221 "Hot Time In The Old Town"
(Original Air Date: May 16, 1998)

Written by Carla Kettner; Directed by Gary Nelson; (as "fanscribed" by Janet)

Pictures for "Hot Time In The Old Town"

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Scene: McGinty’s main dining room. Marissa is seated at the bar. Chuck is on the phone. Water is dripping from the ceiling into various containers such as a Bulls glass and an empty beer mug.

Woman: That makes 6 inches of rain this week...

Chuck: How should I know whether it's the flashing or the gutters? It's leaking. But if it wasn't raining, I wouldn't need my roof fixed. Thanks a lot, pal. You have a good night, too. (Gary enters the building wearing a yellow rain hat & slicker. His paper is soaking wet and he looks miserable.) Well, if it isn't Paddington Bear. And stay on the runner. I just dried the floors.

Gary: (Walking toward the door to the office and the loft.) Trailer park mudslide. Poodle down a storm drain. Shower. Bed.

Scene: Gary’s loft. Gary is in the shower. Then we see him get into bed dressed in sweatpants and tee shirt. Next thing is morning, the sun is shining.


[newspaper thumps]

Woman: ...Making this the worst storm season... ...Report phone and power outages throughout the metropolitan area, with crews working around the clock to restore service. This morning should bring short rain between...

Gary walks over to the door to get the paper. Cat is wet and the paper is in a plastic bag.

Opening Credits.

Scene: McGinty’s main dining room. Gary & Marissa are seated at the bar. Chuck is walking toward them reading the paper.

Chuck: "At 2:30 PM., "A high-rise at Dearborn and Randolph collapsed "in the most devastating structural failure "in the history of the state. "Office workers in the Tri-Tower Building "were crushed in the debris, "as well as countless pedestrians "within a 2-block radius. "Property losses are expected to run as high "as half a billion dollars. "Not since Mrs. O'Leary's cow started the great Chicago fire has the city faced such a catastrophe."

Gary: 2:30.

Marissa: So what happens, an explosion?

Gary: They drop a pylon in the construction site next door.

Marissa: How does that bring down a whole building?

Gary: When the builder who drops the pylon doesn't have the proper geological surveys.

Chuck: Something about the freight tunnel system underneath the city -- the rain makes the thing flood and collapse. I'm going to go to the construction site and figure out a way to stop this.

Chuck: How?

Gary: I don't know.

Marissa: What are you going to say?

Scene: Construction Site. Gary is in the office trailer speaking to the boss and one of his hard hats.

Gary: That's right. A spelunker.

Trotter: A spelunker.

Hard hat: What’s a spelunker?

Trotter: A person who explores caves.

Gary: But there are no caves around here, so I crawl in the tunnels -- big tunnels, small tunnels. It doesn't matter, so long as it's a tunnel.

Trotter: As interesting as this is, Mr. Hobson –

Gary: But I've been underneath your site, and the tunnel is filled with water.

Trotter: This is a massive project. You want me to go back to the drawing boards because you did a little spelunking this morning?

Gary: You're about to drop a pylon into a flooded –

Trotter: There's 50 miles of tunnels in this city. How do you know you were underneath my site?

Gary: (Hears church bell chiming)God. I mean, I was underneath your site, and I heard the bells of St. Martin's. The bells of St. Martin’s that's only a few blocks away, so obviously I was under your site, wasn't I?

Trotter: Thank you for the tip.(Looks at his employee.) I'll look into it.

Gary: You better look pretty soon –

Trotter: I'll look into it.

Gary: I don't think you understand.

Hard Hat: You heard the man. Go. Now! (Forces Gary to leave the trailer.)

(Gary leaves the office. Scene changes to black & white shot of the headline and buildings. Changes to color. Gary standing outside building. A woman and small boy pass by. The boy looks back at Gary as Gary looks at those passing by.)

Man: (Looking out at site) He's back. (Turns away from door.)

Gary: (heard in the distance) Are you the foreman?

Trotter: What the problem with this guy?

Foreman: Yeah, yeah.

Trotter (confronts Gary): You got a problem talking to me?

Gary: You know what? It's 12:45. At 2:30, we're going to have a problem.

Trotter: According to what?

Gary: According to geological surveys that were not properly done, that's what. Stop the work. Call it off.

Trotter: (walks over to pile driver) Are you in position?

Pile Driver Operator: Yeah, I'm ready.

Trotter: You get ready to drop it, and you do it on my go.

Pile Driver Operator: All right.

Gary: 12:45. It’s supposed to be 2:30.

Trotter: Okay, let's go! Get him off my site. Now!

