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OPENING TITLES

High tempo brass orchestra music begins over a montage of
clips and stills of commercials featuring corporate mascots
and/or logos, each clip freezing in turn, reducing in size
and taking a portion of the screen. The show title reveals in
bold block letters overlay of the montage as the ANNOUNCER reads:

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
"The Symbols of American Commerce,"
with your host, Don Draper.

FADE TO:



INT. DARKENED STUDIO - NIGHT

A set that resembles a very well to do living room, circa mid
1960s comes into view. Seated in a wingback chair, ashtray on
a coffee table in the foreground, DON DRAPER, a clean cut,
late 30s/early 40s white male, dressed in a dark gray suit,
is chatting and laughing with someone in an identical
wingback chair facing away from the camera. He takes a puff
from his cigarette, places it in the ash tray and turns to
camera.

DON
Good evening, and welcome to "The
Symbols of American Commerce."
I'm Don Draper. Our program
features notable names from the
advertising world, and is a live,
candid and no-holds barred
interview with some of the most
renowned, and at least for this
evening, one of the most beloved
members of our community. My guest
for this first program is no
stranger to anyone in this
audience. Her adorable countenance
has graced millions of boxes of the
product she represents throughout
its history and has just received a
makeover, this year! I'm pleased to
welcome The Morton Salt Girl to the
program.

CUT TO:

Seated in the other wingback chair is MORTON SALT GIRL,
wearing a bright yellow baby doll dress and matching Mary
Jane style yellow shoes, and white panty hose which identically
matches her complexion. She has a matching yellow umbrella by her
right leg, which dangles, too short to reach the floor.

DON
Welcome to "The Symbols of American
Commerce."

MORTON SALT GIRL
(with a deep, scraggly voice)
Thanks for the invite, Don.

Don appears confused.

DON
Forgive me, but we were just speaking before
the program began and your voice didn't
sound like this.

MORTON SALT GIRL
I was told by my agent that you
wanted the pure, unadulterated me,
the stuff people don't normally
see.

DON
Yes, but, you're an eight year old
girl!

MORTON SALT GIRL
Draper, I've been eight since
1914. That makes me sixty-two years
old. Besides, I'm always out
walking in the rain. It definitely
has an effect on the vocal cords.

DON
(smiling into the camera) Well,
let's get started. What should I
call you? I mean, what's your name?

MORTON SALT GIRL
Can you believe it, I never had a
name. Some people call me Salt
Girl. Some call me Umbrella Girl,
you know because every day I'm in a
rain storm. You'd think that just
once I could go out when it's dry.

DON
What would you like me to call you?

MORTON SALT GIRL
Here's a good one for you. Just go
with my initials.

DON
MSG?

MORTON SALT GIRL
(Laughing) How's that for great!
(Her laughs turn into coughs)
Monosodium Glutamate! Don't get any
Chinese Food, Don. That stuff can
kill. It gave rats brain tumors in
a study earlier this year. Stick
with real salt.

DON
The most obvious question is how
did you become the mascot for
Morton?

MORTON SALT GIRL
They actually had a mascot before
me: a salt miner named Marvin. He
was some bearded old coot with a
scraggly tooth, a squinty eye and a
pick axe. Somebody was all gung-ho
for Marvin the Miner and he was set
to be the symbol when someone
noticed the resemblance between him
and the Mr. Hyde character in "Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" which was a
motion picture released the year
before. And that someone was the
daughter of one of the board
members of Morton.

DON
And that's how you became the
symbol?

MORTON SALT GIRL
More or less. I had some
auditioning to do. You know how
that goes. But after the Jekyll and
Hyde SNAFU, they were committed
to using a girl for the first ads
and that's how it began.

DON
What became of Marvin the Miner?

MORTON SALT GIRL
He actually went back to mining. I
mean, somebody has to get that salt
out of there. Without old Marv, we
wouldn't have a product to sell.

DON
This brings up a crucial point.
Salt is a very common seasoning.
Chemically, it's simply Sodium
Chloride. How did you help sell a
product that is readily available,
worldwide?

MORTON SALT GIRL
You ain't too sharp on the
research, are ya, Don?

DON
Excuse me?

