Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

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bat-rss
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Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by bat-rss » Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 am

Our next script, to be discussed in episode 86, is the first draft of "Louie the Lilac", entitled "Please Omit Tomatoes":

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mhg731t6eyk3p ... 1.pdf?dl=0

Read it and leave your comments!
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High C
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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by High C » Fri May 11, 2018 11:14 am

Thanks to you guys for making this one available. It's a fascinating read, because other than the Batman (and Robin)-eating plants, almost none of this first draft made it to the screen.

As they say nowadays, a lot to unpack here:

Scripter Dwight Taylor was 64 at the time and had penned screenplays for numerous movies per wikipedia and imdb, but had not had a writing credit since 1959. Best guess--just like many villain actors, he was someone Dozier had known years before and thus was in his Rolodex. He clearly wasn't a great choice to write a Batman episode.

Taylor's rust shows in that he totally was unable to capture the vocal mannerisms and voices of the Duo, and that's really poor. It almost reads as if he never had seen the show.

I can cut him slack on Batgirl, because she had yet to appear on screen, but the characterization of her also is messed up. He has her investigating as Barbara Gordon, not as Batgirl. Wrong. Just wrong.

I guess it shows the flip side of their biggest problem. On the one hand, they got locked into the rhythms and beats of the show so much that it became boring and predictable. I've often criticized this and said they could've used some new blood just to switch things up.

But this writer is so (unforgivably) uninformed of the rhythms and beats of the show that it comes out as something that simply isn't '66 Batman. He also (honest) seems unaware of the Chief O'Hara character--maybe he had read a bunch of comic books?--and names Louie's henchmoll O'Hara, which is a no-no. The Chief doesn't appear in this first draft at all. Very strange.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by batrunner1966 » Fri May 11, 2018 7:47 pm

I just trudged through the 3rd season and a couple things stick out from this episode.
1. When looking out the window at the beach house you can clearly see the edge of the beach backdrop painting. So much so that it has to be on purpose. Typical 3rd season.
2. Whale ambergris looks a lot like packing foam painted black.
3. Dick is looking super sharp in his short set (suit). That style is coming back around.
I really enjoyed the last podcast featuring Ben, looking forward to this one.

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by gothosmansion » Fri May 11, 2018 8:11 pm

I've always thought the Louis the Lilac episode was one or the worst of the series...if not the worst. As bad as this script is, it may still be a little better than what was actually filmed. Considering how much was changed, I wonder why Louie and the script weren't just abandoned all together.

I do appreciate you posting the script, though. It was fascinating to read it.

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by epaddon » Sat May 12, 2018 8:22 am

One thing that sticks out in the script is how the writer, a veteran of noirish type stuff was clearly thinking of Richard Widmark when writing Louie. The "maniacal" laugh, the New York accent, gangster mannerisms suggest someone like Widmark and not at all Milton Berle's very low-key performance. I'm sure they avoided this route and had the character rewritten because Gorshin was already channeling Widmark in his portrayal of Riddler and the copycat aspect would have seemed obvious.

The final version of the episode wasn't good but this script wasn't much better because it reads like a spec script from someone who never watched the series. Dozier's narrator lines are the only ones that read "in-character."

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High C
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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by High C » Sat May 12, 2018 8:37 am

epaddon wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:22 am
One thing that sticks out in the script is how the writer, a veteran of noirish type stuff was clearly thinking of Richard Widmark when writing Louie. The "maniacal" laugh, the New York accent, gangster mannerisms suggest someone like Widmark and not at all Milton Berle's very low-key performance. I'm sure they avoided this route and had the character rewritten because Gorshin was already channeling Widmark in his portrayal of Riddler and the copycat aspect would have seemed obvious.

The final version of the episode wasn't good but this script wasn't much better because it reads like a spec script from someone who never watched the series. Dozier's narrator lines are the only ones that read "in-character."
That's interesting, because Taylor wrote a Cold War spy thriller that starred Widmark, so he certainly was familiar with Widmark's work and style of acting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickup_on_South_Street
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by Lord Death Man » Mon May 14, 2018 12:25 am

Is "Please Omit Tomatoes pointing towards an acronym for pot (marijuana)? Given all the flower children in the actual episode it would not surprise me (I could not download the script to see if they were in the original).
He flies and fights-BATMAN!
Purity and virtue-BATMAN!
Cowards run away!
Batman saves the day!
Also, Boy Wonder Robin.
Batman and Robin-caped crusaders at night!
BIFF! POW! BAM! BATMAN!

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by chrisbcritter » Mon May 14, 2018 5:50 am

Even better than Widmark: How about fellow noir veteran (D.O.A., 711 Ocean Drive, etc.) Edmond O'Brien? His comic villain role as "Fats" Murdock in The Girl Can't Help It pretty well steals the movie. I can easily see him playing Louis/Louie the Lilac the same way in this script.

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by Jim Akin » Mon May 14, 2018 6:58 am

I agree with previous posters' comments on the poor characterization of our heroes. (The running gag about the rubber hydrants is a great example; you could see what it was building up to pretty much from the get-go, but the circumstances required for the payoff would NEVER happen in our version of Gotham City.)