Gary: No. Hey! I'm telling you not to do this. Let me go.)

Hard Hat: Get him!

Trotter: Get him out of here. (Gary breaks away from the hard hats and goes over to the pile driver. The operator shoves Gary who falls headfirst into a stack of barrels piled nearby. Strikes his head. Lands face down. Rolls over, looks up and blacks out. His cap is on the ground next to him as is the paper.)

Trotter: Are you ready? Drop it. (As Gary blacks out the pylon is about to be dropped.)

Scene: Dirt road. Gary wakes up, wincing. Looks sick and dazed. Everything has changed around him. No familiar sites of Chicago. Man driving a wagon comes along.

Man: [Russian accent] Knives sharpened! Dry goods! Boston china! Knives sharpened! You okay, mister? (Man looks down at dazed & confused Gary. Gary has cut on his forehead.)

Gary: Chuck.

Man: Who?

Gary: What happened? Did the building fall?

Man: Who is Chuck?

Gary: (Looks up at man confused) What are you doing? What are you wearing the –

Morris: I am Morris. Morris Best. (Looking down at Gary.)

Gary: What are these clothes? (Looks at his clothes which are not what he was wearing earlier.)

Morris: You've got quite a knock there, mister. I have got just the thing for you. Dr. Morgan's cure-all elixir. Twenty cents, you're good as new. (Shows Gary the bottle.)

Gary: Where am I?

Morris: Where are you? Where else? Chicago, city of wonders. (Looks around.)

Gary: The pylon. We -- I'm supposed to be at Dearborn and Randolph.

Morris: Dear-- Dearborn and Ra—(Looks around for a second)You're sitting on it.

Gary: No, no, the – (Gets to his feet, walks over to the wagon and looking around sees horses, wagons, buggies, blacksmith shop etc.) the Sears Tower and the -- the Tribune building. Listen, that building's going to fall. (Looks stunned & confused.)Stop kidding around!

Morris: Sure, it is. Come on. Hyah!

Gary: Hey! Listen, there's something wrong. (Runs over to the wagon and looks up at Morris.)

Morris: Shoelaces! (Continues driving down the street hawking his wares.)

Gary: The clothes and the horses -- you say this is Chicago, but if this is Chicago, there's something very wrong I’m tellin’ ya. (Runs alongside the wagon.)

Morris: You stay away, you hear me?

Gary: I'm a little confused here. (Morris tries to avoid Gary. Looks away from him. Gary looks confused & perhaps frightened.) If you could -- you say this is Chicago, but -- what year in Chicago?

Morris: If it's the demon alcohol that's chawing you up, I know a place –

Gary: What year is it?

Morris: 1871.

Gary: Wait.

Morris: Whoa.

Gary: 1871? If it's 1871, then -- then I'm dreaming right now.

Morris: Oh, mama.

Gary: Wake up. Listen, you got to wake me up. I want you to hit me. Just hit me.

Morris: You're meshuggah.

Gary: Go ahead and hit me. I'll buy everything you got. Please.

Morris: Okay, mister. (Leans a little toward Gary.) You're asking for it. (Hits Gary in the jaw, knocking him down.)You want I should do another?

Gary: My paper. My paper. I got to find my -- my paper. (Scrambles to his feet and pats pockets frantically trying to find paper.)

Morris: Hey, listen. I know a saloon down the road. They're selling newspaper, but as God is my witness, today is October 7, 1871.

Scene: Saloon. Gary has a newspaper in his hands. He & Morris are standing at the bar.

Gary: 1871.

Morris: Yes. It's what I've been telling you.

Gary: That building's going to collapse.

Morris: Oh. So look, a wagon full of goods doesn't move itself. Well, it's been interesting. (Morris starts to leave)

Gary: Wait a second, Morris. Why don't you let me buy you a drink here?

Morris: Oh, no. Look, I have family in Minsk -- 11 brothers. You don't get 11 boys across an ocean by sitting in a groggery, hmm? Good luck to you. (Morris leaves the saloon.)

Gary: This is crazy. (Looks around the saloon, unable to believe what he’s seeing. Puts the paper inside his jacket and starts to leave. As he passes by a spittoon someone let’s fly and tobacco juice splatters. )

Man: For your pleasure, gents, everyone's favorite -- the Dusky Nightingale.

[Piano playing ]

Gary: Marissa. (Stares at woman stunned.)

(Dusky Nightingale enters. Walks over to piano players and gives a signal. Man starts playing Danny Boy otherwise known as Londonderry Air)

Dusky Nightingale: Oh, Danny boy the pipes, the pipes are calling from glen to glen

Sullivan: Good to see you, sir. How are you? Got your favorite table over here.

