How to Catch a Genius

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Professor C. (for Claude) Sidney Magnabrayne, now an associate professor

of forensics at the Covington, Kentucky, Center for The Ohio State Uni-

versity is on campus for two days at Virginia Tech, hereinafter known

as the university, for a faculty interview for a position in the Department

of Urban Forensics. He has just concluded a long and tiring day

that virtually terminates his visit and tomorrow morning his host, Dr.

George A. Blurt who is Chairman of the Department at Virginia Tech, will

hopefully, make his pitch to hire Sid Magnabrayne while driving the

latter to Roanoke to catch his plane.

Our guest has returned to his suite at the Lake Terrace Hilton from

an evening in the home of the Blurts where he was beautifully wined

and dined by the charming Mrs. Blurt. The evening went fine through

dinner, but Blurt, an uncompromising Beethoven buff, was insisting

that his guest endure listening to all those symphonies. Fortunately

for Dr. Magnabrayne, prolonged torture was avoided because of a local

power failure that cut off the record playing in the midst of the

especially redundant Sixth. They did not play the Fifth because they

killed that before dinner. Just about that time, Mrs. Blurt emerged

from the kitchen only to be asked by George to please drive Magnabrayne

back to the motel, because he did not think he should drive so soon

after dinner (or maybe because of what he had before dinner.) Mrs. Blurt

dutifully drives her guest back to the Lake Terrace Hilton. Just as

they arrive at the motel, the town power comes back on and Magnabrayne

says thanks and good night to his charming hostess.


[Page 2]






Scene 1


Sid Magnabrayne, all alone now, rushes into the motel room to call his

wife, and he's already 10 minutes late on the promised call. As Scene

1 opens, we find Sid leafing the pages in the local phone book for the

Covington, Kentucky Area Code. So he dials 606----then 5-5-5-­-

then 1-2-1-2. (For those unfamiliar with Long Distance dialing, what

Sid is trying to do is find out his own phone number which was changed

recently---as a matter of fact about 26 months ago.) The number he is

calling will give him his phone number.He knows this from experience.

He begins to speak:


Operator, would you give me the phone number of Dr. C. Sidney Magna-­-

brayne in Covington Heights............No, I'm sorry I've forgotten the

street address but we're the only Magnabraynes in Covington if I do say

so.......Well thank you operator for your compliment, but we are not the

only Magnabraynes in Kentucky.......I know there are two in Lexington...

.......669-5000; thank you very much operator, it was nice talking to

you too. (The phone in Covington rings.) Tillie? Is that you dear?

This is Claudie......I wanted to tell you about my visit before I went

nighty nite. Yes, dear,....I used the SCOPE......matter of fact I took

an extra swig in the Men's Room just before going in to see the Vice

President.......Oh, he was fine, we talked all hour about Dave Brubeck,

a friend of his, I gathered......No, I didn't find out much about the V.P.,

but I had the sneaking feeling that behind all that Brubeck stuff was

a mental x-ray machine that was tuned on-----and on me.......Hope I'm

okay.......I tell you one thing, Tillie?.......Right, I sure wouldn't

want to get in a poker game with him...........why he'd know every card you

had without even looking!


[Page 3]


Tillie, they say there's 10,000 people here, but it isn't like Broad

Street in Covington, I'll tell you that......Town's dead as a doornail

until about noon, then everyone must get out of his cave and get in his

car to go somewhere.....Traffic’s murder.....Tillie, it's the least bit

primitive........No, I'm not being unfair because I was going to add

that it is also clean. Tillie, the sky is blue, real blue, deep blue,

with beautiful clouds.......They all lit up just before dinner; and

Tillie so was the Chairman; if I had downed what he did I would have

been stoned. Tillie, the country is beautiful here. All this green

grass, no coal smoke, just green grass and big buildings......Most

of the university buildings are stone and they call it N & W Gothic.

.....Ever hear of that in Art School, Tillie? They’ve even got a

lake on the campus. No, I didn't see any boats.

