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It’s In The Script

There are many different and interesting aspects to reading scripts. The most obvious is to detect differences between the original (or revised) concept and what was actually filmed. In the GUNSMOKE script, "Gunfighter, R.I.P." for instance, the most obvious difference is in the ending. Had it been filmed as written in the Final Draft, GUNSMOKE would have taken what was to become one of the most touching love stories ever filmed for the series and destroyed it in one short conversation between Doc and Kitty.

Another example of "What Might Have Been" is revealed in the excerpts deleated from the final, filmed version of NIGHT STALKER, "The Spanish Moss Mysteries."  Ron Updyke in the military reserves??  See for yourself.

There are numerous examples of how a script was altered from the written page from the NIGHT STALKER series. Most notably to any Beatles fan was the ad-lib of Lieutenant Lamont’s, from "Sentry," when she remarked about the Mustang, "There’s Kolchak’s Yellow Submarine," a line not found in the script.

Other scripts are not changed so much in dialogue, as in interpretation. Read the dry lines from "A Christmas Story" (which will be included in a future update), then try to visualize how an actor would say them. There is probably no better way to appreciate the talent involved in bringing lines of dialogue to life than by reading the script, then watching the film. Is "A Christmas Story" a classic? Yes, but the genius is in the delivery of dialogue.

Also included in this first series of script excerpts are corrections from "Hanger 18."  These changes are taken directly from Darren McGavin's script, and many are in his own handwriting.*************************

Excerpts from GUNSMOKE, "Gunfighter, R.I.P." Final Draft, July 22, 1966

TEASER

FADE IN:

1 EXT. JETMORE – MOVING SHOT – DAY

ON JOE BASCOME, a cold-eyed, raunchy loner of 30-odd. He is bone-tired from long days in the saddle; a month’s beard covers his face. ANGLE WIDENS as he rides on down the street.

2 NEW ANGLE

Joe reins in, dismounts in front of a saloon, looks around. His first thought is for a drink. He follows a second thought: moves across the street.

3 ANGLE

MARK and PAUL DOUGLAS (the former is a bull-like man; gross in movement; shrewd – Paul is built as his brother but slow of mind) react to Joe’s arrival in town.

                                                                                MARK

                                            It’s about time.

                                                                                   PAUL

                                            Now we can get goin’!

                                                                                    MARK

                                            We’ll wait for him in the saloon.

4 ANGLE – JOE

Moving across the street. He sloshes through the brackish puddles of water there. CAMERA PANS HIM INTO a Barber Shop; THEN SETTLES ON a small faded sign proclaiming: "BARBER – HOT BATHS – 25c".

DISS. THRU TO:

5 INT. BARBER SHOP - DAY

CLOSE On Joe, who is shaving. Steam rises around him as water cascades into the tub.

  1. NEW ANGLE
  2. While his clothes are nowhere to be seen, Joe’s guns hang over the back of a chair. He luxuriates in a wood vat, filled with water. The BARBER hands him a mirror. A quick check of a shave and haircut; of his teeth – a GRUNT of satisfaction. Then a bottle of witch hazel is surrendered. Joe sloshes himself generously with this last.

                                                                    BARBER

                                            That’ll cost y’extra.

                                                                    JOE (a look, and)
                                             Where’s m’clothes.

                                                                    BARBER

                                                They’ll be here d’rectly.

    (ANGLE ADJUSTS as Joe stands and towels himself, and,)

                                                                        JOE

                                                Anything that makes this place worth its salt?

                                                                        BARBER

                                                 Passable grub at the café. Whiskey at Ben Tupper’s saloon. saloon.                                   Clean bed  at  Widow Jenkins’. That’s about it.

                                                                        JOE

                                                Makes a man want to burrow in and stay awhile.

                                                                        BARBER

                                              Dodge is a three-hour ride due east. You’ll get your fill there.

    (And CHING LEE ENTERS. She is in her early twenties. A frail, yet we will learn, capable, determined woman. She carries Joe’s cleaned, ironed clothes. The sight of Joe wrapped in the towel does not faze her – nor, her presence, him. Somewhat imperiously:)

                                                                    BARBER

                                                  Put them down over there.

                                                                    JOE

                                                Pay her. I’ll settle with you later.

    (She follows the barber OUT and Joe begins to dress, and:)

  3. EXT. LAUNDRY – DAY
  4. As the door flies open and CHING FA, an elderly, wizened oldster, hurtles OUT – followed by a cascade of laundry – and BURT, a cowboy.

                                                                            BURT

                                                You shorted the boss’ laundry for the last time!

  5. NEW ANGLE
  6. Ching Fa picks himself up from the muddy street, and:

                                                                            CHING FA

                                No shorted laundry! Clean everything Mister Ryan bring me! Everything there.

    (Burt smothers a half smile; winks at TWO OTHER COWBOYS, who follow him OUT of the laundry. Joining in the obvious hazing, they kick at, pick up, and throw the scattered laundry as Ching Fa tries to retrieve it, and:)

                                                                            BURT

                                                I give you fair warnin’ last time! There was three shirts he sent! You sent                                       sent back only two!

      (And he grabs Ching Fa’s queue and yanks him to his feet.)

  7. ANGLE – BARBER SHOP
  8. Joe Bascome – clean-shaven; clean-clothed – steps OUT. He savors the good feeling of having peeled himself of grime and sweat. He starts down the boardwalk.

  9. ANGLE – LAUNDRY
  10. And the hazing of Ching Fa. The laundry is trampled in the mud by the two cowboys. Burt swings Ching Fa around and:

                                                                            BURT

                                I can see you just gotta be learnt a lesson. I’m the man t’learn ya.

    (And he pushes him against the building front as Joe moves up. A handful of people, INCLUDING Mark and Paul, have gathered to be amused by the goings-on. Joe does not react to any of this; merely tries to inch by without getting dirtied.)

  11. QUICK – CHING LEE
  12. Comes OUT from a building; looks off; reacts, and races off.

  13. ANGLE – THE HAZING
  14. Ching Lee is seen hurrying forward in BG. Burt grabs Ching Fa, who is suddenly gasping for breath, clutching at his chest.