Man 2: Thank you.

Sullivan: Right this way.

(As they pass by Gary he stops them. Leans toward younger man to ask question.)

Gary: Excuse me. Do you by chance have any business interests over on Randolph and Dearborn?

Sullivan: No, and if I did, I don't think it would be any of your concern. (Looks at Gary in distaste.)

Dusky Nightingale: All the roses falling it's you it's you must go and I must bide. But come you back (Holds her arm out as she sings. Men look up at her and raise their glasses in salute.)

Sullivan: Can I get you a drink, commissioner? (Has seated him at his favorite table. Leans forward.)

Commissioner: The usual, Dan.

Dusky Nightingale: When summer's in the meadow, Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow

(Sullivan walks toward bar. Stops to scold young black boy.)

Sullivan: Eyes on your work, boy.

Boy: Yes, sir.

Dusky Nightingale: Yes, I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow. Oh, Danny boy, oh, Danny boy I love you so.

[whistles and applause]

(Dusky Nightingale leaves the small platform she was standing on. Gary approaches her as she leaves.)

Gary: Marissa.

Dusky Nightingale: Excuse me? (Looks at Gary in surprise.)

Gary: Everything is upside down right now. If you could just tell me that your name is Marissa...

Dusky Nightingale: Have we met?

Gary: No. I guess not. It's just, um... I'm trying to find a way home.

Dusky Nightingale: Why don't you buy me a drink, mister, uh...

Gary: Gary. Hobson.

(Leads Gary to a table where they seat themselves. The camera switches briefly back and forth between them and the two men.)

Dusky Nightingale: Sit down. Mr. Sullivan doesn't like for me to spend time with the riffraff, but if you buy me a bottle, he won't interfere.

Man: Here you go. That'll be 80 cents. (Places bottle on the table. Camera switches back and forth between them and the two men again. Gary pays the waiter.)

Dusky Nightingale: You all right? You seem troubled.

Gary: Have you ever... had a dream where you really needed to wake up, but you can't?

Dusky Nightingale: Every day, Mr. Hobson. Um... You know, my grandmother's name was Marissa. How'd you know my grandmother's name?

Gary: You look very much like somebody that I know.

Dusky Nightingale: Hmm. You're not from these parts, are you?

Gary: Yes, I am. I am... It's very hard to explain.

Dusky Nightingale: Well, are you lost?

Gary: Well, if you mean, what am I doing here? Yes.

Dusky Nightingale: That's kind of funny. Sometimes I don't know why I'm here, either.

Gary: You understand what I was saying about the dream, about not being able to wake up? You see, something 's very wrong here. It's -- it's -- but then maybe you're why I'm here.

Dusky Nightingale: I'm why I'm here, Mr. Hobson. I left Charleston to try and make a better life for me and my brother Jesse over there. (Indicates Jesse who is lighting a lamp on the wall across the room.) He's a smart kid, you know? He can read, and he can write. Not me. All I can do is sing. But Jesse -- I think he's got a chance to be somebody. I came to Chicago and thought about all the opportunities. Back home, everybody cried when the Yankees cried "free" but I don't feel so free, Mr. Hobson. Sometimes I don't even know if it's worth it, not even for Jesse. Why am I telling you all this anyway?

Sullivan: Eleanor.

Eleanor: Yes, sir, Mr. Sullivan. (Eleanor leaves the table with Sullivan. Gary rises as she leaves.)

Sullivan: Come with me. Commissioner Hayes has expressed a sincere interest in your...talents. I want you to sit with him, put him in a good mood.

Eleanor: I'll sing for him, any song he wants.

Sullivan: You live in my house, you obey my rules.

Eleanor: I'm a decent woman, Mr. Sullivan.

Sullivan: Your brother's a smart one, Eleanor, but I don't think he wants to be making his way on the streets. Do you? (Eleanor walks slowly toward the Commissioner’s table.)


(Gary reaches in his pocket and pulls out a chiming pocket watch. Opens it to look at it. Jesse approaches carrying a tub full of dishes. Places it on the bar near Gary.)

Jesse: Oh, that's a fine looking timepiece, mister, but it's running fast.

Gary: Thanks.

Jesse: I'm Jesse Mayfield. (Holds his hand out to shake hands with Gary.)

Gary: Gary, Jesse. (Shakes Jesse’s hand.)

Jesse: Yeah, this watch here -- not near as pretty, but I made it myself. (Shows Gary his own watch.)

Gary: You made that?

