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Air For Sale

skit with Ernie (Jim Henson),
Lefty the Salesman, and Bert (both Frank Oz)


[Ernie, standing behind a brick wall, is blowing on a harmonica.
Lefty the Salesman, unnoticed by Ernie, sneaks onscreen with his usual theme music.
Looking cautiously around him, he comes up to Ernieís side.]

Lefty [in a low voice]: Hey, bud.

Ernie: Who, me?

Lefty: SHHHHHH!

Ernie [whispering]: Who, me?

Lefty: Riiiiiiiight! Listen. I got something you need.

[Holds out an empty glass bottle.]

Ernie: Oh, youíre wrong. I donít need a bottle.

Lefty: Iím not selliní the bottle. Iím selliní whatís in the bottle.

Ernie: Well, whatís in the bottle?

Lefty [in a lower voice, after glancing around him]: Air.

Ernie: Air?

Lefty: SHHHHHH!

Ernie [whispering]: Air?

Lefty: Riiiiiiiight!

Ernie: Well, why do I need air?

[I think thereís a conversation at this point about breathing.]

Lefty: How do ya get music out of that harmonica?

Ernie: I blow air into it!

Lefty: SHHHHHH!

Ernie [whispering]: I blow air into it.

Lefty: Riiiiiiiight!

[Another forgotten line?]

Lefty [looking at the ground]: Hey, pick that up.

[Ernie picks up an uninflated balloon.]

Lefty: Now, you take this little bottle of air and you put it into one of those, and what do ya got?

Ernie: A balloon!

Lefty: SHHHHHH!

Ernie [whispering]: A balloon.

Lefty: Riiiiiiiight! So ya see, with this little bottle of air, you can breathe. You can make music.
You can blow up a balloon. And I am prepared to sell you all the air in this bottle for the low price of just ...

[leans closer and whispers]

... one nickel.

Ernie [excitedly]: One nickel?

Lefty: SHHHHHH!

Ernie [whispering]: One nickel?

Lefty: Riiiiiiiight!

Ernie: Okay, Iíll take it. Hereís a nickel.

Lefty [opening his trench coat]: Just put it right in the olí coat, there.

[Ernie presumably slips the nickel into an inner pocket. Lefty closes his coat.]

Lefty: Okay. Now, hold out your hands.

Ernie: Why?

Lefty: Why? Soís I can pour the air into Ďem!

Ernie: Well, canít we just leave it in the bottle?

Lefty: I told ya, Iím not selliní the bottle!

Ernie: Oh, right, right. I forgot.

Lefty: Iím selliní the air. Now, just hold out your hands.

[Ernie cups them and holds them out to Lefty, who tips the bottle down toward them.]

Lefty: Okay, there it goes ...

Ernie [after a short pause]: Wow, thatís a lot of air for just five cents.

Lefty: Well, do ya think Iíd cheat ya? Whoops, someís spilling. Careful, now. Okay, there you go.

[He tips the bottle back up.]

Ernie: Oh, thank you!

Lefty: Now, you enjoy your air.

Ernie: Oh! Well, you enjoy your nickel.

Lefty: Oh, indeedy I will.

[He looks cautiously around him and then goes away, chuckling.]

Ernie [staring happily at his cupped hands]: Oh, boy, I gotta show this to Bert.

[More lines? He sees Bert in the distance and waves to him.]

Hey, Bert! Come here, Bert, I got something to show you ... Oh ... oh, no! I dropped my air!

Bert [coming over]: You dropped your what?

Ernie [frantically searching around]: I dropped my air!

[Bursts into tears.]

Bert: Well, come on, Ernie. If you had something to show me, you couldnít have lost it right away.
It couldnít have just vanished into thin air.

Ernie [sobbing]: Oh, yes, it could, Bert! It could!

[He cries loudly while Bert looks on in utter confusion.]

Transcribed by Silvery Shoe