Series 1, Episode 5: Encyclopaedia Salesman
SALESMAN Eric Idle
WOMAN John Cleese
MAN Michael Palin
(Scene : A front door of a flat. A man walks up to the door and rings bell. He is dressed smartly, like a Salesman.)
(longish pause while he waits, he rings again) Burglar!
(woman appears at other side of door)
Salesman: Burglar, madam.
Woman: What do you want?
Salesman: I want to come in and steal a few things, madam.
Woman: Are you an encyclopaedia salesman?
Salesman: No madam, I’m a burglar, I burgle people.
Woman: I think you’re an encyclopaedia salesman.
Salesman: Oh I’m not, open the door, let me in please.
Woman: lf l let you in you’ll sell me encyclopaedias.
Salesman: I won’t, madam. I just want to come in and ransack the flat. Honestly.
Woman: Promise. No encyclopaedias?
Salesman: None at all.
Woman: All right.
(she opens door) You’d better come in then.
(Salesman enters through door.)
Salesman: Mind you I don’t know whether you’ve really considered the advantages of
owning a really fine set of modern encyclopaedias…
(he pockets valuable) You know, they can really do you wonders.
(Cut back to man at desk.)
Man: That man was a successful encyclopaedia salesman. But not all encyclopaedia salesmen are successful. Here is an unsuccessful encyclopaedia salesman.
(Cut to very tall building; a body flies out of a high window and plummets. Cut back to man at desk.)
Man: Now here are two unsuccessful encyclopaedia salesmen.
(Cut to a different tall building; two bodies fly out of a high window. Cut back to man at desk.)
Man: I think there’s a lesson there for all of us.