It is pulling up in front of a town hall from which party
sounds filter out.
Pappy O'Daniel emerges from the car with his retinue - Eckard,
Spivey and Junior.
I'm sayin' we har this man away.
Assa good idea, Pappy.
Cain't beat 'em, join 'em.
Have him join us, run our campaign
'stead a that pencil-neck's.
Enticements a power, wealth, settera.
No one says no to Pappy O'Daniel.
Oh gracious no. Not with his
What's his name again?
Campaign manager? Waldrip.
Vernon T. Waldrip.
Hmm... His folks from out Tuscarora?
Tuscarora? Might be. I b'lieve they
Not a doubt in my mind.
Pappy is disgusted:
You don't know where his goddamn
folks from; you speakin' outcha
Well now Pappy I wouldn't put it
As the three men make their way up the steps, Eckard's voice
...but p'haps yaw right...
In wide shot, they disappear into the building.
A reverse shows the wide shot to have been the point-of-view
of Everett, Pete, Delmar and Tommy, who peek out from the
mouth of an alley. Everett hisses his intelligence:
Well, it's a invitation-only affair;
we'll have to sneak in through the
Wait a minute - who elected you leader
a this outfit? Since we been followin'
your lead we got nothin' but trouble!
I gotten this close to bein' strung
up, n'consumed in a fire, 'n whipped
no end, 'n sunstroked, 'n soggied -
'N turned into a frog -
He was never turned into a frog!
Almost loved up though.
Everett is stunned.
So you're against me now, too!... Is
that how it is, boys?
Silence. No one wants to meet Everett's eye. He is saddened.
The whole world and God Almighty...
and now you. Well, maybe I deserve
this. Boys, I... I know I've made
some tactical mistakes. But if you'll
just stick with me; I need your help.
And I've got a plan. Believe me,
boys, we can fix this thing! I can
get my wife back! We can get outta
Headlights play; the men suck back into the alley as a car
The car tools up to the banquet hall and Homer Stokes emerges
with his midget. The midget tosses his balled-up white hood
into the car and both men shrug into their suitcoats.
Stokes is angry:
...goddamn disgrace. Made a travesty
of the entire evenin'...
They too start up the stairs. Stokes's pace is brisk and the
midget hops awkwardly to keep up.
...what I wouldn't give to get my
hands on those agitators. Whoever
heard a such behavior. Even among
culluds. Or mulattos, maybe - I
suspect some miscegenation in their
heritage... how else you goin' explain
it - usin' the Confed'it flag as a
BANQUET HALL KITCHEN
Everett, Pete, Delmar and Tommy are entering through the
back door. The blackface has been scrubbed off but all four
now wear long gray beards as disguise, clumsily affixed with
spirit gum. Each is carrying a musical-instrument case.
They elbow past the bustling kitchen help.
Scuse me... scuse me... we're the
Everett, my beard itches.
This is crazy. No one's ever gonna
believe we're a real band.
No, this is gonna work! I just gotta
get close enough to talk to her.
Takin' off with us is got a lot more
future in it than marrying a guy
named Waldrip. I'm goddamn bona
fide. I've got the answers!
Out in the banquet hall Penny and Waldrip sit side-by-side
at the head table, surrounded by the Wharvey gals. Penny and
Waldrip are facing the hall with their backs to the stage as
the four bearded band members - Everett, Pete, Delmar and
Tommy - take their places.
Pappy O'Daniel stands by Waldrip's chair with an arm draped
over his shoulder, leaning in to murmur confidentially.
Waldrip sits stiffly erect as he listens, frowning at a spot
Suddenly Waldrip erupts:
Well that's a improper suggestion!
I can't switch sides in the middle
of a campaign! Especially to work
for a man who lacks moral fibre!
He waves his cane, outraged.
You pasty-faced sonofabitch, I
invented moral fibre!
Up on the stage, the band has launched into a song.
Pappy O'Daniel was displayin'
rectitude and high-mindedness when
that pencil-neck you work for was
still messin' his drawers!
A hissed Voice:
Psst! Penny! Hey! Up here!
As the two men continue to exchange sharp words, penny turns
her head to look steeply up over her shoulder.
Everett is up onstage just behind her. As the rest of the
band continues to play, he is parting his beard to hiss down
Penny! It's me!
Dismayed, she shakes her head and tries to unobtrusively
wave him away. He is undeterred:
No, Penny, listen! We're leavin' the
state! Pusuin' opportunities in
another venue! I got big plans! Not
minstrelsy; this-here's just a dodge -
I'm gonna be a dentist! I know a guy
who'll print me up a license! I wanna
be what you want me to be, honey! I
want you and the gals to come with
She shakes her head vigorously and looks down at her plate
as Everett continues pleading to her back:
They're my daughters, Penny! I'm the
king a this goddamn castle!
Stokes has ambled up to the head table.
What're you doin' here, Pappy? I
guess someone let on there was free
Yeah, you'll be laughin' out the
other side your face come November.
Pappy O'Daniel be laughing' then.
Not out the other side his face,
Oh no, no, just the reg'la side -
This byplay is interrupted by a roar from the crowd.
The band has launched into 'Man of Constant Sorrow',
precipitating the huge reaction. Everett, still trying to
get Penny's attention, looks up, stunned at the ovation.
