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FOUR: IN WHICH we move forward eight years to view the consequences of Diamond Jim's actions in the previous scenes ... AND IN WHICH we are treated to a sample of our hero's story-telling prowess and watch the effect that it has upon a large number of listeners ...

(an oratorical stomp performed to the accompaniment of a mighty chorus)



Night-time... Rows of cells ... tier after tier up to the bare-light-bulb ceiling... and the sound of a thousand men, talking, shouting to each other, moving inside their cells, pacing ...

A half-dozen guards wait clustered around their guard station, casting occasional glances up toward one spot in the uppermost tier of cells -- as if waiting for something to happen ...

Overhead now, quickly, the lights go out. And as they do, the prisoners suddenly fall silent... All of them. .. Almost all at once ...

Then, into the sudden silence, one of the prisoners shouts out a word: "Cold!"

A long beat; then another voice shouts from someplace else in the cell- block: "Hot ... And humid nights!"

Then other voices are shouting, echoing, competing for attention: "Pussy!...Pussy!...Pussy!" "Lonely" "Butterflies! And Summer!" "Rain!" "Long. black hair!" ... until the entire cell-block is a cacophony of shouting, overlapping voices ...

Then a single voice cuts through them all: "All right- BUTTERFLIES! You want ta talk about BUTIERFLIES?!" And the other voices become a single cheer, a shout of joy and relief, then fall quickly into silence.

The moment prolongs itself like a deeply-held breath, then the voice begins to speak again -- it is Sykes' voice.

As he speaks the CAMERA BEGINS TO MOVE, TO TRACK ALONG the lowest row of cells, to watch the prisoners as they listen and react to Sykes' story. And as his voice builds in cadence and rhythm, so do the responses of the prisoners.

They begin to react to each of Sykes' phrases -- adding to them, echoing and repeating his words ... until they are clapping and shouting in time to his voice, giving him a rhythmic back-up to play against with the melody of his story ... Until they are like a black Baptist congregation, wailing and stomping to the words of their preacher, the words of their Gospel...

The CAMERA CONTINUES TO MOVE throughout, TRACKING ALONG the cells, RISING STEADILY toward the highest tier in the cell-block. And Sykes' voice grows steadily louder with perspective:

It's night-time ... And you're fourteen years old ... And if you could, you'd roam the streets of your home town naked... And just the thought of stickin' it inta something that wiggles drives ya wild with desire... And every window ya look at at night, you're sure has got a lady naked, powderin' her nose behind it ... And you look over at your best friend Frankie and you're wonderin' if he's feelin' the same feelin' you're feelin' ... And there's this girl you heard about somewhere near where you are who's got brothers who do it to her all the time... And she ain't too bad-lookin' neither... And maybe she would ... And you could, too ...
(the response of the prisoners is building)
So ya ask her point-blank and right straight out ... And she pretends she don't know what you're talkin' about. .. So ya push her -- 'cause ya don't know how else ta start it out. .. And she says somethin' about siccin' her brothers onta ya ... So ya shove her again ... Ta show that ya ain't scared ... And that nothin's gonna stop ya ...
(the prisoners are slamming against their
bars as if in imitation of what he's saying)
And she's wearin' one of them cool summer dresses with butterflies all over it. .. And you unbutton your pants so's she can get a good look at it ...
(louder suddenly)
And then ya shove her again... Right up against the God-damned wall ... And when ya rip them butterflies offa her ya see that she ain't wearin' nothin' underneath it exceptin' her Mamma's pink garter belt... And ya reach in your pocket and pull out one of them lubricated Trojan-horse typa things ... And ya tell her ta take it outta the package and put it on ya ...
(a pause)

The prisoners are near to ecstacy. The CAMERA IS TRACKING along the highest row of cells; Sykes' voice is very close, now.

But the stomping and clapping and shouting of the prisoners becomes ragged as the pause in Sykes' story prolongs itself and his voice doesn't return to pick up the beat.

The men are shouting, begging Sykes to continue. We see one of the prisoners rush up to the wall of his cell, begin pounding on it furiously -- as if Sykes were in the very next cell.

And suddenly Sykes' voice rings out, challenging:

Ya want ta talk about butterflies?!,
I'll tell ya about butterflies!!

And the CAMERA TRACKS to the final cell -- Sykes' cell. Sykes is standing by the bars, surveying the cell-block. He is eight or ten years older than when we last saw him.

The prisoners become quieter now, answering Sykes: "That's right! Butterflies!" "Tell us about them butterflies!"

Sykes smiles and his diamond winks and his voice becomes softer now. The prisoners have to strain at first to hear him:

And that butterfly dress of hers. .. I bent down and picked it up offa the ground ... And it was light -- with no weight hardly to it at all -- as a feather... And I just held it in my hand there for the longest time ... Thinkin' how this was somethin' . .. And she weren't sayin' nothin' ... And them butterflies. .. Them butterflies sure were pretty ...

