From the novel by Jerzy Kosinski
Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski and Robert C. Jones
January 10, 1979
PRESIDENT: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
[Long pause] CHAUNCEY: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
PRESIDENT : In the garden?
CHAUNCEY: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
PRESIDENT: Spring and summer?
PRESIDENT : Then fall and winter?
BENJAMIN RAND: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.
CHAUNCEY: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
BENJAMIN RAND: Hmm!
PRESIDENT: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.
[Benjamin Rand applauds]
PRESIDENT : I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
RON STEIGLER: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
CHAUNCEY: I can't write.
RON STEIGLER: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I've provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers...
CHAUNCEY: I can't read.
RON STEIGLER: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...
CHAUNCEY: I like to watch.
RON STEIGLER: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads! Listen, book publishing isn't exactly a bed of roses these days...
CHAUNCEY (mild interest) What sort of bed is it?
DENNIS WATSON: You know, I've never met anyone like you in Washington before.
CHAUNCEY: Yes, I've been here all my life.
WATSON: Really? And uh, where have you been all MY life? [laughs]
WATSON: Ah, tell me, Mr. Gardner... have you ever had sex with a man?
CHAUNCEY: No... I don't think so.
WATSON: We could go upstairs right now.
CHAUNCEY: Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch.
WATSON: You like to uh, watch?
WATSON: You wait right here. I'll go get Warren!
PRESIDENT: Life is a state of mind.
MORTON MULL: Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years?
DUDLEY: But what do we know of the man? Nothing! We have no inkling of his past!
NELSON: Correct, and that is an asset. A man's past can cripple him, his background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny.
CALDWELL: ...Up to this time, he hasn't said anything that could be used against him.
NELSON: The response from his appearance on the 'Burns Show' was over- whelming; mail and telephone response was the highest they ever had, and it was ninety-five percent pro!
CHARLIE BOB BENNET:(a Texas oil millionaire) Well, I'm certainly open to the thought - it would be sheer lunacy to support the President for another term.
LYMAN MURRAY :(a banker) Exactly. That is why I agree with Ben's final wishes, and I firmly believe, gentlemen, if we want to retain the Presidency, that our one and only chance is Chauncey Gardiner!
PRESIDENT (reading) ...'I do not know the feelings of being poor, and that is not to know the feelings of the majority of people in this world.
For a man in my position, that is inexcusable.
Just in case you wondered where the saying
Life imitates art
Sometimes it's better to say nothing about nothing.
Today, we were driving back from the Radio Shack
because we were having equipment failures with the microphone.
We were working on a documentary on the Earthfamily.
And we were listening to some kind of weird talk radio.
They were talking about Nazis and Zionist and whatever.
They were selling emergency food kits with real seeds that sprout,
for the coming trouble.
The main pitch was this.
It's better to be a year early.
Than a minute late.
The driver of the van,
who is an old friend and part time film maker,
"If this kind of stuff upsets you,
It's because you are not right with yourself."
This is just noise.
These are just words.
All of these concepts just divide us.
Each of us must find the truth for ourselves.
As Chauncey says,
"As long as the roots are not severed, all is well.
And all will be well in the garden."