Early Edition (1996–2000): Season 2, Episode 4 - Jenny Sloane - full transcript

Howard Banner was once a highly respected newspaper columnist, but his best days are far behind him. In order to revive his waning career, he hires a young street waif to pretend she is dying of cancer, and calls her Jenny Sloan. After writing a series of articles about her brave fight to overcome the disease, Howard Banner once again becomes the toast of Chicago. Gary discovers the deception as he tries to persuade Jenny to help give a young boy stricken with cancer the desire and will to live.

And that's the traffic report

for this beautiful
Tuesday morning...

(shuts off radio)

(cat meows, newspaper thuds)


Every morning.

(cat meows)


(cat meows)

You couldn't let me sleep in
just one morning?

(cat meows)

All right, what do you got
for me? Surprise me.

Whoa! Hey!

Hey, stop the bus!

Hey! Hey, stop the bus, huh?!


What's the matter
with you, son?

A kid... a stowaway...

the luggage...


I need a verb.

Open your luggage compartment,


Yeah. Just a second.
Kevin, you...

Would you wait
just a second, please?

Listen, pal, I've got
a busload of folks

anxious to get
to Dallas.

You know many Texans?

You don't want
to make 'em mad.

Just ask 'em to wait a minute.

Just... please, one minute.

Kevin, you in here?

It'll just be
a minute.

Look, Kevin, I know you're
in here, so come on out, huh?

Look out!

Hey! Grab him!

Nice work, MacGyver!


(theme music playing)

CHUCK: What if you
knew, beyond a doubt,

what was going
to happen tomorrow?

What would you do?

There's no easy answer

for a guy
who gets tomorrow's news today.

You like the Cubs, huh?

Me, I like the
White Sox.

Of course, Cubs, they got
the better stadium.

It's really good
talking to you, kid.

You're pretty proud
of yourself, huh?


Big hero... saved the dumb kid
from suffocating in a bus.

Probably give you a medal.

I doubt they'll
give me a medal.

Sure, a big medal.

A picture of you
in the newspaper.

Probably even get on TV.

Let me ask you something, kid.
What's your problem?

What do you want from me?

You know, a "thank you"
might be nice.

Quit staring.


I'm bald.

Are you happy now?

It looks ridiculous.

Look, kid, I-I wasn't staring.
I... Do me a favor.

Next time you want
to be a hero, don't.

Hey, look...

(tires screech)

So, what's up, buddy?
You run away,

and then I get this call
to come down here?

Are you okay?

I'm fine.

Uh, Ms. Miller?
Gary Hobson.

I'm the one that phoned.

Did he get hurt?

No, no. He's fine.

Stubborn kid.

Yeah. He's...

Miss Miller, this is none
of my business. I...

It's leukemia. They found it
about three months ago.

The doctors say
he's got a chance

with this new

but Kevin won't take it anymore.

I dragged him back
to the hospital

this morning to try again.

I turned my back, he ran away.

(chuckles ruefully)
I'm sorry.

I don't usually spill my guts
to strangers.

No, no, it's fine.

Thanks. Thanks
for calling.

Ms. Miller?

If you wanted to,
I mean, I could talk to him.

What makes you think
he'd listen to you?

(engine starts)

We're going home, Kev.

Oh, Ms. Miller!

Hey. Gar, look,
I've been thinking.

It's time we started
advertising this place.

Side of the road, billboards,
taxi cabs, you name it.

We gotta start
doing it.

You know, if we
have to, we take

a girl,
put her on the el,

have her pass out menus.

We'll dress her
as the Lucky Charms guy

or something like that.

Reservations are down
and expenses are up, pal.

Hey, listen, I've been having
this problem lately.

I've keep getting these phone
calls from Cindy Crawford.

She's begging me
to have her baby.

But I say, "Cindy, you're not
my type. You're too big for me."

But she won't listen.
She calls me and bothers me.

What do you think?

