter!
That means you got to put it right
in Mussburger's hands.
No secretaries! No receptionists!
No colleagues! No excuses!
Hi! My name's Buzz, I got the fuzz,
I make the elevator do what she does.
Hang it up to dry.
-What's your pleasure?
Forty-four, the top-brass floor.
...what takes years to get to
the top floor and seconds to get down?
Waring Hudsucker! You get it, buddy?
Say, buddy! Mr. Kline, up to nine.
Mrs. Dell, Personnel.
-Mr. Levin, .
Ladies and gentlemen,
please step to the rear.
Here comes the gargantuan Mr. Grier.
Buddy, who's the most liquid businessman
on the street?
When is the sidewalk fully dressed?
When it's wearing Hudsucker!
You get it?
It's a pun, a knee-slapper,
a play on Jesus, Joseph and Mary....
Is that a blue letter?
Why didn't you tell a guy? Hold on, folks,
we're express to the top floor!
Good luck, buddy.
You'll need it.
Mr. Mussburger's office?
Do you have an appointment?
Shall we look in the book?
-We don't seem to be in the book.
-I wouldn't be.
If we had an appointment,
we'd be in the book.
I have this....
Oh, here it is.
No, too risky.
He's green but he's not slow.
Who is he?
No, I want an imbecile,
not a cipher, or you'd have the job.
They moved him to grommets and O-rings.
He's doing pretty well.
No, not McClanahan.
He bungled the Teleyard merger
so he's got something to prove.
Who let you in?
Except I just fired him last week.
...Mr. Bumstead's waiting downstairs.
-I'll be right there.
-Yes, Mr. Mussburger.
Spit it out!
the company's biggest moron.
We can't use Morris. Been here too long.
He's a nice guy with too many friends.
In fact, why don't you fire him?
Scratch that, I'll fire him.
Make it fast. Fast!
Mr. Bumstead is growing restless.
Tell him I'll be right there.
Give him a magazine.
What are you, a mute?
How's the stock?
Bad? Well, it's not bad enough.
Either you find me a ding-dong or tender
your key to the executive washroom.
That goes double for you, pal.
This better be good. I'm in a bad mood.
Sir, I've got something for you
from the mail room, but first...
...if I could take a minute of your very
valuable time to show you something...
...I've been working on
for the past two or three years.
You know, for kids.
It's perfect for Hudsucker,
not that I'm any great genius.
They say inspiration is % perspiration
and in my case it's at least twice that...
-...but I've got to tell you, sir--
-Wait a minute!
Sit down, son.
Try it on.
Put your feet up.
Let's get to know one another, shall we?
You're from the basement, aren't you?
And weren't blessed with much...
Well, I am a college graduate.
But you did not excel in your studies.
Well, I made the dean's list...
...at the Muncie College
of Business Administration.
And your friends called you "jerk,"
Not even behind your back?
They voted me "Most Likely to Succeed."
Get your feet off my desk,
get out of my office.
Leave your apron in the locker room.
Oh, my God!
The Bumstead contracts. I've been
working on that deal for four years!
Get out of here! I'll take care of it!
You could have destroyed
the most sensitive document of my career.
Mr. Bumstead is threatening to leave.
I'm on my way down.
We need the first page of the contract
retyped with copies going to Legal.
Yes, Mr. Mussburger.
Out! Out of the office!
Down three points?
That's encouraging. How about New York?
Not that way, through the door!
It'll take three hours to retype
the Bumstead contracts.
Where are you going?
Get out! Stop that!
Mr. Bumstead's threatening to leave.
Not the whole contract, just the first page.
I'll be there. Give him another magazine.
-He says he'll leave.
-I said I'll be there!
Up on your feet! We don't crawl here
at Hudsucker lndustries!
-My leg is on fire!
It's early yet. Just let me know
where we stand at the closing bell.
Oh, my God, the Bumstead contracts!
No magazines! No coffee!
Mussburger! I want to see Mussburger!
Or did he jump out a window too?
Don't worry, Mr. Mussburger, I got you!
I got you by your pants.
Mr. Mussburger, I'm gonna give
your pants a nice double stitch.
It'll make them real strong
and you're going to look real sharp.
No. Single stitch is fine.
But the double stitch lasts forever.
Why on earth would I want
a double stitch?
To pad your account.
Single stitch is fine.
What the heck! Mr. Mussburger
is such a nice man...
...I'm going to give him
a double stitch anyway.
That's some strong stitch, you bet!
"The Einstein of Enterprise."
"The Edison of lndustry."
"The Billion-Dollar Cranium! "
"ldea Man! "
And not one of you has given me
a story on him!
Bunch of lamebrains!
Facts, figures, charts.
They never sold a newspaper!
I read this morning's Argus
and let me tell you something:
I'd wrap a fish in it!
I'd use it as kindling!
I'd train my poodle on it if he wasn't
a French poodle and partial to Paris Soir.
But I wouldn't pay a nickel
to read the thing!
Come on, Chief, give us a break.
Sure, Tibbs. Take a break.
Go to Florida. Lie in the sun.
Wait for a coconut to drop.
File a story on it.
It'd be more of a grabber than your piece
on the county grain surplus!
The human angle!
