moned you to this banquet, I realized that there were onlytwo people qualified to introduce the great man we arehonoring tonight—either my humble self or that pearlamong journalists, Mr. Wallace Cook—my great friendand star reporter.
(he drops his hand affectionately on thathalf-comatose banqueter’s shoulder)
I want Mr. Cook,himself, to tell you of the great feat he performed not onlyfor the
and for the City of New York, but forMankind itself.
(he looks down and discovers Mr. Cook’scondition)
It seems that Mr. Cook, flushed with victory,has retired modestly into an alcoholic haze
. (goodnatured laughter from guests. He once more pats Wallace Cook’s shoulder with paternal sweetness)
Mr. Cook’s retreatunderneath his bushel is understandable and I am sure youwill forgive him. Ladies and gentlemen, our guest of honortonight has a message from the ancient heart of India—amessage of hope and human brotherhood. Our guest, asyou have read exclusively in the columns of the
, is one of the richest men of our time. He was touringthe world incognito like Haroun Al Raschid when Mr.Cook uncovered his identity and, in a burst of genius, of which he seems at the moment incapable, outlined a planof action which appealed to His Highness and brought ushere tonight. Applause sounds and Mr. Stone nudges the grinning and bibulous journalist. He cousels himin an aside, through the applause:STONE:Stand up, Wallace, and take a bow… . WALLACE:
(grins woozily at his editor and mutters)
Ignore me. Goon with your prattle, Oliver… .STONE:
(continuing to the assemblage whom we have seen by thistime in all their soup and fish splendor
) Despite Mr.Cook’s inability to rise to the occasion at the moment,the
is proud of him—so proud, in fact, thatit has placed him under contract for five years—the firstcontract of this sort ever given a reporter—Ladies andgentlemen—briefly, our plan is this. Our guest of honortonight has agreed to devote a portion of his unlimitedwealth to the erection of a great Temple of Art in theCity of New York—a Temple in which music, the the-atre, the dance, and all the other branches of culture willbe offered free to the people of the city. The
has drawn up the plans for this wondrous city of thearts—here they are.
(he pulls a cord, curtains part in thewall and show a Babylonian project which resembles the palaces of Khubla Khan, revealed as a spotlight hits it)
Twenty-seven halls of Learning and Culture… Twenty-seven arenas of art—all free to the people of this city and