A MODERN PUNCH SCRIPT
This anonymously authored script from the early 1960's is obviously based in structure on a Victorian script. It is of course dated in some of the references, and it retains the hangman sequence which has been dropped by many British Punch Professors who believe it an irrelevance since the abolition of capital punishment in the United Kingdom.
PUNCH; JUDY; BABY; POLICEMAN; CLOWN; CROCODILE; HANGMAN; GHOST
SHOWMAN (Standing outside the booth commences to call Punch. He goes inside the Booth and continues to talk to Punch.):
Come on Mr. Punch, time to get up. Come up and say hello to the boys and girls.
PUNCH: What's that?
SHOWMAN: I said go up and say hello to the boys and girls.
SHOWMAN: Now go along, up you go.
PUNCH: (popping into view) Oh deary deary me, deary deary me. (sees the audience). Who are you?
SHOWMAN(Voice from below.) Now say hello to the boys and girls Punch.
AUDIENCE: Hello. (may have to be encouraged).
PUNCH: Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello. (He bobs around stage screeching "Hello." in every possible direction.)
Now what's all the noise Mr. Punch. You'll wake the baby.
PUNCH: Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.
JUDY: Really Mr. Punch, don't make so much noise. I do believe you've woken the baby.
PUNCH: I haven't.
JUDY: Oh yes you have.
PUNCH: Oh no I haven't.
JUDY: Oh yes you have, and you'll have to look after him now.
JUDY: Yes Mr. Punch.
JUDY: What! Here.' In front of all these boys and girls. You'll not get round me like that.
PUNCH: Oh yes I will.
JUDY: Oh no you wont.
PUNCH: Oh yes I will. (He grabs her and kisses her violently and noisily.) There that's the way to do it.
JUDY: You are a rascal Punch. Now I will make you look after the baby. (She exits.)
PUNCH: Oh lovely baby, nice baby, where's the baby, Judy?
JUDY: (Enters with baby and hands to Mr. Punch.) There you are Punch. Now. look after him, the little darling. (To audience.) Now boys and girls, I want you to make sure Mr. Punch looks after the baby properly. If he doesn't treat it properly will you all call me?
JUDY: Very well then. I'll be back Mr. Punch. (She exits.)
PUNCH: Its a nice baby - (he gurgles and croons to the baby - then puts it at one end of the playboard and retreats to the opposite side.)
PUNCH: Come on baby. Walkee, walkee, walkee. (Baby toddles across stage. Punch repeats business, baby begins to cry.) What a cross baby you are. Shut up: (baby still cries. Punch bangs baby violently on stage.) Naughty, naughty, naughty baby. (by now children should be shouting. for Judy. If they are not then they can be encouraged by Judy's voice calling, asking if Punch is looking after the baby properly.)
PUNCH: Naughty boy, shut up, shut up. (baby still cries so Punch bangs it violently on the Playboard then throws out of the booth.) That'll teach it to cry. That's the way to do it.
(Then as children call for Judy, Punch looks at them, leans forward and says.) What-a-pity, what-a-pity.
JUDY: What's a pity Punch? Where's the baby?
PUNCH: Gone to bed.
JUDY: Gone to bed?
JUDY: (To audience.) Is that true?
AUDIENCE: Thrown him out of window, etc.
JUDY: What: Thrown my beautiful baby out of the window. Oh you cruel man.
JUDY: Oh yes you did.
PUNCH: Oh no I didn't, etc.
JUDY: Oh you cruel horrid man. How could you?
PUNCH: (Wheedling.) Judy.
JUDY: Yes, I'll give you a kiss. (She bobs below to get slapstick with which she belabours Punch.) Here's a nice kiss (bang) and another (bang) and another. I hope you like my kisses Mr. Punch. (She chases Punch around the stage, beating him, but eventually Punch manages to get hold of the stick.)
PUNCH: Thank you Judy for your kisses, thank-you (he hits her.) thank-you, thank-you.
JUDY: Enough Mr. Punch. No more kisses.
PUNCH: Just one more. (He hits her especially hard and she falls motionless on playboard. He pokes her experimentally - then rolls her to one side of playboard.) That's the way to do it. Poor Judy. What-a-pity, what-a-pity:
POLICEMAN: Now then, now then, what's going on here?
PUNCH: (to audience) Dixon of Dock Green.
POLICEMAN: Now Mr. Punch, I've a warrant for your arrest.
PUNCH: You've left your wallet in your vest?
POLICEMAN: I haven't left my wallet in my vest - I've a warrant for your arrest
PUNCH: You want a rest?
POLICEMAN: No I don't want a rest. I've an order to take you in.
PUNCH: And I've an order to knock you down. (does so.)
POLICEMAN: Now then Mr. Punch, striking an officer of the law is a very - serious
offence. (he punctuates his remarks with blows from his truncheon, he finally pins Punch against the side of the Proscenium.) Can I see your driving licence?
