Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 6, Episode 7 - Chuckles Bites the Dust - full transcript

Mary is appalled with everyone's reaction to the death of their station co-workers Chuckles the Clown is killed. He was the Grand Marshall at a circus parade but having appeared as one of his TV characters, in the form of a peanut, is shelled by a rogue elephant. Murray in particular simply can't stop making jokes about it all and Mary thinks it's all inappropriate, despite Lou's claim that it's just a way of dealing with death. They all attend the memorial service but it's Mary who has trouble remaining solemn.

♪ Who can turn the
world on with her smile ♪

♪ Who can take a nothing day ♪

♪ And suddenly make
it all seem worthwhile ♪

♪ Well, it's you, girl
and you should know it ♪

♪ With each glance and every
little movement you show it ♪

♪ Love is all around
No need to waste it ♪

♪ You can have the town
Why don't you take it ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪♪

Hello, people. No. Don't
turn around, Mary. No. No.

I want you to close your eyes. No
arguments. You just close your eyes.

It's all right, Sue Ann. She's
seen you without makeup before.

[Chuckling] Oh, Murray.

I just hope my mind's still
active when I'm your age.

- Mary, would you... Close your eyes now.
- All right.

Now you can open them.

Well, what do you think?
Can I close them again?

What is that?

It's a free-form mobile representing
the four basic food groups.

I used it on a special
I did last week...

called "What's All this
Fuss about Famine?"

Just the thing to brighten
up your new apartment.

Oh, well, gee. Uh, Sue Ann,
I'd have to check the lease...

to make sure there isn't a
regulation against, you know,

hanging food.

Well, I know you'll find
just the right spot for it.

I know. Why don't you
put it in your bedroom?

You must need something
in there to relieve the tedium.

Hello, Sue Ann! [Chuckling]

Hi, guys. Love your ring, Mary.

This is Ted Baxter saying
happy days are here again.

Well, well. Did you
make that up, Ted?

No, it's from some song.
I forget the name of it.

What are you so happy about? The
circus is in town, and they want me.

Oh, terrific, Ted. Do you have to
bring your own shovel? [Laughing]

They want me to ride at the head of
the parade. I'm this year's grand marshal.

- Ah.
- Would've had it
last year...

except for that big,
dumb, stupid basketball

player... does the
sports on Channel 8.

[Chuckling] He made a fool
of himself. What happened?

Well, he got into the wrong car.

He, uh, squeezed into the
little one with all the clowns...

and kind of wedged them all in.

They had to take
the car apart so they

could get out. It sort
of ruined the effect.

Hmm. Gee, it sounds like the grand
marshal's job has a history of disaster.

Yeah? Well, this
year, they've got me.

I rest my case.

Nothing can bug me, Murr.

Nothing can spoil my day now that I'm gonna
be grand marshal of the circus parade.

Forget it, Ted. You aren't.

What? I said, forget it.

My anchorman isn't marching
down the street with a chimp.

Tends to give him
an undignified image.

Oh, Lou, it won't give
me an undignified image.

I was talking about the chimp.



[Doorbell Rings]

Hi, Mary. Hi, Georgette.
What brings you here?

Ted. He's parking the car.


How about some coffee? Okay.

Mary, when Ted gets here, you've
gotta talk to him. He's very upset.

Yeah, sure. Uh, what about?

I don't know. He's too
upset to talk about it.

Well, then what makes
you think he'll talk to me?

I know he will, Mary. He said, "I'm not
gonna burden you with my problems.

"It's just a bore to burden
people with your troubles.

- Let's go see Mary."
- Oh.

Mary, can I ask you a
question? Yeah, sure.

- What's this?
- It's a present from Sue Ann.

It's a mobile. I'm trying
to find a place for it.

Why don't you put
it in a mobile home?

- What do you want me
to do with it?
- I don't know.

[Doorbell Rings]

Mary, whatever it is that's bothering
Ted, you'll have to worm it out of him.

He likes to hide
his true feelings.


Hi, Ted. Hi, Mary.


- Ted, is something wrong?
- I can never hide
anything from you, Mary.

All right, I'll tell you.

[Sighs] I'm leaving WJM.

Leaving? Why?

Because I'm not appreciated.