That's what sells papers!
We need a front page with a heart
and the ldea Man can put it there!
If we had more access--
If a frog had wings
it wouldn't bump it's ass hopping.
I don't want excuses, I want results!
What makes the ldea Man tick?
Where's he from?
I want to know everything about him!
Has he got a girl? Has he got parents?
Everybody has parents.
All right, how many?
How about it, Parkinson?
You've been awfully quiet.
Still waters run deep.
Only thing deep with Parkinson
are the holes in his ears.
Yes! Idea Man!
What are his hopes and dreams,
his desires and aspirations?
Does he think all the time
or a certain portion of the day?
How tall is he? Where does he sleep?
What does he have for breakfast?
Does he put jam on his toast
or doesn't he?
If not, why not and since when?
Yes. Idea Man.
I tell you, the guy's a phony.
-As a $ bill.
-Says me, Amy Archer!
Why is he an ldea Man?
Because Hudsucker says so?
What are his ideas?
Why can't anyone interview him?
Five bucks says she mentions her Pulitzer.
Again? You're on.
Look at the mug on this guy.
The jutting eyebrows, the simian forehead,
the idiotic grin.
He has a face only a mother could love...
The only story here is
how this guy made a monkey out of you.
Like it or not, I'm still editor of this rag.
I thought you were writing,
"J. Edgar Hoover: When Will He Marry?"
-I filed it yesterday. Nice tie, Earl.
-Well, do a follow-up.
"Hoover: Crimebuster or Pantywaist?"
The rest of you mugs get some brains
and get me that ldea Man story!
He's the bunk.
I'll stake my Pulitzer on it!
Say, buddy, where'd you get the new duds?
Say, buddy, how did Old Bucketbutt
like his blue letter?
Did he bust a gut? Did he die?
Well, hello, Mr. Mussburger.
Lobby, we haven't got all day.
Right away, Mr. Mussburger.
How're you this fine morning, sir?
It's been a pleasure serving you today, sir.
It's been a pleasure serving you too, buddy.
Shouldn't we be a little concerned
with the downward spiral of our stock...
...these past few days?
You're the expert,
but at the Muncie College of Business--
Relax, it's only natural...
...in a period of transition for
the more timid element to run for cover.
Like I said, you're the expert
but do you remember the plan I outlined...
...the day I set fire to your....
The day I was promoted?
I do remember and I was impressed.
But that's all forgotten now.
Thank you, Sid.
The reason I mention it is it requires
such a small capital investment....
-There's a huge potential profit...
-Damn it, where's my car?
...given the demographics boom
of the burgeoning middle-class.
So if you agree, I'd like to bounce the idea
off a few people at lunch.
Tell whoever you want.
I'd like to hear about it at some point too.
I got gas, Benny.
Tell me about it.
No kidding, Benny. I got gas.
You get the special?
Far from it.
Enter the dame.
There's one in every story.
Ten bucks says she's looking for a handout.
Twenty bucks says not here,
she don't find one.
She's looking for her mark.
She finds him.
She sits down and orders...
...a light lunch.
How will she pay for this lunch?
She looks through her purse.
The mark notices.
He's not noticing, Benny.
Maybe he's wise.
He don't look wise.
Here come the waterworks.
She explains her predicament.
Enter the light lunch.
She's got other problems, of course.
There's illness in the family.
-Her mother needs an operation.
That gag's got whiskers on it.
He ain't biting, Benny.
-She's losing him, Lou.
-Maybe he's wise.
He don't look wise.
-How does she pull this out?
-He's getting away.
She better think fast.
She's good, Benny.
She's damn good, Lou.
Can I get you boys anything else?
I'm sorry we had to take the stairs.
It was just that horrible elevator boy!
I can't say how much I appreciate
your listening to my story.
I'm lucky to find someone in this bustling
city with a stout heart and a ready ear.
There I was, travelling
through this great country.
Some I met were kind to me,
others exceedingly cruel.
Traveling by motor bus, rail,
even by thumb....
The couch, please.
Hoarding every dollar, counting
every nickel, pinching every penny.
It's been a long road leading
to the coffee shop downstairs.
Not that I'd trade a day, an hour,
a moment of it for anything.
I don't know what came over me.
I guess it was the shock of eating
after so long...
...without the enzymes kicking in
after so long....
Then you couldn't possibly know
what it is to be tired and hungry.
I don't want to bore you with details
of my life. It's not happy.
Suffice to say I'm jobless,
but not for want of trying.
I'm friendless, with no one to take care
of me and had you not come along...
-...exactly when you did....
I arrived in town not ten days ago...
...full of dreams, anxious to make my way
in the world...
...a little naive perhaps,
but armed with determination...
...a solid work ethic,
and an indomitable belief in the future...
-...only to have that belief...
...that unsullied optimism, dashed against
the marble of the workplace.
Such is life. Seek and ye shall find.
Work and ye shall prosper.
-No, thank you.
Seek and ye shall find,
work and ye shall prosper.
These were the watchwords,
the ethos of my education...
...the values instilled in me...
...while I was growing up in a town
you've probably never heard of.
-Mind if I join you?
-Be my guest.
A town you've probably never heard of...
...a dusty crossroads of which
you've probably never heard.
