Pleasant City, Ohio–In which a reporter for a major news network discovers America, life, and the world around him.
Walter Cronkite: For the past six years, our reporter Charles Kuralt has been traveling around America reporting on what gives true meaning to the lives of people like you. This report will be his last. For in America’s heartland, Charles Kuralt has at last found America’s heart.
[Charles Kuralt is shown standing in front of a wooden frame bar with a horseshoe-shaped green neon sign in the window. Red letters proclaim “Ladies Invited.” Through the window comes the glow of a T.V. set over the long wooden bar.]
Charles Kuralt: Interstate 70 and Interstate 77 intersect at Pleasant City, Ohio. Even if they did not, the Horseshoe Bar and Lounge (Ladies Invited) would still be here. We know that. It was here before the interstates were. And time, like the trucks that rumble by here, flows forward.
[Camera switches inside. A customer in 16th-century garb is sitting at the bar; the waitress addresses him.]
Barmaid: Hey Bacon, what you having?
Bacon: Ahh Hell. How would I know? I just got up.
2nd Customer: What’s up, Bacon?
Bacon: Me. Weren’t you listening?
Charles Kuralt: Like the Bacon who didn’t write Shakespeare’s plays?
Bacon: I did write Shakespeare’s plays.
[At this moment Bacon’s body is brushed by the boastful Baptist breasts of the Barmaid.]
Barmaid: Excuse me for being so alliterate.
[She slaps him.]
Bacon: Bourbon and Coke.
Barmaid: Kid’s stuff.
Bacon: With no ice.
Barmaid: Bush league.
Bacon: Make it a double and skip the coke?
Barmaid: That’s better. Now let’s try to avoid excessive dialogue in this celluloid mood painting of life in America.
Charles Kuralt: Earlier this evening an amazing thing happened. On this T.V. set above the bar flickered a re-run of “Peter Pan.” When the time came for the viewers to clap to save Tinkerbell, nobody moved. They stared blankly. In spite of Mary Martin’s begging they simply watched. And Tinkerbell faded away. Nowadays life is seldom as you would expect it. Ten years ago this would have caused a furor. There would have been angry letters to the editor, jammed T.V. station switchboards, marches in New York City, pique in Darien, Connecticut. B. F. Skinner’s pigeons would probably have quit playing ping-pong. The world would be changed. Tonight, no one cared. On the road we have found this–the American Spirit.
Bacon: Somewhere on the left bank of the Seine River, a Parisian artist is watching a hair, dark and thick, growing out of his knuckle.
Barmaid: So what?
2nd Customer: So what?
Bacon: It’s sort of the Human Condition.
Barmaid: Or a symptom of it?
2nd Customer: Or a metaphor for it?
Charles Kuralt: This is Charles Kuralt, at the end of the road, in Pleasant City, Ohio.
Walter Cronkite: And that’s the way it is, Friday, December 21, 1973.