Written by Auntie Matter

Sunday, 13 November 2016

image for Humphrey Bogart's Strange Encounter
As Time Goes By

It is alleged that the late movie icon Humphrey Bogart shot some of the scenes in the movie Casablanca in a state of inebriation. Most notable among them is the famous night-time drunken scene as he waits for his sweetheart Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) to show up.

The actor decided to drink heavy for that scene to give it authenticity. He passed out later on after the shot. The camera crew and director left the set silently so as not to disturb him . Bogart later confided to his wife Lauren Bacall that a strange thing happened to him during that particular night. According to her in some chapters of an unpublished biography Humphrey confided;

"Lauren, may God be my witness... I am not sure if it was a dream or some sort of a vision but... this guy wearing a funny hat with feathers, a sword and silk stockings appeared in front of me. At first, I thought it was Liberace. But, he called himself Romeo. I know it's hard to believe but I know what I saw."

To which Lauren replied: "And what did Romeo say to you, Humph?"

"I remember every word and have written them down."

So saying he passed a transcript of what he could remember of the dialogue between him and the apparition.

Scene 666: Morning-3 AM: Set of Casablanca.

Bogart alone, awakens from a night of solitary drinking and looks at the piano. He can still hear the dull, distant notes from the ivories drumming out his and Ilsa's favourite song... "As Time Goes By". Behind it he sees a figure with a plumed hat.

"B: Who's there?

Voice: T'is I mi'lord... Romeo.

B: Sorry kid. I thought you were Liberace... or Ilsa... I could never tell the difference. I guess the plumed hat and pink drawers threw me. What is it you want?

R: I don't know. I was told to come here for advice.

B: About what? I am all out of advice. They're rationing everything here in Casablanca... especially advice.

R: I'm waiting for a lady. She's coming back. I know she's coming back. Her name is Juliet. She is my morning star, the breath in my nostrils. When I think of her my blood becomes a soft, babbling brook giving life to all I see.

B: Join the club. I've read all about you kid, in Romeo and Juliet, crossed lovers and all that stuff. (Fills his glass.). Guess your stars were not in the right place, Romeo. It happens.

R: They told me she was here.

B: She's always here kid. You just have to find her. (Drinks). (Pause): Of all the gin-joints in all the towns in all the world....Have a drink.

R: I don't drink. Pardon me my liege... but... what is a gin-joint?

B: A tavern. But instead of mead you get gin. Instead of Falstaff cracking dirty jokes you get the NYPD cracking your skull. Who let you in?

R: A black man.....Sam.

B: The no-good... (Drinks). He told me he'd stopped drinking! Only lives for his goddam piano. Sure he does. That's it you are leaning against. Guess everybody needs something to lean against. (Drinks). Tell me Romeo, ... if it's December 1944 in Casablanca what time is it in Verona?

R: I have come to find my Juliet.

B: So have I. You won't find her here. She doesn't exist except in yourself. Go back to Shakespeare's brain... (Drinks)... where you belong.

R: Where is New York mi'lord?

R: Nobody knows, kid, even the people who live there. It's a state of mind. It takes no prisoners. Let me give you some advice while you can walk straight; when it comes to broads... first of all, grow a beard, get rid of the talc, the rouge and perfume, don't lean on anything if you can avoid it... and get rid of the floral knickers.

R: But these are the best silks mi'lord, imported from Venice!

B: Maybe. Import them back again, kid. In Casablanca if you walk around like that they will think you are a poofter. In New York, construction workers trying to prove that they are 'men' whatever they think that is, might wolf whistle at you on a hot day; but in Casablanca... you'll need life insurance. I can get you some cheap.

R: What's a poofter?

B: A poofter is a molestee who denies he is a Freemason. Or a Freemason who denies he is a molestee.

R: But... I must find my Juliet.

B: Give it up kid, there's just booze and dull piano music and making brain dead pictures for your paymasters because they give you a lot of dough for doing what they tell you. I'mm like Picasso... the crazier I get the better they like it. (Drinks). Now scram! The delusioned have respect for each other where I come from. They call it democracy. Besides, kid, ... you'll always have Verona."

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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