Excuse me. Executive washroom.
Are you all right?
Is it your lunch? The chicken a la king?
Is the a la king repeating on you?
No, I'm fine. You were saying?
Values, watchwords, tender years.
A little town you've probably
never heard of:
You're from Muncie?
Do you know it?
Fight on, dear old Muncie
Hoist the gold and blue
"You'll be tattered, torn and hurting
"Once the Munce is done with...
A Muncie girl!
What do you know about that?
I'm going to cancel the rest
of my appointments for today...
...and get you a job right here at Hud.
Oh, no! Really--
Don't bother to thank me. It's easy.
I know where a vacancy just came up.
Good afternoon, this is Norville Barnes.
Barnes! Where the hell have you been?
Where's my voucher?
I'm not sure.
I need that voucher!
I told you a week ago it was important!
I'm president of the company now.
I don't care if you're president
of the company!
I need the voucher now!
Why don't you work in here with me?
Are you familiar with
the mimeograph machine?
Well, of course. I went
to the Muncie Secretarial Polytechnic.
A Muncie girl! Can you beat that?
I just don't know how to thank you,
"Once the Munce...."
Is this guy from Chumpsville?
I even pulled the old mother routine.
That gag's got whiskers on it.
I'm telling you, the Hudsucker Board's
up to something.
What's a six-letter word
for an affliction of the hypothalamus?
It's a cinch. Goiter.
It's a cinch this guy isn't in on it.
She's right here.
How much time to make the late final?
Hi, Chief, just the person
I wanted to apologize to.
About seven minutes.
I was all wet about your ldea Man.
Well, thanks for being so generous.
It is human and you are divine.
No, he's no faker.
He's a % real McCoy,
beware of imitations, genuine article.
The guy's a real moron,
as in a five-letter word for imbecile.
As pure a specimen as I've ever run across.
If I'm not an expert...
...then my name isn't Amy Archer
and I never won the Pulitzer.
My series on the reunited triplets.
Come down here, hammerhead,
and I'll show it to you!
What's a three-letter word
for a flightless bird?
Not now, I'm busy.
I said, "hammerhead" as in a ten-letter
word for a smug, bullying newspaper man.
Gnu. That's G-N-U.
Couldn't find the Empire State Building
with a compass, map and a guide.
That's just potatoes. Here's the gravy.
The chump really liked me.
-A Muncie girl!
-Better off falling for a rattlesnake.
This guy's just a patsy
and I'm gonna find out what for.
There's a real story here, some kind
of plot, set-up.... Did I tell you?
-He didn't offer you money?
Ten smackers! Let's grab a highball!
On Norville Barnes.
Miss Smith, would you come in
and take a letter?
Of all the cockamamie....
Did you see the front page
of today's Manhattan Argus?
I didn't bother to read the article.
I didn't think the picture did you justice.
The picture's fine.
It's what that knuckle-headed dame
Take this down.
Dear Miss Archer:
I call you "Miss" because you seem to have
missed the boat completely.
How would you know if I'm an imbecile...
...when you didn't have the guts
to interview me man-to-man!
Change "man-to-man" to "face-to-face."
No, change "face-to-face" to "eye-to-eye"
and "guts" to "common decency."
These wild speculations
about my intelligence...
...these preposterous inventions
would be better suited...
...for the pages of Amazing Tales Magazine.
If the editors of the Manhattan Argus
...to publish the work of a disordered mind,
perhaps they will see fit to publish this.
But I doubt it.
I most seriously doubt it. I doubt also
you could find a home at Amazing Tales...
...a periodical which I have enjoyed
for many years. Sincerely...
Is that all, Mr. Barnes?
You know me, Amy, better than this dame.
Do you think I'm an imbecile?
Well, I'm sure l....
Tell the truth. I trust you.
I place a lot of stock in your opinion.
Oh, sure, you're biased.
You're a fellow Muncian.
But let me ask you a question:
Would an imbecile come up with this?
I designed it myself.
This sweet baby will put Hudsucker
right back on top.
You know, for kids.
Why don't I just type this up?
That won't be necessary.
I shouldn't send it.
She's just doing her job, I guess.
I don't know, maybe she does deserve it.
Maybe she should have come in here
and faced you man-to-man.
-She probably had a deadline.
-She still could've gotten your side...
...for the record.
It's done now. What's the use
of grousing about it?
Forget the letter,
I just had to blow off steam.
She's probably just a little confused.
Probably a fast-talking career gal,
thinks she's one of the boys.
Probably is, if you know what I mean.
I'm quite sure I don't know what you mean.
Probably suffers from one
of these complexes they have nowadays.
It's obvious. She's probably
very unattractive and bitter about it.
Is that it?
She probably dresses in men's clothing,
drinks with the guys at the local bar...
...hobnobs with some smooth-talking heel
reporter named Biff or Smoocher or--
Exactly. I bet she's ugly, real ugly.
Otherwise, why isn't her picture
next to her byline?
Maybe she puts her work
ahead of her personal appearance.
I bet that's what she tells herself.
But you and I know
she's a dried-up, bitter old maid.
How about we grab a little dinner
and a show after work?
I was thinking maybe The King and I?
