Betty Lou is your public, all wrapped up with yellow ribbons into one cute little package. She's the logical culmination of the great 20th-centure love affair between Lonesome Rhodes and his mass audience.
They love his voice, they love his guitar, they love his ideas... they should know some of his ideas.
[about the writers] Here you see the lepers of the great television industry. Men without faces. Why, they even slide our paychecks under the door so they can pretend we're not here.
[about TV] You gotta be a saint to stand all the power that little box can give you.
Didn't you know? All mild men are vicious. They hate themselves for being mild, and they hate the windy extroverts whose violence seems to have a strange attraction for nice girls. You should know better.
[about Lonesome Rhodes] I'll say one thing for him, he's got the courage of his ignorance.
Marcia Jeffries: You put your whole self into that laugh, don't you?
Lonesome Rhodes: Marcia, I put my whole self into everything I do.
Marcia Jeffries: You always drink like that?
Lonesome Rhodes: Not always. Back in Riddle they was pretty strict. Didn't allow us to touch hard liquor till we was 10 or 11.
Marcia Jeffries: Now is there really a town called Riddle?
Lonesome Rhodes: Well, tell you the flat truth, it's just a sort of a whatchacallit, a...
Marcia Jeffries: ...Composite?
Lonesome Rhodes: Compost heap's more like it.
Lonesome Rhodes: This whole country's just like my flock of sheep!
Marcia Jeffries: Sheep?
Lonesome Rhodes: Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers - everybody that's got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. They don't know it yet, but they're all gonna be 'Fighters for Fuller'. They're mine! I own 'em! They think like I do. Only they're even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for 'em. Marcia, you just wait and see. I'm gonna be the power behind the president - and you'll be the power behind me!
First Mrs. Rhodes: Larry... he thinks he has to take a bite out of every broad he comes across. Then he calls them a tramp, drops them, and there's all sort of psycho something-or-other, you know. I caught him red-handed with my best girlfriend. He broke my jaw.
Marcia Jeffries: It seems to be working quite effectively now.
Actor on Rhodes' show: [about Senator Fuller] You really sell that stiff as a man among men?
Lonesome Rhodes: [thinking his microphone is off] Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure, I got 'em like this... You know what the public's like? A cage of Guinea Pigs. Good Night you stupid idiots. Good Night, you miserable slobs. They're a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they'll flap their flippers.
Lonesome Rhodes: Listen, I'm not through yet. You know what's gonna to happen to me?
Mel Miller: Suppose I tell you exactly what's gonna happen to you. You're gonna be back in television. Only it won't be quite the same as it was before. There'll be a reasonable cooling-off period and then somebody will say: "Why don't we try him again in a inexpensive format. People's memories aren't too long." And you know, in a way, he'll be right. Some of the people will forget, and some of them won't. Oh, you'll have a show. Maybe not the best hour or, you know, top 10. Maybe not even in the top 35. But you'll have a show. It just won't be quite the same as it was before. Then a couple of new fellas will come along. And pretty soon, a lot of your fans will be flocking around them. And then one day, somebody'll ask: "Whatever happened to, a, whatshisname? You know, the one who was so big. The number-one fella a couple of years ago. He was famous. How can we forget a name like that? Oh by the way, have you seen, a, Barry Mills? I think he's the greatest thing since Will Rogers."