Cry from the crowd:
Hot damn! Itsa Soggy Bottom Boys!
Everett and the boys, still singing, exchange bemused looks.
A shrug, and they lean into the song with a will.
Everett performs an impromptu buck-and-wing, bringing the
crowd to new heights of hysteria.
Holy-moly. These boys're a hit!
But Pappy, they's inter-grated.
Well I guess folks don't mind they's
Stokes is also staring at the band, frowning. He murmurs to
Wait a minute...
Everett catches Stokes' look. The two men look at each other,
Stokes raises his voice accusingly:
...you's miscegenated! All you boys!
Everett raises the volume of his singing. Stokes cries out:
Get me a mike-a-phone!
A mike is thrust into his hand and he bellows into it,
overwhelming the music, which the boys eventually abandon.
Stokes continues bellowing into the silence:
These boys is not white! These boys
is not white! Hell, they ain't even
ol'-timey! I happen to know, ladies'n
gentlemen, this band a miscreants
here, this very evening, they
interfered with a lynch mob inna
performance of its duties!
The crowd stares at him, stone-faced. Stokes plows on:
It's true! I b'long to a certain
society, I don't believe I gotta
mention its name, heh-heh...
Nobody joins in the laugh; Stokes slowly strangles on it.
...Ahem. And these boys here trampled
all over our venerated observances
an' rich'ls! Now this-here music is
over! I aim to -
Boos start up among the crowd.
I aim to hand these boys over to -
listen to me, folks!
The boos are growing in volume. There are cries of 'More
music!' and even one 'Shut up, pencil-neck!'
Listen to me! These boys desecrated
a fiery cross!
More boos. Waldrip approaches and nudges the microphone away
to murmur confidentially in Stokes' ear. Stokes excitedly
retrieves the mike and struggles to be heard:
And they convicts! Fugitives, folks,
escaped off the farm!
This cuts no ice; the boos have become overwhelming.
Folks, these boys gotta be remanded
the 'thorities! Criminals! And I
happen to have it from the highest
authority that that Neegra sold his
soul to the devil!
He is hit by a tomato.
The boos are deafening; the Soggy Bottom Boys, sensing
opportunity, launch back into the interrupted verse of 'Man
of Constant Sorrow'. The boos become wild cheers.
Stokes is being pelted by foodstuffs. Shielding himself with
one arm, he bellows into the mike:
Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Is you
is or is you ain't my constichency?
INT. RUSTIC CABIN
Far up some sleepy holler. An old man in overalls and his
wife sit hunched before a crystal set, listening to the tinny
voice. They look at each other wordlessly, look back at the
BACK TO BANQUET HALL
Stokes is almost drowned out by the music as his midget looks
Is you is or is you ain't -
A disgruntled audience member yanks out the microphone plug;
Stokes continues to mouth the inaudible words.
Pappy is considering the crowd.
Goddamn! Oppitunity knocks!
He starts clambering up onto the stage.
Two men advance through the clapping audience holding high
either end of an eight-foot rail. When they reach Stokes,
other audience members help load him onto the rail.
Onstage, Pappy claps along with the audience.
As they play, the band members fearfully eye Pappy, who
advances on them.
Pappy joyfully shakes his fat ass in time to the music and
does a little two-step. The audience roars. The band relaxes,
performing with even more gusto.
Stokes is being through the crowd on the rail, jeered at and
pelted with comestibles until he bangs out the exit.
As the songs rolls into its big finish the audience roars
approval, and Pappy elbows in to the microphone, beaming.
That's fine, that's fine!...
He drops one arm around Everett, the other around Delmar.
...Ladies'n gentlemens here and
listenin' at home, the great state
of Mississippi (Pappy O'Daniel,
Gov'nor) thanks the Soggy Bottom
Boys for that won-a-ful performance!
Now it looks like the only man in
our great state who ain't a music
luvva, is my esteemed opponent in
the upcomin', Homer Stokes -
Yeah, well, they ain't no accountin'
f'taste. It sounded t'me like he
harbored some kind a hateful grudge
against the Soggy Bottom Boys on
account a their rough'n rowdy past.
Sounds like Homer Stokes is the kinda
fella gonna cast the first stone!
Well I'm with you folks. I'm a f'give
and f'get Christian. And I say, well,
if their rambunctiousness and
misdemeanorin' is behind 'em - It
is, ain't it, boys?
Everett hesitates, not sure where this is going.
Sure is, Governor.
Why then I say, by the par vested in
me, these boys is hereby pardoned!
Loud cheers prod Pappy to another level of inspiration:
And furthermore, in the second Pappy
O'Daniel administration, why, these
boys - is gonna be my brain trust!
The band beams, but Delmar leans into Everett, worried:
What sat mean exactly, Everett?
Well, you'n me'n Pete'n Tommy are
gonna be the power behind the throne
so to speak.
So now, without further ado, and by
way of endorsin' my candidacy, the
Soggy Bottom Boys is gonna lead us
all in a chorus of 'You Are My
Sunshine' - ain't ya, boys?
He gives Everett a meaningful look, which Everett holds for
a considering beat.
...Governor - that's one of our
Pappy returns a considered appraisal:
Son, you gonna go far.
The song begins.
the governor and his brain trust
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