How about Oklahoma?
You don't know a thing about that woman!
You don't know who she really is!
Only a numbskull thinks he knows things...
...about things he knows nothing about.
Say, what gives?
The inventory of the Jacksonville facility
should be reduced...
...by %. Memo from the desk
of Sidney J. Mussburger--
What are you doing, Miss Archer?
Who are you?
How did you know who I am?
I suspect Old Moses knows
just about everything...
...Ieastways if it concerns Hudsucker.
Who are you? What do you do here?
I keep the old circle turning.
This old clock needs plenty of care.
Time is money, Miss Archer.
Money drives that old global economy...
...and keeps Big Daddy Earth
See, without that capital formation--
You won't tell anyone about me, will you?
I don't tell no one nothing...
...unless they ask.
That just ain't Old Moses' way.
If you know everything about Hudsucker...
...tell me why the board decided
to make Norville Barnes president?
That even surprised Old Moses at first.
I didn't think the board was that smart.
But then I figured it out.
They did it because...
...they figured young Norville for
an imbecile, like some other people I know.
Why on earth would the board
want a nitwit to be president?
Because they're little piglets.
They're trying to inspire panic...
...make that stock cheap so they can
snatch it all up for themselves.
But Norville's got some tricks
up his sleeve. He does.
"You know, for kids?"
Yeah, he's a smart one, that Norville.
But I guess you don't really know him
any better than that board does, do you?
And only some kind of knuckle-head thinks
she knows things about things....
When she don't....
How'd that go?
Well, it's hardly the same.
You don't even know your own self.
You ain't exactly the genuine article,
are you, Miss Archer?
In connection with my job, sometimes
I have to go undercover, as it were.
I don't mean that.
Why are you pretending to be
such a hard old sourpuss?
Ain't going to never make you happy!
I'm happy enough.
I got gears to see to.
I'm plenty happy!
I can't print that!
Why not? It's true. The board's using him
to depress the stock and buy it cheap.
It's pure speculation!
They'd have my butt in a satchel!
They'll buy that stock--
You don't know anything. They haven't
bought it. What are they waiting for?
I don't know.
Amy's hunches are usually pretty good.
You don't accuse somebody
of stock manipulation on a hunch!
Our readers aren't interested
in sensationalism, gossip...
Facts! Figures! Those are the tools
of the newspaper trade.
It's as if you're trying to take the heat
off him. Like you've gone soft on him.
Come on, Chief. That's a low blow.
Archer's not going to go gooey
for a corn-fed idiot.
I was out of line. But you're out of line
with this stock-swindle story.
Give me more of that
"moron from Sheboygan" stuff.
That's what sells newspapers!
I've got a harder story:
"The Sap From The City Desk! "
-It's about a dim-witted editor who--
Easy, tough guy.
Does this suit look mannish to you?
Yeah, sure. Let's grab a highball.
A man of great managerial potency.
My husband is also a president.
Sears Braithwaite of Bullard.
Do you know him?
Your companion is an ode!
A lyric! Are you betrothed?
Amy works in my office. She runs--
Oh, the folly of youth!
Those green remembered hills!
That bourn from which no traveler returns.
I once ran the mimeograph for Sidney.
Though engaged at the time
to quelqu'un d'autre...
...my water-cooler romance
became a mad passion.
Un amour fou. Une folie a deux.
I'm brushing up on my French
with the most charming man...
-...Pierre of th Avenue. Do you know him?
-Do you know him?
Sidney and I are planning a trip
to Paris and points continental.
Aren't we, dear?
Sure. I'd like to borrow Norville
for a while, if you don't mind.
Well, frankly, l....
You have a very charming wife, Mr.... Sid.
So they tell me.
Let me shepherd you
through some of the introductions here.
Try not to talk too much.
Some of our biggest stockholders are....
Scratch that. Say whatever you like.
Shake hands with
Sears Braithwaite of Bullard.
Glad to know you, Barnes.
This is Zebulon Cardozo...
...one of Hudsucker's largest
and most loyal stockholders.
What's this I hear
about you being an imbecile?
What's ailing you, boy?
Last week, my stock was worth twice
what it is now. I think I'll sell...
...the whole kit and caboodle, boy,
unless I see a vast improvement.
What you've got here, son, is a range war!
You gonna have to circle our wagons
or I'm gonna get out of your wagon train.
No need for concern, sir.
It's only natural...
...in a period of transition for the more
timid elements to run for cover.
Yellow? I'll show you yellow, boy!
You mind now and quit acting
like such an old grizzly.
Step lively here, Norville.
I'm sorry, I thought maybe if I showed him
the long view--
And this is Thorstensen Finlandson...
...who heads a radical, splinter group
of disgruntled investors.
Pleased to meet you.
It might interest you to know I studied
a little Finnish in high school.
I hope I'm not too rusty.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished
members of the Hudsucker Board...
...I give you the Rajah of Romance,
the Ministereo of Moonlight...
...the incredible, the unforgettable...
...Mr. Vic Tenetta!
"Rajah." I like that.
Nothing. Just the more timid investors
are no longer running for cover.
Let me look.
Sid found me the ice pack.
Let me hold it or you'll have a real shiner.
