Heaven is a popular dance hall and drinking establishment.
Screenplay by Alan Nafzger
READ THE SCREENPLAY –> Gruene Hall
Alternate title: The Streets in Heaven are Gruene
An old performer has been playing honky-tonk bars and dance halls (Gruene Hall) his entire life. He had a hit song in the late 1950’s when he was a young man. He has worked hard for success and has truly loved his career. He is without regret; however now he is at an end.
His band asks him, “How long have you been traveling around performing for little money? ” His response, “Since 1954.”
Almost penniless, with no savings, in New Braunfels with his band his last show seems to be at Gruene Hall. There is a dispute with his band. He has forgotten many of the lyrics to the other new songs forced on him by the 20 something band. There has been a certain amount of bullying of the old performer by the young kids in the band. They want a new progressive country but the old performer has something of an establish name in classic country circles. The problem is with each show there are fewer and fewer fans of the classic sound.
The crowd leaves unenthused. The Gruene Hall business manager pays but the band divides the money and we get the impression that it is not much.
The band agrees to disband or head out on their own. They have been living off the old performer’s name, but that seems to have played out.
Drinking heavily, they don’t even bother telling the old man, they just leave in the van.
It is after midnight… a freak snow storm is raging. Very rare for central Texas.
He has a room at the Gruene River Inn. Generally riding with the band, the old man turns down a ride to the hotel. When he walks out into the street the van is gone and the manager has just left in the opposite direction. So, the old performer begins walking toward the hotel. The wind and the freezing rain make the trip awful. The old performer doesn’t reach the inn. He falls in the street. The town is disserted and no one is there to help him.
Driving drunk, six miles down the road the band runs off the road, turn their van over and they are killed.
The old performer wakes up in the location he fell. But it is day… it is a warm bright late afternoon … the dusty old street and buildings now look shiny and new. The performer sees a bench and walks there; he sits and watches the traffic. The performer is disoriented. He sits trying to make sense of what has happened.
It seems that the band’s van is not at the hotel. And it seems like all the traffic is moving in the direction of Gruene Hall. The old performer walks back to the dance hall.
There is a different man taking tickets at the door. The old performer isn’t scheduled to play that evening, but the man at the door smiles, gestures in respect and lets him in.
Marylyn Monroe gets out of a black limousine waves and some photographer, shows her ticket and walks in. The photographers regard the opportunity as a once in a life time event.
Elvis Presley arrives in his Cadillac; he parks it himself and he shows his ticket and speaks to a young girl in line. The girl faints. She has an incredible smile on her face when she is revived.
There is a mysterious white horse tied outside to a hitching post. The horse is such a fine specimen, many people, entering the hall, stop to admire it.
Once inside the hall, the old performer meets and visits with several notable characters.
- Robert E. Lee
- Louis Armstrong
- Dale Earnhardt
- Janis Joplin
- Lane Frost
Lyndon Baines Johnson is there at the hall, shaking hands and working votes.
Mark Twain is the bar tender, listening of course, but also telling stories.
The several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd are drinking at the bar — Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines.
Patsy Cline is at a quiet table with Charlie Dick. She remarks that she has the night off and wants to enjoy the show.
Ken Curtis (Festus) is an off-duty sheriff’s deputy moonlighting as security at the hall.
The old performer speaks with everyone and nothing is out of place… no one mentions death or heaven. Everything is very cordial.
George Jones takes and stage.
Hank Williams Sr. plays.
Bob Wills and his band seems to be the headline band as the crowd seems to reach its peak of excitement.
However, just as the Texas Playboys are wrapping up the night, one of the employees approached the old performer. The stage manager has been looking for the old performer. He tells the performer that he is “next” and asks if he needs anything.
The old performer says that his band has run off and he can’t play.
The stage manager corrects him and points to them. His band (seemingly repentant) are waiting in the wings of the stage. It now appears that the headline act will be the performer.
The Gruene Hall CREDITS ROLL.
If the audience will remain in the theater past the credits they will learn the entire story.
It is night again on Gruene Road, we see the old performer’s band pull up. They were not killed in an automobile accident. The young men have had a change of heart and return to help the performer back to the hotel. He is half frozen but alive. The events of the movie have been the performer’s dream or perhaps this was a near death experience.
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