Put it on the menu.

Gar, I know we have
this arrangement where

I run the place and you're
the silent partner,

but you can't be
totally silent.

Can you sign
this for me?

What is that?

Accounts payable receipts.

What's with you?

The guy saved a kid's life.

You'd think he'd be
a little cheerier.

So, what's the problem?

I got a picture of a kid here
who's got leukemia.

And he won't take
his chemotherapy.

Without his chemotherapy,

he's got one year to live,
the doctor said.

Well, I think

that might be out
of your jurisdiction, Gary.

I mean, if he won't listen
to his doctors,

then what can you do?

I love this woman.

Hey! Get out!


Health hazard. Look at that.

She's everywhere.

Jenny Sloane.

Chicago's sweetheart.

...signing up voters
and making friends.

...spreading good cheer.

We'll bring you live to the
store where Jenny bought

a gown for tonight's
Governor's Ball.

Sure, I gave her the dress
for free.

She's only got a few weeks
left to live.

See that?

Chicago's got
a million sick people.

Howard Banner decides to write
one column about you,

suddenly you're a celebrity.

I heard it was
a pretty good column.

Oh, yeah, Banner,
he's top notch.

He's right up there with Royko.

The guy was nominated for a
Pulitzer when he was 18.

Oh, hey, listen guys,
I got some stuff

to finish up
in the office,

and then I'm off to class.
So I'll see you later, okay?


Here you go, buddy.


Is that the bowl
laced with cyanide?

Yeah. Hey, what
do you know about her?


Jenny Sloane.

Ah, I don't know.

I guess, you know, just
what I read in the columns.

You read it. Don't,
don't do that!

You know, "Don't Cry

For Jenny Sloane".
You read the column, didn't you?

Hell, you probably read it
a day early.

I'm wondering if she can help.

Help with what?

Who's Kevin?

The kid from today
with leukemia.

I'm wondering if she
meets up with this kid

that maybe she can convince him
to go back on his chemotherapy.

Oh, no, no, no.

That's for dinner.

Order some more tomatoes.

How do you suppose you get in
touch with someone like that?

I don't know. Call Banner. He's
the guy that made her famous.

Go to the newspaper.

(people conversing)

Excuse me.
Howard Banner?

Wait, wait. Yeah. Please.

All right, tell me
what you think.

"The gowns were
certainly beautiful,

"the band was spectacular.

"The truth is,
it just doesn't matter,

"because years from now, the
only thing anyone will remember

"about this year's
Governor's Ball

is Jenny Sloane's
benevolent bravery." So?

That's good.

How is it you're writing
about the Governor's Ball?

It doesn't occur until tonight.

Oh, come on. You think I don't
know what's gonna happen?

The best and the brightest
are gonna outdo each other

toasting Jenny's
benevolent bravery.

Jenny will smile,

tears will flow...
there won't be any surprises.

Maybe you should try,
uh, "quiet courage"

as-as opposed
to "benevolent bravery".

Quiet courage.

That's not bad.

What you got for me?

How's that?

Your story.
Your anecdote.

Your idea for my column.

Actually, I wanted
to meet Jenny Sloane.

Well, who doesn't?
Take a number. Get in line.

Well, you see,
I know this little boy,

and he's very sick... Kevin.

And he's taken himself off
of his chemotherapy.

See that?
I knew you had a story.

Well, I thought that if Jenny
Sloane could talk to this boy,

that it would...

This boy, how old is he?

He's 11 years old.

Oh, so young.

So, you can get me in touch
with Miss Sloane?

Nope. I wish I could.

You will not believe
how many people come to me

looking for an introduction
to Jenny Sloane,

and I would love
to help them all,

and I know that
Jenny would, too.

But the truth of the matter
is her plate is full.

And you realize, she doesn't
have much time left.

How 'bout a phone call?

Jenny asked me
not to give out her number.

Between her charity work
and her public appearances,

she doesn't have the energy she
used to have. You understand.