I guess people are pretty hot
over this imbecile story.
It's not your fault. You've the one person
standing by me through all this.
Norville, there's something
I have to tell you.
...I'm not really a secretary.
I know that, Amy.
I understand you're not very skilled yet
in the secretarial arts...
...but I'll tell you a secret:
I'm not that skilled as president.
-I know I put up a big front, but--
-I believe in you, Norville.
...I believe in your intentions.
I don't blame them, really.
I suppose I have made a mess of things.
Those folks have to protect
Most of them are very nice people.
Listen, you can't trust people here
like you did in Muncie.
Certain people are--
Did you ever go to the top of Larson's
feed tower and look out over the town?
On Farm Route ?
Oh, yes, in Muncie.
No, Vidalia. Farm Route .
Seventeen. Yes, l....
Well, no, no. I never really--
The guys from the Varsity Squad
would bring their dates up there...
...to hold hands.
Of course, I never made Varsity.
There's a place I go now.
Cutest little place near my apartment
in Greenwich Village.
It's called "Ann's ."
It's a beatnik bar.
-You don't say?
A beatnik bar.
You can get carrot juice or ltalian coffee
and the people there...
Well, none of them quite fit in.
You'd love it.
Come there with me.
There's a marathon poetry-reading
on New Year's Eve. I go every year.
Well, this year, if it's good,
I plan to make it a tradition.
My, it certainly is beautiful.
...Iook like ants.
The Hindus, and the beatniks also,
...in our next lives some of us
will come back as ants.
Some will be butterflies, others will be
elephants or creatures of the sea.
What a beautiful thought.
What do you think you were
in a previous life?
Oh, I don't know.
Maybe I was just...
...a fast-talking career gal
who thought she was one of the boys.
Oh, no, Amy.
Pardon me for saying so,
but I find that very far-fetched.
-There really is something I must tell you.
-That person would come back as a hog.
I find it more likely that you were...
...with long, graceful legs,
gamboling through the underbrush.
Perhaps we met once.
A chance encounter in a forest glade.
I must have been an antelope or an ibex.
The times we must've had
foraging together for sustenance...
from a mountain stream...
...picking the grubs and burrs
from one another's coats.
Or perhaps we simply touched horns
briefly and went our separate ways.
Oh, I wish it were that simple, Norville.
I wish I was still a gazelle
and you were an antelope...
...or an ibex.
Can I at least call you...
Seriously, Amy, it's what
your beatnik friends call "karma."
The great circle of life, death and rebirth.
I think I heard of that.
What goes around comes around.
That's it. A great wheel
that gives us all what we deserve.
I've go to show Sid and all the guys
I deserve their confidence.
Tomorrow's my big presentation
to the board.
Kiss me, Amy!
Kiss me once for luck.
You know, for kids!
It has economy, simplicity, low
production cost, potential for mass appeal.
All that spells out great profitability.
I had the boys at R&D
make this prototype...
...so our discussion
could have some focus...
...and to give you gentleman a firsthand
look at how exciting this gizmo is.
It's fun, healthy, good exercise,
and the kids'll love it.
We put a little sand inside
to make the experience more pleasant.
The great part is we don't have
to charge an arm and a leg.
-What if you tire before it's done?
-Does it have rules?
-Can more than one play?
-Why is it a game?
-ls it a game?
-Will it break?
-lt better break eventually.
-ls there an object?
-What if you tire before it's done?
-Does it have batteries?
-Could we charge extra for them?
-ls it safe for toddlers?
-How do you know you're finished?
-How does it stop?
-ls that a boy's model?
-Can a parent assemble it?
-What if you tire before it's done?
-ls there a larger model for the obese?
What the hell is it?
It's exactly what Hudsucker lndustry needs
at this juncture.
Even a blind man can tell you
there'll be an enormous demand for this...
You've outdone yourself.
You've reinvented the wheel.
I'll recommend to the board
that we proceed immediately...
...and that the...
...dingus be mass-produced
with all deliberate speed.
Although, you realize...
...the ultimate decision is yours.
I'm for it.
The Flying Doughnut!
-The Dancing Dingus!
The Wacky Circumference!
-We need something short!
-With a little jazz!
-You got something?
I got something!
Rockwell News presents: Tidbits of Time.
World news in pictures, we kid you not!
As Old Man hobbles
towards his finish...
...Barnes is the name
on every American lip.
Norville Barnes, young president
of Hudsucker Industries...
...a boy bred in the heartland,
but now the toast of New York.
Barnes is the brainy inventor of America's
craziest craze: The Hula Hoop!
Reaping huge profits for his company
and winning the hearts...
...and hips of every youngster in America!
Did I say youngster?
Here's Mom taking a break
from her household chores...
...and even Dad is swinging into the act!
Cards, letters, congratulations come
pouring in from Kankakee to Petaluma...
...including one very special
He's on! He's on the line!
Hello, Norville. This is the President.
I just wanted to congratulate you.
I'm very proud of you.
Mrs. Eisenhower is very proud of you.
The American people
are very proud of you.
How'd you come up with the idea
for the Hula Hoop?
It was no great idea, really.
A thing like this takes a whole company
to put together. I'm grateful.
Did you have any idea
there'd be such a huge response?