He sits down on his bunk, props his feet up, and continues, still softly:

And then a little breeze came up from outta nowhere... And them butterflies started movin'... Like they was alive and real in my hands. .. And she started shiverin' ... And I thought, "I'm gonna help that girl on with her dress..." And how I knew for sure that her brothers never did that ...
(a beat; louder now)
And the breeze was a wind, now ... And we was on the ground underneath some big maple tree ... Huggin' ... That's right: I said huggin'! ... Holdin' on for dear life ta one another... Groanin', even ...
(a long beat; he smiles)
Then after that I sat back a tate ... And sorta lifted them butterflies to a spot just above it... And right below her belly-button... And stared at it... For a good long time ... Maybe even an hour or two ... And thought to myself ...
(as if marvelling)
Damned.. I myself popped outta one a them things not too long ago ...
(another long beat; musing)
Moonlight... and poppin' ... And leamin' how ta do it right ...

The prisoners call out a deeply-felt "Amen!" Sykes stands, comes to the bars, speaks --loud now:

Ladies is truly somethin', ain't they?

The prisoners chorus another "Amen!"

And then I reached down and touched the lightness of her dress again... And she made my hand stop and stay there ...

The rhythm is building again now -- faster and louder. The men are clapping along, shouting ...

And I could feel her movin' ... And hear her breathin' hard ... And I counted ta a thousand in my mind ... Then ta two thousand ... Then ta three ...

The prisioners are shouting along now: "Then to FOUR thousand ... FIVE thousand... SIX thousand ... "

The CAMERA MOVES, PANNING OFF Sykes, seeing the prisoners respond, then CONTINUING ITS PAN -- a full 180 degrees -- to a cell on the other side of the block. At first the cell seems empty; but as the CAMERA ZOOMS IN STEADILY, we catch a glimpse of light reflecting off a small glass disc. Blankets have been draped down over the two bunk-beds, creating a hidden space between them. And inside that hiding place, barely visible to us, something is moving.

OUR CAMERA ZOOMS CLOSER... The glass disc is clear now -- it is the lens of a camera, In it, we can see a reflection: Sykes -- talking, gesturing, shouting now, above the shouts of the prisoners:

Till I counted seven thousand butterflies!! ... Movin' up and down... And wigglin' all around... And screamin' butterflies!... And yellin' butterflies! ... And YELLIN' butterflies!!


The sounds of the prison -- Sykes and the prisoners -- continue from the previous scene, but filtered now -- as if they were coming from a loudspeaker.

We see now, the point of view of the hidden camera: The image of Sykes is grainier, harsher, more accidental in its composition -- like a piece of newsreel or documentary film.

The prisoners are clapping and juking and stomping -- screaming out "Butterflies!" And Sykes, at the peak of his energy, is shouting at them:

Now if ya want ta talk about butterflies!... I'll talk about butterflies!!...

And abruptly, unexpectedly, Sykes' voice and all the sounds of the men in the prison FADE OUT -- as if a hand on some volume control had dialed out the sound track.

A young man's voice speaks from off-screen: quiet, clipped, emotionless -- it is in total contrast to the screaming energy of the cell-block:

We photographed this with the warden's permission but without the knowledge of any of the prisoners -- including the story-teller ...

As he speaks, OUR CAMERA PULLS BACK. We can see now that the shot of Sykes is an image projected onto a screen. We are inside a small, luxurious screening room somewhere inside a large television studio.

The young man who is speaking now, over the silent image of Sykes shouting and the prisoners responding, is standing in a small pool of light alongside the screen. His name is JEFFREY. Several men and women -- only silhouettes in the projector's white beam -- are watching the screen, listening to the young man's presentation:

He's been telling his stories every night since he was incarcerated ... Eight years ago -- for two counts of second-degree murder ... At first, the authorities tried to shut him up. They put him in solitary confinement, but the prisoners rioted... So the warden changed his mind -- decided to let the man talk ... Since then, this prison has had the lowest crime rate of any in the country ... The prison psychologist says that the stories do more than just release sexual tension ... He feels that they re-create for the inmates a state of innocence ... A state he calls "non-ambivalence" ...

He glances over at the screen. It now shows a distinguished-looking older MAN sitting on one of a row of folding chairs set up on a balcony that overlooks the cell-block. He is laughing and clapping his hands along with the prisoners.

Oh ... That's Warden Burkholst, there ... and his wife, Marie ...

MARIE, seated alongside the warden, seems to be enjoying herself even more than her husband.

We were lucky to find out about any of this ... The warden's managed to keep it all pretty well hushed up... He's afraid of anyone finding out about the "unorthodox" way he's managed to keep the peace at his prison ...

