Saturday Night Live/Elliott Gould/Anne Murray
From The TV IV
Elliott Gould/Anne Murray is the ninth episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live, and the ninth episode overall. It is the first appearance of both its host and musical guest.
Special Guests: Al Franken (Himself/Howard K. Screaming Eagle/Eagle Beak/Swede #1), Tom Davis (Himself/Charlie Big Wind/Chief/Swede #2), Paula Kahn (Mrs. Radner), Lorne Michaels (Himself), Dave Wilson (Himself)
- The Dead String Quartet: The Dead String Quartet (violinists Aykroyd, Newman & Morris; cellist Chase) sits dead on the stage, not playing their instruments nor moving. At last, the first violinist slumps over onto the second violinist, which causes a domino effect which sends the cellist toppling over the edge of the stage.
- Elliott Gould's Monologue: Gould asks for the score in the New York Islanders hockey game. He sings "Let Yourself Go," accompanied by Paul Shaffer.
- Gilda and Elliott One: After Gould's song, Radner enters to say she "had a wonderful time last night," but Gould is less enthusiastic. She asks if Gould will be coming by later, but he says he has to pack to fly back to California. Radner says she "meant everything I said last night," but Gould just says, "Me, too."
- Try-Hard 1-11: A commercial for a battery in which five senior citizens are forced to stand in a field overnight with their pacemakers on. The next morning, only the senior with the Try-Hard 1-11 powering his pacemaker is cheery and awake.
- Interior Demolitionists: Mrs. Henderson (Curtin) is at home with her husband (Aykroyd) in the shower when she hears the doorbell. Before she can answer, the interior demolitionists (Chase & Gould) chop through her door with an axe and let themselves in. They start destroying all of her belongings—vases, Austrian clock, television set, etc. The confused Mrs. Henderson asks if they are sure they are at the right house, but they just ignore her and continue demolishing her living room. Their explosives expert Willy (Morris) enters after destroying the garage and places charges around the sofa. Mr. Henderson comes down and, outraged, throws the demolitionists out and refuses to pay, although they blow up the couch first. As Mrs. Henderson tries to comfort him, he complains there is not enough destruction.
- Godfather Therapy: A therapist (Gould) arrives late for his group therapy session with his patients Vito Corleone from The Godfather (Belushi), Sherry the stewardess (Newman) and others (O'Donoghue, Morris, et al.). The session opens with Vito describing his anger towards the Tattaglia family, but Vito side-steps the discussion of the death of his son Santito. Sherry accuses him of "blocking," so the therapist presses him for more information, but he still brushes aside Santito's death. The therapist at last demands he express his feelings nonverbally, so Vito cuts off a piece of the peel of an orange and places it over his teeth, just as the character did prior to his death in the film. He walks around the room groaning until at last he collapses on the floor. With Vito still lying on the floor, Sherry says she can relate because she went through a similar experience when she first became a stewardess.
- New Shimmer: A husband (Aykroyd) and wife (Radner) argue over whether New Shimmer is a dessert topping or a floor wax until the announcer (Chase) arrives and says it is both. The husband says it's delicious on butterscotch pudding, and the wife says it leaves a great shine.
- Play Misty for Me: A film of edited-together footage of various lounge pianists playing "Misty."
- Gilda and Elliott Two: Radner interrupts Gould to ask about a woman named Lydia, but Radner says she is just an old friend who lives in New York. Radner repeats, "I meant everything I said last night."
- Long-Distance Call: Anne Murray song.
- Weekend Update.
- Chase again tries to call a correspondent in Angola, but he instead gets a pizza place and a man named Angelo, who thinks he wants anchovies.
- Newman reports live from Cape Canaveral, where a rocket is shooting nerve gases into space, but as Newman reports, the rocket falls apart in the Earth's atmosphere and releases its poisonous payload.
- As they cut back from the Jamitol commercial, Chase's wife (O'Donoghue) complains that Chase is not paying enough attention to him.
- As a public service to foreign viewers, Chase repeats the top story in an unidentifiable foreign language.
- Jamitol: In a commercial which airs during WU, a man (Chase) introduces his "wife" (O'Donoghue), who claims to get energy from the vitamin and iron supplement Jamitol.
- The Bees - Killer Bees: A husband (Chase) and wife (Radner) are sitting at home when the radio announces the presence of killer bees in California. As they listen, a killer bee (Belushi) enters from their living room window and takes the wife hostage. He is soon joined by the Killer Bees' leader Diego (Gould) and other compatriots (Morris, Aykroyd, et al.), all with ammo belts across their chest and bad Mexican accents. They demand the couple's pollen, but the couple pretends to have left it at their Aunt Betty's (Curtin). They try to escape to Aunt Betty's, but the Killer Bees have already captured her. The husband tries to explain why people rarely have pollen. Diego starts to talk about how the other bees have suffered, but as he talks, the camera is on Belushi, who breaks character to apologize to Gould for the "technical difficulty." Gould moves into frame to give his monologue, but the camera tilts down to the floor. Chase interrupts and calls producer Lorne Michaels to the stage to look into the situation. Michaels apologizes and marches off to the control room. As Belushi talks about how Michaels hired disgraced director Dave Wilson, Michaels finds Wilson drunk, has a fight with him and fires him. Belushi also says Wilson is Michaels' father. Michaels offers to pick it up from the top of the speech, but Gould says he's "not into it anymore," and the cast shuffles off the stage.
