"Morningside" Theme Music: then:
Sheila Podgers: We are going to hear a more or less faithful transcript of an earlier broadcast featuring our intrepid reporter, Marylou Fondly, who visited The Shire and spoke with the Mayor. Ms. Fondly traveled to The Shire by Time Machine, a device lately made available to the public by the Canadian Science Institute. At the CBC we spare no expense to bring "Human Interest" features to our listeners, and the expense involved here was very great, as the Royalties paid by the CSI to the Genius Inventor, Vison (lately honoured with the Order of Canada and the Congressional Medal for Really Smart People) are in the very high 7 figures. And this feature was not without danger, as riding the Time Machine cannot be regarded as a "walk in the Park". Several passengers have disappeared while traveling in this machine and their fates are unknown, but believed to be tragic.
Ms. Fondly: Yes, Sheila, but you know I will go anywhen, do anything, for a Story! It was just so terribly exciting! Much more exciting than scolding the Prime Minister! Much more exciting than my recent visits to Codguts, Newfoundland or Plaidshirt Flats in Lumby, B. C.! Even more exciting than my interview with actor Sean Astin, recently Oscared for his portrayal of Henry VIII in the Peter Jackson film, My Six *** Kittens! Help me, I can't stop using exclamation points!
Sheila Podgers: (Ms. Podgers laughs her well known voluptuous laugh.) Then let us move on, Marylou, to the actual Visit To The Shire. Was it everything you expected?
Ms. Fondly: Oh, yes! More so! The Quaintness! The Charm! The Cuteness of the Hobbits! The Lowness of the Doors! I have a lump on my head that just won't stop!
Sheila Podgers: That explains a great deal. Then let us move on, Marylou, to Mr. Mayor himself. What is he like?
Ms. Fondly: Wonderful! So Humble! Yet so Noble! So Short!
Sheila Podgers: Then let us move on, Marylou, to the Mayor's Wife. Tell us about her.
Ms. Fondly: She was all right, I guess. But the Mayor's Cheeks! So Pinchable! His Eyes! So Appealing! His Belly! It shakes when he laughs, like a bowlful of Jelly!
Sheila Podgers: Wasn't that in another story, Marylou? Let us move on. Tell us, Marylou, is the Mayor popular in The Shire? Are his policies pro development? Or is he involved in the effort to Stop Progress, and Keep Things as They Were?
Ms. Fondly: Oh, both, Sheila! He wants careful development, but he wants nothing to change! He's so Wise! He can have his cake, and eat it, too, which is a Cute little saying they have in The Shire!
Sheila Podgers: So, politics rear its ugly head, even in this Pastoral Eden, this Rustic Haven, this Rural Paradise, this Green and Pleasant Land, this Blissful Backwater....I am running out of banal cliches. Let us move on. So, even Mr. Mayor has Politics to deal with?
Ms. Fondly: I am afraid so, Sheila. There, I managed to speak with using an exclamation point! Yes, Sheila, politics even there in that Pastoral Whatever.
Sheila Podgers: Then, let us move on to the actual tape of your visit, shall we? Set the scene for us, Marylou.
Ms. Fondly: Well, Sheila, you know how us intrepid girl reporters are! Just so eager to get out there and do some intrepid reporting! I packed my little carryon bag and had a Shiatsu Massage at the Time Machine Port, just to get my vibrations in tune, then boarded the Time Machine. The Operator, a guy called Ararrat, got me settled in my little pod-thingy and showed me which buttons to press. There were whirly buttons and flashy buttons, and goodness me, he made it very clear I'd better not press the whirly button when I meant to press the flashy button! This Ararrat had set the Machine to go to the Shire in Middle Earth, you know, and arrive there in the year 1452 of Shire Reckoning. Well, you know, Sheila, that I am just this big mechanical clutz, so I just had to hope he knew what he was doing!
Sheila Podgers: Then let us move on. What happened next?
Ms. Fondly: Well, this Pod shook and whirred and something screeched, then I sort of blacked out a little bit, just like at the end of an evening in the Prancing Pony? So anyway, then I came to and realized that all the noises had stopped and the Pod wasn't jiggling any more, so I undid my seat belt and opened the door. Well, what to my wondering eyes did appear---
Sheila Podgers: Marylou, that was another story. Remember? Now, let us move on.