A woman's voice, strong and used to giving commands and -- at the moment -- filled with impatience, cuts off his dissertation. The image on the projection' room screen shows Sykes beginning another rap and the prisoners shouting in response.

Jeffrey, for Christ's sake, tell us that later. I want to hear him some more!

Flustered, Jeffrey looks off toward the voice, then quickly reaches down to a small control panel and turns a dial. Sykes' voice and the sounds of the prisoners return with a rush. The CAMERA MOVES BACK IN TO A CLOSE-UP of the screen:


Sykes' voice is strutting now. He is in complete control of the men's responses -- taking them wherever he wants to go.

As he speaks, the CAMERA MOVES and we can see that prisoners at each end of the cell-block are repeating Sykes' words -- calling them out through the windows of their cells to the inmates of adjacent cell-blocks, where the stories are repeated and again passed on.

... talkin' about self-pride, Jake!... I'm talkin' about your self-respect!...You take me, for instance... I ain't never had no home ta call my own ... Never had no driver's license or no God-damned Social Security Number!... Never went ta school or never had no small-pox vaccination... NOTHIN'! ... There ain't no record of me noplace!...
(The prisoners are shouting "That's rightl" at every phrase)
But if somebody asks me who I am ...
(a long beat)
All I got ta do is smile ...

Sykes'diamond flashes as he grins.

Then I become somebody! ... I become Diamond Jim Sykes ... or Floyd Patterson ... or the Ding-Dong-Daddy from Dumas!... I become anybody I damn well choose ta be! ... Because I'll tell ya something ... Something that everybody knows is that diamonds ... that diamonds ain't no just-happen-ta-be-there kinda thing... You gotta be tough and I mean bad-ass as Hell ta sport a diamond out front. .. Ta advertise your fortune right there in plain sight at night... Otherwise you'd be dead and gone ... Or at least you wouldn't have no diamond-studded tooth there... There'd just be a hole there where it used ta be! ... And even when you're dead and dyin', Buster, that diamond is gonna tell that ambulance driver or coroner or whoever comes upon ya in that alley downtown somewhere that ya musta been some tough son-of-a-bitch and somebody special, too!... Diamonds are the great divider, Jake!...
(a beat; smiling)
An' if you don't believe me, you just try wakin' up in the mornin' with a God-damn EI Dorado Cadillac stickin' outta your front tooth!

The inmates are laughing and clapping and stomping their approval.

FIVE: IN WHICH our hero's charismatic appeal is brought to the attention of Elizabeth, a woman of great passion and persuasive personal power ... AND IN WHICH she enthusiastically declares her intention of making him her lover and a world-famous star ...

(a love-song both bawdy and tender)


The woman whose voice we heard a moment ago is sitting in the front row of seats, there in the screening room. She is in her mid-thirties, dressed in the very classiest and most elegant of taste. She is, we see now, the coldly beautiful woman we saw -- standing by her limousine, surrounded by reporters -- during the funeral at the beginning of the film. Her name is ELIZABETH.

She is speaking now, quietly -- as if to herself, almost -- but her soft voice brings an instant response from the others in the screening room:

Stop it... Stop it... Stop it!

The projector grinds immediately to a stop, holds on a frozen image of Sykes -- a close-up in which the diamond in his smile flares star-shaped and bright in the center of the screen.

Jeffrey and a half-dozen or so other people in the screening room -- anonymous silhouettes in the projector's light -- are all turned toward Elizabeth, waiting for her words as though she were a judge passing a life-or-death sentence.

She speaks in a voice that is quiet but alive with passion

(staring at the screen)
I want him. I love him. He's the man of my dreams. I want him. I want that man.

She is on her feet now, moving toward the giant image of Sykes, slowly, slowly -- stalking her prey. Her gestures are broad but very deliberate and specific -- as if she were acting out, visualizing her fantasy:

Keep the lights down low ... Bring him to me here ... Turn the varmint loose ... Blow up a million helium balloons and let me hide behind them naked ... And call out his name... And woo him... "Find me, Sucker-Sykes Find me and I'm yours," I'll say ... Pop --
    Pop --
        Pop --
            Pop --
will go the balloons as he searches ... My heart is pounding faster now ... Pop -- Pop -- Pop -- Pop --
(serene; cat-like)
You're getting warmer, my Sucker-Sykes ...
(imitating heavy breathing)
You're getting closer, now ... I'm getting downright hot by now ... POP!
(she screams; a soft, willowy scream)

She is standing at the base of the screen now -- the image of Sykes towering over her.

I'm going to make you a star, my Sucker- Sykes ...
(very grand; dignified now)
Do you hear me, my celluloid phantom? .. My enchanted prince. .. Your fame will grow and spread throughout all the land... Kings and Queens will quiver in your presence ... Women's hearts will swell in pride as they diligently convert their husbands -- lovers -- and sons -- into your image ... 'Till there is -- alas -- an entire universe of heavenly dreamers with smiles made star-bright by the diamonds in their teeth ...

