The Follies of 1907
Libretto by Harry B. Smith
Act Two, Scene 11
Editors Note: Ziegfeld's first Follies was designed as a summertime entertainment, presenting lighthearted musical numbers and topical comedy skits in a breezy rooftop theatre. Although it was not the first revue in Broadway history, it marked the beginning of an annual series that eventually redefined the stage revue as an art form.
The Set-up: The ghosts of Captain John Smith and Pocohontas visit 1907 New York, meeting numerous prominent figures of the day such as Enrico Caruso and Theodore Roosevelt. The second act included this confrontation between industrialists John D. Rockefeller (whose religious philanthropy included building Manhattan's Riverside Church) and Andrew Carnegie (a Scottish immigrant who built public libraries all across the USA). This scene was performed "drop in one" which means it took place in the front area of the stage before a painted backdrop. The text below comes from the original typescript. I have adjusted a few of the stage directions for the sake of clarity.
Setting: Drop in one. The New Library.
(Enter JOHN D. and ANDY C. John has wings sprouting and wears a halo. ANDY is dressed in Scotch costume. They enter Right and Left. "The Sweet By and By" is played for JOHN D. to enter; he comes on singing from a hymn book. "Highland Fling" music for ANDY's entrance. He dances on.)
What! Andy, my dear friend dancing?
(Broad Scotch dialect)
Hoot mon, sure! I dance every time I open a new library.
Very wrong, my dear friend! I never dance!
Vura true, mon, vurra true; but ye mak the public dance.
Did you ever think, Andy, what a wicked world this would be if it wasn't for us?
Ay, John, ay. We're a couple of braw and bonnie laddies and good golf players.
(Enter a BEGGAR)
Say, gents, would you give a fellow a nickel for a cup of coffee?
ANDY & JOHN
Oh! Money! Always money!
I'm hungry, boss. For three days nothing has passed my lips but my breath.
Hungry, eh? Well, here my poor man.
(Gives BEGGAR a hymn book.)
There's a very sweet hymn there called "In Thee I Put My Trust."
Hungry, are you? Well, here's a copper. Go into the library and weigh yourself.
Say, gents, I'll never forget your kindness.
(Bites piece out of the hymn book and exits.)
I love to do the people good.
(Enter a MESSENGER BOY with a very large head.)
Telegram from the United States Senate.
Here! Give it to me.
(Opens it reads.)
"Telegram instructions at once." Now isn't that careless of me? I forgot to tell the boys how to vote.
Say, John, that's a bright-looking boy.
I'll match you to see which of us educates him.
(Takes BOY's hat off, showing very big head; stamps back of boy's head. BOY turns around and shows sign on head "Educated by John D.")
Thank you, sir.
(Takes out a Nickel Library edition, reads and starts to walk off slowly.)
Nice, bright little boy. Who is your father, my boy?
ANDY & JOHN
Here! Come back here!!!
Oh, I do love to do the people good
ANDY & JOHN
(Both sing, to the tune of "Mary and John.")
"I DO 'EM ALL GOOD," SAYS ANDY,
"I DO 'EM TOO," SAYS JOHN.
"I TAKE ALL THERE IS," SAYS ANDY,
"I TAKE THE SAME," SAYS JOHN.
"YOU MUSTN'T DIE RICH," SAYS ANDY,
"I'LL MAKE YOU DIE POOR, YOU BET.
IT'S REALLY UNHEALTHY
TO BE VERY WEALTHY
SO SPEND ALL YOU GET."
(They do an eccentric dance to make music with the chink of money. The audience throws money on the stage. John and Andy scramble for it.)