Slowly I Turned, a classic vaudeville routine as performed by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in their movie, Lost in a Harem. Also known as “Poko Moko” and “Niagra Falls”
Bud, Lou and derelict in cell:
Derelict: I haven’t always been a derelict … (looks at Lou) … like you.
Lou Costello: Don’t call me those kind of bad names!
Derelict: Would you like to hear my story?
Lou Costello: No
Derelict: Very well, then I’ll tell it to you
Bud Abbott: Go ahead
Derelict: (to Bud) Thank you … many years ago my father gave me the benefit of a very good education (sad music playing) … then .. I met her. She was beautiful … glorious. We were married. two years later – a baby boy. I haven’t seen that boy till this very day.
Lou Costello: Did you say a little baby boy?
Lou Costello: Did he have brown eyes?
Derelict: Yes he did!
Lou Costello: And two little teeth in the front?
Derelict: [Excitedly] Yes, yes!
Lou Costello: And black hair?
Lou Costello: Daddy!
[derelict pushes Lou away]
Bud Abbott: Oh what’s the matter with you? Sit still! Keep quiet. Stop interrupting the man!
Lou Costello: Well, I thought I found my father!
Bud Abbott: Quiet! [turns to derelict] – go ahead.
Derelict: Thank you. We were very happy, my little family. One morning we were seated around the breakfast table and a knock came at the door. There stood a man. He was broken in health and spirit. I bade him enter, I welcomed him into my home. I said ‘make my home your home’…and he did! One day I returned from work to find that home was no longer a home. My wife … the baby … and the stranger had fled. Then one day … at the banks of the Poko Moko I found them. Suddenly my brain snapped. All the years of pent up emotion of years suffering welled up within me. I knew I would never be satisfied until I had my bony fingers wrapped around his throat. So with murder in my heart … slooooooowly I turned [acting this out as he speaks, focusing on Lou[, step by step, step by step I crept upon him [creeping towards Lou] and when I saw the stare in his face … I struck and I grabbed him [Grabs Lou and starts pushing him against the wall and shouting at him]
Bud Abbott: What’s the matter? Why are you interrupting the man for?
Derelict: My poor friend, I’m sorry. But every time I hear the word Poko Moko, I just want to kill!
Lou Costello: Take it easy pal, take it easy!
Bud Abbott: See, every time he hears that word: ‘Poko Moko’
Derelict: Poko Moko!!!! OOhh, I knew I’d never be satisfied until I had his blood running between my fingers…so slowly I turned (does action) step by step, step by step I crept upon him – and when I saw the streak on his countenance I grabbed him and I couldn’t help myself (throws Lou against the wall and begins beating him up) and I was going out my mind (calms down, breathless)
Lou Costello: [takes an exaggerated boxing stance]
Bud Abbott: Stand still! What’s the matter with you? The man’s telling you his life’s history. It’s interesting.
Derelict: My poor friend! I did it again, didn’t I?
Bud Abbott: It’s alright, it’s alright
Derelict: What’s happening to me?
Lou Costello: It’s not happening to you brother, it’s all happening over here!
Bud Abbott: Just … don’t use that word ….
Lou Costello: Don’t … don’t … don’t … don’t. He means “Pocahontas!”
Derelict: [reacts for a second]
Lou Costello: [stopping him] Pocahontas!!
Bud Abbott: Yes, it’s alright
Lou Costello: Sounds like Coko Moko or something
Bud Abbott: Shhh!
Derelict: Poko Moko! BBBRRRRRR…So slowly I turned! Step by step, step by step [Lou calls out for Bud in a quiet voice] … and when I crept upon him … I grabbed him and [again beats Lou and repeatedly slams him into the wall, then throws him across the cell to the other wall knocking his hat off]
Bud Abbott: [angrily to derelict] Just a minute … just a minute! Now you’ve been getting away with murder. Enough is enough. You understand that? I’ve stood by and watched all this! And I’ve let you get away with it … but no more! [bends down and picks up Lou’s hat] – These things cost money. Be careful how you handle them!
Courtesy of Abbott and Costello – Who’s on First?