Caught up in her vision, she closes her eyes now, speaks softly, intensely -- a whisper -- a prayer:

Star light... Star bright... First star I see tonight... I wish I may... I wish I might. .. Have the wish I wish tonight. ..

Jeffrey is standing nearby. He is more than pleased by Elizabeth's reaction -- he is overwhelmed. He speaks quietly, timidly, afraid of breaking in on her reverie: .

Uh ... Elizabeth... What we hoped... Since he's so ... appealing ... was to do a whole hour-long show -- a documentary -- just on him.

Elizabeth turns, faces Jeffrey now, stares at him for a moment as if he were a creature from another planet, then speaks:

(despairing of his pettiness)
You have no imagination ...
(then smiling; speaking
quickly -- conspiratorially)
Tell no one about this man -- you understand? No one!
(her glance travels to the few
other people in the room)
This will be our little secret ...
(pointing to the screen)
Go back there at once... I want him filmed day and night ... Every gesture, every word!
(a beat; Jeffrey and the
others are still listening)
Now! Quickly! NOW!

Jeffrey hurries off and the others go with him, except for one man -- in his mid-forties, with a set to his jaw that reminds us of a Raymond Chandler detective. He is Elizabeth's "associate"; his name is AAMES. He is smiling faintly, watching Elizabeth, waiting for her orders. The others have gone now, buzzing with excitement. Elizabeth looks at Aames for a moment, smiles.

Find out all you can about him -- who and where and when and why -- from the day he was born till now ... If I should turn a spotlight on him -- bright and white and hot -- I wouldn't like to be surprised at what -- or who -- shows up ...

Aames nods, pries himself up out of his seat.


Elizabeth watches him leave. She is alone now in the darkened room. The frozen image of Sykes is still on the screen. Elizabeth turns, looks at it for a long moment. She seems to be trembling slightly. She holds up a hand toward the screen -- as if to show Sykes.

Look at me, my Sucker-Sykes ... I'm shaking ...
. (as if in reverence)
Thank you, my Sucker-Sykes ... Thank you for renewing my needs and my energy... I feared that I had lapsed into a purgatory of boredom... You have saved me from my own destruction... You have renewed my strength by simply giving me something monumental to look forward to...

She kneels, her eyes locked on Sykes' eyes.

I am at your mercy, my savior ... And you -- I fear -- are at mine ...

She rises, speaks now with an incredible majesty -- as one on whom knighthood has just been conferred, speaking aloud, for the very first time, her new title.

I am, from this day forth, to be known as Elizabeth -- The Woman that Made Him ...

The CAMERA RISES. The frozen image of Sykes FILLS THE FRAME.


SIX: IN WHICH the forces necessary to accomplish Elizabeth's goals are marshalled together rapidly and we see devised and discovered: a man, a plan, and a scheme for attaining great wealth...

(a finger-snapping, hand-clapping chorus-line romp)


The CAMERA PULLS BACK from a close-up of Sykes' face and we see that it is now an 8 x 10 photograph in the hands of a young, good-looking man -- an ACTOR. He is staring at the photograph fiercely, intently, searching it for vital clues to some hidden truth -- like a spiritualist concentrating upon a dead man's wrist watch, trying to receive emanations from the other world. Pinned to the actor's shirt is a large square of cardboard bearing the number "78".

The CAMERA CONTINUES PULLING BACK. The actor is standing at the head of a line of other young MEN -- also actors. All have cardboard numbers affixed to their chests; all are studying photographs of Sykes. They are inside a vast white-limbo soundstage. The line of actors stretches back and back, receding in a forced perspective into the white-shrouded background - seeminly stretching back to infinity itself.

A voice is speaking, shouting, chanting with the rapid-fire staccato of a carnival barker:

Number Seventy-seven! Yes sir, boys, we're moving right along -- Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir -- How about a little diamond-studded smile, Number Seventy-seven -- Yes sir - Yes sir -- Yes sir--

The actor at the head of the line -- number "78" -- steps up to a small table, leans over forward. A NURSE reaches up and casually, skillfully measures one of Number 78' s front teeth. The middle-aged man seated next to her, also wearing a crisply starched white smock - the DENTIST -- plucks something from a set of glittering bins, inserts it into Number 78's mouth. The voice is chanting:

Now all there is to do is fill in the little paper with your little name -- grab yourself a Coca-Cola -- and sing the Don't-Call-Us-We'll-Call-You-Arrivederchi-Roma Boogie -- All right -- Very very good -- Number Seventy-eight! -- Yes sir, boys -- Keep the line good and straight -- We're moving right along!

