Series 3, Episode 33: Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Salad Days’
LIONEL Michael Palin
WOMAN Carol Cleveland
JULIAN Graham Chapman
CHARLES Eric Idle
(Lyrical scene of boys in white flannels and girls in pretty dresses frolicking on a lawn to the accompaniment of a piano played by one of the boys.)
SUPERIMPOSED CAPTION: ‘SALAD DAYS (1971) DIRECTOR SAM PECKINPAH’
(The boys and girls cease frolicking and singing. Lionel enters holding a tennis racket.)
Lionel: Hello everybody.
All: Hello Lionel.
Lionel: I say what a simply super day.
All: Gosh yes.
Woman: It’s so, you know, sunny.
Lionel: Yes isn’t it? I say anyone for tennis?
Julian: Oh super!
Charles: What fun.
Julian: I say, Lionel, catch.
(He throws the tennis ball to Lionel. It hits Lionel on the head. Lionel claps one hand to his forehead. He roars in pain as blood seeps through his fingers.)
Lionel: Oh gosh.
(He tosses his racket out of frame and we hear a hideous scream. The camera pans to pick up a pretty girl in summer frock with the handle of the racket embedded in her stomach. Blood is pouring out down her dress.)
Girl: Oh crikey.
(Spitting blood out of her mouth she collapses onto the floor clutching at Charles’s arm. The arm comes off. Buckets of blood burst out of the shoulder drenching the girl and anyone else in the area. He staggers backwards against the piano. The piano lid drops, severing the pianist’s hands. The pianist screams. He stands, blood spurting from his hands over piano music.
The piano collapses in slow motion, shot from several angles simultaneously as per ‘Zabriskie Point’. Intercut terrified faces of girls screaming in slow motion. The piano eventually crushes them to death; an enormous pool of blood immediately swells up from beneath piano where the girls are. We see Julian stagger across the frame with the piano keyboard through his stomach. As he turns the end of the keyboard knocks off the head of a terrified girl who is sitting on the grass nearby. A volcanic quantity of blood geysers upwards. Pull out and upward from this scene as the music starts again.)
(Cut to Apology)