                                                                           BURT

                                        Maybe if I skin ya six ways from Sunday, you’ll get m’message.

    (And he shoves the oldster away.)

  15. ANGLE
  16. FAVORING Joe, as Ching Fa falls into the street, slams into a puddle. Muddy water splashes onto Joe’s clean pants – and Ching Lee is there, and:

                                                                    CHING LEE

                                        Father!!

  17. ANGLE
  18. FAVORING Ching Lee and her father. Joe nearby YELLS angrily:

                                                                    JOE

                                        Hey!

                                                                    CHING LEE

                                (overlapping) He’s dead!! My father is dead..!!

    (The cowboys stop laughing. They stand not really knowing how they feel about this.)

                                                                        JOE

                            You got names? (It takes a minute before the drovers know that he refers to them.)

                             I asked you if you got names.

                                                                    BURT

                               You a friend of his?

                                                                    JOE

                                No. But I thought you’d like a marker on your grave.

    (The three men look at each other in astonishment.)

  19. QUICK SHOT – MARK AND PAUL
  20. As they watch. Paul tries to take a step toward Joe: Mark stops him.

                                                                    PAUL

                                    He’s crazy. What’s he doin’?

  21. ANOTHER ANGLE
  22.                                                                 BURT

                                       Listen, mister…..

                                                                     JOE

                You got three guns against one. You gonna make your play, or are you gonna talk me

                to death?

    The three men look at one another. There is no way out, and they know it. It is a small movement, but Joe catches it, and before the first cowboy can even get his hand on his gun, Joe has his weapon in his hand and PULLS OFF a SHOT. He turns his gun on the next drover and KILLS HIM as well. The third drover is able to PULL OFF TWO SHOTS. The bullets slam into Joe’s right shoulder and thigh. His is slammed against a wall; FIRES, killing the remaining cowboy.

  23. CLOSE ANGLE – MARK AND PAUL

PAUL

                                                There goes our chance at getting’ Dillon.

                                                                                MARK

                                                Maybe.

FADE OUT:

*****************

  1. EXT. ROAD LEADING INTO DODGE – DAY (STOCK SHOT)
  2. As the stage comes into Dodge.

  3. EXT. MAIN STREET – DODGE – CRANE SHOT – DAY
  4. As the stage pulls up in front of the stage stop. Joe stands out in the street waiting.

  5. NEW ANGLE
  6. As Doc and Kitty come out of the Longbranch to greet Matt.

  7. CRANE SHOT – HIGH – DAY
  8. As the stage door opens and the PASSENGER and Matt EXIT onto the street.

  9. EXT. HOTEL WINDOW
  10. As Paul, Mark and Ching Lee watch the action below. Ching Lee is anxious. Her face reflects the fear in her heart.

  11. EXT. MAIN STREET
  12. As Joe quickly looks up to the hotel window. His face tightens, then he looks back to the stage as Matt takes a step towards Doc and Kitty.

                                                    JOE (calling out)
                                    
    Dillon!!

    (Matt turns and faces Joe.)

                                                    MATT

                                        What is it?

                                                    JOE

                                        The name’s Joe Bascome. I’m callin’ you.

  13. CLOSE SHOT – MATT
  14. As he looks at Joe. He knows the name.

  15. CLOSE SHOT – KITTY AND DOC
  16. As they watch, horrified.

  17. CLOSE ANGLE – CHING LEE, MARK AND PAUL
  18. Paul is enjoying it. He licks his lips. Mark, his gun still held to Ching Lee’s head, drops his other hand from his shoulder as he reaches over to get a better view.

  19. EXT. MAIN STREET – DODGE
  20. As the play between Joe and Matt is about to take place. An instant before either can reach for their gun, a HIGH PIERCING SCREAM can be HEARD. A second later, it is followed by a THUD.

  21. NEW ANGLE
  22. Joe turns to look back to the hotel window. An amazed Mark and Paul look down to the street level which Ching Lee has fallen. Joe draws his gun and FIRES at the window, killing Paul immediately. Mark opens up but Matt draws his gun and SENDS A BULLET into his chest.

  23. ANOTHER ANGLE
  24. As Joe makes for the fallen Ching Lee. Matt is on his heels as Joe bends down to her.

                                                                    JOE

                                            Ching Lee…Ching Lee…

    (A crowd has gathered around. Doc finally manages to work his way through.)

                                                                    DOC

                                                Watch out. Let me get a look at her.

                                                                    JOE

                                                Doc… Is she…

    (Doc is making a quick examination of Ching Lee.)

                                                                DOC

                                    No. (then, to the crowd)
                            
              Back off, everybody. Help me get her up to my office.

    (Matt bends down, lifts the girl in his arms and as he turns and starts for Doc’s office, followed by Joe)

    DISSOLVE TO:

  25. CLOSE SHOT – JOE
  26. As he looks down. His eyes are misty.

                                                                JOE

                                        (Chinese salute) **     
    (The writer did not have the dialogue for the salute at the time the script was in its final draft.)

    CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal him rising from a fresh grave. It is Ching Lee’s. He stands for a moment, turns and mounts his horse. He guides the animal onto the road and slowly rides away.

  27. ANOTHER ANGLE
  28. As Doc’s buggy comes around the bend. Joe passes them. No words are exchanged. Doc stops his buggy, and he and Kitty turn back to look at him.

  29. CLOSER ANGLE – DOC AND KITTY

DOC

                                        He hasn’t got much of a reason for living any more.

                                                                               KITTY

                                        He might have had a chance with her.

                                                                                    DOC

                                        I wonder if he even has a reason for killing now.

(Doc kicks his horse up. We can see Joe in BG, slowly riding away, as we:)

FADE OUT.

THE END

***************darren32.jpg (88182 bytes)

THE NIGHT STALKER

"The Spanish Moss Murders"

Written by: Al Friedman and David Chase

Production # 41806 - October 21, 1974 (F.R.)