Jesse: Yeah. I found the back under a coal-box buggy. This winder -- I made it from a lamp screw and one of Eleanor's shoe buttons. (Points to each piece as he explains how he made the watch.)

Gary: That's real good you did that.

(Camera switches over to Eleanor & Commissioner)

Commissioner Hayes: You're a very lovely woman, Eleanor. (Caresses her face as she squirms uncomfortably trying to avoid him.)

Gary: What am I doing here? (Looks around the saloon and starts to leave. A patron spits in the general direction of the spittoon narrowly missing Gary again.)


Gary: Cat? (Sees Cat on floor in front of bar. Cat jumps up onto bar.)

Jesse: Hey, kitty. (Pats Cat.)

Gary: Hey, you, uh... You know this cat?

Jesse: Never laid eyes.

Gary: Look like he knows you.

Jesse: Yeah. Ellie says animals have a sense.

Gary: She does, huh? Listen, that fellow over there (camera switches briefly to Sullivan then back to Gary) -- Trotter -- uh, Sullivan -- why does she let him push her around like that?

Jesse: You blind, mister? We're colored. Now, see, she's doing it for me, to get money to put me in school, and she's not looking for no boyfriend. (Camera switches to Eleanor and the Commissioner as she endures still more unwanted attention)

Gary: No, I -- I don't want to be her boyfriend.

Jesse: Why are you so interested?

Gary: Aren't you a little suspicious for a kid?

(Camera switches back and forth between Gary & Jesse. Then another shot of Commissioner Hayes & Eleanor as he gets more aggressive. Takes her hands in his.)

Jesse: Well, Mr. Sullivan thinks I don't pay any attention, but I got ears, you know. He needs Ellie to close a big deal.

Gary: What kind of big deal?

Jesse: The city's putting a trolley line on Clinton Street. Mr. Sullivan bought a whole bunch of land over on Canal Street. Now he's trying to get that bald guy to move the trolley line to Canal.

Gary: Who's the bald guy?

Jesse: Oh, that's the commissioner. Ellie says they're all crooked. Just doesn't seem right, great city like this.

Commissioner Hayes: Ow! (Holds hand to left ear.)

Sullivan: Commissioner. What's going on here?

Commissioner Hayes: She bit me!

(Sullivan slaps Eleanor.)

Eleanor: Oh!

(Sullivan raises his hand to slap her again but Gary rushes over and grabs it.)

Gary: You touch her again, I'll break – (One of Sullivan’s goons punches Gary in the back. Another joins him. Pull Gary from the platform where Commissioner’s table sit. Gary gets to his feet and punches one guy in the jaw. Gary is thrown across a table. Grabs a beer mug and smashes it over the head of one goon. Gets punched in the face & falls. Eleanor and Jesse flee the saloon.)

Sullivan: You get him out of here! Eleanor, get back here. Eleanor, you get back here, girl! Somebody get her now!

Eleanor: Come on, Jesse. We have to go quick.

Sullivan: Get him out of here. Move! (Two of Sullivan’s goons drag Gary to the door and throw him out on the sidewalk. He lands on his side and rolls over onto his back in the gutter. Sullivan turns to Commissioner Hayes who is still holding his ear.) I must apologize Commissioner. Eleanor is a spirited girl.

Commissioner Hayes: How can I trust you with a business transaction if you can't control your own employees?

Sullivan: I'll get her back. You have my word.

(Eleanor & Jesse run down the street. Take refuge in an alley.)

Jesse: Eleanor, are you scared?

Eleanor: Maybe just a little.

Jesse: Where we going? I think it's time we thought about going back home, Jesse.

Jesse: Yeah, but I like Chicago.

Eleanor: Charleston ain't so bad. It's just not working out here.

Jesse: Yeah, I guess.

Eleanor: Listen, the only thing that's important, Jesse, is that we never, ever do anything we're ashamed of, and if that means going back to Charleston, at least we go with our heads up.

Jesse: Maybe we can get that man to help us.

Eleanor: Nobody's going to help us but ourselves.

Morris: Shoelaces! Elixir! Grain alcohol! Whoa, whoa. (Morris and his wagon come down the street. Stop in front of Sullivan’s where Gary is lying in the street stunned but regaining consciousness.)

Morris: You again? Didn't exactly whip your weight in wildcats, huh, mister?

Gary: No. (Looking up with dazed eyes.)

Morris: You crossed Sullivan?

Gary: He was going to hurt Marissa -- (Winces and holds hand to mouth briefly.) Eleanor.

Morris: Defending colored woman -- not exactly the best way to stay healthy around here.

Gary: I know.

