Network Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Network script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Paddy Chayefsky movie starring William Holden, Peter Finch, and Faye Dunaway.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Network. 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.

Swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards for more free movie scripts!

Network Script


 

                   

 This story is about Howard

Beale, the news anchorman on UBS TV.



 

                   

In his time, Howard Beale

had been a mandarin of televisiůn,



 

                   

the grand old man of news, with a HUT

rating of    and a    audience share.



 

                   

In      however,

his fortunes began to decline.



 

                   

He fell to a    share.

The following year his wife died



 

                   

and he was left a childless widower

with an eight rating and a    share.



 

                   

He became morose and isolated,

began to drink heavily,



 

                   

and on September        

he was fired, effective in two weeks.



 

                   

The news was broken to him

by Max Schumacher,



  

                   

who was the president

of the news divisiůn at UBS.



  

                   

The two old friends got properly pissed.



  

                   

I was at CBS with Ed Murrow in     .



  

                   

Must have been      then.

I was NBC, uh, associate producer.



  

                   

Morning news. I was

just a kid,    years old.



  

                   

Anyway...



  

                   

anyway, they were building the lower

level of the George Washington Bridge.



  

                   

We were doing a remote from there...



  

                   

and nobody told me!



  

                   

A minute after   am I get a call.



  

                   

"Where the hell are you? You're supposed

to be at the George Washington Bridge."



  

                   

I jump outta bed, throw my raincoat

over my pyjamas. I run downstairs.



  

                   

I run out in the street, hail a cab,



  

                   

and I say to the cabbie "Take me to the

middle of the George Washington Bridge."



  

                   

And the cabbie turns around

and he says...



  

                   

he says "Don't do it, buddy!"



  

                   

"You're a young man.

You got your whole life ahead of you!"



  

                   

Didn't I ever tell you that one before?



  

                   

I'm gonna kill myself.



  

                   

Oh, shit, Howard.



  

                   

I'm gonna blow my brains out

right on the air,



  

                   

right in the middle

of the seven o'clock news.



  

                   

You'll get a hell of a rating,

I'll guarantee you that.    share, easy.



  

                   

- You think so?

- Sure.



  

                   

We could make a series out of it.

Suicide of the Week.



  

                   

Hell, why limit ourselves?

Execution of the Week.



  

                   

Terrorist of the Week!



  

                   

I love it.



  

                   

Suicides,



  

                   

assassinations,



  

                   

mad bombers,



  

                   

Mafia hit men,



  

                   

automobile smash-ups...



  

                   

The Death Hour.



  

                   

Great Sunday-night show

for the whole family.



  

                   

We'll wipe that fuckin' Disney

right off the air.



  

                   

- Let's do the Lennon deportation in three.

- It strong enough to bump?



  

                   

In one, then. I'll do a lead on Sarah Jane

Moore to May Berry in San Francisco.



  

                   

- Film I saw was the chief of detectives.

- I think we've got about, uh...



  

                   

ten seconds on the shooting itself.



  

                   

The whole thing is  .  .



  

                   

- Where does that come out?

- About  .  .



  

                   

- Are we using Squeaky Fromme?

- Let's do that in two.



  

                   

Squeaky. Ford at the airport. Bounce.



  

                   

You using a map going

into San Francisco?



  

                   

Um, I'd prefer news pics.



  

                   

All right. What have we got left?



  

                   

Gun control, Patty Hearst affidavit,

guerillas in Chad, OPEC, Indiana.



  

                   

- Hello, Howard.

- Hi. Hi, Dave.



  

                   

- Don't forget, we're not using   .

- Mm-hm.



  

                   

All right.



  

                   

The first attempt on President Ford's life

was    days ago,



  

                   

and again yesterday in San Francisco.

In spite of the two attempts,



  

                   

Mr Ford says he will not become

a prisoner of the Oval Office,



  

                   

a hostage of would-be assassins.



  

                   

 The American people

are good people.



  

                   

Democrats, independents,

Republicans and others.



  

                   

Under no circumstances will I,



  

                   

and I hope no others,



  

                   

capitulate to those that want to undercut



  

                   

what's all good in America.



  

                   

Two, cue Howard.



  

                   

I would like, at this point, to announce

that I will be retiring from this programme



  

                   

in two weeks' time

because of poor ratings.



  

                   

Since this show was the only thing

I had going for me in my life,



  

                   

- I have decided to kill myself.

- So, what'd she say?



  

                   

I'm going to blow my brains out, right

on this programme, a week from today.



  

                   

- Ten seconds to commercial.

- So tune in next Tuesday.



  

                   

That should give the public-relations

people a week to promote the show.



  

                   

We ought to get a hell of a rating

out of that. A    share, easy.



  

                   

- Listen, uh, did you hear that?

- What was that about?



  

                   

Howard just said he was going to

blow his brains out next Tuesday.



  

                   

- What?

- Didn't you hear?



  

                   

What's wrong now?



  

                   

Howard just said he was going

to kill himself next Tuesday.



  

                   

What do you mean, Howard said

he's gonna kill himself next Tuesday?



  

                   

He was supposed to do a tag on...



  

                   

He said "Tune in next Tuesday.

I'm gonna shoot myself."



  

                   

- What the hell's going on?

- He just said he'd blow his brains out.



  

                   

- What the fuck's going on?

- They said "What the fuck is going on?"



  

                   

- I can't hear you.

- Turn the studio mike on.



  

                   

- We're back on in    seconds.

- Ten seconds.



  

                   

- What are you doing? Have you flipped?

- I think we'd better get him off.



  

                   

- Get him off!

- What's the matter?



  

                   

Turn the sound off, you stupid

son of a bitch. He's goin' out live.



  

                   

- We're in a lot of fucking trouble here.

- This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen.



  

                   





  

                   

Lou, can't we clear out

that downstairs lobby?



  

                   

- How am I going to clear 'em out?

- Every TV station in the city.



  

                   

- Anything litigable?

- Not so far.



   

                   

- Frank Hackett just walked in.

- Nelson in there?



   

                   

He's with Wheeler.     fucking

phone calls about the foul language.



   

                   

- Shit!

- What page are you puttin' it on?



   

                   

- Hackett just walked in.

- ABC want the tape.



   

                   

Tell 'em to go fuck'emselves,

and that goes for you too, Marty.



   

                   

- You're off the air as of now.

- He wants to talk to you.



   

                   

- Who's replacing Beale?

- We're flying Snowden up.



   

                   

All right, everybody. Let's see

how the other networks handle this.



   

                   

- Ten o'clock news opened with it.

- Good evening.



   

                   

- Howard Beale, one of televisiůn's...

- They'll all make it their lead.



   

                   

Howard Beale interrupted his programme

to announce he was going to kill himself.



   

                   

An unusual thing happened at one

of our sister networks, UBS, this evening.



   

                   

How are we handling it?



   

                   

Halloway's going to make

a statement after the show



   

                   

that Howard's been under

great personal stress, etc.



   

                   

I'll call you back. All right, we've got

a stockholders' meeting tomorrow



   

                   

at which we're gonna announce

the restructuring plan.



   

                   

I don't want this grotesque incident

to interfere with it.



   

                   

I'll suggest Mr Ruddy open with a short

statement washing this whole thing off.



   

                   

Max, you'd better have answers for

those nuts at the stockholders' meeting.



   

                   

Mr Beale has been under great

professional and personal strain.



   

                   

I've got some goddamn surprises

for you too.



   

                   

I've had it up to here with your cruddy

divisiůn and its annual $  -million deficit!



   

                   

You keep your hands off

my news divisiůn, Frank.



   

                   

We're responsible

to corporate level, not you.



   

                   

- We'll goddamn well see about that.

- All right, take it easy.



   

                   

How do we get Beale out?



   

                   

I understand there are at least

a hundred reporters in the lobby.



   

                   

We got a limo at the freight exit.



   

                   

Howard, you're gonna stay with me at my

place. There's bound to be press at yours.



   

                   

I want Snowden here by noon.



   

                   

Have Lester cover the CIA hearings,

and give the White House to Doris.



   

                   

Youíre late for your screening, Max.



   

                   

Right. OK.



   

                   

If John Wheeler calls, switch him

to projection room seven.



   

                   

- Sorry, Bill. This Beale business...

- Itís all right.



   

                   

- Diana asked if she could sit in on this.

- Fine. Howís it goiní?



   

                   

Youíll like this better than

the stuff I showed you last time.



   

                   





   

                   

Max Schumacher.



   

                   

Oh, goddammit! When, Louise?



   

                   

Laureen...



   

                   

Well, did he say anything?



   

                   

All right. Thank you.



   

                   

The Communist Party believes that the

most pressing political necessity today



   

                   

is the consolidation of the revolutionary



   

                   

radical and democratic movements

into united fronts.



   

                   

Harry, Howard Beale left my house about

   minutes ago. Has he come in yet?



   

                   

Well, let me know when he arrives, huh?



   

                   

- Thatís Laureen Hobbs, isnít it?

- Yeah.



   

                   

This is from a David Susskind thing a

while back. I think we can use some of it.



   

                   

What weíre going to see now

is something really sensational.



   

                   

The Flagstaff Independent Bank

of Arizona was ripped off last week



   

                   

by a terrorist group called

the Ecumenical Liberation Army.



   

                   

They took movies of the rip-off while

they were ripping it off. Wait till you see it.



   

                   

Thatís not the one

that kidnapped Patty Hearst?



   

                   

Thatís the Symbionese Liberation Army.

This is the Ecumenical Liberation Army.



   

                   

They kidnapped Mary Ann Gifford

three weeks ago.



   

                   

Thereís a lot of liberation armies

in the underground



   

                   

and a lot of kidnapped heiresses.

This is Mary Ann Gifford.



   

                   

Thatís the Great Ahmed Khan.

Heís their leader.



   

                   

 They actually shot this film

while they were ripping off the bank?



   

                   

 Wait till you see it. I donít know

whether to edit or leave it raw like this.



   

                   

This is terrific stuff. Where did you get it?



   

                   

I got everything through Laureen Hobbs.

Sheís my contact for all this stuff.



   

                   





   

                   

- Yeah?

-  I've got Howard on the other line.



   

                   

Put him on.



   

                   

Howard, Iíve got Max on four.

Would you pick up?



   

                   

Listen, Max, Iíd like another shot.



   

                   

- Oh, come on, Howard.

- I don't mean the whole show.



   

                   

Iíd just like to come on,

make some brief farewell statement



   

                   

and then turn the show over

to Jack Snowden.



   

                   

I have    years at this network, Max.

I have some standing in the industry.



   

                   

I just donít want to go out like a clown.

Itíll be simple, dignified.



   

                   

You and Harry can check the copy.



   

                   

I think itíll take the strain

off the show, Max.



   

                   

-  Well, what do you think?

- Well, OK, and no booze today, Howard.



   

                   

No booze.



   

                   

George, can you come

into my office for a minute?



   

                   

Right.



   

                   

- Barbara, is Tommy around?

- I think so.



   

                   

Iíd like to see the two

of you for a moment.



   

                   

This is Bill Herron from our West Coast

Special Programmes Department.



   

                   

George Bosch, Barbara Schlesinger,

Tommy Pellegrino.



   

                   

I saw footage of a special Billís doing

on the revolutionary underground.



   

                   

Most of itís tedious - Laureen Hobbs and

two fatigue jackets muttering Marxism.



   

                   

But heís got about eight minutes of a bank

robbery that is absolutely sensational.



   

                   

Authentic stuff - actually shot

while the robbery was going on!



   

                   

You remember

the Mary Ann Gifford kidnapping?



   

                   

Itís that bunch of nuts. Sheís in

the movie, shooting machine guns.



   

                   

This is really terrific footage!



   

                   

I think we can get a hell of a movie of

the week out of it. Maybe even a series.