Frankly, I don't think anybody
expected this much hoopla.
"Hoopla on the Hula Hoop."
Can we quote you on that, Mr. Barnes?
Sure, I guess.
Will you give yourself a nice, fat raise?
Come on, you guys.
What scientific principle explains
the motion of this wheel of wonder?
The dingus is quite simple, really.
It operates on the same principles that
keep the earth spinning around the sun...
...and that keeps you from flying off
the earth into the cold reaches of space...
...where you would die
like a miserable Schwein.
Yes, the principle is the same...
...except for the piece of grit
they put in to make the experience...
Yes, it's hula-hula everywhere!
From the parties of the Park Avenue
...to sweethearts who want
to be married in the swing of things.
Did the board consider you an "ldea Man"
when they promoted you?
I guess. I don't think they promoted me
because they thought I was a schmo.
What's the next big idea for you
and Hudsucker lndustries?
I don't know. An idea like this sweet baby
doesn't just come overnight.
Although, I'll tell you one thing:
I certainly didn't expect all this hoopla.
You can quote me on that.
Rumpus Magazine has called you
the most eligible bachelor of the year.
And society pages have been linking you
with fashion model Za-Za.
There's no truth to the rumors.
We're just dear friends. Isn't that right?
How do you respond to the charges that
you're out of ideas? Have you run dry?
Not at all. Just this week I came up
with several new sweet ideas.
A larger model Hula Hoop for the portly,
a battery option for the lazy or spastic.
A model with extra sand
for the hard-of-hearing.
I'm earning my keep.
Speaking of that,
do you expect to get a raise?
By anyone's account I single-handedly
have saved Hudsucker lndustries.
Our stock is worth more now than ever.
Yes, I expect to be compensated for that.
Pull yourself together, man.
Nobody told me!
You sold all our stock?
We dumped the whole load.
I had shares!
I'd be a millionaire now!
Sure. We'd all be millionaires.
There's no point in looking back.
At the time, Stillson thought that dumping
our position would panic the market...
...further depress the stock.
Then we could buy it back and more,
of course, once it got cheap.
It's never been more valuable!
And I'm ruined.
I'm getting off this merry-go-round!
Had it installed last week.
So, the kid caught a wave.
Right now, he and his dingus are on top.
Well, this too shall pass.
Myrtle J. Mussburger
did not raise her boy to go...
...knock-kneed at the first sign of adversity.
I say, we made this chump,
we can break him!
I say, the higher he climbs,
the harder he drops!
I say, yes...
...the kid has a future...
...and in it...
...I see shame, dishonor...
The music plays, the wheel turns...
...and our spin ain't over yet.
For Pete's sakes, Norville!
Where have you been hiding?
Do you know what those nincompoops
in the boardroom are doing?
I wouldn't call them nincompoops.
They're going to discharge %
of the workforce here!
In New York City alone,
that means people out of work!
People with wives, children and families!
We're pruning away
some of the dead wood.
You mean you know about this?
Know about it? Sure.
You think the board would do anything
without my authorization?
It was my idea.
-Sure it was.
We're in a period of transition.
Things have slowed down.
You're being awfully kind to yourself,
You've slowed down, sitting up here
not doing a lick of work.
You haven't come up with an idea since
the Hoop and the reason is plain to see!
You've forgotten what made your ideas
exciting to you.
It wasn't for the fame and wealth....
Would you get out of here?
You too, sisters, move it. Out!
I've been watching you, even though
you've been trying to avoid me.
Don't think I haven't noticed
how you've changed.
I used to think you were a swell guy.
To be honest,
I thought you were an imbecile.
Then I figured out you were a swell guy.
A little slow maybe, but a swell guy.
Maybe you're not so slow
but you're not so swell either.
Looks like you're an imbecile, after all.
You haven't talked to me for a week
and now I'm going to say my piece.
Look, I've never been...
...dumped by a fella before,
and that hurts...
...but what really hurts is watching you
out-run your soul!
Chasing after money and ease
and the respect of a board...
...that wouldn't give you the time of day...
Worked in a watch factory?
Shut up! Exactly.
Norville, don't you remember
how you used to feel about the Hoop?
You told me you'd bring a smile
to the hips of everyone in America...
...regardless of race, creed or color.
Finally, there'd be a thingamajig
that would bring everyone together...
...even if it kept them apart spatially.
I used to love Norville Barnes.
Yes, love him...
...when he was just a swell kid
with hot ideas who was in over his head.
Now your head's too big to be in over!
Consider this my resignation.
Buddy. You busy?
Looks like you nodded off there, buddy.
Say, you got a minute?
Is this important?
I think so. It's this little idea
I've been working on.
You see, I don't intend
to be an elevator boy forever.
Take a look at this sweet baby!
Get it? Incredibly convenient, isn't it?
You know, for drinks?
This is how it works. It's got these ridges
on the side that give it its whammy.
You don't have to drink like this.
You can drink like this.
I call it the "Buzz-Sucker."
You get it, buddy?
People are dying for this and
we won't have to charge an arm and a leg.
Wait a minute.
This is the most idiotic thing
I've ever seen in my life.
Nobody wants a hair-brained product
You see, Buzz...
