Friday, December 18, 2020

Movie Quote of the Day (‘Scrooged,’ on Christmas Programs’ Need for ‘Pet Appeal’)

Network president Preston Rhinelander [played by Robert Mitchum]: “Frank, have you any idea how many cats there are in this country?”

Frank Cross [played by Bill Murray]: “No, I don't have those... no.”

Preston: “Twenty-seven million. Do you know how many dogs?”

Frank: “In America?”

Preston: “Forty-eight million. We spend four billion dollars on pet food alone. Now I have here a study from Hampstead University which shows us that cats and dogs are beginning to watch television. Now if these scientists are right, we should start programming right now. Within twenty years they could become steady viewers.”

Frank [trying to hide his incredulity]: “Programming? For cats?”

Preston: “Walk with me, Frank.”

Frank [Whispering to his secretary, Grace, as they leave the office]: “Call the police!”

Preston: “Now I'm not saying build a whole show around animals. All I'm suggesting is that we occasionally throw in a little pet appeal. Some birds, a squirrel...”

Frank: “Mice.”

Preston: “...mice! Exactly. You remember Kojak and the lollipops? What about a cop that dangles string as his gimmick? Lots of quick random actions. Frank, wasn't there a doormouse in Scrooge?”

Frank: “No, but now that you say it... I always felt that it needed a doormouse.”

Preston: “Doormice. Better.”

Frank: “Bingo.”— Scrooged (1988), screenplay by Mitch Glazer and Michael O'Donoghue, directed by Richard Donner

Many years ago, when I rented this holiday flick on video, its jokes fell flat for me. Maybe I’ve grown more cynical with age, but when I watched this update on A Christmas Carol again on cable TV this week, I thought that it lost its energy about halfway through, but it hit its satirical targets far more often at the beginning.

This scene especially scored. (I have no idea how Mitchum and Murray managed to keep straight faces as they filmed this.) In fact, I think even more people can relate to it now. (While revenues for pet services—i.e., visits to the vet—have been challenged during the pandemic, pet food sales have continued to hold on, at least till recently—especially online pet sales.)

No comments: