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By Brian O'Connell

Scene: Bogart Night at Rick O'Shea's Bar in New York City.
The party is advertised as 'Come as your favourite Bogart Film Character.
There is a small stage, a dance floor, dim lighting and a well stocked bar.
People are still arriving. Sam (Briant) is playing 'Chopsticks' on his accordion.
Rick (Mike) comes over to him.

Rick: What's that you are playing?
Sam: Just a little thing I'm trying to learn.
Rick: You know what I want to hear!
Sam: White Christmas?
Rick: In July? Besides, I'm Jewish!
Sam: So was Irving Berlin!
Rick: I told you never to mention Berlin!

Enter, a man in a white suit, with a beautiful woman on his arm. He is also wearing
a red bandana! She is wearing a wide brimmed hat. They are Victor (Chris) and Ilsa
(Harriet.) Rick goes over to them.

Rick: Hello Ilsa, long time no see! But who are you, sir?
Victor: Laszlo! From Los Angeles!
Rick: But why the bandana?
Victor: I'm also a Hell's Angel! Where's the bar?

Sam starts playing his accordion and Rick asks Ilsa to dance. They glide romantically
around the floor until Sam starts to play 'White Christmas.' Rick is furious! He excuses
himself from Ilsa and goes over to speak to Sam, who points at the door. A party of
Australians have arrived. One of them is dressed as Major Strasser! (Ian Conroy)
The Major goes over to Sam and he gives him some money.

Strasser: G'day! I'm supposed to be German, but I can't do the accent! Play anything but
'Die Wacht am Rhein!'

Sam starts playing 'Waltzing Mathilda', and all of the Australians head for the bar.
Victor has returned with drinks and is sitting with Ilsa. Michelle comes in dressed as
Vivian from The Big Sleep. She approaches Rick.

Vivian: Have you seen my sister anywhere?
Rick: What does she look like?
Vivian: If you'd seen her, you wouldn't forget her in a hurry!
Rick: Suppose I'm always in a hurry?
Vivian: Suppose I like a man who takes his time?
Rick: I'll remember to slow down when I'm around you! Meanwhile, fancy a waltz
around to the bar?

Joel Cairo (Bogeybart) and Casper Gutman (Renderking Fisk) enter the bar.
Sam plays the Laurel and Hardy theme music. The Jokelahoma Kid enters, apparently
dressed as Fred C Dobbs. Actually he has just finished work down at the docks!
A man dressed in French Military uniform strolls in, beaming at all of the ladies.
Captain Louis Renault (Ray Papa) goes over to Major Strasser.

Renault: Good evening Major!
Strasser: G'day, Bruce!
Renault: Bruce? Who is Bruce? I am Captain Louis Renault!
Strasser: Sorry mate! Where I come from almost everyone is called Bruce. Unless you
are a girl, then you're usually called Sheila. I'm not really a German! Hard to believe, eh?
Renault: Do try to get into the spirit of things!
Strasser: Spirits? Now you're talking, mate! What are you drinking?
Renault: Just my luck to get saddled with Crocodile Dundee!

Scene Two

Roy Earle (Ron Holmstroem) enters! Sam spots him and plays 'California, here I come!'
Roy grabs him by his squeezebox! The accordion lets out a dying gasp!

Roy: What are you, some kind of wise guy? I just got here!
Sam: Sorry, Mr Earle. Just trying to make you feel welcome!
Roy: Oh, I see. Sorry. Here's a dollar. Knock yourself out!

Roy mingles with the crowd. There is a scuffle at the door of the club. Whip McCord
(Ken K) comes in, dusting himself down. He is dressed in black and looks like Lash
Larue, right down to the bullwhip! Sam thinks he is supposed to be Johnny Cash and
plays 'Ring of Fire.' Whip glares at him. Sam goes into an inoffensive polka number.

Vivian and Ilsa meet up in the Ladies Room.

Ilsa: I saw you talking to Rick.
Vivian: What's it to you, sister?
Ilsa: Oh, nothing. How long have you known him?
Vivian: Long enough to know he's too good for you!
Ilsa: Rick and I met in Paris, before the war.
Vivian: He told me it was in Africa.
Ilsa: Dear Rick. He never was very good with places! He keeps moving around.
That reminds me I promised my husband a dance. He's the one in the white suit
and a red bandana!
Vivian: Ah, so it's true. To the Victor belong the spoils!
Ilsa: Bitch!