   

                   

A series? What are we talking about?



   

                   

Weíve got a bunch of hobgoblin radicals

called the Ecumenical Liberation Army



   

                   

who go around taking home movies

of themselves robbing banks.



   

                   

Maybe theyíll take movies of

themselves kidnapping heiresses,



   

                   

hijacking     s, bombing bridges,

assassinating ambassadors.



   

                   

Weíd open each weekís segment

with that authentic footage,



   

                   

hire a couple of writers to write a story

behind that footage, and we got a series.



   

                   

A series about a bunch

of bank-robbing guerillas?



   

                   

What are we gonna call it?

The Mao Tse-tung Hour?



   

                   

Why not? Theyíve got Strike Force,

Task Force, SWAT.



   

                   

Why not Che Guevara

and his own little mod squad?



   

                   

Look, I sent you all a concept-analysis

report yesterday. Did any of you read it?



   

                   

Well, in a nutshell it said

the American people are turning sullen.



   

                   

Theyíve been clobbered by Vietnam,

Watergate, inflation, the Depressiůn.



   

                   

Theyíve turned off, shot up,

fucked themselves limp. Nothing helps.



   

                   

So this concept-analysis report concludes



   

                   

the American people want somebody

to articulate their rage for them.



   

                   

Iíve been telling you since I took this job

six months ago that I want angry shows.



   

                   

I donít want conventional programming.



   

                   

I want counterculture.

I want anti-Establishment.



   

                   

I donít wanna play butch boss

with you people,



   

                   

but when I took over, this department had

the worst programming record in history.



   

                   

This network hasnít one show in the

top   . This network is an industry joke.



   

                   

Weíd better start putting together

one winner for next September.



   

                   

I want a show developed based

on the activities of a terrorist group.



   

                   

Joseph Stalin and his

Merry Band of Bolsheviks.



   

                   

I want ideas from you people.

That is what youíre paid for.



   

                   

And by the way, the next time I send

an audience research report around,



   

                   

you all better read it or Iíll sack

the fucking lot of you. Is that clear?



   

                   

Iíll be on the coast in four weeks. Will you

set up a meeting with Laureen Hobbs?



   

                   

Sure.



   

                   

But the business of management

is management.



   

                   

And at the time CCA took control

the UBS TV network was foundering,



   

                   

with less than seven per cent

of national televisiůn revenues -



   

                   

most network programmes

being sold at station rates.



   

                   

I am therefore pleased to announce

I am submitting to the board a plan



   

                   

for the coordination

of the main profit centres,



   

                   

with the specific intention of making each

divisiůn more responsive to management.



   

                   

Point one - the divisiůn producing

the lowest rate of return



   

                   

has been the news divisiůn,



   

                   

with its $  -million budget and

its average annual deficit of    million.



   

                   

Historically news divisions

are expected to lose money,



   

                   

but to our minds this philosophy is

a wanton fiscal affront to be resisted.



   

                   

The new plan calls for local news to be

transferred to owned stations divisions.



   

                   

News radio would be transferred

to the UBS radio divisiůn,



   

                   

and in effect the news divisiůn would be

reduced from an independent divisiůn



   

                   

to a department accountable to network.



   

                   

- What was all that about, Ed?

- This is not the time, Max.



   

                   

Why wasnít I told about this?



   

                   

Why was I led up onto that podium and

humiliated in front of the stockholders?



   

                   

Goddammit, I spoke to

John Wheeler this morning



   

                   

and he assured me

the news divisiůn was safe.



   

                   

If you want me to resign

itís a hell of a way to do it.



   

                   

Weíll talk about this tomorrow

at our regular morning meeting.



   

                   

- Eleven. Ten. Nine.

- Roll VTA.



   

                   

Eight. Seven. Six.



   

                   

In five. Four. Three. Two.



   

                   

- One.

- One. Cue VTA.



   

                   

And...



   

                   

cue announcer.



   

                   

The UBS "Evening News"...



   

                   

with Howard Beale.



   

                   

Ready, two. Two, cue Howard.



   

                   

Good evening.



   

                   

Today is Wednesday, September   

and this is my last broadcast.



   

                   

Yesterday I announced that

I was going to commit public suicide.



   

                   

Admittedly, an act of madness.



   

                   

I'll tell you what happened.

I just ran out of bullshit.



   

                   

- All right, cut him off.

- Leave him on.



   

                   

- Am I still on the air?

- If this is how he wants to go out,



   

                   

- this is how he goes out.

- I don't know any other way to say it.



   

                   

Mr Schumacherís here.

You want to talk to him?



   

                   

Bullshit is all the reasons

we give for living.



   

                   

If we can't think up reasons of our own,

we have the God bullshit.



   

                   

- Holy Mary, mother of God!

- Tom, what is it?



   

                   

... through all this pointless pain,

humiliation and decay,



   

                   

so there better be someone somewhere

who does know - that's the God bullshit.



   

                   

Heís saying life is bullshit, and it is!

Why are you screaming?



   

                   

Man is a noble creature that can

order his own worid. Who needs God?



   

                   

If there's anybody that can look around

this demented slaughterhouse of a worid



   

                   

- and say man is a noble creature...

- I'm not taking calls.



   

                   

- ... believe me, that man is full of bullshit.

- Whatís so goddamn funny?



   

                   

I canít help it, Harry. Itís funny.



   

                   

- Max, this is going out live to    affiliates.

- I don't have any kids.



   

                   

Leave him on.



   

                   

And I was married for    years

of shrill, shrieking fraud.



   

                   

- Mr Hackettís trying to get through.

- Tell Mr Hackett to go fuck himself.



   

                   

So I don't have any bullshit left.



   

                   

I just ran out of it, you see.



   

                   

Mr Ruddy, could we have

one statement from you?



   

                   

Iím sorry, I donít have

all the information yet.



   

                   

Mr Ruddy, please? If we could just

have one statement about Mr Beale.



   

                   

Max?



   

                   

Iíll wanna see Mr Beale after this.



   

                   

The way I hear it, Max, you were primarily

responsible for this stupid prank.



   

                   

- Is that the fact, Max?

- Thatís the fact.



   

                   

It was unconscionable.



   

                   

- Doesnít seem to be any more to say.

- I have something to say, Ed.



   

                   

I want to know why

the debasement of the news divisiůn



   

                   

announced at the stockholders" meeting

this afternoon was kept secret from me.



   

                   

You and I go back    years, Ed.



   

                   

I took this job

with your personal assurance



   

                   

that youíd back my autonomy

against any encroachment.



   

                   

But ever since CCA acquired control

of UBS Systems ten months ago



   

                   

Hackettís been taking over everything.



   

                   

Who the hell is running this network?

You or some conglomerate called CCA?



   

                   

Youíre president of the Systems group,



   

                   

and Hackettís nothing but

a hatchet man for CCA.



   

                   

Nelson here, president of the network,



   

                   

and he hasnít a thing to say

about anything any more.



   

                   

I told you at the

Stockholdersí meeting, Max,



   

                   

that we would discuss all that at

our regular meeting tomorrow morning.



   

                   

If youíd been patient, I wouldíve explained

that I too thought Hackett precipitate,



   

                   

and that the news divisiůn

would not be reorganised



   

                   

until everyone, specifically you, Max,



   

                   

had been consulted and satisfied.



   

                   

Instead you engaged this network

in a shocking and disgraceful episode.



   

                   

Your position is no longer tenable,

regardless of restructuring.



   

                   

I will expect your resignation tomorrow.



   

                   

We will coordinate our statements

to the least detriment of everyone.



   

                   

Bob McDonough will take over the news

divisiůn until we can sort all this out.



   

                   

Iíd like to see Mr Beale now.



   

                   

Theyíre looking for him, Ed.

They donít know where he is.



   

                   

Well, every day, five days a week, for   

years, Iíve been sitting behind that desk.



   

                   

The dispassionate pundit

reporting with seemly detachment



   

                   

the daily parade of lunacies

that constitute the news.



   

                   

And just once I wanted

to say what I really felt.



   

                   

Knock it off, Arthur.



   

                   

It was, after all, my last...



   

                   

- Are the overnight ratings in?

- Theyíre on your desk.



   

                   

- Have you still got yesterdayís?

- Shall I bring them in?



   

                   

Yeah.



   

                   

These are the four outlines submitted

by Universal for an hour series.



   

                   

You neednít bother

to read them. Iíll tell you.



   

                   

The first one is set in a large Eastern

law school, presumably Harvard.



   

                   

The series is irresistibly entitled

The New Lawyers.



   

                   

The characters are a crusty

but benign ex-Supreme Court justice,



   

                   

presumably Oliver Wendell Holmes,

by way of Dr Zorba.



   

                   

There is a beautiful girl graduate student



   

                   

and a local DA who is brilliant

and sometimes cuts corners.



   

                   

Next one.



   

                   

- The second oneís called Amazon Squad.

- Lady cops.



   

                   

Characters include a crusty

but benign police lieutenant



   

                   

who always gets heat

from the commissioner,



   

                   

a hard-drinking detective

who thinks women belong in the kitchen,



   

                   

and a beautiful girl cop

whoís fighting the feminist battle.



   

                   

Weíre up to our ears in lady cops.



   

                   

The next is another

investigative-reporter show.



   

                   

A crusty but benign managing editor...



   

                   

You know, Barbara,



   

                   

the Arabs have decided to jack up

the price of oil another    per cent.



   

                   

The CIA has been caught

opening Senator Humphreyís mail.



   

                   

Thereís a civil war in Angola,

another one in Beirut,



   

                   

New York Cityís still facing default. They

finally caught up with Patricia Hearst.



   

                   

And the whole front page

of the Daily News is Howard Beale.



   

                   

Thereís also a two-column story

on page one of the Times.



   

                   

Helen, call Mr Hackettís office. See if he

can give me a few minutes this morning.



   

                   

KTNS Kansas City refuses to carry

our network news show any more



   

                   

- unless Beale is taken off the air.

- Did you see the overnights on the news?



   

                   

It has an eight in New York, a nine

in LA and a    share in both cities.



   

                   

Last night Beale went on

and yelled "bullshit" for two minutes,



   

                   

and I tell you tonightís show will get a   

share at least. We lucked into something.



   

                   

Are you suggesting we put that lunatic

back on the air, yelling "bullshit"?



   

                   

Yes, I think we should put Beale

back on tonight and keep him on.



   

                   

Did you see the News this morning?

Did you see the Times?



   

                   

Weíve got press coverage on this

you couldnít buy for a million dollars.



   

                   

That show jumped five rating points in

one night. Tonight will be at least   .



   

                   

We just increased our audience

by    or    million people in one night!



   

                   

Youíre not gonna get something like this

again. You canít just piss it away.



   

                   

Howard Beale said what every American

feels - that heís tired of all the bullshit.



   

                   

Heís articulating the popular rage.

I want that show, Frank.



   

                   

I can turn it into the biggest smash on TV.



   

                   

What? Itís a news show.

Itís not your department.



   

                   

I see Howard Beale

as a latter-day prophet,



   

                   

a messianic figure, inveighing against

the hypocrisies of our times.



   

                   

A strip Savonarola Monday through

Friday that could just go through the roof!



   

                   

And Iím talking about

a six-dollar cost-per-thousand show.



   

                   

Iím talking about $   -       minutes.



   

                   

You wanna figure out the revenues of

a strip show for        bucks a minute?



   

                   

One show like that could pull

this network right outta the hole.



   

                   

Itís being handed on a plate.

Letís not blow it.



   

                   





   

                   

Yes?



   

                   

Tell him Iíll be a few minutes.



   

                   

- Let me think it over.

- Letís not go to committee on this.



   

                   

Itís   .  . We want Beale in that studio

by  .  . We donít wanna lose momentum.



