VIII. Card Tricks & Talk Show Badinage, 1985

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The day before his death, WELLES makes an appearance on the MERV GRIFFIN SHOW. ORSON #1 flips cards into his fedora, which HE has placed at HIS feet; ORSON #2 grows increasingly agitated as HE imagines HIMSELF a puppet dancing for the amusement of the television audience; ORSON #3 fields Griffin’s questions with an unexpected depth, possibly intuiting that his health is failing.

DISTANT PROCESSED ANNOUNCER From New York City. From Las Vegas…. From New York City. From Las Vegas….

(Applause / audience chatter / studio clutter)

The MERV GRIFFIN SHOW!

ALL THREE ORSONS Has there been much joy, Orson?

I’m not essentially a happy person, Merv. But I have all kinds of joy. There is a difference, you know.

Joy is a great big electrical thing. As for happiness what can I tell you but A warthog can be “happy.”

ANNOUNCER The MERV GRIFFIN SHOW!

DISEMBODIED ORSON Good evening.

ALL THREE ORSONS Listen: I’m not knocking warthogs. Why did I think of them?

DISEMBODIED ORSON Good evening. Good evening. I’m Orson Welles.

VERY SUBLIMINAL VOICE “To the extent to which acting is not politics, I’m not interested in acting.”

DISEMBODIED ORSON Good evening. Good evening. I’m Orson Welles. Good evening.

ALL THREE ORSONS What about painful times?

Enough of those to do. Bad conscience pain. That’s the worst. Regrets. The times that you didn’t behave as well as you ought to have.

(Applause / Blitzstein Rain / Thunder)

DISEMBODIED ORSON (in silence) “I’m Orson Welles.”