Thank you very much.

This is a bad idea.

Hey, look, it cost 500 bucks
to get into this thing.

You got that
kind of money

burning a hole
in your pocket?

I don't even have

Where did you get
these things, anyway?

This guy I know.

He made a fortune
in used formal wear.

This isn't gonna work.
This is ridiculous.

Will you relax?!
Trust the tux, okay?

Don't worry. I got this
thing wired. Come on.

(people conversing)

I invite you to join me
in raising your glass

in honor of a woman who's
very name has become synonymous

with all that is brave,
courageous and good

about the human race:
Jenny Sloane.

Hear, hear!

Jenny, I want you to know that
the inspiration you've given us

will last forever.

Thank you.

Um, I'm not feeling very well.

Just tell them that I'm honored.

Jenny's not feeling up

to speaking tonight.
You understand.

But she did want

to thank you all
for coming,

and she says she
feels honored...

What'd I tell you?
Piece of cake.

Well, Jenny, I think I speak
for everyone here when I say

you honor us.

Now, please, everybody
enjoy your evening.

(quiet jazz playing)

Hey, uh, numb nuts,
table two, that way.

Oh, I'm sorry.

I know it's complicated.

Table two...

it comes after table one,
but before table three.

You'll catch on.

Trust me.


Nice speaking with you.

Okay, you, too.

Keep on
smiling, dear.

We're praying
for you.

Thank you.

Excuse me.

Miss Sloane?

My name's Gary Hobson.

Uh, you-you don't know me,

but I know a little boy
that could use your help.

His name's Kevin Miller.

Uh, excuse me.

And I-I thought that
if you could just talk to him,

that maybe he'd go back
on the chemo.

I don't know.
You see,

the chemo is his last shot.

Where is he?

At the North Glen Hospital.

I know where that is.

Um, I'll try
to come by tomorrow.


Feeling all right?

Um, Howard,
this is Gary.

Hobson. We've met.

Well, what a...


Jenny, you're looking
kind of tired.

It's been a long day.

We should get you home.

Well, it was a
pleasure to meet you.

It was a pleasure
to meet you.

Thank you very much.
Okay. Mm-hmm.

This is hard work.


Well what?

Did you tell Banner
about our restaurant?

No, I didn't. Gare,
three million people

read his column every day.

Three million hungry people.

You saw what he
did for that girl.

Think about what he
could do for us.

On the count of three, we go.

One, two...

So what do I do
about him?

Who's this?

Oh, that sick kid.

Well, I told this guy I'd go
visit the kid in the hospital.

Now, why did
you do that?

Come on, look at him.

So what am I supposed to do?

Same thing you do with
all these requests.

You know
the routine.

You send a nice letter,
maybe some flowers,

along with your apologies;
you're not feeling up to it.

Well, I just thought
maybe this one time...

Jenny, come on.

We don't do
hospitals, remember?

Hey, I'll buy you
some dessert.

You'll feel better.



(woman talking indistinctly
over P.A.)

Mom, can we go already?

Just a minute.

I don't think
she's coming.

I talked to her.
She'll be here.

I don't care
who's coming to visit.

They're not sticking
any more needles in me.

Thanks for trying.

I want to go home.

Hey, listen, Kevin...

Hey, I bet you're Kevin.

Who wants to know?


You're the lady on TV,
the one who's...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

You can just call me Jenny.

What are you doing here?

Well, I, uh, I came to see you.

Well, I thought
that you might want

to meet someone who's going
through the same thing you are.

Well, I don't.

What'd you tell her about me?

I know that you don't want
to take any more chemotherapy.

What'd you do,
take out a billboard?!

You don't think

this has been
embarrassing enough

the whole world knowing?

You know what it's like
to wake up

every morning
sick to your stomach?



You know,
I remember there was

one really bad week.


I was so sick.

Ooh, it was coming
out my ears.

Hey, can I see?