Two more guests arrive. One is Philip Marlowe (Brian J Smith) and the other is
Vincent Parry (jt). His face is dressed in bandages. Sam plays 'Harlem Nocturne'
followed by 'Who are you?' Someone shouts 'CSI!'

Marlowe: Don't I know you from somewhere?
Vincent Parry: I've never been there!
Marlowe: Why the bandages? Been in an accident?
Vincent Parry: Confidentially, when I take these off, people will faint! I'm a ringer
for Bogart!
Marlowe: I think I'll stick around. Things could get interesting later on.

Scene Three

Ilsa is dancing with Victor. She looks over his shoulder at Rick who is dancing with
Vivian. Rick smiles at her. Ilsa gives Rick a sad smile in return.

Vivian: Hey, handsome, remember me?
Rick: Ah yes, you're the girl with the little sister!
Vivian: Well! Excuse me I'm going to watch Whip McCord ride the Mechanical Bull!
He looks like he's good in the saddle!
Rick: So was Randolph Scott!

Whip last for eight seconds on the Bull. The crowd applauds wildly! Vivian asks if she
can see his whip! Sam plays 'Rawhide' as they leave together. Victor leads Ilsa to the
table and then he comes over to Rick. Sam is moving amongst the crowd, playing
requests on his accordion. He senses trouble amongst the two men and edges closer
to them.

Rick: Hello Laszlo. Having a good time?
Victor: I hear you knew Ilsa before tonight.
Rick: Yes, we're old friends.
Victor: We got married six months ago.
Rick: She said she'd find someone else when I left her in Paris. Or was it Africa?
Sam: It was Berlin, boss!

Rick punches Sam and knocks him to the floor, then storms out. Ilsa follows him to the
outside patio area. She gives him a cigarette and looks into his eyes over the flame of her
lighter. He closes his hand over hers then he blows smoke into her face. She splutters and
coughs and tries to leave but he pulls her back. She offers him a breath freshener and then
they kiss passionately.

Ilsa: Oh Rick, I've been such a fool!
Rick: Never mind that! Tell Laszlo you want a divorce!
Ilsa: Victor will never agree to that! He has his tough guy reputation to live up to.
The Hell's Angels would laugh him out of LA!
Rick: We've got to do something! We could run away to Chipping Sodbury!
Ilsa: Where's that?
Rick: It's in England. I went there during the war. I was seeing someone. I remember a
small hotel. Tea and crumpets in the afternoon! Cricket on the village green! Church bells
ringing on a Sunday.
Ilsa: It sounds wonderful, Rick.

Laszlo comes outside looking for Ilsa. He sees them talking. He adjusts his red bandana
and cracks his knuckles! Laszlo approaches Rick and Ilsa. They both pretend to be
enjoying their cigarettes. Ilsa smiles brightly at her husband.

Ilsa: Ah, Victor! We were just talking about you!
Rick: Yes, I was saying that I must get the name of your tailor!
Laszlo: Stay away from my wife if you know what's good for you!
Rick: Actually we were planning to run away to Chipping Sodbury.
Ilsa: Take no notice of him, Victor. He's been drinking.

Victor takes Ilsa by the arm and he leads her indoors again. She looks back longingly at
Rick. Sam is coming out as they go inside. Victor glares at Sam and pushes him out of
the way. Sam comes over to Rick.

Rick: Sorry about before, Sam! Hitting you, I mean!
Sam: Yeah, that's OK. That Laszlo is a scary looking dude, boss!
Rick: The bigger they are Sam, the harder they fall!

Scene Four

Lots more Bogart Film Characters are continuing to arrive at Rick O'Shea's Bar.
Captain Queeg is swapping maritime stories and sea shanties with Charlie Allnut. Dixon Steele is getting hammered at the bar with Oscar Muldoon.
Sam Spade (Bob Byrne) makes his entrance with a familiar looking female in tow.
It is Vivian (Michelle) again! She has discovered that eight seconds at anything was all
that Whip Mc Cord could manage! This time she has her hair pinned up in a French pleat.
She is flirting with every man in the place as Spade goes to the bar. Rick goes over to her.