MORTON SALT GIRL
Why do you think I walk around with
this umbrella? Morton Salt has an
extra element that allows it to
flow freely in damp weather, unlike
a lot of salt that clumps. That's
where our slogan "When It Rains, It
Pours" comes from. OH!

Morton Salt Girl clutches her chest and breathes deeply and
loudly for a few breaths.

DON
Are you alright?

MORTON SALT GIRL
My doctor says I need to stay relaxed.
My blood pressure rises very easily
and he suggests I avoid stressful
situations.

DON
Let's talk about your new makeover.
You have a totally different look
from a year ago. Gone are the
pigtails and frankly, rather rural
look you had, dating to the mid
1950s, replaced with this new sleek
and stylized look for 1968.

MORTON SALT GIRL
May I?

Morton Salt Girl reaches for Don's pack of cigarettes.

DON
I don't think you ought to be
smoking.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Please. It keeps me calm.

She pulls out a cig, whips out a Zippo lighter, lights it and
takes a long drag.

DON
I have a daughter just a few years
older than you!

MORTON SALT GIRL
Oh? You have a daughter who's in
her mid sixties? That's a pretty
nifty trick.

DON
My daughter is thirteen and I
wouldn't want her smoking.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Draper, your reputation for how
you handle tobacco companies means
only one thing.

She blows smoke in his direction.

MORTON SALT GIRL (CONT'D)
You don't get to lecture.

Don straightens up in his seat.

DON
Let's talk about Morton Salt.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Sure. The company will love that.

DON
What sort of uses does it have?

Morton Salt Girl goes deadpan.

MORTON SALT GIRL
You're joking, I hope.

DON
What I mean is what innovative uses
is Morton coming up with to
encourage more use of your product?

MORTON SALT GIRL
Oh! Well, we created all sorts of
sizes of packages, including one
that's the size of your pinky and
one that's the size of a pickle
barrel.

DON
That's quite a variance.

MORTON SALT GIRL
And we encourage people to use our
product on fruit and on sweet foods
to bring out the flavor and to
offset the taste.

DON
Give me an example.

MORTON SALT GIRL
We ran an ad in all of the popular
magazines to invite people to use
some Morton Salt on their morning
grapefruit or orange or even apple!
It makes those foods really tasty.

DON
But if you're having eggs and
sausage or bacon, you'll probably
use more salt.

MORTON SALT GIRL
And that's okay. We allow that.

Don frowns, starts to ask another question, then pauses.

DON
Where do you see yourself going
with this company?

MORTON SALT GIRL
Since I had this makeover, and you
haven't said what you think of it,
Don.

DON
I think you look very modern. Very
today.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Do you find me, attractive?

DON
As a corporate symbol, most
definitely.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Since this makeover just happened,
I'm sure I'm committed to being
with the company for another twenty
years. What do you think you'll be
doing in 1988, Don?

DON
That's way too far in the future
for even me to see.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Yeah. You'll probably be dead. But
that's the thing about corporate
mascots. We never age. In fact,
sometimes we get younger looking.

DON
You've been a delightful first
guest.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Is that it? I'm being shown the
door?

DON
We're out of time.

MORTON SALT GIRL
We didn't even talk about my
parents and why I wear yellow.

DON
This isn't an analyst's session.

MORTON SALT GIRL
It should be, for you. Were you
looking up my dress?

DON
I want to thank my guest, MSG for
providing me with a terrible
headache.

MORTON SALT GIRL
I told you not to eat Chinese!

DON
And I want to thank you for tuning
in.

MORTON SALT GIRL
Don Draper is a dirty old man.

DON
Who are you calling old, you crone!

MORTON SALT GIRL
For someone who doesn't know how
salt is used, you're pretty good
about rubbing it into the wounds.

DON
On behalf of "The Symbols of
American Commerce," I'm Don Draper.

The same music that opened the program plays as the credits
roll. At the same time, Don and Morton Salt Girl are standing
and are animatedly talking at each other, Don towering over
the diminutive guest.

Don pulls out a celery stalk, picks up Morton Salt Girl by
the waist, and starts shaking her over the celery. He drops
her on the floor and walks away, eating the vegetable. She
runs over, kicks him in the shin, then pushes him to the
ground and jumps up and down on his stomach as the credits
end. As she is about to stab him with the point of her umbrella,
Two stagehands are seen running over just before...