You want to try and make me
feel better about it?

Oh, I wouldn't dream of it.

You're not gonna be
one of those people

that tells me I look like
Michael Jordan, are you?

Michael who?

Oh, come on, let's see.

Oh, my gosh!

Oh, oh,
you're right.

That is...
it's horrible!

Oh, your head!

Cover that thing up
before we all get sick.

I'm sorry,
I've never seen

someone so bald!

I mean, it's...

just the glare alone
is enough to blind a person.

Hey, does the airport
know about you?

'Cause they could use your head

to signal
incoming jets!


you a Cubs fan?

Get real.

Huh. White Sox?

Everybody asks me that.

For the record,
I hate baseball.




Well, I used to like
the Cleveland Browns,

but do you know how hard it
is to get one of those hats?

Is that a challenge?


Hey, big shot.

What are you doing,

working on
your Pulitzer speech?

Hey, give me a break.

My column's in.

Yeah, just thought
you might want to know,

your friend Jenny Sloane's

down at the hospital
entertaining the sick kids.

Don't worry.

You can read all about it
in the Trib tomorrow.

Mrs. Miller, he's
asking for you.


Jenny Sloane!

What are you doing
at the hospital today, Jenny?

Are you undergoing

No, I'm just
visiting a friend.

We need this hallway
clear, people.

You're going to have
to wait in the lobby.

(reporters clamoring)




How'd it go
in there?

Um, well, I'm coming
back tomorrow,

but, you know, I'm not
really sure I did anything.

Ms. Sloane,
you know,

I... I don't think
you realize

how much good
you did in there.

You really think so?

I do, and so does his mother.


What's going on here?
Howard. Oh, my gosh.

Do you remember that sick
kid I told you about?

The one in the picture?

I hear you're in the hospital,
I get worried.

Are you all right? Yeah,
I'm fine, Howard.

But listen,
this kid,

you should have seen
the look on his face

when I was
talking to him.

I think I might have
convinced him to go

back on his chemo.

Uh-huh. That's wonderful.

I got a cab waiting downstairs.

Jenny, I think we should
get you home now.

HENDERSON: Mr. Hobson?
Dr. Henderson.

Good to meet you, Doc.

Uh, Jenny,
this is Dr. Henderson.

He's chief of oncology
here at the hospital.

Jenny, it's an
honor meeting you.

I'm sorry to hear
about your illness.

I've been following your case.
Howard Banner.

Nice to meet you, Doctor.

Jenny, the cab.

Wait a second.
Go ahead, Doc.

We've run some phase four drug
trials here at the hospital.

There's a good chance
you might qualify.

What I'd like to do is set
up an appointment for you,

run some tests.

Thanks, but, um...
we're not interested.

Maybe you didn't

Please listen to me,

Jenny's suffered enough,
all right?

She's been poked and prodded
with more needles

than you and I can ever imagine.

So the answer's no.

Maybe you should let Jenny
answer for herself.



I'm sorry.

No more tests.

change your mind,

feel free to call.

I don't understand.

So are we ready to go?

Um, actually,
I'm-I'm gonna stay here.

Excuse me?

Well, there are
some more kids here...

patients, and-and I want
to talk to them.

Jenny, it's not
a good idea.

Please let go.

I'm just thinking
about you, Jenny.

(keys jingling)

(gasps) Oh! (chuckles)

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean
to scare you.

Of course not.

That's why you're sitting there
in the dark.


What's that?

It's my way of saying I'm sorry.

I was out of line earlier.

Open it.


Oh, Howard!

And do you know

what they will look
particularly good with?

Bathing suit?

Well, it's a radical
fashion statement.

What am I gonna do
with a bathing suit?

You'll wear
it in Hawaii.

I'm not going to Hawaii.

Sure you are.

First class.

It's one way.

Jenny... it's over.


I thought we were
just getting started.

I got you a suite
on the water in Maui.

