Saturday, January 29, 2011


"C" is for "Charlie"
Charlie Chaplin, that is.

If you were around in the year 1915 – and it’s possible you weren’t :-) -- you would have been very familiar with a young guy named Charles Spencer Chaplin.
Because if you went to the motion pictures at all at that time, and just about everyone did, you would have been aware that the young guy wasn’t just a big movie star, he was gigantic – his films were known throughout the world.
In those early days, when you planked down your hard-earned fifteen cents to see a film you may have felt you were taking a risk, because motion pictures were still a fairly recent invention and a lot of the available "flicks" were amateurish and boring. But with Charlie Chaplin you knew you were safe; you were about to be entertained by a master.

(He was the little tramp known as “Charlie” to most folks, but he was “Charlot” in France and “Carlitos” in Latin America.)
It’s worth adding that very few world-famous motion picture celebrities ever started out as low on life’s ladder as young Charles Spencer did.
His father, who had little to do with him, was an alcoholic who died of cirrhosis when Charlie was twelve; his mentally unstable mother was in an asylum. So the boy was raised literally in a London poorhouse.
But it’s obvious that he was a natural performer. At the age of eleven he wound up with a children’s theatrical troupe called “The Eight Lancashire Lads.”
For those vaudeville companies, you had to be able to sing, dance, act, do comedy and acrobatics and even pretend to be a Lancashire lad, along with anything else that might be needed.
Later Charlie graduated to another kid group, the Karno Company, and actually got to visit the U S; his roommate with the troupe was another young fellow, one Arthur Stanley Jefferson, later to become fairly well known as Stan Laurel.
Charlie’s act was caught by Mack Sennett of the Keystone Company, the Grand Panjandrum of movie comedy, and young Charlot found himself trying to adjust to the strange demands of the celluloid medium. It took a while, but soon the short films he made were a huge success – he became bigger than the Keystone Cops.

He created a character, the little tramp, who rapidly became world-famous. To audiences everywhere, the poor guy lived in abject poverty; they never got to see Charlie’s real home, a magnificent Southern California mansion.

For a full quarter-century, he specialized in illusion, turning out wagon-loads of movies, ranging from easily-forgotten slapstick stuff to a number of what many regard as among the best motion pictures ever made
As a person who made his living in the field of film production, I’ve always been fascinated by the way C. Chaplin worked. Once he had achieved his fabulous degree of success, he became king of the hill; as a writer-producer-director he could do whatever he wanted to do, work any way he liked, and he did. He was in a position to ignore financial problems and time constraints.

There’s an old saying: tragedy is easy, comedy is hard. It was hard for Chaplin, too. Watching him on the screen, he seems to create all the funny stuff with little effort. But there’s a fascinating documentary, “The Unknown Chaplin,” that reveals the secret of just what he went through when he created a motion picture.
His usual method was to start out with just an idea, a theme: “Charlie works in a pawn shop,” or some such thing, and then he’d improvise.
He begins without a script – there’s no executive producer to approve or reject it – and he starts production by having sets built and by hiring a large number of actors, sometimes as many as a hundred, and of course a large technical crew.
Chaplin then sets to work, which for him means he sits thinking. He may spend hours doing this. Some times a day will go by before he has worked out a suitable plot in his mind for a scene, complete with all the accompanying “business.”
The actors love this. They get hired and paid for doing nothing but play cards, talk sports with each other, and have a free lunch. And if they don’t get anything done today, that’s all to the good; they’ll be hired back tomorrow for another day’s “work.”
From time to time Charlie will assemble everyone and try out a scene to see if his latest idea will work. Then he’ll do it again. And again. He is known to have actually done a hundred different takes of a scene before he has one he feels is right.
No other writer-producer-director, as far as I know, ever worked like this.
If you’ve never seen “Modern Times” or “City Lights” or a couple of the other great ones, you should check them out. You’ll be seeing the work of one of the most remarkable film geniuses who ever lived.

(Also submitted to "Writer's Island" and "Sunday Scribblings")

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Magpie 50

Life in New England, January, 2011
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind makes moan.
Earth stands hard as iron,
Water like a stone.
Snow has fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow.
In the bleak mid-winter
Snow is all we know.
(With my apologies to Christina Rossetti)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


“B” is for “Bush.”

