03x19 - Crane Vs. Crane

Act One

Scene One - Frasier's apartment.
Daphne is sitting at the dinner table. Martin enters from the kitchen,
carrying a bag of potato chips. As he opens the bag, Eddie runs in.

Martin: Oh, how does he always hear me?
Daphne: He doesn't. He just swings through every twenty minutes.
He knows you'll be eating some kind of junk.
Martin: Well, I don't want him eating these.
Daphne: Well, then do what I do when I want Eddie away from me.
I make a sound like [high-pitched] La la la la la la la
la la la la!

Eddie runs to the couch and buries his head in the cushions.

Martin: That's mean!
Daphne: Why? It doesn't really hurt his ears. He just finds certain
noises irritating.

Frasier and Niles enter, returning from the opera. They are wearing
tuxedoes and singing an aria - badly. Eddie dashes off to the bedrooms.

Frasier: That was the most riveting production of Wagner I have seen
this season.
Niles: I still have goose bumps from when Klingsor summoned Kundry
with a terrible cry and ordered her to seduce Parsifal: "Ha!
Er Ist Shun Der Knabe!"
Martin: Well, I had a pretty good night too. Took myself a nice, hot
bath. And, remember that corn I had on my toe? Well, it got
so soft I was just able to peel it right off.
Niles: Um... it's going to be difficult for me to top that, but I
have some rather exciting news myself. I'm sure you're all
familiar with the Safford case that's been in the papers
recently?
Martin: Oh, you mean that scum-sucking jerk who's trying to get his
father committed?
Niles: Yes. Well, guess who's been retained by that scum-sucking
jerk! I'm going to be testifying as an expert witness at
Mr. Safford's capacity hearing.
Martin: Wait a minute. You're gonna help sell that poor old guy
down the river?
Niles: Not at all. Mr. Safford is unbalanced. His son is worried
sick about him.
Martin: Oh, his son's worried he's not gonna get his hands on his
father's fortune. Boy, the minute a man starts getting up
there his kids start making plans to divvy up his stuff.
Frasier: Dad, you'll be pleased to know that Niles and I have decided
to give all your things to charity. We're donating your
clothes to the blind.
Martin: [gives him a look, then:] Well, it's just not right. A bunch
of moneygrubbers behind closed doors trying to declare this
poor old guy insane.
Niles: For starters, it's not behind closed doors. The entire
proceeding will be broadcast on Court TV.
Martin: Oh, great. What father doesn't look forward to the day he
gathers his friends around the TV and says, "Hey, that's my
boy. The one making the old man cry."
Frasier: Dad, I'm sure Niles is only doing this to protect Mr. Safford
from himself.
Daphne: Old age doesn't have to be that way, you know. My great-aunt
Beryl lived well into her nineties, and her mind never failed
her. Of course, she lost her eyesight in her seventies, and
her balance in her eighties. By the end we spent most of our
time propping her up or putting another bandage on her
forehead. Oh, but bless her heart, she could always tell you
just how it happened. [exits to the kitchen]
Niles: Well, Safford is clearly irrational. Recently, he wandered
off. They found him two days later riding across Wyoming in
a boxcar full of bums; he's taken to selling off property for
half its worth; and most damning of all, when I went over to
evaluate him, he continually referred to me as "Sparky."
Frasier: I don't know, Niles, you always wanted to have a nickname.
You remember your campaign to have the string section of the
youth orchestra call you "Rocky?"
Niles: It would have worked, too, if Tilly Farraday hadn't pinned
me to the ground with her trombone when I rebuked her for
neglecting to clean her spit valve.
Martin: Well, I still think picking on the old man stinks. [gets up
and moves to the dining table to get a chip] God help you if
you're over fifty and you do anything that seems the least
bit odd to your family.

As he gets a chip, the noise of the bag once again attracts Eddie.
He runs in and Martin, exasperated, screams out "La la la la la la la
la la" at the top of his lungs. The trick works, and Eddie flees the
room. Frasier and Niles, unaware of the ploy, look at Martin as if
he has indeed lost his mind.