Rick: Back so soon?
Vivian: I don't believe we've met. I would have remembered you, handsome! Oh, I get it,
you must have met my sister earlier? How do you do, my name is Carmen.
Rick: Are you with someone? Dr. Phil, perhaps?
Carmen: Some tough guy named-Shovel I think he said. He picked me up as I came in.

Spade comes back with the drinks. He puts a protective arm around Carmen's waist.

Spade: I'm Sam Spade. Private Detective!
Rick: Are you on a case right now? Looking for a bird, perhaps?
Spade: Mind your own Falcon business! Ah, sorry. I mean I might be. Then again, I
might not be. Let's find a table, Ms. Wonderbra. I mean Carmen.

Sam is joined on the small stage by a bass and drums combo. He tests the microphone.
Sam announces that Rick will dance an exhibition foxtrot, if any lady would care to join
him. Ilsa stands up! She pulls herself away from Victor's grasp. Victor tells her that if she
goes to Rick, she can never come back!

Ilsa: Don't be so melodramatic, Victor! I'm just going to the Ladies Room!
Victor: It must have been something you ate! Hurry back my little poison ivy!

Scene Five

Sam again appeals for a dance partner for Rick. His usual lady is away, dancing in an
off Broadway show. A raven-haired barefoot beauty in a white silk blouse and a black
slit up the side satin skirt slinks onto the dance floor. Maria Vargas! (Tara Mc Bride)
Rick's eyes light up! Sam cues the band in for the exhibition foxtrot. The spotlights fall
onto Rick and Maria as they prepare at opposite ends of the dance floor. They meet and
embrace in the middle of the floor. Rick begins to talk to Maria.

Rick: You are a very fine dancer!
Maria: Hello Rick. Nice to meet you! My name is Maria Vargas.
Rick: Vargas? That name seems familiar.
Maria: Perhaps you knew my mother? Verucca Vargas, she was known as! She could
stand on one foot for hours! She knew of all the Hollywood crowd. They do say I am the
spitting image of her!
Rick: I may have seen her footprint in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre when
I was in Hollywood.
Maria: I think they paved over her in the seventies!

The dance ends and Rick and Maria take a bow. Rick generously points to the band.
Spade is asking Carmen to keep an eye out for a fat man who may be with a small curly
haired man who reeks of cheap cologne. Carmen tells Spade that they are sitting at the
next table. Spade looks startled and he spills his drink.

Spade: Don't turn around, Carmen!
Carmen: Why do you owe them money?
Spade: No, but I will soon have something that they will pay me thousands of dollars for!
Carmen: Not another celebrity love triangle story? Who is it this time?
Spade; No, no! This is the stuff that dreams are made of!
Carmen: That's what I said, didn't I?

Scene Six

Outside of the club a chauffeur driven limousine pulls up. An elegant well preserved lady
gets out of the car. She tells the driver to park somewhere close and to wait for her while
she takes care of business in the club. She puts something metallic and shiny into her bag.

Chauffeur: OK Mrs B. Have a good night.

Mrs B (ms_b) enters the club and heads straight for the Ladies Room to check her
appearance. Ilsa is fixing her make-up in the brightly lit mirror. She has been crying.

Mrs B: Man trouble, honey?
Ilsa: What other kind is there?
Mrs B: You want to talk about it?

Ilsa tells Mrs B about Rick and Victor. She asks what she should do. She must choose
between the two of them tonight. Mrs B tells Ilsa to follow her heart. Mrs B confides that
she is here tonight to choose the best Bogart Film Character and to present them with
something. She shows Ilsa the metallic object that she has in her handbag. Ilsa gasps!
The two women go back into the noisy and rowdy atmosphere of the club. Mrs B goes
over to the bandstand and beckons to Sam. He leans down to listen but continues playing
his accordion. She tells him why she is here. He tells her to circulate and to make a short
list of possible winners.

Meanwhile Cairo and Gutman have noticed Sam Spade and Carmen sitting at the next
table. They come over to them. Spade pulls a face as he smells Cairo's cheap cologne.

Cairo: Mind if we join you?
Spade: Depends what you had in mind!
Gutman: Come, come sir! We all know why we are here tonight!
Carmen: Is this a game of charades?
Spade: You might say that, Carmen. Why don't you take a walk while we men talk

Carmen sees Strasser and Renault passing by and stands up. She pats her French pleat.