As you know, the word “Bush” has a number of meanings. For one thing, it’s the last name of a recent American president, George W, of happy memory – or perhaps not so happy, depending on your politics. :-)

It’s also a sort of woody plant that has a thick clump of branches, among other definitions – and we may get some ribald ones in the comments column. :-)
I came upon the word used in an odd way in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”
The beautiful Rosalind, the star of the play, comes on stage at the end of the performance and gives a little “thank you” speech to the audience, during which she uses the phrase “A good wine needs no bush.”
I had to look that up. Turns out, Rosalind is making a comment about what we today call marketing.
Basically she’s saying, if you’ve got a product of good quality you don’t have to do a lot of promotion and advertising.

You see, in Shakespeare’s day wineshops would often have a branch of grapevine – Rosalind refers to it as a “bush” – hanging on the front door (the branch would usually be without the grapes), a way of letting the world know you can get wine there.
Her point is, if you sell great wine you won’t need the bush.

Of course, the really huge drink then was ale: everybody, including kids getting ready for school, drank ale – the water was dangerous. But wine was big for Elizabethans too. The famous Shakespearean comic character Falstaff practically lived on “sack,” a white wine.
“Sack,” in fack – er, in fact – was simply the French word “sec” (dry) translated into Elizabethan English.

Rosalind, of “As You Like It,” by the way, was one of Will Shakespeare’s most successful creations. She’s beautiful, intelligent, witty, charming – what more could you ask for?
Pass the wine please, I’m bushed. :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

For Writer's Island (and "Eternity")

Victor: I’ve told you before, I don’t like doing this.
Mike: I know, but this is something special. I really need your help. An expert like you can tell me if this thing is worth real money. If so, well, there’s a big chunk of dough in it for you.
Victor: All right, let me have a look at it.

Mike: There. What do you think? Somethin’, isn’t it? Go ahead, take your time, no hurry. Look it over good.
Victor: I don’t need to look it over. I can say with perfect clarity that I know exactly what it is.
Mike: You do? You mean it’s famous?
Victor: You could say that. How did you get this?
Mike: There are two young men who sort of work for me. They – er – acquired it.
Victor: You’re a fence, aren’t you, Mike? And the two young men are punks who steal stuff for you, right?
Mike: Now, wait a minute. How they got it or how it got here isn’t the question. All I want to know from you is, what’s it worth?
Victor: What did you pay for it?
Mike: Well, I figured I could always sell it for fifty dollars – a hundred if I’m lucky. So I gave them thirty-five bucks for it.
Victor: Thirty-five bucks. Unbelievable…
Mike: It’s worth more? A lot more?
Victor: To you it’s worth nothing. You wasted your thirty-five bucks.
Mike: What are you trying to pull? It’s gotta be worth something.

Victor: Let me give you a bit of history. Way back in the year 1918, the Russian royal family, the Romanoffs, thought they were firmly established as rulers of Russia for all eternity. But in that year the entire family was assassinated by Bolshevik secret police. You’ve heard about this?
Mike: Sort of.
Victor: Then maybe you also heard that one of the daughters, Anastasia, managed to live through the assassination attempt and escaped.

She later lived in Europe for years under the name of Anna Anderson. The word got around in recent years that she had moved to the States and spent the rest of her life here. Nobody could verify this; she wanted to avoid all publicity.
Mike: And this thing belonged to her?
Victor: You guessed it. She had this magnificent ceremonial Easter egg with her at all times, the only thing she had been able to save.
Mike: And you’re trying to tell me it isn’t worth anything?

Victor: It isn’t worth anything to you. That girl, just a teenager at the time of the assassination attempt, was a royal princess: the Grand Duchess Anastasia. If you could put this up for auction now I imagine the bidding would begin at around twenty million.
Mike: Holy smoke!
Victor: But if you tried to sell it you’d have cops and FBI and Interpol and God knows who else after you. Your life would be in danger. And the law would learn a lot about your operations you’d just as soon they didn’t know.
Mike: You wouldn’t consider buying it, would you?
Victor: I would not. There’s never going to be anything but headaches with this. Way I see it, the person who owns it – or owned it before it was stolen from him – was keeping it very quiet, and probably for good reason.
Mike: So what am I supposed to do?
Victor: I’ll tell you what you should do. Pay the two hoodlums who stole this to carefully take it back to the home they stole it from. Leave it on the doorstep with a note saying “Easter egg. Happy Easter!” Then ring the doorbell and run like hell.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Magpie 49

Willow’s prompt this week got me to thinking of the number of centuries women had to wear such voluminous, all-enveloping dresses.