FADE OUT

SECOND OPINION

Scene Two - KACL
Frasier is listening to a caller, Beth.

Beth: [v.o.] And I'm pretty sure he's having an affair with his
secretary.
Frasier: Well, have you talked to your husband and heard his side of
the story? [Roz rolls her eyes]
Beth: No.
Frasier: Well, Beth, it does seem that your fears may be well-founded,
but I still think you should talk to your husband before you
come to any final conclusions. [he disconnects Beth] This is
Dr. Frasier Crane, wishing you good day, and good mental
health.

Roz enters the booth as he goes off the air.

Roz: Here are those PSAs, we'll do them tomorrow before the show.
Frasier: Thank you, Roz. [notices] Roz, why is that light still on?
Is that Beth who I was talking to?
Roz: No!
Frasier: Yes, it is!
Roz: No, it isn't!
Frasier: Yes, it is!
Roz: It is not!
Frasier: Have you been talking to Beth?
Roz: Of course not! What do you think - I'm giving advice to your
callers? Oh, Frasier, you are so paranoid. The world is full
of enemies. Everybody's plotting against you. [notices a man
walk in] There's a man in a dark trench coat right behind you.
Frasier: Ho-ho, very droll.
Giroux: Dr. Crane? [Frasier jumps] I'm John Giroux. [hands Frasier
his card] I work for Harlow Safford.
Frasier: Oh, Mr. Giroux, I'm afraid there's been some mistake. It's
my brother who's connected with the case.
Giroux: Oh, we're quite aware of that, but Mr. Safford feels he's
the victim of a grave injustice. He's an ardent fan of your
show and feels you're the only man who can help him.
Frasier: Well, that's very flattering, but given my brother's
connection with the case, it wouldn't be very prudent
for me to get involved.
Giroux: Won't you at least talk to my client? Judge him by his
words and his actions, not by how old he is?
Frasier: You sound like my father - a man who believes that burial is
a form of age discrimination.
Giroux: If you stop by this evening, I'm convinced you'll find Mr.
Safford is completely competent. Even if you won't testify
on his behalf, perhaps you could at least get your brother
to reconsider his testimony.
Frasier: It's highly unlikely that I would disagree with my brother's
opinion.
Giroux: I really admired your advice to that last caller - you know,
about not judging someone until you've heard his side of the
story?
Frasier: [smiles] You're a good lawyer, Mr. Giroux.
Giroux: Mr. Safford only seeks out the very best.
Frasier: I'll see you at seven?
Giroux: The address is on the back of my card.

Mr. Giroux leaves. Frasier glances at the back of the card. He then
notices that Beth is still on the line and Roz is on the phone.
He sneaks into Roz's booth and eavesdrops.

Roz: I don't care what Dr. Crane said. You start talking to your
husband and he'll start covering his tracks. Get a detective
now.

Frasier clears his throat. Roz quickly hangs up the phone. She has
a sheepish look as he glares at her.

Frasier: You were talking to my last caller.
Roz: I swear; it's the first and last time. I will never do it
again.
Frasier: [growling] I hope not.

As he walks out, she picks up another line.

Roz: Thanks for holding, Bill. I'm listening.

FADE OUT

Scene Three - Harlow Safford's home.
A butler ushers Frasier into the library of Mr. Safford's home.
Mr. Giroux is waiting there.

Giroux: Enjoy your tour?
Frasier: Uh... yes, yes. That's quite a model railroad Mr. Safford
has running through the grounds. I've never seen one on
quite that scale.
Giroux: Impressive, isn't it?
Frasier: Oh, yes. Yes, especially when it's bearing down on you.
I got my heels stuck in the soft grass. I barely made the
crossing. Tell me, how often does Mr. Safford... play with
his train?
Giroux: Just the weekends, when he gives rides to underprivileged
children.
Frasier: Very admirable.
Giroux: There's a lot you don't know about him, Dr. Crane. That's
why you're here.
Frasier: Yes, well, I promise to consider all the evidence before I
arrive at a conclusion.