   

                   

For Godís sakes, weíre talking about

putting a manifestly irresponsible man



   

                   

on national televisiůn.



   

                   

Iíd like to talk to Legal Affairs,

and Herb Thackeray,



   

                   

and certainly Joe Donnelly

in Standards and Practices.



   

                   

And you know Iím gonna be eyeball

to eyeball with Mr Ruddy on this.



   

                   

If Iím wrestling Ruddy,

I wanna make sure of some of my ground.



   

                   

Iím the one whose ass

is going on the line.



   

                   

Iíll get back to you, Diana.



   

                   

I donít believe the top brass of a TV

network are sitting around their salads...



   

                   

Top brass of a bankrupt TV network with

projected losses of $    million this year.



   

                   

I donít care how bankrupt.



   

                   

You canít be seriously proposing,

and the rest of us seriously considering,



   

                   

putting on a pornographic

network news show. The FCCíd kill us.



   

                   

Sit down, Nelson. The FCC canít do

anything except rap our knuckles.



   

                   

I donít want to think about litigations.

We could be up to our ears in lawsuits.



   

                   

- The affiliates wonít carry it.

- Theyíll kiss your ass for a hit show.



   

                   

- The popular reaction...

- Thatís what we have to find out.



   

                   

- The New York Times...

- It doesnít advertise on our network.



   

                   

All I know is this violates every canon

of respectable broadcasting.



   

                   

Weíre a whorehouse network

and we have to take whatever we can get.



   

                   

I donít want any part of it. I donít fancy

myself the president of a whorehouse.



   

                   

Thatís very commendable of you,

Nelson. Now sit down.



   

                   

Your indignation has been duly recorded.

You can always resign tomorrow.



   

                   

Now, look. What, in substance,

are we proposing?



   

                   

Merely to add editorial comment

to our network news show.



   

                   

Brinkley, Sevareid, Reasoner

all have their comments.



   

                   

Now Howard Bealeíll have his.

I think we ought to give it a shot.



   

                   

Letís see what happens tonight.

Telephone, please.



   

                   

I donít wanna have to tell

Max Schumacher about this.



   

                   

Max doesnít work here any more.

Mr Ruddy fired him last night.



   

                   

Bob McDonoughís running

the news divisiůn now.



   

                   

Bob McDonough in News, please.



   

                   

Oh, I donít know.



   

                   

I may teach. I may write a book.



   

                   

Whatever the hell one does when one

approaches the autumn of oneís years.



   

                   

My God, is that me?



   

                   

Was I ever that young?



   

                   

No. Howard just brought in

a picture of Ed Murrow



   

                   

and the whole CBS gang

when we were there.



   

                   

You wouldnít believe it. Walter Cronkite,

Harry Reasoner, Hollenbeck, Bob Trout.



   

                   

- Is that you, Howard?

- Mm-hm.



   

                   

Yeah.



   

                   

- OK, Dick, weíll be in touch.

- You remember this kid?



   

                   

You once sent him out to interview

Cleveland Amory on vivisection.



   

                   

- Thatís him.

- 



   

                   

Whatís so funny?



   

                   





   

                   

So I jump out of bed in my pyjamas,

I grab my raincoat, I run downstairs,



   

                   

I run out in the street and I hail a cab.

And I jumped in and I yelled at the driver



   

                   

"Take me to the middle of

the George Washington Bridge."



   

                   

And the driver turns around and he says

"Donít do it, buddy! Donít do it!"



   

                   

"Youíre young.

You got your whole life ahead of ya!"



   

                   

Wait a minute! Wait a minute!



   

                   

If you think thatís funny... if you think

thatís funny, wait till you hear this.



   

                   

Iíve just come from Hackettís office.

He wants Howard on the air tonight.



   

                   

- Youíre kidding!

- Ratings went up five points last night.



   

                   

He wants Howard to go back on

and do his angry-man thing.



   

                   

What are you talkin" about?



   

                   

Iím telling you. They want Howard

to go back on and yell "bullshit".



   

                   

They want Howard to go on

spontaneously letting out his anger.



   

                   

A latter-day prophet,

denouncing hypocrisies.



   

                   

Hey, that sounds pretty good.



   

                   

Whoís this "they"?



   

                   

Hackett. Chaney was there.

The Legal Affairs guy.



   

                   

- Oh, and that girl from Programming.

- Diana? Whatís she got to do with this?



   

                   

- Youíre kidding, arenít you?

- Iím not kidding. I told"em.



   

                   

I said "Weíre running

a news department, not a circus."



   

                   

"And Howard Bealeís not a bearded lady."



   

                   

"If you think I accept

this bastardisation of the news,



   

                   

you can have my resignation

along with Max Schumacherís."



   

                   

"I speak for Howard and everybody..."



   

                   

Hey, hold it, McDonough.

Thatís my job youíre turning down.



   

                   

Iíd go nuts without some kind of work.



   

                   

And whatís wrong with being an

angry prophet, denouncing hypocrisies?



   

                   

What do you think, Max?



   

                   

Do you wanna be an angry prophet,

denouncing hypocrisies?



   

                   

Yeah, I think Iíd like to be an

angry prophet, denouncing hypocrisies.



   

                   

Then grab it. Grab it!



   

                   

- Afternoon, Mr Ruddy.

- Afternoon.



   

                   

Good afternoon, Mr Ruddy.



   

                   

- Heís waiting for you, Mr Ruddy.

- Thank you.



   

                   

Nelson Chaney tells me Beale may

actually go on the air this evening.



   

                   

As far as I know, Howardís going to do it.



   

                   

- Are you gonna sit still for this, Ed?

- Yes.



   

                   

I think Hackettís overstepped himself.



   

                   

Thereís corporate manoeuvring going on.

Hackett is clearly forcing a confrontation.



   

                   

That would account for his behaviour

at the meeting. However...



   

                   

I think heís making a serious

mistake with this Beale business.



   

                   

I suspect CCA will be upset

at Hackettís presumptuousness.



   

                   

Certainly, Mr Jensen will.



   

                   

So Iím going to let Hackett

have his head for a while.



   

                   

He just might lose it

over this Beale business.



   

                   

Iíd like you to reconsider

your resignation, Max.



   

                   

I assume that Hackett wouldnít take such

steps without support on the CCA board.



   

                   

Iíll have to go directly to Mr Jensen.



   

                   

When that happens, Iím going

to need every friend Iíve got.



   

                   

I donít want Hackettís people

in all the divisional positions,



   

                   

so Iíd like you to stay on, Max.



   

                   

Of course, Ed.



   

                   

Thank you, Max.



   

                   

 This has been the UBS

"Evening News" with Howard Beale.



   

                   

 The initial response to the new

Howard Beale show was not auspicatory.



   

                   

The press was, without exception, hostile,

and industry reaction negative.



   

                   

The ratings for the Thursday

and Friday shows were both   



   

                   

but Monday's rating dropped a point,

suggesting the novelty was wearing off.



   

                   

Did you know a number of psychics

work as licensed brokers on Wall Street?



   

                   

Some counsel their clients

using tarot cards.



   

                   

Theyíre pretty successful,

even in a bear market and selling short.



   

                   

I met one of them last week and

thought of doing a show around her.



   

                   

The Wayward Witch of Wall Street,

something like that.



   

                   

But if her tips are good,

she could wreck the market.



   

                   

So I called her this morning and asked

her how she was on predicting the future.



   

                   

She said she was occasionally prescient.



   

                   

"For example" she said "I just had a

fleeting visiůn of you sitting in an office



   

                   

with a craggy middle-aged man

with whom you are



   

                   

or will be emotionally involved."



   

                   

And here I am.



   

                   

- She does all this with tarot cards?

- No, she operates on parapsychology.



   

                   

She has trancelike episodes

and feels things in her energy field.



   

                   

I think this lady could be

very useful to you, Max.



   

                   

- In what way?

- Well, you put on a news show.



   

                   

Hereís somebody who could predict

tomorrowís news for you.



   

                   

Her name, aptly enough, is Sybil.

Sybil the Soothsayer.



   

                   

You could give her two minutes at the end

of a Howard Beale show, say on Fridays,



   

                   

which is suggestively occult,

and she could oraculate.



   

                   

Then next week everyone tunes in

to see how good her predictions were.



   

                   

Maybe she could do the weather.



   

                   

Your news show is gonna need help

if itís going to hold.



   

                   

Beale doesnít do the angry-man thing

well at all. Heís too kvetchy.



   

                   

We want a prophet, not a curmudgeon.

He should do more apocalyptic doom.



   

                   

I think you should take on a couple of

writers to write some jeremiads for him.



   

                   

I see you donít fancy my suggestions.



   

                   

- Hell, youíre not serious, are you?

- Oh, Iím serious.



   

                   

The fact is, I could make your Beale show

the highest-rated news show in televisiůn



   

                   

- if youíd let me have a crack at it.

- What do you mean, have a crack at it?



   

                   

Iíd like to programme it

for you, develop it.



   

                   

I wouldnít interfere with the actual news

itself, but TV is show biz, Max.



   

                   

And even the news has

to have a little showmanship.



   

                   

My God, you are serious.



   

                   

I watched your six o"clock news today.

Itís straight tabloid.



   

                   

You had a minute and a half of

a lady riding naked in Central Park.



   

                   

And you had less than a minute

of hard international news.



   

                   

It was all sex, scandal,

brutal crime, sports,



   

                   

children with incurable diseases,

and lost puppies.



   

                   

So I wonít listen to any protestations

of high standards of journalism.



   

                   

Youíre right down in the street,

soliciting audiences like the rest of us.



   

                   

If youíre gonna hustle, at least do it right.



   

                   

Iíll bring this up tomorrow,

but I donít like network hassles.



   

                   

I was hoping you and I could work

this out between us. Thatís why Iím here.



   

                   

I was hoping you were looking

for an emotional involvement



   

                   

with a craggy middle-aged man.



   

                   

Oh, I wouldnít rule that out entirely.



   

                   

All right, Diana,



   

                   

you bring up all your ideas at the meeting

tomorrow, because if you don"t, I will.



   

                   

I think Howardís making

a goddamn fool of himself,



   

                   

and so does everybody that

Howard and I know in this industry.



   

                   

It was a fluke. It didnít work.



   

                   

So tomorrow Howard

goes back to the old format,



   

                   

and all of this gutter depravity

comes to an end.



   

                   

OK.



   

                   

I donít get it, Diana.

You hung around until  .  



   

                   

and then came all the way down here just

to pitch a couple of loony show biz ideas



   

                   

when you knew goddamn well

Iíd laugh you right out of the office.



   

                   

I donít get it.



   

                   

Whatís your scam in this?



   

                   

Max, my little visit here tonight



   

                   

was a gesture made out of

your stature in the industry,



   

                   

and because Iíve admired you

since I was a kid majoring in speech



   

                   

at the University of Missouri.

But sooner or later, with or without you,



   

                   

I will take over your network news show,

and I figured I might as well start tonight.



   

                   

I, uh, think I once gave a lecture



   

                   

- at the University of Missouri.

- I was in the audience.



   

                   

I had a terrible schoolgirl crush

on you for a couple of months.



   

                   

If we could get back

for a moment to that gypsy



   

                   

who predicted all that about emotional

involvements and middle-aged men...



   

                   

What are you doing for dinner tonight?



   

                   

I canít make it tonight, love.

Call me tomorrow.



   

                   

- Do you have a favourite restaurant?

- I eat anything.



   

                   

I get a feeling Iím being made.



   

                   

You are.



   

                   

Well, Iíve got to warn you,

I donít do anything on my first date.



   

                   

Weíll see.



   

                   

Schmuck. What are you getting into?



   

                   

I was married for four years

and pretended to be happy,



   

                   

and had six years of analysis

and pretended to be sane.