Carmen: Yeah, OK. I'm out of here! Hey, you guys! You want to buy a lady a drink?
Strasser: G'day Sheila! Bonza! No problem! This is my new pal, Renoir! I'm from down
under. I'm not really a German!
Renault: Charmed, my dear! Actually, I am Captain Louis Renault. Have you ever been
to Paris? You must tell me all about yourself!
Carmen: I do like a man in uniform. Two are even better!

Carmen walks off, linking arms with Strasser and Renault. Spade, Cairo and Gutman are
deep in conversation. Marlowe is hovering nearby, behind a pillar, trying to hear what
they are saying. On the stage Sam signals the end of the tune they are playing.

Sam: Ladies and gentlemen! Can I have your kind attention please! We have a very
special guest here tonight. She has been circulating amongst you and I think she is just
about ready to announce her choice of the best Bogart Film Character here tonight!
Will you please welcome Mrs B to the stage! Mrs B!

The crowd surges forward to the stage as Mrs B tests the microphone. Some whistling
feedback is heard. Vincent Parry is struggling to remove the bandages from his face.

Mrs B: This isn't the only mike around here that knows how to whistle!
Sam: You just put your lips together and blow!
Mrs B: That sounds familiar, Sam! I think everyone has gotten into the spirit of things
tonight. I hope you all had a good time. It's been wonderful to see how much Bogie
still means to all of you. I'll be announcing the winners shortly! But first! Sam?
Sam: How about a little music? Take your partners, please. You must remember this!

Scene Seven

Rick dances with Maria. Ilsa dances with Victor. Carmen dances with her arms around
Strasser and Renault! Sam Spade, Charlie Allnut, Captain Queeg, Roy Earle, Philip
Marlowe, Fred C Dobbs and the rest all find willing dance partners.

Cairo looks shyly at Gutman, who nods enthusiastically! The odd couple take to the
dance floor. Cairo smiles contentedly and rests his head upon Gutman's ample gut!
The song ends and everyone applauds. The winners are to be announced! Vincent Parry
finally manages to remove the bandages from his face. He grimaces at Mrs B. She faints!
Confusion reigns! Rick asks if there is a doctor in the house. Sam struggles to be heard!
Renault shouts something to Sam. The band strikes up 'La Marseillaise' followed by
'The Star Spangled Banner.' The crowd stands to attention with their hands on their
hearts! Sam Spade reaches down for Mrs B's handbag which has fallen to the floor in
front of the stage. He puts it under his coat and heads for the exit door. Cairo and Gutman
spot him and follow him. Outside, Mrs B's huge chauffeur menaces the trio and reclaims
the bag. The three men start to go back inside. Cairo hits out at Gutman and curses him!
The chauffeur stands guard as he waits for his employer. Mrs B recovers from the shock
of seeing Vincent Parry but leaves the club as she has lost her handbag. Vincent Parry
escorts her to the car. He lights up a cigarette and blows her a kiss as the car drives away.
The chauffeur returns Mrs B's handbag to her. She looks inside and smiles.
Back inside the club, Rick steps up to the microphone.

Rick: Sorry about Mrs B! I guess we'll never know who she thought was the best! But
then everyone here tonight is a winner! Due to these unforeseen circumstances, I guess
the drinks are on me!
Sam: It's Happy Hour! Two drunks, ah drinks-for the price of one!
Rick: Let's do it again very soon! Here's looking at you kids!

Later when the crowd have all gone, Rick and Sam sit at the bar. They survey the empty
club over one last drink. Sam has something on his mind.

Sam: Isn't this a cop-out ending?
Rick: Well the writers are still on strike you know! We had to draught in some limey to
finish the story off!
Sam: I wonder what happened to Mrs B's handbag. Did you and Ilsa ever see one another
again? I think this limey must have been having a Happy Hour in a pub. Somewhere in
England -in front of a roaring fire, with a beautiful woman and a pint of beer!
Rick: Probably in Chipping Sodbury! Did I ever tell about a girl I knew there once?
Sam: Yes, only about a million times, but don't let that stop you, boss!
Rick: It was during the war...................................

The End

Brian O'Connell

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