Suddenly, he hears someone shout "Yee-haw!" Frasier turns to see an
elderly gentleman sliding down a fire pole. He is impeccably dressed,
except for the fireman's hat on his head.

Frasier: I think I've arrived. [Mr. Giroux leaves]
Harlow: Hiya, Sparky. I'm Harlow Safford.
Frasier: Dr. Frasier Crane. I don't believe I've ever seen a fire pole
in a home before.
Harlow: Oh, it saves a lot of time. Except for going up, of course.
Frasier: And, uh, the hat?
Harlow: Oh, it's just for laughs. Oh, try it on.
Frasier: Well, no, I don't think I should.
Harlow: Oh, come on!

They argue for a moment until Frasier relents. He puts it on and
stands proudly.

Frasier: I guess it is sort of fun, isn't it?
Harlow: Not on you. [he takes it off Frasier] So, do you think you
can convince my self-righteous son that I'm not nuts?
Frasier: Oh, I think "nuts" is a little strong. He must have meant
that your behavior might seem to most people to be a little
unconventional.
Harlow: Well, good. I've spent my whole life being conventional.
Then one day I said to myself, "Harlow, you're not having
any fun."
Frasier: Do you... speak to yourself often?
Harlow: Don't try to trip me up, Sparky. [he walks over to Frasier,
carrying a cigar box]
Frasier: Oh, no, thank you. Thank you, I'm trying to cut down on...
[notices what's really in the box] lollipops. Thank you.
[takes a handful] But tell me, why do you call people
"Sparky"?
Harlow: It makes them smile. Right, Sparky? [Frasier smiles] You
ought to try it with your patients.
Frasier: Oh, I'm not too sure how warmly that would be embraced by
those undergoing electroshock.

He laughs at his joke. Harlow just stares blankly at him.

Frasier: Um, anyway, your son tells me that you recently sold some
property at a fraction of its value.
Harlow: That's right. Terrific young married couple had their hearts
set on it, but couldn't afford it. So, I helped them out.
There's nothing wrong with helping people.
Frasier: Well, he also informed me that you recently indulged in an
unorthodox, not to mention hazardous mode of travel.
Harlow: That pompous weenie. That's exactly how he would put it.
Frasier: Well, actually, that was my wording.
Harlow: Well, I hopped a freight. Rode the rails.
Frasier: Well, why not just purchase a ticket and ride in a club car?
Harlow: Where's the adventure in that? I'm 78. Someday I'll be too
old to jump off a moving train! No, you gotta live out your
fantasies while you can. Can you understand that?
Frasier: I think I can. Mr. Safford, what you've said makes a great
deal of sense. Before we go on, there's something I have to
ask you.
Harlow: Shoot.
Frasier: It's a little embarrassing.
Harlow: I can take it.
Frasier: Okay. Can I slide down that pole?
Harlow: Follow me, Sparky!

They head off, Frasier filled with childlike enthusiasm.

End of Act One

Act Two

IF I HAD ONLY WORN
MY COTTON CHINOS

Scene One - Frasier's apartment.
Later that evening. Daphne is clearing the table. Frasier is
reading at the couch while Martin gets ready to watch TV.

Frasier: Dad, are you going to watch something now?
Martin: Yeah, the championship fight. But don't worry, I'm using my
earphones, I won't bother anyone.
Daphne: Oh, you've already been a bother - making me hide the sports
section so he won't see it. Making me turn the news off
because they might say who won.
Frasier: I don't understand.
Martin: Well, the fight was last night. It was on Pay TV. But one
of my police buddies has a pirate antenna. So, he taped it
and they messengered one to me in an envelope marked
"Official Business."
Frasier: Another inspiring tale of our men in law enforcement.

He limps over to get a glass of sherry.

