Believe It Or Not

My brother and I did not move to Los Angeles to become famous screenwriters without any contacts whatsoever.  A good friend’s uncle had a friend who was a screenwriter. A pretty old screenwriter, however. This was in 1990, and our contact had written the screenplay for a film that starred Humphrey Bogart. No matter, this was our big chance. He agreed to read our script about a failed invasion of earth. That was the big twist. The aliens weren’t a threat to all of humanity, just a small town in Vermont whose residents, if they should discover the aliens before the mother ship returned to whisk these bumblers back to Planet Whatever, would have to be eradicated.

The big day came, the day he would tell us how funny and original our script was and how he would introduce us to the well-connected producers and agents he was somehow friends with despite being more or less out of the business for the last twenty years. Unfortunately, the screenwriter did not really care for our script. A) It was the whole planet under threat or nothing; B) it needed a great looking gal in a hot tub; C) The script simply wasn’t realistic. He’d seen space ships and they were nothing like the ones we described.

We knew we were in trouble before the last point, but that sealed it. Though honestly, we would have overlooked the space ship comment if he had known an agent or two. As it was, my brother returned home shortly after this, leaving me to fend for myself in Babylon. Out of curiosity, I recently did some Googling and discovered that William Faulkner is credited with having written the aforementioned Humphrey Bogart film. But should I believe everything I find on IMDb? And if space ships did hover one day over the Universal lot, as the old screenwriter claimed, perhaps they were mistaken for props run amok, and so didn’t get the press they deserved.

You can believe whatever you want to believe. I believe the old screenwriter loved to write screenplays. His office was full of them. And it seems to me that a movie about aliens invading Universal Studios might have been a big hit.

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