After giving seven years of the best
I've got, Lou still treats me like dirt.

Oh, come on. Treats
me like a child, Mary.

Oh, Ted, that's not true. I mean,
sure, maybe he bosses you around.

But he doesn't treat you like a child.
He respects you as a mature adult.

[Crying] Then why won't
he let me go to the circus?

[Teakettle Whistling]

That's a great honor, Mary,
being a grand marshal of a circus.

A great honor. The grand marshal
rides ahead of the elephants.

Well, Ted, for what it's worth,
I think Mr. Grant was wrong.

Then why don't you talk to him? He'll
listen to you. Maybe he'll change his mind.

I'm afraid it's a little late. I
heard before I left the office...

that the circus has already
chosen another grand marshal.


Boy, they don't waste
any time, do they?

Who'd they get to replace
me... The mayor, the governor?

Chuckles the Clown.


A kiddie show host? A grand
marshal of a circus a clown?

[Scoffs] Oh, Mary. I hate to say
this, but I hope they laugh at him.

Leaving 28 people

Big deal.

Now a word from
one of our sponsors.

What's the matter with
him? Oh, he's still angry...

over Chuckles leading the
circus parade today instead of him.

And I'll tell you something... I
don't blame him. Oh, come on, Mary.

You're gonna be
reasonable now, aren't you?

You're gonna be fair and look at
both sides and see Ted's point of view.

I mean it, Murr. Do you know how close
Ted came to quitting his job over this?

Not close enough.

Oh, my.

Oh, dear. Mr. Grant?

- Oh, Lord.
- Mr. Grant!

Something terrible has happened.

- What is it, Lou?
- Someone we all know is dead.

What? Who? Yeah.

No. I won't tell you about it
now. I don't want to upset you.

Mr. Grant! Where's
Ted? I gotta tell Ted.

He's on the air. What happened,
Lou? Who died? Would you tell us?


Chuckles the Clown is dead.

It was a freak accident.

He went to the parade
dressed as Peter Peanut,

and a rogue elephant
tried to shell him.


I gotta get this on the air. Murray,
you start working on the formal obituary.

Chuckles's real name was
George. His wife's name is Louise.

The elephant's name is Jocko.

[Ted On TV] We'll be back
right after this commercial.

Ted, listen very closely.

Chuckles the
Clown was just killed.

He was dressed as a peanut,
and an elephant crushed him.

Stop trying to cheer me up, Lou.

I mean, that's funny,
but that's in bad taste.

Ted, it's not a joke!

You mean it? Yes.

Good Lord. All
right. Now listen.

Murray is working on a
formal obituary for tomorrow.

You go on now, and you'll
just have to ad-lib something.

Well... What'll I say? I
hardly know the man.

Sure you did. You knew
him. You were on his show.

Well, it's hard to know a man that's
chasing you around with a rubber chicken.

Ted, just say something
short and simple and warm.

You can do it. We're
counting on you.

Don't worry. I
won't let you down.

[Ted On TV] Ladies and
gentlemen, sad news.

One of our most
beloved entertainers,

and a close personal
friend of mine, is dead.

Chuckles the Clown
died today from...

From, uh... He
died a broken man.

Chuckles, uh, leaves a wife...

At least I assume he was married.
He didn't seem like the other kind.

I... I don't know his age, but I'd
guess he was probably in his early 60s.

It's kind of hard to
judge a guy's face...

Especially when he's wearing
big lips and a lightbulb for a nose.

But he had his whole
life in front of him...

Except for the 60-some
odd years he already lived.

I remember Chuckles used to recite
a poem at the end of each program.

It was called "The
Credo of a Clown."

I'd like to offer it
now in his memory.

"A little song,
a little dance...

A little seltzer
down your pants."

That's what it's
all about, folks.

That's what he stood for.
That's what gave his life meaning.

Chuckles liked to
make people laugh.

You know what I like
to think? I like to think

that somewhere up
there tonight, in his honor,

a choir of angels is sitting
on whoopee cushions.

This is Ted Baxter saying
good night and good news.

Chuckles worked for
this station for 20 years.

The least we can do is put
together some kind of tribute to him.

Well, I think I've got a title for
it. Uh, "Requiem for a Peanut."


That isn't very
respectful, Murray.