   

                   

My husband ran off with his boyfriend

and I had an affair with my analyst.



   

                   

He told me I was

the worst lay he had ever had.



   

                   

I canít tell you how many men

have told me what a lousy lay I am.



   

                   

I apparently have

a masculine temperament.



   

                   

I arouse quickly,

consummate prematurely,



   

                   

and I canít wait to get my clothes

back on and get out of that bedroom.



   

                   

I seem to be inept at everything

except my work.



   

                   

Iím good at my work,

so I confine myself to that.



   

                   

All I want out of life

is a    share and a    rating.



   

                   

Youíre married, surely.



   

                   

   years. I have a married daughter

in Seattle whoís six months" pregnant,



   

                   

and a younger girl whoís starting

at Northwestern in January.



   

                   

Well, Max, here we are.



   

                   

Middle-aged man, reaffirming

his middle-aged manhood,



   

                   

and a terrified young woman

with a father complex.



   

                   

What sort of script do you think

we can make out of this?



   

                   

Corridor gossip says that you"re

Frank Hackettís backstage girl.



   

                   

Iím not.



   

                   

Frankís a corporation man, body and soul.

He has no loves, lusts or allegiances



   

                   

that are not directed toward

becoming a CCA board member.



   

                   

So why should he bother with me?

Iím not even a stockholder.



   

                   

What about your loves,

lusts and allegiances?



   

                   

Is your wife in town?



   

                   

Yes.



   

                   

Well, then, Weíd better go to my place.



   

                   

I canít hear you.

Youíll have to talk a little louder.



   

                   

Yes.



   

                   

I hear you.



   

                   

Yes.



   

                   

Yes.



   

                   

Why me?



   

                   

I said why me?



   

                   

OK.



   

                   

Howard in his office?



   

                   

Oh, Harry, Iím killing this whole

screwball angry-prophet thing.



   

                   

- Tonight we go back to straight news.

- OK.



   

                   

Fifteen seconds. Fourteen. Thirteen.



   

                   

Yeah?



   

                   

Max, Iím tellin" you heís fine. Heís been

sharp all day. Heís been funny as hell.



   

                   

Had everybody crackin" up at the

rundown meeting. I told him. I told him.



   

                   

Up. Cue VTA.



   

                   

Ready, two.



   

                   

- Cue announcer.

- The UBS "Evening News".



   

                   

- With Howard Beale.

- Take two. Cue Howard.



   

                   

Last night I was awakened

from a fitful sleep



   

                   

shortly after two o'clock in the morning



   

                   

by a shrill, sibilant, faceless voice.



   

                   

I couldnít make it out at first,

in the dark bedroom.



   

                   

I said "Iím sorry, you will

have to talk a little louder."



   

                   

- What do you want me to do?

- Nothing.



   

                   

And the voice said

"I want you to tell the people the truth."



   

                   

"Not easy, because they

donít wanna know the truth."



   

                   

And I said "Youíre kidding? What the hell

should I know about the truth?"



   

                   

But the voice said to me

"Don't worry about the truth."



   

                   

"I will put the words in your mouth." And

I said "What is this? The burning bush?"



   

                   

"Iím not Moses." And the voice said "Iím

not God. What has that got to do with it?"



   

                   

The voice said "Weíre not talking about

eternal or absolute or ultimate truth."



   

                   

"We're talking about impermanent,

transient, human truth. "



   

                   

"I don't expect you to be capable of truth,



   

                   

but at least you're capable

of self-preservation. "



   

                   

And I said "Why me?" And the voice said

"Because youíre on televisiůn, dummy!"



   

                   

Beautiful.



   

                   

"You have    million Americans listening.

After this you could have    million. "



   

                   

"Iím not asking you to wear sackcloth

and ashes, preaching the Armageddon."



   

                   

"Youíre on TV, man!"



   

                   

So I thought about it for a moment.



   

                   

And then I said "OK."



   

                   

Close the door, Harry.



   

                   

Howard, Iím taking you off the air.



   

                   

I think youíre having a breakdown,

require treatment.



   

                   

This is not a psychotic episode.



   

                   

This is a cleansing moment of clarity.



   

                   

Iím imbued, Max.

Iím imbued with some special spirit.



   

                   

Itís not a religious feeling. Itís a shocking

eruption of great electrical energy.



   

                   

I feel vivid and flashing,



   

                   

as if suddenly Iíd been plugged into

some great electromagnetic field.



   

                   

I feel connected to all living things.



   

                   

To flowers,



   

                   

birds,



   

                   

all the animals of the worid.



   

                   

And even to some great,

unseen, living force.



   

                   

What I think the Hindus call prana.



   

                   

But itís not a breakdown.



   

                   

Iíve never felt more orderly in my life.

It is a shattering and beautiful sensation.



   

                   

It is the exalted flow

of the space-time continuum,



   

                   

save that it is spaceless

and timeless and...



   

                   

of such loveliness.



   

                   

I feel on the verge of

some great, ultimate truth.



   

                   

And you will not take me off the air

for now or for any other spaceless time!



   

                   

 Oh, boy.



   

                   

-  Is he OK?

- Heís just fainted.



   

                   

Iíd better get him back

to my house again tonight.



   

                   

Help me get him up.



   

                   

Itís crazy.



   

                   

The whole place has gone crazy.

They just seem to hassle me.



   

                   





   

                   





   

                   

Wake up, Max, because Howardís gone.



   

                   

Iíll make you some coffee.



   

                   

What do you mean, you donít know

where he is? Heís a hit!



   

                   

Over      phone calls. Go down to

the mailroom - over       telegrams.



   

                   

- The response is sensational. Herb?

- Max...



   

                   

Herbís phone hasnít stopped. Every damn

affiliate from Albuquerque to Sandusky.



   

                   

- 

- The response is sensational. Yes?



   

                   

All right! For you, Herb.

Get back to your office.



   

                   

Moldanian called me. Joe Donnelly

called me. We got a goddamn hit!



   

                   

Show him the Times! We even got an

editorial in the goddamn New York Times!



   

                   

- I donít know where he is.

- That son of a bitch has caught on.



   

                   

- Donít say you donít know where he is.

- He could be jumping off a roof!



   

                   

The man is insane.

Heís not responsible for himself.



   

                   

He needs care and treatment. And all you

graverobbers think about is that heís a hit.



   

                   

You know, Max, itís just

possible that he isnít insane.



   

                   

That he is, in fact, imbued

with some special spirit.



   

                   

My God, Iím supposed to be the romantic!

Youíre the hard-bitten realist.



   

                   

All right. Howard Beale

obviously fills a void.



   

                   

The audience obviously wants a prophet,

even a manufactured one, even mad.



   

                   

By tomorrow heíll have

a    share, maybe even a   .



   

                   

Beale is processed instant God. He may

go over bigger than Mary Tyler Moore.



   

                   

I am not putting Howard back on the air!



   

                   

Itís not your show any more,

Max, itís mine.



   

                   

I gave her the show, Schumacher.



   

                   

Iím putting the network news show

under Programming.



   

                   

Mr Ruddy has had a heart attack

and is not taking calls.



   

                   

In his absence, Iím making

all network decisions,



   

                   

including one Iíve been wanting

to make a long time: Youíre fired.



   

                   

I want you out of here by noon. Iíll have

you thrown out if youíre still here.



   

                   

Well, letís say "Fuck you, Hackett."



   

                   

You want me out of here,

youíll have to drag me out.



   

                   

- The whole news divisiůn too.

- You think theyíll quit for you?



   

                   

- Not in this recessiůn.

- When Ruddyís back heíll have your ass.



   

                   

I got a hit, Schumacher, and

Ruddy doesnít count any more.



   

                   

He hoped Iíd fail with

this Beale show, but I didn"t.



   

                   

Itís a big fat big-titted hit and I donít have

to waffle around with Ruddy any more.



   

                   

If he wants to take me up

before the CCA, let him.



   

                   

Think Ruddy is stupid enough

to go to the board and say



   

                   

"Iím taking our one hit show off the air"?



   

                   

Come November    Iíll be there at the

annual CCA management review meeting



   

                   

and Iíll announce projected earnings for

this network for the first time in five years.



   

                   

Believe me, Mr Jensenís gonna be

rocking back and forth in his little chair,



   

                   

and heís gonna say "Thatís

very good, Frank. Keep it up."



   

                   

So donít have any illusions about

whoís running this network now.



   

                   

I want you outta your office before noon

or Iíll have you thrown out.



   

                   

You go along with this?



   

                   

I told you I didnít want

a network hassle on this.



   

                   

I told you Iíd much rather work the Beale

show out just between the two of us.



   

                   

Well, letís just say "Fuck you too, honey."

Howard Beale may be my best friend.



   

                   

Iíll go to court. Iíll put him in a hospital

before Iíll let you exploit him.



   

                   

Get your psychiatrist. Iíll get mine.



   

                   

Iím gonna spread this reeking

business in every newspaper,



   

                   

on every network, group

and affiliate in the country.



   

                   

- Iím gonna make a lot of noise about this.

- Great. We need all the press we can get.



   

                   

Something going on

between you and Schumacher?



   

                   

Not any more.



   

                   

- How do you do?

- I must make my witness.



   

                   

Sure thing, Mr Beale.



   

                   

 Oil ministers of the OPEC nations

meeting in Vienna still haven't decided...



   

                   

- 

- Ready VTA.



   

                   

Yeah? He came in about five minutes ago.



   

                   

Make sure he gets here.

Tell Snowden to let him go on.



   

                   

Did you get that, Paul?



   

                   

 Five. Four.



   

                   

- Three. Two. One.

-  VTA.



   

                   

This has been the most divisive meeting

the oil states have ever had.



   

                   

The    nations of OPEC

have still not been able to decide



   

                   

by how much to increase

the price of oil. Saudi Arabian...



   

                   

How much time we got?



   

                   

... for consultations with his government.

He returned to the Vienna...



   

                   

- This is Ed Fletcher, in Vienna.

- Take two. Cue Howard.



   

                   

I don't have to tell you things are bad.

Everybody knows things are bad.



   

                   

Itís a depressiůn. Everybodyís out

of work, or scared of losing their job.



   

                   

The dollar buys a nickelís worth.



   

                   

Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers

keep a gun under the counter.



   

                   

Punks are running wild, and nobody

knows what to do. Thereís no end to it.



   

                   

We know the air is unfit to breathe

and our food is unfit to eat.



   

                   

We sit watching our TVs while some

local newscaster tells us that today



   

                   

we had    homicides and    violent

crimes, as if thatís the way it should be.



   

                   

We know things are bad.

Worse than bad. Theyíre crazy.



   

                   

Everything is going crazy,

so we donít go out any more.



   

                   

We sit in the house,

and the worid we live in gets smaller.



   

                   

All we say is "Please, at least

leave us alone in our living rooms."



   

                   

"Let me have my toaster and my TV and

I wonít say anything. Just leave us alone."



   

                   

Well, Iím not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!



   

                   

I donít want you to protest or riot. I don"t

want you to write to your congressman.



   

                   

I donít know what to do about the

depressiůn, the inflation and the crime.



   

                   

All I know is that first

youíve got to get mad!



   

                   

Youíve gotta say "Iím a human being,

goddammit! My life has value!"



   

                   

So... I want you to get up now.



   

                   

I want all of you

to get up out of your chairs.



   

                   

I want you to get up right now

and go to the window,



   

                   

open it and stick your head out and yell



   

                   

"Iím as mad as hell and Iím not

going to take this any more!"



   

                   

- I want you to get up right now...

- Stay with him.



   

                   

- Stay with him.

- Stay with him.



   

                   

...and stick your head out and yell



   

                   

"Iím as mad as hell and Iím not

going to take this any more!"



