The 2010 Telethon for ToledoWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
FADE IN: Graphic of the Toledo skyline, sans the United Way building; big band orchestra led by Johnny Knorr playing “Strong for Toledo.”
TITLE WORDS: “2010 Telethon for Toledo!”
ANNOUNCER (Jerry Anderson): “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the star of ‘M*A*S*H’, ‘Blackboard Jungle,’ ‘M*A*S*H,’ ‘Cannonball Run II,’ ‘After M*A*S*H’ and, er, ‘M*A*S*H’ … our host for this evening, Toledo’s own Jamie Farr!”
CUT TO: Jamie Farr in black tie and cocktail dress.
JAMIE FARR: “Hey, Toledo! Welcome to the 2010 Telethon for Toledo! As you know, the Glass City has sprung some leaks and we are more than $48 million in the hole. That’s a lot of Packo’s dogs! (rim shot) Tonight, we are going to bring you the best in Toledo entertainment, live remotes from our sister cities and ask you the viewer to chip in and help us balance the budget. To donate, call (555) SAV-FROG. Let’s get right to the show with a satellite feed from Hollywood, California, and Toledo’s own ‘American Idol,’ Crystal Bowersox.”
CUT TO: “American Idol” stage, close-up of Bowersox under blue spotlight, sitting on a tall stool with her guitar.
BOWERSOX: “I’d like to sing these thoughts to the tune of “Allentown” by Billy Joel:
Well, we’re living here in Toledo
And we’re feeling like we live on skid row
Out on Monroe Street they’re killing time
Filling out forms, standing in line
Well, our fathers worked for Jeep at the wheel
Spent their weekends down at Fifth Third Field
Met our mothers down at Tony P.’s,
Bought them a dog
(no onions, please)
And we’re living here in Toledo
But the self-hatred was handed down
And it’s getting very hard to stay-ay-ay-ay.”
FARR: “Thank you, Crystal, and good luck on ‘Idol!’ whatever that is. Now, let’s go to the big board and see how much we’ve raised! Please welcome our beautiful co-host, Toledo’s own Katie Holmes!”
KATIE HOLMES: smiles.
Holmes makes sweeping gesture at the board, which reveals “$17.”
FARR: “C’mon, Toledo, we need you to work those phones! When I was filming ‘Cannon Ball Run II’ with my close personal friend and Hollywood superstar Burt Reynolds, he said to me, ‘How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t like ice in my Scotch!’ That’s the kind of can-do spirit we need to show tonight! Speaking of stars, let’s look at the celebrities on our phone bank.”
CAMERA PANS TO SHOW: Jim Leyland, Christine Brennan, Lyfe Jennings, Steve Mix, Marcy Kaptur, John Amaechi, P.J. O’Rourke, Arthur Hills, Chuck Ealey, Devin Vargas and Jim Jackson awkwardly staring at silent phones.
The phone in front of Marcy Kaptur begins to ring. And ring. And ring. And ring.
KAPTUR: Clears her throat.
FARR: “Marcy, are you gonna get that?”
KAPTUR: Clears her throat.
Phone stops ringing.
CAMERA CUTS TO: Brian Wilson and Fred LeFebvre standing by the phones, scissors in hands, trying to cut telephone lines.
WILSON: “If Toledo is going to be saved, it’s not going to be with more public money!”
FARR: “OK, Toledo, we’re going to keep the entertainment coming while you dig deep. If I understand my producer, we have Toledo, Spain, via satellite; one of our sister cities is looking to lend a hand when times are tough. Hello, Toledo?”
TV SCREEN: Shows test screen color bars.
FARR: “Looks like a technical difficulty. Toledo Spain, we’ll come back to you. Moving along, please offer a warm welcome to two of Toledo’s most accomplished lil’ gals, Anita Baker and Gloria Steinem!”
GLORIA STEINEM: Glares at Farr.
ANITA BAKER: “Jamie, thank you so much. We’re going to perform this song to Helen Reddy’s ‘I Am Woman.’