Included in these excerpts are scenes which never made it to the filmed episode. For better or for worse?

Pages 2-5

INT. INS OFFICE – DAY

As Vincenzo exits his office, carrying a huge bag of garbage and junk. Catches sight of Ron, who’s doing nothing, stares angrily.

                                                                        VINCENZO

                                        Why don’t you get off your Ivy League buckle and help some of the others?

                                                                         UPDYKE

                                I volunteered but they say I just get in the way. They won’t take any of my suggestions.

(Vincenzo irritably looks around for something Updyke can do. Finally, he just sets the garbage bag down.)

                                                                            VINCENZO

                                  Then I suggest you empty this garbage.

(Ron unhappily rises, picks up the bag, exits with it. Vincenzo starts to re-enter his office, turns, hearing the sound of typing. Kolchak is busily at work on a story and at the same time taking bites of a piece of pound cake, dribbling crumbs all over his desk. Vincenzo crosses to him.)

                                                                              VINCENZO

                                Will you knock off the work? Aren’t you aware the efficiency expert is coming?

(Kolchak gives him a look that expresses the absurdity of the statement. Vincenzo picks up on it, gestures around the office.)

                                                                                VINCENZO

                                    It’s just that Mr. Sunderland happens to feel that neatness and cleanliness are important   to a well functioning organization. And so do I.    

                                                                            KOLCHAK

                                    (only glancing up) Then wipe the mayonnaise off your tie.

(Vincenzo looks down, sees the offending blot, takes out his handkerchief and smears the stuff around.)

                                                                            VINCENZO

                                You have a few minutes before you go to the airport. You could do something…

                                Straighten a file, clean out a cabinet. (happens to notice Kolchak’s watch; alarmed)

                                You have three-thirty? My watch stopped. I’m an hour late!

                                                                            KOLCHAK

                                   The efficiency expert comes none too soon.

                                                                           VINCENZO

                                                    (looking around in panic; furiously winding watch stem)

                                   His plane lands at four-forty five. Why aren’t you on your way to the airport?

                                                                            KOLCHAK

                                                    (typing) Let him take a cab.

                                                                            VINCENZO

                            He happens to feel that cabs are inefficient…a waste of company money. And so do I.

                                                                            KOLCHAK

                            Get another rickshaw boy. I’m working.

                                                                                    VINCENZO

(nervously; looking around) Who? Miss Emily doesn’t drive. Updyke has accidents while he’s watching movies at the drive-in….

(Kolchak tries to ignore him, keeps pounding at the typewriter. Vincenzo eyes him anxiously, starts fussing, straightening papers.)

                                                                                    VINCENZO    

                                    Carl, there’ll be delays at the airport because of construction….

(More typing as Vincenzo fusses.)

                                                                                        VINCENZO

                                        Rush hour traffic’ll start soon ---

                                                                                        KOLCHAK

                                        (stands suddenly) Who can work in this squirrel cage anyway….

(Kolchak grabs his coat and hat, storms across the office. Vincenzo hastily clears the last crumbs, follows worriedly.)

                                                                                        VINCENZO

                                        Take Mr. Sunderland to his hotel first….

(Under this, Updyke has re-entered and is gabbing with Emily Cowles.)

                                                                                        KOLCHAK

                                        It’s Colonel Sunderland, not Mister….

                                                                                    VINCENZO

                                        He’s not in the fried food business. He’s just retired Army….

(They move past Ron.)

                                                                                       UPDYKE

                            I’m hoping he can pull strings and get me transferred out of my reserve unit.

                                                                                  VINCENZO

                                  (whirling) Don’t you dare ask him that!

                                                                                 EMILY

                            (dreamily) I was engaged to a West Point man…(puzzled) He disappeared right about the time my father lost the last Congressional election….

(Vincenzo waves this all away, chases after Kolchak.)

                                                                        VINCENZO

                                        Kolchak. Button your top button and straighten your tie….

(There’s no response from Kolchak who’s already bounding down the stairs. A worried Vincenzo moves back into the office.)

Page 13-14

INT. INS OFFICE – NIGHT – SHOOTING DOWN THE STAIRS

Kolchak climbs to the first landing, deep in thought, ascends the last flight up to the office. As he reaches the corridor, he stops in his tracks, seeing:

OFFICE – HIS POINT OF VIEW

Vincenzo sweating, making unctuous apologetic gestures to Col. Matthew Sunderland, an erect, powerful, aggressive, but diminutive man, in tweed with leather elbow patches. Vincenzo seems to tower above Sunderland as they stand amid an extensive array of leather luggage.

                                                    KOLCHAK

Slaps his forehead, emits a groan at what he’s done, presses himself against the wall.

HIS POINT OF VIEW – VINCENZO AND SUNDERLAND

                                                    VINCENZO

                    I’m – I’m terribly sorry. I sent someone out, and he’s very punctual…conscientious. (hopefully)                         Maybe his car broke down. You know, overheated or vapor locked in this heat….

                                                SUNDERLAND

                        (flat, crisp) It’s a little early to chalk the Snafu off to equipment failure, isn’t it?

                                                VINCENZO

                        Well, I…. (tries to smile) You didn’t have to take a cab, though. You should have phoned.

(Sunderland moves away, starts surveying the office unsmilingly, hands clasped behind his back.)

                                                SUNDERLAND

                        Your lines were jammed for an hour and twenty-three minutes.

                                                VINCENZO

                        I don’t know what to say. I’m very sorry this happened, Mr. Sunderland….

                                                SUNDERLAND

                        Colonel Sunderland…please. (tight smile)

(Vincenzo nods hopelessly.)

                                                    KOLCHAK

Winces in sympathy for Vincenzo. Hearing footsteps coming his way, he ducks into the men’s room.

INT. MEN’S ROOM – NIGHT

Kolchak enters, quietly closes the door. He doesn’t realize till after he’s part way in that Updyke is behind him, splashing water on his face.

                                                        UPDYKE

                            (looking up) You’re really too much, you know that? Mr. Vincenzo was furious.

