(Page four of Automata is here.)
Edited Transcript of “The Big Night with Teddy Thursday”
February 25th, 1927
Franz Emmerich, Professor of Epidemiology (Replacing Faye Howard, Actress, No-Show)
Jasper “Jimmy” Godwin, Comedian
Announcer: Make every night a Thursday Night with Teddy Thursday, coming to you absolutely live from the CBS Tower in New York. And ladies, be the talk of your block: send your husbands out into the world with the vigor of Wheatimax real wheat husks.
Teddy: That’s right, Robbie. I need the energy in a Wheatimax breakfast each morning just to get out of bed. The things a man sees out there in a given day, it’s a wonder we can sleep at all.
We had Faye Howard lined up for a chat tonight, maybe jaw about that new picture of hers, but apparently her highness doesn’t like the truth when she hears it. She doesn’t like hearing what’s happening out there, good men losing good jobs. This from a lady whose job is pretending to be a real person! No wonder she loves these (redacted) hatracks.
Well, good riddance, sweetheart. We’ve got a man here with us tonight, a doctor, who can tell us how to keep from catching The Tics.
Emmerich: Excuse me?
Teddy: We need to know how to keep these kids of ours safe from these things. God only knows what the fobs are getting up to out there.
Emmerich: It would be impossible for any living thing, let alone a person, to contract “the tics.”
Teddy: That so.
Emmerich: These tics, as you call them - “memetics,” in actual fact - are little notions that pass through the autonomous community. Have you ever yawned, and then…
Teddy: (laughter) Yeah, I’m yawning right now, Doc.
Emmerich: Have you ever yawned, and another person seems to catch it?
Teddy: So what?
Emmerich: That’s typically the extent of these “tics.” A minor, wholly benign, involuntary effect. They run their course, and are gone. They catch them as we might catch a cold, apparently out of the air, but the means of transmission is different: an errant bit of radio static, or… the twinkling of a Chrismas tree…
Teddy: Oh, here we go again with this (redacted) Christmas (redacted).
Emmerich: That was not my intention. It’s just that automatons have no… If I may, they have no “biology.” They’re completely sterile. They may suffer conditions that resemble an illness, but I assure you…
Teddy: This is some real sparkling radio here, doctor, I bet they’re just glued to their cabinets out there. Let’s run a commercial before we lose ‘em for good, eh, Robbie?
Woman: Welcome home, George. But you look positively ill!
Man: (pause) I didn’t get the promotion.
Woman: Oh, darling!
Man: How is a man today supposed to compete with all those wind-ups out there?
And look at our Danny. He’s skin and bones! We need nutrition, Margaret.
I’m taking Danny, and we’re moving to a farm.
(A door slams)
Woman: Oh, what can I do?
Announcer: Our world is changing - and breakfast needs to change, too. Only Wheatimax brand husks are backed by a guarantee of purity, so you know they’re the best husks money can buy. Wheatimax: The Utmost.
(The commercial ends, with a conversation already in progress)
Teddy: You know what I want to know? Why you know-nothing eggheads can never answer a body so much as a simple (redacted) question.
Emmerich: In real terms, sir - in real terms - I’ve added more material of a genuinely educational nature to this program than…
Teddy: (crosstalk) Cram it. I’ve had it with this joker. There’s got to be some music or some (redacted) thing we can play around here.
Musical Selection: “Goodbye, Goodnight” performed by John Barclay and his New Revue, original author(s) unknown.