   

                   

- How many stations does this go live to?

-   . It goes to Louisville and Atlanta...



   

                   

Then weíll figure out what to do about



   

                   

the depressiůn, inflation

and the oil crisis.



   

                   

But first get up out of your chairs, open

the window, stick your head out and yell



   

                   

"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not

going to take this any more!"



   

                   

- Who are you talking to?

- CGG, Atlanta.



   

                   

- Are they yelling in Atlanta?

- Are they yelling in Atlanta?



   

                   

But first youíve gotta get mad!

Youíve gotta say



   

                   

"Iím as mad as hell and Iím not

going to take this any more!"



   

                   

Theyíre yellin" in Baton Rouge.



   

                   

Get up. Get up...



   

                   

Son of a bitch! We struck the mother Iode!



   

                   

Stick your head out of the window. Open

it, stick your head out and keep yelling



   

                   

"I'm as mad as hell.

I'm not gonna take this any more!"



   

                   

Just get up from your chairs right now...



   

                   

- Where are you going?

- I wanna see if anybodyís yelling.



   

                   

... and stick your head out

and yell and keep yelling...



   

                   

 Iím mad as hell and Iím not

gonna take this any more!



   

                   

 Iím mad as hell!

Iím not gonna take it any more!



   

                   

Iím as mad as hell and Iím not

gonna take it any more!



   

                   

Iím as mad as hell!

Iím not gonna take it any more!



   

                   

Iím as mad as hell and Iím not gonna

take it any more! Iím not gonna take it!



   

                   

Iím mad as hell!



   

                   





   

                   

 By October the Howard Beale

show had settled in on a    share,



   

                   

more than equalling all the other

network news shows combined.



   

                   

In the Nielsen ratings it was listed as the

fourth-highest-rated show of the month,



   

                   

surpassed only by "The Six Million Dollar

Man", "All in the Family" and "Phyllis" -



   

                   

a phenomenal state of affairs

for a news show.



   

                   

And on October   

Diana Christensen flew to Los Ńngeles



   

                   

for what the trade calls powwows and

confabs with her programming execs



   

                   

and to get production rolling

for the coming season.



   

                   

Christ. You brought half the William

Morris West Coast office along with you.



   

                   

Hi, Iím Diana Christensen. A racist lackey

of the imperialist ruling circles.



   

                   

Iím Laureen Hobbs,

a bad-ass Commie nigger.



   

                   

Sounds like the basis of a firm friendship.

We need more chairs.



   

                   

- Anybody want coffee?

- Iíd love some.



   

                   

Coffee? Coffee? Wanna come

take some coffee orders?



   

                   

Hiya.



   

                   

This is my lawyer Sam Haywood

and his associate Merrill Grant.



   

                   

Mr Haywood.



   

                   

Well, Ms Christensen, just

what the hellís this all about?



   

                   

Because, when a national televisiůn

network comes to me and says



   

                   

they wanna put the ongoing struggle of

the oppressed masses on primetime TV,



   

                   

- I have to regard this askance.

- What Mr Haywood was saying



   

                   

was that our client Ms Hobbs

wants it upfront



   

                   

that the political content of the show

has to be entirely in her control.



   

                   

She can have it. I donít give a damn

about the political content.



   

                   

- What kind of show do you have in mind?

- A weekly dramatic series



   

                   

based on the Ecumenical

Liberation Army.



   

                   

The first show has to be

a two-hour special on Mary Ann Gifford.



   

                   

Let me tell you what I want. More film like

the bank rip-off the Ecumenical sent in.



   

                   

The way I see the series is...



   

                   

each week we open with an authentic act

of political terrorism,



   

                   

taken on the spot, in the moment.



   

                   

Then we go to the drama

behind the opening footage.



   

                   

Thatís your job, Miss Hobbs.



   

                   

You gotta get the Ecumenicals

to bring in that film footage for us.



   

                   

The network canít deal with them directly.

They are, after all, wanted criminals.



   

                   

The Ecumenical Liberation Army is an

ultra-left sect creating political confusiůn



   

                   

with wildcat violence and

pseudo-insurrectionary acts,



   

                   

which the Communist Party

does not endorse.



   

                   

The American masses are not

yet ready for open revolt.



   

                   

We would not want to produce a show



   

                   

celebrating historically deviational

terrorism.



   

                   

Iím offering an hour a week into which

you can stick any propaganda you want.



   

                   

The Ecumenicals are

an undisciplined ultra-left gang



   

                   

whose leader is an eccentric

to say the least.



   

                   

He calls himself the Great Ahmed Khan

and wears a hussarís shako.



   

                   

Ms Hobbs, weíre talking about

   to    million people a shot.



   

                   

Better than handing out Mimeographed

pamphlets on ghetto street corners.



   

                   

Well, Iíll have to take this matter

to the central committee.



   

                   

And Iíd better check it out

with the Great Ahmed Khan.



   

                   

Iíll be in LA until Saturday

and Iíd like to get it rolling.



   

                   

OK?



   

                   

Well, Ahmed...



   

                   

you ainít gonna believe this,

but Iím gonna make a TV star out of you.



   

                   

Just like Archie Bunker.



   

                   

You gonna be a household word.



   

                   

What the fuck are you talkin" about?



   

                   

-    seconds.

- All right, ready VTA.



   

                   

One, you have the audience to pan.



   

                   

- Two, you have the window to pull.

-   .



   

                   

Three, youíre on the announcer.



   

                   

  .



   

                   

- Stand by VTA.

- Fifteen. Fourteen.



   

                   

- Thirteen. Twelve.

- Ready, eight.



   

                   

- Eleven. Ten.

- Roll VTA.



   

                   

Nine. Eight. Seven.



   

                   

Six. Five.



   

                   

- Ready, three.

- Four. Three.



   

                   

- Two. One.

- Three, cue announcer.



   

                   

Ladies and gentlemen,

letís hear it! How do you feel?



   

                   

Weíre mad as hell and weíre not

gonna take it any more!



   

                   

 The network news hour,

with Sybil the Soothsayer!



   

                   

Jim Webbing and his

Itís-The-Emmes-Truth department.



   

                   

Miss Mata Hari and

her skeletons in the closet.



   

                   

Plus, tonight, another

segment of Vox Populi.



   

                   

And starring the mad prophet

of the airwaves, Howard Beale!



   

                   

Edward George Ruddy died today!



   

                   

Edward George Ruddy

was chairman of the board



   

                   

of the Uniůn Broadcasting Systems



   

                   

and he died at    o"clock

this morning of a heart condition.



   

                   

And woe is us, weíre in a lot of trouble.



   

                   

So...



   

                   

a rich little man with white hair died.



   

                   

What has that got to do with the price

of rice, right? And why is that woe to us?



   

                   

Because you people and    million other

Americans are listening to me right now.



   

                   

Because less than three per cent

of you people read books.



   

                   

Because less than    per cent

of you read newspapers.



   

                   

Because the only truth you know

is what you get over this tube.



   

                   

Right now, there is a whole

and entire generation



   

                   

that never knew anything

that didnít come out of this tube.



   

                   

This tube is the gospel!

The ultimate revelation!



   

                   

This tube can make or break

presidents, popes, prime ministers.



   

                   

It is the most awesome goddamn force

in the whole godless worid.



   

                   

Woe is us if it falls into

the hands of the wrong people.



   

                   

Thatís why woe is us

that Edward George Ruddy died.



   

                   

Because this company is now

in the hands of CCA,



   

                   

the Communication Corporation

of America.



   

                   

Thereís a new chairman

of the board, Frank Hackett,



   

                   

sitting in Mr Ruddyís office.



   

                   

And when the   th largest company

in the worid controls



   

                   

the most awesome goddamn propaganda

force in the whole godless worid,



   

                   

who knows what shit will be peddled

for truth on this network.



   

                   

So you listen to me. Listen to me.



   

                   

Televisiůn is not the truth. Televisiůnís

a goddamned amusement park.



   

                   

Televisiůn is a circus, a carnival,



   

                   

a travelling troupe of acrobats,

storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers,



   

                   

sideshow freaks, lion tamers

and football players.



   

                   

Weíre in the boredom-killing business.



   

                   

So if you want the truth, go to God.



   

                   

Go to your gurus. Go to yourselves.



   

                   

Because thatís the only place

youíre ever going to find any real truth.



   

                   

But, man, youíre never gonna

get any truth from us.



   

                   

Weíll tell you anything you wanna hear.

We lie like hell.



   

                   

Weíll tell you that Kojak

always gets the killer,



   

                   

and that nobody ever gets cancer

in Archie Bunkerís house.



   

                   

However much trouble the hero is in,

donít worry. Look at your watch.



   

                   

At the end of the hour heís going to win.

Weíll tell you any shit you want to hear.



   

                   

We deal in illusions, man.

None of it is true.



   

                   

But you people sit there,

day after day, night after night,



   

                   

all ages, colours, creeds.



   

                   

Weíre all you know. Youíre beginning

to believe the illusions weíre spinning.



   

                   

Youíre beginning to think the tube

is reality and your lives are unreal.



   

                   

You do whatever the tube tells you.



   

                   

You dress like the tube,

eat like the tube,



   

                   

raise your children like the tube,

think like the tube.



   

                   

This is mass madness, you maniacs.



   

                   

In Godís name, you people are

the real thing! We are the illusiůn!



   

                   

So turn off your televisiůn sets.

Turn them off now.



   

                   

Turn them off right now!

Turn them off and leave them off.



   

                   

Turn them off right in the middle

of the sentence Iím speaking now.



   

                   

Turn them off.



   

                   

UBS was running at a cash flow

breakeven point,



   

                   

after taking into account $    million

of negative cash flow from the network.



   

                   

It was clear the fat on the network

had to be flitched off.



   

                   

Note an increase in projected initial

programming revenues of $   million



   

                   

due to the phenomenal success

of the Howard Beale show.



   

                   

I expect a positive cash flow

for the entire complex of $   million,



   

                   

achievable in this fiscal year -

a year, in short, ahead of schedule.



   

                   

To go beyond that,

this network may well be



   

                   

the most significant profit centre

of the communications complex.



   

                   

And, based upon the projected rate

of return on invested capital,



   

                   

and if merger is accomplished, the

communications complex may become



   

                   

the towering and most-profitable

centre in the entire CCA empire.



   

                   

I await your questions and comments.



   

                   

Mr Jensen.



   

                   

Very good, Frank. Exemplary. Keep it up.



   

                   

Buy you a cup of coffee?



   

                   

Hell, yes.



   

                   

Do you have to get back to the office?



   

                   

Nothing that canít wait.



   

                   

I, uh... I drop down to the news studios

every now and then



   

                   

and ask Howard Beale about you

and he says youíre doing fine. Are you?



   

                   

No.



   

                   

Are you keeping busy?



   

                   

Oh, in a fashion. This is the third funeral

Iíve been to in two weeks.



   

                   

I have two other friends in the hospital

whom I visit regularly



   

                   

and Iíve been to a couple of christenings.



   

                   

All my friends seem to be dying

or having grandchildren.



   

                   

You should be a grandfather about now.



   

                   

You have a pregnant daughter

in Seattle, donít you?



   

                   

Any day now.



   

                   

My wifeís out there for the occasiůn.



   

                   

Iíve thought many times of calling you.



   

                   

I wish you had.



   

                   

You know, I bumped into Sybil the

Soothsayer in the elevator last week.



   

                   

I said "You know, Sybil,

about four months ago



   

                   

you predicted I would get involved

with a craggy middle-aged man."



   

                   

Ďso far all thatís happened

has been one many-splendoured night."



   

                   

"I donít call that "getting involved"."



   

                   

And she said "Donít worry, you will."



   

                   

It was a many-splendoured night,

wasnít it, Max?