...it lacks the creative spark...
...the unalloyed genius
that made something like, say...
...the Hula Hoop such a success.
How dare you barge in here
and take up my valuable time!
I've got a company to run!
I can't have every deadbeat
on the payroll pestering me...
...with their idiotic brainwaves.
I'm sorry, buddy.
An example must be made!
What do you mean?
Is that plain enough for you?
And don't call me "buddy"!
Oh, please, sir! This job running
the elevator, it's all I got!
It's okay if you don't like the Buzz-Sucker!
Just let me keep my job,
I'm praying to you!
Get out of my office!
Get up! Up!
We don't crawl here
at Hudsucker lndustries!
I'm sorry, sir!
Thank you, Aloysius.
I'm sorry I'm late, Sid. That back nine
at Riverdale's really murder.
It's a tough course. A real lollapalooza.
Sit down, son.
I thought the boardroom would be
a swell place to chat undisturbed.
Seems we've got some security problems
here at the Hud.
You don't say.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't bother you with it,
but this is embarrassing.
It concerns you directly.
-It's not serious in itself.
Some elevator boy that you'd fired
came to me...
...claiming that you'd stolen
the idea for the dingus.
You'd stolen it from him.
-Maybe I was a little rough on him--
You don't have to explain to me.
He's a little person. He's nothing.
Fire whoever you want.
No, the problem is...
...who you hired.
A spy, as it turns out.
She must have gotten
to that elevator schnook...
...and her paper is going to town.
Sure, sure, we tried to kill the story,
but the Argus won't play ball.
The problem the board will have is
you hired this woman...
...and you kept her on...
...while she was making
a chump out of you.
Serious error in judgement.
Business is war, kid.
Take no prisoners, give no second chances.
When the board meets after New Year's...
Looks like you're finished.
Fourteenth hole at Riverdale...
...some use a mashie...
...some use a niblick.
You get more loft, more backspin.
...she got your throat pretty well slit.
When you're dead, you stay dead.
You don't believe me,
ask Waring Hudsucker.
Tough luck, kid.
You had a short climb up.
It's a long way down.
-You can't print that!
-We are! She hits the streets tonight.
And she's dynamite!
But it's the bunk! Norville showed me his
design for the whatsit the day I met him.
Buzz couldn't have invented it.
Look at him, he's an imbecile.
Aren't you a broken record?
Gunderson did design it. He's a prodigy.
-You're not the only one with sources.
Smith has a senior source
on the Hud Board. Very senior.
I bet his initials are Sidney J. Mussburger.
You lost it. You gone soft,
by the looks of it.
Soft on the dummy from Dubuque.
This story's hot and you're no longer
on top of it. It's the scoop of the century!
The other papers won't have this
Allemeinisher Zeitung, Le Figaro
will be choking on our dust come morning.
You're fools, both of you!
You're being used, don't you see?
Take a break. You worked hard on this.
You broke it for us.
But it's passed you by
and Smith's taking up the slack.
You want slack...
...I'll give you slack!
You're not putting me out to pasture!
I quit! Consider this my resignation!
So, tell me...
...why do you feel this woman
What's the difference?
The whole world, it seems, is against you?
I don't know.
Und the elevator boy...
...Buzz, he too works against you?
Patient displayed listlessness, apathy,
...und was blue und mopey.
When asked what the Rorschach stains
represented, patient replied:
"Nothing much. I don't know.
Just a blotch. Sure beats me."
Patient shows no ambition,
no get-up-and-go, no vim.
He is riding the grand loopen-ze-loop...
...that goes from the height
of delusional gaiety...
...to the trough of despair.
He is now near,
but not yet at his lowest point.
When he reaches bottom, he may erupt
und pose a danger to himself...
Diagnosis, Dr. Bromfenbrenner?
Patient is eine manic-depressive paranoid,
...with acute schizoid tendencies.
So, patient is...?
Three things: Commitment...
...maintenance in eine secure facility.
Yeah, he's a tall guy. A real mess.
Look, you better get down here.
He says he's a friend of yours.
He didn't say.
But, man, is he from Squaresville.
I want a martini!
It's New Year's Eve. I deserve a martini.
It's like I've been telling you--
I thought you served misfits here!
That's a roger. But we don't sell alcohol.
What kind of bar doesn't serve martinis?
It's a juice-and-coffee bar, man,
like I've been telling you.
Right. So, I want...
I've had a martini in every bar
on the way down here.
Martinis are for squares, man.
What'd you call me, you beatnik son of a--
Look who's here:
...Prizeter Pule winner.
Looking for a nitwit to buy you lunch?
-Bar fella, I'd like...
...a martini, please.
I tried to tell you so many times, l....
It's hard to admit...
...when you've been wrong.
If you could just...
...find it in your heart...
...to give me another chance.
"You take no prisoners,
give no second chances."
Please give me one more chance!
And yourself, too!
We both deserve one.
Just give us a second chance.
Together we can fight this thing.
I know the last story was a lie
and we can prove it. Release a statement!
-I can help you write it!
-What's the difference?
I'm all washed up.
Homo sapiens sapicus.
That just about does it.
I've seen Norville Barnes,
the young man in a big hurry...
...and I've seen Norville Barnes,
the self-important heel.
