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Episode 112: The Power of Music

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The Ghost of Faffner Hall
Air Date November 27, 1989
Written by Jocelyn Stevenson and Patrick Barlow
Director Tony Kysh
GOFH12
GOFH012b
TheGamelan
GOFHLosLobos
TheComoStringQuartet

Farkas Faffner is suffering not only from a nasty cold, but also from hearing Mimi and two fish (one a Gills Brother, the other the Fish Singer) practicing a melancholy-sounding instrumental composition. Fughetta sobs over this sad music, saying it won't be proper for Mr. Bartlebaign's 93rd birthday celebration. Mimi and the fish try something a little more uplifting, in order to drive the complaining Farkas away. "Oh, the power of music!" Mimi exclaims.

Farkas believes living in a haunted house has made him sick, but he doesn't know what to do about it. Suddenly, in walks Madame Mumu, who startles Farkas because he didn't hear the doorbell ring. She claims she tried ringing the doorbell, but nothing happened. At that point, a lizard moans about the doorbell not working, tells Mumu to go outside, then heads over to another room, where he alerts a dozing group of musicians (a Gamelan ensamble) that someone's at the door. The group then makes an elaborate doorbell noise with their wooden xylophones, so that Mumu can make a proper entrance. She introduces herself to Farkas as a ghost exterminator, which piques his interest. Mimi and the two fish spot Farkas again, and try to cheer him up with another bouncy piece of music. Mumu dances merrily to the tune, but Farkas shouts at them to leave. He then states to Mumu that he will hire her on two conditions: 1) She must get rid of the ghost of Faffner Hall, and 2) She must assure Farkas that she herself hates music. The malleable Mumu finds these rules easy to abide by: "Music has no power on me whatsoever!" After Farkas hired Mumu, the two tried to find Farkas Faffner. Farkas told Mumu to follow him and walk this way.

Mumu summons the ghost, and upon learning that this ghost has a name, concludes that it will be difficult to get rid of her, because "names have power." She tries chanting the name, but Fughetta, who overhears it, is driven away, which upsets Farkas, but he is also upset because the chant sounds like m ... mmmmmusic! Just then, the Gamelan doorbell rings again, and Farkas goes to see who it is. Finding it hard to keep the promise she made to Farkas, Mumu follows her ears to the sounds of Los Lobos playing in another room. Before long, they stop playing, because lead singer Cesar Rosas finds it hard to adjust to the upbeat mood of the music since his girlfriend recently left him. With help from the band, he uses music to express his emotions over his loss: first sadness ("Estoy Sentado Aqui"), then anger, then forgiveness. Said music also invokes the emotions of Mumu, who herself lost a lover recently. Farkas catches her off-guard and sets her back on the hunt for Fughetta.

Mumu overhears the voice of Fughetta (who reports the doctor's diagnosis of just a little cold), and mistakes The Wild Impresario for a spook. Wild and Farkas call each other names and storm off in a huff. Wild expresses his disdain for Farkas to Riff and Fughetta. Fughetta repeats the "sticks and stones" motto, but Riff begs to differ: "Names are sounds, and sounds have a lot of power." This reminds Wild of a restaurant he and "the woman of his dreams" recently dined at, which "lets you choose your own soundscape depending on how you feel" - courtesy of The Como String Quartet, whose musical repertoire ranges from bouncy, to exotic, to hoedown. Now Riff knows where to take Mr. Bartlebaign for his birthday!

Suddenly, Mumu shows up, filled with "hatred" towards music, and proceeds to get rid of Fughetta with her chant, which seems to be working, until the almost vanished Fughetta quickly stops time in order to seek help from the busts of Beethoven, Mozart and Handel. The busts advise her to "Fight fire with fire - or sound with sound." After un-freezing time, she follows the advice by turning the chanting into music, with the help of her own voice, as well as some flute-birds. Everyone in the Hall (except Farkas) contributes to the melody until it grows epic enough not only to help Fughetta re-materialize, but also to cure Farkas of his illness ... much to his dismay.

Credits

Main Characters

Riff, Fughetta Faffner, Farkas Faffner, Mimi, The Wild Impresario, Faffner Hall Composer Busts

Background Characters

Fish Singer, Gills Brother, Lizard, Birds


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Music Brings Us Together Anyone Can Make Music

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