Sunshine Sketches of a Canadian Town

Other submissions by :
If you want to read their other submissions, please click the links.
A Christian Living in the Post-Apocalyptic Age (Christian, Writing Award 2023)
Screenplay Award Sub-Category
Award Category
Golden Writer
Logline or Premise
The story takes place in the early 20th century in a little Canadian hometown. Dusty lanes and beach fronts, trees buzzing and summer sun. Sunshine Sketches of a Canadian Town captures the sweet breeze and the hazy days of our youth.
First 10 Pages

Based on the novel Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock

A musical

adapted by JAC Laferriere

Personae dramatis

Josh Smith: Hotel proprietor. Very heavy and over dressed. Wide cut coat with a chequered waistcoat. Fedora hat. Tie of saffron and myrtle green. Many rings on fingers. Large gold pocket watch chain.

Tourist 1

Tourist 2

Henry Mulllins: Banker at the Exchange Bank. Conservative: Mullins is a rather short, rather round, smooth-shaven man of less than forty, wearing one of those round banking suits of pepper and salt, with a round banking hat of hard straw, and wears a gold tie-pin and heavy watch-chain.

George Duff: Banker at the Commercial Bank. Liberal: Duff is just as round and just as short, and equally smoothly shaven, also with seals and straw hat.

Judge Philip Pepperleigh: the district judge in Missinaba County. Mutton side-burns.

Eric Mccartney: Lawyer

Zena Pepperleigh: the judge’s daughter.

Peter Pupkin: Junior Teller in the Exchange Bank. Wears a daffodil-yellow blazer with an ostentatious pin and a dapper straw hat.

Reverend Rupert Drone: Elderly Anglican minister dressed with dog collar and black suit.

Alphonse Poutine: Chef at the Hotel, speaks with a french accent. An aristocratic saturnine countenance, with a moustache and imperial demeanor that recalled the late Napoleon III.

Jeff Thorpe: Barber

Pete Glover: Hardware store owner.

Bob Trelawney: the postmaster

Golgotha Gingham: the undertaker. Dressed in black with a black top hat. Sallow cheeks.

Pete Hussell: editor of the Mariposa Newspacket, wearing a blue ribbon on his


Mallory Tompkins: Of the Times-Herald , A "mighty intellectual". Friend of Pupkin.

John Henry Bagshaw: sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for Missinaba County. (Liberal). He has flowing white hair crowned with a fedora hat, and a smooth clean-shaven face. Long coat and boots. Wears a pepper-and-salt suit with a quiet low collar and white tie, broad gold watch-chain with dangling seals, and a horseshoe pin.

Dr Gallagher: Elderly medical doctor. Naps frequently

Christie Johnson; Captain of the Mariposa Belle

Miss Lawson: the high school teacher

Insurance detective 1

Insurance detective 2

Edward (Ned) Pupkin LLB: Peter Pupkin’s father. Senior partner of Pupkin, Pupkin and Pupkin. Wears a long sealskin coat.

Introduction :

The story takes place in the early 20th century in a little Canadian hometown. Dusty lanes and beach fronts, trees buzzing and summer sun. Sunshine Sketches of a Canadian Town captures the sweet breeze and the hazy days of our youth. Every person will recognize their own little town. They will know the people: the friendly restaurateur, the fuming judge, the fool parting with his money, the incompetent religious leader, the bankers with more money than they deserve, the politicians jockeying for status, the young lady with her head in the clouds, and the young man smitten with love and driven to heroic deeds. The setting is familiar: the main street, the church, the hotel, the boat on the lake... Well, perhaps not everyone knows about the boat on the lake. Come listen, then, and I will tell you about the boat on the lake.

Episode 1

Scene i

On the main street of Mariposa, early 20th century. Backdrop shows the church, the barber shop, etc, lake in the distance. Facade of a hotel with tavern doors on stage right.

Enter Smith and tourists from tavern doors.

Tourist 1 : Mr Smith, that was the best white fish and fries I have ever had!

Tourist 2: That’s the only white fish… (gets elbowed by Tourist 1)

Smith: Thankee. We pride ourselves here in Mariposa in hav’n everything they got in the city.

Tourist 2 (slapping a mosquito on the back of his neck) And more!

Tourist 1 (Looking at watch) Look at that. It's 10 o'clock, and the sun is just setting.