Ms. Fondly: OK, so what did I see? Well, about a million of these little Munchkins, all standing there, looking at the Pod with their mouths hanging open, that's what.
Sheila Podgers: Marylou, the Munchkins were another story, too. Please, let us move on.
Ms. Fondly (her voice a little cool with annoyance): Right. But you know, if you keep stopping me like that, it makes it really hard for me to set the mood? You know? Anyway. Munchkins, whatever. There they are, all gawking at me, so I almost wondered if I had spinach between my teeth, or something stuck in my hair, but then I realized they had probably never seen anyone like me before. So, I just stepped out and said, Hi, kids. What's shakin'?
Sheila Podgers (again she laughs her voluptuous laugh): Very clever, Marylou, speaking to them as one cool chick to a bunch of happening kids, right?
Ms. Fondly: Huh?
Sheila Podgers: Oh, never mind. Moving right along.
Ms. Fondly: Finally one of these Hobbits, because I remembered then what they are, one of these Hobbit kids says, I guess you want to see the Mayor, don't you Miss? And I said, Yes. Can you take me to his office? Well, here, Sheila. Why don't we just run the tape? Now, do I push the flashy knob, or do I turn it?
Sheila Podgers: You don't actually do anything. We have technicians who do this. Andre?
Next we hear some crackling and popping, and static, then a voice speaking in a strong Midlands accent says: Me Dad's the Mayor, and he's got his office right over there, under that hill.
Ms. Fondly: Oh, yes. I see. Well, little boy, could you take me there, please?
Voice: I'm not a little boy. I'm 29 years old and me name is Frodo.
Ms. Fondly: Frodo? But I thought Frodo bought the ranch, at the end of the book?
Frodo: Bought the ranch?
Ms. Fondly: You know--died, went away, whatever.
Frodo: Oh, that were Old Mr. Frodo. Him as I'm named for, like.
Ms. Fondly: Ah. Well, anyway. Can we go see your father now?
Frodo: Just come with me, Miss. What's that black thing you're talking into? Me Dad don't like strange black things--something to do with the War and all.
Ms. Fondly: Oh, like Battle Fatigue or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Frodo: No, he just don't like strange black things. Here we are, Miss.
We hear the sound of a door opening and Frodo's voice shouting: Dad! Dad? You in here?
Then we hear a thump and Ms. Fondly's voice: @#$%^&*^%$#^ door!
Frodo: Yeah, I meant to say, look out for the low door. Anyway, it don't look like Dad's here. He must have gone up home, to Bag End.
Ms. Fondly: Bag End? What's a Bag End?
Frodo: It's our house, like. Where we live, with me Mum and Dad and all.
Ms. Fondly: Oh. Is it far? I can't walk far in these shoes. They're Manolo Blahnik, you know.
Frodo: Is that so? They look like high heeled pumps to me. No, it's not far, half a mile, mebbe.
Ms. Fondly: Half a mile? How much is that in kilometres? I'm from Canada and we have kilometres, not miles.
Frodo: Couldn't say, Miss. A fair step, but it's up to you.
Ms. Fondly: Oh, all right. I'd better do it, I guess. I know Mother Corp. isn't going to spring for me to make a return trip, the way that Pod cost money. As it is, I only have a half hour left before I have to get back. My goodness, what a sweet little house! Oh, look at the cunning round doors! Oh, I wish this was TV! Oh, isn't this charming and quaint! Ooh, that dog! Does he bite?
Frodo: Not as I knows of, Miss. Here, Grip! Fang! Down boys, down! Drat that dog, Miss! Does it hurt much? There's hardly any blood at all.
Ms. Fondly: &*^%$#%* Dog! Haven't you got a stick, or something? Here, I'll hit him with this mike. There!
We hear another thump and some static, and the sound of a dog yelping.
Frodo: My stars, Miss. You have quite the arm on you. I hope you haven't done Fang an injury. Farmer Maggot just dotes on that dog.
Ms. Fondly: Too &*$# bad. Oh, no! Look at my Manolo Blahniks! What have I stepped in? Frodo: Well, Miss, it could be cow dung. Then again, it could be dog, or sheep. No, sheep dung is more like rabbit dung. This could be goat, but then......