     Mrs. Blurt, Oh, Tillie---she's a doll---almost as pretty as you

and nearly as good a cook, but don', no,now don't worry about

my doing that. Tillie, you will love this place. The women go to

parties and play bridge all day long. Sometimes, they go to four

parties a day!.......Think of that, maybe you could gain a little weight

here, you know the doctor said you were too underweight to be healthy.

Sure, there's a DAR and also there a D of C too. No, there isn't

much drinking here, except the Chairman, Dr. Blurt, looks to me like

he might be overdoing it, but maybe he was just testing me. There are

more Women's clubs than I ever heard of. Tillie, what's an inter-

mediate woman? They have a club here. I asked the Dean, and he didn't

know, or said he didn't.......Well the work looks pleasant enough, but

what really sends me is this escalation thing on salaries. The sky's

the limit, Tillie....No telling how far I may go. No we won’t need two


[Page 4]


cars, no need at all. Highland Park, the section I liked best and

which Dr. Blurt recommended strongly, is within sight of the campus.

Sure, I can walk every day, and it will be good for me......You can

have the car every day and just drive from one party to another all

day long. Tillie, a funny thing happened this evening. Old Blurt

got pretty well oiled before dinner, and after dinner pulled me in

to hear his new stereo all loaded up with....Yep, Beethoven....You

know how I despise him. Well just when I was about to die of

boredom, Providence cut off the record player and we were plunged into

darkness. I never recall a power failure anywhere you and I have

lived......When I remarked about it, old Blurt said the other V.P.

had it turned off every now and then just to let the townspeople

know who was running things here. I doubt it is so, but the university

owns the power plant.  ......No, Tillie, I haven't yet, I'll make a note

right now to ask Blurt tomorrow while we drive to the airport. I'm

sure they must have a campus school for gifted children. Certainly we

aren't the only university couple with unusual children. I saw the

Town grade schools----sort of ranch style, but I think they are for the

ordinary children. Your church is well established here, pretty snappy

looking church. But there isn't any Unitarian Church that I could find.

They say there are three Baptist churches in this town. Imagine that many

Baptists in a town of 10,000........The Dean, no, he's a Presbyterian.....

Psychology, but he never said what kind........No, he didn't have a couch

in his office. No, he didn't even talk like a psychologist. I met

his wife; she's a honey too, Tillie, and I bet she can keep the Dean in

line. Say, Tillie, you remember the Sunday we drove over to Pikeville

in the Coal Fields and saw all those hill-billies. Well, there's plenty


[Page 5]


of them here, but these ones are kind of quaint and cute. One I saw

couldn't have had his hat off in 10 years! Yep, they let 'em run loose,

so far as I could tell.

     Tillie, we will not be making much more money here at least until we

escalate a bit, but they say living is cheap. I asked several faculty

men and all of them said food was very cheap here. Cigarettes they said

were high, but food was low. I didn't get into any supermarkets but

I think they were telling me the truth. One even said he hadn't

increased his wife's allowance for food in 10 years: Maybe being at

the end of the line so to speak, things are cheaper here. Well the

newspapers cannot measure up to the Enquirer, Tillie. I saw one

Roanoke paper, picked it up and happened to look at the back page

and thought I had hold of a copy of the Policemen's Gazette's

a joke, Tillie. The County paper you wouldn't believe if I told you

about it, but I'm bringing home a couple of copies. The editorial

page is a riot. You could act some of the letters out and get thrown in

jail. I surmise there's as much hostility between the county seat

and Blacksburg as there is between Cincinnati and Covington. No,

you have to take the Richmond paper to get the daily Peanuts.

     I know it will be a bit primitive here, Tillie, but remember it's clean,

really clean. Now I know it is going to be tough being away from Cinnsy

and Mother and Daddy, but look at it this way---we will only be 2 hours

from Covington and Cinnsy. You and I can buzz back here many times on

week-ends in the President's plane. They says he's about to buy a Lear

Jet. Imagine flying to Cinnsy sitting in the President's seat with you

beside me.-......Of course, there's culture here!.....They had the

Beach Boys, Lionel Hampton, and Dave Brinkley all here in the same Month.