Number 78 steps forward into a white-hot pool of light. Two large television cameras set at a ninety-degree angle to each other photograph his full-face and profile. An elegantly attired man standing near one of the cameras -- the CASTING DIRECTOR -- is the source of the machine-gun style patter we have been hearing:

Number Seventy-eight -- Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Maybe you're the one, Number Seventy-eight -- Maybe you're the lucky one! -- Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir -- A little smile Number Seventy- eight -- Can we have a little diamond-studded smile -- All right!!

Number 78 smiles, trying to duplicate Sykes' smile in the photograph he has been studying. The diamond that the dentist has just clipped to his front tooth glitters and flares into camera.



Number 78's face, glittering and smiling, fills the screen of a studio sized television monitor: full-face and profile, side-by-side, number and all, just like a police mug-shot. It lingers on the screen for only a moment, then is replaced by an identical shot of actor Number 79 ... then Number 80 ...

Elizabeth is seated at her desk watching the monitor, silent, intent, only occasionally nodding her head at one of the faces that she likes. Her secretary -- MOLLY -- 20 or 25, fresh, clear-skinned, beautiful -- is seated beside Elizabeth, taking notes -- jotting down a number whenever Elizabeth nods or smiles.


Seated around a large, oval conference table are seven eager and identically dressed bright young EXECUTIVES.

Behind them, dominating the scene, covering one entire wall of the room, is a bank of television monitors, row after row. All the screens show different shots of Sykes inside his prison cell -- standing or sitting, yelling or whispering, but in each of them talking: telling his stories -- a huge video library of Sykes' tales.

The executives constantly glance back at the monitors -- as if trying to draw inspiration and ideas from them -- as they shout words and phrases back and forth to each other: They are trying to come up with a title -- a concept -- for the "Sykes Show." Their dialogue -- fast and rhythmic and charged with energy -- has exactly the cadence of a game of charades:

(1) Title ... title ... title ... title ...
(2) Prison, right?
(3) Prison ... jail... cell-block ... inmate ...
(4) CELL-BLOCK!...
(5) Cell-block Eleven... "Tales from Cell- Block Eleven"!
(6) No...       (7) No good ...
(all) No ...
(a beat; then faster)
(1) Title ... title ... title ... title ...
(2) Sykes, right?
(3) Sykes' stories... Sykes' tales... Sykes'...
(5) Diamond-Jim Stories... "Diamond Jim's Stories"!
(6) No...       (7) No good ...
(all) No ...
(a beat; faster still)
(1) Title ... title ... title ... title ...
(2) Night-time, right?
(3) Night-time ... Late-time ... Dark-time ... Sleep-time ...
(4) BED-TIME!...
(5) Bed-time Stories!... "Diamond Jim's Bed-Time Stories!!"
(6) "Diamond Jim's Night-time Bed-time Stories"!!
(7) "Diamond Jim's Late-time Night-time Bed-time Stories"!!!



Ten of the actors from the endless line are now standing -- minus their number cards -- in the center of the huge soundstage. They are dressed identically in stylized prisoners' uniforms. Their line-up and the nervous glances they constantly exchange remind us of the semi-finalists in the Miss America Pageant.

The casting director moves around them, circling them, examining them, all the while spieling a mile-a-minute:

Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir!! All you fellas are the number one contenders -- the cream of the crop -- the numero uno's of the lot -- From now on in, you're in for the duration -- And it's gonna be tough and rough as Hell -- Mind-boggling and tongue-tying - You're gonna be asked to do Cagney with your pants down, Bogart with your shirt off, and Brando with your back turned --

As the casting director moves, the CAMERA MOVES, too. We can see that a portion of the white-limbo has been transformed into a television set representing part of a prison cell-block.

Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir!! You're gonna be asked to walk the plank, boys -- to stand straight and not talk back -- to receive adulation and admiration -- and get a tattoo of a windjammer beating it to starboard on your chest -- to lose your front tooth and replace it with a diamond -- and to imitate -- mimic -- and be -- Diamond Jim Sykes in body and in soul and in full till death do you part -- Now raise your right hands and say "I do" if you do --

The boys all raise their hands, speak in unison:

I do.

Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir! Of course you do!


The room is in semi-darkness. Elizabeth is now seated at the head of the large, oval table. At the opposite end, a small screen has been erected. A slide projector beams white light onto the screen.

One of the bright young executives stands, takes the remote control attachment, stabs the button. The first slide drops into place. It shows a wide shot of the prison set. Two dozen "prisoners" are frozen in poses that simulate rioting. One of the young actors -- imitating Sykes -- is talking to the men, his hand upraised, calming them.

The executive with the slide projector control speaks proudly as he stabs the button several more times. In each slide in the series, the prisoners are more and more calm, until -- in the last slide -- all the men are squatting on the floor of the cell-block, listening to the actor/Sykes talk.