I'm sorry, Lou,
but I can't help it.

I've been coming up
with dumb jokes about it...

ever since you broke the
news to us yesterday afternoon.

- What a shock.
- [Sighs] It sure was.

- A real tragedy.
- Terrible thing.

Lucky more people weren't hurt.

Lucky that elephant didn't
go after somebody else.

That's right.

After all, you know how hard it
is to stop after just one peanut.


That's not funny,
Murray. [Laughs]

One peanut.

Hey. Hey! What
are we laughing at?

At Chuckles.

That's not nice.

Oh, I know, but...

Lou... Lou, why do... Why
do I say things like that?

It's a release,

a kind of defense mechanism.

[Sighs] It's like
whistling in a graveyard.

You laugh at something
that scares you.

We laugh at death...

because we know that death
will have the last laugh on us.

It's not only good, it's heavy.

"Ask not for whom the
bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

"It tolls for thee."

That's movingly put, Lou.

Why does it toll for me?

'Cause this could have
happened to any of us, Ted.

Right. Somewhere out there, there's
an elephant with your name on it.

You're right, Lou. It
could have been me.

Aw, no, it couldn't. I wanted to go,
and you wouldn't let me. Remember?

Ted, it doesn't work that way.

You saved my life,
Lou. You saved my life.

Please, Ted, I feel
bad enough today.

[Murray Continues Laughing]

Oh, Ted, my car's being fixed.

I wonder, could I ride with you and
Georgette to the funeral tomorrow?

Sure. The more, the merrier.

Mary, dear. There's no
point in duplicating efforts.

I'll do the tribute to Chuckles this
afternoon on my show. No. No, Sue Ann.

I've been peeling onions. My eyes
will be too puffy for anything else.

Sue Ann!

Why is everyone being
so callous about this?


Well, I'll have you know, dear,
that Chuckles and I were very close.

I baked the first custard
pie he ever sat in.

All right. Maybe
callous is not the word.

But the man died. And it seems to
me the only people who are showing...

any reverence around
here are Mr. Grant and me.


Cut it out, Murray!

I can just see the
insurance claim.

"Cause of death:
a busted goober."

I don't know what you
two are laughing at,

but I'll take a
chance it's dirty.

Murr, you're not still
making jokes... about that?

I'm sorry, Mary.

Oh, uh, it-it's a release, Mary.

People need it to get over a
tragedy. Everybody does it.

I don't.

Now, shall we go
over the tribute?

Oh, yeah. Right.
That's a good idea.

I took your
suggestion, Mr. Grant.

I screened some of Chuckles's
old shows this morning. Mm-hmm.

Some of his best known
characters were Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo,

Billy Banana, Aunt Yoo-Hoo
and, well, of course, Peter Peanut.

Uh... Uh, sorry...
No, I'm sorry, Mary.

Oh, that's perfectly all right,
Mr. Grant. The tribute was your idea.

However, if you think
it's funny... No. No. No.

You're absolutely right. The
guy deserves a dignified farewell.


Okay. I thought what we'd do is
show some film of Chuckles at work.

And then simply the words:
"As we remember him."

Oh, Mary, that's beautiful.

Yeah, that's nice. Really
nice. [Stifled Laugh]

Y... Yeah. That's a great idea.

Uh, "As we remember him."

Um, who was Aunt Yoo-Hoo?

Well, I don't think we'd
want to use Aunt Yoo-Hoo.

Why not? What did he
do as Aunt Yoo-Hoo?

Well, uh, not
much. He just, uh...

He'd put on a dress
and scream, "Yoo-hoo."

And then, at the end of the show,
he'd turn his little back to the camera,

bend over, and...

on his bloomers were
written: "The End."

Maybe they should
bury him that way.

Okay, Murr. I give up.

You win. Chuckles's
death was a scream.

Oh, come on, Mary.
We're not laughing

because he's dead. I
mean, we all liked him.

- We're very, very sorry.
- But then why are you laughing?

Mary, dear, don't
the circumstances...

strike you as being
just a trifle bizarre?

After all, the guy died wearing a
peanut suit, killed by an elephant.

Yeah. Born in a
trunk, died in a trunk.

All right. Just forget
what he was wearing.

Suppose he hadn't been dressed as a
peanut. Would his death still be funny?