   

                   

Yes, it was.



   

                   

Are we gonna get involved, Max?



   

                   

Yes. I need to become

involved very much.



   

                   

How about you?



   

                   

Iíve reached for the phone

to call a hundred times, but...



   

                   

I was sure you hated me for my part

in taking your news show away.



   

                   

I probably did. I donít know any more.



   

                   

All I know is...



   

                   

I canít get you out of my mind.



   

                   

Look, Marty, I know what NBC

offered him, so Iím saying go to  . .



   

                   

And I want an option

for a third run on all of them.



   

                   

Iím in a hurry, and you and Charlie

should be negotiating this.



   

                   

So goodbye, good luck.

Iíll see you Monday.



   

                   

 Jimmy Caanís agent says nix.



   

                   

- Canít win them all.

- Where can I reach you?



   

                   

You can"t. Iíll be gone all weekend.



   

                   

NBCís offering  .   mil per package

of five James Bond movies



   

                   

and I think Iím gonna steal them

for  .  for the third run.



   

                   

Iíll stick The Mao Tse-tung Hour

in at eight,



   

                   

because weíre having a lot of trouble

selling them Mao Tse-tung.



   

                   

That Mao Tse-tung Hour's turning

into one big pain in the ass.



   

                   

Weíre having heavy legal problems

with the federal government right now.



   

                   

Two FBI guys turned up in Hackettís office

last week and served us with a subpoena.



   

                   

They heard about our Flagstaff bank

rip-off film and they want it.



   

                   

Hackett told the FBI to fuck off.



   

                   

No, but weíre getting around the FBI



   

                   

by doing the show in collaboration

with the news divisiůn.



   

                   

Weíre standing on the First Amendment

and the right to protect our sources.



   

                   

Walter thinks we can knock out

the misprisiůn of felony charge.



   

                   

But he says absolutely nix

on going to series.



   

                   

Theyíll hit us with conspiracy

and inducement to commit a crime.



   

                   

Christ, itís cold in here.



   

                   

See, weíre payin" the Ecumenical

Liberation Army       bucks a week



   

                   

to turn in authentic footage

of their revolutionary activities



   

                   

and that constitutes

inducement to commit a crime.



   

                   

And Walter says weíll all wind up

in federal prison.



   

                   

I said "Walter, let the government sue us."



   

                   

"Let the federal government sue us.

Weíll take them to the Supreme Court."



   

                   

Weíll be front page. Mm.



   

                   

And once... The New York Times



   

                   

and The Washington Post

and Time gets a whiff of us...



   

                   

weíll be front page for months -

more press than Watergate.



   

                   

All I need is six weeks" federal litigation



   

                   

and The Mao Tse-tung Hour can

start carrying its own time slot.



   

                   





   

                   

Whatís really bugging me now

is my daytime programming.



   

                   

NBCís got a lock on daytime

with their lousy game shows...



    

                   

and Iíd like to bust them.



    

                   

Iím thinking of doing

a homosexual soap opera.



    

                   

The Dykes.



    

                   

The heart-rending saga about a woman



    

                   

hopelessly in love

with her husbandís mistress.



    

                   

What do you think?



    

                   

How long has it been going on?



    

                   

A month.



    

                   

I thought it was a transient thing

and would blow over in a week.



    

                   

I still pray to God

itís just a menopausal infatuation.



    

                   

But it is an infatuation, Louise.



    

                   

Thereís no sense in my saying

I wonít see her again, because I will.



    

                   

Do you want me to leave?

Check into a hotel?



    

                   

Do you love her?



    

                   

I donít know how I feel.



    

                   

Iím grateful I can feel anything.



    

                   

I know Iím obsessed with her.



    

                   

Then say it.



    

                   

Donít keep telling me that you"re

obsessed, that youíre infatuated.



    

                   

Say that youíre in love with her.



    

                   

Iím in love with her.



    

                   

Then get out! Go anywhere you want!



    

                   

Go to a hotel, go live with her,

but donít come back.



    

                   

Because, after    years of building

a home and raising a family



    

                   

and all the senseless pain

that we have inflicted on each other,



    

                   

Iím damned if Iíll stand here and have you

tell me youíre in love with somebody else.



    

                   

Because this isnít a convention weekend

with your secretary, is it, or...



    

                   

or some broad that you picked up

after three belts of booze?



    

                   

This is your great winter romance, isnít it?



    

                   

Your last roar of passiůn before

you settle into your emeritus years.



    

                   

Is that whatís left for me?

Is that my share?



    

                   

She gets the winter passiůn and I get

the dotage? What am I supposed to do?



    

                   

Sit home, knitting and purling, while you

slink back like some penitent drunk?



    

                   

Iím your wife, dammit! If you can"t

work up a winter passiůn for me,



    

                   

the least I require

is respect and allegiance.



    

                   





    

                   

I hurt. Donít you understand that?



    

                   

I hurt badly.



    

                   

Oh, say something, for Godís sake!



    

                   

Iíve got nothing to say.



    

                   

I wonít give you up easily, Max.



    

                   

I think perhaps it is better if you move out.



    

                   

Does she love you, Max?



    

                   

Iím not sure sheís capable

of any real feelings.



    

                   

Sheís televisiůn generation.

She learned life from Bugs Bunny.



    

                   

The only reality she knows

comes to her from over the TV set.



    

                   

Sheís carefully devised a number

of scenarios for all of us to play,



    

                   

like the movie of the week.



    

                   

My God, look at us, Louise.



    

                   

Here we are, going through

the obligatory middle of act two,



    

                   

the Ďscorned wife throws

peccant husband out" scene.



    

                   

But donít worry,

Iíll come back to you in the end.



    

                   

All her plot outlines have me

leaving her and coming back to you,



    

                   

because the audience wonít buy

a rejection of the happy American family.



    

                   

She does have one script

in which I kill myself.



    

                   

An adapted-for-televisiůn versiůn

of Anna Karenina,



    

                   

where sheís Count Vronsky and Iím Anna.



    

                   

Youíre in for some dreadful grief, Max.



    

                   

I know.



    

                   

 "The Mao Tse-tung Hour" went

on air March   . It received a    share.



    

                   

The network promptly committed to

   shows, with an option for ten more.



    

                   

There were the usual

contractual difficulties.



    

                   

"...equal to    per cent, except that

such percentages shall be    per cent



    

                   

for   -minute or longer

televisiůn programmes."



    

                   

- Have we settled that sublicensing thing?

- No.



    

                   

We want a clear definition here.



    

                   

"Gross proceeds should consist of

all funds the sublicensee receives,



    

                   

not merely the net amount remitted after

payment to sublicensee or distributor."



    

                   

Weíre not standing for overhead charges

as a cost prior to distribution.



    

                   

Donít fuck with my distribution costs!

Iím making a lousy     per segment.



    

                   

I already deficit    grand

a week with Metro.



    

                   

I pay William Morris ten per cent.



    

                   

I give this turkey ten thou

per segment, five to her.



    

                   

Helen, donít start no shit

about a piece again.



    

                   

I pay Metro    per cent for all foreign and

Canadian distribution, after recoupment.



    

                   

The Communist Partyís not gonna see

a nickel until syndication.



    

                   

The partyís in for      a week

production expenses.



    

                   

Iím not givin" this pseudo-insurrectionary

sectarian a piece of my show,



    

                   

and I ainít cuttin" him in

on my distribution charges.



    

                   

You fuckin" fascist! Did you see the film

we made of the San Marino jail break-out,



    

                   

showing the rising up of

a prisoner-class infrastructure?



    

                   

You can blow the prisoner-class

infrastructure out your ass.



    

                   

Iím not knocking down

my goddamn distribution charges!



    

                   

Man, give her the fuckin" overhead clause.



    

                   

How did I get here?

Whoís gonna believe this?



    

                   

Letís get back to page   

subsidiary rights.



    

                   

- Where are we now?

- Page    middle, subsidiary rights.



    

                   

"As used herein, Ďsubsidiary rights"

means any and all rights..."



    

                   

 In the past two days, youíve had

the chance to meet Diana Christensen,



    

                   

our vice president

in charge of programming.



    

                   

This afternoon you all saw some of

the stuff sheís set up for the new season.



    

                   

You...



    

                   

you all know that she is the woman

behind the Howard Beale show.



    

                   

Now, we...



    

                   

we all know sheís beautiful.



    

                   

We all know sheís brainy.



    

                   

I was thinking, before we start

digging in to our Chateaubriands...



    

                   

letís show her how we feel about her.



    

                   

Weíve got the number-one show

in televisiůn.



    

                   

At next yearís affiliates" meeting, Iíll be

here telling you Weíve got the top five.



    

                   

Last year we were

the number-four network.



    

                   

Next year weíre number one.



    

                   

 Weíre number one!

Weíre number one!



    

                   

 Weíre number one!

Weíre number one!



    

                   

Weíre number one! Weíre number one!



    

                   

It is exactly seven o"clock

here in Los Ńngeles,



    

                   

and right now, over a million homes

using televisiůn in this city



    

                   

are turning their dials to channel three,

and thatís our channel.



    

                   

Howard Beale!



    

                   

Stop it! Stop it!



    

                   

You listen to me, and listen carefully,



    

                   

because this is your goddamn life

I'm talking about today.



    

                   

When one company wants

to take over another company



    

                   

they buy a controlling share of the stock,

but first they have to tell the government.



    

                   

That's how CCA took over the company

that owns this network.



    

                   

But now somebody is buying up CCA.



    

                   

Somebody called the

Western Worid Funding Corporation.



    

                   

They filed the notice this morning. Who is

the Western Worid Funding Corporation?



    

                   

It is a consortium of banks

and insurance companies



    

                   

who are not buying CCA for themselves

but as agents for somebody else.



    

                   

Who is the somebody else?

They won't tell!



    

                   

They won't tell you, or the Senate,



    

                   

they won't tell the SEC, the FCC,

they won't tell the Justice Department...



    

                   

This is Mr Hackett. Do you

have a New York call for me?



    

                   

You wanna turn that down, please?



    

                   

I will tell you who

they're buying CCA for.



    

                   

They're buying it for the Saudi-Arabian

Investment Corporation.



    

                   

They are buying it for the Arabs.



    

                   

Clarence? Frank Hackett.

Howís New York? Howís the good lady?



    

                   

All right. Take it easy. I don"t

know what youíre talking about.



    

                   

When? Tonightís show?



    

                   

Clarence, take it easy. The Howard Beale

Show's just going on out here.



    

                   

You guys get it three hours

earlier in New York.



    

                   

Clarence, take it easy. How the hell

could I see it? Itís just going on now.



    

                   

When did Mr Jensen call?



    

                   

We all know that the Arabs control

$   billion in this country.



    

                   

They own a chunk of Fifth Avenue,

   downtown pieces of Boston.



    

                   

A part of the port of New Orleans.

An industrial park in Salt Lake City.



    

                   

They own big hunks of the Atlanta Hilton.

The Arizona Land and Cattle Company.



    

                   

The Security National Bank in California.

Bank of the Commonwealth in Detroit.



    

                   

They control Aramco, so that puts them

into Exxon, Texaco and Mobil oil.



    

                   

They're all over! New Jersey,

Louisville, St Louis, Missouri.



    

                   

And that's only what we know about.

There's a lot more we don't know about,



    

                   

because all those Arab petrol dollars



    

                   

are washed through Switzerland, Canada

and the biggest banks in this country.



    

                   

For example, what we don't

know about is this CCA deal.



    

                   

And all the other CCA deals.



    

                   

Right now the Arabs have screwed us

out of enough American dollars



    

                   

to come right back and, with our own

money, buy General Motors, IBM, ITT,



    

                   

AT& T, DuPont, US Steel

and    other American companies.



    

                   

Hell, they already own half of England!



