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SynopsisEdit

The life of failed TV screenwriter Leon is taken over by a voice that emanates from inside his answering machine.

CastEdit

  • Harry Anderson as Leon
  • Marcie Barkin as Dolores
  • Dick Miller as Seymour Furman
  • Tom Newman as Quentin Karp
  • David Eastman as The Driver
  • Catherine Battistone as Person on telephone
  • Paul Sparer as Narrator

PlotEdit

A writer's life is remarkably changed by his new answering machine.

Act I Edit

Leon, a teleplay writer, is in his agent Seymour Furman's office. Leon is upset because he has not had any work in six months. Seymour assures Leon that he is trying to get Leon some work. Seymour mentions that Leon has recently got an answering machine, which Leon says was necessary since his answering service was not giving him all his calls. Seymour remarks on the answering machine message, saying he enjoyed the Bronx cheer (a raspberry) that Leon added, saying it was better than a beep. Leon seems to not understand why Seymour says and leaves.

Leon goes home, convinced that the answering machine message is a practical joke and may be responsible for him not getting his writing assignments. When he checks the answering machine, the message does not have the raspberry on it. Instead the sound in place of the beep is a slide whistle. Leon's girlfriend is the first message and she is angry at Leon for using his answering machine to announce that her mother is a bag lady. She tells him that she never wants to see him again so he will not have to worry about her pressuring him to get married. Leon unplugs the answering machine.

After Leon closes the door, the answering machine speaks in Leon's voice, saying that Leon needs to realize who is in charge.

Act II Edit

Leon goes over to Delores's house and she lets him in. She makes it clear that his explanation needs to be academy award caliber. Leon tells Delores that his answering machine is making funny noises. Delores is very unsatisfied with his explanation because she claims she heard Leon's voice say that his mother is a bag lady who doesn't care about anything other than shopping.

Leon is clearly confused. He claims the answering machine has a defect. Delores breaks up with Leon because she does not feel like she can date a man who lets his answering machine do his dirty work for him. Still confused, Leon leaves.

Later, Leon is asleep when his own voice wakes him up. He tries to figure out what is going on when the answering machine tells him that it is the voice. When asking for an explanation, the answering machine insults Leon's intelligence and tells him they are in an alternate universe. Leon doesn't believe it, but the answering machine explains that Leon must be living in an alternate universe. He demands that Leon give him fresh batteries and reconnects the machine. Leon does this.

Once the answering machine is hooked up, it calls the answering machine at the local movie theater, making a pass at it.

Act III Edit

Leon is in Seymour's office. Seymour seems annoyed that Leon is not listening to him because of all of Seymour's hard work. Leon asks Seymour about the alternate universes. Seymour remarks that alternate universes are where writers live. Seymour tells Leon that he got Leon interviews with two major television producers, which pleases Leon.

Seymour returns home and there is a message on his answering machine from Seymour. It appears that Leon blew it at the meetings and Seymour tells Leon to call him back in a few weeks.

Suddenly, Delores runs into the apartment and begins hugging and kissing Leon. She tells Leon that he left a message on her answering machine in tears, apologizing for the comment about her mother and begging her to marry him. It also told Delores that Leon would kill himself if Delores turned him down.

Irritated, Leon begins to accuse the answering machine of messing with his life. Delores is confused as to what Leon is talking about. Leon gets angry and sees a light comes on what he assumes is the answering machine. He busts it, only to find out that the light was on his VCR because he was taping a television show. He explains that he did not leave the message on her machine and he is not going to marry her. He tries to explain that it was the answering machine that did everything. The answering machine was proposing to her machine. Delores gets angry, insults Leon and leaves.

Leon asks the answering machine why it is doing these things to him. The answering machine tells Leon he was trying to help. Leon explains he has had enough and he threatens to erase the answering machine. He pushes the button to erase it.

Leon tries to call Delores, but he gets an insulting answering machine message. 

Act IV Edit

On the way to Seymour's office, a man pulls up and holds out his car phone. Apparently there is a message for Leon on the phone. Leon is then in Seymour's office where he gets another phone call from the IRS. Leon is getting phone calls from everyone and everywhere all day and all night.

Later Leon is home watching television and doing his best to ignore the phone ringing. He finally answers it because he assumes it might be a producer with work offers. He is frustrated between thinking it is another answering machine calling him. He finally picks up the phone and hangs it up. It rings again and it is Seymour, telling Leon he got an interview with a major television producer.

Leon is in the television producer's office. The producer, Mr. Carp, asks Leon to tell him more about the mini-series that Leon proposed. Leon is confused because he had not told Mr. Carp about anything. He tries to explain, but since he has no idea what the mini-series was, he asks Mr. Carp to tell him more about which mini series he had talked about. Mr. Carp tells Leon that the idea was left on his answering machine at home.

Leon guarantees that he will get the information but he has to leave to get the information. Leon runs home and hooks up the answering machine. He pleads with the answering machine to tell him what the mini-series idea was. Leon tries to influence the answering machine but the machine ignores him. Leon then offers the answering machine absolutely anything that the answering machine wants. He offers both money and Delores, but the answering machine does not want either.

Leon finds out that the answering machine wants fame. So the answering machine agrees to write the mini-series as long as the answering machine gets all the credit for the idea and Leon has to write it.

The next morning, the answering machine forces Leon to get up early in the morning to work on the mini-series. The answering machine dictates the story to Leon.