But I've never seen Norville Barnes,
...and I don't like it.
"Fight on, dear old Muncie
Hoist the gold and blue
"You'll be tattered, torn and hurting
"Once the Munce is done with you
You can't surrender, Norville! Remember:
"Dear old Muncie
"Hoist the gold and blue
"You'll be tattered, torn...
You lied to me.
How could you lie to me?
...a Muncie girl.
But, Norville, l--
"When you're dead, you stay dead!"
New Year's Eve edition!
Barnes' brain caught red-handed!
Man from Muncie a moron after all!
Read all about it!
New Year's Eve edition!
Man from Muncie a moron after all!
You're not so slow, but you're not so swell.
And it looks like you're an imbecile
But your friends called you "dope?"
"Dipstick?" "Lamebrain?" "Schmo?"
Please, buddy, running the elevator,
it's all I got.
Norville, you let me down.
You let Mrs. Eisenhower down.
You let the American people down.
And when you're dead, you stay dead.
The kid is screwy, it's official.
The barred-window boys
are out looking for him now.
We'll see how Wall Street likes the news...
...that the president of Hudsucker
is heading for the booby hatch.
When Doc Bromfenbrenner gets through
...he'll need diapers and a dribble cup.
If that's all....
Long live the Hud!
Watch where you're--
Out on the town? Guess what?
Mr.... Sid says I can have my old job back!
I deserve a second chance, he says.
Turns out he's not such a bad guy after all.
He said you stole that swell hoop idea
from me. What gives?
I would never--
Gee, that was a swell idea.
And Sid says you stoled it!
What are you waiting for? Pop him one!
He's that big-shot faker!
That Wall Street fraud!
Nuttier than a fruitcake!
Somebody call the cops!
Ring out the old, ring in the new!
Strictly speaking, I'm never supposed
to do this...
...but have you got a better idea?
Love that tune. How you doing, kid?
How do you like that thing?
They're all wearing them upstairs.
It's a fad.
...I see you've been having some...
...problems with the board.
I guess Sidney's been putting
the screws to you, Norman.
Say what you like about his ethics,
he's a balls-to-the-wall businessman.
Beat you any way he can.
Straight for the jugular. Very effective.
Any particular reason you didn't give him
my blue letter?
Norman, just a dying man's last words
and wishes, no big deal.
I must've mislaid it.
It's in your apron pocket,
right where you left it.
Failure to deliver a blue letter
is grounds for dismissal.
It's New Year's. I'm not going to add
to your woes.
Want to read it?
You might learn something.
Might keep you from jumping
out of any more windows.
"Blue letter from the desk
of Waring Hudsucker...
"...to Sidney J. Mussburger,
regarding my demise.
"By the time you read this, I will have
joined the organization upstairs...
"...an exciting new beginning.
I will retain fond--"
"Of the years you and I have spent--"
Standard resignation boilerplate.
Go down to the second paragraph.
"You will no doubt be wondering
why I've decided...
"...to end my tenure both at Hudsucker
and here on earth.
"From the standpoint of our balance sheet
"...sure, we're doing fine.
"But in my personal life,
I have made grave errors.
"l let my success become my identity.
"l have foolishly played the great man...
"...and watched my life become more
and more empty as a result.
"My vanity drove away she...
"...who could've saved me.
"Yes, I loved a woman once, Sid,
as you well know.
"A beautiful, vibrant lady...
"...and angel who, in her wisdom,
saw fit to choose you instead of l."
Skip this part.
Next page. Next page!
"This brings me to our company, Sid,
and its future.
"Our next president must have the liberty
I have had as owner...
"...to experiment and even fall..."
"...without fear of the whims
of the stockholders or an impatient board.
-"The new president must be free to fall..."
"...and learn to fail..."
"...and rise again by applying...
"...what he has learned.
"Such is business.
"Such is life.
"Accordingly, I hereby bequeath...
"...all of my shares in Hudsucker lndustry...
"...to whomever you
and the board shall elect...
"...to succeed me as president.
"l assume this will be you.
"lf not, if the board chooses someone else
to be president...
Tough titty toenails!
That'll show the bastard!
"l urge you to work
with the new president...
"...and to remind him when he needs
to be reminded...
"...that failure should never lead
"Despair looks only to the past...
"...and in love."
The future is now.
"The future is now.
"When our future president needs it...
"...hereby bequeaths him...
"...his second chance."
Deliver that letter in the morning!
And so began .
The New Year.
When he learned that Norville owned
the company, Sidney was upset at first.
It's a good thing Doc Bromfenbrenner
...because he was able to keep Sidney
from harming himself.
He prescribed a long rest in the sana....
In the sanatory....
In the booby hatch.
...he went on and ruled
with wisdom and compassion...
...and started dreaming up
them exciting new ideas again.
You know, for kids.
I had the boys down at R&D
throw together this prototype...
...so our discussion could have focus...
...and to give you gentlemen of the board
a firsthand look.
That's the story of how Norville Barnes
climbed way up...
...to the 44th floor
of the Hudsucker building...
...and then fell all the way down,
but didn't quite squish himself.
You know, they say there was a man
who jumped from the 45th floor.
But that's another story.