Martin: [putting on his headphones] Why are you walking funny?
Frasier: Well, suffice it to say I learned today it is unwise to
slide repeatedly down a fire pole wearing woolen trousers.
[the doorbell rings] Daphne, would you...?
Daphne: Oh, I'll get it.

She opens the door to Niles.

Niles: Evening, Daphne.
Daphne: Oh, Dr. Crane, don't say anything about last night's boxing
match. Your dad hasn't seen it yet.
Niles: Oh, I didn't even know it was boxing season. [Daphne just
smiles] Well, did everyone see my mention in this morning's
paper?
Frasier: No, I'm afraid I missed that.
Niles: Well, small wonder. They buried it all the way back on page
32. It's here, it's next to the sports section.
Martin: [batting the paper out of Niles's hands] Hey, get that out
of here!
Daphne: [catches the paper] Let me see.
Niles: It's right there.
Daphne: Oh. [reading] "Court TV this week will feature the capacity
hearing of noted timber baron Harlow Safford. [Martin glares
at Niles] Testifying on behalf of the family will be Dr. Niles
Crane, eminent psychiatrist, author and leading authority on
clinical psychosis. Dr. Crane is also the brother of..."
Niles: Yadda-yadda, the rest is filler.

He takes the paper away. Daphne exits to the kitchen

Frasier: Niles, I have to talk to you about something. Just after
the show today I was visited by a man named Mr. Giroux.
He asked me to represent Mr. Safford.
Niles: [standing] What?!
Martin: Shh!
Frasier: [pulling Niles down] I'm sorry. Given your involvement with
the case, I naturally declined.
Niles: Oh, thank God.
Frasier: But, I did agree to see if I concurred with your analysis
and speak to Mr. Safford.
Niles: [again standing] What?!
Martin: Hey, keep it down!
Frasier: I just have to tell you that I found Harlow Safford to be of
completely sound mind - and don't say "What?!"
Niles: [struggles] Why?!
Martin: Quiet!!
Frasier: Perhaps it'd be better if we spoke somewhere else.

They get up to speak near the kitchen. Niles cannot contain his anger.

Niles: You couldn't stand that I had a high-profile case, could
you? So you had to butt into it!
Frasier: I just don't want you to make a fool of yourself. These
people came to me, they asked for my expertise.
Niles: Oh, ha! They were undoubtedly exploiting your dubious
celebrity.
Frasier: Of which you are jealous and, I fear, the reason you took
this case!
Niles: That is flatly untrue! I took the case to help the family!
Frasier: And to be on television!
Niles: I don't give a hoot about television!
Martin: [shouting] Well, some of us do!!
Frasier: Niles, you made a hasty judgment and I am sorry, but you
were wrong.
Niles: Ah, now we see why you got involved in the case - so big
brother could be right and little Niles could be wrong,
which I'm not!
Frasier: Oh, your pathetic childhood issues have nothing to do with it.
Face it, you were wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Niles: Oh, oh, oh-!

Frasier exits to the kitchen. Niles, outraged, follows him. Daphne
is there listening to the radio while she cleans.

Niles: This from Mr. Quick-Fix, the master of the in-depth, one-
minute phone call diagnosis!
Frasier: I spent several hours with Mr. Safford and I found his
behavior to be...
Niles: Wildly irrational. He's a lip-diddling loon!

Daphne increases the volume on her radio to drown them out.

Frasier: You think anything that's even slightly spontaneous is
aberrant.
Niles: That's ridiculous! The man's incompetent!

Daphne again increases the volume.

Frasier: Niles, I'm warning you. If you get up in that courtroom and
say that, you will damage yourself professionally!
Niles: I'm testifying, and you're not going to stop me!
Frasier: Fine, then you leave me no choice but to testify against you!
Niles: Well, in that case, I'll see you in court!
Frasier: Good, I look forward to it!
Niles: So do I!
Frasier: Good!
Niles: Good!
Martin: [entering from the living room] HEY!!
Frasier: Daphne, please. Turn down that radio. Dad is trying to
watch a fight!