You're gonna
love it.


what if I said
that I wanted to stay here?


How's that?

I was thinking, you know,

maybe I can really
do something here, you know?

Help some people.

Come on, kid.

Don't start believing
your own press.

I'm flattered. I mean,
I wrote those articles, but...

I just thought...

Look, you're supposed to
have a terminal illness.

I mean, how long do you
plan on hanging around?

Pretty soon people
are gonna, gonna know,

catch onto this thing.

That friend of yours,
what's his name,

uh, Hobson?

No, he doesn't suspect anything.

Not yet.

But if he keeps bringing
doctors in to see you...

Pack your things.

You got to check out.

We'll put you
in a different hotel,

different name.

Oh, come on, Jenny,
you're gonna be all right.

A couple of weeks
in the sun, on the beach...

And then what?

Anything you want.

You can see the country.

Settle down anywhere.

Yeah, anywhere but here.


we both got
what we wanted out of this.

You got some money in your
pocket, I got my career back.

Oh, did you hear about
the award they're giving me?


Okay, I've never
been good at anything.

But in that hospital today,
with that kid...

I mean, this is, this is
something that I'm good at.

Jenny... Listen, I
promised that kid

that I would see
him tomorrow.

Okay, can't we just keep it
going, just another few days?

We can't risk it.

We've been lucky.

Do you want to see how fast

an entire city
can turn against you?

You stick around long enough
for someone to figure out

you're not dying,
it won't be pretty.

They'll send you
back to jail, Jenny.

You want that?

Hey, listen to me.

I'm only gonna
say this once:

Jenny Sloane dies tomorrow.

WOMAN: Good morning. (cat meows)

(paper thuds against door)

Sunny and bright
this Wednesday morning.

Temperature is rising,
traffic at a standstill.

(cat meows)

All right, don't get
your fur in a knot.


Good-bye, Jenny Sloane.

"Jenny Sloane commits suicide.

"The discovery of a suicide note

on the Randolph Street Bridge
last night."

widespread speculation

"that Jenny Sloane gave up
her battle with cancer

and leapt to her death."

Are they sure?

It says police verified
the suicide note

was in her handwriting.
It was her signature.

Well, I guess she got
tired of fighting.

Marissa, I'll see you later.

Hey, Gary, where are you going?
The paper says

she jumps sometime around 7:00.
I'm gonna find her.

Well, what if you do?
What are you gonna tell her?

I don't know.

No. She checked out.

Hey, you don't
by any chance

have any idea where
she might have gone?

No, I, I have no idea.

Thank you.

Banner, I need
to talk to you.

You again?

Listen, I need
to find Jenny.

Come on, why don't you
go bother someone else?

Look, this is very important.
I'm sure it is.

Unfortunately, she doesn't
leave her agenda with me.

So, if you don't mind...

I do mind.

She's gonna kill herself.

What? How do you know that?

I just know.

No. Uh-uh. Jenny's not the type.
Look, Banner, I don't have time

to argue about this.

I've gotta find her
tonight before 7:00.

Are you gonna help
me, or not?

7:00? What happens at 7:00?

She's gonna jump off
the Randolph Street Bridge.

The Randolph Street Bridge?


And you just know this?

Listen, trust me,
just for today.

Tomorrow you can go back
to being annoyed with me.

Oh, I trust you.

So you can predict the future,

what's not to trust?
Banner, please.

I wish I could help you,

but I have no idea where she is.

For all I know, she could be
on a plane to Hawaii right now.

So, Kreskin, tell me this:
The Cubs gonna win tonight?

Hey, where are you going?

Randolph Street Bridge.

I'm gonna try to stop
a girl from killing herself.

No, you're not.

Almost 7:00.

Lake Street Bridge.

It changed.

"I tried hard to be brave,
but please forgive me.

"In too much pain.

"Thank you for your love
and concern.

Please keep me in your prayers."

Hey, it's pretty poetic
for a suicide note.