PUNCH: (Wriggles free and biffs Policeman) Here you are then.
POLICEMAN: (Hits Punch.) Punch, you are a villain.
PUNCH: So are you (hits him.)
POLICEMAN: That's a good'un.
PUNCH: That's a better.
POLICEMAN: That's a topper.
PUNCH: That's a whopper.
fight becomes violent and Punch finally kills the policeman who is put, with Judy, at the end of the Playboard.)
PUNCH: That's the way to do it. Oh what-a-pity, what-a-pity.' (Enter CLOWN)
CLQWN: Hello Mr. Punch. (he dances round Punch, while Punch successfully
tries to hit him.) No good Mr. Punch, you can't catch me. Here I am - no over here: - Good morning - Merry Christmas. (Clown keeps bobbing up and down, appearing first one side of stage, then the other. Punch, trying to hit him merely succeeds in exhausting himself. Punch finally catches up with Clown and knocks him down, apparently dead. Punch then begins to count the bodies - Judy, Policeman and Clown. But the Clown is not dead and every time Punch moves a body to centre stage, the Clown moves it back to the side when Punch is not looking. Punch gets more and more excited. Then the Clown removes bodies one at a time Only he is left. Punch is puzzled and looks very closely - the Clown suddenly comes to life and hits Punch, then runs away. Punch searches for the Clown, but behind him appears the Crocodile.)
PUNCH: Oh deary me, where's Joey gone. Oh deary me.
(Enter CROCODILE - audience reacts. The crocodile follows Punch around
stage - until turning suddenly Punch comes face to face with it.
Crocodile grabs Punch's nose and there is a violent tussle. Finally
breaks free and drives the Crocodile off with a shower of blows.
PUNCH: Oh dear, Oh dear, my poor nose, my poor beautiful nose. What-a-pity. Enter HANGMAN.)
PUNCH: Are you a doctor?
HANGMAN: Yes, are you alright?
PUNCH: No, I'm dead.
HANGMAN: You can't be dead.
PUNCH: I'm dead, dead, dead.
HANGMAN: How long have you been dead Mr. Punch?
PUNCH: About 6 weeks.
HANGMAN: You're not dead Mr. Punch, just sick, but I'll cure you. (Exits and
returns with gallows which he erects. He then brings on a coffin and drape.)
HANGMAN: Now, Punch, you are going to be executed.
PUNCH: Oh goody, goody, goody.
HANGMAN: You are to be hung by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead.
PUNCH: What, am I to die three times?
HANGMAN: No, you only die once.
PUNCH: But you said dead, dead, dead.
HANGMAN: Yes, and when you are dead, dead, dead - you will be quite dead.
PUNCH: Oh, I never knew that before.
HANGMAN: Now prepare yourself for execution.
PUNCH: What for?
HANGMAN: For killing your wife Judy, and for killing the baby and for striking an officer of the law. Now come on. (Punch ingenuously allows himself to be led to the gallows.)
here is the coffin, here is the gibbet, and here is the pall.
PUNCH: There's the coffee shop, there's the giblets and there's St. Paul's.
HANGMAN: Don't be foolish. Now then, place your head in here.
PUNCH: What, up here?
HANGMAN: No, a little lower down.
PUNCH: What, here?
HANGMAN: No, no, in there.
PUNCH: This way.
HANGMAN: No, a little more this way - in there. (Punch falls down and pretends to be dead.)
HANGMAN: Get up, you're not dead yet.
PUNCH: Oh yes I am.
HANGMAN: Oh no you're not.
PUNCH: Please show me the way to do it. I was never hung before.
HANGMAN: Very well (he demonstrates) ,you put your head in here like this, then say 'Good-bye' to the ladies and gentlemen, and then I will pull the rope.
PUNCH: Like this. (Punch grabs rope and hangs the Hangman.)
PUNCH: That's the way to do it. What-a-pity, etc. (Exit PUNCH - enter CLOWN.)
CLOWN: Hello, what's this - someone hanging on the line to drip-dry. We can't have this - keep Britain tidy - come on cock, lets have you. (Punch returns, and between them they pack the body in the coffin, carry it off and remove gallows. Punch returns.)
PUNCH: That's the way to do it.
GHOST appears - Punch doesn't see it - audience reacts.)
PUNCH: What's the matter? ....... You've seen a ghost?
I don't believe in ghosts. (Ghost appears again - Punch turns, sees it, is terrified and chased around the stage but eventually he finds his stick and beats off the ghost.)
PUNCH: That's the way to do it, etc.
SHOWMAN: (Voice from below) Come along Mr. Punch, you've done enough damage for one day. Say good-bye to the boys and girls.
PUNCH: 'Good-bye', etc.
This rather short script will serve as a skeleton for further elaboration. There is much scope for extended comic action with the counting of the bodies, the appearance of the clown, and the business of packing the hangman in the coffin. There is also scope for topical asides from Punch. For instances he might greet the appearance of the ghost with "Ooo it's Batman".
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