                                                        KOLCHAK

                            (guiltily) Yeah. I’ll straighten it out when things cool down. Have you met Sunderland?

                                                        UPDYKE

                                Met him? I had to carry his bags up from the cab, thanks to you.

                                                        KOLCHAK

                                Seems like he’s all spit and polish. Mostly spit.

                                                        UPDYKE

                (wiping his face) Getting along with him just takes a little knowledgability of the military personality. I               don’t think I’ll have any problem…

                                                        KOLCHAK

                    (flat) Affirmative.

Page 35-38

INT. INS DARKROOM/MEN’S ROOM – DAY

Kolchak takes a blow-up from the soup, flicks off the safe light, studies the photo.

                                                        KOLCHAK

Not completely satisfied. Suddenly the door bursts open and Vincenzo enters, just stares at Kolchak in silent rage.

                                                        KOLCHAK

                            (ashamed) Yeah. I’m sorry about the airport, Tony.

                                                        VINCENZO

                        (boiling) If this is what you’re like now, Kolchak, what were you like in kindergarten? Did your                             teacher slit her wrist or hang herself?

                                                        KOLCHAK

                        I can explain it all ---

                                                        VINCENZO

                        Not now, Carl. You and your excuses are the least of my problems. It’s Updyke.             Sunderland’s  got him working for him….

                                                        KOLCHAK

                        Ron does love efficiency….

                                                        VINCENZO

Sunderland stays in my office going through the books. Updyke walks around on cat feet…taking notes…watching to see how long it takes to get a story out, how many minutes people spend on the phone, how long they’re in the bathroom….

                                                        KOLCHAK

                        (shows him beret and tin cup) Sure, Tony. But listen. See these? These belonged to a dwarf named Morris Shapiro. I was talking to him, I was right with him when he vanished.

                                                        VINCENZO

                        Dwarf? Vanished? Kolchak, haven’t you been listening to anything I’ve been saying? (checks watch) Out. And start working.

(Vincenzo urges a frustrated Kolchak out of the room.)

INT. INS OFFICE – DAY

Emily Cowles is working at her desk with a large pasteup crossword puzzle. Updyke, at his desk, looks up as Kolchak and Vincenzo enter, notes down the time on a clipboard. He nods to Kolchak, then gets up, moves toward Vincenzo’s office and taps on the door. Sunderland is on the phone, signals for him to wait.

                                                    KOLCHAK

(sotto, to Vincenzo) Tony, this morning, very quietly at six A.M. the police released their suspect in the Piaget murder. Know why there was no fanfare?

                                                    VINCENZO

(leading him to his desk) Carl. Please. I want you to finish the union graft story you were working on…finish’ something.

                                                    KOLCHAK

                            They’re keeping it hush-hush because they haven’t got another suspect. But I do. Look.

(He shoves the photo at him. Vincenzo is pained.)

                                                    VINCENZO

                        (squints; moves it back and forth) What is this? Salvador Dali’s Bar Mitzvah picture?

ANGLE – UPDYKE

Jotting a note as Emily Cowles stops work for a donut and cup of tea. He then moves toward Vincenzo’s office, enters, talks MOS with Sunderland who looks out.

ANGLE – KOLCHAK AND VINCENZO

                                                KOLCHAK

                    (points to photo) This is a guy named Paul Langois. Morris, this dwarf, told me all about him….

(He doesn’t see Sunderland come up behind him.)

                                                SUNDERLAND

                    Dwarf, Mister Kolchak?

Kolchak turns, tries to smile. Updyke has seated himself at his desk, pretending work. He sneaks glances.

                                                SUNDERLAND

The way I hear it, Mister Kolchak, you have an annoying tendency to operate counter to directives.

(Kolchak shrugs, casts a glance at Updyke who busies himself.)

                                                SUNDERLAND

                            Explain the foul up in transportation yesterday.

                                                    KOLCHAK

                            I’m sorry about that. I was ---

(He suddenly winces with severe pain, supports himself on the desk, favoring his leg.)

                                                    SUNDERLAND

                            What’s the problem?

                                                    KOLCHAK

                            Nothing.

                                                    SUNDERLAND

                             Are you in pain?

                                                    KOLCHAK

                        It’s just this pin in my leg. It acts up in hot weather. Took a piece of shrapnel at Anzio… Yesterday, on the way to the airport, it got so bad I blacked out. I’m sorry, Colonel.

                                                    UPDYKE

                        (can’t help it) When were you at Anzio?

                                                    SUNDERLAND

                        (snaps at Updyke) Back off, son. (conversationally) What was your unit, Kolchak?

                                                        KOLCHAK

                        98th Infantry.

                                                        SUNDERLAND

                Good outfit. But Kolchak… (tosses paper on desk) Where have you been the last forty-eight hours? Why haven’t you finished this union graft story?

                                                        KOLCHAK

I was trying to drink away this pain in my leg. Stupid of me. With your permission, sir, I’d like to go over to the VA. I’ll take the story with me…clean it up.

(Sunderland thinks a minute. Nods tentatively.)

                                                    SUNDERLAND

                            Talk to Doc George Miles. He’s a friend of mine.

(Kolchak nods, gets his things, including the photo. He smiles feebly at Vincenzo, and at Updyke as he walks out, favoring his leg.)

                                                    SUNDERLAND

                            Watches after Kolchak, looks down, picks up the tiny beret.

ANGLE – STAIRS

Kolchak limps down the first flight, then breaks into a run, exits.

ANGLE – UPDYKE

Watches Sunderland go back into Vincenzo’s office. He picks up his phone.

                                                        UPDYKE

                            I want long distance. The Military Records Center in St. Louis….

Pages 53-56

INT. INS OFFICE – NIGHT

Kolchak starts typing again when he hears a sound, turns. Emily Cowles is entering the office.

                                                        KOLCHAK

                                Emily? What are you still doing here?

                                                        EMILY

(bushed) Isn’t it sickening? That Colonel Sunderland kept a group of us here straight through. An hour ago, he said we should break for dinner and he’d treat. We went to Manny’s. We all had to stick to cold cuts. Even the hot roast beef sandwich was verboten…the stingy windbag.

