::Outside the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the spotlights tell of another great Golden Acorn awards ceremony. The marquee reads “Golden Acorn Awards Tonight”. Stan Blather is standing outside the main entrance as guests walk up the long awning-covered walk with the classy red carpet to make it special::

Stan: This is Stan Blather, and welcome to the third annual Golden Acorn awards. This night has come to showcase the legends of Ranger fans, as well as celebrate a great show. We’re live outside the great Opera House, watching as people from all over the world come to find out who will win the Golden Acorns this year. Inside the Met, we have Katie Courier standing by with the ceremony’s organizer. Katie?


<img src="http://howlinbob.bravepages.com/GoldenAcorn1/Stage01a600png.png">


::The scene switches to the interior of the Met, where people are already entering, dressed in their best. Katie, herself dressed in a sparkling red evening dress, is standing next to Dr. Indy, dressed in his usual fedora and jacket::


Katie: We’re talking here with Dr. Indy, who resurrected the awards program in 2002. What keeps you coming back to bring these awards together?


Dr. Indy: It’s the people, Katie. No doubt about it. The Rangerphiles are the best group of people around, and I’m just glad to be one of them.


Katie: Stan, the crowd’s gathering so I’m going to go ahead and get situated before the ceremony starts. Back to you.


::The scene shows Stan Blather again, now with Gadget next to him. She’s in a dark purple evening dress with matching goggles::

Stan: We’re here with one of the Rescue Rangers, Gadget Hackwrench. What does this ceremony mean to you?


Gadget: Oh golly! Well, there’s so many things. I’m just glad that they’re doing it, since Disney’s taken our show off the air in America.


::A chorus of boos hangs in the air behind them::


Gadget: But I’m sure we’ll be back on soon!


::Cheers follow that statement::


Gadget: And it’s great that there’s so many fans of ours, and that we get to meet with them every year!


Stan: So true. Thanks for your time, and enjoy the show.


::Gadget walks off, surrounded by a legion of fanboys wanting her autograph, as well as her personal bodyguards::


Stan: That’s it for the pre-ceremony report. When we come back, we’ll join the action in progress. From the third Golden Acorn awards, this is Stan Blather reporting.



::The big city was supposed to be scary and difficult, but the past few days of Gertie's trip seemed to have gone her way without a hitch. First, one of the housecats at the Happy Camper's Backwoods Convenience Store had told her of an awards ceremony called "The Golden Acorn" and Gertie had decided then and there to attend. From that moment it had been as though fate had set her on rails and given her an enthusiastic shove.

Who'd have thought a badger could successfully hitch-hike across the country, for instance? Or find a job immediately, on the catering crew serving that very awards ceremony? It was beyond amazing. It never occurred to her that being large, powerfully built, intelligent, friendly, an excellent cook, and able to out-chatter a flock of magpies probably had something to do with it.

In any case, here she was in the catering truck, and they were pulling up to the service entrance for the Golden Acorn Awards!

"Life jes' don' get much better than this, Frank," she happily announced.

Frank, the driver, just grunted. Nice guy, but not much for conversation.


::As the cars begin to congregate outside, delivering their passengers for the big awards bash, five felines turn the corner and start their walk up the red carpeting. Fat Cat leads the way, along with his wife Chubbi and his two sons Husky and Portly. The fifth cat is in an early 70's gaudy Elvis costume, complete with fake wig and wraparound sunglasses. Amazingly enough, he seems comfortable being seen this way, but Fat Cat has another opinion::


Fat Cat: I never thought you could look more ridiculous than you already do, but once again you've proven me wrong.


Mepps: Don't talk that way, man.  This is more than just a look. It's a personality, a role I was born to play.


Husky: Yeah, dad! I think he's cool!


Chubbi: And such a wonderful wardrobe. You'll be turning heads tonight, Mepps.


::As they walk in, a bunch of young girls gasp and point at Mepps. He knows what to do, striking a bold Elvis pose, and the girls scream uncontrollably. Fat Cat for his part is amazed, and his boys clap in approval. Soon Mepps is surrounded by girls, heading through the theater's lobby. The Rangers are out there at the moment, posing for publicity photos with the various Rangerphiles who have come from all around the world::


Dale sees Mepps and points, excited::


Dale: Hey, look! It's the King! Come on over, so I can get a picture with ya!