I don't know what
you're talking about.

Come on. I was there,
Banner. I saw you.

Lake Street Bridge, I saw you
tape it to the railing.

So, you really thought
it was poetic, huh?

Don't ask me how
I know this, but I do.

You made the whole thing up,
so don't bother denying it.

Hey, you'll have to show me that
crystal ball of yours sometime.

Who is she?

Some girl. I don't
even remember her name.

I found her at
the bus station.

Look, my editor wanted a face

to go along
with the Jenny Sloane story.

I didn't have the heart
to tell him

that there was
no Jenny Sloane, so I...

So you grab your camera, and
you go down to the bus depot,

and you uh, start propositioning
good-looking girls?

Well, you make it sound
so sleazy.

Where is she?
I don't know.

Listen, it saved my career.

My stuff wasn't good
enough anymore.

You know they were
gonna cancel my column

before I wrote
that Jenny Sloane piece.

If my boss found out
what I was doing,

he'd eviscerate me
and boil me in oil.

So you lied to him
and the rest of the city.

Hey, no harm, no foul.

You're a journalist.
You're supposed

to tell the truth,
not disgrace it.

All right, you want to know
what the truth is, kid?

The truth is that people are
so desperate for a hero,

that they'll believe anything.

Now, are you gonna put this back
on the bridge, or am I?

No, I don't think you get it.
It's over.

Oh, really?
You're gonna go public?

Blow the lid off the whole big
Jenny Sloane scandal?

What if I do?
Good luck.

Your word against mine.

But don't forget,
I'm an icon, my friend.

I am the voice of the people.
Well, what do you think about

Jenny Sloane's voice
against you, Banner?

Jenny? Who's Jenny?

She's gone... dead.

Jumped to her death
off the Randolph Street...

no, excuse me,
the Lake Street Bridge.

There is no Jenny.

Well, that's it.

Every Best Western,
every Sheraton,

every Holiday Inn
in the city.

Do you want me
to check the suburbs?


What are you gonna do?

I'm gonna go to the hospital.

I'm gonna postpone
a suicide.

Sooner or later,
Banner's gonna pull it off.

I'm gonna talk to that kid.

Good luck.

Listen, Kevin, sometimes

when people think that
there's no hope left,

they uh... things happen.

What are you saying?

Are you trying to upset him?

No, I...

Kevin, I'm, I'm, I'm just
trying to prepare you.

For what?

Jenny's not coming back.


Why not?

Listen, either you tell me
what you know right now,

or I'm getting out of here
and never coming back.

Look, Kevin...

That's it. I'm out of here.

What's that?

It's a note from Jenny.

Let me see it.

Kevin, I need you to
promise me something, okay?

I need you to promise me

you'll go back on
your chemotherapy.

Give me the letter.

Do we have a deal?


What's it say?

This can't be.

She wouldn't do this.

How long did you
know about this?

I just found out, son.

She really...?

I can't believe it.

Listen, Mom, either you call
the doctor right now, or I will.

I'm done with this stuff.

Kevin, we had a deal.

You don't get it! Jenny bailed!

But that doesn't mean
you have to.

You've got a real chance here.

That's what Jenny was
trying to tell you.

The deal's off.

Look, Kevin...

Get out!

I think you should go now.


Get... out.

WOMAN (over P.A.):
Dr. Winston, please dial 562.

Dr. Winston, please dial 562.

You were upstairs?

How much did you hear?


You saw what you did
to that kid, didn't you?

Look, I never meant to...

So why don't you go back up
there and talk to him?

Oh, and tell him what?

The truth?

No, you can't do that, can you?

So, how much did
Banner tell you?

except your name.

Well, what, did he forget?


I'm Lucy. Lucy Gimbel.

At least, I think I am.

Back home, in
Washington, I was...

I was boosting wallets.

I got six months in the
slammer, out in three.