Well, could've been worse.

He could've gone
as Billy Banana...

and had a gorilla
peel him to death.

♪♪ [Organ, Somber]

[Clears Throat]

- You're looking very nice, Ted.
- Oh, thanks, Sue Ann.

Just paid a half buck
to have my shoes done.

It's a cream shine. I think that's
what he would have wanted.

Why do people always send
flowers when someone passes on?

What would you
suggest, dear? Fruit?

It's so sad. Funerals
always come too late.

I'm not sure I understand
that, Georgette.

Well, I mean, we take people
for granted while they're with us.

Then when we're gone, we
wish we'd been nicer to them.

So we dress in black
and cry our eyes out.

Why don't we ever think to do
that while they're still with us?

Good question.

I wish I were nicer to Chuckles
when I had the chance.

I kind of looked down on him,
you know, being a clown and all.

I was prejudiced against him...

just because his skin was
different colors than mine.


Not much of a crowd, is there?

No. If this were my
funeral, it'd be packed.

That's right, Ted. It's just a matter
of giving the public what they want.

I wonder which ones
are the other clowns.

You'll know soon. They're all
going to jump out of a little hearse.

All right, Murray!

Enough is enough.

This is a funeral. A man has died. We
came here to show respect, not to laugh.

I'm sorry, Mary. All
right. No more jokes.

♪♪ [Organ Ends]

My friends.

"Any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved with mankind.

Therefore, ask not for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Hey, Lou, he stole your poem.

Chuckles the Clown
brought pleasure to millions.

The characters he created will be
remembered by children and adults alike.

Peter Peanut.

Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo.

Billy Banana.

And my particular
favorite, Aunt Yoo-Hoo.

[Mary Laughing]

[Coughing] And not just...

Not just for the laughter
that they provided.

There was always some deeper
meaning to whatever Chuckles did.

[Stifled Laugh]

Do you remember Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo's
little... little catchphrase?

You remember how, when
his arch rival, Senor Kaboom,

hit him with a giant cucumber
and knocked him down?

Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo would always
pick himself up... [Mary Laughing]

dust himself off and say,

- "I hurt my foo-foo."
- [Laughing]


Life's a lot like that.

From time to time, we all fall
down and hurt our foo-foos.

If only we could deal
with it as simply...

and bravely and
honestly as Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo.

And what did
Chuckles ask in return?

Mmm. [Stifled
Laughing] Not much.

In his own words...

"A little song,
a little dance...

A little seltzer
down your pants."


Uh, excuse me, young lady.


Yes, you.

Uh, would you stand up, please?


Please. Please, won't you?

[Clears Throat]

- You feel like laughing,
don't you?
- [Laughs]

Don't try to hold it back.

Go ahead. Laugh out loud.

Don't you see? Nothing would
have made Chuckles happier.

He lived to make people laugh.

Tears were offensive
to him, deeply offensive.

He hated to see people cry.

So go ahead, my dear,
laugh for Chuckles.


Well, I mean, I just felt like such a
fool standing up there like that. I just...

Mary, forget about it. Everybody
else did. [Georgette] Right.

All in all, it was a
very nice funeral.

All's well that ends well.

Coffee will be
ready in a minute.

You know, it's the sort
of funeral I would want.

Oh, not me.

I want to be cremated and have
my ashes thrown on Robert Redford.

- What about you, Lou?
- Me?

Yeah. I don't want
anybody to make a fuss.

When I go, I just want to be stood
outside in the garbage with my hat on.

What kind of funeral
do you want, Mar?

Well, all I know is I just don't want
an organ playing a lot of sad music.

What do you want them to play,
"Everything's Coming Up Roses"?

I'd like a nice, fancy funeral...
I mean, if I were gonna die.

[Murray] What do you
mean "if"? I'm not going.

Why not? How else are you
gonna be reunited with your brain?

I'm not gonna die. You see,
I'm into this thing where...

if I get sick... I mean, real
sick where I'm about to go...

They just take me
away and freeze me.

Then in about 200 or 300
years, when they find a cure...

for whatever it was that made
me sick, they'll just unfreeze me.

Uh, Ted, when they freeze
you, could you do me a favor?

Sure, Mar.

Could you take this with you?