“I’m Toledo, hear me roar
Our city’s coffer’s drained and poor
And we know too much to go back and pretend
‘Cause we’ve heard it all before
From on the Twenty-second floor
No one’s ever gonna keep us down again
Oh yes, we are wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, we’ve paid the price
But look how much they gained
If we have to we can do anything
We are strong”
BAKER: “We are invincible”
BAKER: “We’re Toledo”
FARR: “Thanks, girls! Let’s go back to the big board and see how much money has come in at (555) SAV-FROG. Katie?”
CUT TO BOARD: Numbers flip to $188.
FARR: “That’s the same amount as Katie’s last film’s opening weekend! Now, we have a special film clip to inspire you to give and help save Toledo, T-Town, the Glass City, Frog Town. Watch as a film crew follows Block Communications owners Allan and John Block as they tour some of Toledo’s hardest-hit neighborhoods.
CUT TO: Slow, heartbreaking string music played over film of long black limousine speeding through rough neighborhoods, its tinted windows rolled up, speeding through stop signs and screeching around corners. Camera tracks limo rolling into the Toledo Club parking lot. A group of young tough-looking kids approach camera crew, yelling at them to drop the camera. Image goes sideways and then upside down as camera hits the ground to reveal cameraman Jon Stainbrook and sound boom operator Ben Konop running, being chased by kids.
FARR: “OK. Well. Huh. Folks, we really need you to give to help Toledo keep providing the services you love: police, firefighters, garbage pickup, all the quality-of-life services you expect from a real city. Let’s check the big board. Katie?”
CUT TO BOARD: Numbers flip to $18.
FARR: $18? How can that be? We were nearly at $200.
CAMERA CUTS: to Carty Finkbeiner standing by the phones, hands clasped, whistling: “Jamie, I’ve put it toward next year’s telethon.”
FARR: “Ah … that’s our Carty! Anyway, here’s our next act, the Toledo City Council Clown Corps., juggling and unicycle circus!”
CUT TO: Members of city council in clown makeup, running into each other, falling down, throwing pies at each other, making Three Stooges sounds. This continues for several minutes.
FARR: “Spectacular! What an act! Thanks for bringing this to our show!”
CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT WILMA BROWN: “Jamie, can you let us know when the telethon starts? We’re just finishing up some last-minute council business here.”
FARR: “Ohhh-kay. Let’s keep the entertainment going with our all-star jam band: Tom Scholz from Boston, Scott Shriner from Weezer and Gary Louris from the Jayhawks, with special guest vocalist Ramona Collins!”
RAMONA COLLINS: “Thank you, Jamie. Here’s a new twist on a Bruce Springsteen favorite, ‘Born in the U.S.A.’
Born dressed in a Jeep ball cap
The first vote I cast was for a union chap
End up with two kids and a minivan
As you send half your pay to the damn taxman, now
Born in the 419, I was, born in the 419
I was, born in the 419, Born in the 419
Down by the river and the steam plant shut
Out by the closed malls and the brownfield glut
I’m 10 years livin’ in close range
Still vote the same, see no reason to change
Born in the 419, I was, born in the 419
I was, born in the 419, Born in the 419”
FARR: “Thanks, folks. Katie, what’s on the board?”
CUT TO BOARD: Numbers flip to minus $48 million.
FARR: “For crying out loud! How’d we get in the hole? What? The unions charged us for all their time? I thought they were going to kick in? No? Even I’m getting tired of this (sighs). Here’s our last guest, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.”
MIKE BELL: “Thanks, Jamie. The city greatly appreciates what you are doing here today. As you know, we all have to pitch in.”
FARR: “My pleasure, Mayor Bell. But we haven’t exactly dented the budget.”
BELL: “Well, we were always going to raise taxes anyway, because, we all have to pitch in. It would have been nice for the good folks to call in their funds, because we all have to pitch in, but through fees, cuts or taxes, we’ll get what we need. As you know, we all have to pitch in. And besides (smiling at Holmes), the night wasn’t a total loss.”
FARR: “Well folks, that’s our 2010 Telethon for Toledo. We appreciate the help of all our guest performers and contributors. Let’s take one more look at the big board, shall we, Mayor Bell? Katie?”
CUT TO BOARD: Holmes is not there.
FARR: “Katie? Katie? Hey, where’d Mayor Bell go?”
BACKGROUND: Sound of motorcycle taking off. HOLMES, wind blowing back her hair: smiles.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.