                                                        KOLCHAK

                                The rest of them are still down at Manny’s?

                                                        EMILY

(nods) I couldn’t stomach another minute. It was Ron. I’m surprised at him. Chattering about all his notes and figures. Telling on people. Cuddling up to that big cheese like a little titmouse.

Kolchak smiles, shakes his head. Noises are heard in the corridor and Sunderland and Updyke walk in, smiling, chatting. Vincenzo brings up the rear, in obvious mental pain.

                                                            KOLCHAK

He winces, spins around, starts typing buisily, very efficient.

                                                            SUNDERLAND

Looks over, studies him…then moves toward him, a beat…then slaps Kolchak’s shoulder.

                                                            SUNDERLAND

                                    (curt, concern) How’s the leg, Kolchak?

                                                            KOLCHAK

                        (surprised) Oh…better, better. They gave me some diathermy and some pills.

                                                            SUNDERLAND

            I meant to call Doc Miles over there. Make sure you got A-1 treatment. Never got around to it….

                                                            KOLCHAK

                                    Oh that’s okay. Really. I’m fine.

(Sunderland gives him a slap, moves off, opens a notebook.)

                                                            SUNDERLAND

Okay…let’s take a look at the financial sector, get that out of the way. Mr. Updyke… May I see your output for the period July 7 to the present?

(Updyke peers at him in confusion. Sunderland looks up.)

                                                            UPDYKE

                                July 7th is the day you came. I’ve been concentrating on helping you with the survey.

                                                            SUNDERLAND

                                You’ve been letting your own work go by the boards?

                                                            UPDYKE

                                Well, yes. Wasn’t that what you intended?

                                                            SUNDERLAND

Negative. Your own mission should be of primary importance. Anything beyond that, while appreciated, is icing on the cake.

                                                            VINCENZO

(angrily) In other words, these last couple of days Updyke, you haven’t even given us the cake. Just the icing.

(Updyke doesn’t know what to say. Under the above, Miss Cowles has been flitting around the periphery of the group holding a note, trying to break in. Now:)

                                                            VINCENZO

                                    (snaps) What is it, Miss Emily?

                                                            EMILY

I’m sorry…it’s a message for, Ron. The man on the phone said it was urgent and I forgot all about it. (to Ron) He said that he couldn’t give you the information you wanted on the personnel of the 98th Infantry because the records were burned in a big fire.

                                                            KOLCHAK

He’s been privately enjoying all the above. Now he covers his mouth with his hand.

SUNDERLAND AND UPDYKE

Sunderland’s eyes narrow. He draws Updyke aside so Kolchak can’t hear.

                                                            SUNDERLAND

You’re something of a troublemaker, aren’t you son? I don’t like to see that in an organization. Is that how you’ve been spending your time?

(Updyke is silent, frightened. Sunderland is calm but firm.)

                                                            SUNDERLAND

Where were you during World War II? While he was out there ducking kraut bullets? Crying in your bib, that’s where you were. I think we’d better set you straight. I think I should have a talk with the commander of that reserve unit of yours.

(He takes Updyke into Vincenzo’s office, sits him down.)

                                                            KOLCHAK

Looking innocent as a baby as Vincenzo approaches, regards him with hands in pockets. Finally.

                                                            VINCENZO

I remember, Carl. Very cute. You were in St. Louis when the records center burned. You filed the story.

(Kolchak shrugs, turns with a smug smile, resumes typing. He runs out of paper and his basket is empty. Opening a drawer, he reaches in without looking and suddenly screams with horror and disgust.)

ANGLE – DRAWER

Lying on the typewriter paper…soggy, putrid Spanish moss. (SEVERAL SCENES OMITTED, FOLLOWED BY THE FOLLOWING:)

ANGLE- VINCENZO’S OFFICE

Sunderland sees the commotion, rises, comes to the door and looks out. Updyke following.

                                                        KOLCHAK

He’s existing independent of Paul Langois. Back in the sleep lab…he heard me talk about the tupelo gum spear…he wants to kill me first….

                                                        VINCENZO

                                Carl, sit down and explain this….

                                                        KOLCHAK

                                I can’t…I can’t stay here and be killed….

(He gets his things, staring in horror at the moss.)

                                                        KOLCHAK

                               …It killed Langois because we were going to wake him up….

(Panicked, Kolchak stumbles toward the door, looking around at everyone in terror.)

                                                        KOLCHAK

                            Where do you find a swamp creature? In Chicago? Where could he live?

(Of course they just stare at him. Breathlessly, he exits. A long beat of silence, then:)

                                                    SUNDERLAND

                            Head wounds too? (shakes his head) Damn shame….

**************** (This was the last mention of Colonel Sunderland in the script)****************

darren5.jpg (50377 bytes)

Hanger 18

The following script excerpts and changes are taken from Darren McGavin’s personal copy of the script. Where he has made hand-written corrections, we have added the changes in parenthesis after the typed version, or retyped the entire change under the original.

This text comes at the end of the movie, where the NASA staff has just discovered the alien spacecraft seeded earth, and were thus our "missing link." Darren’s character was named HARRY FORBES, the Flight Director for NASA.

Blue pages Revised - 2/6/80

Revised - 2/19/80

  1. INT. HANGER 18 CONFERENCE ROOM – NIGHT
  2. Forbes stands at the head of the table, a large stack of computer readouts in front of him.

                                                        FORBES

    The translation is very rough and incomplete. But, if what we can read is true – and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t – all the conventional wisdom about the origin of the human race is false.

    FORBES (hand-corrected dialogue) The translation is very rough and incomplete, but if what we can read is true – and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t – all the conventional wisdom about the origin of man, of the human race, is false.

    (Cameron, Bannister and Sarah look startled.)

                                                    SARAH

                                What?

                                                    FORBES

    It’s a theory we’ve heard before. Popular books have speculated about it. They titillated the public. But scientists laughed at them. The whole idea was preposterous. Fiction. Science fiction. There was no truth to it.