Smith: That's right. The days is always longer here. ‘Specially during the summer. It’s another thing we got the big city don't. Say, whe’re you folk from anyway?

Tourist 1: The big city.

Smith: Ah. You should take a lil’ walk ‘round town and enjoy the sights. Down main street here are some of the thickest cedar telephone poles you'll see anywhere, even on Wall Street or Piccadilly. We have two banks, the Commercial and the Exchange. There's Jeff Thorpe's barber shop. At the corner of Missinaba Street is the new Post Office, uh, don’t try to post anything, it ain’t quite runnin’ yet, the Fire Hall, the YMCA and the Mariposa Newspacket. Why, we even got a block with dentists and lawyers with their coats off ready to work at any moment.

Down at the Lakeside Park on the dock of Lake Wissanottti you'll find the SS Mariposa Belle. She'll be sailing on Dominion Day when there’ll be a grand picnic: Uh. Will you folks be staying in town ‘til then?

Tourist 2 . We plan to stay as long as…

Tourist 1: (elbows Tourist2 in the ribs) We haven't made our plans yet, but a picnic out on the lake sounds delightful.

They exit.

Smith: Well, enjoy your walk. If them ‘skeeters is a-buggin you, I’ve got a home-made remedey that’ll fix you up. I call it DEET, for destroys ‘em every time.

Enter Bank managers

Smith: Good evening Mr Mullins. Good evening Mr Duff. It is fine thing to see you bank managers as friendly as cats on fence. It wouldn’t do to have too much competition in th’ banking ind’stry.

Mullins: On the contrary Smith. Banking is a very competitive business. My bank offers the kind of friendly service only found in little towns.

Duff: And my bank offers the kind of friendly service only found in big cities.

Mullins: My bank has no fees for the first 5 transactions of the month.

Duff: And my bank has no fees for the last 5 transactions of the month.

Mullins: So you see…

Duff: … we are as different as Liberals…

Mullins: …and Conservative. As different as.. (swishes the air in front of him) mosquitoes!

Duff: (happens to be looking away)…and, uh, black flies.

All 3 slap their arm, leg and neck to the rhythm of shave and a haircut, two bits.

Smith: And that is why I have an account in both your banks.

Mullins: I say Smith, what have you got for a bedtime nip?

Smith. It's after 10 now. We're closed. (locks doors) Strict city by-law you know.

Duff: Now about that loan inquiry you made.

Smith: But if you come in through the back door, I think I can fix you up. That’ll be whiskey?

They exit.

Enter Judge Pepperleigh and Eric McCartney.

Judge: McCartney, I should like refreshment. What about you?

McCartney: Capital idea Judge! I say. Smith! (McCartney knocks on the hotel door) We’re feeling a bit dry. Have you got anything to drink?

They listen, and hear Smith laughing offstage.

Judge Pepperleigh: Smith! It's me, Judge Pepperleigh. Let me in I say. I'd like a drop of refreshment.

(more laughing)

Judge Pepperleigh: Smith! Either a hotel must be run decently, or quit. It's after hours! I'll revoke your license!

Judge Pepperleigh scribbles a note and pins it on the door.

He storms off. McCartney follows.

Enter Smith, Mullins and Duff laughing.

Duff: That was just dandy Smith. I daresay that was a nice bottle you opened. What is that pinned to the door?

Duff picks off the note.

Duff: It's from Judge Pepperleigh.

Duff hands the note to Smith. Smith looks at it and pretends to read.

He hands it back.

Smith: So it is. Read it to me.

Duff: It says your license has been revoked due to contravention of bylaw AS-15. Serving refreshments after hours.

Smith: They is some fellers even in this town skunks enough to inform. Oh. He wouldn't do that. Why he was here hisself only yes’erday.

Duff: It says you have three months to close down.

Smith: I'll be darned if I close down ‘till I'm ready to close down. Duff, why don't you go and see Pepperleigh and explain...

Duff: Well…I couldn't do that Smith. That… that would implicate me.

Smith: Balderdash! Mulllins. Won't you help me?

Mullins: Help? Your situation, Smith, I’m afraid, is helpless.

They exit.

Smith sings Helpless by Neil Young

Stage darkens; a full moon is on the horizon.