(proudly; punching up
the first slide)
"Diamond Jim ...
(the next slide)
... Late-time ...
(next slide)
... Night-time ...
(next slide)
... Bed-time ...
(last slide)

He looks expectantly at Elizabeth.

(simply; coldly)

Dejectedly, the first executive sits back down, passes the slide control to the man sitting next to him. The second executive rises, clears his throat, screws up his courage, and stabs the button.

This series of slides shows a different one of the young actors -- imitating Sykes -- in a sequence of poses depicting his encounter with the girl in the butterfly dress. Each slide becomes more self- consciously "artistic" than the one before.

(stabbing the button; proudly -- but . with less confidence than the first)
"Diamond Jim ...
(a new slide with each phrase)
... Late-time ...
... Night-time ...
... Bed-time ...
... Stories...!"

(very cold)

The second executive, completely deflated, passes the control on to the third, who rises very timidly, pushes the button: His series of slides shows another young actor -- imitating Sykes -- in a close-up, as if talking to camera, on one side of the screen, while in the background, in a pool of light, we see a story unfolding: a young lady dancing for two dozen fire chiefs at a convention in Indianapolis..

(very timidly)
"Diamond Jim ...?
(a new slide with each phrase)
... Late-time ... ?
... Night-time ... ?
... Bed-time ...?
... Stories...??"

(like ice)

The third executive cowers back into his seat, passes the control. to the fourth, who stands, faces Elizabeth and speaks -- without punching up any slides:

(quietly; confidently; ticking off his points on his fingers)
Sykes' tales tell all ... We have all of Sykes' tales... We teach "our" Sykes all Sykes' tales... Our Sykes tells Sykes' tales ... That's all!

He punches the button now for the first time. The slide shows one of the young actors sitting in his prison cell, his feet propped up just like Sykes, speaking quietly and directly to camera.

Elizabeth looks at the slide for a long moment, then smiles.



Inside three identical prison-cell sets -- side by side -- three of the young actors are imitating Sykes. Their feet are propped up -- exactly as in the slide we just saw -- and they are speaking, quietly and directly, to three television cameras.

In the foreground, the casting director is sitting at a large control panel, watching the actors on three side-by-side monitors.

Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir! Then there were three...

He reaches out and flicks a switch. The lights go out on one of the sets.

Yes sir -- Yes sir -- Yes sir! Then there were two!


The CAMERA PANS QUICKLY around the large, oval table. All the executives are buzzing excitedly -- repeating to each other a single word -- a question, really. It is like a chant or an incantation:


The CAMERA STOPS on Elizabeth at the head of the table. Silently, and with imperious grace, she waves her hand. The wall behind her lights up: an enormous projected close-up of Sykes begins to speak. His amplified voice booms out, silencing for a beat the chant of of "Sponsor ... Sponsor ... Sponsor"...

Diamonds ain't no just-happen-ta-be-there kinda thing!
(the diamond flashes as he
smiles; flaunts it)
Diamonds are God's way of sayin' that you're special, if ya got 'em ...

The CAMERA BEGINS TO PAN around the table again. Each of the executives brightens, begins to grin in sudden comprehension. A chant picks up again, growing in energy and excitement as each executive tums to the next and shouts out: "Diamonds!. .. Diamonds! ... Diamonds!... Of course!! ..." And Sykes' voice continues, building also.

... And I'm not just talkin' about front-tooth diamonds, neither!. .. I'm talkin' about rollin'-around-in-your-hand diamonds! ... And diamond rings and tear-drop diamond earrings! ... And diamonds through your nose and hooked between your toes!

The executives are on their feet now, chanting: "Diamonds! ... Diamonds!! ... Diamonds!!! ... " The CAMERA STOPS on Elizabeth again:

Of course!! We own the man -- Every time the man opens his mouth, he sells diamonds -- We sell diamonds!
(All the bright young executives begin
to applaud and cheer; Elizabeth
speaks over their cheering)
We beg, borrow, buy and steal diamonds..; We get all of them we can at the present market price, then we wrap them up in velvet and store them away in some safe place until we have turned my Sucker-Sykes into a monarch -- an I-want-to-look-just-Iike-him type of monarch -- An I'll-Pay-Anything-to-have-a-diamond-in-my-front-tooth-to-Iook-like- Diamond-Jim-Sykes type of monarch ... And then we sell.


The applause continues as Elizabeth and the bright young executives -- still cheering enthusiastically -- enter the soundstage. The two remaining actors are inside their twin prison sets. Elizabeth walks directly up to one of the two actors and - as the lights on the other actor go out -- Elizabeth proclaims with a regal gesture:

Davis Burns ... By the luck of God and the whimsy of infinity, you have the good fortune of looking like the Man in the Moon ...

The young actor -- DAVIS BURNS -- stares at her, wide-eyed in disbelief. He does, indeed, bear an incredible resemblance to Sykes himself.

