Thank You, You're Beautiful

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Thank You, You're Beautiful[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Laura Esterman, Harvey Sachs, Joe Frank
Scripted Actors, Absurd Monologue, Sound Effects, 58 minutes
Preceded by: At The Border
Followed by: To The Bar Life

"Hold on a second I just have to get a cigarette."

Thank You, You're Beautiful is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1987.


It begins with an angry voicemail message left by a jilted lover (Laura Estermann).[1]

6:20: Joe thanks the audience, tells them they're beautiful.

7:00: Joe tells about his father, the famous surgeon, who blamed his patients when they died under his care, sued them for undermining his practice. After a distraught husband of a patient who died killed him Joe searched for his murderer for so long he forgot what he was searching for.

9:20: Joe's in a railroad station, tries to buy a ticket to Denver; after an absurd exchange he drives. Many absurd events follow.

16:50: Jilted lover (JL) is back, remembers going to a bar where a woman was playing piano; the pianist tells JL about how Joe treated her.

25: Joe tells about rich man who died, his body was taken to Darjeeling to be burnt, but rains put the fire out, then the man revived.

25:40: Joe tells of being the king of Kabala (sp?) whose power correlates with the phases of the moon.

27:40: Joe tells us that everybody loves him…

29:30: The Roman army of Aelius Gallus lost its way in north Africa, miguided by his Nabatean guide, eventually made war on an inland sea.[2]

30:40: Joe visits Monte Carmel (sp?) monastery, torched during the revolution.

31:50: Joe saw a new play at the Hollywood Bowl, all scenes based on the Bible, all the actors dressed as concentration camp prisoners.

32:50: Someday we'll discover that our real mission on Earth is to host microbes.

33:50: Guy with south Asian accent sings. 'What the world needs now'.[3]

36:20: Joe was an actor performing in a play, stole an apple on the way to the theatre, couldn't remember his lines.

37: The truth about a person is what he or she hides…

37:30: Joe's uncle is trying to get into his home, physician has just helped his wife deliver twins.

38: Child's sense of time is different.

39: Repeat of 27:40

41:20: Joe went to concert, had invalid ticket.

41:40: Dutchman who fought in Indochina contracted tropical disease, saw people as skeletons.

42:10: Joe thinks about all his right hand does for him.

42:50: 'A blind power could not create an amoeba…' Joe argues for Creationism.

45: Joe drives across the country, finds things the same everywhere.

45:50: Joe loves the morning fog…

46: In 1900, remains of ancient civilization of Crete were found.[4]

47:20: Joe has dream in which he understands everything, forgets when he wakes up.

48:30: JL back again, remembering after when they went out to that Spanish place, tells him what a bad lover and companion he is, how much better lovers others are.

54:00: Joe narrates aggressive, rude driving.

Legacy Synopsis

An ex leaves a long answering machine message combining angry accusations with a desperate party invitation. Joe addresses cheering crowds. Discordant monologue against cello music: Joe's father is a famous physician who sues patients who die under his care. Joe hunts his father's killer. A church in honor of evolution. Honking at an apartment building. A hunchback in a hotel. Newspaper stories: anatomists being killed, recording the voices of the dead. Driving in the country. Forbidden math. Police raids disguised as paramedics. Meeting a ghost in a cemetery while dressed as a nun wearing an alarm clock. A rich man thought dead awakens, loses his memory and joins a religious sect. Joe is a king whose power is linked to the phases of the moon. Joe addresses a crowd: "I'm not a liar and I'm not a jerk." A roman army attacks the sea. A factory, owner who only discusses aesthetics. Scenes from the bible portrayed by actors dressed as concentration camp victims. Our reason for existence is to nurse parasites. "What the world needs now," sung in an exaggerated Indian accent. An actor survives dramatic events on the way to a play which he knows nothing about. A human being is a pile of secrets. Going to a concert and finding that your ticket is just an advertisement. A Dutchman who sees people's skeletons. All the things my right hand does for me. The earth was created all at once. Discovering the ruins of Los Angeles. Discovering the meaning of existence and forgetting it. Yelling at drivers with road noise in the background.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "With Laura Esterman, Harvey Sachs, and Joe Frank. Recorded by Jack Cheeseborough and mixed by Tom Strother."


The voicemail message was later put together to make up much of the last half of 'Clement at Christmas'; some of it also appears in 'Waiting for the Bell'.


I see no unifying theme in this show. Arthur Peabody (talk) 04:20, 17 November 2023 (PST)


  1. To gather material, Mr. Frank says he often pays people he meets socially to tell him true stories from their lives. He asked an actress if she ever had been Involved with someone she now despised. She had. So he told her to "imagine he's on the phone and go over the relationship."

    In the resulting tape, entitled "Thank You, You're Beautiful," the woman berates her former lover for being shallow, selfish and vain. "You deserve everything that's coming to you and you're going to get it. Certainly from me," she says. It's like overhearing a woman breaking up with her boyfriend while you're waiting to use a pay phone. It's not Tennessee Williams - but it's hard not to listen.

    The woman's monologue is interrupted at various points by Mr. Frank saying, "Thank you, you're beautiful, " a phrase that is followed by the sound of a crowd cheering. Mr. Frank also interjects absurdist phrases such as, "I'm sitting in a café in Paris, revolted by the roots of a chestnut tree," a reference to the novel Nausea by the late French author Jean-Paul Sartre.

    from 'Radio's Prince of Darkness Rules the Freeways'

  2. According to Wikipedia Aelius Gallus was Roman prefect of Egypt 26-24 BCE, undertook an expedition to Arabia (not north Africa), did lose.
  3. 'WHEN FRANK returns to the studio, the actor, Harvey Sachs, is waiting.

    '"You're not what I thought you'd look like," says Sachs, a muscular man with an intense smile.

    'Frank steps back. "What did you expect?"

    '"Someone taller, with sunken eyes, and 10 years younger."

    'Frank lowers his gaze; he's 48. The age nerve seems to be a touchy one.

    'Because Sachs does a convincing East Indian accent, Frank asks him to sing "What the World Needs Now" in the accent.

    'Sachs happily agrees.

    'Frank says: "I want you to talk some of this. We don't need another Caruso." He leaves Sachs in the performance studio and moves to the control booth.

    'From the booth he can see into three other studios. In one of them, KCRW's assistant musical director, Ariana Morgenstern, a young woman with a helmet of short dark hair, a Romanesque profile and graceful, pale arms, is eating green grapes. For the past year and a half, she and Frank have been steady companions. But today, at work, they give no indication that they're aware of each other.

    'Frank cues up the syrupy music. "Don't be nervous," he calls to Sachs. "This is radio. You cannot fail because we can always tape it again."

    'Five takes later, Frank sits on the floor facing the monitor, head cocked like the RCA dog. "It's not working," he says. He lies flat on the carpet, lacing his fingers and resting them on the top of his head. He closes his eyes. "He's gotta talk it." And although Sachs hasn't heard him, the actor suddenly says, "Lord…" in the tone of voice of a man chastising a grandfather who's brought his grandchildren 200 Twinkies, "… we don't need another mountain." Frank sits up. "This is good." He laughs and calls a lunch break. Sachs and Frank return to the big table in the performance studio bearing take-out boxes of marinated vegetables, tofu and tuna. Sachs sits down; Frank purposefully walks to the opposite end of the table, clears it, and takes a seat 12 feet away.'

    from 'Radio Noir : On the Air, a Voice Like Dirty Honey Tells Stories Grim as Nightmares. If You Think Radio Is All Top 40, You Haven't Heard Joe Frank.'

  4. Knossos was discovered in 1878, first excavated in 1900.