There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked
and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless

Smith: I'll be darned if I close down till I'm ready to close down. I got an idee. You wait and I'll show them. I know what I'll do. I'll build a caff like what they got in the city. I'll build an extension to the Hotel, and make a parking lot fer auto-cars. I'll hire a French Chief to do the cooking and for winter, I'll put in a girl room like what they got in city hotels. I'll serve up the most delicious food at prices so low, it don't matter what it costs; and I’ll get it done. I’ll run for office too! That'll fool 'em!

Episode 1

Scene ii

Judge Pepperleigh at home with his daughter. The room has rich rustic furniture.

Judge Pepperleigh storms into the room, grabs the evening paper, and plonks down into an armchair.

Judge: Almighty Moses! Who left the sprinkler on the grass!

Zena Peperleigh: Hello Daddy.

Judge Peperleigh: Hello Zena. What are you doing up at this hour consuming lamp oil?

Zena: I'm reading the Errant Quest for the Palladin Princess.

Judge: Then I shall read, too, and relieve my mind from the rigorous duties of judicial impartiality.

Zena: It's a wonderful story. About a princess who falls in love with a common stable boy!

Judge: Everlasting Moses! Impossible!

Zena: Why's that Daddy?

Judge: Huh? Because the Liberals have carried East Elgin.

Zena: The princess is kidnapped by evil men.

Judge: At last!

Zena: What do you mean Daddy?

Judge: The Conservatives have carried South Norfolk.

Zena: Then the princess is saved from the evil men by a valiant hero.

Judge: Unlikely!

Zena: Why? Daddy?

Judge: What? Because the Liberals are planning an election. Why, if I weren't officially neutral, I'd indict the entire Liberal party myself!

Zena: I should like to marry a hero.

Judge: (taking notice) What's this you are saying about marriage?

Zena: I was just saying that reading these stories about knights in armour, and chivalry, and ladies fair makes me wish I has been born at a different time.

Judge: I wished you had myself. What I mean to say is: Valour is played out differently in the modern world, my dear. There is no use pining for that which cannot be. It says here in the paper that Dr Drone is giving a talk tomorrow on conservation down at the Royal Order of the Moose Hall. This must be something to do with the Conservative Party. So I suggest you go down there and see what you can learn.

Zena: Would you rather I do that than read, daddy?

Judge: It’s not the reading, dear Zena, it is what you are reading. It’s a fine thing for a young lady to read poetry and plays. But these romantic adventure tales, they concern me.

Zena: Why, daddy?

Judge sings If you could Read my Mind by Gordon Lightfoot.

If you could read my mind, love,

What a tale my thoughts could tell.

Just like an old time movie,

'Bout a ghost from a wishing well.

In a castle dark or a fortress strong,

With chains upon my feet.

You know that ghost is me.

And I will never be set free

As long as I'm a ghost that you can't see.

If I could read your mind, love,

What a tale your thoughts could tell.

Just like a paperback novel,

The kind the drugstores sell.

Then you reached the part where the heartaches come,

The hero would be me.

But heroes often fail,

And you won't read that book again

Because the ending's just too hard to take!

I'd walk away like a movie star

Who gets burned in a three way script.

Enter number two:

A movie queen to play the scene

Of bringing all the good things out in me.

But for now, love, let's be real;

I never thought you would go away

And I've got to say that I just don't get it.

I don't know if it’s right or wrong,

But I feel so strong

And I want to have you back.

If you could read my mind, love,

What a tale my thoughts could tell.

Just like an old time movie,

'Bout a ghost from a wishing well.

In a castle dark or a fortress strong.

With chains upon my feet.

But stories always end,

And if you read between the lines,

You'd know that I'm just tryin' to understand

The feelin's that you’re having.

I never thought I could feel this way

And I've got to say that I just don't get it.

I don't know where I went wrong,

But my baby’s gone;

Should I try to get you back!

lights dim

Episode 1

Scene iii

Bank office with wood panelling. Pupkin sits at a desk working under a dim lamp.

Enter Mullins

Mullins: Ah, Pupkin, I see you are working late. Excellent! Catching up on your ledger?

Pupkin: In a way, sir. I've discovered an inconsistency between the receipts record and the loans record. They both balance, but the numbers don't match above.

Mullins: Very perceptive of you Pupcall.

Pupkin: Pupkin, sir.

Mullins: I know exactly where this comes from and I shall go and see Reverend Drone and rectify it. How much money do you make here, Pupkip?