Morris: You got diggings? Place to bed? You want to bed down with me? Come on. Come on. Plenty room. Come on. (Gary slowly gets to his feet and climbs painfully into the wagon seat next to Morris.) You are a fit load of trouble, mister. Hyah, Michael! (Wagon proceeds down the street.)

[Clock Cuckooing]

Scene: Interior of Morris’s boarding house. Gary & Morris enter. Gary appears to be limping and holding his left side. Clock says 8 o’clock.)

Gary: You don't -- you don't understand.

Morris: Just, please, you just sit here, (pulls out a chair and walks toward curtained doorway) and I check with lady of the house, okay? I clear it with her. Hello?

(Woman with Irish accent enters from other room.)

Woman: Mr. Best, what's happened?

Morris: Oh, Daniel Sullivan, that's what.

Woman: It's as cold as a wagon rim, he is. (Walks up to Gary and places her hand on the back of his head.)

Gary: I'll be fine.

Woman: (Places hands on hips.) You'll be nothing of the sort until you get lamb stew and barley in your belly and a good night's rest. (Turns to Morris.) Put the kettle on to boil and fetch me the tincture of iodine. And the chamber set.

Morris: Iodine. Yes, coming right up. (Jogs off into the other room.)

Woman: It's new in town, you are. (Dabs at the cut on Gary’s forehead.)

Gary: Sort of. (Half closes his eyes, clears his throat and looks down and then up at her. Sounds somewhat sick or shaky.)

Woman: If you lived here, it's a wider berth you'd know to give himself Daniel Sullivan. (Shakes her head as if Gary would know better than to tangle with Sullivan if he lived there.)

Gary: Yes, ma'am. (Looks rather dazed & confused.)

Woman: Never mind. You'll be right as rain by tomorrow.

Gary: But that's –(looks behind him and back at Mrs. O’Leary) I don't -- I don't have until tomorrow.

Woman: Nonsense. You've got tomorrow and plenty of tomorrows after that. You're a strong young man, mister – (Morris returns with requested items.) you haven't introduced us, Mr. Best.

Morris: Oh. Um, Gary Hobson, may I present to you my landlady Mrs. O'Leary.

(Gary looks straight ahead, stunned by Morris’s words.)

Mrs. O’Leary: The stew will be ready in a moment. Forgive me for rushing off. I'm after milking the cow. (Exits the room.)

Scene: Black & white image of pending disaster in 1998. Gary yells at Trotter who is giving the signal for the pylon to be dropped.

Trotter: Drop it.

Gary: No!

Pylon falls and water bursts from hole spraying everywhere.

Scene changes to color as Gary sits bolt upright in bed. Cat is lying on the bed next to him, purring loudly. Chicago Chronicle newspaper date October 9, 1871 is on the bed next to him.

Gary: What are you doing here? What am I doing here? "The city of Chicago has been visited "in the providence of almighty God "with a calamity almost unequaled "in the annals of history. "At 9:20 PM., A small cow barn on the corner "of DeKoven and Jefferson Streets "emitted a bright light followed by a blaze, "and in a moment, the building was hopelessly on fire. "Lashed by 60-mile-an-hour winds, "the fire embraced the area between Jefferson and Clinton "and pushed eastward to canal street. "By the time the engines were at work, "a perfect sea of flames covered the ground. "By dawn, the inferno raged 7 miles long. "The rich have been reduced to penury. "The poor have lost the little they possess. "May God save us, for surely the devil has taken his due." (Gary looks over at Cat) That's a little over my head, don't you think?


Many thanks to Janet for sharing her fanscription of "Hot Time In The Old Town" – Thank you!

Disclaimer: This fan run website is for personal, non-commercial use and is totally unaffiliated with Early Edition, Three Characters Inc., CBS Productions, TriStar Television, or anyone else who may have rights to the show. No infringement intended and no profit is being made in any way whatsoever (unless, of course, you consider the emotional satisfaction of supporting and promoting a work of pure genius as profit.) This website was created in homage and with gratitude to the fabulous creators of Early Edition, and also in an effort to support the show and to encourage others to do so. Fanscripts of Early Edition episodes are done entirely from scratch by FANS. They are NOT the official transcripts and are to be used for informational purposes only! Again, I state that no profits are being made here. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY THEIR RIGHTFUL OWNERS. NO PART OF THESE FANSCRIPTS OR ANYTHING ELSE ON THESE PAGES MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM OR BY ANY MEANS WITHOUT PERMISSION. Thank you kindly, and thanks again for dropping by.

Return to Fanscribed Episodes Index

1997 - 2001, etc.