- Gilda and Elliott Three: As Gould starts to leave the stage from the "Killer Bees" sketch, Radner tells him to wait a moment. She introduces him to her mother (Kahn), who gushes over Gould and thanks him "for being so lovely to my daughter." As she leaves, she says, "From what Gilda tells me, we should be seeing a lot of each other."
- Albert Brooks Film - Audience Research: In his final film, Albert Brooks takes viewers on a tour of the National Audience Research Institute near Phoenix, where he tries to find out what people want to see. Brooks says he is willing to pander to the audience however they want. The scientists in the institute talk about their methods and research samples. Brooks films four viewers listening to one of his recordings and saying out loud what they think of it. In another test, an elderly couple who has just seen him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson interview Brooks through their television set, but they are confused and shout at him about whether or not he is in Burbank. In yet another test, they analyze brain waves as a viewer watches the Albert Brooks film "Sick Bed Agenda" and turn those brain waves into a TV review, which is then ignored. In the final test, Brooks tries to convince a viewer who hates his work to like it, but Brooks is unsuccessful. At last, Brooks leaves for vacation with his 800-page report, but he intends to have it cut down into a synopsis.
- Gilda and Elliott Four: Radner tells Gould she thinks they can be "very happy together," but she reassures him she will never be more famous than him. As she throws to commercial, he tries to tell her he didn't say anything the previous night.
- The Muppets - Scred and Peuta's Affair: Scred (Nelson) and Queen Peuta (Tweedy) are carrying on an illicit affair, but Peuta is tired of his being obsessed with sex. He goes through the book The Joy of Sex, but she tries to talk to him about her guilt regarding the affair. Scred says after 400 years of their affair, she should be over it. She urges him to tell King Ploobis (Henson) or he'll "have to do without." Scred finds Ploobis angry, because he thinks she may be cheating on him, and he threatens to kill the other man if he finds him. Scred goes to the Mighty Favog (Oz) for advice, and Favog offers to hear the problem for free when he learns it is juicy gossip about Scred, Ploobis and Peuta. Favog says Scred can learn the secret to "self-fulfillment by yourself" on page 212 of The Joy of Sex.
- Birthright: Curtin hosts a talk show on "children and children's problems." Her guests are Dr. Pierre Lechev (Aykroyd) and Dr. Crane (Gould), who have competing birthing methods. Dr. Lechev claims his birthing method is based on the premise that newborn babies have just come from quiet, wet, dark places and are entering suddenly into the new world. He demonstrates his method with the help of a nurse (Radner) and an orderly (Morris). Upon delivery into the dark, quiet room, Dr. Lechev does not spank the baby and does not cut its umbilical cord for a long time. Dr. Crane, however, believes in exposing the newborn more quickly, and his method, which he calls "Pearl Harbor," involves cheering, confetti, tossing the newborn up and down and a marching band.
- Boogie with You: Anne Murray song.
- Powwow with the Press: In celebration of the first SNL of the bicentennial year, Minnesotans Franken and Davis ask the audience to imagine a world in which the American Indians had beaten the white man in America. They perform the show Powwow with the Press, hosted by Howard K. Screaming Eagle (Franken), whose guest Charlie Big Wig (Davis), Chief of the Bureau of White Man Affairs, talks about negative portrayals of white people in the media. Big Wig denies allegations of racism in professional lacrosse and defends racist team names. They also show a film clip from a movie, Dumb Swedes on the Warpath, which is supposedly racist. In the film, an Indian hero (Davis) and his stereotypical Jewish sidekick Eagle Beak (Franken) find a Swedish meatball and realize they are being attacked by the Swedes. In the Swedish camp, the two Swedes (Franken & Davis) are easily fooled by the heroes' trap. Back on Powwow with the Press, Big Wig claims the movie is outdated at a year old and says white actors are now allowed to play white characters.
"Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!"
- Chevy Chase as the Dead String Quartet cellist, who has just fallen off the stage.
- Let Yourself Go, performed by Elliott Gould, featuring Paul Shaffer: One of hundreds of popular songs written and composed by Irving Berlin which were featured in his musical revues and film and Broadway musicals.
- The Godfather, composed by Nino Rota: After decades of work as a film composer, Rota's most famous and memorable film score was the one he wrote for this 1973 Oscar-winning film. Although the score was at first nominated for an Oscar, it was withdrawn when Academy members found it violated some of their regulations regarding the Original Film Score category. Two years later, these problems did not arise with Rota's score for the sequel, The Godfather Part II, for which Rota won the Oscar. Snippets of the famous theme and score can be heard on the soundtrack during the "Godfather Therapy" sketch.
- Misty, performed by Various: This jazz standard was first composed in 1954 by Erroll Garner, and lyricist Johnny Burke added the famous lyrics later. It had a newfound popularity in the 1970s with its prominent role in the plot of the 1971 thriller film Play Misty for Me.