There’s not all that much difference between the clothing of a lady of the time of the prompt (1905) and a woman of Shakespeare’s day. In both cases, everything was covered; it was a moral issue.
Cole Porter: “A glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking.”
But that took me back to my early days of Shakespeare studies. What must it have been like for a lady to go out into the world wearing, for instance, the garment known as a “farthingale,” the name given to the style of female clothing that was fashionable in England in the 1590s?

The English got it from the French. In most cases, for most Elizabethan women, the farthingale was a fairly simple article of clothing. But for someone like the Queen, it was a production.
It consisted of, inside, one or more large hoops with horizontal stiffeners that radiated from around the waist in order to produce a flat platter-like shape when supported by the "bumroll." That word is not just me being vulgar; it was the actual term used by the English to describe the rear end of the farthingale – that covered the rear end of the woman.

In a well-made English farthingale a fashionable silhouette was created by having the dress worn at an angle ("low before and high behind"). In the original version, the French carried this to an extreme – as one might expect? :-)
As long as we’re discussing women’s unmentionables, there’s a natural segue to another equally unmentionable topic: how, and where, would such a lady, out for an afternoon on the town in Elizabethan London, go to the bathroom?
It seems there were few, if any, public toilets. What might be described as public urination was evidently more or less acceptable. For a man, you just found a vacant space on a lawn or field. For a lady, it is quite possible that the design of the farthingale was a great help in such a situation. She would find a suitable spot and there she would kneel, spread her clothing about her in a way that provided complete modesty and privacy, and then take care of nature’s call.

To change the subject just a bit, the whole topic of how audiences in Elizabethan theatres and playhouses, two or three thousand people, would go to the restrooms when there were no restrooms, is quite interesting and worth a future post.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


"A" is for "Acting"
Method Acting, to be precise.

You don’t hear as much about it today, but a couple of decades ago it seemed that everyone was talking about The Method. It was a style of performing that was made famous by actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando.

It was claimed that the method was the result of specialized dramatic training that involved what was called “emotional memory,” and it went on to become the single greatest influence on the modern American stage and screen.

For several decades, I had a fairly precarious career in the film business and I had dealings with a large number of actors, many of The Method persuasion. What puzzled me was that no one ever seemed to be able to define precisely just what the method was. I decided to research the subject.

Historically, the roots of the acting style were easy to trace. In the early 1920s, the great Russian actor and teacher Constantin Stanislavsky brought his famous theatrical company to the States. A young American actor named Lee Strasberg attended some of the plays; as he admitted later, it was the turning point of his life.
What got him turned on was the acting style. It was real.
The American theatre of nearly a hundred years ago emphasized diction, fencing, dancing and singing. And it was very successful. Mysteries, musicals, classical dramas, drawing-room comedies (“Tennis, anyone?”) and so on kept the theatres filled.
What Strasberg saw in the Stanislavsky players was something different: actors dealing not just with externals, but with internals as well – the emotional and psychological problems of real life.

Strasberg began teaching the method to Americans. “Emotional memory” was what he taught. An actor had to find within himself what he needed to express an emotion on stage. If the script called for a murderous rage, the actor had to look deep into his memory to find a moment when, perhaps as a child, he had felt a murderous rage against another child.

Strasberg’s classes became fabulously successful. He built up an impressive list in his studio of America’s top actors and actresses, all believers in The Method – including the young lady pictured above.

Nevertheless, there were quite a few people who didn’t believe in it. One was a well-known actress of the thirties, Stella Adler, who was on vacation in Paris when she learned that Stanislavsky was there too. She found the courage to meet him and ask him just what the hell the method was.

He invited her to study with him, which she did for six weeks.
When she returned to New York, she dropped a bombshell. Strasberg had it all wrong.
She had a long list of topics that made up the method and emotional memory was just a small part of the system.
Strasberg hit the roof. The Adler-Strasberg feud that was to last for over three decades began at that moment.
As I mentioned, I ran into quite a few believers in The Method over the years. I have actually had an actor ask for a few minutes time-out during the shooting of a commercial; he had to go off and dig into his emotional memory to come up with an appropriate acting style for the commercial.
The proponents and believers in the different Strasberg and Adler styles seem to keep on feuding even today.
But in my opinion, it was the actress Joanne Woodward who summed it all up best: “The Method is whatever works for you.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Magpie 48

“Music hath charms..?” Not always.
I was reading a restaurant reviewer recently and came upon this sentence in his review: “…rock music that blasts you out of your seat doesn’t enhance an otherwise pleasant ambience”
Right on, brother.

