The Story of JOHNNY B. GOODE takes place in N.Y. City between 1947-1968.
JOHNNY lives in the N.W. Bronx , Riverdale proximate to the Hudson River with his Father PETER a prominent Attorney, mother JOAN housewife, PATRICK older brother and sister ALLISON, JOHNNY the youngest .
JONATHAN thinks of nothing but playing baseball at five almost six. He learns to read thanks to PATRICK…A newly published book by Yankee great Joe DiMaggio 1946 “Lucky to Be a Yankee"… his idol is Lou Gehrig…. Like JOHNNY a left handed hitter; who coincidently, as a player lived in Riverdale and went to school at Columbia with Peter, his father.
The first two acts are partially focused, not only upon the two main characters JONATHAN and REMY; but, politically and historically with the Kennedy’s, and Cardinal Spellman of N.Y
PETER's younger brother JACK graduated from Fordham Law school N.Y. Before taking the bar , WW2 broke out. JACK became a legendary Bomber pilot with the Mighty 8th. Bomber group. Stationed in England, he flew B-24’s with Joe Kennedy the oldest brother, Joe flew the navy version. They often discussed the ethics of innocents getting killed, particularly in France, their bombing runs directed to extricate the Nazi regime from France and the low countries. Frank Spellman who later became CARDINAL SPELLMAN of N.Y. was the the Chaplain of the Mighty 8th. He said of Jack, my oldest alter boy, he survived an unheard 37 missions.
The law firm of Goode Frazer and Goode becomes powerful politically in early post war era …as Lyndon Johnson explained .. We need the Goode brothers as a moral compass to make sure at the end of the day… Everyone is in the tent pissing out… rather than a few outside pissing in.
JOHNNY at five almost six goes regularly to Central Park, with his older brother PATRICK who is playing high school ball for Regis High. The kid is really talented with the glove for his age and they let him practice with the team shagging fly’s and fouls..…Going home on the Broadway Subway Line, before reaching the station JONATHAN is seen crying…PATRICK…”because you stink… you can’t hit”.. JONATHAN… “DADDY and UNCLE JACK said I was a good hitter”… PATRICK “That’s because they pitch the ball slowly right where you can hit it”.. Patrick…”Let me see your hands… PATRICK…JONATHAN you have the hands of a cry baby”.. PATRICK…”do you know why Ted Williams hit 400…Because he spends 5 hrs a day in the batting cage hitting till his hand bleed”…PATRICK..” anyone who suits up can field, throw and run but the scouts are looking for hitters”….By senior year high school JONATHAN, All City is the best hitter nationally in High School ball…He goes on to Columbia to play where his Idol LOU GEHRIG played… In 1964 he is to head the US Olympic Team in Japan a showcase sport that Olympic year, then sign a fat contract with the Yankees.. The organization wants him to break in playing triple A ball with other young players before coming up with the big club in N.Y.
REMY Coussard came over from war torn France as a young child with her father MARCEL and older brother Pierre. REMY survived an allied carpet bombing run at almost three; her mother protecting her young child was killed. Arriving on a boat, Marcel told his young daughter, pointing out the Statue of Liberty, a gift Remy from France… always be proud you came from France, and Remy you will be happy in N.Y.
JONATHAN meets REMY while students in the 4th grade… JONATHAN talking about his new friend at dinner, an occasion where UNCLE JACK was present. He relates this horrible incident in school that happened to REMY and him that day. JONATHAN asks his mother if REMY could come over and do homework with him… JOAN says.. I’ll have to ask her mother… JONATHAN replies REMY told me she has no mother, she was killed in France by bombs.. during the war…this upsets JACK…Then ALLISON pipes in and says I’m glad I did not have sister Barnard in the 4th grade she’s always touching students private parts…When REMY is totally humiliated, her second day in class… JONATHAN a big kid even for the 4th grade, beats the crap out of sister Barnard with a black board pointer.…JACK arriving at the school goes into action.. Calls Frank Spellman immediately to get this nun out of there… He not only feels an overwhelming responsibility for the well being of this child…but the political implications should Senator Joe Mc Carthy… considered a loose canon.. known to them as tail gun Joe.. start snooping around Pedophilia in the Catholic school system… they need Joe Mc McCarthy in the tent. This could also be a sensitive issue should JOHN KENNEDY run in 1960 a Catholic.… Frank Spellman also is pushing for Govt appropriations for Catholic schools who’s at odds with Joe Kennedy Sr. who won’t support that issue. Jack and Peter find a way to put out the fire before it reaches the newspapers... General De Gaulle is coming to the White House… There is no love lost between DE GAULLE and TRUMAN. In short, to smooth things over…REMY will be going to the White House… From Cardinal Spellman who, as Chaplain of the 8th…the Medal of Faith… It gives him an opportunity for a bit of patriotic public profiling, but more so, they consider REMY the recipient of their horrific bombing runs.. an innocent, one of their own. From Charles De Gaulle she will be receiving the medal of Joan of Arc for her courage and patriotism… As the TV cameras roll the General urges REMY dressed in a white lace dress, she’s been living with the GOODE’s, to say a few words…Her spontaneous unpretentious speech from innocence breaks the heart of two nations. REMY and JONATHAN are now always together… ALLISON has given REMY a book of pictures on ballerinas…. There is a scene where she is sitting on the bench with an ice cream cone…reading her book totally engrossed while JONATHAN in the batting cage hitting baseballs… JONATHAN then takes REMY to see a monster picture in the 231st RKO theatre. .”The Thing”… REMY that night frightened of monsters climbs into bed with JONATHAN both 10 to protect her from monsters.