    

                   

So, listen to me. Listen to me, goddammit.



    

                   

The Arabs are simply buying us.



    

                   

There's only one thing

that can stop them - you.



    

                   

You!



    

                   

So I want you to get up now.



    

                   

I want you to get up out of your chairs.



    

                   

I want you to get up right now

and go to the phone.



    

                   

I want you to get up from your chairs,

go to the phone, get in your cars,



    

                   

drive into the Western Uniůn

offices in town.



    

                   

I want you to send a telegram

to the White House.



    

                   

Oh, my God.



    

                   

By midnight tonight, I want a million

telegrams in the White House.



    

                   

I want them wading knee-deep

in telegrams at the White House.



    

                   

I want you to get up right now and write

a telegram to President Ford saying



    

                   

"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not

gonna take this any more. "



    

                   

"I don't want the banks

selling my country to the Arabs. "



    

                   

"I want the CCA deal stopped now."



    

                   

"I want the CCA deal

stopped now. " Come on!



    

                   

 I want

the CCA deal stopped now.



    

                   

I want the CCA deal stopped now.



    

                   

I want the CCA deal stopped now.



    

                   

I want the CCA deal stopped now.



    

                   

- Look, could we have the room?

- Sure.



    

                   

Well, Iíd like to see a typescript

and run through a couple more times.



    

                   

But as for this whole CCA deal

with the Saudis,



    

                   

youíd know a lot more about that,

Frank, than I would. Is it true?



    

                   

The CCA has two billions

in loans with the Saudis,



    

                   

and they hold every pledge Weíve got.



    

                   

We need that Saudi money bad.



    

                   

Disaster. The show is a disaster.



    

                   

Unmitigated disaster. The death knell.



    

                   

Iím ruined. Iím dead. Iím finished.



    

                   

Maybe weíre overstating

Bealeís clout with the public.



    

                   

An hour ago McElheny called me from

New York. It was ten o"clock in the East.



    

                   

Our people in the White House report they

were already knee-deep in telegrams.



    

                   

By tomorrow morning,

theyíll be suffocating in telegrams.



    

                   

Can the government stop the deal?



    

                   

They can hold it up. The SEC could hold

this deal up for    years if they wanted to.



    

                   

Iím finished. Any second

that phoneís gonna ring



    

                   

and Clarence McElheny is gonna tell me

Jensen wants me in his office tomorrow



    

                   

so he can personally chop my head off.



    

                   

Four hours ago, I was the sun-god at CCA.

Mr Jensenís hand-picked golden boy.



    

                   

The heir apparent.



    

                   

Now... Iím a man without a corporation.



    

                   

Letís get back to Howard Beale.



    

                   

Youíre not seriously gonna

pull Beale off the air?



    

                   

Mr Jensenís unhappy with Howard Beale

and wants him discontinued.



    

                   

But he isnít stupid enough to withdraw

the number-one show out of pique.



    

                   

Two billion dollars isnít pique!



    

                   

Itís the wrath of God.

The wrath of God wants Beale fired!



    

                   

Why? Every other network will grab him.

Heíll be back on air for ABC tomorrow.



    

                   

- Weíll lose    points...

- Iíll impale him.



    

                   

- Roughly a   -million loss...

- Iíll take out a contract on him.



    

                   

- Donít discount federal action...

- Iíll hire pros.



    

                   

No, Iíll do it.



    

                   

- Iíll strangle him.

- Itís a violation of network autonomy...



    

                   

Jeez!



    

                   

- I donít think Jensen will fire anybody.

- 



    

                   

Hackett.



    

                   

Yes, Clarence.

Iíve already booked my flight.



    

                   

Can you give me a little more time?



    

                   

Iíve got the redeye flight. I wonít be back

in New York until six tomorrow morning.



    

                   

Thatíll be just fine. Iíll see you then.



    

                   

Mr Jensen wants to meet

Howard Beale personally.



    

                   

He wants Mr Beale in his office

at ten o"clock tomorrow morning.



    

                   

The final revelation is at hand.



    

                   

I have seen the shattering fulgurations

of ultimate clarity.



    

                   

The light is impending.

I bear witness to the light.



    

                   

Good morning, Mr Beale.

They tell me youíre a madman.



    

                   

- Only desultorily.

- How are you now?



    

                   

Iím as mad as a hatter.



    

                   

Who isn"t? Iím going to take you

into our conference room.



    

                   

It seems more seemly a setting

for what I have to say to you.



    

                   

I started as a salesman, Mr Beale.



    

                   

I sold sewing machines

and automobile parts,



    

                   

hair brushes and electronic equipment.



    

                   

They say I can sell anything.



    

                   

Iíd like to try to sell something to you.



    

                   

Valhalla, Mr Beale. Please, sit down.



    

                   

You have meddled with the primal forces

of nature, Mr Beale,



    

                   

and I wonít have it. Is that clear?



    

                   

You think youíve merely stopped

a business deal. That is not the case.



    

                   

The Arabs have taken billions out of this

country and now they must put it back.



    

                   

It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity.



    

                   

It is ecological balance.



    

                   

You are an old man who thinks

in terms of nations and peoples.



    

                   

There are no nations.

There are no peoples.



    

                   

There are no Russians.

There are no Arabs.



    

                   

There are no Third Worids.

There is no West.



    

                   

There is only one holistic system

of systems.



    

                   

One vast and immane,

interwoven, interacting,



    

                   

multivariate, multinational

dominion of dollars.



    

                   

Petrol dollars, electro dollars,

multi dollars.



    

                   

Reichsmarks, rins, roubles,



    

                   

pounds and shekels.



    

                   

It is the international system of currency



    

                   

which determines the totality

of life on this planet.



    

                   

That is the natural order of things today.



    

                   

That is the atomic...



    

                   

and subatomic



    

                   

and galactic structure of things today.



    

                   

And you have meddled with

the primal forces of nature.



    

                   

And you will atone.



    

                   

Am I getting through to you, Mr Beale?



    

                   

You get up on your little   -inch screen...



    

                   

and howl about America and democracy.



    

                   

There is no America.

There is no democracy.



    

                   

There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T...



    

                   

and DuPont, Dow,

Uniůn Carbide and Exxon.



    

                   

Those are the nations of the worid today.



    

                   

What do you think the Russians talk about

in their councils of state? Karl Marx?



    

                   

They get out linear programming charts,

statistical decisiůn theories,



    

                   

and compute price-cost probabilities of

their transactions and investments like us.



    

                   

We no longer live in a worid

of nations and ideologies, Mr Beale.



    

                   

The worid is a college of corporations...



    

                   

inexorably determined by

the immutable bylaws of business.



    

                   

The worid is a business, Mr Beale.



    

                   

It has been since man

crawled out of the slime.



    

                   

And our children will live, Mr Beale,



    

                   

to see that... perfect worid...



    

                   

in which thereís no war or famine,



    

                   

oppressiůn or brutality.



    

                   

One vast and ecumenical

holding company,



    

                   

for whom all men will work

to serve a common profit.



    

                   

In which all men will hold

a share of stock,



    

                   

all necessities provided,



    

                   

all anxieties tranquillised,



    

                   

all boredom amused.



    

                   

And I have chosen you, Mr Beale,

to preach this evangel.



    

                   

Why me?



    

                   

Because youíre on televisiůn, dummy.



    

                   

   million people watch you every night

of the week, Monday through Friday.



    

                   

I have seen the face of God.



    

                   

You just might be right, Mr Beale.



    

                   

 That evening Beale went on air

to preach Jensen's corporate cosmology.



    

                   

Last night I got up here and asked you

to stand up and fight for your heritage,



    

                   

and you did, and it was beautiful.



    

                   

Six million telegrams

were sent to the White House.



    

                   

The Arab takeover of CCA

has been stopped.



    

                   

The people spoke, the people won.

It was a radiant eruption of democracy.



    

                   

But I think that was it, fellas.



    

                   

That sort of thing is not

likely to happen again,



    

                   

because at the bottom

of all our terrified souls



    

                   

we know that democracy is a dying giant,



    

                   

a sick, sick, dying, decayed political

concept writhing in its final pain.



    

                   

I donít mean that the United States

is finished as a worid power.



    

                   

It is the richest, most powerful,

most advanced country in the worid.



    

                   

I donít mean the communists are gonna

take over. Theyíre deader than we are.



    

                   

What is finished is the idea

that this great country is dedicated



    

                   

to the freedom and flourishing

of every individual in it.



    

                   

Itís the individual thatís finished.



    

                   

Itís the single, solitary

human being thatís finished.



    

                   

Itís every single one of you

out there thatís finished.



    

                   

Because this is no longer a nation

of independent individuals.



    

                   

Itís a nation of some    -odd million

transistorised, deodorised,



    

                   

whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies,

totally unnecessary as human beings



    

                   

and as replaceable as piston rods.



    

                   

Well, the time has come to say

is dehumanisation such a bad word?



    

                   

Whether itís good or bad,

thatís what is so.



    

                   

The whole worid is becoming humanoid -

creatures that look human but aren"t.



    

                   

The whole worid. Weíre the most

advanced country so weíll get there first.



    

                   

The whole woridís people

are becoming mass-produced,



    

                   

programmed, numbered and...



    

                   

 It was a perfectly admissible

argument that Beale advanced.



    

                   

It was, however,

also a very depressing one.



    

                   

Nobody particularly cared to hear

his life was utterly valueless.



    

                   

By the end of the first week in June the

show had dropped a point in the ratings



    

                   

and its trend of shares dipped under   

for the first time since last November.



    

                   

Youíre his agent! Iím counting on you

to talk some sense into the lunatic.



    

                   

Nobody wants to hear about

dying democracy and dehumanisation.



    

                   

- Sorry Iím late.

- Weíve got rumbles from the agencies.



    

                   

Another couple of weeks of this,

the sponsors will bail out.



    

                   

This is a breach of contract.

This isnít the Beale we signed.



    

                   

Get him off this corporate-universe kick

or so help me, Iíll pull him off the air.



    

                   

I told him, Lew. Iíve been

telling him every day for a week.



    

                   

I am sick of telling him.

Now you tell him!



    

                   

Jesus Christ.



    

                   

You could help me out with Howard

if you wanted to. He listens to you.



    

                   

Iím tired of all this hysteria

about Howard Beale.



    

                   

Every time you see your family you come

back in a morbid middle-aged mood.



    

                   

Iím tired of finding you on the phone

every time I turn around.



    

                   

Iím tired of being

an accessory in your life.



    

                   

Iím tired of pretending to write this book



    

                   

about my maverick days in

the great early years of televisiůn.



    

                   

Every goddamned executive fired

from a network in the last    years



    

                   

has written this dumb book about

the great early years of televisiůn.



    

                   

And nobody wants a dumb, damn book

about the early days of televisiůn.



    

                   

Terrific, Max. Maybe you can start

a whole new career as an actor.



    

                   

Itís the truth.



    

                   

After living with you for six months

Iím turning into one of your scripts.



    

                   

Well, this is not a script, Diana.



    

                   

Thereís some real,

actual life going on here.



    

                   

I went to visit my wife today

because sheís in a state of depressiůn.



    

                   

So depressed that my daughter flew

from Seattle to be with her.



    

                   

And I feel lousy about that.



    

                   

I feel lousy about the pain

that Iíve caused my wife and my kids.



    

                   

I feel guilty and conscious-stricken and all

of those things that you think sentimental



    

                   

but which my generation

calls simple human decency.



    

                   

And I miss my home,



    

                   

because Iím beginning

to get scared shitless.



    

                   

All of a sudden itís closer to the end

than to the beginning,



    

                   

and death is suddenly a perceptible

thing to me, with definable features.



    

                   

Youíre dealing with a man

that has primal doubts, Diana,



    

                   

and youíve got to cope with it.