The men exit, leaving Daphne stunned.

FADE TO:


ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP
CAMERAS OUT OF THE COURTROOM

Scene Two - the courtroom.
The proceedings have not yet begun. The Court TV camera is being set
up. Frasier is chatting with Mr. Safford.

Frasier: So, how are you holding up?
Harlow: Oh, I'm fine. Now look, Sparky. I know you don't want to
take any money for helping me. But at least let me make a
donation to your favorite charity.
Frasier: Well... it was my duty, not to mention a pleasure, to help
you. But if you'd like to donate something, why don't you
select a charity of your own choosing?
Harlow: Fair enough.
Frasier: Good. Excuse me.

He walks over to where Niles is seated. Niles is primping in front
of a mirror.

Frasier: Hello, Niles. You know, it's not to late to ask them to put
a big blue ball in front of your face during the broadcast.
Perhaps spare you some shred of your reputation.
Niles: I'd laugh in your face but I'm saving my voice. [clears
throat]
Frasier: Oh my God! You're wearing makeup!
Niles: I am not! This is... medication. Something my dermatologist
recommended.
Frasier: Dr. Revlon?
Niles: [standing up] These feeble attempts to undermine my confidence
are futile. The testimony I've prepared is nothing short of
brilliant. I cite half a dozen studies of gerontology. I
quote everything from the Bible to Herodotus. I deftly
interweave humor with pathos. You may want to take notes.
Frasier: And if you had an ounce of self-awareness you would realize
that your diagnosis was colored by your zeal to put your
face in front of that camera. [Niles scoffs] Oh, by the way,
your medication is rubbing off on your collar.

Niles frantically checks himself in the mirror as the judge enters.

Baliff: All rise. Court is in session. Judge Richard McCarron
presiding.
Niles: [facing camera] Hello, your honor.
Judge: Be seated. Good morning. Has everyone been sworn in?
Baliff: Yes, your honor.
Judge: Well, I see we have two Dr. Cranes testifying today. [Niles
stands, then sits back down.] Mr. Giroux, I think we'll hear
from your authority first. I assume the other Dr. Crane has
no objection to that arrangement?
Niles: [facing camera] None whatsoever, your honor.
Judge: I'm over here, Dr. Crane.
Frasier: [standing] Your honor, I would not presume to bore the court
with a recitation of dry statistics, gerontology studies,
obscure literary references.

He stands in such a way that Niles is blocked from the camera.
Niles moves his head back and forth trying to get a clear shot
of himself on TV.

Frasier: Instead, I intend to speak from the heart. I worry about a
society that has chosen to define normalcy in such narrow
terms that if someone's behavior deviates ever so slightly,
we question his capacity to function. Mr. Safford's seeming
eccentricities - his love of trains, his generosity - they
can all be readily explained.
Harlow: Diabetes!
Judge: Mr. Safford?
Harlow: I was talking to Sparky.
Frasier: Uh... [to Mr. Safford] Did you say diabetes?
Harlow: Yes. We'll donate the money to diabetes. Those poor people
can't eat sugar!
Frasier: Fine.. fine. Uh... we'll, uh... we'll talk about it
afterwards.
Judge: May we continue, Dr. Crane?
Frasier: My apologies, your honor. Mr. Safford and I were discussing
a very sizable donation he intends to make later today to a
very worthy cause. I guess his enthusiasm just got the best
of him. But, it is this very generosity that his son finds
so objectionable. That, and the fact that he did hop a
freight train across the country. But, you see, what he
sees as unstable, I see as... romantic.

Suddenly, the sound of a train whistle is heard in the court room.

Frasier: I... I don't suppose there's a railroad track outside the
courtroom?

The judge shakes his head no. Cut to Harlow blowing a whistle, much
to the embarrassment of Mr. Giroux. Everyone in the courtroom begins
eyeing Mr. Safford strangely. Frasier becomes increasingly agitated.