You're the one, Davis Burns! You're the one! Give the kid a quarter so he can call his mother and tell her the good news! A star is born! A star is born!!

SEVEN: IN WHICH an eager and anonymous young man is taught to skillfully imitate our hero, Diamond Jim, to the vast delight of the masses and the enrichment of Elizabeth and her associates ...

(a powerful ballad with a diamond-studded refrain)


A high-speed drill whines in the highest registers of novocain-damped pain. Little fragments of calcium flyaway -- chips of a tooth being filed down to a point. Davis Bums is having his front tooth capped.

The drill withdraws for a moment, stops. Davis grins sheepishly as the grey-haired DENTIST changes bits. And from very nearby a voice begins to speak -- soft and filtered like a voice from a television set -- Sykes' voice:

Rain... You want ta talk about rain...? I'll talk about rain ...

Set up on the white formica counter-top beside the dentist's chair, a portable video tape recorder is playing back into a small television suspended several feet in front of the young actor's face. The set shows a close-up of Sykes -- inside his prison cell -- talking to the other inmates:

Rain buds and hot chili hot dogs ... An' bein' broken down and busted on the side of the road somewhere ... An' water comin' at ya at a hundred miles an hour, an' you screamin' out for help, an' holdin' onta the roof of your car for dear life ... An' knowin' for sure how poor Noah musta felt. .. An' where is everybody else when ya need 'em ... ?

The dentist has his new drill-bit ready. He goes back to work on Davis' front tooth -- keeping his head carefully to the side so the actor can continue to watch Sykes on the small television set.

The casting director stands off to one side like a football coach watching his star player getting taped up before a game. As the drill whines louder, the casting director reaches in, turns up the volume on the television:

... Nowhere ta be found, that's for sure ... At home probably... Warmin' their tootsie-wootsies an' sippin' hot buttered rum an' singin' Christmas carols an' dreamin' of red Schwinn bicycles an' old Saint Nick ... And feelin' how nice it feels ta be holdin' hands -- their only wish bein' that it was snowin' instead of rainin' so Christmas could be just right. .. And the rain... The rain is rainin' even harder now an' you're about ta be washed away. .. An' you're thinkin' if ya had just one last thought ta think -- What would it be of? ... And knowin' right off for certain exactly what it would be ...

On the screen, Sykes pauses a beat, smiles. The dentist glances up at the television, pausing for a moment in his work, letting the drill whine to a stop now, listening to Sykes' voice also:

... Of bein' a kid an' havin' your face washed clean. .. An' settin' down ta breakfast across from two people who smile and say good momin' to ya -- just like everybody else in America ...

The prisoners' voices are laughing and calling out now in the background. The dentist grins and shakes his head and then turns back to his work.

The drill whines, higher, as Sykes' voice shouts out:

So now if ya want ta talk about rain, let's talk about rain!


A hundred small, beautifully cut diamonds are spread across a piece of black velvet on the counter of a large jewelry store. A young man is bent over, a loupe fitted into his eye, scanning the stones, as the JEWELER watches quietly, and in the background wealthy matrons examine brooches and earrings.

The young man straightens, removes the loupe from his eye. He is one of the bright young executives we saw in the conference room with Elizabeth. He smiles at the jeweler, reaches down, flips the edges of the black velvet over -- to cover the diamonds =- to wrap them away -- and nods, once.


Davis Burns and the casting director are riding together in the back seat of a limousine. A large, blue-white diamond now graces the young actor's front tooth.

A cassette tape recorder is lying on the director's lap. Sykes'voice and the responses of the other prisoners -- building as Sykes' story builds in cadence and energy -- continues from the dentist's office -- coming now from the tape recorder.

Davis is mouthing Sykes' words -- practicing, learning his lines, trying to imitate Sykes' rhythm:

So now if ya want ta talk about rain, let's talk about rain!... And I'll tell ya it don't rain like it used ta rain when I was little ... It don't ever rain like that no more ... Shit. .. If it did, I'd take all my clothes off, instigate myself a boner, and run naked through the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, till I reached the ole Mississippi... And then I'd jump in feet first and float on my' back ta New Orleans and do a jig-a-boo Jig through the whole damned town ... And rush around in circles till a Black Mamma came calmed me down ...

The rhythm and rapid-fire flow of Sykes' words are often too much for Davis to copy. He keeps missing beats and only catching up at the ends of phrases. He looks up at the casting director, who frowns and shakes his head, then stops the tape and begins to rewind it.


A large uncut diamond FILLS THE FRAME. A metal chisel rests lightly on the stone for a long moment, then a hammer strikes suddenly and sharply, cleaving the diamond, exposing its brilliant interior.

The CAMERA DRAWS BACK and we see the second of the bright young executives from the television network watching the diamond cutter work. The executive grins in pleasure and relief.