                                                FORBES (hand-corrected dialogue)

                        This is a translation of an historical (report) document found aboard the spacecraft.

                                                BANNISTER

                        To what? (handwritten question mark)

    (Forbes picks up the thick computer readout.)

                                            FORBES

    This is a report of a previous visit of these men to earth. The dates are obscure, but it must’ve taken place tens of thousands of years ago.

                                            CAMERON

                            From where?

                                             KELSO

    That’s not clear. But the(ir) book mentions a great pyramid. The description fits the pyramid of Tetanapa.

                                            BANNISTER

                            They built it?

                                            KELSO

                             Apparently.

                                            FORBES

    As a fortress, most likely. The spacemen were an army on the move. One gets the feeling (from this that) they were the Roman Legion of their time. But they didn’t come to conquer earth. There were no people – people in the sense that we use the word – capable of offering any resistance.

                                            SARAH

                            Then what did they want here?

                                            FORBES

                            Evidently they used it as a base.

                                            KELSO

    And they were here – off and on (at different places on earth) – for several hundreds of years.

                                            FORBES

    (indicates printout) This speaks of the capture, taming and use of ‘animals’ as slaves, both male and female. Slaves who worshipped them as gods.

                                            CAMERON

                             Then what they referred to as ‘animals’ were prehumans.

                                                FORBES

    And the report boasts (goes on to state) (a undecipherable word, followed by an exclamation point is SARAH Forbes’ dialogue) females considered it a high honor to live with these gods and to bear their off-spring.

                                                CAMERON (softly)

                                 Good lord.

                                                    FORBES

    (Yes, you see) It’s no coincidence that the spaceman are identical to us ( - Sara) It’s not a case of two species evolving independently of one another.

                                            BANNISTER (scratched out)

                        Do you know what you’re saying? (scratched out)

                                            FORBES

    (I’m telling you what I’ve read) (line scratched out) Those ancient spacemen changed the course of our evolution. They were the ‘missing link.’

                                            BANISTER

                        (jumps to feet) Oh, come on!

                                            FORBES

                        (We/mankind…) The human race is its (are their) children.

                                            BANNISTER

                        I don’t believe it!

                                            FORBES

                        Do you believe that spaceship out there?

                                            BANNISTER

                        Yes, but…

                                           FORBES

                        It’s not a fraud?

                                            BANNISTER

                            No.

                                           FORBES

                            Or a mirage?

                                            BANNISTER    

                            No.

                                            FORBES

                            Then if you believe that, you have to believe this.

    (Forbes jabs a finger at the computer readout. Bannister sinks back into the chair. He, Sarah and Cameron look around at one another, trying to absorb what they’ve heard.

  3. EXT. BUILDING – NIGHT
  4. CLOSE on door as it opens and Steve steps out cautiously. He carries a large pipe-wrench. He closes the door and the CAMERA PANS as he moves off slowly, keeping in the shadow of the building.

  5. SERIES OF SHOTS – AF GUARDS

In jeeps and on foot, they search the base. The men in the jeeps man spotlights. Those on foot carry flashlights.

431 EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT (handwritten is the word Where?)

WIDE ANGLE on the plane. It sits in a large circle of light from floodlamps. A truck is backed up to it. Men in coveralls are removing small metal containers from the truck and placing them in the small plane under the watchful eyes of two MEN IN BLACK. An anonymous-looking van is parked nearby.

TIGHTER ANGLE – ON PLANE

A man in coveralls hands a metal container to another man inside the plane. They handle the containers with great care.

432 INT. PLANE - NIGHT

A man is carefully arranging the boxes and connecting them together with electrical wire.

  1. EXT. HANGER 18 BASE – NIGHT
  2. Steve moves around the corner of a building in deep shadows and looks o.s.

  3. POV – ON HANGER 18
  4. It is, as usual, bathed in light. There are a half-dozen armed guards on duty in front of it.

  5. BACK TO STEVE
  6. He eyes the hanger calculatingly for a moment more, then moves off, disappearing into the darkness.

  7. EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT
  8. A man in coveralls closes the cabin door. The truck moves off. The two Men In Black start for the trailer.

  9. INT. TRAILER – NIGHT
  10. It’s jammed with aeronautic instruments and controls. A ‘pilot’ sits in front of them. The two Men In Black enter, one gesturing that the jet is ready to go. The ‘pilot’ nods and flips a switch.

  11. EXT. PLANE – NIGHT
  12. The engines whine to life.

  13. INTERCUT – TRAILER
  14. The ‘pilot’ pushes buttons and flips more switches.

  15. BACK TO PLANE
  16. It starts to taxi.

  17. INT. PLANE’S COCKPIT – NIGHT
  18. In a soft glow of the instrument panel, we see that the cockpit is empty.

  19. INT. HANGER 18 – NIGHT
  20. Cameron and Kelso move to the spacecraft.

                                                            KELSO

                                    What is it?

                                                            CAMERON

                                    I’ve got some more translating for you to do.

  21. EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT
  22. It speeds down the runway for a take-off.

  23. INTERCUT – TRAILER
  24. The ‘pilot’ flips another switch.

  25. BACK TO PLANE
  26. It lifts off and disappears into the night, only its running lights showing.

  27. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT

Cameron and Kelso are sitting at the console. Shots of cities, power plants, defense installations, etc. appear on the screen. At the bottom of each visual are symbols.

                                        CAMERON

                They’re power plants, defense installations, industrial complexes…

                                        KELSO

                 Yes, I see…

                                        CAMERON

                    At the bottom… the symbols. Can you translate those?

                                        KELSO

(shrugs) I can try. I’ll get the terminal up here and run ‘em through the computer. See what I come up with.

(Cameron nods, then looks at the screen again.)

SCENES 447 AND 448 OMITTED

  1. EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT
  2. In flight.

  3. INT. TRAILER – NIGHT
  4. The ‘pilot’ watching the jet’s progress on the radar screen.

  5. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT
  6. A technician plugs in the portable computer terminal. He goes. Kelso starts the film clips and goes to the terminal to enter the characters appearing on them.