A few weeks ago we literally fled – I believe that’s the right word, fled – from a similar restaurant when the loud heavy-metal music drove us to the door. We weren’t able to finish the meal; I just paid the bill and we left.
I got to thinking later, if I ran a good restaurant and I wanted to provide the right kind of background music for my clients, what type of music could I use that would please everybody? Or at least, not irritate a large percentage of them?
An older couple might like the soft strains of a Mozart string quartet in the background; some might prefer for their meal the familiar melodies of Celine Dion or some similar artist, and there are those who would always like what we know as “elevator music,” soothing and basically dull. But in addition, as I learned a few weeks ago, for many the music has got to be loud and clanging or it isn’t really “music.”

So, as to the question, what type of music could I as a restaurant-owner use to please everybody, the answer is simple.
There is no such thing.
I vote for trying silence. It might catch on.
What’s your opinion?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


“Z” is for “Zigzag”
As in “The Zigzag Road.”
From time to time I like to think back to some of life’s more memorable moments.

A few decades ago I had a marvelous job: I was making motion pictures in various parts of the world. And one of my earliest assignments as director was to shoot a film in Hong Kong.
The script called for a sequence with a Chinese farmer and his son, to be shot on a farm well outside the city. I had permission to shoot on the farm for only one day, Sunday, so we had to start early Sunday morning.
The actor playing the farmer was already at the location. With my crew I was waiting for the arrival of the boy who had been hired to play the part of the farmer’s son and who was to come with his mother. The mom, luckily, spoke good English. She would spend the day taking care of the boy while we worked. But they were late.
We sat there and waited.
Whoever first said that time was money must have been thinking about film production. We waited some more.
Finally, I could see the two of them hurrying toward us. The mother apologized profusely; the lad had slept late. Fine, I said, get in. Let’s go.
As we started off, the woman had a request. Her son had had no breakfast. Couldn’t we get something? He could eat it while we drove to the location.

It was very early Sunday morning; it seemed to me that Hong Kong was closed up about as tight as a drum. However, I did espy a small hole-in-the-wall sort of place that seemed to be open. It had a sign in front that read “Portuguese Cakes.”
I had no idea what those were but any port in a storm, as the saying goes. I gave some money to my assistant and told him to get something for the kid’s breakfast.
We waited some more.
When the assistant showed up I was startled to see that he had a large tray loaded with half-a-dozen containers of the aforesaid cakes. It seems that a Portuguese cake, at least in Hong Kong, was a variation on the cream-puff theme: each container had a sizable piece of cake on the bottom with a whopping amount of thick whipped cream on the top. Not your typical breakfast food.
I believe the boy had never tasted anything like that before; he proceeded to tuck into all of the cakes, and with great gusto.

I learned that the place for our shoot – the farm, our location – was on top of a nearby hill and that the road to it was well-known to people in that area. “It’s known as the Zigzag Road,” explained my assistant. It appeared that the reason for the name was that it was a winding street that had a habit of zigging radically off to the left, then zagging quirkily off to the right, etc., as you climbed the hill.
The inevitable happened.
Our young actor suddenly let loose with a monumental upchuck, probably of a dimension never before seen in that part of the Orient.
The rear seat of our vehicle – and unfortunately not just the rear seat – was covered with gobs of partially-digested gateaux portugais, which had somehow become transmogrified into something rather like Elmer’s Glue, except that the smell was far worse.
So this was the life of a film director?! As we continued toward the location, I could only wonder if Scorsese ever had problems like this. :-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Entry for "Writer's Island" and "Take a Walk in the Park"

Radio Script: “The Russian Bride”