My biggest beef with the script concerns "Louis" and his criminal aims. Under the best of circumstances, it's tough to accept a felonious florist as a foe worthy of Batman. I think the draft undermines Louie's claim to arch-criminal status, by having his crimes narrow in scope, from pedestrian to penny-ante, as the episode progresses:
  • Initially, Commissioner Gordon (suddenly a model of competence) explains that Louie is shaking down all of Gotham's flower shops. That's fairly modest as criminal coups go, but at least it shows some ambition.
  • Then we find Louie's goons beating up a barber who bought flowers from a shop that competes with the one owned by Louie's moll, Pansy. Louie presumably would exempt Pansy from paying protection money, so driving business to her shop works against his master plan, doesn't it?
  • Finally, Louie's coup de grace turns out to be sabotaging Barbara Gordon's flower-show entry—so Pansy can collect the staggering sum of $500(!). Even in 1967 money, that crime would barely have warranted a mention in the Gotham Times society pages, much less a front-page headline!
I'm no fan of Louie, or of the flower-children plot used in the final version of this episode, but at least the filmed version gave Louie a sense of megalomania that suits a Bat-villain. As hard as it is to imagine, I think the shooting script was an improvement over the first draft.
Lord Death Man wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 12:25 am
Is "Please Omit Tomatoes pointing towards an acronym for pot (marijuana)?
I had the same thought. I think the title may have been intended as an in-joke along those lines. But while the script reeks, it's not in that way. :)

No flower children appear in this draft; they must have been added in a rewrite. And I found no whiff of the evil weed in the story, despite reading with an ear for allusions to "grass" in Louie's greenhouse, use of lilacs (or other plants) as a "turn-on," etc. The closest the script comes is sleep-inducing poppies (also a favorite weapon of the Wicked Witch of the West). As the natural source of opium, poppies are narcotic, and might even be referred to as "dope," but not as "pot."

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by High C » Wed May 16, 2018 3:40 pm

Jim Akin wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 6:58 am

My biggest beef with the script concerns "Louis" and his criminal aims. Under the best of circumstances, it's tough to accept a felonious florist as a foe worthy of Batman. I think the draft undermines Louie's claim to arch-criminal status, by having his crimes narrow in scope, from pedestrian to penny-ante, as the episode progresses:
***
I'm no fan of Louie, or of the flower-children plot used in the final version of this episode, but at least the filmed version gave Louie a sense of megalomania that suits a Bat-villain. As hard as it is to imagine, I think the shooting script was an improvement over the first draft.
This is an outstanding point. Louie's crimes in the first draft really feel inconsequential, too inconsequential for the show, even though by season 3 it seemed if somebody jaywalked in Gotham City, Gordon couldn't resist picking up the red phone.

'Batman, I understand why the Commissioner asks us to foil the Joker and the Penguin. But can't the police handle The Jaywalker?'
'Adherence to pedestrian rules and responsibilities is vital to a smooth-running society, Robin. This fiend has no respect for any of that. To the Batpoles!'
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by BATWINGED HORNET » Wed May 16, 2018 9:53 pm

Thanks for posting this rather odd script.

I guess there was no way the Louie or "Louis" concept was going to work--in script for or what ended up on air.

Dwight Taylor seems to be serving two masters:

One: his past as a screenwriter, where some of the moments between Batman and Robin (in Gordon's office) seem to be inspired by his old crime scripts than anything you would expect on the '66 series by this point in its run. For example, In Gordon's office, Batman is played very straight with none of the "West-isms" added to Batman's behavior. The character could have been a police officer and no one would know the difference.

The focus on Gordon being the one using the map of Gotham's flower shops--effectively leading the investigation--is so unlike the traditional series pattern of Gordon & O'Hara instantly tossing years of police training over their shoulders to reach for the Batphone. Undoubtedly, Gordon is in charge--exactly what you would expect from a 1940s/50s movie police commissioner.

Then, there's the way his script has the villains talking, but all one can hear is The Barber of Seville on the radio. That is so much like the kind of scene one would see in films of the 40s-50s, rather than anything on Batman. 60's cop shows like Naked City or drama such as Route 66...maybe, but not Batman. Taylor was writing for another period and genre.

Two: the other master was Taylor's misunderstanding of humor as used in the series; the fire plug scene was not only a gag best suited for sketch comedy, but the script adds--
SOUND OF RAUCOUS LAUGHTER OVER SCENE.
Where did he get the idea that a cheap sight gag and what suggests a laugh track fit the tone of the series?
Beneath Wayne Manor

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by bat-rss » Fri May 18, 2018 5:52 pm

Lord Death Man wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 12:25 am
Is "Please Omit Tomatoes pointing towards an acronym for pot (marijuana)? Given all the flower children in the actual episode it would not surprise me (I could not download the script to see if they were in the original).
You may well be right! I couldn't find any other justification for the title!

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by bat-rss » Fri May 18, 2018 5:53 pm

By the way, everyone, if you have any comments on this you'd like to throw in before we record, please submit here by May 24! We're recording on the morning of the 25th US time.

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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by Dan E Kool » Sat May 19, 2018 10:11 am

Lord Death Man wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 12:25 am
Is "Please Omit Tomatoes pointing towards an acronym for pot?
Image
- Boy Genius

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High C
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Re: Script: PLEASE OMIT TOMATOES (a.k.a. "Louie the Lilac")

Post by High C » Sat May 19, 2018 10:35 am

I honestly tend to doubt Taylor was making a pot joke with the title. I mean, he was 64 when he wrote it, the flower children are NOT at all in the original draft, and considering how 'unhip' the whole draft is, I just do not see it. Just my .02.

What COULD it have meant? Well, maybe it was a nod to Berle having been a vaudeville performer once upon a time, if indeed the script was meant for him from the git-go. The legend is that audiences, of course, would throw tomatoes at performers who were flopping on stage.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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