REMY begins going to ballet school in Riverdale.. Her instructor a Russian Ballerina who came to the states after the war is also an intimate with fellow Russian GEORGE BALANCHINE… REMY has exceptional talent. Introduced To director BALANCHINE, she becomes a student at American Ballet.. When REMY grows up, she will become part of the N.Y. City Ballet Company.
UNCLE JACK is very close, as well as the rest of the GOODE family to MARCEL, REMY and PIERRE, helping them all prosper… MARCEL a great chef in the French culinary tradition of Escoffier, with the help of Jack who knows everybody in N.Y. they together become partners and open Chez Marcel which not only becomes an instant success but the top French Restaurant in the city frequented by the power elite.
It’s a cold day, TALIA arrives at the Goode home to take REMY down to the City to meet GEORGE BALANCHINE who will personally see a student deemed of exceptional talent. While waiting, a long limousine pulls up with French diplomatic plates for Remy…all arranged by JACK… She is wearing a beautiful coat. Pinned is the Medal Joan of Arc, Medal of faith and a small key…a symbol of the key given to her by Mayor Wagner to the City…resulting from her speech…Talia seeing all this asks to use the telephone.
BOBBY KENNEDY calls JACK Monday morning laughing …”Rumor had it that BALANCHINE said that he had never been intimidated by a 10 year old dancer before, then when she smiled and spoke in French melted his heart, and when he found out Papa was MARCEL from Chez Marcel he almost passed out.
From the sixth grade on REMY becomes a student at Children’s Professional. Her classes progressed as she developed at the School of American Ballet…and at 17 -18 she’s admitted to the N.Y. C. Ballet company… REMY was not the strongest dancer… delicate. She’s Noted for her flexibility, flawless technique, grace of movement, interpretation and her beauty…Before getting killed in an auto accident driving to UNCLE JACK's in South Hampton after a terrible confrontation with JONATHAN that had been building for years, REMY reached the position as a soloist at N.Y.C Ballet.
In one of the scenes, PATRICK the older brother who went on to West Point after High school, now as a lieutenant colonel in President Kennedy’s Green Berets.. PATRICK became one of the early casualties in the Viet Nam War… REMY performs a solo adaption of Samuel Barbers Adagio for strings for PATRICK.. the President and First lady in attendance… JACKIE remarks to GEORGE BALANCHINE “I’ve never witnessed such a performance of Beauty, emotion and depth all seemingly so graceful and effortless… GEORGE you are very fortunate to have her
There is also another great Hallmark scene… JONATHAN arrives with his team at UNCLE JACK's at the beach house in South Hampton…by team bus… After a National televised game in Houston, they are declared National High School Champions. “It’s a great game” REMY has planned a big party with JACK’s wife ERICA... She too has graduated and has been accepted into N.Y. C. Ballet company.. There are in attendance her friends as well as members from the Company in this big weekend bash.. ERICA has planned that REMY and her friend ROSITA also in the company to dance… a floor was set up on the sand… ROSITA will eventually become the wife of HECTOR ALVERAZ the star pitcher…HECTOR’s introduction to ROSITA was witnessing ROSITA and Vincent putting on a dancing exhibition not to be believed to the tune of Johnny B. Goode…then to top that…REMY and Bryce doing Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti…the point being JONATHAN and his friends are not the only ones who can “knock the ball out of the park”…Music below
JONATHAN is not very happy… as JONATHAN’s fortunes expand… so does REMY's… JONATHAN with this enormous ego is jealous of the girl he loves …and this attitude will destroy them both.