Announcer: “This is the story of Keith Foster, whose destiny it is to live the life of a small-time con man. Who says crime doesn’t pay? Here’s the way he set out to prove the old saying was wrong. He got a woman named Myrna to play a Russian girl, Nadyezhda, from a small town in southern Siberia (though Myrna’s actually from Long Island). Keith is to get $20,000 from one Sidney Krull, who’s looking for a Russian bride, then later he'll split the money with Myrna. The plan is, after one day she’ll take the position that the marriage was a mistake and would never work, and then just take off. Sidney won’t be able to do much – go to the police or whatever – because the whole process of importing a foreign bride in this way is illegal. Myrna knows no Russian but has gone to the trouble of learning a few Russian words; there should be no problem because most of the time with Sidney she’ll just be keeping quiet.”
Keith: “All you have to do is just sit quietly and act kind of confused.”
Myna: “I am kind of confused; I thought I was to get some money today.”
Keith: “I explained all that. I got a five grand advance from Sidney; we’ll get the rest today, when he shows up. Relax; tomorrow you’ll get your half – ten thousand dollars for one day’s work!”
Myrna: “I don’t see why I can’t get something now.”
Keith: “Because you’ve got to play wife for a day. Without that, you won’t get anything. Stop complaining. You say you want to be an actress? Well, you’re being very well paid to just act dumb. You should have no trouble with such a part.”
“Okay, he’s here now. Take a deep breath – we’re on!”
Waiter: “Good morning, sir! The hotel management wanted to send up a special champagne welcome tray for the happy couple. Congratulations, and we hope you and your beautiful bride…”
Keith: “I’m not the groom! I’m just with the bride for a while. When the husband gets here I leave.”
Waiter: “What? Well, okay, whatever – I’m broad-minded. I’ll just take away the breakfast things. No one ate the scrambled eggs?”
Keith: “No, no. Do that later. You can leave the champagne.”
Waiter: “Myrna! Good God, what are you doing here? Don’t you know Big Al is looking for you?”
Myrna: “I know, I know. Tell him I’m getting the money. I’ll have it for him in a day or two.”
Keith (to Myrna): “Wait a minute! You know this waiter? Who’s Big Al?”
Waiter: “It’s better if you don’t find out. So, you’re using my pal Myrna to pull the Russian bride scam? Okay, I want in. If I promise not to tell anyone what’s going on, that should be worth a couple of thou, right?”
Keith: “Take your scrambled eggs and get out of here! Go take a walk in the park! But don’t worry; keep quiet about all this and I’ll have a hefty tip for you later.”
Waiter: “Tip? We’re past the tip stage. I’m now part of this deal. Let me play her Russian brother; that would make the whole setup more convincing. I can do a good Russian accent.”
Sidney: “Ah, Keith! Do you have good news for me – oh, there she is! You were right, Keith; she’s a beauty! Good morning, Nadyezhda! How I wish I knew some Russian. Who’s this fellow?”
Keith: “The brother.”
Sidney: “You brought your brother?”
Keith: “No, her brother.”
Waiter: “I am brother from our hometown, small village near Moscow.”
Sidney: “I thought she was from southern Siberia?”
Waiter: “That – is our summer place.”
Myrna: “Spasibo!”
Sidney: “Same to you, my dear. [To Keith] I thought ‘spasibo’ meant thank you.”
Keith: “It’s Siberian slang for hello. You brought the money?”
Sidney: “Yes, here. All in cash, as you requested. And I want to thank you, Keith. You’ve made this a day I’ll never forget.”
Keith: “Yes, well, we’ll leave you two lovebirds. Goodbye, Nadyezhda.”
Myrna: “Spasibo!”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Magpie 47

Rosse: "I have words that should be howl'd out in the desert air. And the main part pertains to you alone."
Macduff: "If it be mine; keep it not from me. Quickly let me have it."
Rosse: "Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes savagely slaughter'd."
[A pause; Macduff says nothing.]
Malcolm: "Merciful heaven! What, man, give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the oer-fraught heart, and bids it break."
Macduff: "My children too?"
Rosse: "Wife, children, servants -- all."
Malcolm: "Let's make us med'cine of our great revenge."
Macduff: "He has no children. All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O, hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam?"
Malcolm: "Dispute it like a man."
Macduff: "I shall do so, but I must also feel it as a man! Did heaven look on, and would not take their part?"
Malcolm: "Be this the whetstone of your sword; let grief convert to anger."
Macduff: "Front to front, bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself; within my sword's length set him!"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Entry for "Writer's Island" and "Progress"

