Scream a Little Scream is an episode of Beyond Belief.
- Frank Doyle - Paul F. Tompkins
- Sadie Doyle - Paget Brewster
- Hucklebuckle Beanstalk - Autumn Reeser
- Vilhelm Chonklet - Craig Cackowski
- Spooky Hal (Narrator) - Hal Lublin
- Busby the Grump - Adam Busch
- Carnacious Canary - Cecil Baldwin
- Mallory Blackpool - Terry Kinney
- Iodeen Zealand - Janet Varney
- Polly Dunlap - Jean Grae
- Matt Stinker - Ted Leo
- TR Mortain - John Hodgman
The episode opens with Frank and Sadie noticing something is strange. There is a note on the table that neither of them can read, and that neither of them can remember writing. They try to correct their feeling of strangeness by getting a drink from the liquor cabinet, but the cabinet slides further and further away as they try to approach it.
Sadie worries that they may be sober. Busby the Grump appears and reassures her that she's not. Frank thanks Busby and introduces Busby and Sadie, although Frank does not remember specifically how he knows Busby. Hucklebuckle Beanstalk appears, and Sadie delightedly introduces Hucklebuckle and Frank although, like Frank, she doesn't remember exactly how she knows Hucklebuckle.
Hucklebuckle and Busby both ask the Doyles to consider how they know them, and what is happening. Frank and Sadie conclude that they are in a dream, and that Hucklebuckle and Busby are a pair of dream things ("figment Americans" is the more correct term). Hucklebuckle and Busby ask the Doyles if they know whose dream they're currently in, although the Doyles don't think that's important.
Hucklebuckle and Busby ask the Doyles for their help - a creature is creeping into children's dreams and giving them almost-memorable scary dreams. Hucklebuckle and Busby's job is to give children's good dreams, and they want the Doyles to help them stop the creature. Frank says as long as they're already there they may as well.
Hucklebuckle and Busby take the Doyles to the coma dream of Mallory Blackpool. Sadie is delighted, as he wrote some of her favourite childhood stories. Frank has never heard of him, and Sadie gives him a run down of 'Berdy Beeswax and the Candy Bazaar', and one of its main characters, Carnacious Canary.
Hucklebuckle explains that Blackpool's coma-dream has freed Canary, and he is currently running wild through the dreams of children. Sadie finds it difficult to believe that Canary or Blackpool could be responsible for hurting children (even in such a meaningless and unmemorable way), as both Canary and Blackpool loved children.
Busby announces that Canary is in fact here with them, and Canary welcomes them to his dreamscape. Canary says that he hates children because they are "nasty wretches, filthy, incoherent, and small". Sadie is still disbelieving that Canary would want to harm children, as in the book he loved them. Canary says that although he might love them, Blackpool does not, and he is bound to carry out Blackpool's wishes against his will.
Frank summons Blackpool so that they can stop him and free Canary. Canary explains the situation and Blackpool seems surprised. Sadie asks Blackpool if he can remember any unpleasant interactions with children that might be causing his subconscious to act out this way. Blackpool says that all of his interactions with children have been unpleasant, staring with his own childhood. He based the characters of 'Birdie Beeswax and the Candy Bazaar' on people he knew and hated, beginning with Vilhelm Chonklet (Sadie's favourite character). Canary and Blackpool concentrating on Chonklet summons him to the dreamscape, in the form of his eleven-year-old self.
Chonklet is happy to see Blackpool, and refers to him as a childhood friend. Blackpool insists that Chonklet was one of many people to bully him during his childhood. Sadie asks about his other bullies, and because Blackpool is concentrating on them they also appear - Iodeen Zealand, Polly Dunlap, and Matt Stinker, all of whom he used as characters and killed off in his book.
The others reveal that they were Blackpool's friends - Zealand lent Blackpool money so that he could attend university (they also dated for nearly three years), Chonklet introduced Blackpool to his first publisher, Stinker made the movie based on Blackpool's novels, and Dunlap married Blackpool.
The Doyles wonder how he can hate children, if these children helped him so much throughout his life. The dreamscape changes to the study of Blackpool's mentor and tormentor, TR Mortain. Mortain has also been summoned to the dreamscape, and he isn't happy to see Blackpool. Mortain hates Blackpool, and he especially hates Blackpool's work for children. Blackpool says that it was Mortain who encouraged him to write for children in the first place, although it turns out that Mortain wasn't so much 'encouraging' him as he was 'insulting' him.
Canary stabs Mortain, which has no real effect since they are dreaming. The Doyles realise that they are in Mortain's dream. Frank gets out the note they found earlier, and gives it to Canary. Canary can read it, and the note turns out to be a contract between writer and reader - "anything that works, works". Since Blackpool's books have worked for so many people, Mortain is forced to admit that he is in breach of that contract.
Mortain apologises to Blackpool for not respecting him or his work, and leaves. Blackpool says that Mortain respecting him has given him more closure than any success ever could have. Mortain returns, slow-clapping. He reveals all his years of torment were merely a test. Although Mortain isn't proud of Blackpool, he isn't dissapointed.
Mortain sends Blackpool back to his own coma-dream. Since Blackpool no longer has a need to carry out subconscious hurt feelings, Canary is free and will no longer have to hurt children. Canary leaves with Hucklebuckle and Busby to bring good dreams to children.
- Clink count: 2
Spooky Hal closes out the show with a fantastic rendition of Willy Wonka's riverboat monologue.
Mallory Blackpool's novels mentioned in this episode:
- Grady Gringle and the Grape he Grew Up In
- The Wondrous Wister Walrus
- Birdie Beeswax and the Candy Bazaar
Vilhelm Chonklet, Iodeen Zealand, Polly Dunlap, and Matt Stinker are all references to the golden ticket winners in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Sadie: Frank darling, I feel strange. Is there something wrong with this bottle?
Frank: Only that it's empty Sadie-love.
Sadie: Or perhaps it's contents were past their expiration date.
Frank: They never got the chance.
Frank: Our old liquor cabinet should know better than to play hard to get with us!
Sadie: Betrayed by a family member.
Frank: What's the riddle?
Hucklebuckle: Where are we?
Frank: Right here?
Hucklebuckle: YES! NO! But yes again!
Busby: Lollypops and candy canes, sharpened deadly sharp.
Hucklebuckle: If he gets his hands on you, you'll play an angel's harp!
Frank: Because you'll be dead.
- This is the 189th episode of The Thrilling Adventure Hour.
- The previous episode is Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars - The Night We Never Met.
- The next episode is Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars - Custard's Last Stand, with the ad "Bucatino Business #4" (TAH #189.1) in between.
- The previous episode in Beyond Belief canon is Werewolf of Wall Street (TAH #183), with the special bonus episode The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Wits Crossover Part 1 in between.
- The next episode in Beyond Belief canon is The Skeleton Brief (TAH #192).
This episode was recorded at The Bell House on October 11th, 2014 and released on November 17th, 2014.