  7. EXT. HANGER 18 BASE – NIGHT
  8. Steve is moving along a building. Suddenly, he freezes.

    POV – ALONG BUILDING

    The beams of an AF jeep’s headlights and spotlights strike the corner of the building. The jeep starts to turn toward Steve.

    BACK TO STEVE

    He turns, starting back the way he came. He sees a door. He tries it. It’s unlocked. He enters.

    ON JEEP

    It moves slowly along the building.

  9. INT. EMPTY HANGER – NIGHT
  10. Steve is at the door, listening. He HEARS the jeep pause outside the door, then move on. He sags against the wall beside the door.

  11. EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT
  12. In flight.

  13. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT
  14. Kelso working at the terminal, entering the characters on the film clips.

  15. INT. EMPTY HANGER – NIGHT
  16. Steve still stands against the wall, a hand to his injured head. He finally steels himself and turns to the door, but is stopped by:

    TIGHT ON DOORKNOB

    It turns.

    ON STEVE

    He flattens himself against the wall again, pulling the pipe-wrench from under his belt as the door opens slowly.

    ON MAN

    He steps into the hanger, nothing but a silhouette against the faint light entering from outside. The ANGLE WIDENS to include Steve. The man’s back is to him. He raises the pipe-wrench to clobber him. The man turns. Steve sees his face. He freezes.

                                                            FORBES

                                        Steve!

    Steve gapes at him stupidly, lowering the wrench.

                                                            STEVE

                                    What – what’re you doing here?

                                                            FORBES

                                    The base security office called.

                                                            STEVE

                                    (suspiciously) Base security?

                                                            FORBES

                                    They said I’d find you here.

                                                            STEVE

                                    Lew’s dead.

                                                            FORBES

                                    I know. Come on.

                                                            STEVE

                                    Where?

                                                            FORBES

                                    Hanger 18… you’ll be safe there.

    (Steve hesitates, still suspicious, then drops the wrench. Forbes takes his arm.)

  17. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT
  18. CLOSE on Kelso, gaping at the computer terminal screen. It’s o.s. so we don’t know what he sees. But he’s stunned by it. He fumbles for a walkie-talkie on his belt.

                                                            KELSO

                                    Phil! Get up here! I’ve got something.

  19. INT. HANGER 18 – NIGHT
  20. Cameron comes out of the conference room and hurries toward the spacecraft. Sarah and Bannister follow.

  21. OMITTED
  22. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK
  23. CLOSE on computer terminal screen. Numbers and letter codes are clicking in.

    Wider to include Kelso, Cameron, Bannister, Sarah. They look at the terminal screen, then at the ship’s screen. Visuals of industrial complexes and defense installations appear.

                                                          KELSO

                I’ve managed to translate the symbols that appear on each of the visuals. Now watch.

    (He begins typing codes into the computer terminal.)

  24. INT. HANGER 18 – NIGHT

Steve and Forbes enter the hanger. Steve’s eyes widen. He stares at the spacecraft in awe.

                                                STEVE

There it is. (He turns to Harry, angry.) They didn’t want us to talk about it… (points) … and there it is. (Forbes nods solemnly. Steve steps over to him, very agitated.) Harry…!!! They killed Lew. They tried to kill me! We’ve been set up right from the start. What’s going on?

                                            FORBES (handwritten question mark here)

I’m going to get some answers… now! (dials phone) We’ve been pawns in this game long enough.

                                            STEVE

                        Answers from who?

                                            FORBES

                        Morrison

SCENES 462 THRU 467 OMITTED

  1. Kelso is typing codes into the terminal. Cameron, Bannister and Sarah lean over him, watching tensely. Kelso looks up at them as words begin appearing on the computer terminal screen.
  2.                                                 KELSO

                                    They’re all designated landing zones.

    (They look from the computer screen to the large spacecraft screen… concern showing on their faces).

                                                    CAMERON

                                What are the numbers? Are they dates…coordinates… what?

                                                    KELSO

                        (shakes his head) Don’t know yet. I’ve had to run them back in on a cross reference.

                                                    BANNISTER

                                This is a breakthrough… a big one. Harry should know about it.

  3. INT. HANGER 18 CONFERENCE ROOM
  4. Forbes hustles in, followed closely by Steve. Forbes heads for the red phone, intense. He picks it up.

  5. EXT. SPACECRAFT
  6. As Cameron comes out, looking around the hanger.

                                                CAMERON

                                    (calls) Harry! (beat) Harry!!

  7. EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT
  8. It goes into a dive.

  9. INT. MORRISON’S PENTAGON OFFICE – NIGHT
  10. Morrison sits at his desk, staring at the ringing red phone, burdened by guilt.

  11. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT
  12. Kelso is hurriedly punching in codes, staring at the computer terminal screen before him. Bannister and Sarah stand behind him.

                                                SARAH

    (to Bannister) But why are they planning to land on earth? And why at these specific locations?

                                                BANNISTER

                        And if their intentions are friendly, why haven’t they tried to contact us?

    (They look at each other with serious, almost frightened expressions as they consider the possibilities.)

    CLOSE ON KELSO

    The green light from the terminal screen reflects on his face as a series of digits clicks in. We don’t see the screen, but he does… and his expression is one of grave concern. His voice catches in his throat.

                                                KELSO

                            (hoarsely) Oh my God… They are dates.

    (Sarah and Paul look and react with horror.)

                                                KELSO

                            Come on, we gotta find Harry.

  13. INT. MORRISON’S PENTAGON OFFICE – NIGHT
  14. Morrison finally picks up the ringing phone.

                                                MORRISON

                            This is Morrison.

    (We hear the filtered WHINE of a distant jet engine.)

  15. INT. HANGER 18 CONFERENCE ROOM – NIGHT
  16. Forbes and Steve are looking up, wondering what the whining sound is.

                                            MORRISON’S VOICE

                            Hello…hello…

  17. INT. HANGER 18 – NIGHT
  18. Cameron is walking toward the conference room. He stops, turns and looks back…listening. The WHINE grows louder and louder.