- The Call, performed by Anne Murray: Also called "Long-Distance Call," this single off Murray's 1976 album Keeping in Touch was the album's only hit single.
- Boogie with You, performed by Anne Murray: This song did not appear on Keeping in Touch, and in fact, Murray may never have released it on an album at all. Her performance of it here seems to be one of a kind.
- MIA: Cast member George Coe is not credited and does not appear in this episode.
- Repeat Sketches: The sketch "Try-Hard 1-11" first aired on episode 1x02 - Paul Simon/Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow. The sketch "Jamitol" is a reuse of a sketch from episode 1x01 - George Carlin/Billy Preston, Janis Ian.
- O Canada: With this episode, musical guest Anne Murray becomes the first of producer Lorne Michaels' and cast member Dan Aykroyd's fellow Canadians to serve as musical guest.
- Crew Appearances: This episode marks the first on-screen, speaking roles by two men who had already played and would continue to play key roles in the history and development of SNL over the course of its 30-plus years. Producer Lorne Michaels and writer Al Franken had both been either seen in brief, non-speaking appearances (Michaels mostly in shadow as the camera cut back to go to commercial) or heard in voice-overs by this time, but the sketches "Killer Bees" and "Powwow with the Press" mark the first time Michaels and Franken, respectively, are both seen and heard. Michaels, of course, was the creative force behind SNL in its earliest years who would return after a five-year-absence in the mid-1980s to oversee it through the 1990s and 2000s, while Franken was a key writer who became head writer upon Michaels' return and also had numerous recurring on-screen roles.
- Final Appearance: "Audience Research" is the last of the Albert Brooks films to appear on the show.
- Denouement: In lieu of the traditional goodnights, this episode features O'Donoghue as a priest who is pronouncing Gould and Radner man and wife.
- Crazy Credits: In the closing credits, director Dave Wilson's name is crossed out, a reference to his being "fired" in the sketch "Killer Bees." Also, although he has been listed as a Not-Ready-for-Primetime Player in earlier episodes this season, the prominently featured O'Donoghue is credited as an "also featuring" in the closing credits. Finally, announcer Don Pardo claims Lorne Michaels played Dave Wilson and Wilson played Michaels, when in fact each man played himself.
- Setting the Standard: This episode features two performances by its one musical guest, host Elliott Gould appearing in almost all sketches as just another cast member and very few contributions from outside sources such as Albert Brooks (whose films would not be seen again after this episode). Although earlier episodes (most notably episode 1x04 - Candice Bergen/Esther Phillips) had featured rough variations on this format, the wild divergence from episode to episode suggested it had not yet been standardized. However, largely due to the input of the next episode's host, Buck Henry, almost every episode from this point on featured a close approximation of this basic framework, which is more recognizable to viewers of the show today. As a result, many critics date the birth of SNL as we now know it to this episode.
- New Bug: This is the first episode to feature the "double-trapezoid" NBC logo in the closing credits, in which a red and a blue trapezoid formed the letter "N," first unveiled in 1976. This was a switch from the "single line" logo, in which one unbroken line spelled out the letters "NBC," which was used throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. This episode's WU makes reference to and light of the switch.
Behind the Scenes
- Awards: Writers Anne Beatts, Chevy Chase, Al Franken, Tom Davis, Lorne Michaels, Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Michael O'Donoghue, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Rosie Shuster and Alan Zweibel won the Emmy for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series" for the 1975-76 season for their work on this episode.
Allusions and References
- The New Shimmer commercial is a parody of a commercial which ran frequently at the time, in which a brother and sister fight over whether a new sweet was a "Snack" or a "Dessert".
- Godfather Therapy.
- Vito Corleone: Well, the Tattaglia family is causing me great personal grief. Also... also, another thing: Things are not going so well at my olive oil company. No.
Sherry: Oh, my God, Vito, I think you're blockiiiing!
- Therapist: Sherry, how do you feel about what Vito just went through?
Sherry: Well, I thought it was really beautiful, and, like, I can really relate to what kind of changes Vito was going through, 'cause I went through the same thing when I was deciding to be a stewardess. It was so weird. My friends... I'm not kidding, man, you know. Like, my friends kept asking me, "Gosh, Sherry, why do you wanna be a stewardess?" you know. And, like, I had to get super reflective and ask myself, well, "God, Sherry, why do you wanna be a stewardess?" You know, and, like, I realized that it's 'cause I love people. I really do. I love to serve. I love to help try to fall asleep sitting up and everything, and, well, also, I really had to get out of Encino, man. It was really getting hairy, you know. Like, my boyfriend Brad and me were supposed to get married and everything, you know? So I was making a peach cobbler for his mother? And I overheard her say, "Look, the shiksa's making us a Presbyterian pie!" Grossed me out royal, man. I thought, "Some people," you know? So I knew I had a bitchin' bod and a good personality, so, you know, I just left town, and I became a stewardess, you know? And then I grew sooo much emotionally, I just couldn't believe it. 'Cause, like, I went back to Encino, and everybody seemed so immature! It was unreal, you know? You know, Doctor, I think that you're... that Norman Mailer is right. You can't go home.