Frasier: Uh... doesn't Mr. Safford deserve to be a bit of a free
spirit after the years of his demanding career? A career in
which he wore... [Harlow puts on a conductor's hat] many
hats. Um... the hat of a father, a philanthropist, a C.E.O...
Harlow: All aboard! All aboard! Get your tickets ready. Have your
tickets ready, please. Have your tickets ready.

Harlow stands up and produces a hole punch, with which he begins to
punch holes in papers as if he were a train conductor.

Frasier: [desperate] In the end, it all comes down to this: can we
really condemn a man for maintaining a childlike joie de
vivre even in his twilight years?
Harlow: All aboard for the Coast Express. Yes, making stops in
Tacoma, Olympia, Portland and Salem. And the next stop is...
Frasier: [putting his arm around Harlow] I think I know where your
next stop is going to be.

FADE TO:

Scene Three - the courtroom.
The courtroom is empty, save a very sullen Frasier. Niles walks in.
He, too, appears downcast.

Frasier: Now, look, Niles. Before you start gloating, let me just
say this. You were right, I was wrong.
Niles: Big deal. The world never got a chance to hear me be right.
I suppose by now it's obvious that what you were saying all
along was true. I do... envy your fame. Well, perhaps this
public humiliation will cure me of my damned competitiveness.
Frasier: Oh, don't worry about it. I humiliated myself far more than
you did today.
Niles: Obviously, you didn't see the way I was whoring after that
TV camera.
Frasier: Obviously, you didn't see how I was tap dancing up there
like an organ grinder's monkey.
Niles: Yes, well, I might as well have been tarred and feathered.
Frasier: I might as well have been pilloried in the town square.
Niles: I might as well have been stripped naked and forced to...
Frasier: Oh, stop it, Niles! We're doing it again! Niles, you have
no reason to feel badly. Everyone wants to be recognized
for something they're good at. And you are a good
psychiatrist.
Niles: Thank you, Frasier.
Frasier: Something I can't really lay claim to after today. How
could I have so misjudged that man?
Niles: Well, he's undeniably charming for one thing. And he can be
lucid for long stretches of time.
Frasier: Yes, but you weren't fooled. Somehow, you picked up on some
tiny clue that I missed. You remember what it was?
Niles: Yes. Midway through our interview he took off his trousers
and tried to put them on the cat.
Frasier: Well, I'd like to think that I might have picked up on that
one too. Still...
Niles: Frasier, you've always approached life with a positive
attitude. It's a quality I admire of yours. Perhaps your
judgment was clouded by your desire to see old age not as a
time of inevitable decline, but as a time when one's
childhood passions and fantasies can be reborn.
Frasier: Thank you, Niles. You know what would cheer me up right now?
Niles: What?
Frasier: I would like to hear that summation you never got a chance
to give.
Niles: Really?
Frasier: Yes.
Niles: You're not just saying that?
Frasier: Do you care?
Niles: No!
Frasier: Well, all right then. [runs to the judge's chair] I'm the
judge! I'm the judge!
Niles: Okay, you be the judge.
Frasier: [deep voice] All rise.
Niles: Yes, here we are.
Frasier: [as judge] Have we been sworn in? [as bailiff] Yes we have,
your honor. [bangs gavel] Dr. Crane, proceed.
Niles: Your honor, I believe it was Herodotus who said:
"Circumstances rule men. Men do not rule circumstances."

Niles takes hold of his lapel and, looking very smug, begins his
summation. Frasier leans forward with great interest.

FADE OUT

End of Act Two

Credits:

Niles is giving his summation. His jacket is off, his sleeves are
rolled up and he is gesturing wildly. As he reaches his "thrilling"
conclusion, the camera rolls back to reveal that the bailiff is now
in the judge's chair and looks thoroughly bored. Niles finishes and
looks to the bailiff for his opinion. The bailiff just holds out his
hand. Niles digs in his pocket and takes out some money, which he
then gives to the bailiff.