[Page 6]




No, I didn't notice the girls you know I never think about

things like that. All I can say they are scarce, but I hear they are moving

in a big contingent of women this fall.......Well, if it is that imbalanced,

I'm sure that H E W will bring them into line.

There's a big future here in forensics; even a lot of the faculty need

coaching........It's okay then for me to accept tomorrow, honey? Well,

that's sweet of you and I trust your judgment too, dear. Don't forget now,

meet me at the airport at 3:10. Bye! Bye!


[Page 7]




Scene 2


(In Blurt's study) George Blurt dashes for the phone the moment the

power failure is over and calls his Dean to get final clearance on

talking turkey with Sid Magnabrayne. Blurt is fed up with trying to

recruit a forensics professor; this is the fourth one he's had here

in a month; and the other three were dolts. Magnabrayne is a decent

chap, a bit mousy, but decent;.....never said a thing out of the way

in two whole days. Sure hope the Dean goes along with a good salary for

Sid.....he'll need one with six gifted kids. Let 'em raise hell out

in Highland Park, McBryde Village ought to be a safe distance away

from the little monsters. Blurt dials 552-2885, and a cheery voice



“ Wynn, this is Gabby Blurt, ....may I speak to Les, please?.....Hello,;

Les? This is Gabby! I'm calling about this chap Magnabrayne we had

here for this new spot in forensics.....Sure, I'm sure we have a position

for forensics.....Yep, I double checked. Did you like Magnabrayne?

How'd he strike you?.........I know he didn't strike you....Please, Dean,

I'm tired, don't kid around......I said did you like Sid Magnabrayne...

Yeh, Magnabrayne from Ohio State?........How could I be expected to know how

Covington, Kentucky, got a branch of Ohio State! The fact is they did,

and Magnabrayne's there, and he's done a good job teaching those Ohio

wetbacks how to behave in open discussions. No, now I didn't! Of

course not! Now, Dean, you cannot ask a prospective faculty member a

personal question like that. He's got academic freedom, you know.....

Okay, I know we need more Democrats for better balance, but don't depend on

me to do it all, Dean....Remember, I've hired four darned Demos in a row,

and I do not want to be known as a party man.........No, no, no let's


[Page 8]




not get off on the subject of any of my parties. Let's talk about

Magnabrayne....No, they were not wild, no I did not do that. Now

about Sid Magnabrayne, Dean, I think he's a comer!.. I beg your

pardon Dean, I didn't say swinger, I said comer. You know you're

being kind of rough on me tonight......Yes, yes, I know one of his

plays was banned by the Catholic Church, but so was Tom Jones and you

really raved over that. Oh, yes your did. I noted it and wrote it

down in my diary that you did. Now, Magnabrayne has this consultancy

in the Cincinnati Dramatics Society production opening in the Spring,

and Sid's going to have to go back to Cincinnati every other Saturday

and stay with it for six months until things are past dress rehearsal.

......The question he asked was: can he use the President's plane

on week-ends if Cinnsy picks up the tab on it, or would he have to

fly Piedmont?................Well, I'll be darned. You're joking.

.....No foolin'.......Aw, come on, Les, quit kidding me....Really?

Now let me write that down. Piedmont's coming into Blacksburg July

1. A new jet runway? ......Where will it go?....Across the

campus? ....Oh, down past Henry Heth's house at Whitethorn!...Jet

service with special faculty rates? Well, there's no limit to what

Marshall can do. Wonderful. Now about Magnabrayne's consultancy,

you have no objection? Of course, I don't have any questions about

his going to Cinnsy every other Saturday just for play practice. You

psychologists read something into every act; its a professional

obligation. Now you saw Sid Magnabrayne, he's no Errol Flynn. Now

what's King Farouk got to do with it. Magnabrayne is a thin man.

Now do I have your support on the offer I outlined I would like to make

to Magnabrayne when we went over his vita.......Well why not?.......


[Page 9]




What's wrong with that? Lots of men marry older women. Two years is

not so much difference. Anyway, she probably shaves a little off her

age when she talks to other women........No, I did not conceal the

fact his father was a Mormon. It's right on his vita. No, Dean,

just because he's a Mormon doesn't mean he's a bigamist even by our

standards!.....Just look at George Romney! Sorry about that Dean,

I did not mean to bring up Republicans again, it just slipped out.