::Mepps comes over and takes up an Elvis pose::


Mepps: You can count on that, man. The King always has time for the Rescue Rangers.


::Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the throngs in the lobby below, a small group of animal has taken up residence in the mezzanine balcony. One is the spitting image of Fat Cat, only his voice is different. At his right hand is a rat wearing an artist's hat and smock::


Maltese de Sade: <i>Finalement</i>, I can gain my revenge on the Rescue Rangers for destroying my plan <i>diabolique</i>! Ratatouille, do you have the ball bearing ready? We will as the Americans say "gum up the works"!


::Ratatouille holds up what looked like a steel marble::


Ratatouille: Oh monsieur, this sort of act is beneath my station! I am an artist of the first order, and I have been reduced to...to ball-bearing dropper!


::Then from a rafter above them a rat wearing dark glasses, a black beret and a loose-fitting shirt speaks::


Bohemian: Yes, what is order in terms of the flagella of the universe? It is a squared-shaped chaos that tries to fit itself into the round holes of reason!


Ratatouille: I wish that rat would quit following us…


Maltese: Nevermind him, aim and drop the ball bearing! When it lands on the Ranger Dale's head, he will become Ram-Dale once again and create the distraction we need to steal the most coveted of Golden Acorn awards, the Lifetime Achievement award! The gold in it alone is enough to finance my criminal empire for a year!


::Ratatouille aims and lets the ball fly. The ball bearing careens downward, plonking Dale right on the head. He falls to the floor instantly, a small crowd gathering around to see what was the matter::


Chip: Hey! Where'd that ball bearing come from?


::The Rangers look up, but from their vantage they can see nothing::


Chip: Check on it, Zipper.


Gadget: Dale! Are you all right?


::Dale slowly comes to, looking first at Mepps in his unique outfit. Then he smiles as he turns his attention to Gadget::


Dale:  Why am I lyin' on the ground, pretty momma?


::Gadget blinks, confused::


Gadget: Well, I am pretty I suppose, but I'm not your momma. That would involve a pretty severe alteration of the genetic code, and even with the things we've seen from Nimnul's modemizer and metamorphicizer I really doubt that you could've been my progeny.


::Dale notices Mepps standing there and immediately gets onto his feet::


Dale:  Hey, man, why are you tryin' ta copy me?  No one out King's the King.


::From somewhere, Dale produces a pair of cool shades of his own::


Dale: I really could go for a peanut-butter and banana sandwich right now.


::Mepps for his part takes it well::


Mepps: I just like dressing up fancy and all. Uh, it is all right if we hang out?

Dale:  I suppose we Kings need to stick together. Look out, ladies, the King is back!


::Now it’s Dale's turn to strike a pose. He curls his lip, gives an "uh huh", and the girls all scream—including Gadget::


Gadget: Golly, what came over me?


Mepps: It's the Magical Elvis Powers (TM). The King knows how to wow the ladies.


Gadget: Oh, good. I was concerned for a moment that I'd developed some sort of involuntary reaction syndrome.


::Mepps and Dale keep on hamming it up for the crowd, and the onlookers in the mezzanine are not happy at all::


Maltese: What is this? The Ranger Dale is not becoming Ram-Dale, but Elvis-Dale! <i>C'est impossible</i>!


Ratatouille: Well, he does have the Elvis poses down.


::Maltese shakes his fists in frustration::


Maltese: But he was supposed to be pillaging the theater! He was--


Ratatouille: Boss wait, look.


::They look and see the Rangers and several of the Rangerphiles following Dale and Mepps around. The Rangers appear worried and are talking among themselves. A smile cracks on Maltese's face::


Maltese: So, the distraction, it has come after all, eh? <i>Quel dommage</i> for the Rangers and their fans, for I, the Maltese de Sade, will use this new distraction to bring off my new plan <i>diabolique</i>!


::Maltese and his lot laugh meaningfully as the two-minute warning signal brings them back into the theater to watch the night's events::