The Laugh Track: A Film Noir

By

They call him Bickelhaupt. First name John. He’s a “re-recording mixer,” you know the old Hollywood type. Only thing dirtier’n his pockets is his recording studio. He moseyed on into my office first thing Monday morning, slapped my secretary across the face and poured the both of us a scotch - neat.

He took his cigar out of his mouth. “What’s the word on the New York Magazine article, Cantor? How much do they know?” Then he took another cigar out of his mouth. He was storing a bunch of them in there, I guess.

I shook my head real slow and lit a cigarette. “Jig’s up, Bickelhaupt. They know all about it. The junky track work on M*A*S*H, the first days of the laff box. They even know about the studies showing that laugh tracks can make unfunny jokes seem funnier.”

He came at me fast and loose. I knocked him out with a hard left without budging from behind my desk.

“Enough with the games, Bickey,” I spat, standing up real fast. “I need to know whether Whitney’s laugh track is real, and you’ve gotta be the guy to tell me.”

“Whitney? Ha!” He staggered, icing his newly-forming black eye with his warm scotch, and sneered at me. “You’ve got no idea how far up this thing goes.” He took another cigar out of his mouth and backed out of my office.

Stay tuned for the exciting resolution in Chapter 2: P.I. Cantor and the Case of the Possible Product Placement!