FADE OUT

END.

//

This short teleplay of a failed pilot television series for the 1968-69 season, based on a character from the television series "Mad Men" and an actual Symbol of American Commerce was written for LJ Idol using the prompt: Salty.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
i_17bingo
Mar. 19th, 2017 11:16 am (UTC)
Excellent use of the prompt, and hilarious piece all in all. I was particularly fond of the idea of Marvin the Miner, and part of me wishes he was the Morton Salt mascot.
penpusher
Mar. 21st, 2017 02:10 am (UTC)
Thanks a lot! Marvin probably had more appeal at the start of the 20th Century, but I suspect he would have been gone eventually. People don't want to know from where their salt comes!
adoptedwriter
Mar. 19th, 2017 10:09 pm (UTC)

This was amazing! MSG!!! So clever!

penpusher
Mar. 21st, 2017 02:11 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! this was one piece that sort of all came together in the first few moments of looking through the material.
kschlotwrites
Mar. 20th, 2017 01:41 pm (UTC)

So much salt here, I need a drink of water! lol I love it!

penpusher
Mar. 21st, 2017 02:13 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I really had enough material to keep going, but I definitely wanted to keep it reasonable.
rayaso
Mar. 20th, 2017 06:55 pm (UTC)
What a great use of the prompt! I loved the format and the dialog -- it never let down. I also liked the way you worked a little product history in there.
penpusher
Mar. 21st, 2017 02:17 am (UTC)
Thanks for noticing the history. I wanted to be as authentic as possible to the facts, that included the Jekyll and Hyde movie and the facts about the product itself. Don't know why the page formatting didn't work properly. When I look at the unedited text before I published it, it was correctly formatted in screenplay style. Probably just a quirk of the template I have for my LJ.
ryl
Mar. 20th, 2017 07:45 pm (UTC)
I'd probably jump on Don Draper too for putting salt on celery. Yuck.
penpusher
Mar. 21st, 2017 02:19 am (UTC)
Haha! Don Draper did several things I thought were disgusting during that series, but I don't think any of them involved food! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!!
halfshellvenus
Mar. 20th, 2017 08:29 pm (UTC)
MSG! That's perfect. As is the disturbingly worldly salt girl, who looks eight now and in early drafts looked about 2 or 3.

This isn't an analyst's session.
Hahaha! Too bad, I would have liked to know where she was going with that. It couldn't have been pretty. :D
penpusher
Mar. 21st, 2017 02:23 am (UTC)
Sometimes the problem is all about editing. There were so many other elements that I could have written a full length 30 minute episode from this, and the whole analyst part of it would have probably been a full segment on its own!

I'll give you one hint about it - her illegitimate son, Mister Salty, the pretzel mascot, could have played a prominent role in the interview if there were more time.

Thanks as always for reading and sharing your thoughts.
d0gs
Mar. 21st, 2017 12:04 pm (UTC)
oh, i loved this! such a clever take :D
penpusher
Mar. 23rd, 2017 12:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
mamas_minion
Mar. 21st, 2017 10:54 pm (UTC)
Hilarious, very funny use of the prompt.
penpusher
Mar. 23rd, 2017 02:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot - I knew as soon as I saw the prompt this was going to be a comedy piece and then when I started looking at the Salt Girl story, it totally fit!
shadowwolf13
Mar. 22nd, 2017 02:25 am (UTC)
:laugh: Great job!! I'd watch that show. :D
penpusher
Mar. 23rd, 2017 02:16 pm (UTC)
You know, I loved anything like this when I was a kid, so I would have totally been watching as well! Thanks for reading and a lovely compliment!
beeker121
Mar. 22nd, 2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
That she has blood pressure trouble might be my favorite detail in an incredibly fun piece.
penpusher
Mar. 23rd, 2017 02:26 pm (UTC)
Ah, thanks so much!! I had to reference that! Glad you liked it.
fodschwazzle
Mar. 23rd, 2017 10:33 pm (UTC)
This salt girl is remarkably salty, indeed. I like how far and fast you run with the concept, and the Morton Salt Girl is so thoroughly unadulterated and complete in her symbol that watching her shift throughout the piece is excellent.
alycewilson
Mar. 24th, 2017 12:25 am (UTC)
A creative take on the prompt!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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