Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's nice to be the next Preston Sturgess

This is a typical story. In the mid 80’s my partner and I had a pretty good movie career going along with our TV work. (I think this was that honeymoon period between the time VOLUNTEERS was made and actually released…because that window was pretty short as I recall.) Disney wanted to meet us.

We trooped down to Burbank, appropriately entered the Dopey Building and met with this very nice energetic young executive. If we had any movie ideas he wanted us to bring them to Disney first. Because of our work on CHEERS we were the perfect writers for them. They were looking to do sophisticated romantic comedies with with and heart, and smart crackling dialogue. Very few people could do that but we could and that’s what they wanted. We were obviously very flattered and said when we came up with something we would call them. He then said, “Listen, while you’re here, we do have one project that’s open, and we think you guys would be perfect for it. EARNEST GOES TO JAIL.”

We graciously passed. We could write sophisticated comedy but we weren’t Noel Coward.


Anonymous said...

Oh, man! The resids you passed up from that franchise!

VP81955 said...

To these people and their current successors in studio boardrooms, "romantic comedy" refers to Jerry Lewis and Stella Stevens in "The Nutty Professor," not Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray in "Hands Across the Table." (Nothing against the former film -- it's one of Jerry's best -- but it really doesn't fit my parameters of "romantic comedy.")

Tom Dougherty said...

William Goldman did a pretty good job on Earnest Saves Christmas.

Michael said...

Volunteers? Oh, man. I really enjoyed that movie. Of course, I was 17 and that may have been a factor. OTOH, Volunteers does stand the test of time.