Davis Burns and the casting director are hurrying down a narrow street between two huge stages. The cassette recorder which the casting director is carrying sends Sykes' voice and the shouts of the prisoners echoing off the high concrete walls. Davis is speaking along with Sykes. His rhythm is better now: more natural -- closer to Sykes' rhythm:

(continuing from the limousine)
... till a Black Mamma came calmed me down ... Black Mamma, Black Mamma, get outta the rain ... Black Mamma, Black Mamma, feelin' no shame ... Black Mamma, Black Mamma, playin' my game in a tar-paper shack across the street from near where the son of Blackbeard the Pirate used ta live ...

They reach the end of the narrow street. Davis pauses for a moment, looking up. A large billboard covers one entire wall of a soundstage. It announces the premiere of the "daring new concept in late-night television," and features a large close-up of Davis, his diamond flashing as he smiles.

The voice of Sykes continues for a moment by itself, then Davis catches back up to the casting director and resumes his practicing. He can't help strutting just a little as he speaks, along with Sykes:

... The same one that went ta Africa and found her Mamma and brought her back here and made her a slave and had a grand-daughter who had Louis Armstrong for a son and sent her money ta move ta the Poconos ...

Davis gets it perfectly this time and snaps his fmgers, shouting now, along with Sykes:

Now, if ya want ta talk about rain ...


Attended by a CREW of African blacks, a diamond grading machine rocks back and forth on its heavy steel frame -- sorting diamond-bearing stones from garnet and other minerals. One of the blacks, the foreman of the crew, reaches into the bin, withdraws a small, brilliantly glittering gem, grins broadly. In the foreground now, we see two white men, watching the process, grinning also. One of them is the OWNER of the mine, the other is the third of the bright young executives.


A large projection screen dominates a portion of a studio soundstage. On it, we see Sykes talking, smiling, continuing the story we have been hearing. The prisoners, off-screen, are shouting along in response.

... I'll talk about rain ... And rainy Summer night revival meetings with the sound of thunder and the sight of lightning holy-rollin' ya from side ta side ... And wailin', Hallelujah out loud as loud as ya can so's God can hear ya ...

The CAMERA MOVES, PANS from the giant projection screen to the prison set that has been built right in front of it. Sitting in a cell, mimicking Sykes' movements perfectly, is Davis Bums. He is dressed now in a prison costume, wearing a pair of earphones, and watching the large screen as he speaks.

As the CAMERA PANS from Sykes to the young actor, Sykes' voice dissolves into the matching voice of Davis Bums:

... And waitin' and wishin' for the girl next ta ya ta go inta a fit and faint and fall against your shoulder shakin' ... And whisper in your ear hot an' heavy an' real low-like so's her mamma won't hear her how she'd like ta lick your lolly-pop ...


An armored truck is pulled up outside the tall, glass-faced TV network building. As a ring of heavily armed guards keep a curious crowd at bay, two men unload cases and cases of small, cut and polished diamonds. Standing nearby, supervising, beaming with pride, we see the fourth of the bright young executives.


Davis Bums is speaking, mimicking Sykes as well as he will ever be able to do. The earphones are gone now, and he is speaking directly into a television camera whose small, red "on-the-air" light shines brightly.

... And everybody's hands are shakin' up there above their heads except for hers whose are rummagin' around in your pants now ... And nobody around not givin' a damn -- mostly figurin' "It's the Lord's Will ..."


An elevator door opens and four armed guards come out, followed by the fifth and the sixth and the seventh of the bright young executives. Each one is pushing a wheel-barrow loaded with rough, uncut diamonds.


Davis Burns, as Sykes, is on his feet now, inside the "cell," building the story to its climax.

As THE CAMERA PANS, we can see a full audience inside the "Preview House" watching the show, laughing and clapping along, totally into the show -- responding, in fact, just like the prisoners responding to Sykes himself.

... And repeatin' and repeatin' "Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven" . .. And it feels so good, too ... And ya ain't scared one damn bit. .. 'Cause ya know if she bites it offa ya, God'll just grow back a new one there where the old one used ta be! ...

In the control booth at the back of the theater, dials and meters are swinging wildly toward the top ends of their scales as the audience registers overwhelming approval.

And watching the dials, the audience, the response, we see Elizabeth. Surrounded by a crowd of wildly congratulatory executives and businessmen, she is smiling very quietly, very, very privately. Nothing about the show's incredible success surprises or excites her as it does all the beaming, back-slapping men who surround her with praise and adulation.

In the background, Davis' voice is audible, shouting now, strutting, as the audience yells its approval:

Yes sir, if ya want ta talk about rain ... I'll talk about rain!!

And Elizabeth, amid the noise and the energy and the excitement, IS quietly planning her next move.

Part 3