  19. EXT. SPACECRAFT – NIGHT

Bannister and Sarah come out of the door then stop as they hear the engines of the jet.

    1. EXT. HANGER 18

The WHINE turns into a hellish scream and the jet slams into the hanger.

  1. A SERIES OF SHOTS

Consisting of the following short cuts:

    1. Girders fall in the hanger. The glass in all the windows of the rooms  
    2. overlooking it shatter.

    3. The computer room explodes in flames, walls caving in.
    4. Debris buries a monitor console room.
    5. Fire engulfs the spacecraft.
    6. A large hanger door explodes outward, flames shooting out from the hanger.
    7. The stairway against the wall collapses.
  1. INT.MORRISON’S PENTAGON OFFICE – NIGHT
  2. Morrison stares at the dead phone…horrified.

  3. EXT. HANGER 18 – NIGHT

A huge fireball rises from it, climbing skyward. We HEAR the sound of the roaring fire as the CAMERA SLOWLY ZOOMS through the flames and smoke to reveal the spacecraft… standing menacingly indestructible amid the ruins of Hanger 18.

                                    ANNCR’S VOICE

We interrupt this for a bulletin… Air Force General Frank Morrison has charged President Tyler’s chief of staff, Gordon Cain, with masterminding the coverup of the crash of an alien spacecraft -- a coverup which resulted in the death of an unknown number of scientists and technicians when Cain ordered a NASA lunar flight receiving station in Texas destroyed… We’ll bring you more details as they become available.

FADE OUT.

(THE END)

********************************************************

The following script changes are from the next revision. Interestingly, Forbes has some dual screen time here, calling General Morrison in scene 461 AND 473.

Green pages Revised 3/5/80

  1. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT

Cameron and Kelso are sitting at the console. Forbes stands next to him. Shots of cities, power plants, defense installations, etc. appear on the screen. At the bottom of each visual are symbols.

                                        CAMERON

                    They’re power plants, defense installations, industrial complexes…

                                        KELSO

                    Yes, I see…

                                        FORBES

                    At the bottom…the symbols. Can you translate those?

                                       KELSO

(shrugs) I can try. I’ll get the terminal up here and run ‘em through the computer. See what I come up with.

Forbes pats Kelso encouragingly on the back and starts out. Cameron follows him.

SCENES 449 THRU 459 REMAINED THE SAME

  1. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK
  2. CLOSE on computer terminal screen. Numbers and letter codes are clicking in.

    WIDER TO INCLUDE KELSO, CAMERON, BANNISTER, SARAH

    They look at the terminal screen, then at the ship’s screen. Visuals of industrial complexes and defense installations appear.

                                                            KELSO

                    I’ve managed to translate the symbols that appear on each of the visuals. Now watch.

    He begins typing codes into the computer terminal. Cameron, Bannister and Sarah lean over him, watching tensely. Kelso looks up at them as words begin appearing on the computer terminal screen.

                                                            KELSO    

                            They’re all designated landing zones.

    (They look from the computer screen to the large spacecraft screen…concern showing on their faces).

                                                        CAMERON

                        What are the numbers? Are they dates… coordinates…what?

                                                            KELSO

                        Don’t know yet. I’ll have to run them back in on a cross reference.

                                                        BANNISTER

                        This is a breakthrough…a big one. Harry should know about it.

    (Cameron nods agreement and heads off to find Harry.)

  3. INT. HANGER 18 – NIGHT

Steve and Forbes enter the hanger. Steve’s eyes widen. He stares at the spacecraft in awe.

                                        STEVE (awed)

  There it is. (He turns to Harry, angry.) They didn’t want us to talk about it…(points)…and there it is! (Forbes nods solemnly. Steve steps over to him, very agitated.) Harry…!!! They killed Lew. They tried to kill me! We’ve been set up right from the start. What’s going on!?

                                        FORBES

I’m going to get some answers…now! (dials phone) We’ve been pawns in this game long enough.

                                        STEVE

                        Answers from who?

                                        FORBES    

                        Morrison.

SCENES 462 THRU 469 OMITTED

  1. EXT. SPACECRAFT
  2. As Cameron comes out, looking around the hanger.

                                                CAMERON

                                Harry! (beat) Harry!! Steve!

    Forbes and Steve follow Cameron into the ship.

  3. EXT. LEAR JET – NIGHT
  4. It roars through the night sky gaining speed and altitude.

  5. OMITTED
  6. INT. SPACECRAFT FLIGHT DECK – NIGHT

Kelso is typing codes into the terminal. Cameron, Bannister, Sarah, and Steve stand nearby. Forbes leans over Kelso watching intently.

                                        FORBES

                    Punch it in again. Make sure.

                                        KELSO

I’ve run it three times, Harry. I get the same answer. They’re all designated landing zones.

                                    SARAH

                    But why are they planning to land at these specific locations?

                                    BANNISTER

                        And why so many?

(Forbes turning to them.)

                                        FORBES

                And if their intentions are friendly why haven’t they tried to contact us?

(They look at each other with serious, almost frightened expressions as they consider the possibilities.)

CLOSE ON KELSO

The green light from the terminal screen reflects on his face as a series of digits clicks in. We don’t see the screen but he does…and his expression is one of grave concern. His voice catches in his throat.

                                            KELSO

                        (hoarsely) Oh my God…They are dates.

(Everyone reacts with horror.)

                                            CAMERON    

                        Now what, Harry?

                                            FORBES

First I see what equipment we need (hand-changed to) (Phil, you get what equipment we need to make a hard-copy print out. The rest of you finish checking the dates – then meet me in the conference room. (to Steve) Steve, you come with me. I’m calling Morrison.

(They head off).

    1. INT. HANGER 18 CONFERENCE ROOM

Forbes hustles in, followed closely by Steve. Forbes heads for the red phone, intense. He picks it up.

SCENES 474-477 REMAINED THE SAME

**************************************************