BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm the dignified news anchor with an irresistible bass line. That's right. I'm Dan SaBill (ph), Bill Kurtis. And here's your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thank you, everybody.
SAGAL: So 2017 is coming to an end. And it is amazing to think, just a year ago, we were all thinking, well, 2017 is going to be better than 2016, right? Well, it was, really, if you just focus on things that happened on this show.
KURTIS: The year started on a high note when Peter left us for a week. And we managed to find some guy to fill in.
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TOM HANKS: Thank you, everybody. I'm Tom Hanks, and it is great to be hosting WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME - in for Peter Sagal. Now, you may wonder, Tom, why host this show? People like my wife and kids, my crack staff of showbiz representatives, anyone with a stake in my career are wondering, what the hell is happening here?
HANKS: And the answer is really quite simple, folks. When NPR calls in dire straits, in need of a man who is not a hero but plays one in the movies...
HANKS: ...You gravely mutter, I'm on my way.
HANKS: Religion, Faith.
FAITH SALIE: Yes.
HANKS: How about that? Faith, Faith, is a vital part of many people's lives, so we're sure a Brazilian grandmother was heartbroken to discover that the statue of St. Anthony she had been praying to every day was actually what?
SALIE: Was it - maybe you can help me by telling me - was it a tiny, little, sort of action figure-sized statue?
HANKS: Oh, ding, ding, ding.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
HANKS: Thank you.
SALIE: Please tell me it was Woody from "Toy Story."
HANKS: Oh, wouldn't that be great?
HANKS: It was an action figure, but specifically, it was a "Lord Of The Rings" action figure.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Oh, wow.
HANKS: See, evidently, Nana Brandao had been kneeling before the figurine for years before her granddaughter pointed out that she wasn't directing her prayers to St. Anthony but to Lord Elrond...
HANKS: ...The higher elf of Rivendell, performed by my good friend Hugo Weaving in the "Lord Of The Rings" movies. And that explains why, whenever it seemed like her prayers were coming to a natural end, Brandao felt compelled to make them last another 45 minutes.
HANKS: Brandao's granddaughter, who wrote about the mix-up in a Facebook post, said that after realizing the mistake, her nana quickly replaced the action figure with the real St. Anthony and, for forgiveness, said six hail Barbies and prayed the Lord's Prayer, beginning with, our Father, who R2-D2. And thank you, Peter Sagal, for phoning that one in.
LUKE BURBANK: Wait a sec. Wait a sec. So even though he's currently off, is he ghost writing this show for you, Hanks?
HANKS: No, what happened was this was just written in such cadence that I heard the man's spirit over my shoulder as I read it for the first time.
BURBANK: Oh (laughter).
HANKS: So - and by the way, Luke, don't step on my applause again, young man.
POUNDSTONE: He never would've done that to Peter.
HANKS: Because I...
POUNDSTONE: Peter wouldn't stand for that.
HANKS: Whoa. Whoa. Oh.
(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.