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The PhantomThe Man in Black

NOTE: the photos on this page, which were reproduced here without permission, for comparative purposes, were not altered in the least. I'll plead justifiable plagiarism, for educational purposes.

of the

SCENE: Parris County, Georgia, in the 1980s


The Phantom -- A Man in Black with a dollar and a dream, played by Johnny Cash
Daisy -- A top-heavy waitress, played by Dolly Parton (because Catherine Bach can't sing)
Minnie -- A jealous waitress with the voice (and the chest) of a toad
Bo -- a Duke, Daisy's cousin
Luke -- also a Duke, Daisy's other cousin
An Auctioneer, The County Commissioner, the Sheriff, his Deputy and his dog (all of whom are cousins to Daisy and the Dukes -- and none of whom can sing, except the dog)


AUCTIONEER: Ladies and Gentleman, before we sell the chickens you came for, we have Lot 01: an orange 1969 Dodge Charger in need of repair. Some of you may recall the strange affair of the Phantom of the Grand Ole Opry. This is the very automobile which figures in the famous disaster. What's that? No, Daisy is not still in the back seat.
General Lee
(The AUCTIONEER starts the car and roars off the stage in cloud of blue smoke, yelling YEEE HAH, while a country-western band plays the overture. The dog clangs two hubcaps together like cymbals.)


(Almost the entire company is present, including the lethargic hound dog drooling on the floor. A truck driver enters, dressed all in black except for a white mask. We’ll call him “Phantom”, for no particular reason. He sits at the counter, slumping in obvious despair, and spits his chewin’ tobacco juice on the floor.)

MINNIE: Howdiiieee! Why so glum, chum?
PHANTOM: Well, let me think. Oh yeah ... the repo man is comin’ for my semi, which I bought after I lost my job at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, just before my mobile home got wiped out by the tornado and my wife ran off with a bible salesman. Goshdarnit, I sure am lonely.

(Inexplicably, Minnie and Company start to sing to the tune of MASQUERADE.)

Breakdown lane!
In the breakdown lane of love
Look around
There’s a another truck behind you

Breakdown lane!
I can tell you need a shove
It’s a shame
You’ve got a broken heart inside you

PHANTOM: Gimme a RC Cola, a Moon Pie, and one of them “Be-a-Rich-Dude-for-Life Instant Lottery Cards”.
If I’m gonna save my truck. I need lots of cash, Johnny-on-the-spot. Mebbe then I can get me a woman partner who can sing, so’s I can get my job back at the Opry.
(He rubs that flaky silver stuff off the lottery card, making a mess on the countertop. Minnie blows it onto the floor with a puff of smoke from her Marlboro.)
YEEE-HAH! I won! I won the jackpot!

(Daisy puts a coin in the jukebox, spits her chewing gum on the floor, and bursts into song with her angelic voice: Christine


He came from Tennessee
in tight black jeans
And fringe beneath his sleeves
He had a dream

He won the lottery
His luck was back
The Phantom of the Opery
The Man in Black

PHANTOM (singing):

I came from Tennessee
I've got good luck
I'll take you back with me
In my Mack truck

(He throws Daisy over his shoulder and carries her off stage, sort of like that Officer and Gentleman, Richard Gere, did with Debra Winger, but with more panache. )

MINNIE: Hey, who’s gonna clean this floor?


Phantom and Daisy are in the truck. The Dukes in their orange Dodge Charger are in hot pursuit -- followed by the Sheriff's car with the Sheriff, the Deputy, the Commissioner, the dog, and the auctioneer.

PHANTOM (as he guzzles from a jug of white lightning): I will bring you to the seat of sweet music's throne, the Grand Ole Opry. We’ll sing all the classics, like: "I’d Rather have a Bottle in Front of Me Than a Frontal Lobotomy", “That Wasn’t Cheatin’, I Was Kissin’ My Sister”, and of course, “COUNTRY MUSIC OF THE NIGHT”. Let’s do that one now. Sing, Daisy, sing!
(He slaps his thigh rhythmically)

Corny, catchy
Country incantations
All you hear on
Southern AM stations

In each song you’ll hear
about trucks or trains or beer
and the metaphors will fill you with delight -- Hey!
Let's sing the Country Music of the Night

(Frightened by her maniacal abductor, Daisy begins to vocalize strangely, her voice becoming more and more extravagant. Then, the CB radio in the truck crackles to life.)

SHERIFF: We’re in hot pursuit, Phantom. Pull over right-cheer. Free her!
THE DUKES: YEEE-HAH!. We're in hot pursuit, too. Give it up.
PHANTOM: No, you turn around. You will curse the day right-much, when you did not do all that The Phantom asked of you.
(The Sheriff mysteriously loses control of his car and crashes into the State-Line Stuckey’s, sending pecan rolls flying in all directions. The Dukes smash into the sign that says "Welcome to Tennessee -- Please Drive Carefully".

PHANTOM: Oh, 'possum piss! I’m running out of fuel. I shoulda stopped at Stuckey’s, too.
(The truck coasts to a stop. Luke rescues Daisy and runs back across the line.)
BO: You've past the point of no return. If you put one pointy-toed boot back into Georgia, our pecan-covered sheriff will arrest you for kidnapping Daisy and for torturing her with that godawful song.
PHANTOM: It's over now -- the country music of the night.
Well, not quite over. Let's milk it for one more verse.
(He takes another guzzle and sings a REPRISE of “COUNTRY MUSIC OF THE NIGHT”):

Lonely, ugly
Hate my situation
This fine
brings intoxication
My head will start to spin
Then psychosis will set in
I’ll keep drinking til my liver’s had enough ...
I’ll die here ... in the breakdown lane ... of love

(His voice trails off to a slow whisper -- and he dies, of course.
Obviously moved, the entire audience jumps to their feet and rushes to the exits.)

The Mask