Now, can't we forget the stab about one of my parties when I got a

little out of hand. I apologized.......No, that is not correct, Dean.

.......No...........No........I probably buy less in the C-burg

ABC store than any other department head.....No, I'm including him.

........Well, I think its the right thing to do, if you buy it in

Roanoke, nobody knows about it up here......I'm willing to drop

it if you are, and I hope you are, Dean......Now about Magnabrayne,

did you know he has an I. Q. of 190....One of his old professors wrote

me about it........Well, I'm sorry I didn't mention it to you sooner,

but we have so many smart people in our department that I sort of took

it for granted that you would know he was way up there. Well, now,

that's fine. Your going along with me on Sid Magnabrayne is something

you will not regret. Dean, hasn't this been an exciting year for

recruiting so many real scholars? Well, thanks! I try to do my job the

best I can with Myrtle's help. Good night, sir!


[Page 10]






Now every case of faculty recruitment does not go as smoothly as

this one. The decisive factors in faculty interviews are unpre-

dictable. We men cannot take all the credit for the success. We

cannot take more than half the credit, probably not even half.

Well, possibly we should have some credit. But we would not be

able to win these men over without your efforts. You are all

real charmers.


Who can say that Mrs. Blurt may not have rendered the telling

act of consummate kindness in driving Sid Magnabrayne back to his

motel after the power went off. You know she just could have called

the Vice President and asked him to cut the power off and thereby

end those awful Beethoven symphonies. Sort of funny the way that

power came on just as she drove her guest up to the motel. He could

have stalked out of the house and headed back for Covington if that power

had not gone off during the playing of the redundant Sixth. Or perhaps

something she said about Blacksburg just convinced Sid Magnabrayne

that B-burg was the place for his Tillie and their six geniuses.

Remember, Sid Magnabrayne just could be President here some day,

and if my surmises are true, wouldn't Myrtle Blurt have a reason to smile

knowing that she helped get old Sid Magnabrayne to sign. We will never

know, and perhaps for us men it is well that we will not ever know.

Suffice it to say---it take's a heap o' doin' to recruit a brilliant

staff member and do it in such a way that he never knows what hit him.

To you ladies: We need your ever-lovin' help if we are to continue to:

               Wine 'em--------Dine 'em-------and Sign 'em

Thank you.


[Page 11]


Lines for Side Magnabrayne


Narrator READS PROLOGUE Cue line in narration: Sid Magnabrayne--all

                     alone now---

Enter from kitchen and head for table with telephone on it, finger

local phone directory for area codes. Dial 606-555-1212 with authority.

This number is Long Distance Information for the Covington-Cincinnati


Wait until narrator says :"He (that's-you) begins to speak." You begin

and continue through your monologue:


Operator, would you give me the telephone number of Dr. C. Sidney Magna­-

brayne in Covington Heights?.....(pause).... No, I'm sorry I've forgotten

the street address, but we are the only Magnabraynes in Covington, if I

do say so.......(pause)..... Well, thank you operator for your compliment,

but we are not the only Magnabraynes in Kentucky...(pause)... There are

a couple of Magnabraynes in Lexington....(pause).... 669-5000. Yes,

operator, ..... it was nice talking to you!


(You pick up the phone and dial 606-669-5000 --- your Covington phone number.


"Tillie?........ Is that you dear? ....... This is Claudie ........ I

wanted to tell you about my visit here before I go nightie night ......

Yes, dear, .... I used the SCOPE ...... matter of fact I took an extra

swig of it in the Men's Room just before going into the V.P.'s office.

....... Oh, he was fine .......... we talked all hour about Dave Brubeck,

a friend of his, I gathered ........... No, I didn't find out much about

the Vice President, but behind all that Dave Brubeck stuff was a mental

x-ray machine that was turned on ....... turned on me ...... Hope I

passed okay ........ I tell you one thing, Tillie, ....... I sure

wouldn't want to get in a poker game with the V.P. ........ why he'd know

every card in your hand without even looking.