I mean, it was
minimum security...

more like a camp, really...

but still, it's
jail, you know,

and people look at you
differently when you get out.

So, I figured it was
time for a fresh start.

Packed a bag, hopped
a bus, here I am,

gainfully employed.

How much did
Banner offer you?

A lot.

The money was great.

But after a while, I-I
wasn't doing it for the money.

I-I liked being Jenny Sloane.

I mean, everyone
wanted to meet her.

TV shows wanted
to interview her.

I liked the way
people looked at me.

And I figured why not?

I mean, no one
was getting hurt.

Oh, no, except that little
kid up in the hospital.

The kid... right,
that was your fault.

That was my fault?

Yeah. Well, if I
hadn't listened to you,

if I hadn't let you talk me
into going to visit that kid...

Oh, I'm sorry.

My mistake for thinking
you're someone you're not.

Sorry, that's my fault.

Listen, it's
all different now, okay?

I can't go back there.

I can't face that kid.

So now what?

Well, you tell me.

Jenny Sloane... back
from the dead.

Look, we have to talk.
About what?

Look, I'm going back home, and
try to put together a life.

Look, I'll send you the
money, and the earrings.

Good for you.

Which reminds me, I need
another suicide note.

Howard, I-I don't want
Jenny to commit suicide.

Sorry, kid. It's the best
payoff for the story.

Quick and clean.

Oh, come on, you
can't do that.

Oh, no? Who says
I can't? You?

Hey, you're a fake,

Do you have any idea
the size of this thing?

Tomorrow, at this time,

the boats are gonna be dragging
the river for your body.

The governor is going to declare
a state-wide day of mourning.

It's a perfect finish.

Look, can't we just
tell the truth?

Are you kidding?

They'll tear us to pieces.

Not if we do it right.
People will understand.

Oh, you think so?

I guess we don't know
the same people.

Besides, what is that kid gonna
think if Jenny's a fake?

And what about
your probation?

If you admit to fraud, you
could wind up back in jail.

Look, Howard, I just, I don't
know what to do, okay?


Okay, okay, okay.

Let me see what I
can come up with.

I'll figure something out, and
I'll call you in the morning.


I promise.

(cat meowing)

(newspaper thuds)

I don't believe it.

"Chicago's sweetheart,
Jenny Sloane,

"whose alleged brain tumor

"sparked the sympathy of the
city, is a liar and a fraud.

"According to allegations

"by Sun Times columnist
Howard Banner

"at an awards
luncheon yesterday.

"'She faked her illness',
said Banner

"during an impromptu
press conference.

"Banner apologized for
not being more diligent

"about checking out
Jenny's background.

"'I guess I just wanted
to believe in her.

"'She tricked me,

"'and with my unintended

"she tricked you', Banner said.

"'Jenny Sloane betrayed a city
that opened its heart to her,

"'and all those kids who
were counting on her.

Jenny Sloane is responsible for
the death of their dreams.'"

What a snake.

And to think I used
to worship that guy...

back when he had morals.

Once this hits
the streets,

this town's gonna
lynch Jenny Sloane.

I think that's what he wants.

He's protecting his job.

Where are you going?

I'm gonna go find
Howard Banner.

The old one.



LUCY: Sorry. No one
here by that name.

Lucy, open up the door.
It's important.

I've got something I
think you should see.

What is this?

It's Banner's column.

It comes out
in tomorrow's paper.

It's a proof.

He usually writes it a day
or two ahead of time.

He's gonna say all
these things about me?

In a half an hour.


(indistinct chatter)

(door opens)

You got a minute?

Oh, now my day
is complete.

I love the hat.

I thought you were
gonna call me.

It slipped my mind.

Oh, so you're just gonna
blame me for everything?

Jenny, would I do that to you?

It's not gonna work, Howard.

It's over.

Oh, this is all very dramatic.

Now, what do you
expect me to do, guys?

Roll over and say
"you got me?"

Well, the truth is, whatever
I go out there and say it is.