    

                   

Iím not some guy discussing male

menopause on the Barbara Walters show.



    

                   

Iím the man that you presumably love.



    

                   

Iím part of your life.



    

                   

I live here. Iím real.



    

                   

You canít switch to another station.



    

                   

Well...



    

                   

what exactly is it you want me to do?



    

                   

I just want you to love me.



    

                   

I just want you to love me,

primal doubts and all.



    

                   

You understand that, donít you?



    

                   

I donít know how to do that.



    

                   





    

                   

Iíll be with you in a minute, Max.



    

                   

 By July "The Howard Beale

Show" was down    points.



    

                   

Hysteria swept through the network.



    

                   

Heís a plague. Heís smallpox. Heís

typhoid. I donít wanna follow his show.



    

                   

Iíve enough troubles

without Beale as a lead-in.



    

                   

You put me against

Tony Orlando and Dawn.



    

                   

NBCís got Little House on the Prairie.

ABCís got that Bionic Woman.



    

                   

You gotta do something

about Howard Beale.



    

                   

Get him off the air. Get him off.

Do something! Do anything!



    

                   

Weíre trying to find a replacement.

Iím going to look at audition footage now.



    

                   

 And I opened the Sixth Seal



    

                   

and, man, I tell you, I saw it.



    

                   

It was heavy, baby.



    

                   

I saw the earth quake,



    

                   

and I saw the moon became like blood,



    

                   

and every mountain and island

was moved from its place.



    

                   

 No, no, dammit. If we wanted

hellfire, Weíd get Billy Graham.



    

                   

We donít want faith healers,

evangelists or Passiůn players.



    

                   

What about that terrific new messiah

ABC was supposed to have signed up?



    

                   

 Thatís him.



    

                   

 Thatís him?



    

                   

Jesus. Turn him off!



    

                   

Iíve got three more, but you"ve

already seen the best ones.



    

                   

Iíve got a guru from Spokane



    

                   

and two more hellfires who see

visions of the Virgin Mary.



    

                   

We wonít find a replacement.

Letís stop kidding ourselves.



    

                   

Fully-fledged messiahs

donít come in bunches.



    

                   

We either go with Howard Beale

or we go without him.



    

                   

My reports say weíll do

better without him.



    

                   

It would be a disaster

to let this go on another week.



    

                   

By then heíll be down    points and

the trend irreversible, if it isnít already.



    

                   

I think we should fire Howard.



    

                   

Arthur Jensen has taken

a strong personal interest



    

                   

in the Howard Beale show.



    

                   

Weíre having dinner tonight. Iíll have

another crack at him. Letís meet at   pm.



    

                   

Diana, give me copies

of all your audience research.



    

                   

I may need them for Jensen.

Is ten o"clock convenient for everyone?



    

                   

I think the timeís come

to re-evaluate our relationship, Max.



    

                   

So I see.



    

                   

I donít like the way

this script of ours is turning out.



    

                   

Itís turning into a seedy little drama.



    

                   

Middle-aged man leaves wife and family

for young heartless woman, goes to pot.



    

                   

The Blue Ńngel with Marlene Dietrich

and Emil Jannings.



    

                   

- I donít like it.

- So youíre gonna cancel the show.



    

                   

- Right.

- Here, let me do that.



    

                   

The simple fact is, Max,

that youíre a family man.



    

                   

You like a home and kids. But I am

incapable of any such commitment.



    

                   

All youíll get from me is intermittent sex



    

                   

and recriminate and ugly little scenes

like the one we had last night.



    

                   

Iím sorry for all those things

I said to you last night.



    

                   

Youíre not the worst fuck Iíve ever had.

Believe me, Iíve had worse.



    

                   

You don"t...



    

                   

you donít puff and snorkel

and make deathlike rattles.



    

                   

As a matter of fact,

youíre rather serene in the sack.



    

                   

Why is it that a woman always thinks the

most savage thing she can say to a man



    

                   

is to impugn his cocksmanship?



    

                   

Well, Iím sorry I impugned

your cocksmanship.



    

                   

I gave up comparing genitals

back in the school yard.



    

                   

Youíre being docile as hell about this.



    

                   

Aw, hell, Diana, I knew

it was over with us weeks ago.



    

                   

Will you go back to your wife?



    

                   

Iíll give it a try but I donít think sheíll

jump at it. But donít worry about me.



    

                   

Iíll manage. I always have. I always will.



    

                   

Iím more concerned about you.

Youíre not the boozer type.



    

                   

So I figure a year, maybe two,

before you crack up



    

                   

or jump out of

your   th-floor office window.



    

                   

Stop selling, Max. I donít need you.



    

                   

I donít want your pain. I donít want

your menopausal decay and death.



    

                   

- I donít need you. Now get out of here.

- You need me.



    

                   

You need me badly, because Iím

your last contact with human reality.



    

                   

I love you!



    

                   

And that painful, decaying love

is the only thing



    

                   

between you and the shrieking

nothingness you live the rest of the day.



    

                   

Then donít leave me.



    

                   

Itís too late, Diana.



    

                   

Thereís nothing left in you

that I can live with.



    

                   

Youíre one of Howardís humanoids.



    

                   

If I stay with you, Iíll be destroyed.



    

                   

Like Howard Beale was destroyed.



    

                   

Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed.



    

                   

Like everything you and the institution

of televisiůn touch is destroyed.



    

                   

Youíre televisiůn incarnate, Diana.



    

                   

Indifferent to suffering,



    

                   

insensitive to joy.



    

                   

All of life is reduced

to the common rubble of banality.



    

                   

War, murder, death -

all the same to you as bottles of beer.



    

                   

And the daily business of life

is a corrupt comedy.



    

                   

You even shatter the sensations

of time and space



    

                   

into split seconds and instant replays.



    

                   

Youíre madness, Diana.



    

                   

Virulent madness.



    

                   

And everything you touch dies with you.



    

                   

But not me.



    

                   

Not as long as I can feel pleasure...



    

                   

and pain...



    

                   

and love.



    

                   

And itís a happy ending.



    

                   

Wayward husband comes to his senses,



    

                   

returns to his wife, with whom heís

established a long and sustaining love.



    

                   

Heartless young woman left alone

in her arctic desolation.



    

                   

Music up with a swell.



    

                   

Final commercial.



    

                   

And here are a few scenes

from next weekís show.



    

                   

How did it go?



    

                   

Mr Jensen was unhappy at the idea

of taking Howard Beale off the air.



    

                   

Mr Jensen thinks Howard Beale

is bringing a very important message



    

                   

to the American people.



    

                   

So he wants Howard Beale on the air

and he wants him kept on.



    

                   

Mr Jensen feels weíre too

catastrophic in our thinking.



    

                   

I argued that televisiůn

was a volatile industry



    

                   

in which success and failure

were determined week by week.



    

                   

Mr Jensen said he did not

like volatile industries,



    

                   

and suggested with

a certain sinister silkiness...



    

                   

that volatility in business

usually reflected bad management.



    

                   

He didnít care if it was

the number-one show or the   th.



    

                   

He didnít really care

if the Beale show lost money.



    

                   

He wants Howard Beale on the air,

and he wants him kept on.



    

                   

I would describe his position

on this as inflexible.



    

                   

Where does that put us, Diana?



    

                   

That puts us in the shithouse,

thatís where that puts us.



    

                   

- Do you want me to go through this?

- Yes.



    

                   

The Beale show Q score is down to   .



    

                   

Most of this loss occurred in the child

and teen and   -   categories,



    

                   

which were our key core markets.



    

                   

Itís the AR departmentís judgement,

and mine, that if we get rid of Beale



    

                   

we should maintain a respectable share

in the high   s, possibly   



    

                   

with a comparable Q level.



    

                   

The other segments of the show -

Sybil, Jim Webbing, the Vox Populi -



    

                   

have all developed their own audiences.



    

                   

Our AR report showed that it is Howard

Beale that is the destructive force here.



    

                   

Minimally, weíre talking about

a ten-point differential in shares.



    

                   

I think Joe ought to spell

it out for us. Joe?



    

                   

A    share is $      minutes.



    

                   

I think we can sell

complete positions on the whole.



    

                   

Weíre getting into the

pre-Christmas gift sellers.



    

                   

The agencies are coming back

to me with $  CPMs.



    

                   

If thatís any indication, weíre talking

$  -   million loss in annual revenues.



    

                   

- Wanna hear the flak from the affiliates?

- We know all about it.



    

                   

And you would describe Mr Jensenís

position on Beale as inflexible?



    

                   

Intractable and adamantine.



    

                   

So what do we do about

this Beale son of a bitch?



    

                   

I suppose weíll have to kill him.



    

                   

I donít suppose you have

any ideas on that, Diana?



    

                   

Well...



    

                   

what would you fellas say

to an assassination?



    

                   

I think I can get the Mao Tse-tung people

to kill Beale for us as one of their shows.



    

                   

In fact, it'll make a hell

of a kick-off show for the season.



    

                   

We're facing heavy opposition

on the other networks



    

                   

and "The Mao Tse-tung Hour"

could use a sensational opener.



    

                   

It could be done right on camera,

in the studio.



    

                   

We ought to get

a fantastic look-in audience



    

                   

with the assassination of Howard Beale

as our opening show.



    

                   

 Well, if Beale dies,

what would our continuing obligation



    

                   

to the Beale Corporation be?



    

                   

I know our contract with Beale

contains a buyout clause



    

                   

triggered by his death or incapacity.



    

                   

There must be a formula for computation

of the purchase price.



    

                   

Offhand, I think it was based

on a multiple of      earnings



    

                   

with the base period in     .



    

                   

I think it was   % of salary

plus   % of the first yearís profit



    

                   

multiplied by the unexpired portion

of the contract.



    

                   

I donít think the show has any substantial

syndication value, would you say?



    

                   

Syndication profits are minimal.



    

                   

Weíre talking about a capital crime here.



    

                   

The network can't be implicated.



    

                   

I hope you donít have any hidden

tape machines in this office, Frank.



    

                   

 The issue is shall

we kill Howard Beale or not?



    

                   

Iíd like to hear some

more opinions on that.



    

                   

I donít see we have any option.

Letís kill the son of a bitch.



    

                   

Ladies and gentlemen, letís hear it.

How do you feel?



    

                   

Weíre mad as hell and weíre not

gonna take this any more!



    

                   

 The network news hour,

with Sybil the Soothsayer.



    

                   

Jim Webbing and his

Itís-The-Emmes-Truth department.



    

                   

Miss Mata Hari and

her skeletons in the closet.



    

                   

Tonight, another segment of Vox Populi.



    

                   

And starring the mad prophet

of the airwaves, Howard Beale!



    

                   

The network news anchorman

on the UBS network news show,



    

                   

known to millions as the mad prophet

of the airwaves, was shot to death tonight



    

                   

in a fusillade of automatic rifle fire just

as he began this evening's broadcast.



    

                   

We never compromise, so why

should you? Canada Dry mixers.



    

                   

... identified themselves

as the group responsible.



    

                   

The Great Ahmed Khan, a massive man,

carrying an automatic weapon...



    

                   

Some cereal. It's supposed

to be good for you.



    

                   

- Did you try it?

- I'm not gonna try it. You try it.



    

                   

Other countries got

their arms open wide...



    

                   

- Yeah.

- He won't eat it. He hates everything.



    

                   

The extraordinary incident occurred

in full view of his millions of viewers.



    

                   

The assassins were in a terrorist group

called the Ecumenical Liberation Army,



    

                   

two of whom were apprehended.



    

                   

The leader of the group, known

as the Great Ahmed Khan, escaped.



    

                   

 This was the story

of Howard Beale,



    

                   

the first known instance of a man who

was killed because he had lousy ratings.











  

  

 
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