(With a nod to “Mad Men.”)
Ron: I guess we’re all aware of the reason for this meeting. It’s a new year, folks, and we’re about to embark on a new adventure. We’re getting together this afternoon with a man who has developed an exciting new product, an item with fantastic potential, and he wants us to be his advertising agency. Take over, Blake.
Blake: Well, you saw the Powerpoint presentation. “Candy Babar” is being proclaimed as something revolutionary for this industry. An entirely new confectionery item, a new type of candy bar in the shape of the world-famous elephant, loved by children everywhere. It's new in concept, new in philosophy, new in substance, new in excitement.
Ron: Right. This is an historic occasion: it shows we're making real progress. We'll be associated with what is literally a revolutionary product. Why is Candy Babar revolutionary? It’s a candy bar that relies heavily on high-fructose corn syrup in a never-before-achieved solid and stable form – it’s a scientific breakthrough. By the way, be sure you get the client’s name right: R. Philip Dubieus. For those of you who haven’t met the man, this is important. His last name is pronounced Dubyess; as he puts it, there’s an emphasis on the “yess.” I need hardly tell you there are to be no wisecracks about his name and the word “dubious.” And he likes to be referred to as “R. Philip.”
Blake: Yeah, we met him last year. Remember, Ron?
Ron: For those who are new with our agency, Blake is sarcastically referring to a meeting just like this one last year. R. Philip brought in his latest product, “Plumber’s Friend,” for us to evaluate.
Blake: And Ron evaluated the hell out of it.
Ron: Look, I’ve admitted it. I messed up. I told R. Philip that Plumber’s Friend, a candy bar in the shape of a toilet-bowl plunger, would never sell.
Edna: But the Plumber’s Friend candy bar sold like hotcakes. As you probably know, it was the most successful candy bar in the country for a while this year. And we told the client it would never sell. Who knows what kids are going to go for?
Ron: I’ll tell you who knows: R. Philip Dubieus knows. He’s a dam’ genius. He’s the Bill Gates of the confectionery industry – maybe even the Mark Zuckerberg. And he’s giving us another chance. This time we’re not going to drop the ball.
Wendell: Or the elephant.
Ron: How does that help, Wendell?
Wendell: Sorry.
Blake: To top it off, we provided them with their motto – at no charge.
Ron: That’s true. During our meeting last year, as we were talking about the Plumber’s Friend candy bar, someone blurted out, “It’ll clean out your pipes!” They used it and paid us nothing for the use. But it turned out okay. R. Philip now feels he owes us.
Blake: R. Philip’s lawyers have of course contacted the estate of the folks who own the name “Babar.” They’re very interested and even enthusiastic about the possibilities. They were especially interested in the Dubieus Industries’ scientific division.
Edna: Wait a minute. This guy is a candy-maker. He has a scientific division?
Blake: He sure does, staffed with top scientists and researchers, since candy-making these days relies so much on chemistry. They were responsible for the success of Plumber’s Friend. And they’ve got another winner in Candy Babar.
Ron: We must put across to R. Philip that in our advertising, in all media, the good-health and nutritional advantages of high-fructose corn syrup will be emphasized.
Edna: (Sighs) Just between you and me, why do we wind up with products like this? We never get something like Campbell’s Soup.
Ron: Campbell’s Soup may well be outsold next year by this tasty little pachyderm. If we play our cards right, Candy Babar will be paying the salaries of quite a number of us in this agency for years to come.
Blake: You’re actually enthusiastic about this product.
Ron: Well, I keep thinking about our Plumber’s Friend fiasco. I was wrong about that; I’m not going to be wrong about this. As for TV, R. Philip wants his television commercials to look like the movie “Avatar.” He’s very aware of what’s going on in the culture.
Blake: Is he aware of what’s going on in law-suits? Copy “Avatar” and he’ll find out.
Ron: We’ll deal with that later.
Edna: From what I’ve read, he’s going to get an actual elephant, paint him white and walk him around to school assemblies and so on.
Ron: What can I tell you, the guy thinks big. Now, by the way, R. Philip has a sort of special request. He has a friend, a young lady named Brandee – Sandee..?
Blake: Mandee.
Ron: Right, Mandee; her name has two “e’s” at the end.
Wendell: Bet that’s not all she’s got at the end.
Ron: I can’t tell you how great it would be, Wendell, if you would just shut up. Mandee Mullen, that’s her name. She’s 19 years old and she thinks of herself as a writer; she wants to write the TV commercials. Er, you’ve got nothing to say about this, Edna?
Edna: As head of the copy department, I’m speechless.
Wendell: So R. Philip has his own little candy bar…
Ron: What is the matter with you people! This is not a joke! You know the kind of year we just had. This wonderful new product, Candy Babar, is going to keep our ship from sinking. Enough with the wisecracks!
Wendell: Sorry.
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