Ms. Fondly: Dung? Dung? You mean this is #$%#@% manure? On my $300 shoes?
Frodo: Now, now, Miss. Just rub them a bit on the grass, like, and it'll come right off. See?
Ms. Fondly: Well, this is going to pump up the old expense account, I can tell you. And the smell! Gag me with a spoon.....Is this it? Sack Bottom?
Frodo: Bag End, Miss. See, it says so, right on the sign. I'll just go in and see if Dad's about.
Just as he begins to say, Look out for the door! we hear @#%$&*# door! in Ms. Fondly's not so dulcet tones.
Frodo: Just take a chair, Miss, and I'll go fetch me Dad. Dad! Dad! You in here? Oh, hallo, Mum.
A female voice: And who might this be, Frodo?
Frodo: I dunno, Mum. She wants to see me Dad.
A female voice: I see. Well, Miss, do you have an appointment? My husband is terribly busy you know, and has many calls on his time.
Ms. Fondly: You must be Mrs. Gardner, then. The Mayor's wife?
A female voice: That I am, Miss. I'm Rose Gardner. And you are? Oh, Miss, be careful--
Ms. Fondly: #@%$^&*& chandelier! Ow! That really hurts.
Rose: Well, there's not much blood. And I don't think it will leave a scar. I didn't quite get your name?
Ms. Fondly: My name is Marylou Fondly and I'm from CBC radio and I'm here to interview your husband the Mayor. I only have 5 minutes left before I have to go, Mrs. Gardner, so could I please see him? I've come so far, in a Time Machine and everything and I keep hitting my head and I stepped in cow dung. Or, was it sheep dung? Whatever. Could I see him, please?
Rose: Well, not to put too fine a point on it, Miss, he's in the bath. However, I'll just step in and see if he can spare you a minute. You're from where? Seebeesy?
Ms. Fondly: Whatever.
Next we hear the sounds of children shrieking and laughing and doors slamming and then we hear Ms. Fondly: Watch out for my tape recorder you #@%$&*% little brats! Omigosh, you've got the cord tangled in your ++++++++++now, look what you've done!
Rose: Don't you yell at my bairns, Miss! They're just having a bit of fun. Just tie a piece of string around that black box and it'll be good as new. Hardly any of it broke off, anyway. Now, just step through here, and mind your--well, too late.
Ms. Fondly (her voice thick with pain and tears): #@%$#%& door! Oh! Mr. Mayor!
She giggles girlishly, and we hear her say: Oh, listeners! The Mayor is wearing only a towel and it doesn't quite wrap all the way around.
Samwise: How do, Miss Marylou Fondly. My missus tells me you've come quite a way to see me. May I ask what your business is?
Ms. Fondly: Well, no business really. We just want to know how life is for you now, after all your adventures and everything. Here, talk into this black thing.
Samwise: Don't shove that black thing so near my nose, Miss. It makes me nervous, like.
Ms. Fondly: Omigosh! Look at the time! I have to go. Well, Mr. Mayor, thank you for seeing me and I'll be sure to tell all my listeners that you are completely happy and content and your life is perfect in every way and the Shire is still wonderful, and all that. Goodbye!
Samwise: Here, mind your head. Too late.
Ms. Fondly (her voice breathless): That's it. I have had it. I will never do one of these stupid Time Travel trips again. I have to run down this hill and dodge this pile of dung and around this corner and--hey! you kids! Get away from there! Look, I have to get in Right Now. Get out of that chair. Oh, no--it's started. Well, I hope you're satisfied, because I don't know how to stop this gizmo and you are on your way to the 21 century.
Sheila Podgers: My goodness, Marylou. That was quite the adventure, wasn't it?
Ms. Fondly: Well, it could have been worse, you know. And Frodo and I have quite the little hot romance going, since I got over thinking of him as a kid. It makes it nice for me, to be big enough to shove a man around for a change.
Sheila Podgers, laughing nervously: Didn't we send you on that Anger Management interview, Marylou? Well, listeners, that's our show for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow when Sean Bean is our guest. Sean will be telling us all about his new TV movie: Boromir, The Real Story.
Morningside theme fades out............