Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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bat-rss
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Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by bat-rss » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:12 am

Yes, it's a draft-- or rather, THREE drafts at various stages -- of what became DEATH IN SLOW MOTION/THE RIDDLER'S FALSE NOTION!

As mentioned on our most recent TO THE BATPOLES episode, our schedule is a little different here because, among other reasons, we're trying to build up a stock of episodes to avoid going on another hiatus later. So while our episode on these scripts won't go up until November, we're going to be recording around mid-October. More info on that later in this thread when we have our recording date set. Comment ahead of that time and we may quote your post on the podcast. Enjoy!

First draft
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ua9wg50z8aygk ... t.pdf?dl=0

Second draft
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tzu9w6srkiyh6 ... T.pdf?dl=0

Polished version
https://www.dropbox.com/s/aqqpdm7ud9sx8 ... T.pdf?dl=0
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Keith Mayo
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Keith Mayo » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:38 am

Any explanation why they changed it from a Joker arc to the Riddler?
"It's the very essence of our democracy". - Batman, S1 Ep 11

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SprangFan
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by SprangFan » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:04 am

I have another question: Why is it called "Death in Slow Motion?" I always have to remind myself that this title applies to "the silent comedy" ep, because my mind wants to make it the Astin Riddler outing, where people actually fight in slow motion because they're under water.

If anything, silent comedies were usually "under-cranked" to play back in fast motion, not slow motion, so I really don't get it.
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Jim Akin
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Jim Akin » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:38 pm

I love this stuff!

The scene of the pie fight and payroll plunder evidently got named Mother Gotham's Bakery at some point after these drafts were completed, but an annotator (Howie Horwitz?) suggests in a note on Draft 1 that it be described as a large commercial chain, "like Helms."

SoCal board members may be familiar with it, but I never heard of Helms Bakery. The business went defunct soon after Batman left the air, but its name is evidently still associated with a retail complex in Culver City.

robinboyblunderer
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by robinboyblunderer » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:51 am

bat-rss wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:12 am
Yes, it's a draft-- or rather, THREE drafts at various stages -- of what became DEATH IN SLOW MOTION/THE RIDDLER'S FALSE NOTION!
What a bonanza! Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy reading these! Alternate versions, what could've been. I love Death in the Slow Motion/False Notion but I like the original scripts much better...! More Pauline and Robin interaction, more Pauline overall; never understood why they got her taken out of the story so quickly in the filmed version.

Thanks again for sharing these!

cheers

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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by robinboyblunderer » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:53 am

SprangFan wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:04 am
I have another question: Why is it called "Death in Slow Motion?"
My guess is because it's a good sounding title. It's evocative and while "Fast Motion" fits silent films, in this case the poetic license was the best way to go, in my opinion.

cheers

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Jim Akin
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Jim Akin » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm

Several changes were made to the script between Carr's final polish and production. All were improvements, in my view, and I'm guessing Lorenzo Semple Jr. was responsible for the bulk of them:
  • Gotham Bakery becomes Mother Gotham's Bakery. Just the right touch of commercial fake-folksiness.
  • "Whipped sleeping gas" becomes "sleeping cream." The silliness of "sleeping cream" as a concept, the fact that it only exists in the Gotham City of 1966, and Batman's ability to identify it instantly with an expert sniff all seem like Semple touches to me.
  • Unnamed "Girl" becomes Pauline. Perfect for a starlet appearing in a crooked (and perilous) silent film.
  • Pauline's shepherd's crook becomes a sleeping-gas gun, eliminating her seductive come-on to Robin. Even with treachery in her heart, the Bo Peep character, like Robin, exudes innocence. Sexing up their scene together would've sounded a false note, IMHO.
  • Part one ends on the sawmill scene, not with Robin's abduction. This one seems like a no-brainer in hindsight: The buzzsaw peril, complete with Riddler in mustache-twirling costume, reinforces the silent-movie theme, and the life-or-death stakes make for a true cliffhanger. (Having it turn out that Robin wasn't really in danger even approximated an actual movie-serial "cheat.")
  • Tweaking Robin's high-rise rescue with the bite-the-batarang business, and adding Batman's "dental hygiene" message feel like inspired Semple lunacy.
As to the reasons for adapting "The Joker's Comedy Capers" comic as a Riddler story, I think the silent-movie disguises probably had a lot to do with it. Frank Gorshin's skills at mimicry certainly helped him pull off the Chaplin impersonation, but even if Cesar Romero were capable of an equally impressive imitation, he'd have been hard-pressed, as the tallest guy in every scene, to sell himself as "The Little Tramp." And of course, in the comics Joker's skin really is chalk-white, and make-up and masks are always convincing, but the TV team would have had to negotiate Joker's disguises (as Chaplin and the Snidely Whiplash bad guy) against Romero's customary whiteface and the famous mustache it concealed. If makeup- and prosthetic-based disguises were too unwieldy for clean-shaven Malachi Throne as False Face, I don't see how they could have worked with the Joker.

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Keith Mayo
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Keith Mayo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:38 pm

Jim Akin wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm
As to the reasons for adapting "The Joker's Comedy Capers" comic as a Riddler story, I think the silent-movie disguises probably had a lot to do with it. Frank Gorshin's skills at mimicry certainly helped him pull off the Chaplin impersonation, but even if Cesar Romero were capable of an equally impressive imitation, he'd have been hard-pressed, as the tallest guy in every scene, to sell himself as "The Little Tramp." And of course, in the comics Joker's skin really is chalk-white, and make-up and masks are always convincing, but the TV team would have had to negotiate Joker's disguises (as Chaplin and the Snidely Whiplash bad guy) against Romero's customary whiteface and the famous mustache it concealed. If makeup- and prosthetic-based disguises were too unwieldy for clean-shaven Malachi Throne as False Face, I don't see how they could have worked with the Joker.

Most detailed and logical answer I've ever gotten. Thanks, Jim!
"It's the very essence of our democracy". - Batman, S1 Ep 11

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Therin of Andor
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Therin of Andor » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:56 pm

Jim Akin wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm
Unnamed "Girl" becomes Pauline. Perfect for a starlet appearing in a crooked (and perilous) silent film.
Yep, to namedrop 1914's "The Perils of Pauline" serial.
"Holy nostalgia, Batman!"
Therin of Andor

(aka Ian McLean, from Sydney, Australia)

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chrisbcritter
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by chrisbcritter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:33 am

Jim has covered a lot of things I noticed as well - although to me the idea of Pauling giving the answer to the "bonnet" makes more sense (She still could have gassed him with the crook).

The second and third rewrites do have a bit of dialogue that is missing in the finished version:
dism script 9.jpg
This leads in to the part that was kept:
dism script 11.jpg
Also note there was concern about whether or not real actors could be named, especially Buster Keaton in the "dead-pan" riddle; Harold Lloyd isn't mentioned by name in these drafts, but in the final version he is (and Keaton isn't).

And as a connoisseur of pie fights, I'm sorry that the number of pies thrown at the bakery was cut WAY down from the first draft.
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