I say "Jenny Sloane is a liar",

people believe me.

Now, it's sad,
it's not fair,

hell, it's pathetic.

But that's the way it is.

Well, maybe you're right.

Or maybe people
will surprise you.

You want to find out?


Look, think about
what you're doing.

Don't go out there
and destroy Jenny Sloane

for all those people
who believed in her.

All those kids in the hospital.

Don't worry, kid.

I wrote you a
beautiful send-off.

Beautiful send-off?
What would that be?

"Jenny Sloane
Betrays Chicago?"

How does he keep doing that?

Let me ask you
something, Banner.

When did you become
someone else, huh?


"In the name of truth,

"a journalist will
tarnish heroes.

"He'll destroy myths.
That's his job.

"But the journalist

"should never forget that
he's also a human being

"and therefore has a
responsibility to seek

"a deeper truth
which is this:

"Sometimes people need myths.

"People need heroes."

You recognize those words?

Oh, yeah.

They belong to somebody
who had no idea

how the world really works.

And do you know the difference
between this guy and you?

This guy would never let
an 11-year-old kid die

just to save his own tail.

GARY: Hey, Banner.

Do you remember
what you told me?

You're the voice
of the people?

Don't forget that.

We'll get you on a bus

and get you as far away
from Chicago as we can.


I want to hear what
he has to say.

No, you don't.
Once he starts talking

you don't want to be
anywhere near this place.

I want to hear.

It's been my experience

that everyone has
a story to tell.

It's why we are human beings.

But very few of us

tell stories
the way this man does.

When you read
one of his columns,

you glimpse the inside
of the human heart.

And it quickly becomes
obvious that he is writing

not just because he's
writing about people,

he's writing because he cares.

And his gift is that
he can inspire that in us.

Because of him,
many journalists,

myself included,
became journalists.

Chose this career.

The award this year
goes to Howard Banner.



I want to thank you
for this award.

And I want to tell you
why I can't accept it.

(guests murmur)

You see, there's
a fraud in this room.

And his name is Howard Banner.

I didn't earn this award.

This award rightfully
belongs to Jenny Sloane,

who is quite simply the most
heroic person I have ever met.

All I did was
transcribe her story.

Jenny couldn't be here today.

She called me last night.

Her doctors have told her
she has very little time left.

So, she's gone home to spend
her last days with her family.

But she asked me to
read you this statement.

"Thank you, people of Chicago,
for lending me your hearts.

"You made my life worthwhile.

"If you think of me at all,

"think of me as a
reflection of your own

"courage and humanity.

"Good-bye for now.
Love, Jenny."

I've been struggling
to come up with, uh,

a final column
for the Jenny Sloane series.

A big ending that would put
the whole thing in perspective.

But there will be
no final column.

This morning I realized that

Jenny's story doesn't
need a big ending

because Jenny's
story doesn't end.

Jenny's memory

will live in all the people
she touched during her life.

Her dreams are our dreams.

Her hope is our hope.

And finally,

I would like to take
this opportunity

to announce my resignation.

Tomorrow will be my
last day with the paper.

It's funny, I built my
career on writing stories

about people
who've lost their way

and then found it again.

It has been a long career.

And I have been
luckier than most.

But at some point,
without even knowing it,

I seem to have
lost my way myself.

And I forgot why I ever
got into this racket.

Thank you for reminding me.

It has been an honor
to serve you.

It's easy to be cynical.

Especially today,

when it looks like all
our heroes are crooks.

Our role models, frauds.


Somebody, uh, sent you
a Cleveland Browns hat.

May I come in?


Every now and then, however,
when you least expect it,

the real thing comes along.

Someone who can find
the heart inside the cynic

and give those
who hold nothing sacred

something to believe in.

It's not always easy,
telling the good from the bad,

even if you do get
tomorrow's paper today.

Why is why.

Sometimes to find the answers,

you just have to look
in your heart.