Explained earlier in the movie.. by one of the guests, JOSEPH CAMPBELL eminent mythologist and Professor, who was in PETER’s class at Columbia. "The relationship must be in marriage androgynous"…JOE CAMPBELL explains through the myth In Plato’s Symposium.. The MALE EGO MUST be broken…It’s the woman’s energy that makes the life for both…turning to Jonathan laughing, not understanding at that young age of 10, "your job is to protect REMY from Monsters"… further explained to PATRICK from a passage of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake “Where male power dominates, you have separation. Where female power dominates there is a non-dual, embracing quality." Remember that before choosing a companion in life PATRICK.
JONATHAN was not understanding and now REMY is dead…from Eastern Religion tradition ‘Hell is a state where one is separated from that which one loves the most”.. JONATHAN goes to hell.. not physically but spiritually becoming a non–entity…a product of the mind not of the heart. Jonathan never plays baseball again after Remy dies…We pick him up 3 months later. He’s living in a Harlem tenement…garbage everywhere. ALLISON telephones.. “JONATHAN your diploma arrived.. along with a list of books needed for law school”…JONATHAN…”Throw the diploma in the garbage and send the list to my box”….JONATHAN has a little job in an off campus book store…He just reads and studies having nothing to do with the outer world.. Completing his second year, he leaves school after seeing a sign on the subway.. “College grad…become an Army officer”… Maybe thinking, following his older brother and coming across an old copy of Finnegan’s Wake, he joins up.. JONATHAN and his squad are about to be overrun.. during extraction JONATHAN is badly wounded…Spending months in the VA.. continuously drugged.. He’s seen with a cane, barely walking, back on campus to complete his final year…Times have changed…They call him a pig…baby killer and spit at him…for JONATHAN this is a conversion.. He becomes a legend on campus…between pain killers he’s a full blown drug addict.. and after passing the bar.. works for the Public Defender representing draft demonstrators…JONATHAN is now dying physically.. He dies on the subway he so loves, next to a urine soaked wall.
At his service in Riverdale: HECTOR asks ALLISON where is everybody, , I mean JONATHAN was a war hero, the Silver Star.. an attorney,? ALLISON the only one left in the family, tearfully says…JONATHAN wasn’t a soldier, his brother PATRICK was a soldier. They gave JONATHAN a medal for surviving…He wasn’t an attorney the only case he came to winning was because he collapsed in court from pain killers and other drugs… his license was suspended. JONATHAN was my baby brother and I loved him.. He was selfish.. egotistical.. never did anything for anyone.. he was a spoiled crybaby who never grew up.. The only thing he could do was hit a baseball. This is where the services of his idol LOU GEHRIG were held four blocks from our home in Riverdale.. I think JONATHAN would have liked that. Lewis his oldest friend, now a Priest seen in clerical habit, nods at Allison's remarks with an understanding gaze
I/E. SMOKY MISTY ENVIRONMENT -DAY
Where am I?... I can’t see anything.
You are in Purgatory.. In your culture you learned about purgatory in your second grade catacism
But why am I here for my sins? And who are you.?
Sins JONATHAN are your limitations, ALLISON could not have expressed it better... The voice you hear is your illuminated consciousness
How long am I to be here.
ETERNITY... I learned purgatory is only temporary.
JONATHAN... We are beyond the field of time... there is no future there is no past.. ETERNITY is just here and now... When you realize and overcome your limitations... with a sense of remorse for these sins... and how you affected others throughout your life the mist will lift. You See the next dimension is only love... Perfection... The Transcendent.
I/E. HEAVEN -DAY
As the mist rises, a figure comes into view staring right at him with a smile wearing a Columbia baseball uniform
Hey kid you're up at bat
Lou... Lou Gehrig?
YEAH. We heard you can hit, and there is a young lady over there (pointing).. She’s been yelling for you all game... (smiling)a real major leaguer that one
And a really great dancer
That’s what I mean
LOU how come you aren’t in pinstripes
LOU smiles looking at him, tipping his cap
When you see me in pin stripes, you know you have made the team and LUCKY to be a YANKEE
As the screen dissolves to black we hear the crack of the bat... WHACK.
Below some of the music & dance in the production
Little Richard doing Tutti Frutti. Remy and Bryce having just been admitted to N.Y.C. Ballet perform this wicked dance Interpretation at the graduation celebration at Uncle Jack's promoted by Erica
An Incredible Breathtaking Performance of the Adagio for Strings. Remy, now a soloist at N.Y. C. Ballet will perform this Adagio at Patrick's moving memorial service at the Met.
Reflections of My Life... Marmalade...A seminal song of the Viet Nam era... when Jonathan returns to the changes on campus
There's a Moon Out Tonight...Lewis,(Johnny's teammate and best friend) his Doo Op Group singing at The South Hampton party for the Graduation Celebration at Uncle Jack's